1
$\begingroup$

When I say "sexless", I mean that they are born without male or female phenotypic sex. Not identifying or being nonbinary, but Anatomically sexless. Note: This is not to offend anyone who identifies as nonbinary, and sorry if this is worded incorrectly.

If it is possible, can a person (human for this scenario), be born literally with no sex physically, and having no genitals of either gender?

Although, there are problems to mention, like the X and Y chromosomes, (genotypic sex) so it could help to discuss how to deal with the chromosome problem and others.

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 6 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ "I mean that they are born without male or female phenotypic sex" This really is just not possible, you either have an innie (which will give the appearance of female genitalia) or you have an outie (the appearance of male genitalia), there's no way around it accept to go full Barbie and Ken smooth crotch with no opening, in which case they're dead within days if not hours of birth due to all that fluid waste they can't get rid of. 🤔 Unless you want a cloaca? that's a pretty significant atavistic mutation you'd need there. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Aug 6 at 12:56

3 Answers 3

13
$\begingroup$

Depends on what you mean by sex.

Can a baby have no XX or XY chromosomes? Obviously not if they are human.

But born without functioning genitalia? That is a real phenomenon and it’s called ambiguous genitalia. Due to various genetic defects males could be born without penis or testes, and a female could be born without an uterus or ovaries. Obviously this renders them completely infertile and is immensely damaging. They would still have chromosomal sex, but no reproductive functionality

$\endgroup$
0
3
$\begingroup$

No

Many years ago my wife's biology teacher made a simple statement: A species that cannot propagate/reproduce is not a species. Mules, for example, are not a species. This, despite the fact that they have genitalia. Mules can be either male or female but are born sterile. This might meet the intent of your question but does not meet the letter of your question. (Although I doubt that it even meets the intent of your question because mules are not on the list of animals that exhibit homosexual behavior, which one might conclude if the sterile nature of the animal combined with its genitalia would result in no practical preference for sexual activity.)

But herein lies the problem with your question. Humanity is a species. While we are learning today that the perception of sexuality and identity is more complex than our past has led us to believe, the simple fact remains. We are a species because we can reproduce. We can reproduce because the species has and depends on two biological sexes for reproduction: male (sperm donor) and female (egg donor).

But could there be such a person?

@NixonCranium points out ambiguous genitalia. The condition identifies, to put it simply, mishapen or misaligned genitalia. They are underdeveloped or the external organs don't match the internal organs (e.g., a penis and a uterus in the same body)—but they're there. So I believe it's use to identify the plausibility of your question is out of order. Similarly, there are other conditions, too, such as Vaginal Agenesis, which (simplistically) is the female born without or with underdeveloped interior sexual organs (e.g., uterus). Another is Cloacal Exstrophy which (very simplistically) is a disorder of the large intestine that compromises either penis or clitoris. But in all these cases, the child is (fundamentally, please don't argue with the simplicity of this statement), male or female. Which is shrouded by the conditions, but as genetic testing improves, so does the ability to identify reproductive gender.

I can't find (conveniently, I admit) a reference to an example of a birth where there were no genitalia or internal reproductive organs.

What all these conditions underscore is that being born without genitalia (not considering the other aspects of your question), as you are seeking, is a special (pronounced spee-see-al, not speh-shal) deformity. Humanity is meant to have genitalia. That's the "external" evidence that we're a species at all. In short, you're asking if humanity can breed, not just a mule, but a fully realized mule. A healthy human that cannot identify with any gender, any preference, or any identity.

As a final point before I move on, I also agree with @NixonCranium that even if a child was born without genitalia, all that's missing is the "external" evidence. Even if the child were born without genitalia and internal reproductive organs, genetically there are still chromosomal alignments. I also agree that the results are damaging (all these conditions have consequences great and small). As an example, think about running an automobile without an air filter, or brakes... The vehicle is meant to have those things but it can operate without them—with a high likelihood of consequence, great and small.

Therefore...

Therefore I must conclude that it is not plausible (and, I suspect, not at all possible) for someone to be born into the conditions you're asking about.

But should that stop you?

This depends on what the point of your efforts is. We sometimes depend too much on "reality." Does it matter if such a person can "really" exist? Given today's political and medical climate, I suspect that a well-written story centered on such a being would be very well received by one portion of society and absolutely hated by another. And whether or not it can "really happen" (assuming it could be proven to the level of the Hard-Science tag) wouldn't actually be that important to either side.

So, frankly, I'd ignore my answer and any other answer that doesn't provide the sense of assurance you're looking for. It's your world. Go tell your story.

$\endgroup$
8
  • $\begingroup$ can you back up the statement that children born with neither male nor female genitalia are either male of female. Please don't resort to chromosomes since there are plenty of chromosome combinations beside XX and XY and XX anatomic male and XY anatomic females also exist. Development is rather complex and denies such categorical and demonstratable wrong statements like "the child is either male or female". If you don't want people to argue with such a statement don't make andthen base your argument on them. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 4 at 14:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @John I love this conclusion, I'll explain why in a moment: "Though there are no solid answers, experts on gender say whether a child identifies as a male or female comes from a mix of biology, environment and something deep inside themselves. And at the end of the day, the 'genderless' baby, a 4-month old named Storm, will more than likely figure out which gender he or she identifies with." $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 5 at 4:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @John After spending time hunting on the web, I can't find an example of a single child born entirely without internal and external reproductive organs. There are ambiguities and deformations, but not a single example that I can find of an actually genderless child. I found hundreds of articles supporting my basic claim. And not one supporting your basic claim (even your assertions about anatomic children is simplistically false. They, too, have reproductive organs - and deformations and ambiguities). So, can you find any articles that back you up that aren't politically biased? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 5 at 4:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @John You see, the baby mentioned in my first comment isn't actually genderless. In fact, it appears that the child may be biologically normal and that the parents are merely exercising a political and/or psychological choice to avoid telling the child or anyone around he/she what the biological gender is (good luck with that, it might last to age 5). What's always amazing with questions and answers like these is the number of people who down vote, not because the answer hasn't value, but only because it doesn't mesh with their ideology. We're a species, John. Deal with it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 5 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ so what you are saying is you don't know how tissue development works and genital tissues does not spring out of the blue, Its like saying an aborted fetus that has no lungs but does have a digestive tract really does have lungs because lungs develop from the digestive tract. Also what do you think humans being a species has to do with anything? What exactly do you think I am arguing? $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 5 at 12:37
1
$\begingroup$

… can a person … be born literally with … no genitals of either gender?

If you mean looking like a Barbie doll, no.

But if you mean looking like one sex, and then turning into the other years later, yes.

People can be born looking like baby girls, but at puberty they change far more drastically than other people and turn into males.

This is a relatively common phenomenon in some isolated communities:

In the Dominican Republic, güevedoces (from Spanish: güevedoce, from Dominican Spanish güevos a los doce "testicles at twelve") are children with a specific type of intersexuality. Güevedoces are classified as girls when they are born but, around the age of 12, they start developing male genitalia. This is due to a deficiency in the production of 5α-reductase, an enzyme involved in the metabolism of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. The same phenomenon occurs in Papua New Guinea, where it is called kwolu-aatmwol (literally 'a female thing changing into a male thing') by the Sambia people, and in Turkey. Anne Fausto-Sterling states that güevedoces (as well as people in Papua New Guinea with 5α-reductase deficiency) "are recognised as a third sex" by their cultures, while the cultures "nevertheless recognize only two gender roles".
— Güevedoce - Wikipedia

You might also find some useful ideas in:

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .