Are women sexually attracted to testicles?

The prescribed gender

"When someone who has never heard of intersex hears about intersex, a window immediately opens for them, namely sex, and that's what most of us don't have at all. Because it has nothing to do with any sexual practices or likes or inclinations to do, but it is quite simply a physical condition. "

Cat, I tell you there are no cats. Really! Trust me. There are only fish and birds. And you're more of a bird. So watch out, I'll put wings on you, nobody will notice the trick and I'll tie your forelegs to your stomach - look at you: very handsome for the fact that you are not one of them."

"" I am happy that I did it because I became more and more unhappy in the disguise role of a man. I was on the verge of the question: dress or box. "

The prescribed gender
New insights into trans and intersexuality "
From Thekla Jahn

"Where does a man begin, where does a woman end - this question, if you ask it very objectively, who actually corresponds to this picture. So a woman is 1.68 tall, has a clitoris, 0.5 cm tall, labia size x The excitability has to be one way or the other, menstruation starts at the age of twelve. And what is a man in whom everything is not in the normal range - what is actually a normal range, what is actually normal? Do we always want normality "We all want to be special. And all of a sudden we only want to be men and women, and we just can't stand that there is something else, something unknown, that we don't know and that scares us so much. "

Lucie is what is known as an XY woman. That is, from a genetic point of view she is a male individual, outwardly she is clearly a woman - but in the abdomen there were no ovaries, but hazelnut-sized testicles.

At the beginning of life all people are hermaphrodites. During fertilization, the core sex is determined - two X chromosomes stand for female, one X and one Y chromosome for male. But in the first six weeks all fetuses have the facilities for both sexes. Only then do either the ovaries or testicles mature, which in turn form gender-specific hormones and thus control the development of girls or boys.

This "normal" process can be disturbed by a wide variety of factors. One of the most common variants is the so-called androgen resistance - which is also present in Lucie. Specifically, this means: the testes release male sex hormones, but these hormones are ignored by the body cells and remain ineffective. Outwardly feminine, Lucie knew nothing about her internal testicles for a long time:

"When I was 23 years old I got a bleeding and with this bleeding I went straight to the hospital. And then 27 doctors examined me in 14 days: anal, rectal, covers up, covers down, legs wide and, and, and - that made me very humiliated, this procedure, and then I was told that I was the wrong gender, um, which got me into a serious identity crisis because I thought I was a woman, I had breasts, what should I do tell my husband he's gay and what am I now? "

Lucie is not an isolated incident. And Lucie's case is not as rare as one might think. Androgen resistance is just one of the many possible variations in sex development. Sometimes the chromosomes are not distributed correctly or the hormone production is disturbed or the receptors for hormones only work partially or not at all. Intersex has many faces. Some intersex people only deviate slightly from the male or female norm, with others the sex organ is clearly ambiguous. On the other hand, cases in which a person has testicles and ovaries are rare. Overall - according to Professor Hertha Richter-Appelt, head of the Hamburg research group Intersex, the following figures can be assumed:

"So it is said today - but these are estimates - that intersexuality should occur 1: 2000 in the general population, that is, one child among 2000 children is affected. Um. Of course there is always a large number of unreported cases."

Biological hermaphrodites - i.e. bisexual individuals - are called hermaphrodites. This term goes back to Greek mythology. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, became the father of Hermaphrodite. The two-gender system united the advantages of the female and the male principle in his body.

Lucie:

"I hardly know any intersex person who would see that as something positive, but rather as a flaw. We often perceive that as a flaw. Medicine still tells the parents who have an intersex child: 'Yes, if at some point there are situations Sport, in the shower, and you see that it looks different downstairs, that would be a great catastrophe and any means to prevent it would be fine. "

"Cat, I will tie your front legs to your stomach, look at you - very handsome for the fact that you are not a bird."

Judge Appeal:

"Intersexuality is in principle an abnormality in physical gender development, that is, people who may have a male or female chromosome set that does not match the usual external appearance. Transsexuality is a phenomenon that people have a biologically completely inconspicuous body, but having the feeling of living in the wrong body. And a biological man says I'm a woman and a biological woman says I'm actually a man. "

Katrin Age:

"I noticed that the adults expect something different from me than I feel myself, and I tried to see what the others were doing and learned it like a foreign language, the behavior of a boy. So I grew up bilingually: a girl inside , outwardly boy. There was a sticking point, I was 10 years old. Because my father dragged me into the bedroom, forced me to strip me naked, pointed to the mirror and said: look carefully, then you will know what you are and if I catch you doing that nonsense again, you'll get it with the strap - I followed my father's advice. I didn't get caught anymore. "

Helmar only secretly put on women's clothes and outwardly led the life of a man, was married for 23 years, had two children, but only told them about his desire to be a woman when he was an adult. Katrin Age:

"At that time, we wanted to spare children the fact that transsexuality was pushed into the perverse or red-light district, that they are exposed to this pressure. Thank goodness it is not so strong today, there is a greater openness."

