Cosmetic Genital Surgery · Human Rights Violations · Intersex Awareness · Questions and Answers · Self-Determination

Seven Names for the SAME thing: Penis, Phallus, Clitoris, Phalloclitoris, Micropenis, Microphalus, and Clitoromegaly.

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Few realize this simple scientific fact: In the developing fetus, the same spot that develops into a typical clitoris or penis, is called the Genital Tubercle.  As you can see below, the genitals are very much the same in appearance from 9 to 11 weeks gestation.  Below, I  share pictures for “Baby 2 See“.  Baby 2 See shows how similar the genitals are in fetal development.    Unless you have a very rare form of intersex, where no reproduction parts or gonads develop at all.  As you can clearly see below, it is a myth that all embryos start out as female.  We literally appear the same, but without the development of gonads (ovaries, testicles, or both), at this point.

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Above Images Barrowed from: Baby 2 See

Below, to show the similarities of these two structures,  I will share the picture of a typical developed clitoris and a penis:

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 Along with a glads and outer top, The typical clitoris has two sides, that wrap around the vaginal and urethral opening.   In many ways it is just an internal penis.  Here is a typical penis, showing that it, too, is two sided.  But this time these two sides have merged together, to form the shaft of the penis, instead of splitting in two like a wishbone.

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As you can see both the clitoris and the penis have a Corpus Cavenosum or Copora Cavenosa (same thing) and a glans (the head).  The head of both, are known to have the same number of nerve endings (unless of course a person is circumcised, or undergoes clitoral reduction, or amputation).   On their own and without medical intervention, one is not superior over the other.  Making one superior over the other is a cultural invention.  You can read more about the clitoris here:  The Still-Misunderstood Shape of the Clitoris.

Both the penis and the clitoris can become erect, engorged with blood, and sexually arroused.  Obviously, one becomes erect to the outside world, for penetration.  While the clitoris become erect, internally with its outer glands,  for its normal sexual function.  

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Wikipedia.org Penile-Clitoral Structure

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Picture borrowed from: Med Scape: Corporal bodies of the penis.
When does the name of a Genital Tubercle change?
Here is what happens with the development of the Genital Tubercle in some forms of intersex:

With intersex, there are seven names for the same thing.  The name mostly dependent on the gender of the person and what “authorities” or “medical experts” decide.  The naming of this part is very subjective and often even based on “expert” opinion.

Both the clitoris and the penis,  have the capability to orgasm as normal sexual function.  I repeat to make a point, that these two structures (the clitoris and penis) develop from the SAME SPOT in a developing fetus (the genital tubercle).

In some people with intersex variations, the name of this SAME structure, the Genital Tubercle, in their developing fetus, at birth can later be named:  

  1. Penis
  2. Phallus
  3. Clitoris
  4. Phaloclitoris
  5. Micropenis
  6. Microphalus
  7. Clitoramegaly   

These differences in humans are naturally occurring and are NOT a defect.  Intersex variations are as common as redheads.  That is as common as 1 in 2000 births (if not possibly more).  That is over 10,000 births a year, in the United States alone, or 3.5 million people in the entire world.

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The Prader Scale: Image borrowed from: Intersex Roadshow

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Image Borrowed from Emerick, 2012.

The above diagram shows the Prader Scale of virilization of some forms of intersex. Intersexed: CAH and the Prader Scale  and The Prader Scale of Genitalia Explained.  Sad to say, all too often an infant’s  body born with a vagina, and is  prader 1 to prader 4, is called a “disorder”, or a “psychosocial emergency”.  Surgery is often done to correct the “problem”.   In our past, culture used to celebrate the birth of such a child. Needless to say, now in many cultures this is called a “curse”.

Why would these variations to the genital tubercle happen?

One cause of this form of intersex is Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.  Another cause for  growth could be Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (and there are different degrees to PCOS).  A third, is that the person is taking, or being exposed to androgens, or testosterone.  This can happen to some transgender men even.  There are likely even more causes that I do not list here.  Bottom line, the growth of the genital tubercle can grow to appear most like a penis, and this can occur during fetal development, adolescence, or  with exposure to androgens at anytime in life.

THE WALL OF VAGINA:

Here is an interesting art exhibition (The Great Wall of Vagina) created to demonstrate the vast variety of  people out there.  Some of these vaginas belong to women, and they say some belong to transgender men.   So just imagine the changes an intersex person can be born with, that are not shown on this wall.  The reason why they are not seen, nowadays, likely  because very few intersex people are saved from “normalizing” surgeries.

Hypospadias

Last, there are also forms of intersex where the urethral opening does not always develop at the tip of the penis.  This is known as Hypospadias.  The urethra  can occur anywhere on the shaft of the penis.   These babies often undergo surgery to simply be able to stand to pee, and for their penis look  the model of “perfection”.   Which often leads to a lifetime of surgeries, pain and suffering.   You can read more about Hypospadias at Intersex Roadshow: Hypospadias:  Intersexuality and Gender Politics.   In the video below you can hear  Tiger Devore, Ph.D., talk about his life story.  He has survived the horrific consequences of doctors fixing their hypospadias condition, simply so he could stand to pee:  Tiger Devore, Ph.D.: The Interface Project.

Here is a diagram of the different types of Hyospadias:

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Picture borrowed from Intersex Roadshow.
I will end this blog with
The Problem of HUMAN CULTURE

The biggest problem with human culture right now, and with the medical community,  is that we are considering these harmless natural variations of the human body as wrong.  And then they label these natural variations a  pathology, defect, syndrome, or a disorder.  So, at the birth of an intersex baby, this causes great social anxiety.  That leads to these natural variations undergoing unnecessary, damaging cosmetic genital surgeries.

Truth is, natural variations of the human body do not need “fixed”, and cosmetic surgery should never happen to a non-consenting child or person.

Once again, I also mention that gender has nothing to do with our genitals.  So it is a tragedy all around if they raise us the wrong gender, simply because our genitals did not live up to these perfect standards of “normal”.  When in reality, no one appears the same below.  Gender is like one’s personality, it cannot, nor can it ever  be created by surgery.

There are thousands of intersex people, in this world, who are NOT happy about the medical and surgical interventions that have happened to them.  Can society change culture to allow the existence of intersex people again?  I think so.  

It is time to stop the genital mutilations of intersex babies.  It is time to end cultural dysphoria and to end the torture.  The United Nations agrees with us intersex activist and advocates.  Here is the United Nations’ Intersex Fact Sheet.  

Other things I have written that are related: 
  1. The United Nations Says: Stop the Torture
  2. My Poem: THE Female PENIS
  3. “It’s too small, let’s make them into a girl!” Yup, this atrocity is still happening today! 
  4. It is time to stop the “normalizing” genital surgery on intersex infants! 
  5. What are others saying about being intersex? Here is what they have to say
  6. Intersex is what it is….
  7. FAR TOO FEW OF US ARE AWARE OF THE SPECIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FACED BY MILLIONS OF INTERSEX PEOPLE
Educational Intersex Videos, Blogs, and Other Refences
World Wide Advocacy & Support For Intersex and Transgender People

Stand To Pee

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A Penis is not just a boy part

Genital Tubercle HumanRights

Fix Society with Angel Feather

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~.V.~

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One thought on “Seven Names for the SAME thing: Penis, Phallus, Clitoris, Phalloclitoris, Micropenis, Microphalus, and Clitoromegaly.

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