Intersex people and internalised corrective bodily bias

Mandy Henningham, Tiffany Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sex essentialism suggests people have an underlying gender ‘essence’ tied to their sex traits. Doctors can use this essentialist view to medicalise intersex bodies, justify the application of disordering terminologies to these bodies and justify modifying them to fit binary male/ female ideals (Davis, 2015). Doctors may consider an intersex person’s genotype, genital appearance, hormones, potential for heteronormative (penis-in-vagina) penetrative sex or fertility to determine their sex marker and plan future interventions. This ignores how any intersex individual’s – or anybody’s – psychological and social development may contribute to their gender identity (Jones et al., 2016). This chapter aims to explore the quantitative and qualitative findings on gender, sexuality and sexual satisfaction for intersex people to challenge essentialist ideas on bodies. To begin, this chapter will first explore literature on sex, gender and sexuality as it relates to intersex people – defined as people whose sex characteristics (anatomy, hormones or chromosomes) vary from binary male-female sex models. It will then explore sex assignment and gender rearing from birth for participants in an international study of people with intersex variations, followed by whether participants found their reared gender appropriate. It will then inspect the nuances of sexuality and satisfaction, including dating and sexual fantasies
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBent street 2
Subtitle of host publicationAustralian LGBTIQA + arts, writing & ideas
EditorsTiffany Jones
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherClouds of Magellan
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)0648460401
ISBN (Print)9780648460404
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameBent street


  • intersex
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • sex
  • youth
  • rearing
  • culture
  • parents
  • education

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  • Cite this

    Henningham, M., & Jones, T. (2019). Intersex people and internalised corrective bodily bias. In T. Jones (Ed.), Bent street 2: Australian LGBTIQA + arts, writing & ideas (Vol. 2, pp. 138-149). (Bent street; No. 2). Melbourne: Clouds of Magellan.