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J Urol. 2001 Jun;165(6 Pt 2):2350-3.

Sexual behaviors, sexual orientation and gender identity in adult intersexuals: a pilot study.

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Hamot Medical Center, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA.



Sexual preference and adjustment of intersexuals have rarely been investigated. Interview techniques were used to explore these issues.


Ten adult intersexuals (average age 34.2 years) were randomly selected from Intersex Society of North America members. Of the 10 subjects 8 had initially been gender assigned as female and 2 as male. A structured telephone interview was used to assess sexual orientation, sexual activity and satisfaction with gender assignment.


Sexual debut occurred at age 18.1 years (range 15 to 22). At debut, 4 females and 2 males engaged in heterosexual intercourse, and 4 females engaged in gynephilic (female) sexual contact. Despite female gender assignment of 8 and initial heterosexual activity by 4 subjects, the final choice of a sexual partner was female in all 8. Both males had initial heterosexual contact but only 1 continued to prefer female partners. Current number of sexual partners averaged 0.9 (range 0 to 2) and total number of sexual partners ranged from 1 to 300. Currently, 9 subjects are in a committed sexual relationship and 8 are able to achieve orgasm. Of the subjects 8 preferred being identified as intersexual, 1 male as male and 1 female as female. Two intersexuals with initial female gender assignment were undergoing male reassignment.


Most intersexuals preferred being identified as intersexual and had female partners. Most reported being satisfied with overall physical appearance but satisfaction with genitalia was highly variable. Based on these results, further study of a larger population is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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