…What The F@#k? »« Trans women…

…F@#king Trans Women…

If there’s one thing I absolutely, completely, unabashedly, openly do NOT miss about the heterosexual, cisgender world, and trying to live in it, it’s the approach to dating and, perhaps especially, sex.

The silence.

No talking. No communicating needs, desires or boundaries. No assumed acceptance of quirks and preferences. No assumed existence of variable boundaries to how far someone will or will not explore. Very little exploring at all, really. Just expectations. Just a script, that we’re all assumed to enjoy, be okay with, follow, and also somehow intuitively know by heart, even though no one ever bothered to talk about it or teach it to us. Just this overwhelming sense that you’re either doing it right, or doing it wrong, and if what you do or want to do or how you do things doesn’t quite fit into the vague, completely undefined script, there’s something wrong with you.

Just know what they want, and what you want, and it had better somehow miraculously conform to all those expectations, because if it turns out that vague, completely undefined script isn’t what you want, well… you ought be ashamed of yourself, little miss.

Of course not all heterosexual, cisgender couples’ sex lives play out like this. For many, I’m sure it gradually, by necessity, evolves away from the script and into actual, honest engagement with one another, negotiating desires, preferences, boundaries and needs. And all my experiences of “normal” sex were during those awkward, formative, silly, early years, where no one has any idea what they’re doing (but feel an intense social pressure to pretend they do) and everyone is still immature, and not fully aware of their own desires and needs.

But needless to say, being queer, of any stripe, by nature demands that one go off script. And when you go off script, suddenly you need to improvise. And that demands communicating with each other. By far the most noticeable difference between sleeping with women (when I was living as male) and sleeping with men (when I was living as male) was that in the latter case, there was suddenly the presence of talking. No more silence.

One of the difficulties, though, is how pervasive the script is, and that even when we’re off the reservation we often allow those assumptions, those few scraps of sexual information we were provided between the lines of our sex ed handouts, to continue defining the parameters of our sexualities, and limit our imaginations, regardless.

Consider, for instance, how many straight people assume that all sex between two men is anal sex. Consider how many young, inexperienced gay boys believe the same thing and let it scare the bejeesus out of them. Why on Earth would we assume something like that? Because the script says sex is penetrative. Penis + orifice.

We can read particularly extreme instances of our definitions and conceptualizations of sex being so limited all over the place. People who believe, for instance, that oral sex isn’t sex and therefore doesn’t “count” relative to whether or not they’re a virgin. People who believe, even, that pregnancy can be prevented by assuming non-missionary positions, as though deviating from the narrowly pre-defined sexual expectations in any way leaves you so far outside the bounds of what “sex is like” that it changes the nature of the biological act itself.

As I’ve talked a bit about before, how the script is structured interrelates with how we define gender and gender roles. I’ve been thinking and I still can’t come up with one good reason why being on top (spatially speaking) should be considered “masculine” and being on bottom considered “feminine”. So deep does the assumed archetypal “right” way of fucking ingrain itself in our consciousness that every detail of the model (a woman on her back, legs spread, man on top of her, pelvis between her legs, penis-in-vagina intercourse) entrenches itself into our very definitions of those concepts. Like what is and is not feminine, womanly, or conversely masculine, manly. It’s almost as silly as gendering how you go pee (which we also do, hilariously).

This becomes all kinds of trouble for trans people, particularly those who haven’t been trans for very long. Those assumptions, relative to sexuality, assumed preferences, assumed nature of what sex is, and how gender roles are encoded in sexual acts, all run deep enough to be a serious limitation to how much cis people are able to enjoy themselves. But at least, in their cases, even amongst the queerly cis, the anatomy and relationship between anatomy and desire is all on-model, on-script, on-the-reservation (exceptions being made, of course, for people with various kinds of disabilities, differently sized bodies, intersexed bodies, certain psychological needs, etc., for whom much of what I’m going to say here about negotiating the relationship between anatomy and desire, and negotiating the needs and functions of an extraordinary body, likely also applies.)

The simple, factual truth of it, which is probably going to sound as foreign to most cis readers as the idea that gay people have sex in non-anal ways sounds foreign to particularly sheltered straight people, is that transsexual bodies, and transsexual genitals, pre-operative much more so than post-operative, do not function the same way cisgender versions of the same genital configurations do. A trans woman’s penis, for instance, does not function, respond, feel, react or even quite look the same as a cis man’s penis does (or a trans man’s penis, for that matter). They just aren’t the same thing. Sorry.

Now, there’s a very very good chance that this is where ingrained assumptions about how sexuality, and sexual anatomy, works, and the cisnormative manner in which sexuality is taught to us (to the miniscule degree that it is ever taught at all), will lead to a knee-jerk response of “That’s just psychological! It’s all in your head!”. But no. Sexual hormones have an ENORMOUS impact on sexual function, and the straight up physiological functioning of trans people’s genitals and bodies is not the same as cis people of their assigned sex. We respond differently to different kinds of sensations, different kinds of touch. Our orgasms are very different. Trans women, including pre-op, non-op and post-op trans women, are often multi-orgasmic. There are things that will get a non/pre-op trans woman off (and that will very, very much be enjoyed) that would probably just freak out, or even be painful, to a cis man, and likewise there are things that get off cis men that will just be triggering or creepy or feel wrong or be anxiety-attack-inducing or just flat out boring to a trans woman. A post-op trans woman’s genitals will respond a lot more like a cis woman’s genitals than a trans woman’s penis responds like a cis man’s, but there’s still differences to take into consideration.

And of course, there are parts of the body that aren’t genitals at all. And one of the direct, most immediate effects of estradiol (and progesterone) is intensifying the erogenous potential of the rest of the body. Breasts and nipples, which for a trans women even just a few months into HRT, are exactly the same thing as a cis woman’s (even if, on average, a bit smaller), are only one of the most obvious parts of the body that have sexual potential. But every square inch of an endocrinologically female body can be stimulated during sex, and be part of that experience. Foreplay is a good thing, and there’s no reason to stop just because “proper” fucking has commenced. Male (or testosterone-driven) sexual desires and sensations are often condensed into that one singular point of the body, but that is not any more the case for trans women than it is for cis women.

These differences in physiological responsiveness that stem from having our bodies full of happy, magic girly hormones are, of course, intensified by the brain our bodies are attached to. Our desires, naturally, are different. For a long, long time I allowed myself to believe in the bunk, pseudo-scientific theory of “autogynephilia”, and I hurt and shamed myself as a result, as well as held back by transition (which is one of the reasons I have so much anger towards irresponsible, poorly-thought-out, cissexist theories of transgenderism and transsexuality. They cause real, actual harm), but it only took a very, very simple jump in how I framed my thinking on the matter in order to realize how incredibly stupid and biased that theory is. Of course a woman would desire, and fantasize about, having her breasts touched or her vagina stimulated. Of course. That’s just normal, basic, totally healthy female sexuality. Whether or not her anatomy happens to match her desires is a little bit beside the point (there are, for instance, undoubtedly cis women who’ve had mastectomies who still fantasize about having their breasts played with).

One of the saddest kinds of fucking in the world is where you know exactly what you want, and your body wants it to, and all the signals are being sent and screaming throughout your nervous system, but the configuration of your body just doesn’t match, and it just can’t happen. It’s also a good way to get injured. But ALL good sex, ALL efforts to best meet the desires and needs of everyone involved, requires work arounds. Negotiatons. Imagination. Communication.

None of this, of course, stops our partners, and often ourselves, from just going ahead and naively assuming everything will function as assumed anyway. I’m pretty sure the majority of androphilic trans women are familiar with That One Guy who once he gets your pants off just dives straight into you and starts (messily, aggressively) doing everything to you that he’s always wished someone would do to him, or that he’s coached from watching gay or “shemale” pornos. No, hold up big fella. I’m not a gay man. I’m not your daddy. Chill out. I’m a woman, and I would appreciate having my body treated as such.

Oh, but that bloody script. On some level, you’re still trying to play along to the unwritten, unspoken script. Still trying to do it right.

(to do it right, you kind of need to be totally abandon the notion that you can do it wrong)

(except for the consent thing, of course. Doing any kind of it without consent is VERY fucking wrong)

And I’m sure plenty of trans women, and possibly lots of trans women reading this, have done a lot of masturbating over the course of their lives without ever realizing they don’t have to do it the way cis guys do it, and that that silly little up-down on your shaft thing is not even REMOTELY the full extent of fun you’re able to have with a little bit of me-time at your disposal.

But we don’t know. No one ever tells us. There’s no manual. And it takes a special kind of person to explore a continent they never really had any idea was there. So I’d like us to start talking about it more. Talking about all the options, and beyond just the ones we know about, encouraging exploration.

For instance, there’s “muffing”. Muffing is using the inguinal canal (you know, the little diagonal canals to the sides of your testes that you use for tucking). You can sort of “penetrate” the inguinal canal with your finger and find a whole bunch of lovely sexually-charged, erogenous nerves to stimulate (pudendal, ilioinguinal, genitofemoral, inferior hypogastric plexus). It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s really, really quite lovely. It can also be done with a small, bullet vibrator which is, well… amazing.

There’s also your glans, the tip of your penis, which can be treated more or less exactly like one would treat a clitoris, and that involves a whole world of possibilities beyond just gripping the whole penis and stroking. Like that bullet vibrator I just mentioned. As well as perhaps one of those little Lelo ones (I like the “calypso” model). A vibrator can also be held against other nerves to stimulate them while you stimulate the glans. There’s your prostate, of course (which can be accessed in ways other than anally, as it happens) and your perineum, as just a couple examples.

And really, don’t forget about your breasts and nipples.

I kind of wish there was a manual. I’ve been thinking lately that some press should really, really, really put together an anthology of essays on trans women’s (or trans people’s) sexuality and sex, mostly with an eye towards basic pragmatism: just showing a range of options for what can be done, what’s out there. There is currently a very good zine, Fucking Trans Women, from which I took the title for this post, but not everyone has access to little indie DIY zines.

If any publishers are reading, I wouldn’t say no to editing such an anthology. Though I’m probably not the best girl for the job.

But any such book or zine, or even this blog post, can only scratch the surface of what’s possible. We’re all absolutely, completely individual, and we all are worlds unto ourselves, with entire unknown continents of pleasure waiting to be discovered. The most important thing is that we burn the script. Understand that our bodies and our desires are already well off the reservation, and that rather than representing confusion and being lost or exiled, this should represent to us all kinds of possibility. All it takes to build incredible intimacy, better sex than any sheltered, normative, privileged, Quaint (ain’t queer) is ever having, all it takes to flip the situation on its head and leave us immersed in an ocean of possibilities, is a little bit of imagination. A little bit of an adventurous spirit. And a little bit of talking, a bit of communication.

It’s a New World, sisters. Let’s go exploring!

 

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Thanks for this, Natalie.

    I just taught a workshop yesterday called, “Fuck Cripples”. I see, “Fucking Trans Women,” and I hear “How to”.

    I see, “Fuck Trans Women” and I hear not only “How To”, but also, “Please do.”

