What Is Sex?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will use gender terms to assess progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are universal calls for action to end poverty, protect the environment and achieve peace and prosperity for all by the year 2030. The SDGs focus on a wide range of areas. Despite the widespread discussion on sexuality, gender is an important issue across the board, with particular significance in Goal 5: Gender equality.


While the biological basis for sex is largely understood, it is still controversial, particularly in the context of gender and transgender people. Feminist biologists such as Lynda Birke argue that sex is an artificial construct. This definition of sex contradicts scientific findings that sex and gender are not necessarily related. Rather, sex is a social construction, a socially constructed category.

Molecular biology has revealed that human sex is determined by a variety of factors, including genetics and culture. While genetics are largely determined, there are also cultural influences. In some cultures, women are traditionally considered “females” while others are “masculine” and “transsexual.” In some societies, transgender individuals are called “intersex.” However, in others, sex is not solely defined by the genes, but by cultural norms.

The scientific explanation for this ambiguous term is that sex is a continuum of a single physical attribute. In other words, sex is not two mutually exclusive categories. It is a spectrum, and there are many forms of sex. In fact, human beings have more than one type of sex, and it is not impossible to be a woman and a man. So, what is sex?

In other cultures, sex is an arbitrary distinction between males and females. For example, men and women are born with one sex and a female is a heterosexual. In the UK, both sexes share the same biological characteristics. For the majority of people, sex is an immutable trait. If there is no genetic component for it, then sex is an artificial construct.

The biological determinants of sex are usually congruent with a person’s gender identity. But, transgender individuals and intersex people have different characteristics that complicate sex assignment. Among these differences are sex-specific gonads, genitals and sex hormones. In other words, sex is a basic human characteristic. It is a biological trait that determines a person’s reproductive capacity.

The word sex has a complex history and differs from one culture to another. It is based on social constructs and is determined by the way people behave and express themselves. It is also socially and racially- and ethologically-incompatible. Some cultures may consider intersex to be a normal part of their life, but there are no biological factors that make intersex the norm.