Intersexes are referred to people with sexual anatomy of both sexes. There are two types of intersex and these include true hermaphrodites and pseudohermaphrodites. True hermaphrodite is a very rare condition in which an individual is born with ovarian and testicular tissue in their body. Individual with this condition developed male and female external genitals. Pseudohermaphrodite is a condition in which an individual is born with secondary sex characteristics and they also develop internal and external reproductive structures that are incompletely male or female.
Intersex condition may be caused by irregular combination of sex chromosomes or irregular hormones level. Everyone have 23 pairs or 46 chromosomes which determined our sex, for example female have XX chromosomes and male have XY chromosomes. There are several causes of pseudohermaphrodites and these may include Turners syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, Androgen insensitivity syndrome, Fetally androgenized females, and DHT deficient males.
Turners syndrome is a condition in which an individual have only one sex chromosome. Individual with Turners syndrome have total of 45 chromosomes instead of 46 and because one of the chromosome is missing, the sex chromosome is indicated as XO. Individual with this condition develop normal female external genitals and they identify themselves as female. Women with Turners syndrome tend to be short and they have undeveloped internal reproductive structures, their breasts do not develop fully and they are unable to bear child because they don’t have ovaries.
Klinefelters syndrome is a condition in which an individual inherit an extra X chromosome from either parents, the sex chromosome is indicated as XXY. Individual with this condition develop undersized penises and testicles and they identify themselves as male. Men with Klinefelters syndrome tend to be tall and they may develop breasts with rounded body contours. They also tend to experience low sex drive because of their undersized testes that produce insufficient hormones.
Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) is caused by genetic defect in which a normal male fetus becomes insensitive to testosterone and androgens. There are two categories and these include Complete AIS and Incomplete AIS. Complete AIS is a condition in which a male fetus is completely insensitive to androgens and they develop female external genitals because their body cannot use androgens to develop male sex characteristics. The baby is identify as female and reared as girls but they are unable to bear child because they don’t have uterus.
Incomplete AIS is a condition in which a male fetus is partially sensitive to androgens. Incomplete AIS is similar to Reifenstein syndrome in which an individual may develop male external genital, male and female external genital, or female external genital. The baby may be identify as either male or female and reared as boys or girls.
Fetally androgenized female occur when normal female infant become exposed to excessive androgens during pregnancy caused by genetics or by their mother ingesting androgen substances. They develop female sex characteristics but their external genitals tend to appear larger than normal. They develop large clitoris that looks like a penis and the labia may be fused to look like a scrotum. The baby is identify as female and treated with minor surgery or hormone therapy and reared as girls.
DHT deficient male is a condition caused by
genetic defect that prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT and
as a result the male fetus develops female external genital.
Individual with this condition have penis and scrotum that are not fully
developed and looks like female genital. The baby is identified as
female and reared as girls. DHT deficient male have a functional testes
that do not descend before birth, however at puberty the testes
increase production of testosterone which reverse DHT deficiency. When
this occurs, the testes descend and their genitals fully develop into
penises which transform the child from female to male.
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