Let's Talk About Girldick

You may have noticed that our society has a bit of an obsession with dicks. It's not really waved about in the open, but they're there — referenced in stand up routines, gripped and gesticulated at in music videos, and laughed at in problematic sitcom plots. And yet, despite this tongue in cheek openness, we really only seem to talk about men's penises.

Granted, many penises in this world do belong to men, but by assuming that all of them do, we ignore the experiences, desires and health needs of all people with penises, including some of us who are not men — differences that we're going to dive into today.

Welcome to the world of girldick.

Girldick, otherwise known as clits, lady bits, a shenis, or just someone's genitals⁠ or junk, is the affectionate name some people use to refer to their own or other women's penises. These terms, along with any other language we might like to use for our bits, can serve a number of purposes, from a shorthand between friends, doctors or lovers, to just finding the most comfortable words for your own experience. In the rest of this article I'm going to use the word penis⁠ , but it's important to remember that this does not reflect everyone's experience (also, some trans men also have penises, and these are different again!). The language we want to use for our bodies, just like how we ask others to touch and experience them in other ways, is important, and respecting it is a part of healthy and active consent⁠ .

For people who've had penises since birth and primarily have testosterone⁠ in their systems, their genitals are filled with vessels and tissue that allow erections to occur — either in response to stimuli or spontaneously. While aroused, fluid travels from a series of internal glands through the urethra⁠ (the same tube pee travels through!) to the tip of the glans⁠ . During orgasm⁠ this secretion may contain sperm⁠ , and is ejected at a far greater force, known as ejaculation⁠ . It's important to note that while most people under the above banner will be cisgender⁠ men, there are trans women and non binary⁠ people who don't want to, cannot, or haven't yet begun hormones⁠ , and whose bodies may respond and act in similar ways to those of cisgender men. It's also important that we recognise that these physiological things do not make someone a man, or even masculine⁠ !

When a person begins taking estrogen and/or testosterone blockers, things start to shift a little bit, however. This can include, but is not necessarily limited to: genitals changing colour or texture, or growing smaller; finding ejaculation more difficult or impossible, or having very little ejaculate; erections becoming difficult, impossible, or painful; a lack of spontaneous erections; and a new and different set of sensory experiences, from touch to taste to smell. Sometimes these are welcome changes and other times they are less so, and everyone's experience of what that looks like is a bit different. The way estrogen⁠ affects our bodies is a bit different for everyone, the same way it is for cis women, and it's okay to have some mixed feelings about these changes too!

Sex with other people and our penises may require a shift, both in terms of what us or others might want to do and what we feel able to. Depending on how someone feels about their body and the ways they want to be sexually touched, they might be into one or another form of genital intercourse⁠ or entry⁠ , external stimulation, oral sex⁠ , grinding, or something else entirely. While many people with penises like inserting them into various parts of other people's bodies, this may not be physically possible, or something that a trans person even wants to do in the first place (though of course, some do!). Books like Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon, or S.E.X. by Heather Corinna, in which "girl sex⁠ " is considered to be any kind of sex between girls, independent of the body parts involved, and other articles on Scarleteen -- this Yes, No, Maybe list might be a great start --  cover some ideas in more detail than we'll get to today!

Especially if you're new to sex with a body going through the changes of puberty⁠ , HRT, or are just new to sex in general, it's going to take time to figure out⁠ what kinds of touch are for you and where you like and don't like them. Some people just don't like their genitals being touched at all, and that's okay too! It can also be pretty daunting sleeping with new partners when we're scared about what they might think or the preconceived notions they may have about our bodies, but while there are some unique ways this affects us, this is not a feeling only transgender⁠ people have. Sex can be a bit scary and a bit daunting for everyone!

Some women have a penis because they're waiting to have it changed into a vulva⁠ and vagina⁠ . Others have a penis that they are happy and comfortable with. Others still have a more complicated relationship⁠ than either of those two situations. The important thing to keep in mind about girldick is it isn't just one thing, and that no two sets of genitals are the same! Everyone's junk are a different size and shape, and respond in different ways to all sorts of stimuli, and unless they're causing you pain or discomfort*, they are all totally normal!

Our genitals are so unique and cool, and a fun and exciting thing to share with people we love and trust, as it's a joy and pleasure to be shared with in return. Asking about the ways people want us to touch and explore them is an important part of open and consensual sex no matter the junk someone's sporting. But when it comes to the trans people we love, it's extra important to leave our associations and preconceived notions at the door and be ready to learn something new. It might make someone's life a little safer and easier, or maybe just help you get off to a better start.

* If your genitals are causing you pain or discomfort, it's important to go see a health professional that you trust to talk about it, because our bits aren't supposed to hurt!

Liz is a writer, sexual⁠ health nerd and photographer who has had articles, interviews and reviews for a range of publications. She co-hosts wholesome sex ed show @letsdoitpodcast, which carefully signposts which episodes are and aren’t 18+.

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