I hear many people refer to their genitals using derogatory terms like junk. Where does this come from? We also use words that mean sex or sexual body parts as curse words like “Fuck” or calling someone a “Prick” and I could go on and on. When I moved to Seattle three and half years ago I heard the term “sex positivity” for the first time. I rarely heard the words sex and positive in a sentence together in the south. I was taken by this concept of creating such a thing as a positive outlook on sex. I always believed sex to be a positive thing personally, and I am not sure how I managed to keep a positive view of sex when I was constantly receiving negative messages about the subject growing up. Our culture and society usually paints sex as dirty, something to be ashamed of and something we should not talk openly about. I grew up in the Bible Belt. Ouch. If you aren’t from the Bible Belt and you think the messages you heard about sex were negative the ones in the Bible Belt were worse. We were taught more rules about sex or abstinence then lying or any other so called sin. Sex, the evil thing that was portrayed to be and still is in many places gave many kids such guilt and hang ups around sexuality that they continue to be ashamed of their bodies and desires as adults.
When Transgendered people date, there are several things to consider that most people never think of. When a transperson “passes” as the gender they know they are inside, they have a tough choice to make on how to their lives as who they are. They have to choose whether or not they want to be openly out in their daily life about being transgendered or not. Many transpeople choose to not be out due to society’s stigmas and judgments.
The dilemma is even more difficult when it comes to dating. If the transperson is Bi or is attracted to people of the opposite gender then they are considered straight in our binary gender world. For many this can feel good after years of feeling like an outsider. The dilemma and questions are when a transgendered person finds someone they like and are interested in dating when do they reveal that they are transgendered? Do they let the person get to know them some as a person before saying anything? Do they tell right away and risk that the person they are attracted to may choose to reject them immediately? Or, if they’re post–op do they never tell? There are pros and con’s for each question and every transperson has to come to this delicate decision on their own all the while being considerate for the other unknowing person at the same time. A delicate balance for sure.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of these three questions:
* Do they let the person get to know them some as a person before saying anything?
They can learn more about your character and who you really are.
Gives you chance to see if the relationship is worth the risk of revealing yourself
Gives a chance to learn more about the person’s possible bias and prejudice
You or the other person falls for the other, then they find out they cannot handle your history
They could become very angry and feel tricked if you wait to tell them — which could be dangerous
*Do they tell right away and risk that the person they are attracted to may choose to reject them immediately?
If they have bias of prejudice you will know right away
You don’t have to worry about being outed
Creates more open communication
Relationship starts out with honesty
Person may choose to bail and not give you a chance
Person may out you to others if you have common friends or work together
Person could feel this gives them the right to ask many very personal questions very early
*Or, if they’re post–op do they never tell?
You fit into society’s so-called “Norm”
You live your fantasy life
You have secrets –the relationship is never based on total honesty
You always have to worry about being outed.
If they somehow find out they feeling lied to.
Of course, I don’t think we should be judged based on the physical but based on who we are inside –our spirit, our character, our heart. However, our society creates a world that bases so much on the outward shell of a person and many times one never sees the true person at all. This is like judging a book by the cover and never reading any of the story and is a shame.
At the same time to try and see the other side — I have to admit that our society has brainwashed people into thinking that gender is all about the outer shell. It is a rare person who can escape the societal imperative to look at gender as all about outward appearances. Look at how much people spend on the making their outer shell look good. There is an amazing sense of importance we give to appearance, even though it reveals very little about a person’s true nature — their heart, spirit or character. I am by no means taking all of the responsibility off of the individual for judgmentalism, sexism or any other ism, however I do feel we have to look at how our society keep this monster of non-acceptance alive and thriving. We are part of our society so we have have to take responsibility for its prejudices and biases.
I choose to be totally out and upfront from the beginning. I am a very out activist and have chosen that path on my own free will. If someone has biases or prejudices regarding who I am, I want to know right away — which is one of the reasons I no longer live in the South. Sadly, there are transgendered people who live in areas where there is little education and acceptance. Their choices are tougher. The choice of when to tell can be swayed by demographics as well as other factors. Coming out to potential partners is a tough decision and it’s never an easy one. My hope is that one day our world will judge based on who a person really is or better yet not judge at all. As far as dating, one day maybe it will be about a person’s character, how much fun you have with them, compassion, kindness, and how they move through this world instead of how someone looks or what exactly is in or not in their pants. Here’s to that future.
Many try to hold as long as they can to avoid this entire scenario. Being someone who has now experienced both the women’s and men’s restrooms in our crazy world, I can tell you they like two different countries. In the women’s room, women talk! They make friends. They ask complete strangers to help them fix their bra strap, or solve any number of female issues. Women’s room are also sooooo much cleaner. That is the only thing I miss about the women’s room. In men’s rooms no one hardly makes eye contact or speaks. There is an occasional nod as men pass each other entering or exiting and that is it. It is not a social time as it many times is in the women’s room.
One big dilemma for FTM transgendered people is – what will people think if I always use a stall and sit to pee. Most FTM’s are very self-conscious about this. In some other countries many mothers teach boys to pee sitting so the don’t end up with drips on the toilet. There is nothing wrong with sitting and peeing! Own it or buy something to help you stand and pee.
There are now many products meant to help one pee standing. Check them out
It was recently brought up in a conversation with a friend that there really isn’t much information out there for partners dealing with certain aspects of transition. I have been coaching some trans guys and their partners on just this subject. One question I have been asked several times by partners, girlfriends or boyfriends of transgendered people is “How do I make love to my transgendered lover in a way that makes them comfortable and a way that makes them feel loved?”. First of all, if you are having sex with (or thinking of having sex with a transgendered person) one very important thing like the use of the correct pronoun will make that person feel more comfortable. How you refer to the person’s body parts is the same way. Most transgendered guys do not have bottom surgery because it is not that good and you could loose feeling. Therefor we are guys who technically still have a vagina but I,certainly, and most of us don’t want you to call it that and after being on testosterone for a while believe me it is not the same. Each individual is different in how they want you to address their genitals. So as with pronouns; when in any doubt- ask. This is one way to make your transgendered lover feel more comfortable and that you understand them. Some transgendered people are very uncomfortable with their bodies the way they are now, helping them feel that you see them the way they see themselves, and want the world to see them, will open them up to you and help them feel understood.
Sex does change on hormone therapy, even for partners that have been together a long time. For transmen your clitoris become much larger and much more sensitive. It also gets very hard and reacts very similar to a penis. The sex drive for transmen increases and for transwomen usually decreases. These are general things that can help, but when making love to anyone communication is the most important part of being a good lover! Don’t be afraid. Even if it makes your trangendered lover a little uncomfortable at first- TALK about it. Everyone wants a lover that cares enough to find out want they want and like and what drives them wild. Everyone wants a lover that is sensitive to how they receive love.
So– HOW do you bring this topic up in conversation? If a potential lover approached me I would want them to say something like “I want to make love to you in a way that makes you comfortable. How can I do that for you?” It is important to me that my partner tell me that they love my body and want to learn my language. Everyone has “trigger” words they don’t like. For example; some women (straight, gay, or trans) don’t like the word “cunt”. Other women are totally fine with it. It is all a matter of learning your lover. Some people try to have sex the same way with every partner. As if they run on auto-pilot. This is ridiculous, and won’t help anyone enjoy themselves. Taking time, and making an effort are the keys to creating the right environment to have amazing sex. Even though these intial conversations are uncomfortable to have at times; when a lover cares enough to ask these questions- at least for me- it means a great deal. Whoever you are making love to- make the effort to learn them. Ask the questions. Study your lover. Now get out there and make some GOOD lovin’!
I have been asked the question several times and seen this question posted on sights, “How do you love a Trans person”? This amazes me, arent we all individuals and different? But I will try and tackle it. We Trans people are like all other people, we want to be seen, heard, loved, felt, understood, adored, and we want someone who can get us and connect. You may think we are more complicated but actually we are all complicated. It takes someone caring enough to explore what makes you tick. Each person is different. Maybe a few things that we have in common best I can tell is that we want you to judge us for our spirit not just our physical bodies. We don’t want you to think you know who we are or judge us due to the body we were born in. We want you to get and respect our energy, our spirit and value that more then the exterior. We want you to understand that gender is not black and white and just let us be who we are and not try and put us in a box. We Don’t FIT! We want you to be willing and open to explore even though you don’t totally understand, because really we don’t totally understand, we are just being who we feel. Give us that FREEDOM! and we will give you the FREEDOM to be whomever you are. We can all be FREE, what an amazing concept. We are all forced by this confining society to be or present as things to please or fit into this convuluted world that are not really true to us. We all wear some mask and put them on to make it in this judgmental, conforming world in order to survive and have some simulation of success. You want to know how to love a Trans person… its really simple. I don’t really think its different from what ANYONE else wants. The FREEDOM to be who ever the fuck they are and be respected, seen, hear and loved in that. There is no easy way to fix this, there is no easy way to fly. These gender boxes are ingrained deep within our society and our training. We just do our best to try and understand each other, be open to one another and to walk this journey together giving each other room to be and grow, love and expereience and succeed. I want to care about you and your journey and I want you to care about mine. We are afterall, all connected weather that is hard to admit or not. Maybe I’m living in a dream, but I like my dream.