Did you know? A person’s biological sex is determined by five seperate factors:

  1. Chromosomes – genetic material floating around in the nucleus of your cells
  2. Genitalia –  “outside” sex organs like the labia, penis, scrotum, clitoris and opening of the vagina.
  3. Hormones –  androgens, estrogens and progestogens, woo!
  4. Reproductive organs – the behind the scenes stuff, including (but not limited to) the testes, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vas deferens, uterus and vagina.
  5. Secondary Sex Characteristics – features that distinguish the sexes but aren’t part of the reproductive system (e.g. breasts, pubic hair, body shape and body mass.)

Many thanks to Jade Pichette for sharing this rad bit of info. Jade is the education coordinator at PTS –  an amazing organization that serves and supports Ottawa’s queer community.


  1. Trevor says:

    I’m curious now about how those elements would serve to break down biological sex into a spectrum, like gender or sexuality. Ultimately, I imagine that “measuring” sex doesn’t really matter, because people will identify as what they identify as, but it’s interesting that we can so closely determine what goes into establishing sex in the first place and yet have so few terms and metrics beyond the binary, intersex, and hermaphroditism. You’re kind of somewhere or you’re nowhere, and I haven’t yet come across terminology suggesting mostly-something or specific elements. Maybe that’s a product of people not identifying that way en masse. Or maybe that’s just not a really relevantly quantifiable medical distinction.

    This kind of line of thought makes me want to me a scholar of human metasexuality, or a sexiographer — studying the study of sex. It’s crazy times in my brainspace right now. Thanks, Nadine, there goes my concentration on work! 😉


  1. […] in a nutshell, is our biology. It’s the  specific set of anatomical, chemical and genetic characteristics, many of which we’re born with and a few other that develop as our bodies […]