Helmar, now Katrin, made his outing in 1994 - at the age of 49. A clear cut; This was followed by an opposite-sex hormone treatment by the urologist Dr. Sassan Nazari, who advised him in detail beforehand. Nazari:

"But the fact is, at least my personal experience, that sometimes you don't really know what is the right way, what is ultimately what is good for this person. Is giving in to this need ultimately the right thing, starting with clothing about cross-sex hormone treatment and surgery, epilation, all these things that go with it, or would the right way be to try, let's say, to get this under control with the help of psychotherapy? "

Katrin Age:

"I'm happy that I did that, I didn't need to pretend anymore, I hit puberty when I was 50."

Sassan Nazari:

"But there are developments, I just had a patient in treatment, she had been with me for almost a year and a half with opposite-sex treatment, had not yet had an operation and then wanted to be a man again, so to speak, and asked me to stop the hormone treatment, which then, too is not that easy, sometimes. "

Transsexuality is much better known to the public than intersexuality, but it is far less common. Experts today estimate that for every 40,000 people there is one transsexual, but 20 intersex people. Why is it that a person like Helmar - now Katrin - feels "transsexual"? The Lübeck endocrinologist Professor Olaf Hiort:

"Research into the causes moves us very much today. Techniques from molecular biology and molecular genetics give hope for better insights into why people develop and how."

But so far the causes of transsexuality are largely unclear. The problem: until recently, brain examinations were only possible post mortem, i.e. after death. The doctors found changes to the hypothalamus, among other things. But these structural changes in the brain could be the cause of transsexuality as well as the result of the life experiences of the people affected. They are therefore unsuitable as evidence of the existence of a "transsexual brain". Hiort:

"We assume that something, probably a biological basis for it should exist in some form. But it has not yet been proven."

It looks different with intersexuality. Here are the first answers to the question of what leads to one of the different forms of deviant gender development. Hiort:

"Ultimately, the cause of the disorders that we are looking at is almost always genetic, so we are dealing with genetic defects or genetic disorders in which certain proteins that are necessary for the development of organs, i.e. catalysts for hormone production, are not formed correctly or in which these receptors do not work properly. Um, it would be possible that we have a disorder that might be influenced by hormonal or environmental influences - we know nowadays that, for example, premature birth is a risk factor for it or deficiency birth, when a child is too young for gestational age, that kind of thing increases the risk of sex development disorder. "

An imbalance in maternal hormones or hormone therapy during pregnancy can also have corresponding effects, says Professor Olaf Hiort about the current state of knowledge. He is the spokesman for the Intersex research group and coordinates several nationwide studies on the subject of intersexuality from the Medical University of Lübeck.

When a child is born and the midwife in the delivery room doesn't have a clear answer to the question: "a girl or a boy?" , the parents are shocked at first; confused; many even see it as an offense. And grapple with the question: what to do. Some people are born with an ambiguous gender, others have an initially unambiguous gender that only reverses during puberty. In order for parents and children to be prepared for this, an early determination of the chromosome set and hormone status is essential.

"What is very important is that it is discussed with the parents very early on that the dispute is about the child. So, that I am not allowed to take any measures just because the parents cannot actually cope with the problem of having surgery, so to speak, just because the parents think, maybe I can manage to keep my child completely inconspicuous. That is a problem that should be discussed with parents ","

says Professor Hertha Richter-Appelt - psychoanalyst at the Institute for Sexual Research at the University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf based on the results of a study she is currently leading, a study on the living conditions and experiences of adult intersex people. Judge Appeal:

"" For years, the approach to treatment of intersexuality has been to tell both children and parents not to tell anyone about the fact that the child is intersex. So that in a large follow-up examination that we did, we found a large number of adult intersex people, some of whom were over 18 years old and still did not know their diagnosis. "

Just like Christiane V. She was born with a genital that the midwife considered a penis. And that's how she was raised as a boy. A role that she always felt uncomfortable in. When she was 17 years old, doctors discovered that she had two X chromosomes, so she was female. Nevertheless, her uterus and ovaries were removed and given male hormones. Everything without clearing them up. It was not until she was 44 that Christiane V. found out that she was intersex. After a serious identity crisis, she decided to sue the doctor who removed her female reproductive organs. A precedent that hit the media over the past year. Christiane V. won the case in the first instance. The doctor's clinic has appealed.

