Sex and Gender Distinction

The distinction between sex and gender differentiates sex (the anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics) from gender, which can refer to either social roles based on the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one’s own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity).[1][2] In some circumstances, an individual’s assigned sex and gender do not align, and the person may be transgender,[1] non-binary, or gender-nonconforming.

The sex and gender distinction is not universal. In ordinary speech, sex and gender are often used interchangeably.[3][4] Some dictionaries and academic disciplines give them different definitions while others do not.

Among scientists, the term sex differences (as compared to gender differences) is typically applied to sexually dimorphic traits that are hypothesized to be evolved consequences of sexual selection.[5][6]

Sexual dimorphism is the condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs.



  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Prince, Virginia. 2005. “Sex vs. Gender.” International Journal of Transgenderism. 8(4).
  2. Jump up^ Neil R., Carlson (2010). Psychology: The science of behavior. Fourth Canadian edition. Pearson. pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-1-57344-199-5.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Udry, J. Richard (November 1994). “The Nature of Gender” (PDF). Demography 31 (4): 561–573. doi:10.2307/2061790.JSTOR 2061790. PMID 7890091.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c Haig, David (April 2004). “The Inexorable Rise of Gender and the Decline of Sex: Social Change in Academic Titles, 1945–2001″(PDF). Archives of Sexual Behavior 33 (2): 87–96. doi:10.1023/B:ASEB.0000014323.56281.0d. PMID 15146141.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Mealey, L. (2000). Sex differences. NY: Academic Press.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Geary, D. C. (2009) Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association