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Kemmer

Literature DictionaryHainish Encyclopedia
The Gethenians are unique in that they are androgynous. Their sexual cycle averages 26 to 28 days. For 21 or 22 days the individual is somer, sexually inactive, latent. On about the 18th day hormonal changes are initiated, and about the 22nd day the individual enters kemmer.

In this first phase of kemmer, secher, he is still androgynous, and will remain so if he is kept alone or with others not in kemmer. During the entire kemmer phase, the sexual impulse is extremely strong.

When the individual finds a partner also in kemmer, he enters the second stage, thorharmen, which last two to twenty hours. During this phase, the gender is decided, and the genitals grow or shrink accordingly. Normally individuals have no preposition for becoming either gender during kemmer; they do not know whether they will become a man or a woman, and they have no saying in the matter.

Finally he enters the final phase of kemmer, thokemmer, which lasts two to five days. During this, the sexual drive is at a peak. It ends fairly abruptly. The male returns to somer within a few hours, as does the woman if she was not impregnated. If she was impregnated, she remains in the female shape for an 8.4-month gestation period, followed by an 6- to 8-month lactation period. After this, she returns to somer and is again a perfect androgyne. (The Left Hand of Darkness, chapter 7)

 

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A Fisherman of th...A-Io
AO
Abbeney
Abbott, Hannah
Abyssinian Shrive...
Accidental Magic ...Accio
Acid Pops
Ackerley, Stewart
Aconite
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Adrahil #2
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Adunakhôr
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Advanced Transfig...Adventures of Mar...Adûnaic
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Aeglos (plant)
Aegnor
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Afterlithe
Afteryule
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Agat Alterra, Jakob
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Age of the Enemy
Aghan
Aging Potion
Aglarond
Aglon
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Aiglos (Aeglos)
Ailinel
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Ainulindalë (Mus...Ainulindalë (Tale)
Ainur
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Akallabêth
Akallabêth (tale)
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Albania
Albert Steinowitz
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Aldarion and Eren...Aldaron
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Amon Amarth
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Amon Gwareth
Amon Hen
Amon Lanc
Amon Lhaw
Amon Obel
Amon Rûdh
Amon Sûl
Amon Uilos
Amor vincit omnia
Ampolirus

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