Aunt Vadge: What kind of intersex am I?

Dear Aunt Vadge,
I was wondering if you could help me figure out what type of intersex I am? Everything looks like a normal female, but there’s something inside my vagina.

My partner told me it feels like a very small penis. I’ve always had odd menstruations and it’s always been uncomfortable or even painful to use tampons.

But I didn’t know that was in there till my partner told me.  I didn’t go very far in puberty and even stopped growing once I hit the age of 11. I’ve been called androgynous since puberty.

Since I have a period, I am at least mostly female, right?

Age: 25
Country: Texas


Hi V,

There is no way for me to know if you are truly intersex, or have another condition or anatomical abnormality that is causing pain with tampons, can explain your stunted puberty and growth rate and your ‘odd’ periods.

The only way to find out for sure is to go and be examined by a specialist gynaecologist, who can investigate.

Intersex people come in many shapes and sizes. Penises, however, do not grow inside the vagina, in any differentiation in sexual development. An enlarged or differently shaped clitoris – which you would be able to see clearly – would be a possible sign. It seems very unlikely that you have a penis growing inside your vagina!

Because you get your period, it may mean that your ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina are connected up and functional. You do, however, mention that your periods are ‘odd’, and puberty and your growth was stunted at an early age – all clues.

My advice is to – once the pandemic is over – make an appointment with your GP and ask for a referral to a specialist gynaecology clinic who can explain what is happening to you and run any tests required to help you navigate your body. It sounds like you have a fair bit going on that could use an expert’s opinion. Understanding your body sooner rather than later really matters, especially if you want to have children later in life.

Good luck and happy quarantine!

Aunt Vadge

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