    It’s interesting how tiny a change in language is necessary to see things differently and to see different possibilities (or at least to see differing emphasis on the available possibilities)…

    …and that leads us right back to your post. My greatest hope is that the non-trans people who read this find it just as much an inspiration to analyze whether they are having the sex that is truly happy and healthy for them as any trans folk find this an inspiration.

  2. Robert B. says

    Do people really not talk about stuff when they’re having straight sex? Ugh. I mean, I know that’s not everyone, but it’s kinda weird that anyone goes into it just assuming that there’s only one way and that’s how they’re going to do it and there’s no need to check that they’ve got the same “one way.”

    And that bit about people thinking “gay sex = anal sex” is totally true. I actually had to explain to one of my friends the other day that no, I hadn’t ever done that, and no, that does not make me a virgin. *eyeroll*

    • Movius says

      Do people really not talk about stuff when they’re having straight sex?

      It’s true, they don’t… except when they do.

      I think these observations hold true more for how people talk about sex when not engaged in their robotic passionless heterosexual intercourse (they don’t, beyond bragging and/or allegations of sluttery ) than how they actually have sex. Which I don’t think anyone other than the individuals involved truly knows.

      However, the social pressures about how sex should be are immense and it would be foolish to assume that this didn’t have some effect.

      • karmakin says

        My personal experience/theory is that large swatches of male culture simply don’t enjoy sex. They like the orgasms, they like the bravado, and they like the glory. But they don’t enjoy sex for its own sake.

        • Movius says

          a) Just male culture?

          b) What do you mean the by “large swatches of male culture”? If you mean many individual males do not actually enjoy sex that much, then you’re probably correct. Swatch might not by the right word though, which to me suggests one clearly defined demographic doesn’t like sex, rather than what i think (pure speculation on my part,) is the truth, x% of all guys just aren’t into sex that much, despite what they say outwardly.

          If you mean there are many male-dominated subcultures that are anti-sex. You’re also right, but for different reasons. Here I am thinking everything from religions to less obvious institutions. Many of these are anti-sex, while promoting a very “masculine” image. However, plenty of individuals within them still enjoy sex, just in secret. Thus the extremylu large market for pornography, prostitution, craigslist et al despite taboos.

    • Dalillama says

      In one of my early heterosexual relationships, my partner actively discouraged such discussion. That relationship didn’t last, but for largely unrelated reasons. The sex wasn’t terribly satisfying, though, I think for either of us. Subsequent relationships with people of a wide variety of genders has involved that type of discussion, though, so it’s not a universal of het sex. I think that there’s much more discussion in the kink community as well, relative to non-kink inclined straight people (and among LBGT members of the kink community, of course). Discussion and working out your own personal scripts for what works with your partner(s) of the moment make things a lot more enjoyable for everyone involved, though.

  3. says

    Thank you, for the first half, I’ve been looking for how to tell people “no really, trans women are not sexually like you seem to think, for one thing HRT is powerful” and you pointed out some useful stuff. Though, I’ve had a male-identified AFAB partner who was not on HRT but still had what I’d call, and apparently you’d call, male sexuality (this did not work out). Who knows–anyway this article was very helpful and told me I might not be doing it wrong.

  4. says

    When I was dating my ex boyfriend, he often would manually stimulate me. It felt good, of course, but at the same time it felt… almost demeaning. I wanted him to explore, to find things and find places that I didn’t know about. He once did one time (and damned if I can remember where) and it felt so good that I almost kicked him in the teeth from the pulse up my spine.

    Even without HRT, I can see how parts of me may respond differently, and when I choose to do it, exploring my body is not only stimulating, but at the same time exciting. Learning where it feels good to touch me is excellent – and I may have to try out one of those vibrators in the future o.o

  5. Amber says

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    I’m a pre-op trans woman (one of the few times it’s actually helpful to make that clarification) and I’ve always had trouble in this field.

    It’s been complicated that, for whatever issue, the equipment I was born with has never actually functioned (even well before HRT), to the extent that I was honestly surprised to learn how those things actually behaved (should behave?) when I was with a (cis) guy for the first time. Even other trans women I know either report that they were able to have sex using that equipment pre-HRT, or that things worked and that increased their physical dysphoria, so weirdly this actually made me feel a whole extra level of ‘defective’.

    But you’re right. The wiring seems to be different. The things I have learnt that do work for me now are things like a certain kind of stimulation of the perenium, and a kind of ‘squishing’ motion that’s a bit difficult to describe. As far as I can tell, it seems to trick the brain into believing that the current configuration is more akin to that fits in my head. Seems almost bizarre that it actually works that way, but that’s my own experience.

    Definitely something that’s worth talking about, even if people like me will go anonymous to do so (Amber isn’t even my name).

  6. Happiestsadist says

    Communication and going off-script is the best thing ever, sexually. I’m glad I’m queer, where it’s more or less mandatory. Having chronic pelvic pain issues also forces the communication, which is about the only good thing that can be said about it.

    I didn’t know muffing was a thing, but wow, that sounds both fascinating and amazing.

  7. says

    This is only semi-related, but it is a discovery I’m proud enough of to want to share.
    [For context- I'm the F half of a regular hetero couple.]
    Anyway, I found out that if I get my partner excited enough by stimulating different parts of his body by touching, stroking, licking, biting and groping- I can shove his right arm up tight against his body and ‘eat out’ his armpit. It causes an extreme reaction, almost like a woman would react to having someone go down on her really well.
    It’s an odd trick I discovered purely by chance, and I’m not even sure it would work with anyone else. It also might just be a matter of technique, because I’ve brought men very very close to orgasm while not touching anything but their necks with my mouth. [Working the nerves that run from about an inch under the ear to the shoulder.]

