Continued from page 1
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