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Author Topic: practicalities of sex while trans*
Rainbow_1234
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Hi everyone,

I'm assigned female at birth, currently undecided between genderqueer and ftm. Pre any sort of surgery and likely to stay that way for at least the next few years.
I'm starting to think about having a relationship (I've been putting this off a long time). But one thing I'm worried about is the mechanics of how do you have sex when everything is the wrong shape? And also are there ways to stop the things that bring you pleasure (solo) feeling mis-gendering with a partner. Or to talk about sex realistically without using feminine words for your body?

I haven't been able to find any info on this (and I'm scared to search too much in case it brings up really creepy porn and stuff!). Anyone got any advice or can suggest places to look?

Thanks [Smile]

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Heather
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Welcome to the boards, Rainbow. [Smile]

Can you tell me a little more about what you mean when you say "the wrong shape?" I ask that because there are many ways of being sexual together, of having sex, with all kinds of body parts, so no one's body can really have a "wrong shape." Unless you're asking about a very specific kind of sex, or assuming sex is something that isn't basically what we do to express our sexuality that allows for our bodies and their parts to be whatever shapes they are?

Per the language, it's really about what language you want to use to talk about sex, and what language feels like it expresses your gender well in that, if gender is something you want to express when you talk about sex in any way. Do you know what I mean?

On your middle question, are you asking how to not engage in sexual activities that may bring you pleasure, but don't feel like a fit with your gender identity?

[ 08-18-2013, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Rainbow_1234
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Hi Heather [Smile] thanks for the reply.

Ugh this is so difficult, sorry!

OK not sure what the rules are - hope this isn't too explicit:
I guess re the wrong shape I mostly mean how to have sex without triggering gender dysphoria.

I think (not having a lot of experience to go on yet) in a relationship with a guy I'd be a switch (ie both top & bottom), but not having a penis makes being a top kinda impossible, and not having a prostate - I'm don't think I'll get much pleasure from anal sex, and would want to use the erm other place (which is what works for me on my own with using a vibrator), but how to do or suggest that without it feeling female. What works because of where the nerve endings are in my body and what works because of where the gender is in my head are totally different and I can't see how to bring the two together into something that's OK :S

Language - I'm not really sure what you mean. I mean to say something like " I don't like my breasts touched" or to refer to my vagina or clit feels really really uncomfortably to use those female words for parts of me. But I can't see how to tell a partner what I want and don't want otherwise.

thanks

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Heather
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It's okay, we're never in any kind of hurry, and I know, sometimes even talking about this stuff asks for frameworks or language we don't yet have or haven't figured out.

So, I hear you assuming sex will trigger feelings of gender dysphoria for you. can you perhaps fill me in on why you're assuming that? Or, if that's not an assumption, but has been your experience, what are we talking about here: every kind of sex and way of being sexual, or only some ways? If some, which?

Strapping-on, if you want to engage in sex with entry and be the partner doing the entering (or the top, if you prefer that), is always an option, and one many people engage in, regardless of why they do. And whether or not someone enjoys receptive anal sex doesn't seem to depend on having a prostate gland: I think at this point it's relatively safe to say that nearly as many people without one enjoy anal sex as those with one. So, with that, that's less about your body parts and more about what you do or don't find you enjoy based on other things.

In terms of sex with vaginal entry (I assume that's the "other place," and if that's not language you like for that, just holler, I'll switch up mine) being something you feel will -- or does? -- make you feel female, there are a lot of options there. Obviously, you can not do that kind of sex or stimulation. Or, you can change what you and a partner call your body parts and how you frame the sex you're having (after all, it's not like only women are or can be receptive partners in sex). Or, you can find other ways of stimulating those areas that DO work for you. For instance, the clitoris and the penis are already mighty similar (before certain stages of fetal development, they're basically identical, even), and some trans men or masculine-0deintified genderqueer people basically call it a word for a penis and treat it like one alone or with partners in sex.

But perhaps with you feeling how you are about it now, that might be something more for later, or to explore in your masturbation for a while before with a partner, so you can find out what's most comfortable for you?

Per the language, one easy way to do this is to tell a partner what you like your body parts to be called. So, let's say you prefer "chest," to "breasts." You tell them that, then if they are touching your chest and you want them to stop, you can say "Stop touching my chest."

Think of that maybe like learning how to sexually communicate with a partner when both people speak different languages. Each has to teach the other the words for what they want to say so that they can know, that's all. [Smile]

You asked about books: have you been doing any reading already per sexuality and trans* or otherwise gender nonconformity? If I have a sense of what you have already read, I can gather you a little book and link list tomorrow.

[ 08-18-2013, 07:27 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Rainbow_1234
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Thanks that's really helpful [Smile]

I'm not sure, I haven't had sex for several years and at the time I was identifying as a straight woman (the religious background I was raised in made it not OK to identify as anything else so it took me a while to work things out). And it triggered something but my mental health wasn't really in a place where I could separate out what (things are better now [Smile] ). Also I'm assuming it will from sometimes triggering gender dysphoria thinking about it or masturbating sometimes. But I'm not sure what types trigger it yet.


I've read bits of "my gender workbook" by Kate Bornstein, which was really good. And some online stuff like http://genderqueerid.com/ but they're both mostly about gender identities in society rather than in sexual relationships. Some book/link recommendations would be great [Smile] .

Thank you for all the advice, that's lots of useful things to think about [Smile]

[ 08-18-2013, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: Rainbow_1234 ]

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Molias
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Hi Rainbow,

I am a huge believer in the idea that your body parts don't automatically gender you. If you aren't a woman, then your genitals aren't a woman's genitals, even if they have some similarities to those of other women. I realize this can be a lot easier to agree with than to actually internalize (I still struggle with it at times!) but it's been helpful for me to reframe my thinking that way.

You can call those parts whatever you want - like Heather said, a lot of trans guys & transmasculine folks use the same sorts of words for their genitals and other body parts that cis men do, but if you just feel comfortable saying things like "my parts" or even showing your partner what you like by saying "touch me here" or setting their hands in a certain place, then that can work just fine.

In terms of navigating some of this with a partner, I think a lot of communication about bodies and boundaries is great in any sexual relationship, but as a trans person I've come to realize that it's vital that I do a lot of this as needed; I can't assume that a partner's assumption about my body or my desires will be accurate. I need to be sure I'm talking a lot with any partner about what does and doesn't feel ok to me, and to be sure that anyone I am with is understanding and respectful of my gender identity.

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Heather
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Book-wise, have you found/read these yet?

• The updated version of My Gender Workbook
• The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You by S. Bear Bergman
• Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman
• PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality, by Carol Queen, Lawrence Schimel and Kate Bornstein

There's also a new erotica collection called "Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica." I haven't seen it yet, but I wonder if looking at that, or other erotica that isn't cisgender in its origin, as so much of it is, might be helpful, per showing you some ways of framing sex outside the usual boxes?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Rainbow_1234
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Hi Molias -
that's really useful to know it works OK with other people, thanks [Smile]

And thanks Heather - I'm off to do some reading!

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Molias
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Rainbow, I was just thinking that Original Plumbing might be a good resource. The print magazine is by/for trans men and the website has a broader focus; I've seen some good talk about sexuality and dating in the magazine and on the site.
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Rainbow_1234
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ooh that one looks awesome [Smile] First thing I saw on the webpage was about trans- friendly sex education. Thanks [Smile]

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