Hermaphrodite

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In zoology, an animal which can produce both sperm and ova at the same time is called a hermaphrodite. As an example, most earthworms are hermaphrodites.


In plants, hermaphrodite is used for 'complete' flowers with both male and female parts, and for plants which have bisexual reproductive units. See Flowering plant sexuality for details.


Hermaphrodites are people who have both male and female genitals, it comes from Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. Another word for this is intersex. Inter means between, and sex refers to what sex parts a person has, so intersex means between male and female.

People who are intersex can look a lot of different ways. They may have a very small penis and no testicles, or a very small and short vagina and a large clitoris that looks like a penis. Sometimes when these people are born, it is hard for the doctor to tell by looking if the baby is a boy or a girl.

If a baby is born intersex, the parents can decide to have the baby get surgery, to make them look more like a boy or more like a girl. Some people think this is not a good idea, because the surgery can make it hard for the person to enjoy sexual intercourse when they are older. But others say that the baby's life will be too hard if they do not get surgery, because it will be different and other people might be mean to them.