These biological differences explain the male and female secondary sex characteristics which develop . Questions About Sex in Sport and Sports Policies. Does "getting busy" affect athletic performance? Here's what the science says about having sex before a major sporting event. center of the controversy over intersex athletes in women's sport. My approach to sex in sport and to women's-only spaces more generally.
center of the controversy over intersex athletes in women's sport. My approach to sex in sport and to women's-only spaces more generally. Fairness in sport, particularly on the issue of gender, has been a point of confusion and contention for as long as governing bodies have been. In the summer of , Harry Shapiro, the chair and curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, revealed to the public.
In the summer of , Harry Shapiro, the chair and curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, revealed to the public. Does "getting busy" affect athletic performance? Here's what the science says about having sex before a major sporting event. These biological differences explain the male and female secondary sex characteristics which develop . Questions About Sex in Sport and Sports Policies.
By Roger Pielke Jr. Decisions about who can compete as a female athlete in world-class athletics should be informed by science, but they are ultimately subjective. In the summer ofHarry Shapiro, the chair and curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, revealed to the public Norma and Normman, two statues intended to epitomize the average young American male and female. Normman was the result of measurements of millions of soldiers taken during World War I.
But the combination of so many averages in one person is rare and unusual. After discovering this underlying truth—what is —this knowledge could then be applied back to society, to determine who approximates physical perfection.
The Cleveland Health Museum purchased Norma and Normman for an exhibit and teamed up with the Cleveland Plain Dealer to issue a call for applications to identify the woman who best approximated Norma. More than 3, women applied. The sport and sexist messages accompanying Norma are now easy to spot.
Shapiro was likewise a eugenicist, who served as the president of the American Eugenics Association. Robert Latou Dickinson, the physician who oversaw the creation of the Norma and Normman sculptures along with the sculptor Abram Belskie, was another noted eugenicist.
Dickinson is known for his medical sketches and sculptures related to human sexuality. Far from representing what isNorma was a creation of American eugenicists who wielded science to hide from view not only the actual diversity of the human form, but a deeper political agenda that today would be readily seen as racist and sexist. The story of Norma may seem like a quaint, if also highly disturbing, reminder of a time long ago.
But the use of science to define an ideal of purity in the human form lives on today, notably in the quest to identify and regulate the elite female athlete. In Aprilthe top international governing body for the sport of track and field—the International Association of Athletics Federations IAAF —released regulations aimed at limiting the participation of some female athletes competing at the international level in middle-distance running events.
The Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification specifically target women with certain differences of sex development DSDs and with naturally occurring testosterone levels that exceed those of most other female athletes. However, we also note that it has been used by the IAAF and some medical professionals in ways that can be interpreted as stigmatizing. To be eligible to compete, such female athletes must lower their testosterone with medication or surgery. This IAAF mandate, which requires unproven medical interventions in otherwise healthy individuals, has prompted considerable debate.
Biological sex is far more complicated than junior high school biology might suggest. Although most men have 46 XY chromosomes and most women have 46 XX chromosomes, biological science today recognizes that there are also 46 XX males and 46 XY females.
The approach taken by the IAAF to developing its latest version of female eligibility regulation is contorted and confusing. Earlier regulations released in focused on all women with high testosterone. These rules were suspended by the Sex of Arbitration for Sport CAS infollowing a challenge by the Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, due to a lack of evidence on the relationship between naturally occurring testosterone and sex performance.
The next incarnation of the regulations was issued in April and focused on all women that is, both 46 XX and 46 XY with high testosterone resulting from DSDs, but only for the limited set of middle-distance events, justified by recently published IAAF research alleging that high testosterone was associated with elevated performance in these events.
After one of us Pielke Jr. Given confidentiality provisions, and the absence of systematic testing, it is unknown how many female athletes are affected by the regulations. Those very few women who have recently publicly acknowledged that they fall under the regulations are each women of color from nations of Africa, raising concerns about the role of race and nationality in the implementation of these rules. One such woman is the South African meter runner and two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya, sport has been a target of IAAF regulatory efforts since she first became a World Champion as an year-old in Berlin in Semenya was targeted because of her exceptional talent and, according to contemporaneous IAAF statements and those of some of her athlete peers, because of her appearance, which was deemed insufficiently feminine.
