hermaphroditism: having genital attributes of both sexes [from Greek, Hermes and Aphrodite, god and goddess of love]. Some invertebrates are simultaneous hermaphrodites, and some fish are sequential hermaphrodites that change from male to female, or vice versa, once or more often in the course of a lifetime. In the human species, hermaphroditism is a form of birth defect, also known as intersexuality. It is defined as male or female hermaphroditism, if only testes or ovaries are present, respectively; as true hermaphroditism if both tissues are found as in ovotestes, and as gonadally dysgenic [dysgenetic?] when neither tissue is clearly differentiated. Human hermaphrodites do not have the complete sex organs of both sexes. A congenital condition of ambiguity of the reproductive structures so that the sex of the individual at birth is not clearly defined as exclusively male or exclusively female. The condition is named for Hermes and Aphrodite, the Greek god and goddess of love. See also pseudohermaphroditism.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index