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Getting a Little Trans Sexual

Trans Sexuality“So… what is it you trans people do in bed anyway?” I’ll come clean. I’ve never been asked exactly that question before, or at least not with this level of directness. I can, however, tell many people are thinking it. And it’s not an easy question to answer because ‘trans’ can mean any number of loosely related things, and encompasses the same range of orientations as the cisgender population. This being said, the only correct response to such a question would be, “Your mom”.

In the past, I’ve eschewed talking about sex, partially because I’m celibate and partially because of the whole privacy thing. Well, I rethought all that now that I’m being featured on a fantastic website Informed About Sex, and the offshoot Facebook page Radical Women Talk About Sex that I have hereto added nothing in regards to new material. Remember the whole celibacy thing? Yeah… Anyway, now seems like a good jumping off point as the guilt of being a lurker on a page where I’m listed as an author is starting to zest my lemons.

Many of you are already aware that the T’s in LGBT are the only component focused on identity rather than orientation. The difference, so often expressed, is that orientation is who you want to go to bed with and gender identity is who you want to go to bed as. In spite of the ‘sex’ embedded in ‘transsexual’, it’s about anything but. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never liked the term, though have come to grudgingly accept it as to differentiate myself from the other flavors of trans. Trust me, there is nothing even a tiny bit sexy about gender transition.

I’ve come to notice that the subject of sex never comes up in any of the support meetings. Once in a blue moon someone will let slip what gender they are attracted to, and more often than not, this is met with a period of uncomfortable silence. I’ve been attempting to figure out why on the down low. When you have a group of people willing to openly share the details about large portions of their life they spent years being mortally embarrassed by, why would a little thing like sex be a conversation killer? On top of this, there is almost a weird unspoken vibe that if asked, the “correct” answer should be a continued attraction to women. I don’t know why being both trans and homosexual is the genteel answer any lady of breeding should give, but it’s just in the air.

A big part of the problem is that going through second puberty has a way of seriously fucking things up in all sorts of delicious little ways. Flooded with estrogen and testosterone blockers, both the mind and body change. One causes a glacial and unavoidable shift in thought processes, while the other really takes the bazinga out of the original equipment, not to mention further creates an utter lack of interest in using it anyway. Identifying as female in both body and mind really skews the way a person interacts with others in most contexts, the bedroom included. Well, or the back seat of a Chevy Nova if less on the vanilla side.

While not true of all, but definitely for some, the way we look at men and women during and after transition changes. Other women seem to lose that appeal of feminine mystique we always felt outside of. Men are no longer creatures we are inclined to compare ourselves to. Even those of us who had periods of awareness of our transgender identity, until we actually own it and begin transition, we are always attempting to integrate into our birth gender identity while feeling the pull of attraction to the other we truly identify with. This kind of muddies the waters a bit and brings up a few thoughts.

I can only speak for myself there, but sometimes I have to ask myself if my attraction to women was really based on sexual orientation or strong feelings of identification and lust born of denial? If you think that one is tricky, I often ask myself if my sexual orientation is “straight”, could this mean my attraction will always be to the perceived opposite gender, whatever that happens to be at the time? In other words, if I’m straight, was I attracted to women when attempting to be male, and attracted to men once I realize I’m a woman? Ironically, this seems to be the exact type of question mulled over by red eyed college students with red Solo cups of beer and a cashed out bong on hand.

At the moment, I can’t answer these questions for myself. The hormone therapy is still hard at work making changes, and I have an even bigger change coming up this fall. After the smoke clears and I settle into the hormone level and genital configuration of a middle age woman, the answer will hopefully present itself. Or not, and I remain comfortably asexual, which has advantages of being much less complicated and messy. Either way, I’m keeping an open mind about it all.

Since no one seems to want to broach this face to face, I’m hoping for some good comments about your own experiences and maybe we can get a good discussion going on the topic.

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About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

23 responses »

  1. Somehow, your blog got unfollowed and so I’m checking in late on this topic.
    I have been re-thinking sexual orientation as occurring in my whole body, not just in my loins, especially now that I have been on hormone re-balancing therapy, as I like to think of it, for over 18 months and my libido “down there” has dropped to zero but my thoughts of waking up with another woman beside me is on my mind and in my heart constantly, something I can say was not true before I began transition and taking hormones.
    One of the things that I noticed first when I started HRT was that all women, regardless of age or physical appearance, became beautiful to me in a totally different way than I had viewed women before. I suppose it had a lot to do with my proneness toward regarding women, not as objects of desire, but as people. I did have a lot of that going on before I began transition, but as the hormones started kicking in, the difference I noticed was quite as remarkable as it was sudden.
    The initial outcome of this re-orientation, as it were, was that I began falling in love with women right and left and I got myself entangled in my feelings and lost myself in the process. Over time, it began to subside as I began to adjust mentally to what I was feeling emotionally, just as it had occurred when I went through my “first” puberty. Deanna Joy

    Reply
    • My libido dropped very low as I began hormone therapy, but at a point of increasing dosage that I now know resulted in my testosterone dropping to a low-average range for a woman while my estrogen was in a good range, it rebounded back to its previous level, but feminized. Now wakening every morning limbs entangled with another woman, snuggling together, kissing and romance became the priorities. I also moved rapidly from bi mostly favoring women to complete lesbian.

      Before HRT, my crushes were physically based on a woman’s appearance, but after that HRT dosage increase, a woman (whom I’d thought had a pretty face but hadn’t paid much attention to previously) and I got better acquainted. As I saw her personality in action, strong, tough, independent–yet vulnerable–smart and funny, and very playful, her smile melted my heart, her laughter sounded like music, her previously uninteresting body became a source of arousal, and I fell in love for the first time since high school. All of my better qualities have been brought to the fore by HRT, and most of my worst qualities have been moved into the background. Hormones are amazing!

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  2. Wow, this one got the drums beating, didn’t it?

    Gene Roddenberry’s original version of Star Trek introduced a Vulcan acronym, IDIC, standing for “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” I have never seen a situation that more embodies that concept than the LGBTQ community. For a while, I thought I could come to some sensible, stable definition of myself with regard to all this, but I’ve given up. All I’m really comfortable with is claiming that I’m transgendered simply because I’m a mutt. Genetically born male, I’ve been part female for as long as I can remember, well before school began. But I’ve always been attracted to women, even as far back as those same rememberances as a child. I wanted to be with women and girls, both socially and romantically, and so I usually describe myself as a male lesbian for lack of a better term. I don’t recall any time that I felt a bit of attraction to any male. The only men I ever wanted to BE typically had super powers or were debonair spies, and I’m certain that was probably just because it was a great way to win the girls. It’s extremely confusing to be a boy and imagine wanting to be Superman in order to kiss Lois, while on the other hand wanting to BE Lois. Not to BE kissed by Superman, exactly, romantic a notion as it may be; I would likely rather sneak into a janitor’s closet with Lana for some hot necking after Clark slipped into his unitard and hit the sky.

    Sexually, I can be all over the map, and often am, switching between or blending genders several times during a single event. The major element of being able to accomplish this with great joy and satisfaction is my girlfriend, the love of my life. She’s straight, but is able to gender bend with ease and passion, resulting in a sea of emotions between the two of us that is hard to describe to someone who hasn’t been there. What we experience sexually is, in her words, mindblowing, but much of what we share goes so far beyond sex that it becomes tantric. It’s what I had been searching for and hoping for my whole life, and I had come to believe it was just a myth until SHE came along. The odd thing is, she says I taught her all the things we experience together. So I guess we both had it in us and just needed to find the right partner. I’m a bit older than she, and as such, the equipment occasionally doesn’t want to cooperate fully; that’s where “beyond sex” finds its greatest expression. There isn’t a time where either of us isn’t satisfied, because the love we have for each other takes us to places where orgasms are something your whole body experiences.

    I was concerned for a short while that I was someone who I’d read described as a ‘super-crossdresser,’ someone who just really liked very much to dress up and pose, but wasn’t truly gender challenged. After mulling it over, I listened, not to my mind, but to the fiber of my being. There is no confusion that one is feeling subtle or not so subtle shifts in gender, changes of relation to the whole of the universe, deep changes in perception of self. When I look in the mirror, I see a woman, even if the exterior is dressed as a boy. It’s there in the eyes, the smile. I revel in being a blend, a mutant. A mutt.

