Sex or Gender - Part IWritten by Sam Vaknin
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Freud, Kraft-Ebbing, and Fliess suggested that we are all bisexual to a certain degree. As early as 1910, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld argued, in Berlin, that absolute genders are "abstractions, invented extremes". The consensus today is that one's sexuality is, mostly, a psychological construct which reflects gender role orientation.
Joanne Meyerowitz, a professor of history at Indiana University and editor of The Journal of American History observes, in her recently published tome, "How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in United States", that very meaning of masculinity and femininity is in constant flux.
Transgender activists, says Meyerowitz, insist that gender and sexuality represent "distinct analytical categories". The New York Times wrote in its review of book: "Some male-to-female transsexuals have sex with men and call themselves homosexuals. Some female-to-male transsexuals have sex with women and call themselves lesbians. Some transsexuals call themselves asexual."
So, it is all in mind, you see.
This would be taking it too far. A large body of scientific evidence points to genetic and biological underpinnings of sexual behavior and preferences.
The German science magazine, "Geo", reported recently that males of fruit fly "drosophila melanogaster" switched from heterosexuality to homosexuality as temperature in lab was increased from 19 to 30 degrees Celsius. They reverted to chasing females as it was lowered.
The brain structures of homosexual sheep are different to those of straight sheep, a study conducted recently by Oregon Health & Science University and U.S. Department of Agriculture Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, revealed. Similar differences were found between gay men and straight ones in 1995 in Holland and elsewhere. The preoptic area of hypothalamus was larger in heterosexual men than in both homosexual men and straight women.
According an article, titled "When Sexual Development Goes Awry", by Suzanne Miller, published in September 2000 issue of "World and I", various medical conditions give rise to sexual ambiguity. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), involving excessive androgen production by adrenal cortex, results in mixed genitalia. A person with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) has a vagina, external female genitalia and functioning, androgen-producing, testes - but no uterus or fallopian tubes.
People with rare 5-alpha reductase deficiency syndrome are born with ambiguous genitalia. They appear at first to be girls. At puberty, such a person develops testicles and his clitoris swells and becomes a penis. Hermaphrodites possess both ovaries and testicles (both, in most cases, rather undeveloped). Sometimes ovaries and testicles are combined into a chimera called ovotestis.
Most of these individuals have chromosomal composition of a woman together with traces of Y, male, chromosome. All hermaphrodites have a sizable penis, though rarely generate sperm. Some hermaphrodites develop breasts during puberty and menstruate. Very few even get pregnant and give birth.
Anne Fausto-Sterling, a developmental geneticist, professor of medical science at Brown University, and author of "Sexing Body", postulated, in 1993, a continuum of 5 sexes to supplant current dimorphism: males, merms (male pseudohermaphrodites), herms (true hermaphrodites), ferms (female pseudohermaphrodites), and females.
Intersexuality (hermpahroditism) is a natural human state. We are all conceived with potential to develop into either sex. The embryonic developmental default is female. A series of triggers during first weeks of pregnancy places fetus on path to maleness.
In rare cases, some women have a male's genetic makeup (XY chromosomes) and vice versa. But, in vast majority of cases, one of sexes is clearly selected. Relics of stifled sex remain, though. Women have clitoris as a kind of symbolic penis. Men have breasts (mammary glands) and nipples.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com
How is Coaching Different from Therapy?Written by Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach
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Friends are not trained to be objective, and closer they are to you, less likely they’ll be objective. Everyone involved with you emotionally has a vested interest in what you do. They also, I’m sure you’ve found, do not have time.
So for those of us who wanted more out of our lives or particularly out of ourselves, who wanted personal and professional development not in pop-psych short-term-goal way, but as a lifelong proposition, where was there to go?
Reading self-help books gives theory for a mass market, but where could you get a personal and individualized program? It was time for something new for millennium – coaching!
About 8 years ago, I was burning out of my then career field, and looking for something I didn’t even know name for. I went to a therapist who said I was depressed. Damn right I was. I said I needed to find a new career that was meaningful, and she said she “didn’t do that,” and didn’t know anyone who did, but we could talk. She asked me about my father, a lawyer, and if I was ‘supposed to have been lawyer.’ There were no female lawyers in 1966 when I graduated from college, my father is long dead, and I was beginning to feel I was and nobody had told me. What I was looking for was what coaching is all about—finding your passion (or reclaiming it) and going forward.
USER-FRIENDLY: CONVENIENT, EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE & AFFORDABLE
Not surprisingly, since it evolved to fill a need, coaching is very user-friendly, mostly done by telephone, from wherever you and/or your coach happen to be. It uses your time efficiently. No wait, no drive time, no dress code, no need to cancel because you’re on vacation. It’s stream-lined, cyber, results-oriented, and becoming more affordable all time as it becomes more competitive.
AND WHO ARE THE COACHES?
Well, some are therapists, but they come from all walks of life. There are credentialing schools (I direct one, EQ Alive!), but “requirements” for field are established by individual consumer. As Thomas Leonard, founder of Coaching said, “Check your credentials at door and leave your Boy Scout badges at home.” He himself was an accountant who had a knack for helping people with more important things in their lives.
WHAT KIND OF COACH FOR YOU?
Coaches help people, and in most amazing ways. Soon I think there will be a coach for everything, and I think that’s wonderful. Now there’s a Potty Training Coach. If you’re laughing, you haven’t been there, as I was – thousands of miles from any family member stumbling around with my friends, blind leading blind, and confused by conflicting advice I was hearing and reading, and a pediatrician who said, “You’ll know when he’s ready.” Not this first-time mother!
There are coaches for ADHD (the Canadian Medical Association has recommended coaching as part of their multi-modality treatment plan), Depression, Divorce, Elder Care, Communication, Leadership, Conflict Resolution, Relationships, Intuition, Introverts, eZines, Marketing, Real Estate, Retirement, Breast Cancer Survival, Emotional Intelligence, Fathering, Public Speaking, Career, and Writing. If you can’t find one for what you want, visit Premier Coach Referral™- http://www.webstrategies.cc/coachreferralservice.htm . We’ll find one for you.
For those who have income to invest in personal and professional growth and are used to paying for professional services, coaching makes sense. It’s definitely an idea whose time has come.
©Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach™, http://www.susandunn.cc . Offering individual coaching, coach training and certification, business solutions, coach products for licensing to jumpstart your practice, distance learning, The EQ Learning Lab™, the EQ eBook Library, http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html , and Emotional Intelligence resources. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE eZine.