Operations on the genitals follow a basic principle. They are based on the fact that all people are the same in the embryonic stage: the tissue that becomes the scrotum in boys becomes the labia in women; what becomes the glans in a boy becomes a clitoris in a girl. The most common, because it is simpler, is the operation on the female genitalia. Sassan Nazari:

"The basic principle is to remove the testicles, the labia are formed from the skin of the scrotum, the penis - if you will - peeled off, the skin remains, the cavernous bodies are removed, and the skin of the penis is used to form the vagina and from a part of the glans the clitoris is formed. That is not so easy. First you have to form a kind of cavity that lies between the rectum and the bladder and then the whole thing is turned inwards and attached and then serves as a neo-vagina or newly formed vagina. So the patients are capable of orgasm. If it works well, the patients are capable of orgasm. "

It is clear that complications can arise with such an operation. If an operation is carried out in childhood, the scars grow with them. Lifelong pain cannot be ruled out. Sometimes it is also the case that not enough of the erectile tissue has been removed, and then, when sexually aroused, those affected experience a type of erection that is very uncomfortable. In addition, the newly formed vagina has to be bougie again and again, i.e. stretched with a finger or a rod, otherwise the tissue would grow closed again at this point.
A trauma for children who have undergone surgery, as studies show today. Professor Hertha Richter-Appelt:

"In the case of transsexuals, those affected urge that they be operated on, and in the case of intersexuals, the doctors and parents urge them to have an operation."

Intersex people like Lucie, who is now involved in the self-help group XY women, are therefore particularly against treatment in childhood. Lucie:

"It's about consent. We generally say no to children, we generally say no without consent and without explanation."

Lucie is a burned woman herself. She was not operated on when she was a child. But even in her early twenties, she was not properly informed about the removal of her internal testicles by the attending physician. Lucie:

"Of course he didn't tell me how important they are to me. That these are my little chemical plants in my body, and what it does when I just can't get these hormones that belong to my body. But I knew that afterwards the operation. Up to this point there were no problems with libido, with good mood and zest for life. That changed dramatically. I became a gloomy, sad, depressed person. "

Apparently the testosterone in Lucie's body had some effect despite the androgen resistance.

"We have to take this seriously, even though we don't understand it at all, because the male hormones apparently cannot work at all ... all these hormones probably already have very different modes of action that we cannot foresee nowadays", "

says the endocrinologist Professor Olaf Hiort. A corresponding study is planned by his Lübeck research group and is currently being approved by the Federal Ministry of Research.

How do intersex people live, how do they experience themselves? The first results of the Hamburg research group show that two thirds of these people are traumatized: through the feeling of having to hide their difference, through the treatment that is perceived as overriding without a say, through the examinations by curious medical teams.

"" I think the traumatization of these situations was very underestimated, including these photographs. They were all, or many of them, often photographed and no consideration was given to the fact that it is very shameful ","

says the psychoanalyst Professor Hertha Richter-Appelt. Many intersex people live an outwardly inconspicuous life, but are socially isolated. Judge Appeal:

"" It is so that significantly more live alone.As far as the sexual aspects are concerned, a lot of people are afraid of sexual contact because they are afraid: How do I tell my partner, do I tell him at all, could he discover during intercourse that something is different with me; many also really have arousal problems. There is a very large dark field where very little is known about it. "

The life of transsexuals is by no means inconspicuous from the outside. They stand out despite hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery - if they have decided to come out, but that does not mean that they are better integrated socially as a result.

"I try to make it clear to people: if you are trans-identical, it's not about whether you live as a man or a woman. If you don't develop your social perspective and yourself as a person at the same time, it doesn't matter in which you have no chance or shitty goes ","

says Katrin Alter, who has been engaged in lobbying for transsexuals since they came out. Transsexuals have aggressively interfered in social discourse in recent years. Also present themselves in public, for example on Christopher Street Day. Intersex people, on the other hand, are only slowly beginning to draw attention to their situation. In this as in that case, the Internet makes it easier to search for like-minded people, for experts, for help - even for parents who are affected. Hertha Richter-Appelt:

"" What we should definitely do, we should raise children of one gender. There are attempts to raise children to be intersex. I think a child is overwhelmed. And I think we have to tell parents to expect that their child might want to change the sex because there are some who do that. "

The same goes for children who feel transsexual. All those affected and all doctors who are more closely involved with transsexuality and intersexuality are now calling for: medical interventions in the form of hormonal or surgical treatments only to be carried out at an age at which the patient can consciously decide for himself - and: the otherness of these people is easy to bear. Professor Hertha Richter-Appelt.

"I find a very interesting experiment: In toddlers at the age of eight months one has observed when one shows them pictures of women's and men's heads that typically appear in society. The child doesn't even know what a man or a woman is is, and has no language for it, but has already realized that there are two categories. And you show them pictures with unclear heads, then the heartbeat goes up, that is, the child becomes restless. Wherever that comes from, but it is a very deep inner need to categorize. And I think ultimately it is a certain requirement of our human maturity to say: I don't always have to put everything in two boxes, but I can very well endure that something is in between believe that if one could come to this point of view, it would be a lot easier for intersex people in our society. "

Lucie:

"I believe that there is a big difference between intersex and transsexuality, that in transsexuality this two-gender system is needed in order to actually be able to carry out this role change and that with intersex it doesn't really matter because we are in this great sea between them both endpoints - I just call that woman as red, man as blue - then we're somewhere in between. Some shade of purple. "

"Cat, I tell you, there are only fish and birds. There are no cats. But believe me."