As a result, sport pending a further appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, Sport and any other women who fall under the regulations are no longer eligible to compete unless they comply with the requirement to lower their naturally occurring testosterone levels.
Yet any effort to determine who is male and sex is female is complex, since biological sex is not a binary attribute but occurs on a spectrum. If we want a line, we have to draw it on nature. A half-century ago, the sex categorization of female athletes was verified in some instances of elite competition via so-called naked parades, involving a visual inspection of their genitalia.
When this demeaning practice was abandoned, sport organizations adopted methods that they believed held the promise of scientifically and objectively telling us sport israther than what ought to bewhen defining the eligible female athlete.
However, the promise of objective science has proven far more illusory than real, as the complexities of human biology have defeated all medical tests proposed by sports organizations to reliably divide biological sex into two distinct categories.
Before proceeding further, it is essential to dispense with one issue. The IAAF regulations discussed here are entirely separate from the rules that govern the participation of trans women in elite athletics there are currently no regulations for trans men.
These rulesimplemented by the International Olympic Committee, define trans women as a separate category from DSD women since individuals in the latter category have experienced a continuity of gender assignment and identity from birth. Our focus here, like the IAAF regulations, is on 46XY DSD female athletes and whether a sport federation should have the authority to question and reclassify the sex of such athletes or require them to undergo medical treatment in order to compete.
The IAAF initially argued upon release of the regulations that it was not seeking to make a determination of gender or sex. With this line of argument, the IAAF sought to distance itself from earlier, failed regimes of sex testing or gender verification, which had been severely critiqued in terms of ethics and science for seeking to reclassify the sex of some female athletes.
The IAAF initially sex taking this approach in a press release responding to the media report. Yet when testifying during the CAS hearing and subsequently in public discussions, IAAF officials admitted that its regulations are based on the premise that some women are not in fact female sex are instead biological males. The biology of human sex development is fascinatingly complex.
Women with DSD conditions leading to elevated testosterone, but with XX chromosomes, are exempt from the regulations. Those 46 XY women with DSDs are also exempt as long as their testosterone does not exceed a certain threshold. However, they also typically have insufficient levels of another hormone—dihydrotestosterone—to experience typical male development, hence their clinical classification as females.
Thus, when the IAAF determines that some 46 XY females should be in fact be considered biological males, it misrepresents basic biological understandings and deviates from the widely shared position of the international medical community, such as reflected in statements by the World Health Organizationwhich recognizes XX males and XY females in addition to still more chromosomal variations.
Thus, testosterone levels were alleged by the CAS and the IAAF to be both sexually dimorphic and the overriding basis of female-male differences in middle-distance running ability, with both points being heavily debated during the Semenya appeal. The IAAF regulations, and the CAS endorsement of them, are underpinned by the notion that women and men should be characterized by nonoverlapping distributions of testosterone. At the event, Bermon relied on an August literature review whose lead author, Richard V.
As with the case of Norma, the study by Clark and colleagues—and the IAAF in its use of it—purports to be presenting what israther than what ought to be. Only females with PCOS were classified by sex at the outset. As shown below, the plot also displayed the sport testosterone ranges for the three DSD groups, with the authors placing two of them in the XY male column and one in the XX female column, based on chromosomes rather than sex reported in the reviewed studies, and showing for each a range of testosterone values that sex healthy males and healthy females respectively.
Thus, despite the sex that chromosomal tests—first used by sports organizations for sex testing in the s—were abandoned because the genetic complexity of humans is not readily amenable to binary female-male categories, here they are again.
The methodological sport of the review article should be obvious. Instead, the authors present testosterone ranges for DSD individuals separately, suggesting they are other than normal and healthy, and unclassified by sex, despite the fact that each of these individuals is indeed already recognized as either female or male in the reviewed studies.
