I Want to but I can’t Have Sex – Story of an Intersex Woman

I want to have sex but i can’t because I am an intersex woman. Do you know what intersex means? My body has now become a subject of controversy but it was not always that way. My parents were very good in terms of making me feel special. Unfortunately, they had the ultimate impact of making me feel like a freak most of the time when I realized what had been eating at them. I sensed that they wanted to protect me from something. It was only when I was in my teens that I realized why my mum had a permanently worried look as if something terrible was about to happen to me. The girls were talking about boys and periods. The boys were mildly interesting but nothing more. But the periods were absolutely disgusting, to me at least.

I could not imagine anyone putting up with blood flowing out of their you know where. Oh boy, how I later regretted my flippancy. Now, there is nothing that I would like more than to have blood flowing out of my nether parts. It is a feeling that I am not likely to ever experience unless we can pay some wonder doctor to put me right. The girls used to complain about the fuss involved in having periods. One even thought that she had cancer and wrote her will, leaving nothing to her wild little brother.



For some reason, nobody had actually noticed my body and its defects. I was taught in university that according to Sigmund Freud, children are sexually aware as early as three years. Not in my class, they weren’t. Nobody really bothered to look at my body. We did use the loo but not together. I never thought to ask. I had a hole and the rest was smooth; as it should be I imagined. It is only later that I was informed by a friend that my hole was very strange. Apparently I needed hair down there and quite a few things extra besides.

As an Intersex Woman, My Body is my Punishment

I was incredulous. To me I was fortunate not to have sagging breasts or that awful smell that some of my friends were developing of late. I even had a boyfriend. The sum of sex to me was cuddling and maybe feeling him up. For some strange reason, he had never felt me up. Later on Sam was to tell me that it was not because he knew that I was queer. He was just a selfish lover who thought I was there to keep him happy. Oh God, if he had checked I would have died of embarrassment. Lenah who had opened my eyes was good enough not to reveal my secret to the rest of the class.

Intersex Woman's Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex
Intersex Woman’s Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex

I can only imagine the bullying that they would have inflicted on me if they really knew the reason why I did not seem to be having the problems that they were having as teenagers. The moment Lenah disabused me of my naivety, my one mission was to ensure that no boy ever found out that I had less than enough down there. I went to extremes including turning out dates or fighting off a boy who wanted to go all the way. Later on, one was so offended by my reluctance that he even proposed raping me.

This made me very angry. Far angrier than I would have been if it was rape alone. I felt so violated, dirty and disgusted that someone wanted to get inside me despite the fact that I had no way for them. My fight (and it was some fight) was so startling to them that he immediately run off. Later on he would apologize but I was in no mood to accept his entreaties. He begged me not to report him, not knowing that the last thing I wanted was someone doing a medical examination on me.

My Parents and My Secret

I can vividly remember the bitterness and confusion in those first few days after realizing that I was not normal. I had so many questions and my parents had books they had been reading. The long and short of it was that I had no hole. My womb was shriveled up and I did not have breasts. It was highly unlikely that I would ever have kids. My voice had achieved some sort of bizarre arrested development where it hovered between breaking and soft soprano. Those who know me would get startled at my rapid changes in register. One minute I was a little girl and the next I was a deep-voiced teenager.

What had started as an advantage became one of the worst inflictions of my life. I hate, hate my body. The counselors tell me that I should love myself but at the moment it all seems too academic. This is a body that refuses or can’t function properly. I have had my fair share of crushes but cannot allow any boy to get close to me because I know that they will sooner or later want to see me in my birthday suit. I could not stomach the embarrassment and furtive explanations. My fervent and recurring dream is to wake up one day when I am normal. Science and logic tells this is impossible but I can still dream.

Intersex Woman's Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex
Intersex Woman’s Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex

I went through a phase of hating my mum and dad. Why did they give me such bad genes and why didn’t they have the courtesy to tell me from the outset that I came out wrong? Deep down I know that this is very unfair on them. My mum in particular seems to live in a world of bewilderment where I am concerned. She blames herself somehow for giving her husband a child who could never be normal. At the same time; she feels that she is the biggest cause of my affliction. My dad prefers to just ignore things and treat me as if I were a girl. My older brother has hinted that I should stop wallowing and find alternatives. I now know what he meant and I find it disgusting.

To be fair, some of my closest friends including Lenah have suggested that I use the other holes that are available to me being an intersex woman. I know they are trying to help but I find it so sordid that I should have no options. Have they considered that I might not want to have oral or anal sex? Even if I enjoyed them occasionally, it does not mean that I want them to dominate the rest of my sex life. The reality is that I see no options for me right now, not the ones that are realistic. The boyfriends that I get are kinky, exploitative or just curious. At the end I feel like a piece of meat. One thought that by using lots of gel, he could somehow get through the hole. It was the single most physically painful experience of my entire life. Let us say that no one is getting close to that hole again.

The Science that is Beyond Me

Being an Intersex woman, I have been probed and evaluated by countless doctors. All of them without a single exception tell me rather regretfully that I am unlikely to have any children. One has said that stem cell technology might become socially acceptable during my lifetime so that they could use skin grafts to create a child that was genetically mine. That seems like a pipe dream, particularly when I see the world becoming more and more hostile to sub-normal people like me. Who is going to cater for me just because I want to have the joy of my own child? The answer is fairly obvious. In fact, I have been getting plenty of tips from my community that I am not really wanted.

Intersex Woman's Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex
Intersex Woman’s Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex

The doctors admit that they too are merely experimenting with something that they are not entirely sure about. There is the option of surgery and creating an artificial vagina that will at least allow me to enjoy sex. At first I was set against it because I reasoned that nature never intended me to have sex anyway so there is no point in trying. My counselor says that this is a form of self-stigma and that I must take up any opportunities that I have in order to make the best of my life. As time has gone by, I am getting convinced by the counsellor’s point of view. I am stuck with this affliction so I might as well make the best of it.


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Is There Anyone Out There Like Me?

Intersex Woman's Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex
Intersex Woman’s Story, I Want to but I can’t Have Sex

I was so lonely during my teens. I could only share my secret with a few trusted friends that I am an intersex woman but even then I was petrified that in a moment of madness they would expose me. I joined a support group and was rather surprised at the range of cases. Some were nearer to womanhood than others but we were all united by mutual pain. We had suffered in secret for such a long time that we needed the support of one another. I am gradually coming to terms with my childlessness but I would like to be able to enjoy normal sex with my boyfriend. Maybe I will one day be able to afford the operation.