Last Updated 19.03.2023
7 min read

Dating Among The Intersex Population

Alan Schin (he/him/his) is the Chief Editor at Taimi. He wears several hats daily as a writer, editor, blogger, and content contributor. He began his university studies as a Psychology student but found his passion in Advanced Communication Studies. Alan loves having the opportunity to write and help our content team shine. According to Alan, his education helps him to understand the dynamics behind dating and socialization better. When he isn’t busy with Taimi, Alan works on his first novel, a sci-fi thriller, and creates works of art in his ceramics studio.

You may have noticed that LGBT has expanded. Often, it’s represented as LGBTQIA+. If you weren’t aware, the I is for intersex. Over time, many people have questioned whether that belongs. It does. Additionally, intersex people belong in queer dating spaces

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Table of Content

    Let’s take a look at this really diverse population, how intersex people date, and how they approach relationships.

    Dispelling The Myths

    Unfortunately, people who are intersex are often subject to misconceptions. Some of these are simply myths. Others are cruel and harmful. Check out these facts.

    Not All Intersex People Identify as LGBTQIA+

    It’s important to welcome intersex people into queer spaces and communities. However, it’s also important to understand that each person’s self-identification is most important. Not every intersex person identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Don’t focus on categorizing people. Let them do that. Instead, focus on understanding the needs of intersex people and learning.

    Intersex People Are Not Transgender

    It’s possible for an intersex person to also identify as trans, but they are not the same thing. However, trans and intersex people may have some shared feelings and experiences that relate to their bodies.

    Intersexuals Can be Any Ethnicity

    When intersex people are depicted, which is rare, they are commonly presented as white and mostly feminine. This is an imbalanced representation. People who are intersex can have any racial or ethnic background. Their physical appearance can range from traditionally feminine to masculine.

    There Are More Than 35 Variations of Intersexuality

    Intersex is an umbrella term. Conditions that are categorized as intersexual vary widely. So do their impacts on the person’s body. Somebody who is intersex may have visible genitalia that isn’t traditionally male or female. However, there are other variations that impact hormones, secondary sexual traits, and chromosomes. 

    Each of these variations means that not every intersex person has the same experiences. For example, some people have to navigate having genital differences from birth. Others may not know they are intersex until they are teens or even adults.

    Here is an important myth to dispel. You may have encountered images or stories of people who have both fully-functioning male and female genitals in porn and other adult materials. This is entirely fictional.

    The Dating Experience as an Intersexual

    There is no wrong way to date as an intersexual other than failing to be true to yourself and prioritize your:

    • Comfort

    • Safety

    • Feelings

    • Self-perception

    How you address your intersexuality in the context of dating is up to you. In any case, you deserve to have enjoyable dating experiences while being treated with respect.

    It may help to consider some of the things you may face during your dating experiences. This way you can determine how you will handle each one as you confront them.

    How And When Will You Disclose?

    You can speak to a hundred intersex individuals about this and get just as many thoughts on this issue. Some people lead with this information. For example, they might include it in a dating profile. Others choose to wait until it becomes relevant depending on how a dating situation progresses. There’s no right way to approach this, but you should think about it. Then, make a decision that feels safe and lets you be true to yourself

    Can You be Sexually Fluid?

    In many ways, intersexuals set the gold standard when it comes to sexual fluidity. Because of anatomical differences, variations in libido, and other factors, being intersex means learning to give and receive sexual pleasure in unique ways.

    What if You Identify as Intersex And Gender Non-Conforming?

    You already know that intersex and transgender aren’t the same. But, if you also identify as trans, nonbinary, or some other gender identity that can complicate how you present yourself and how you are perceived.

    Navigating Sex And Relationships

    What are your needs and boundaries as far as sexual intimacy goes? Are you looking for a relationship, hookups, or some other form of companionship? What should another person’s expectations of you be in these areas?

    Being Honest About What is Pleasurable And What is Not

    Sadly, many intersex individuals have sexual experiences that are painful, traumatizing, or unfulfilling. They may have sex this way because they feel pressured to do it “normally” or they simply haven’t explored alternatives. Others struggle to communicate what works for them to their partners.

    You deserve to enjoy sexual contact. That often means defining intimacy for yourself and learning to communicate your preferences without shame.

    Focusing on Enjoying Dating

    Dating as an intersex person requires planning, communication, and self-awareness. That doesn’t mean your dating life should be laborious or stressful. It shouldn’t be and it doesn’t have to be. Dating isn’t solely about your genitals. It’s about mutual companionship, having fun, and new experiences. It’s okay to put off difficult decisions and conversations, and simply enjoy dating.

    Dating Someone Who is Intersexual

    What if you are on the other side of things? Keep these things in mind.

    Lose The Stereotypes. Do Some Research. Ask Questions.

    Hopefully, this post helps to clear up any misconceptions you might have about intersex people, their experiences, and what dating them might be like. Still, there’s much more to learn. Do some research. Connect with an advocacy organization to learn to be a good ally.

    Then, talk to the person you are dating. But, don’t be invasive. Nobody owes you a conversation about their genitals until that part of their body becomes relevant to you.

    Be Patient And Empathetic

    Almost all intersex people have suffered pretty significant trauma. Many have had their bodies altered, their ability to experience sexual pleasure, and their sexual identities stripped from them without consent. A sense of shame is common.

    Your job isn’t to heal or fix someone who is intersex. Instead, you can show them empathy and patience while respecting where they are in their journey.

    Communicate Honestly

    Your relationship with an intersex person isn’t going to work if you censor yourself. Commit to being honest, even if that means acknowledging that you can’t continue dating them. However, don’t expect honesty to create an emotional shield for you if you say things that are hurtful or rejecting.

    Find Ways To Pleasure Each Other Sexually

    You may need to rethink how sex is supposed to work. This includes your perceptions about what it means to give and receive intimate pleasure. The good news is that dating an intersex person often forces you to engage in creative methods and appreciate the subtler side of pleasure.

    Find Intimacy in Ways Other Than Just Sex

    Be willing to share intimacy in ways that aren’t strictly sexual. Explore massage and other forms of touch, for example.

    Get The Focus Off of Their Intersexuality And Onto Shared Interests And Goals

    Intersexuality is part of a person’s identity. It doesn’t get cured or go away. However, that doesn’t mean intersex people want to focus on that part of themselves all of the time. Worse, if that is your focus they may feel fetishized. Remember, you are dating a whole person.

    Intersexuality is Important But Not The Only Thing That Matters

    There has been so much evolution in recent years about intersexuality. At the same time, there’s still a long way to go. Fortunately, information, advocacy, and communication used on all sides can ensure better dating experiences for intersex people and their partners.

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