Gender's Four Variations

Gender and sex are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same—in spite of what the dictionary might lead you to think. The key to understanding their difference is simple. Sex is a physical attribute; gender is a nonphysical attribute. You can usually tell someone’s sex by observing the shape of their body. Gender, on the other hand, reflects a person’s mental and spiritual demeanor, how they feel and relate to the world.

The behaviors that we identify as gender all manifest as a result of the way the brain processes information, which in turn is a function of genetic dominance. Therefore, to begin to accurately understand gender and ultimately its 16 variations, we need to learn how genetics affects brain dominance and how brain dominance affects gender.

The lateral division of the brain into two hemispheres, each with their own system of management, creates a system of specialization in which the two sides of the brain see and do different jobs for us. In spite of considerable redundancy in terms of the actions carried out by the two sides of the brain, the operating or management systems that orchestrate the brain’s various actions, are unique. They complement one other.

Being complementary, the two hemispheric operating systems exhibit unique behavioral characteristics, some of which we associate with gender. For example, most males are informed and guided by their left hemisphere, the one that is competitive, aggressive, and selfish. The right hemisphere, the one that informs and guides most females, is cooperative, passive, and serviceoriented.

This accurately reflects the way the hemispheres operate, but as a result of cultural inputs and genetics, how people use their brain differs greatly, so no doubt you know men and women who don’t fit this description. Some of the reasons for this are covered in other videos in this series, and other reasons are more fully explained in my book, How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future.

But of course, gender is more complicated than this. The two hemispheres and their gender characteristics, in addition to operating as separate units, as just described, can also function as a whole. As I mentioned in previous videos, there are two ways of doing this and it produces two more operating systems, and two more variations in gender, creating a total of four. Because genetic dominance determines our brain’s operating system, and gives us our default behaviors, it’s logical to conclude that genetic dominance ultimately determines our gender. I have a video, The Brain’s Four Operating Systems, that looks at how it is that we can inherit any one of four brain-operating systems; and another, The Sixteen Variations in Consciousness, that explains how those four systems can produce 16. For your convenience, I’ll recap them now.

There are three genetic structures that are capable of determining  the traits we inherit: complete dominance, incomplete dominance, and codominance. In terms of their effect on consciousness, these three types of dominance produce four brain operating systems, each producing its own variations in gender. I’ll explain.


When our brain operating system and its associated gender characteristics is a consequence of complete dominance, the dominance of one viewpoint over the other is complete. Notice that complete dominance is a dualistic genetic system since it has a dual outcome. In other words, it produces two distinct, broad types of behavior. In terms of gender behaviors, a dualistic system produces either masculine characteristics or feminine characteristics. Because it is dualistic, it polarizes the consciousness and the gender of the men and women who inherit it.

In contrast, the other two types of genetic dominance, incomplete dominance and codominance, produce one outcome each. Rather than separate the characteristics of gender into two parts, masculine and feminine, they combine them, thus producing holistic genders. Because incomplete dominance and codominance incorporate some of both masculine and feminine behaviors, these operating systems produce wide-ranging gender behaviors and result in the fluidity of gender that we observe in culture. 

role of genetic dominance.jpg

Genetic incomplete dominance creates a brain operating system and gender that can take a number of forms since it’s a hybrid system derived from the integration of right-hemispheric and left-hemispheric systems. As a hybrid system, incomplete dominance produces a fluid gender that creates a polysexual response to the world of sexuality. Genetic codominance, the other holistic system, creates an operating system that consists of a team of operating systems, and thus a team of genders working in harmony. Because the gender of each system is attracted to its complement—the masculine hemisphere causes us to seek out female bodies and the feminine hemisphere causes us to be attracted to male bodies—codominance creates bisexuals. 

genetic dominance brains operating system.jpg

The next video in this series on the nature of consciousness is Gender’s Sixteen Variations. In it we consider how the four brain-operating systems produce 16 variations in gender.