Image from Steve Bowers
Biological SexSex refers to a set of biological, or embodied attributes in presapient, modosophont and some transapient creatures. It is primarily associated with physical and physiological features including chromosomes, gene expression, hormone levels and function, and reproductive/sexual anatomy. Sexes are frequently categorized as "asexual", "female", "male", "hermaphrodite", or a variety of other types used for natural reproduction. Clades using more decentralized reproductive systems, especially non-biological clades using assembly-line processes, often use a more modular approach. In most developed sephirotic societies, the possibilities of morphological freedom allow sophonts to achieve any desired combination of features, which may or may not match their gender identity, or necessarily be used for reproduction, for a variety of reasons. Sophonts can also easily change their sex over short or long timespans to align with, or diverge from, their own gender identity or their culture's gender roles (if it maintains any) as well.
Sexual OrientationSexual Orientation is a pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of a different sex, gender, or species, the same sex, gender, or species, or a variety of sexes, genders, or species. These attractions may be categorized under the concepts of heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, (species)sexuality, pansexuality, omnisexuality, polysexuality or asexuality.
GenderGender refers to the social roles, behaviours, psychological expressions and identities generally associated with reproductive instincts or programming for sophonts who experience and use these concepts. It sometimes influences how sophonts perceive themselves and each other, how they act and interact, social and behavioral expectations they're assigned, and may affect the distribution of power and resources in some (usually primitive) societies. Gender identity is rarely confined to a binary (masculine/ feminine, etc) or even necessarily the six genders identified with the six standard Anglish pronouns (male, female, herm, merm, ferm, neut), nor is it static; it exists across a conceptual landscape and individuals can change their identities and expression over time, sometimes over years, sometimes day to day, sometimes moment to moment. There is considerable diversity in how individuals and groups understand, experience and express gender through the roles they take on, the expectations placed on them, relations with others and the complex ways that gender is institutionalized in society.
Image from Arik
FemaleFemale is the physiological sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ova (egg cells). Female characteristics vary between different species with some species containing more well defined female characteristics, such as the presence of pronounced mammary glands. Barring rare genetic defects, most female mammals, including female nearbaseline humans, have two X chromosomes.
MaleMale is the physiological sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces the sperm gametes. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot reproduce sexually without access to at least one ovum from a female, but some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Most male mammals, including male humans, have a Y chromosome, which codes for the production of larger amounts of testosterone to develop male reproductive organs.
Herm (Hermaphrodite)Herms have both male and female sexual organs, but their secondary sexual characteristics vary from individual to individual, ranging from fully male to fully female or a mixture between the two. When occurring naturally among baselines and other hu clades (usually in prim or other non nanotech environments) this is most often caused by an unusual condition whereby both testicular and ovarian tissue develop. Chromosomes may be either XX, XY, or a mosaic of the two. Hermaphroditism is a common and natural trait among many terragen and xenobiotic life-forms.
Ferm (Female Pseudohermaphroditism)A Ferm has male secondary sexual characteristics and female sexual organs.
Merm (Male Pseudohermaphroditism)A Merm is a male individual with the secondary sexual characteristics of a female.
Neut (Neuter)Neuts have reduced their genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics to an undeveloped state, or removed them altogether.
Image from Anders Finer (copyright; used with permission)
|A merm with the secondary sexual characteristics of a female, despite male sexual organs.|
Common Features of Biological SexesThe following table should only be used as a rule of thumb for identification and use of sexes, primarily for hominid, or at least mammalian, clades.
|Can naturally bear children? (ie, has female primary sexual |
|Can naturally contribute genetic material to others' borne |
offspring? (ie, has male primary sexual characteristics)
|Has female secondary sex characteristics? (e.g., in humans, enlarged breasts and lack of facial hair. Non-hominid clades often use |
a different variety of features to make this differentiation: manes,
tusks, antlers, colours, etc.)