What is gender? A social construct? Probably. How many genders are there? These days, everyone's talking about gender and at this point we're all having to learn and unlearn what it is that we know about it -- which is a great thing because against all odds curiosity will snuff out ignorance and bigotry (fingers crossed). Gender (especially outside the binary) isn't a dirty word that we have to Google and delete the browser history for, so let's stop acting like it is! We spoke with three sexperts about gender -- Relational and Sex therapist D'Lessia Wedley, Sexologist and entrepreneur Malika O'Neill, and LMFT Graduate intern (concentration in sex ed and therapy) Kalila Griffin. I asked them the same five questions (basically) and here was the consensus:
Gender is fluid AF. And we should learn to be less rigid and more "go with the flow-ish."
But seriously...how many different genders are there? Well. All of our experts agreed that you cannot put a cap on or "quantify" gender. Wedley offers, "I cannot quantify gender. Gender is defined by how one identifies themselves, and the language and terminology are continually evolving. People must be aware that there is a difference between one's sex and gender. Sex is the biological makeup or medical terminology of a person, and gender being how one views themselves."
Furthermore, Griffin points out defining gender is not that simple given that "language related to trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals is always evolving."
O'Neill elaborates on the complexity saying, "Scientifically one may say there are only two genders, man and woman. Those who exist outside these groups fall under the umbrella term non-binary or genderqueer. However, the truth is, there's no way to put a final number on how many genders there are because [as previously mentioned] gender is about a person's sense of self, and each individual person is likely to experience gender differently. I have read articles with over 100 genders to [those] claiming there are 4,000."
Though we are accustomed to the binary or the most known, used, and offered gender of male and female, here are 11 words to describe various genders and their experience, according to O'Neill:
- Agender: Not having a gender or identifying with a gender. They may describe themselves as being gender neutral or genderless.
- Bigender: A person who fluctuates between traditionally "male" and "female" gender-based behaviours and identities.
- Cisgender: A person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth are the same. For example, they were born biologically as a male, and express their gender as male.
- Gender Fluid: A mix of boy and girl. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more "man" some days, and more "woman" other days.
- Genderqueer: A gender identity label often used by people who do not identify with being a man or a woman, or as an umbrella term for many gender non-conforming or non-binary identities.
- Intersex: A person born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside.
- Gender Variant: Someone who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society.
- Mx: Is a title (e.g. Mr., Ms., etc.) that is gender neutral. Pronounced miks, (similar to Ms) it is often the option of choice for folks who do not identify as cisgender.
- Third Gender: A term for a person who does not identify with either man or woman, but identifies with another gender. This gender category is used by societies that recognize three or more genders, both contemporary and historic, and is also a conceptual term meaning different things to different people who use it.
- Transgender: A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on sex assigned at birth.
- Two-Spirit: Is an umbrella term traditionally used by Native-American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities of both genders.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports