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I'm a Straight Girl, but Wish I Were a Gay Guy...

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Leahcar asks:

I'm a straight 20-year-old girl who lately can't get the idea out of my head that I wish sooo much that I'd been born a gay boy instead. I'm not sexually active right now at all (have had 2 partners in the past but nothing for over a year) and it's pretty frustrating because I miss it. To compensate, I finally got the guts to look at some porn over the internet, but never with any girls - just (male) gay. In fact, seeing girls almost always totally turns me off and I really can't stand the moans of a female. What I like most is seeing "gay for pay" - straight guys who engage in gay sexual activities for money for websites. I've also become obsessed with finding gay-themed movies posted in parts by YouTube users. I'm a huge sucker for coming out stories or tales of experimentation and love and romance, both in full-length movies and short films. I've also realized how much more pleasure it seems a man can get from his penis than I can from my vagina. I mean, guys can jack off for like over 20 minutes sometimes before they orgasm, all the while feeling some sort of pleasure, and the same when receiving a blowjob (which, for the most part, I think guys can give better than girls). When I try to masturbate, it usually lasts less than a minute, it seems, and sometimes nothing even works. I don't think I ever orgasmed during intercourse in any of the times I had it. I hate practically everything about my body anyway, but after watching so many guys get off I just really wish I had a penis...

CJ replies:

Leahcar's question continued,

This must sound so strange but I'm finally being honest with myself and need to get it out there for someone else to know about before I burst. I won't tell anyone I know about these feelings, but they just frustrate me all the time. It makes me so depressed because I know I can't change the fact that I was born in the body I was, but I don't suspect I'd ever look into getting a sex change, especially since going from female to male is so complicated and wouldn't nearly result in what I wish I could be. Do you know if having this problem is as rare as I expect it is? Most people who want to change sexes I assume are not feeling like they want to be a homosexual version of the opposite gender, right? Do you think I'll ever get over this? I'm having an impossible enough time accepting who I am because I've always been extremely depressed and hated myself and my life. Why couldn't it be possible to completely start over, live the life I want to live, and and be the person I want to be...?

First things first: I'm glad you're here, and you are not alone. Feeling alienated from your own body is not usually a pleasant feeling, and I can feel your frustration just from reading your question. I want to skip right to the end of your question when you ask if you'll ever get over this. My answer is that I truly hope that you will come into your own and feel comfortable with your sexuality, your gender, and your body. As much as it may be frustrating in this moment, sometimes it takes a good while to figure out what is going on. But let's talk more about that.

When we talk about "sex" or refer to "sexual activities" I think that many folks just associate that with intercourse. In reality, though, there are many ways that we express our sexuality and meet our sexual needs. There is a huge range of sexual behaviors and ways to express one's sexuality without intercourse. For example, we could dress in a certain way to express our sexuality, we could read or write fantasy or erotic stories, we can fantasize, we can touch ourselves or other people (with consent, of course!), we can choose not to engage in any of these things. Porn is included in that spectrum and range of sexual activities, and some people find it interesting and exciting. Others, not so much. There's a lot of diversity in what any person will find appealing sexually and what they want to do.

And, as you know, there are lots of kinds of porn. Just because someone is heterosexual, they might not only (or at all) enjoy heterosexual porn. Likewise, if someone is queer or if someone is trans, they are not necessarily limited to watching and enjoying queer porn or porn involving trans folks. Regardless of how you identify--right now or in the future--it's ok that you happen to find gay male porn appealing. Your porn choice does not define you...I guess in a way it might make it easier for you (hello, quick answer to your question!) if it did, but that's just not the way things roll.

It's also worth a mention that it's not really possible to know someone's sexual orientation from seeing the type of porn in which they perform. Though "gay-for-pay" implies that the scenes are done by straight men, often with an undertone of being forced or coerced into male/male sexual activities out of desperation, we can't actually know the sexual orientation of the performers from watching alone. Similarly, just because someone is performing in porn with folks of another gender, we can't automatically assume they identify as straight. Sexual behavior and sexual orientation are not always aligned like that for people. This is not to say that you shouldn't or should find any particular thing attractive or hot, just that we tend to make a lot of assumptions about gender, sexual orientation, and sexual behaviors when it's really a lot more complicated.

Outside of porn, you mentioned really enjoying coming out stories and other gay-themed media you've found on the internet. You seem really resourceful in finding media that are, in a way, helping you feel a little less isolated, though it sounds as if you still are really unsure of what's going on in your world. Do you have any ideas about what is so appealing to you in the coming out stories and other movies you've seen? Is there something about them that strikes you? Sometimes watching others' stories can help clarify feelings about our own experiences, so I think it's great that you've been able to find some stuff that speaks to you. If you are looking for some movies or shows that explore gender issues, you can check out the Gender Rebel series on Logo. That link will take you to the series webpage (leaving Scarleteen) and you can watch the whole series online.

