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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » my GF is a transexual? what does that make me?

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Author Topic: my GF is a transexual? what does that make me?
Sakura Sky
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I'm a 23 female and I'm in a relationship with a 19 girl.

I'm confused about my sexuality, since I consider myself a lesbian, but my girlfriend wants to be a man. [Confused]

She dresses like a man and expresses other 'masculinity', like being the 'big strong protector' for our family. She speaks of herself as if she were a guy and even encourages our 18 mo old son to call her "Daddy". In the bedroom, she is the 'man'. She lets me play with her breasts, which I love, but that's about it. She is too embarrassed about having female genitals (she'd much rather have a penis) to enjoy letting me please her down there, so they're pretty much off limits. According to her, pleasuring is the man's job (in other words, she gives, I receive).

My problem is this:
1. I feel guilty about not being able to pleasure her. I am the center of attention, and while this seems great, it's not. Sex is one-sided and it feels like something is missing.

2. Technically we're lesbians, but how can I be a lesbian if it feels more like a relationship with a man? What does that make me? Lesbian? Straight? BI???! It's all so confusing.

It's like the quote: “What's the point of being a lesbian if a woman is going to look and act like an imitation man?”- Rita Mae Brown

Posts: 15 | From: Denver, CO | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Sakura: the spot you're in isn't easy for anyone, and it's really pretty complicated.

But you probably didn't need me to tell you that. [Smile]

Ultimately, if your partner is transitioning to male, then yes: you're going to be having a lot of conversations in your own head and with your partner about what that means in terms of your orientation. Obviously, too, it's sound that you're going to have some pretty mixed feeling about a partner in a lesbian partnership bringing lots, or any, masculinity/male role issues to the table.

It's up to you if you want those roles in your life, because it's up to you who you partner with and how. Obviously, your partner's gender identity is only up to your partner, but if it's changing or changed a whole lot from when you first started dating, it's bound to create some changes in your dynamics and in how you feel about your partnership.

Someone certainly CAN transition to male without having their gender ID include traditional binary gender roles. But if your partner likes those roles, wants those roles, with YOU, it's still something to negotiate between the two of you. For instance, if you're just not okay with a sexual partnership where touching your partner in certain ways is off-limits, or in which a partner is telling you what your role is based on what they want theirs to be, you don't have to sign unto that.

Have the two of you been communicating well throughout this transition? Are you able to voice these issues and have them discussed, rather than writ as some sort of law?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet 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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Sakura Sky
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My girlfriend carried herself like this when we first met, which I'm attracted to in that butch-lesbian sort of way.

She's very proud and sort of closed off, so communication has been slow as I've slowly gained her trust.

I guess I just still don't know what's going on. I know she was sexually abused by her stepfather when she was younger. The only time she let me go down on her (she ASKED me to actually) was when she was drunk one day... so to me that tells me she wants to in general but just can't. I love her just the way she is, but I'm afraid she's just using this male traditional dominant role to protect herself.

I want to be able to express my love to her sexually as well as emotionally... is there any way I can make her feel more comfortable and secure?

She insists this is just how she is. She doesn't masturbate and I'm not allowed to touch her practically, so she never climaxes. She insists she doesn't care or need to. She insists that pleasuring me pleasures her.

The strange thing is, in spite of never climaxing, she seems to have a bigger sex drive than I do and is on me all the time. It's gotten to the point where I fake orgasms sometimes to make her feel good, since it's all I can "give" her, but the truth is, I feel disconnected lately when we have penetrative sex.

I love her with all my heart, I know it's not her fault. Can/do lesbians with FTM relationships ever work?

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Heather
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You know, this really is such a tricky issue, and it's been talked about a lot in queer communities.

Many butch women are transitioning lately, and for both the person transitioning, and the lesbian partners involved, gender is often a very big deal to BOTH parties, and in most cases, also a non-negotiable in both parties.

Can some couples make/ have some couples made it work? Yes. But it is often very difficult in situations like this because it's both valid that someone wants to be/identify as the gender they feel they are AND valid that someone wants to be with someone of a gender to whom they are attracted, and who is the gender of person they want in their intimate partnerships. Butch and MTF are not the same thing, and signing on to be with a butch woman and with a transman are very different things. So, as you can see and are experiencing, there's often a catch-22 in all of this.

In terms of what you can do to make your partner (you keep saying her, but it sounds like your partner is asking to be identified as a he, which I understand isn't what you want, but it sounds like that's what's wanted and being asked of you, so if so, continuing to call him a her isn't helpful -- I'll be using he just so we don't get confused) more comfortable with sex, it's tricky. If not wanting to be genitally touched is due to abuse, it's one thing, and if not wanting to be genitally touched because he doesn't want to be reminded of having female genitals, or if female genitals make him feel gendered in a way he doesn't want, that's a very different matter.

If it's the former, then yes: sexual abuse counseling is often very helpful over time, and I'd also be glad to suggest some books. But if it's the latter, it's asking something very painful for many transitioning transgender partners, and also asking them to try and find pleasure in something that isn't pleasurable for them if they do not want to be inhabiting the body they're in. Make sense?

I'd also suggest you both quit faking orgasms AND quit having sex when YOU do not want to, or having any kind of sex you do not want to have yourself. That's not healthy for either of you. And you can give your partner any number of things: if there isn't a kind of sex that really works for you both right now, then it's better to not be having sex, and find other routes to physical intimacy and ways to give to one another.

