The 7 Sexes: Biology of Sex Determination

The 7 Sexes: Biology of Sex Determination

The 7 Sexes: Biology of Sex Determination

The 7 Sexes: Biology of Sex Determination

Synopsis

Few of us know much about the biology of sex determination, but what could be more interesting than to discover how we are shaped into males and females? In this book, Elof Carlson tells the incredible story of the difficult quest to understand how the body forms girls and boys. Carlson's history takes us from antiquity to the present day to detail how each component of human reproduction and sexuality was identified and studied, how this knowledge enlarged our understanding of sex determination, and how it was employed to interpret such little understood aspects of human biology as the origin of intersex births.

Excerpt

Every aspect of the history of sexuality is controversial. Eating, fashion, sports, occupation, or political outlook can be discussed freely in public, even by those who disagree. There is not the same intensity of unease that accompanies these aspects of our lives as it does sexuality. a major reason for this unease comes from religion. Religions, especially the monotheistic ones, have long held strong opinions on sex, mostly regulating sexual behavior and often describing transgressions as abominations, sins, or moral crimes leading to the fury of God or those representing God’s views. a second reason for treating sexuality with fear, guilt, or embarrassment stems from our psychology. For Freudian psychiatrists, sexuality was the basis for all neurotic and psychotic conditions they interpreted or tried to help. Whether we treat psychiatric approaches with respect or disapproval as a healing science, we usually repress our sexual thoughts in public settings, and are awkwardly aware of the passing or fleeting moments of erotic awareness that shove themselves into our minds at inappropriate times. a third reason is cultural. Each community develops its own ideas about the differences in sexual behavior expected of males and females. These ideas sometimes reflect religious views, but often have their own expression in how we behave in our daily lives as men and women in society, which limits aspects of sexual behavior in public—from kissing, holding hands, exposing parts of our bodies without clothing, or hiding most of them, especially those parts usually associated with our sexual identification.

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