In English, the word sex has two meanings. One is about something you are (gender, male/female etc.) and the other is something you do, which I find difficult to describe in few words, but I am certain you understand what I'm aiming for.

I have seen options. Some people say genro for gender. Is it acceptable only for gramatical genders or for people as well? Seksumi clearly means to have sex.

What makes me confused are words like seksa, seksalloga and samseksema. They don't make sense to me since I thought sekso was a tranlsation of gender, and hence had to do with identity, not sexuality.

Which out of the two meanings I mentioned in the beginning does seks- have?

2 Answers 2


According to PIV (vortaro.net) - genro is for grammatical gender. Everything else is sekso, seksumi and so on. My thought is that people who use genro to talk about whether a person is male or female are carrying in prejudices or habits from their national language experiences.

What you are calling "two different meanings" are really just different aspects of a continuous patch of semantic territory. Sex has to do with male and female and how those things relate to reproduction. This is why we can classify a person by sex (male or female) or talk about sex acts, describe someone as sexually attractive, or homosexual.

This same semantic territory is covered by the Esperanto root seks-. You mentioned seksumi (and therefore seksumado), and the other words (*seksa, seksalloga, samseksema) are all valid words.

Note on seksa: without context, it's not clear what you were told it means. PIV defines it as either

  1. Relating to the sexes

    • seksaj karakteroj primaraj, sekundaraj
    • la seksa membroZ (peniso)
    • seksa amoZ .
  2. Relating to the joining of the sexes.

    • la seksaj bezonoj
    • la seksa vivo
    • seksa malsano.
  • Great, you answered the question about genro. But what about sekso? Maybe I was unclear in my question: I mainly wanted to know which out of the two English uses of "sex" the root seks- corresponds to. Nov 19, 2016 at 9:05
  • I thought about being more explicit, but looking at the definitions and example sentences in PIV, it seemed to me that the overlap with English is pretty clear. You'd already mentioned seksumi - so I didn't think I needed to clarify that. I'll add a second paragraph to my answer. Nov 19, 2016 at 11:33
  • 1
    The meaning of "sekso" in Esperanto is "gender", i.e. whether someone is male or female (or of non-binary gender). The meaning of "sex" as in "to have sex" is expressed with "seksumado" or "amoro". Even is "samseksema", the meaning of "seks/" is "gender: It means "inclined to the same gender" (the fact that it is sexually inclined rather than inclined in another way is left implicit). Dec 15, 2016 at 23:07
  • The use of "seksa" in the sense of "related to the act of sex" on the other hand is fairly common. I think that usage is not completely logical, as the noun "sekso" normally cannot have the meaning of a sex act. It probably entered Esperanto through the influence of other languages. Dec 15, 2016 at 23:11

I have heard people say that sex is biologically based on DNA and that gender is a choice. With that in mind, the root Seks refers to a biological classification of male or female. Your DNA can be tested to determine your seks.

Seksa = Sexual. For example, a sexual disease

Seksismo = Sexism (an ideology related to the sex of a person)

Seksumi = To have sex - See the root um for more details

Seksumilo = A tool related to having sex

Aliseksema = An inclination towards the other sex. This means being straight.

Ambaŭseksulo = Someone who has both sex organs.

Inseksa = Female sex

Samseksa = Same sex. This does NOT mean gay. Example, I only want to be friends with people of the same sex because otherwise my wife will be jealous.

Samseksema = Inclination towards the same sex. This means homosexual.

Samseksemulo = A gay person

Samseksemulino = A lesbian

Virseksa = Male sex

Virseksulo = Person of the male sex

Unuseksa = Unisex. Some species have only one sex. Humans have 2 sexes, which are male and female.

Seksmatura = Sexual maturity (able to bear offspring)

Seksorgano = Sex organ

For more info: http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/art/seks.html#seks.0o

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