This methodology is identical in form and application to the creation of Norma and then her use as an ideal to judge the broader population. The circularity of this method is not unique to the study; it applies to any study that employs a pre-study sex classification of study subjects and then uses the resulting statistics to reclassify individuals who are outside the study population.
The IAAF cites such studies in the regulations, invoked them before the CAS, and emphasizes them in its publications as the basis for using female and male testosterone levels for sex classification.
The IAAF thus imposes the norms established by the researchers—the initial subjective judgments of what membership in a given category should look sex the data, telling us not what isbut what according to the investigators ought to be.
Whether 46 XY DSD individuals are either female or male depends not on testosterone levels, or even on chromosomal make-up, but on the sex assigned to them at birth, based primarily on an examination of their genitalia and maintained from that moment forward or not depending on how their gendered lives unfolded.
For example, several of the studies included in the review by Clark and colleagues, which assessed testosterone ranges for the 46 XY DSD 5-ARD2 category, identified these individuals as either female or male. The methodology used in the Clark study ignores this fact and instead defines them collectively and principally as unhealthy, abnormal, and with a questionable sex classification. A rather bizarre consequence of this approach is that 46 XY DSD individuals who are perfectly healthy, including female athletes competing at the elite sport of international track and field, are deemed unhealthy.
The methodology also conceals the reality that considerable testosterone variation across individuals classified as female or male from birth can be considered a biologically, if not statistically, normal occurrence, even if the DSD conditions are relatively rare. The problems with the Clark study are, however, more than just methodological: there are substantive problems as well. After we notified the authors and sex of these errorsClinical Endocrinology published a lengthy erratum that included a revised forest plot with the corrected values see Figure 2.
Contrary to the conclusions initially reported and highlighted by the IAAF, the use of testosterone combined with chromosomal attributes in an effort to create distinct male and female categories sex not only a reflection of subjective methodological choices but also sport to support the original conclusions. Although full implementation of this methodology is beyond our scope here, in Figure 3 we show testosterone ranges from two of the studies reviewed in the Clark study according to the sex of the individuals as reported by these papers.
The choice to be inclusive of DSD individuals in study design as we recommend or exclusive of these individuals as in the Clark study is fundamental to the results. Here, as with Norma, it is the prestudy decision-making that determines who is deemed ideal and who is not. Ultimately, when such decisions are portrayed as scientific rather than subjective, they can reinforce discrimination by making categories seem like entirely natural phenomena rather than a mix of the natural and the social.
In the end, either approach—to exclude or include certain individuals from the sport classification—is a subjective choice. Science does not determine this choice. Sport approaches could be claimed to be scientific and evidence-based. But the point to emphasize is that science and data are not doing the work here: choice of methodology leads to diametrically opposed results. Under the methods used in the study, which appears to have been a foundation of the CAS decision, Caster Semenya, a female since birth, would be reclassified as a male.
Indeed, in the lengthy correction to the Clark study, after the revised testosterone ranges offered less support to their claims sex a clear demarcation, the authors introduced a new methodological step not found in the original paper: they simply defined all 46 XY individuals as male, regardless of whether they were reported as female in the reviewed studies.
By defining 46 XY 5-ARD2 individuals as male, the authors simply assert what they had initially set out to prove with evidence. Under our alternative classification methodology, Caster Semenya would be classified as a female, as she has been since birth. Similarly, the subjects of the various studies reviewed in the Clark study would be classified based on their sex assigned and maintained from birth.
Statistics do not provide an objective answer to how classification methods are to be employed, but they can be wielded to give the impression that they do. Science alone is unable to determine the boundaries of the female category, either on or off the track. Importantly, this binary world is not what is, but what the IAAF believes ought to be.
Modern track and field and many other sports is organized around binary definitions of male and female that evolving science and gender politics have rendered more complex, fuzzy, and ambiguous.
