Why does my boyfriend watch porn featuring trans women?

I am so confused about why my boyfriend is looking at shemale porn. It has torn my heart out and has caused us to split. I cannot stomach the thought of touching him thinking that he may be gay or bi. I have gone over and over in my mind about what this infatuation is. I am wondering also if it could be a fetish because he was born with one testicle and feels like a freak himself? I am sick over this.
Red replies:

Thanks for writing. I am sorry that your heart is hurting and I hope that I can shed some light onto your situation. Before I do so I just want to let you know that I’ll be using the term trans women rather than “she-male.” The term “she-male” is a slang term used to describe people assigned male at birth who realize they are actually women and chang their gender expression, sometimes with the help of hormones and/or surgery.

First off, I think it is important for you to take some time and try to articulate why exactly you are feeling so sad and so heartsick. Are you bothered that your boyfriend looks at porn in general or are you only bothered that he looks at pornography featuring trans women? How would you feel if he told you he was straight but he wanted to continue to look at this type of porn? It might be helpful for you to have some clarity about these questions before you try to discuss the situation with someone else.

Your letter raises several different issues in my mind, although the loudest one for me is your desire to not be intimately involved with a man who may be bisexual or gay. I don’t know if your boyfriend is straight, bisexual, gay, or another orientation entirely and he might not know right now either. The fact that he has looked at porn featuring trans women doesn’t lead me to any particular conclusions about his sexuality and I encourage you not to jump to any conclusions as well. Early adulthood is a time for sexual exploration (with oneself, with others, with the internet) and people get temporarily fixated on all sorts of things for all sorts of different reasons. Too, trans women are women, so being aroused by them doesn't automatically mean your boyfriend is attracted to men.

I can understand if you no longer want to date your boyfriend because his sexual interests and fantasies feel different, scary or gross to you. I can also understand if you no longer want to date him because he is bisexual or gay. However, I’d like you to make you decision about the future of your relationship after you are armed with the facts. There is no way to even begin to understand what is going on inside of your boyfriend’s head unless you ask him. However, if you are going to ask him, please be willing to receive the answer with an open heart and an open mind. It is often very scary for someone to reveal his or her true self to another person. Think of your deepest, darkest secret and how you would feel if someone found out about it; this is how your boyfriend might be feeling when you ask him about his sexuality!

If he is, in fact, gay, bisexual, queer, etc, you might feel very angry and betrayed. You might feel lied to and misled. You might feel completely sad and heartbroken. But, I can guarantee you that whatever emotions you are feeling, he is also feeling a whole host of his own intense and scary emotions. Like I said above, your boyfriend may not even know what his sexual orientation is at this point. Or he might know but might not be ready to talk about it. Coming to terms with one’s own sexuality can be amazing and liberating, but it can also be lonely and frightening.

Perhaps your boyfriend doesn't experience attraction to people of the same gender at all. Perhaps he is just an average young adult male with an extremely strong libido and a desire for intense visual stimulation. I know that many people of all ages tend to feel betrayed when their partners look at pornography. While I can respect those feelings, I hope we can all find a way to feel our feelings without shaming other people in the process. Your boyfriend might feel just as disturbed about his pornography viewing as you do. While you have a right to feel whatever you are feeling, please respect his right to enjoy whatever type of visual stimulation is working for him right now. You don’t have to date it, live with it or love it, but as a fellow human being, it’s probably best to at least try to accept his right to explore his sexuality (as long as this exploration doesn’t bring harm to other living beings).

As I’ve said to many of my friends, “it’s all just practice for the next one.” Every relationship prepares us for the next relationship. Regardless of what happens between you are your boyfriend, this situation offers you an amazing opportunity to take a look at your own beliefs, desires and prejudices, gives you a chance to practice great communication skills and allows you to practice loving and respecting yourself and your needs while accepting and respecting the desires and needs of another person. Yes, this could be the end of your relationship, but this doesn’t mean that this has to be the end of your compassion towards him as a person.

I’d also like to offer you some information about testicles. The fact that your boyfriend has one testicle in no way makes him a “freak”; in fact, 1 of every 5000 people who have a penis is born with one testicle. The medical term for this is monorchidism. A somewhat related condition occurs when a person has two normal testicles but one fails to descend from their abdomen (where testicles develop in the fetus) into their scrotum. In these cases the undescended testicle is surgically removed because of the increased risk of testicular cancer. In any event, regardless of why your boyfriend has one testicle, as long as his other testicle is working normally, he is like any other person with testicles. He makes the same amount of testosterone, has all the same fabulous guy traits and will be able to have babies one day if he so pleases.

All that being said, I can see no connection between your boyfriend’s physical attributes and his interest in a specific type of pornography. The reasons behind each of our desires are often complete mysteries. The only way to even begin to understand someone else’s desires is to ask about them! Good luck to you.

For more info, you might want to check out the following links:

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