When it comes to sex and sexuality, it can be a flashpoint discussion. I want to acknowledge that up front. Given the manner in which this course is designed, it is incumbent upon us all to look at sex from all four of our validity domains: objective, subjective, interobjective, and intersubjective. While sex and sexuality itself is wrapped up heavily in our various cultural outlooks, it is placed at this point in our course. But make no mistake that this topic concerns us throughout all of these perspectives. We cannot ignore the biology of sex or even the physical act of intercourse itself, the feelings and state of consciousness that is both produced and affected by sexual intercourse, the cultural norms that are abided by and challenged by our perspectives of sex and sexuality, and the systemic areas in which sexuality is controlled and debased or liberated and exalted.

For this module, however, while I want you to consider the spectrum of gender, it is the spectrum of sex that takes most people by surprise. I found this image and I think it does a great job on explaining our current understanding of (biological) sex. As I mentioned elsewhere, our understanding continues to evolve—as good science should—and what we thought 20-30 years ago isn’t how we see things today. I have no doubt at all that we will continue to grow in our understand and conception of sex and it will be different again in another 20-30 years. For now, I think this does a good job of presenting how we see sex today.

You can click on the image itself to see it in a larger size.