top-rated free essay

Sex Change

By andrewcute Mar 01, 2010 1043 Words
The issue of sex (besides being a national obsession) is reasonably interesting from a psycoanalytic and existential perspective. A lot of what drives us is sexual energy (in line with what Freud told us). This so-called energy isn't explicit, but if you stop to think about questions like "Why am I here?" the "I" refers to you as a being and your sexuality is intimately tied with that. That "I" differs quite radically based on whether you are male or female. From a purely reductionist perspective, we are simply "ugly bags of mostly water" (to use a phrase from Star Trek) for our genes. The main reason we have sex is so our genes can last. The reason that there's sexual dimorphism (as opposed to having only females reproducing asexually) is so the gene pool can be enriched and it is thus capable of withstanding sudden changes in environment. This is actually the reason why there is sex in the first place, but having dimorphism means having a gene pool (thereby phenotype) that's more varied. The sociological perspective is somewhat interesting, but I think it's very irrelevant. In the end, the psychological (perhaps biological) dominates and therefore it it is the one I will consider. I have always wondered what it would be like to be female. I have wondered what it feels like to experience the menstrual cycle each month, to give birth, etc. My perception of what "I" consitutes would be radically different, I assume, notwithstanding the sociological consequences of becoming female. Human males and females are pretty different in their genetic makeup, given that an entire chromosome present in males is not present in females (and this doesn't even address the issue of expression). This brings us to the interesting fact that a lot of textbooks quote: chimpanzees and humans have DNA which is more than 99% identical. I wonder what the basis of their comparison is, but I digress... A few decades ago, the above sort of thinking would've been mere speculation. Existentially speaking, we are prisoners of our bodies and this sucks. But we humans, being the creatures with superior intellect (yeah, right), have taken control of our environments and now it is possible to reasonably answer some of the questions I ask above in a physical sense. I read an article (parts of which are reproduced here without permission) about this dude who underwent a sex-change operation to be female because he wanted to be a lesbian. He was considered a womaniser, but he really identified with girls and expressed his sexuality by cross-dressing, etc. But after a while he began the process of change. He took females hormones---the most effective blend being premarin, derived from the urine of a pregnant mare----to produce breasts, greater sub-surface fat, diminished muscle mass and less skin oil than a man normallly secretes. However, hormone treatments cannot shrink the Adam's apple, alter the hips, or raise the voice; male vocal chords are irreversibly developed by adolescence. He also underwent a lot of sartorial changes as well. Finally the irreversible operation known as "neo-colporrhaphy", or "new vagina", was performed on him. Contrary to popular myth, this two-and-a-half-hour surgery does not involve the penis being cut off. It is instead emptied of its spongy tissue and, like the finger of a rubber glove, turned inside out. The skin of the penis is gently pushed into a cavity formed by separating the lower abdominal muscle fibres, and this inside-out formation becomes the vaginal lining. The scrotum is used to create the frontal lips of the vagina; some of the skin at the base of the inverted penis can be surgically sculpted to look like a clitoris. Enough of the urethra is preserved from the penis to tunnel it under the tissue and place it in the female position. (There was a reasonable discussion during the Beer Social here regarding the logistics of such an operation---in particular the issue of providing lubrication was thought important.) According to John Money, a professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who's an expert on this procedure (I can see a lot of demand for it): "The majority of transsexuals no longer have the spasmodic sensation that comes from squirting out semen. They have, instead, more of a spreading glow that is very satisfactory indeed." This dude (now dudette) is also married with kids and they still call her "daddy". She and her wife get along very well and they find the relationship physically very satisfying. While I share a lot of the philosophy that prompted him to become a transvestite, I doubt if I would undergo such an operation. Perhaps if technology advances so that it can be done in a "perfect" way, but approaches like this somehow don't grab me. This isn't the only way to go. If you're female, you might contemplate becoming male. I read a while ago about how a female had an operation to have a penis implant. Such physical moves seem very drastic to me, even given what I said earlier about sexual energy driving us. Is the artificial physical change necessary in order to experience a female (or male) existence? While the reason for contemplating what it is to be female is mostly curiousity, it might have to do with my nurture as well. It is said that transsexuals are unhappy with their identities and that they seek an out, but will a physical transformation help them? Shouldn't reconcilation of one's identity with one's self, and transcendence of that identity beyond societal norms, be enough? If you are Cartesian (and to some extent I am), it should be. Maybe Freud was completely off about the Oedipus complex---maybe it's something akin to the Penis Envy thing he proposed---there's some sort of a Vagina Envy among males. Thanks to modern science, this envy can be sated. The surgery costs about $11,000. If you include other plastic surgery such as a nose job and breast implants, the total cost is about $25,000. Now to raise some money...

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Sex Change in Aquatic Species

    ...Sex change in Aquatic Species By: Gobezai Abebe Introduction. Many species of invertebrates, fish and plants undergo a process which is rare and requires detailed research to understand (Allsop and West, 2003). The process that they undergo is known as sex change. Focusing specifically on hermaphroditic fish, sex change can occur in two di...

    Read More
  • Annotated Bibliography - Sex Differences in Jealousy

    ...genes. Women can be certain of their maternity, which accounts for the decreased concern with sexual infidelity. They are however, threatened by the thought of having their partner direct resources and attention towards another woman and her offspring, this accounts for the increased concern with respect to emotional infidelity. Burchell, J...

    Read More
  • Social Organization Change

    ...adequate because it fails to recognize that in many organizations there are quite often groups that are unique of the dominant culture. In an attempt to analyze social organizational change, Team D conducted a survey interview on a vast number of anonymous subjects. "Sociology is the systematic study of social behavior and human groups. If foc...

    Read More
  • The Third Sex: The Idea of the Hermaphrodites

    ...Hermaphrodites, Third Sex You just won the World Championship in the women’s 800 meter race, beating your competitors by 2.45 seconds; all of a sudden your competitors are demanding that tests be done to confirm that you are in fact a woman. You are being ridiculed, sexually harassed and teased by people all over the world about the way yo...

    Read More
  • Sex Determination in Plants

    ...Sex determination in plants Summary- Evolutionary transitions happened gradually from hermaphroditism to monoec in which multiple sex determining genes are involved which include male-sterility and female-sterility factors. There should not be any recombination between different loci which is the pivotal reason for the genetic degeneration o...

    Read More
  • Sex Difference in Evolutionary Psychology

    ...Disclosing human behaviour has initiated study and research from a capacious range of disciplines, effectuating varied perspectives on human behaviour. Essentialist or social constructionist perspective has been considered by psychologists to examine the origin of sex differences (Anselmi & Law, 1998). Essentialism articulates that sex diffe...

    Read More
  • DISCUSS SEX DIFFERENCE IN PARENTAL INVESTMENT

    ...Discuss sex differences in parental investment? Trivers (1972) “Parental investment is the investment a parent makes in an indiviual offspring that increases it’s chances of survival at cost of the parent’s ability to invest in other offspring.” The beneifts of parental investment increases survival of the offspring which comes from...

    Read More
  • Sex' vs 'Sexuality

    ...Assembling an Understanding of ‘Sex’ Verses ‘Sexuality’ “Biologists and psychologists who have accepted the doctrine that the only natural function of sex is reproduction have simply ignored the existence of sexual activity which is not reproductive” Alfred Kinsey (The Invention of Sexuality 40) The terms ‘sex’ and ‘sexua...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.