    As for the ‘top’ being masculine, the answer is simple. The most primitive mystical representations of the sexes relate to it.
    Female- cup, cauldron, cave.
    Male- sword, staff, wand.
    Whoever is doing the penetrating at any given moment; is preforming the ‘male’ end of the act.

    • says

      And I hold that these primitive, “mystical” sexual dichotomies and binaries have absolutely no binding truth to them whatsoever, and only exist in so far as we’ve created them. Sorry, but cissexist, heteronormative, vaguely patriarchal gender binaries are not an intrinsic aspect of our universe.

      • Happiestsadist says

        Truth.

        Also, wouldn’t it be just as easy to say that whoever is enveloping someone’s body parts is clearly the dominant one, if we’re going with externally applying a hierarchy based on our own preconceptions onto what others are doing? The almonds I am currently snacking on are neither masculine or dominating me my going into my mouth.

    • Rasmus says

      Yeah, I think it’s extremely individual. That’s based on what men write on anonymous forums where things like this are discussed more honestly and more frankly than they usually are in real life. (I think that straight man to straight man sex talk in real life is more about bonding than about actually exchanging experiences, so it ends up emphasizing similarities and playing down differences.)

      I also wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there are some cis women who (for example) are only turned on by clitoral stimulation and nothing other than clitoral stimulation.

      Not saying there aren’t differences on average between straigh cis men and straight cis women thought! It seems pretty obvious that there are. I’d be shocked if there weren’t. :)

      • TBS says

        Thought I might chime in on behalf of straight cis men.

        I am by culture and upbringing not disposed to sex talk. I recently realized this does not serve well my partner.

        I agree with you entire, that sex talk among straight cis men is mutual conformation of an ideation. I mean serious, us guys are supposed to be awesome at sex, correct?

        Would ask how to replace this? I am open.to suggestions.

        • Rasmus says

          I used to love lurking in anonymous forums where people talk about sex. It’s extremely eye-opening (to anyone who doesn’t already have a degree in sexology, or something). Just ignore the obvious fake threads that read like sex novels.

          I’m not sure where people talk about sex anonymously now, Reddit maybe? Somewhere else?

          And I’m not sure if the part about wanting to agree with one another in real life needs to be fixed. Real life is not a debate forum and it’s nice to bond, even at the expense of not always telling the whole truth.

          Also, the thing is that straight guys rule the universe. The list of things that we can do and talk about openly has grown a lot over the years. As soon as people get wind of the idea that a previously taboo sex act for straight guys (say being pegged by your girlfriend, or experimenting with other guys) is no longer considered totally taboo, it’s as if God has issued a new commandment. There are songs made about it. It gets into movies and TV series. And after a while it becomes okay to talk about it.

  8. TBS says

    Good post. I likely have been serving R not well by focusing too much on penetration. She often has urinary tract infections and they usually preclude bed fun. I am going to rethink this, serious.

    TBS

    • Tigger_the_Wing says

      I used to have a lot of ‘urinary tract infections’ too; until I discovered that they weren’t infections at all but were actually my bladder being irritated by the metabolic by-products of the medications I was taking (mostly, the NSAIDs for arthritis). Since I started washing down my meds, morning and evening, with a glass of cranberry drink, I haven’t had a single episode. Not one. I wish I hadn’t thought it was ‘woo’ about cranberry, as I did for years; it would have saved me a lot of misery. It has to be worth a try. Honestly, it does stop tasting quite so horrible eventually!

    • Ysanne says

      Also, UTI after intense sex is pretty common thanks to bacteria getting rubbed into the woman’s urethra, plus the urethral lining being irritated by friction, making it easier for bacteria to get a hold.
      I’m sure you already know the age-old advice of peeing right after sex (as a kind of rinse), but you may want to try to combine that with the cranberry idea (the active ingredient supposedly makes it hard for the bacteria to stick to tissue). Cranberry juice also comes dried in pills, which might help against the yuck factor.
      Helps my mum at least, who had this problem for ages.

  9. sanjaraejour says

    Nice article! This really is a topic that isn’t talked about nearly enough, so I think I’ll add in my own experiences as well, as my part to get more coverage on it.

    When I first heard about autogynophilia all I could think about was how it sounded like a fancy title for female masturbation. I mean, why wouldn’t someone want to like their body, feel pleasure, and at times induce it themselves?

    I’ve actually always masturbated in the same way, and it wasn’t the “traditional” air pump/dolphin flogging/five-finger-shuffle I’ve been led to believe most penis holders do. Instead it’s pretty much like how my AFAB spouse does it, but laying on my stomach and using a clenched fist to rub on the bottom side of the pelvic bone (and sometimes just above, as that’s able to get stuff at a different angle). I’d just have my meat-cicle tucked out of the way between my legs, sometimes using my thighs to put pressure (but no real movement) on it.

    Of course, now that I have breasts I love to play with them too, especially in the shower when they’re wet and easier to slide my hand across, sometimes having the shower water take the place of my fist (gotta have one that’s a bath as well, so that there’s enough room to lie down for it). I’ve never cared if it was the “correct” way to masturbate, I just did what felt good since that’s the point of doing it in the first place.

    Perhaps my spouse and I were weird for a cis-sexual, heterosexual couple (which is what we thought we were at the time). We always talked with each other on how we wanted to approach it, and explored different things to try and places to touch. Course, part of that could have been due to me not being able to figure out what worked best on me, even though I could easily give my spouse multiple orgasms in different ways. After 5 years of marriage I finally realised I’m a transwoman, and the humping we did then without stimulating my trouser snake ended up being far more pleasurable than anything prior (part of how I was able to accept how much I don’t like the dangly bit).