Too: has your transitioning partner thus far had ANY kind of counseling or trans-support groups? if not, that'd be a very good idea. You might even just want to find a trans and queer-friendly couples counselor to help you both work through these issues. If you're in city, even in Denver (not exactly the most progressive place ever, but there is family there), that shouldn't be too tough to find.

[ 10-26-2007, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet 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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Sakura Sky
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Yes, I understand you completely. This is very hard for both of us. We love each for who we are as human beings, not our sexual appendages (or lack of).

At first, I refused to 'fake it' no matter what, after always faking it with ALL my previous sexual relationships with men before I accepted myself as lesbian. Sometimes she truly makes me orgasm, and sometimes she doesn't, which is perfectly fine with me, and I was honest when I didn't have an orgasm. It didn't seem like that mattered, it's not some pot of gold at the end of the sex rainbow to me.

But after seeing that she feels somehow valuable and validated as a 'man' only when I orgasm (which seems like a double-standard on her part), I felt so sad that our great sexual energy always deteriorated into frustration from our "failed" "attempts" to make me cum. I'm not a cum factory. [Frown]

Lately the past few days I have refused sex when I don't want to, and as we speak, we agreed to spend a couple days apart (she's at her sister's) to have time to think to ourselves and mend things when we're both less frustrated.

She has not had any kind of counseling or support groups. My college has a great LGBT office and support/social group, but she has declined to even join me in any LGBT activism or social activities because she doesn't identify with the LGBT community...she considers herself a 'straight' man. To add even more confusion, she's said she would not mind being impregnated and carrying our child in her womb. [Confused]

Her sense of identity is so confusing to me. It's all over the place. As a result, I feel displaced as well. I almost don't know who I am anymore. [Frown]

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Sakura Sky
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Note: I say "her" because I'm just barely beginning to adjust, but I don't mean it in a disrespectful way. It still confuses me to say he. In my personal life, I always say her first name instead of her/she, I just don't want to use her actual name here w/out her permission.
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Heather
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Aw hell, Sakura. I'm so sorry: I really always feel for folks -- on both 'sides" -- going through this stuff. It's so hard and so complicated to figure out how to honor everyone in it without someone winding up having to present as something they don't want to.

I do think it's sage to question -- and would encourage you to keep doing so - the idea that it's your job to validate anyone's masculinity with sex or orgasm. If that is someone's issue -- that that is needed for their masculinity -- that's something they need to repair and work to fix so that that it NOT so. It's not your job to do that.

I also think that it's important that both of you are allowed limits, boundaries, and to have your needs met. I might suggest making couples counseling right now a requirement if you're to stay partnered, especially with a kid in the mix. If your partner doesn't want to be in the LGBT community, that's his choice, but you certainly could tap your resources there to find a few options per trans-friendly counselors for you both as a couple. I'd point out that choosing a counselor who is really only about gendernormative or heterosexual couples is NOT likely to benefit either of you, especially your partner. By all means, he may identify as a straight man, but the fact remains that he is a pre-op transman, even if that's not a stage in transition your partner likes.

(Too, if he is really going to fully transition, counseling won't be a non-option, but a requirement.)

It also strikes me as really unhealthy if you or your partner are winding up socially isolated while he transitions: that's just not something to go alone, for either of you. Even if your partner isn't up for counseling, sounds like it might be something you could really use right now.

Here's a big national group you both may find helpful for more info: http://www.gaycenter.org/program_folders/gip/index_html/program_view

Too, here are a couple trans-specializing therapists (and supportive, not people looking to 'fix" transgendered people) in your area I found from a national list:

Rachael St.Claire PsyD
Licensed Psychologist
Boulder Colorado 80303
720-220-5770
WebSite
RachaelStClaire@TransgenderSoul.com
Psychotherapy and mental health evaluations for transgendered men and women according to the HBIGDA Standards of Care. Referrals to qualified physicians for hormonal therapy, and genital surgery.

Deb Ann Thompson, Ph.D., NCACII, CACIII
2755 S. Locust Street, Suite #207
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 758-6634
Psychotherapist

Laura Thor, MSW, LCSW
2925 Perry Street
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 477-0647
Licensed psychotherapist experienced in working with members of the gender community and their spouses. Assessment and referral for hormonal and surgical sex reassignment. Counseling for spouses of transgendered partners, and guidance for families who must work through transition.

Daugherty & Associates
Sharon F. Daugherty, II, J.D., M.A.
(303) 754-7737 (Voice Mail)
(303) 366-5321 (Facsimile)
E-mail: SDaughe745@aol.com
All transgendered issues nationally. One-time only sex reassignment surgery, secondary referral letters, as required by surgeons. Must have met primary therapist and endocrinology requirements and received primary letters. Release of medical information required for review and endorsement. Also specializes in employer/employee dispute resolutions regarding cross-dressing in the workplace.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet 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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Sakura Sky
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Thank you so much. It's helpful just to be able to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about and is open-minded. I'll definately be looking into counseling, even if not for my partner, at least for myself. Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate what you do on here.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Hey, it's my pleasure. Glad to have been of some help, and feel free to hang around when you need some support.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet 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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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