Having a-typical sex characteristics.

1 in 300 humans are niether male or female, but have characteristics between male and female.

The word Hermaphrodite is deprecated now due to incorrect assumptions of the anatomy being the same as its namesake, the mythical god/goddess combination of Hermes and Aphrodite, having complete sets of both characteristics. This is impossible due the action of Mullerian-Inhibiting Hormone produced by the Y chromosome, although producers of hermaphroditic pornography would have you believe otherwise. The new term Intersex ( Intersexed, Intersexual ) is used now to get away from this misconception.

Intersex conditions can show up at birth (having unusual genitalia) or at puberty when unusual development occurs.

Children are normally operated on to make them conform to societal standards of male or female. Whilst doctors and surgeons beleive this is the correct thing to do, more and more intersexed people are coming forward with evidence that in the majority of cases this does immense psychological, medical, and sexual damage. Whilst the practice is continuing, most doctors are now open to the possibility that this may be wrong, although a hardcore of surgeons still persist in their view that it is best so the child doesnt get bullied in the changing rooms at school. Studies are underway by many of the large medical councils across the world to do some follow up reports and find out

Unfortunately information on a hermaphrodites medical history is usually withheld from the individual as doctors beleive it would cause psychological harm. This makes it difficult to study the overall outcomes of hermaphrodites, as the only ones who know are the ones who have either had severe medical problems, or those who have happenned upon information on the internet and fought for access to a re-diagnosis and/or access to their medical records.

Several campaign and support groups have been formed to stop medical intervention on intersexed infants for societal reasons. One such group is the ISNA.

A hermaphrodite is a person born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, or an internal reproductive system that is not considered "standard" for either male or female. The word originated in the Victorian era when the idea of a "true sex" became popular. Anything deviating from that "true sex" was labeled a "psuedo sex."

The People
Those born with the characteristics that label them as a hermaphrodite, often prefer to be considered intersexed. This is due to the stigma attached to the word "hermaphrodite." Society at large doesn't really accept them, and the medical profession has a long history of convincing/forcing parents to pick a gender and operate on the children when young. These sex changes performed on prepubescent children often lead to gender confusion when the child reaches puberty. Many, though not all, intersexed people discover that they relate to the gender that they were denied as children. Support groups for the intersexed who have gone through such ordeals have sprung up everywhere, and it is becoming more and more evident that hermaphrodites aren't as rare as we once thought. The trauma that is inflicted on these people through the sex changes performed during their childhood is often so severe they have problems functioning in adulthood and can lead to health problems such as a higher risk for Osteoporosis since the hormone producing organs they need are removed.

The Myth
The idea of the hermaphrodite originated from Greek Mythology. The gods Aphrodite and Hermes fell in love and had a son. The child resembled both parents so closely that a name that mingled their own was chosen: Hermaphroditus. The child was raised by the Naiads in the caves of Mount Ida until he reached the age of fifteen. Now that he had reached adulthood he wanted to explore the lands beyond his home, so he ventured out and explored the cities of Lycians and Carians. While exploring some woods in the area he came to a small clearing with a pool of clear water in the center. There was also a young woman present.

The woman was actually the Naiad, Salmacis. Unlike other Naiads she prefered to gather flowers instead of go hunting, so she was not well known to Artemis. When she caught site of Hermaphroditus her heart stopped and she fell instantly in love. She primped herself and then called to him, bringing his attention from the water to her. She declared her love for him, to which he responded by spurning her. Startled and not a little irate at being spurned she again told him how much she loved him and that they would be together. This time, irritated himself, he told her to begone, to go away, he did not love her he did not want her. So Salmacis turned and disappeared as Naiads do. She hid beneath some leaves and watched him silently as he disrobed and entered the water. Upon seeing his naked form she became overwhelmed with passion and leaped into the water after him. Wrapping her arms around his startled form she declared that they would be together despite his attempts to throw her off, and she offered up a prayer to the gods that they be together forever. Some god heard her prayer, often it is said it was Aphrodite herself not knowing it was her own son in the water with the Naiad, and the two melded together into one form. Hermaphroditus was so distraught over what had happened he called upon his mother and begged her to undo the curse. Unable to do so, Aphrodite instead cursed the pool of water and made it so any man who entered it would exit half woman.


Her*maph"ro*dite (?), n. [L. hermaphroditus, Gr. , so called from the mythical story that Hermaphroditus, son of Hermes and Aphrodite, when bathing, became joined in one body with Salmacis, the nymph of a fountain in Caria: cf. F. hermaphrodite.] Biol.

An individual which has the attributes of both male and female, or which unites in itself the two sexes; an animal or plant having the parts of generation of both sexes, as when a flower contains both the stamens and pistil within the same calyx, or on the same receptacle. In some cases reproduction may take place without the union of the distinct individuals. In the animal kingdom true hermaphrodites are found only among the invertebrates. See Illust. in Appendix, under Helminths.


© Webster 1913.

Her*maph"ro*dite, a.

Including, or being of, both sexes; as, an hermaphrodite animal or flower.

Hermaphrodite brig. Naut. See under Brig.



© Webster 1913.

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