    I’m also glad to hear that other transwomen notice difference with their crotch physiology; not because I want people to have problems with their body, but because it means I’m not so incredibly bizarre and that people are talking about it. I don’t actually get much pleasure from down there. I can easily use a luffa or other body scrub pad on the fire-hose like I do anywhere else without any discomfort, and my testes can withstand grape-popping pressure without any pain. Seriously, my boyfriend even tested that out (pun not intended), and it was also only by talking and exploring sex with him that I was able to know just how different my equipment was from other guys (I grew up thinking that nut-shots were always highly exaggerated in media).

    But, as with anything, this is only my own experiences, and things may or may not apply to anyone else.

    (Shoot, it was supposed to be a short reply, not a long essay. Oh well.)

    • "Clarine" says

      sanjaraejour,

      It is interesting that you noted that you perceived the ‘nut-shot trope’ to be highly exaggerrated. Many times during my term in public education, this or that (apparent) straight cis male would exclaim throughout an entire day that they were in pain from such an event that occurred in the early morning. I had assumed it was mostly a ploy for the sort of attention straight cis males crave, but reading your comment just now makes me rethink that assumption. I also remember now how so many cis males would gape in wonder at my standard seated sitting position (a very tight cross-legged position which I found very comfortable and utterly natural), and being very confused when they commented that they could never do that. One even derisively remarking that such proved I was really a girl, and while I snarked back on the outside, I secretly took an odd note of pleasure from the comparison, in spite of its awful implicatons. It would take several years for me to cme to terms with just why that was…

      At any rate, thank you, sanjaraejour, for helping me realize that my confusion was not so unfounded as I thought, and you, Natalie Reed, for posting your insights and setting up the space for this exchange to take place.

      -”Clarine”

      • SG says

        Oh my god, are you some sort of future me? I often sit in a tight crossed leg position too, getting accidentally hit in the balls has never caused me any long-lasting sort of pain, and I’m probably a trans women.

      • TBS says

        As a straight cis male, I wonder what attention I might crave?

        And can you provide this? I was a bit worried my life was not complete.

        Clarine, I don’t really care how you sit, but seat me in your pigeon hole at your peril.

        Given the stated difference in gender, I will add, no never real peril, I may make snarky comments, but you are safe in your self and person.

        • Dalillama says

          Hell, I’m a cis man and I sit like that all the time. OTOH, the times I’ve taken a hit to my balls, it has been enormously painful, and in one case did indeed leave me with difficulty standing up straight for several hours.

      • "Clarine" says

        SG:

        For the roughly two years before I discovered this blog’s “Essential Reeding” and ruminated on its implications for my own experiences, I similarly couched my transgender feelings in terms of sub-certainty probabilities. So in that vein, so far, so good!

        By the way, if you are the same person talking about the three-months-from-now thing, I was skimming over the WPATH SoC (which I believe my endocrinologist said was being used at their practice), 7th Edition, and I didn’t see any references to a three-month waiting period, but did see at least one reference to the idea of bypassing *psychotherapy* entirely. Comparing it quickly to the 6th Edition, it seems that the three-month limitation was listed in the WPATH SoC until just a little more than half a year ago. However, I was just skimming that single document, so I probably don’t have a clue here how things actually work now and where you live, or which documents currently hold authoritative sway.

        Hmm, actually, it seems my endocrinologist still has outdated excerpts from those old standards on his site (despite the fact that their practice didn’t really seem to care about the particular limitation described above being filled to the letter). I should call/write in and ask about that, I guess.

        TBS:

        Your point is valid, and I was careless in my writing. Even if “straightness” refers to heterosexual attraction, it does not necessarily follow that a straight person would enjoy the fawning attention of those people whom said person finds attractive. And in so being removed from both the cisgender and sexual worlds, I had assumed (wrongly) that romantic and/or sexual attraction for a group of people entailed a craving for their attention.

        As to whether I could provide that attention? Presumably, the cis women in my memory had never understood first-hand the pain from a sharp blow to cis masculine external genitalia, but were trying their best to sympathize nonetheless. I too never experienced the former, so I suppose that so long as I gave the latter my best shot, I could give you the attention, should you crave it ;-)

        Xanthe:

        Yes, like in the linked pose, but without the second crossover at the foot. That addition is not so natural, but I’ve found myself doing that as well while sitting in at least a few occasions anyway. I think I usually did it when seated for extended lengths of time and needed to shift my position or whatever while my hands were occupied.

        Best wishes,
        “Clarine”

        • SG says

          Clarine:

          Yes, I am the same one who will be start HRT in 3 months. However, the delay does not actually have to do with the WPATH SoC. I have a wonderful gender therapist who has told me that she will write me a paper for hormones as soon as I think I am ready. This would be now, and I am itching to start them, except for two facts. 1) I need to bank sperm for the possibility of having children by IVF in the future, and 2) I will not be able to come out to all of my immediate family until the end of the summer.

          However, once August 28th comes around, no force on earth will stop me from starting HRT. Also, I am now so sure that I’m trans that once I start, the odds are good I will never stop. I can barely wait to be female.

  10. McKenzie says

    I know you didn’t mean it, but the explanation of sexual hormones having an effect on trans people’s sexualities as a whole made me feel invalidated as a trans girl, since I haven’t started hormones yet, and I also feel like it erases those trans women who are never under the influence of those hormones, y’know?

    • says

      Um… hormones DO have effects. That doesn’t erase you, nor does it mean that your sexuality isn’t different than cis men anyway. But it is a fact of how trans sexualities, and hormones, work. Would you have had me just not talk about the way hormones effect sexual function, sensation and experience? Because that would sort of hamstring this whole post. I really don’t understand how you see noting it, or talking about it, is in any way silencing or erasing of trans women who haven’t yet started HRT or don’t intend to. There experiences are there’s, but that doesn’t mean I don’t ever get to talk about the experiences of trans women on HRT.

