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To better explain this, we can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum.There's no question that in nature there are different wavelengths that translate into colors most of us see as red, blue, orange, yellow.":/faq/frequency To answer this question in an uncontroversial way, you'd have to first get everyone to agree on "what counts as intersex":/faq/what_is_intersex --and also to agree on what should count as strictly male or strictly female. How small does a penis have to be before it counts as intersex?

Some think your brain has to be exposed to an unusual mix of hormones prenatally to count as intersex--so that even if you're born with atypical genitalia, you're not intersex unless your brain experienced atypical development.And some think you have to have both ovarian and testicular tissue to count as intersex.Though we speak of intersex as an inborn condition, intersex anatomy doesn't always show up at birth.Sometimes a person isn't found to have intersex anatomy until she or he reaches the age of puberty, or finds himself an infertile adult, or dies of old age and is autopsied.By the way, because some forms of intersex signal underlying metabolic concerns, a person who thinks she or he might be intersex should seek a diagnosis and find out if she or he needs professional healthcare.

If you're curious about how common intersex conditions are, go to the FAQ called "How common is intersex?In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums.Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads--all of these vary in size and shape and morphology.So-called "sex" chromosomes can vary quite a bit, too.But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions, express what we know and feel, and maintain order.Rather than trying to play a semantic game that never ends, we at ISNA take a pragmatic approach to the question of who counts as intersex.