The Caster Semenya story is thus yet another example of the difficulties that social institutions have in adjusting to shifts in both gender politics and scientific knowledge. Such a realistic view of science should be viewed as an opportunity. It allows these categories to be retained in a form that reflects the actual biological complexity of sex and the heterogeneity among female athletes while also respecting their biological sex as assigned and maintained since birth. Our approach has the advantage of not empowering sports organizations to reassess and potentially reassign female classifications, much less mandate a requirement for unproven and unethical medical interventions.
For the IAAF, Caster Semenya and other women with genetic variations are abnormal and must be excluded unless they medicate to remedy their imperfections. Our view is that Caster Semenya is already perfect, just as she is. Search Issues. Figure 1. Original, erroneous forest plot from Clark et al. Figure 2. Revised forest plot correcting testosterone ranges of Clark et al.
Like will get on a plane and land in a warm country for the sole purpose of doing the thing, even if it might not work out. Someone always comes first. But that doesn't mean the games are over! Let's make sure the person coming second or third if you're getting funky gets their due. Sometimes, silver is just as good as gold. It sometimes requires intense training. Nobody gets anywhere without practice, so while your first time trying something may be a little bumpy and awkward, you have to get back on the horse.
Sometimes literally, if we are talking about equestrian also, can someone please tell me WTF dressage is? Moving on. Be careful because injuries are common. Who among us hasn't unexpectedly tumbled from the bed?
Gotten a charley horse in our calves? Accidentally kneed our partners in the groin? Like any physical activity, sex can be a handful, and we've all got our fair share of battle wounds to prove it.
It can cause mysterious bruises. On the one hand, it might have been some forceful neck sucking. On the other, there's cupping. Some people have been waiting their whole lives for this moment. We all have our priorities, big or small sometimes disappointingly small. While it may have gone differently in our heads, when it finally happens there's a lot to celebrate.
Some people are really into it, and others couldn't care less. Like most things, both events have a devoted fan base those on the outside just don't understand. For some people, it's just another day. The ancient Greeks were really good at it. I mean, I assume. They invented the Olympics and they also wore togas, which are like the OG easy-access outfit. They also might have been pretty open about homosexuality.
They also threw apples at people if they wanted to declare their love for them! Not super relevant, just a fun fact : -. We're obsessed, even if it only happens once every few years.
If it seems like your life is just one long dry spell punctuated by random months of intense activity, then how do you think pentathloners feel??? Relish your moment of action, because it might not happen again for another four years. Leslie Jones is really excited about it.
While you do not have to be particularly skilled to participate in sexual intercourse, it often involves exertion. Again, think pumping and yelling. There is a reason couples build up a sweat in between the sheets. They are usually displaying a high amount of physical activity. That is not to say having sex is synonymous with being a professional athlete.
It just means sex requires more physical skill or exertion than moving your hand. Think of sex like golf. You can play an easy game of golf or spend hours on one course. Depending on the day, you might play by yourself or with someone else. Although Western society makes generalizations about how sex should be done, there is no required handbook on how it must be done.
For sex to be considered a sport, rules and regulations should be stretched a bit to mean guidelines. For example, talking dirty is widely accepted during intercourse. Treating your partner like an object is not. Of course, not everyone follows these guidelines.
There will always be people that hate foreplay or take talking during sex a step too far. The guidelines you and your partner follow should be based on you and your partner. Hell, some prefer to play rugby without any rules.
What is unique about sex though, is the number of unspoken rules. In baseball, it is common courtesy to avoid stealing bases if your team is up by a ton of runs. Will teams be punished for stealing bases? Competing during sex just sounds negative. With that said, there are a couple ways in which intercourse can be considered competitive. Think about how often you and a partner are doing the nasty. According to a study published by Tim Wadsworth, associate professor of sociology at University of Colorado, Boulder, happiness depends on more than just how much sex you have.
Comparing the amount of sexual intercourse one couple has to another couple is competitive in and of itself. For me, sex does not satisfy all three prongs, and therefore is not a sport. But I will let you decide for yourself. Volleyball wins final regular season match. Inslee appoints ex-mayor. In his blood: DTC professor shares his passion for teaching. Local nonprofit helps animal owners pay medical expenses.
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