      • McKenzie says

        Yo, I’m sorry if I didn’t word it clearly enough but the surrounding uses of trans, transsexual and trans women don’t have qualifiers that you’re only specifically talking about those on HRT. Obviously simply talking about experiences of a specific group of trans people isn’t erasing those who aren’t trans, but just as you put a disclaimer in some of your other posts that they could potentially apply to trans men but you’re not one so you can’t speak for them and you don’t mean to add to the erasure, it would have been nice to see one here.

        • McKenzie says

          “Obviously simply talking about experiences of a specific group of trans people isn’t erasing those who aren’t trans”
          should read “Obviously simply talking about experiences of a specific group of trans people isn’t erasing those who don’t belong to that group”

      • Lena says

        I think Kendall means how you when you use trans women in the bit about sexual hormones you seem to mean “trans women on HRT”, which sorta carries the unfortunate implication with it that trans women who aren’t on HRT don’t count as trans women. (Which I’m sure you are not intending to imply, that’s just how it can come over.)

      • SG says

        I have a serious issue with this post as well, but mine is completely different.

        I’m not taking HRT for at least 3 months from now and you tell me there are this many awesome ways to masturbate while on it!?! Evilry!

  11. says

    Actually, a friend of mine in Toronto wrote a book about fucking while trans. I want it and if I ever get my hands on it I will be making sure everyone else can get it as well.

    • Alex says

      Was that the “Fucking trans women” one published as a pdf? I found it a pretty interesting read, and worth the 5 bucks.

  12. northstargirl says

    The effect of transition on my sexual feelings was something I wasn’t expecting, but it was surprising and amazing for me. Once I went on hormones it gradually went from being this mad drive to finish, to being something that was…indescribable, a glow that I wanted to lie there and enjoy and feel beautiful in. (It changed again after surgery, though I’m not sure how much of the change in how I felt was actually physical and how much came from being happy with my body. Probably both.)

    I was raised in a puritanical mindset about sexual matters, so there’s some mental baggage I’ve had to deal with, and still do sometimes. But when I’m in the right frame of mind…wow. :)

  13. says

    My big post transition epiphany was “HOLY CRAP THOSE NIPPLE CLAMPS ARE INTENSE NOW!” I think I freaked out my partner. We’ve always had a pretty queer sexuality, though.

  14. Lucy says

    Thank you for writing this, especially for not being afraid of writing things that lots of people would have trouble talking about (the how-to parts, for instance). My body and I are not on the best of terms, but this is definitely a positive step and has made me realise that I don’t have to avoid all contact just because it doesn’t match who I am…I just need to find a way to see it in the right light, enjoy the bits that are OK and not always get negative feelings about the bad bits. A long way to go on that one I think, but thank you for the push in the right direction.

    You’re dead right about the het/cis think about “sex is this way, everyone (should) know it and that’s all there is to it”….makes it pretty hard for pre-anything unsure trans people who have to figure that out whilst not actually liking much of what they are “supposed” to do because it *really* doesn’t fit.

  15. Enezenn says

    Thanks for this really interesting post, Natalie. I read it yesterday evening and it got my lind working.

    As others have written already, I thinkt that the general rule that cis het couples talk less about sex should have an exception made for couples who are into kink, as kink is all about negotiation, communicating desires, compromises between the desires and needs of different partners.

    And your comment about ‘boobies to play with’ made me pause. As a ciswoman I’ve never really valued my boobs; actually they are not quite the favourite part of my body and too much erotic attention to them is NOT appreciated, lol. Mines aren’t very sensitive and when partners give too much attention to them I feel a bit…fetishized? Like they are in it for my boobs, not for ME. My ex had a hand of that and I hated it. Mmmz.
    Just to say I had never thought anyone could crave for having a pair of breasts, not only to look pretty but also as an erotic asset, so I got my privilege checked and my sexuality rethought at the same time. Thanks.

  16. AylaSophia says

    Interestingly this was posted the same day I encountered a bit of a debate on tumblr about whether a cis person having a sexual preference for trans* people was always fetishistic. Certainly it can be– all too often, perhaps– but reading this post makes me wonder. If a cis person says “I prefer trans* people because they often bring a different perspective on sex and sexuality to the table that I really appreciate,” is that fetishization? Since, as you said, trans* bodies and genitals don’t respond the same ways the cis versions do, and therefore trans* people tend to have a vested interest in finding alternatives to that worn-out bullshit mandated script, is it fetishistic for a cis person who also thinks the script is bullshit to prefer trans* partners?

    Sorry if this is off-topic or derailing, but like I said I read both discussions on the same day and this question has been knocking around my head.

  17. Debs says

    “Understand that our bodies and our desires are already well off the reservation . . . ”

    You know this is racist, right? You know that as a privileged white person, you have no business using the reservation as a metaphor, right? Especially as a tool to describe your sexual lust?

    Just in case you didn’t know, I am sending this link to the major 2 Spirit groups in Canada. Hopefully, they can help ween you off of your racism. If nothing else, they will know to associate your name with white racism and privilege.

    • says

      Um… it’s a turn of phrase with its roots in the language of the military and intelligence communities. “Off the reservation” refers to an agent who is no longer complying with orders or checking in with superiors. To the honest best of my knowledge, it has nothing to do with the history of colonialism in North America, or the treatment of first nations people, and certainly “the reservation” queer sexuality is metaphorically said to be off here is NOT a reservation in the sense of an area of land being legally under the governship of an indigenous community (except perhaps in a secondary layer of metaphor I didn’t know anything about). There’s more than one meaning of the word “reservation”. Flying off the handle, and accusing me of racism, before even talking to me about it or trying to broach the subject with me is not a cool way to respond. If there’s an issue here, I’m totally open to discussion, and am totally willing to listen to criticism and make an effort to avoid problematic language (if there is indeed any genuine connection between the intelligence usage of “off the reservation” and first nations history). But when you launch a full-on attack before even trying to discuss things, I’m not going to consider your motives very genuine. I’ve dealt with plenty of people who cloak indiscriminate hostility in the language of social justice, and I no longer trust people who seem to prioritize outright hostility above dialogue.

