Intercourse is what nature determines; sex means just how you were nurtured to act and think.

When Simone de Beauvoir’s landmark guide, “The Second Sex” landed on racks in 1949, intercourse distinctions had been demonstrably defined: people born male were men, and people born feminine were ladies. De Beauvoir’s book challenged this presumption, writing, “One is certainly not created, but alternatively becomes, a lady.” Into the introduction to her book, Beauvoir asked, “what exactly is a lady? ‘Tota mulier in utero’, claims one, ‘woman is just a womb.’ But in talking about particular...

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