One of the first questions that new parents are asked when pregnant is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” This question really highlight society’s obsession with binaries in terms of sex and gender. But biology isn’t binary; biology loves diversity!
Having bodily differences is always difficult, but it can be even more difficult when it is about something so personal and intimate as sex. Whether it is chromosomal, hormonal, or anatomical or whether the difference was identified at birth, puberty, or when trying to conceive, it can impact the psyche.
Some intersex people can question who they are based on their body. Many intersex people can internalize messages of shame, especially when there has been a great deal of secrecy about their bodies when they were young. Some intersex people can struggle to share their bodies in intimate ways with others and even avoid romantic relationships. Most intersex people can hold onto a lot of rage towards their doctors and families for mutilating their bodies as infants.
Psychotherapy can help heal some of these psychic wounds. It cannot fix or change the past, but can help minimize the continued damage the past has had onto the present day and even the future.