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Gender in the one hundred seventh century
The terms Herm, Ferm and Merm seem to have originated in a book by Anne Fausto-Sterling, and refers to various kinds of intersex condition.

Quote:According to Professor Anne Fausto-Sterling, a biologist and gender theorist, if people ought to be classified in sexes at least five sexes rather than two, are needed. For some time medical investigators have recognized the concept of the intersexual body. But the standard medical literature uses the term intersex as a catch-all for three major subgroups with some mixture of male and female characteristics: the so-called true hermaphrodites (herms), who possess one testis and one ovary (the sperm- and egg-producing vessels, or gonads); the male pseudohermaphrodites (merms), who have testes and some aspects of the female genitalia but no ovaries; and the female pseudohermaphrodites (ferms), who have ovaries and some aspects of the male genitalia but lack testes.(Fausto-Sterling, Anne. The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough. The Sciences March/April 1993, p. 20-24.)

It seems that we might be using the terms slightly differently to Fausto-Sterling. Our Ferms are capable of bearing children, despite having a penis; but Fausto-Sterling's Ferms generally wouldn't have a working womb. Similarly an OA Merm can father children, despite having no penis, whereas Fausto-Sterling's merms would not be capable of fathering children without medical intervention. It seems likely that in the OA universe these types of intersex conditions are managed medically so that they are fertile when this is desirable.

I can imagine a culture consisting of male bionts and Ferms, where both sexes resemble males, but the Ferms can bear children; similarly there could be cultures where females and Merms can bear children together, but all resemble females. My own Parthene clade is an all female clade, but they can reproduce parthenogenetically, producing clone children - but they can also use medical intervention sometimes to simulate sexual genetic reproduction, combining genes from two (or more) females to create a new (necessarily female) individual.

And on top of the actual sexual types that exist in OA there are people who have sexual relations with members of their own sex, or with sexes they are not interfertile with - these are all sexual lifestyle choices, which are manifold and complex. Even OA Neuts, who have no sexual apparatus, can have sexual relationships; conversely bionts with working sexual equipment can choose not to use it, and follow the asexual lifestyle mentioned earlier.

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RE: Gender in the one hundred seventh century - by stevebowers - 09-15-2018, 09:45 PM

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