      Describing queer sexuality as “sexual lust” and implying it’s somehow a shameful thing that taints anything referenced in relation to it is itself problematic, incidentally.

      If you’d like, I’m okay with researching the military/intelligence usage of this phrase to see if it has roots in reference to that particular kind of reservation. If that’s the case, I’m more than happy to apologize for using it, and avoiding its use in the future. I’ll probably avoid using it in the future anyway, simply for the sake of avoiding any misunderstanding or inadvertent harm.

      However, I’d ask you to be more respectful in broaching these subjects, especially with people who are clearly working towards the cause of social justice / equality. If someone’s a defensive, privilege-denying sleazeball in response, hostility totally makes sense, sure, but as a way of how you initiate a conversation, it’s not a cool way to treat people. I’m not going to tone-troll by saying you should be nicer about it because that will be “in your own best interests” and be “more productive”, but I am going to say I don’t like being treated with immediate hostility on the grounds that I don’t think it’s okay to treat people like that. At least not until they give you a good reason to. And I reserve my right to be pissed off when people do treat me in a shitty way.

      I’d also ask that you look a little into your own attitudes towards “sexual lust” and why you felt that queer sexuality was an “especially” disrespectful subject to metaphorically attach to something meaningful to you.

      • Debs says

        Sorry, as a white woman you don’t get to dictate the tone or manner in which people of color object to your racism. Neither does your ignorance of the phrase “off the reservation” give you a pass on your racism.

        Stop throwing around your white skin privilege and stop using the genocide of native peoples to spice up the writing in your blog.

        • says

          -sigh-

          I’m not saying you don’t get to be aggressive in how you address racism. I’m saying you don’t get to be aggressive with me, here, right now, before there’s even been a CHANCE for discussion. The race aspect has fuck-all to do with why I’m not cool with your hostility.

          Power dynamics don’t give you carte blanche to treat people poorly.

          And “use racism to spice up your writing” makes it again pretty clear where you’re priorities lie, and they’re NOT with addressing racism here. You don’t get to call me out on ignorance and then demonstrate willful ignorance of my sincere attempts to respond.

          I said I’d look into it, apologize if there’s a connection there, and would stop using it anyway, whether or not there’s a connection.

          That’s what I’m offering here, given my interest in being open to these issues and addressing them. I don’t really know what more you expect.

          But you’re still being shitty, and I still get to dislike you. It’s not about tone in how you handle oppression or discrimination, it’s about me maintaining civility on my blog, and people not treating each other like shit. Period.

          I’m not going to play “I would’ve listened to you if you’d been nicer about it!”. I’m listening to your point anyway, and offering to make an effort to handle this better in the future anyway, despite how awful you’re being about it.

          You can accept my openness to the issue, or not. Whatever. I’ve done my part, and have even opted to educate myself on the matter since you’re obvs not interested in discussion. But you don’t get to keep being needlessly hostile HERE.

          This isn’t an approach or level of hostility I’d consider acceptable if it were a trans person or trans ally calling someone out on comparable cissexism. It’s not a level of hostility I’d even consider acceptable from myself when attempting to address my own oppression in a comparable context.

          Sometimes aggression and hostility is justified. Sometimes it’s not. I don’t get to be the final judge of that, but others will make their judgments. And I trust them.

          Here on this blog, though, I am the final judge of what level of hostility is and is not permitted in the discourse. These comments are here for the sake of DISCUSSION. Again, I’m not going to tone-troll by pretending this is for YOUR sake, nor am I going to act like I get to dictate how you handle your own oppression. But I DO get to dictate the overall tone of this particular community, and in fact have a responsibility to do so. It’s not for your sake. It’s for the sake of what I want this space to be.

        • says

          From what I can tell from Wiktionary and its talk page, the phrase “off the reservation” does indeed have a problematic history. This is good to know and to avoid in future.

          You, on the other hand, crossed a line that’s far more than acting hostile: you also said “by the way, I’m shaming you publicly elsewhere” right off the bat. That’s not an anti-racist action; that is violence disguised as one.

          The reason this is so obvious is that you didn’t just say “fix your behavior” by whatever tone you choose: you didn’t giving Natalie a chance to change anything. You’re deliberately trying to get those groups you targeted to hate or mistrust her, even though they may now or in future have reason to ally with her.

          It’s also clear enough because of your venomous, demeaning language implying the context of sexuality somehow making the problem worse. Back the fuck off with that–nobody needs that shit.

    • says

      Do you understand that privilege doesn’t necessarily imply substantial racism, sexism, et cetera? Was throwing out the racism accusation immediately the best way to get your claim addressed?

      For what it’s worth, I think ‘reservation’ certainly could have negative implications along racial lines. The context of the writing, though, suggested its use in a geographic/spatial/boundary sense. This means it can easily be replaced. Asking for a modification is reasonable.

      It’s the jumping on one citation as clear evidence of racism — where there is next to nothing else to bring to the table — that is going to distract your audience from the message. People still deserve some modest presumption of good will until proven otherwise.

      • says

        Ze’s getting hir claim addressed anyway.

        But really, I don’t want to say Debs should have been nicer because that would have better “gotten the message across”, because that IS tone-trolling. Debs can make hir own decisions about how to get hir message across.

