Why Sex Isn’t a Spectrum

Perfectly explained.

My Only Path to Power

The word “sex,” as in whether you are male or female, is not unrelated to the word “sex,” as in getting busy in the bedroom. Sex organs are named for their function–they are used in sex. Sex is the process by which a species reproduces. For humans, sex also may (or may not) be a jolly fun time for its participants, but such entertainment potential does not inform its scientific labeling.

Reproduction in humans is a process that involves exactly two roles and only two roles. Someone provides the gamete called sperm and someone provides the gamete called ova (and in humans, gestates the offspring in a womb). There is not a third gamete.

A given individual can play the male role in reproduction if equipped, the female role if equipped, or neither role if their sex organs are dysfunctional or anomalous. Being “equipped” depends upon normal chromosomal and other…

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4 thoughts on “Why Sex Isn’t a Spectrum

  1. Reproductive sex is important, but it’s not the only biological difference between genders.

    But hasn’t the pathologization of intersex conditions contributed to medical violence against intersex people? So shouldn’t we oppose the idea that intersex conditions are “disorders of sexual development”?


    • I’m a bit confused here Marja…the phrase “biological difference between genders” makes no sense because gender is not biological. Yes, the pathologization of intersex conditions contributed to medical violence against intersex people, but no one here is arguing that we should continue to pathologize intersex conditions so I’m not sure where this is coming from.


      • On the second issue, My Only Path to Power stated “Intersex conditions represent a disorder of sex development, not an introduction of new and additional kinds of sex development.”


        • My apologies for missing that point, Marja. I suppose she could have improved that sentence by saying “variation” instead of “disorder.” However her intent was not to stigmatize intersex people but to point out that variations of the theme of male and female among humans don’t constitute a third sex altogether. The trans activist slogan of “sex is a spectrum” is not accurate–there are male and female and variations on those, but not something else entirely. Although nature always creates variations, that doesn’t mean the typical reproductive functions of the species exist on a spectrum of possibilities.


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