But let's talk some more about your body, the parts you have, and the parts you want. Every person deserves to experience pleasure and to feel comfortable with themselves. That takes a lot of forms for folks, and sometimes it's really hard work to get to the place where you feel comfortable receiving pleasure either from yourself or a partner. Body image issues and complicate pleasure a whole lot.

You said that you don't think you'd ever pursue a sex change because you don't think it would give you the results you'd want. Certainly there are many folks who are assigned female at birth but come to identify as male. Some of those folks will pursue hormonal and other medical interventions to transition to live as male, and many feel comfortable with their internal identification of male without undergoing hormonal treatment or any kind of surgery. There are many, many, many (did I mention MANY?) ways to "do gender". There are folks who are born female but who may identify as genderqueer (neither male nor female, or something along the spectrum between male and female). There are folks who are born female and who identify as female but think about having a penis.

You asked if people who transition genders often aim to be a "homosexual version of the opposite gender", and the answer is, yeah, sometimes! Gender is a complicated social thing, which is not always related to what we have between our legs. I sometimes think of sex as what is happening between your legs (though that can be a lot more complicated, too, since there are more than two options), but gender as what is happening between your ears. Yep, your brain is the most powerful tool you have when it comes to gender. How you think of yourself might be totally different than how the world sees you. For some folks that is ok, and for others it can be really stressful. Sexual orientation--where your emotional and sexual attractions fall--is not necessarily 100% connected to gender. They are separate things, so just because you feel one way about your gender does not predestine you to a certain sexual orientation.

To clarify, trans folks (folks who in whatever way do not identify with the gender assigned at birth) can be any and all sexual orientations: straight, gay, bi, queer, pansexual, heteroflexible, whatever. So if you, or anyone, were to transition from female to male, you're allowed to be attracted to whomever you are attracted to!

There are so many variations of how we experience and express gender (and sexuality) and it breaks my heart a little bit whenever I see that someone is feeling so isolated and alone in their experiences. I hope that this can be the beginning of some more exploration for you, and that we can help connect you with some resources to assist in your journey.

Pleasure seems to be important to you, which is understandable. I can read your frustration about not being able to experience pleasure in the ways you imagine you would if you had a penis. Have you ever tried thinking about the parts you have in a different way? Have you ever tried visualizing your parts more aligned with what you wish they were and acting accordingly? I know many transmen (people who were assigned female at birth, but identify as male) who still have "female" parts but think of them as a penis (or whatever language feels right for them). They call masturbation "jerking off" and use language that feels sexy and right to describe their parts. Like I said above, your mind is incredibly powerful and sometimes even a shift in the way you're thinking about your body can make a huge difference in how you--or a partner--experiences it. Some people will put something (strategically folded sock, prosthetic device, whatever) in their underwear to feel that bulge if that makes them feel more comfortable. These are just a few ideas to consider, ways that you might be able to explore more of what feels right for your body and how you experience yourself.

For the record, though, not all guys -- in fact, very few -- will be able or want to masturbate for 20 minutes before orgasm and not all girls are doomed to orgasm quickly -- in fact, statistically, it usually takes women longer to reach orgasm than men. Just as with gender identity, there's a huge range of experience in how people masturbate, what feels good, and how long those feelings last. Same goes for who is good at what sexual activities, something which we just can't easily classify based on gonads or gender. I think we can also safely say your own negative feelings about female gender are probably having some influence in your ideas like this.

It sounds like this gender stuff and the confusion and discomfort with your body are a contributing factor to the depression that you mentioned. Gender dysphoria (feeling uncomfortable or conflicted about your assigned gender or body parts) can be a really huge thing to manage, and it's hard to do alone. When I said that I'm glad you're here, I meant that. I'd encourage you to try to talk to someone about your feelings if at all possible. It's a confusing journey to walk on by yourself and you deserve the support and compassion of someone who has knowledge and understanding of all the complexities and variations of gender and identity.

If you are depressed and need someone compassionate to speak with, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I would recommend calling The Trevor Project at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) if you are in the United States. The Trevor Project is a crisis and suicide prevention hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. I'm not suggesting that you necessarily are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but the folks that staff the Trevor Project hotline are well-versed in gender issues and may be good resources if your depression is feeling out of control.

If possible, locating a counselor to talk to on an ongoing basis could also be helpful for you. You do not need to do this alone.

To close, I want to leave you with this thought: it's never too late to make changes and move towards becoming the person you want to become, whatever that means for you. You can try on identities, play with fantasies, explore your options and see what is going to feel right for you. It can be a frustrating process and there may be moments wherein you doubt that you will ever figure it out, but know that you are not alone. No matter how you come to identify, I hope that you can one day call your body "home".

Some additional resources that might help:

And some further reading ideas:

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