        So I’d rather stick to just saying that being really presumptuously horrible and hostile in how you treat other people is not okay simply because being really presumptuously horrible and hostile in how you treat other people is not okay.

        And stick to asserting the basic comment policy I have in place for this blog.

    • kittyjenkins says

      Wow Debs, gotta say you are way to sensitive. You must be a privileged white person because the only people who get that upset over supposed slurs like this are privileged whites who feel guilty about their color and success and thereby over defend people who really don’t what their help anyway, at least that’s how you come off, I may be wrong.

      • says

        I agree that Debs reaction was all kinds of nasty and aggressive and not cool, but I really don’t think this kind of comment is at all helpful or appropriate. She explicitly self-identified as a person of colour, and it’s pretty fucked-up to whitewash her just because you dislike her response. Also, “you’re being too sensitive” is virtually NEVER an appropriate response to a call-out, even the worst kinds of call-outs.

  18. Alex Anonymus says

    A friend recently shared this blog with me. I find your openness about sexuality refreshing and helpful, even for those who are not trans female..like me.

    Are there any blogs or articles you might recommend for a nOObie trans male like me?

  19. Jen says

    Hey Natalie,

    my penis still works like a cismale’s after 5 months HRT, I get the same feelings, pulsing, etc. It’s just that nothing comes out, and it’s harder to get an erection and easier to lose it. (Plus yeah, my breasts have become so much more sensitive, it’s awesome, but I can’t orgasm from just touching them, I have to be in a very “male minded” mindset to orgasm [i.e. what I was used to for 7ish years of my life])
    And yeah, anal stimulation seems to do nothing but fucking hurt, I can’t enjoy it at all.

    Is that all normal?

    • says

      There really isn’t much meaning to “normal” when speaking of trans bodies and sexuality. We’re already pretty far from “normal” anyway, and each of us is different. We all have different kinds of gender identities, different kinds of dysphorias, different backgrounds, different ways of expressing ourselves, different things that do and don’t feel right. And we all have different bodies, too. Different ways that our bodies respond to hormones and stuff.

      There is no “normal”, and there is no “right” way to transition or to be trans. What there is is you, your body, your identity, your needs, your desires, your comfort levels, and your happiness. That’s what counts. So whatever ways you find to negotiate the relationships between all those things, they’re all okay and fine and “normal”. As long as you’re finding ways to feel good about your body, and enjoy it, and find pleasure through it, that’s a good thing, and there’s no reason to feel ashamed about it or compare it to other trans women’s experiences or try to figure out whether or not you’re doing it “right” or “normal”.

      So just explore. Figure out what does and doesn’t feel good. Keep an open mind. If something feels icky or uncomfortable or wrong, you don’t need to pursue it. And if something feels pleasurable and nice and interesting, then go ahead and explore it. I think it’s important that we be willing to try new things out, and explore our new bodies, and find new ways of feeling good about them, but there’s no way of going about that that’s in any way wrong.

      All the best!

  20. corg says

    First of all, I am writing from Ireland, which has its own peculiarities with regard to GLBT scene.
    My experience of male homosexual scene over here is that people in that particular bracket are not very interested in exploring beyond the briefly stated needs/fetishes either. Once the need/fetish has been stated, then a sort of flowchart elimination process takes place along the very basic lines of top/bottom, as well as a very familiar number of fetishes.
    My overall gay male sex experience in Ireland: it tends to be very mechanical, inflexible of the needs of the other, guys are very rarely willing to go beyond what they normally are used to doing. Conservative, unimaginative, I would go as far as to say unerotic.

  21. PSQTF says

    “every square inch of an endocrinologically female body can be stimulated during sex, and be part of that experience. Foreplay is a good thing, and there’s no reason to stop just because “proper” fucking has commenced. Male (or testosterone-driven) sexual desires and sensations are often condensed into that one singular point of the body, but that is not any more the case for trans women than it is for cis women.”

    Erm, I dunno. I’m not denying (hey, you know from experience!) that estrogen *does* have the effects you describe, and would probably increase your enjoyment of such things (maybe even greatly so)…but I still think it’s a bit too broad of a generalization. (If we’re just talking about *liking* and *participating* in this stuff, that is – I’m not denying that estrogen might make this experience more intense). I mean, I’m a cisman and I love, love, LOVE nipple play, rough kissing on the neck (yes I mean being on the receving end), etc…I actually find it even MORE enjoyable than genital-centered stimulation. Far more enjoyable in fact, but alas – that’s probably partly because I’m a bit insensitive down there. :( Don’t know if me being circumcised has anything to do with that…

    I always thought a lot of guys weren’t into this because it went against that “script” you describe (or it seemed “gay” to them or something, which is sort of interesting because I myself first “discovered” I really liked this stuff while making out with a dude, and in my experience androphilic men tend to have fewer hangups about it). But this might just be my experience.

  22. Forth says

    So glad I found this. I’m just under six weeks from surgery myself and faced with the prospect of reacquainting myself with part of my body more or less from scratch. I’m looking forward to that in a lot of ways but it’s a daunting thing.

  23. 3basethriller says

    Wow great article Natalie. I totally agree with your assessment of the heterosexual norm and while I consider myself heterosexual despite my involvement with trans women I also recognize the issues we heteros refuse to admit to or face. I’ve followed your writings for some time, and i can honestly say that I see eye to eye with your views 99 percent of the time. The only thing I completely disagree with is your ideals on disclosure. I for one think its a trans woman’s responsibility to reveal who she structurally is or was. I may love being with trans women, but I can understand men who don’t wish to be in that situation. All in all you’re an awesome writer, keep it real.i

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