Main Umbrella: Body Sex

Male is an adjective describing an individual with a specific set of physical and organic chemical characteristics. These are usually separated into primary and secondary sex characteristics; the former categorizing traits that are directly involved with sexual reproduction, whilst the latter does not.[1]

The primary characteristics of male humans include:

  • A high level of testosterone, produced mostly by a pair of testicles,[2]
  • A scrotum, which holds and protects the testicles,
  • A pair of testicles, which produce sperm and releases it via the epididymis and urethra,
  • A penis, which contains the urethra to transport sperm and urine,
  • A foreskin, though this is sometimes removed at birth by circumcision,
  • A prostate gland, which surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra, and produces a fluid that helps carry sperm.

The secondary characteristics of male humans include:

  • A low pitched voice, due to an increased production of testosterone,[3]
  • An angled face, due to an increased production of testosterone,
  • A muscular body shape, which is caused by their metabolism's higher rate of burning calories,
  • Hair growth on the face,
  • A large volume in the ventral temporal and occipital regions of the brain.[4]

Male individuals are also simply defined as individuals that are typically able to produce sperm.[5]

Male individuals are typically designated their sex during conception by the presence of XY chromosomes.[6] However, chromosomal arrangement, hormone level, and varying gene expression patterns can influence the development of various sex traits, meaning not every male has the exact same characteristics.[7] In some cases, these differences can result in an infant with intersex traits. Of these infants, some may initially appear as male until later discovery of the intersex traits. Individuals that appear male at birth are assigned male at birth (AMAB) via their birth certificates.

Male vs Man

A male individual is often considered synonymous or closely associated with a man gender identity, however this is not inclusive of those who are transgender. It also tends to be degrading to call a man a male as it dehumanizes an individual, referring to them via their bodily anatomy and functions, rather than their human identity or personality.[8][9]

Wolffian is a more inclusive term that relates to the male sex. The term was created to categorize individuals whose fetal development favored the wolffian ducts, which includes non-reproducing males such as children, elderly, infertile individuals, some altersex individuals, and some intersex individuals.[10]

Transsexual Males

Some transsexual individuals may wish to transition to that of the male sex. Whilst many sexual characteristics can be adjusted or modified to that of the male sex, sex-reassigned males do not have the ability to produce sperm as testicular prosthesis are typically made of silicone.[11][12] Donations of testicles are rarely performed due to the ethical complications of the transplant recipient being given the sperm of the donor, and potentially fathering a child with their genetics/DNA. As of 2019, only three testicle transplants have been performed.[13]

As a result, some consider transsex male individuals that are completely and wholly biologically male to be impossible according to the basic definition of male that requires the individual to be able to produce sperm.[14] These claims are not applicable to transgender men due to the difference between sex and gender, or male individuals and men. It is also considered illogical to presume that transsexual male individuals cannot be male, when many individuals born with male characteristics may not be able to produce sperm either, or lack certain male characteristics. Thus, if one were to claim that transsexual male individuals aren't male, they would have to declare that infertile male individuals are not male either, of which there is little evidence to denote that such an argument exists.

Related Terms

Label Relationship Description Difference
Female Similar An individual with a specific set of physical and organic chemical characteristics. Traditional male characteristics differ to traditional female characteristics.
Intersex Similar An individual whose sex cannot be traditionally categorized as either male or female. Intersex is often described as being between male and female.
Man Counterpart A binary gender associated with masculinity and a connection to boyhood or manhood. Man is the commonly assigned gender counterpart to male.

Flags and Symbols

The male flag was created by @queerflagswithbenton and published by Tumblr blog beyond-mogai-pride-flags on the 18th of September, 2020.[15] The most common male symbol originated from the Mars symbol, which was used to denote male parents in the context of botany.[16]


  1. "sex characteristic". American Psychological Association, Accessed on 2 Jul, 2023.
  2. "Overview of the Male Anatomy". Johns Hopkins Medicine, Accessed on 31 Oct, 2023.
  3. Wolchover, Natalie. "Men vs. Women: Our Key Physical Differences Explained". LiveScience, 23 Sep, 2011,
  4. "Sex differences in brain anatomy". National Institutes of Health, 28 Jul, 2020,,the%20ability%20to%20recognize%20faces..
  5. "male". Merriam-Webster,,having%20stamens%20but%20no%20pistils. Accessed on 31 Oct, 2023.
  6. "Your Baby's Development". KidsHealth, Accessed on 2 Jul, 2023.
  7. King, Dillon E. “The Inclusion of Sex and Gender Beyond the Binary in Toxicology.” Frontiers in toxicology vol. 4 929219. 22 Jul. 2022, doi:10.3389/ftox.2022.929219
  8. Tseng, Jennifer. "Sex, Gender, and Why the Differences Matter". AMA Journal of Ethics, Jul, 2008,
  9. Holly. "The Problem with Referring to Women as “Females”". Medium, 20 Feb, 2020,
  10. "Difference between Müllerian Duct and Wolffian Duct". BYJU's, Accessed on 31 Oct, 2023.
  11. Bodiwala, D et al. “Testicular prostheses: development and modern usage.” Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England vol. 89,4 (2007): 349-53. doi:10.1308/003588407X183463
  12. "RADICAL ORCHIDECTOMY". Brisbane Urology Clinic, Accessed on 31 Oct, 2023.
  13. Yetman, Daniel. "Is Testicle Donation and Transplantation Possible?". Healthline, 1 Feb, 2022,
  14. Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.. The Heritage Foundation, 9 Mar, 2018,
  15. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "Male Flag". Tumblr, 18 Sep, 2020,
  16. Melissa. "THE ORIGIN OF THE MALE AND FEMALE SYMBOLS". Today I Found Out, 8 May, 2015,