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  3. I’m a Pansexual Trans woman, and though I’ve always had issues with sex, I’ve always done it, and always will. I found a single issue magazine called “fucking Trans women” that really helped me out in this area. It’s almost an instruction manual for how SOME Trans women like to have sex. It’s a mind opener because of the empowering aspects of it. Just because our bodies are wrong for us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to enjoy them. I think I’m going to schedule an August Rochester Trans Group meeting about sex and how we do it, and make it more of a Trans and partners meeting than a public one, just for the sake of comfort. I’ll see how well that goes over and get back to you. 🙂 Feel free to PM me if you want that magazine. It’s a (rather large 140mb) PDF.

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  4. I was gay for years as a means of embracing (I can’t think of a better word) attraction to males. HRT changes as they are changed how I’m attracted, but not who I’m attracted to.

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  5. Read this and almost felt like paraphrasing South Park with the Reeves/Stem Cell episode – “not going to touch this, just walk way!” But you know, it’s a valid question, in in the RIGHT setting. The WRONG setting is the checkout line of the K-Mart with the person behind you asking it in a LOUD voice. But, there may not just be one answer anyway. Most folk think that there are only two choices (or both of them)( but it’s always assumed that gender is the target.

    I used to think that maybe I was bisexual myself but lately I’ve come to the label of “pansexual”, which is “attracted to personality” rather than gender. All academic though because like a soul, people also assume sexuality to be one solid and indivisible unit. No one discusses libido, which is the amount of sex drive one has. Mine dried up early in my transition, my libido dropped to zero along with my testosterone.

    Initially I felt very liberated but it’s difficult at times when in the circles I mixed in, everyone else had an apparently high libido. Thought I was asexual as well, but every so often I get like a “bolt from the blue” where all of a sudden I feel sexy and responsive. Everything works down below after surgery, but when I can count the times in the last decade when I actually wanted to masturbate let alone have intercourse with someone else, the point’s moot.

    Have come to the conclusion that for me it has to do with a low level of fitness and being overweight. If you don’t exercise enough post transition it’s so easy to balloon up in weight, and feeling overweight or unfit are not conducive to feeling sexy or desirable at all, let alone desiring someone else.

    To which, this time around, I’m looking at losing some of that weight and exercising more. Who knows what the results might bring?

    Reply
    • Ironic, yes, but many post-op trans women find they need T supplementation for libido and bone density maintenance, as they have less than cis women. T comes from their ovaries and adrenals, while we only have adrenals. If my libido drops post-op, and I’m between routine T level tests, I’ll ask for an early one, and if I’m too low, I’ll get a Rx for Androgel.

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  6. From puberty, I was always bisexual, and remained that way, increasingly attracted to women but not exclusively, until it settled in at what I’ve thought of as 90-10 against men. After starting HRT, my sex drive began to nose dive, then slowly recover from the estrogen until I knocked it down again starting my T blocker. It slowly tried to get up again, when the T blocker was doubled, and BAM! it was back with a vengeance, at least as strong as before, maybe even more so, and that didn’t change when my blocker was doubled yet again.

    What did change when the T blocker was first doubled and my libido came back was that I was now for all intents and purposes, 100% gay. Even the thought of a man’s scent, men’s hairy bodies, or being kissed by a man, let alone doing anything further with one, usually drops my sexual interest all the way to zero. Meanwhile, orgasms, which had been more and more difficult to achieve (wow, there were several double entendres I could’ve used to describe that situation) became rare treasures that usually weren’t worth the bother or I didn’t care enough about to begin with. But suddenly, my mind was filled with fantasies that all revolve around cuddling and snuggling, making out, pillow talk, and lots and lots of caressing. It was a complete turnaround from sex for sex’s sake to sex as part of a much bigger romantic picture. I now think of cuddling with another woman as my favorite thing in the world, and have made waking every morning with the love of my life and I all over each other, completely tangled up together, one of major life goals.

    As far as my birth gender identity goes, I continue to completely identify with it and will never identify with the one assigned to me by society that my parents falsely believed was mine and raised me accordingly. I was born a girl, raised as a boy, but I’ve always been a girl and will always forever be a woman. I guess that was a nitpick on your choice of words. *wink*

    If someone asks me the question, “What do transsexuals do in bed?” I plan to answer much as you do, but hope to blow their minds. I’ll succinctly reply, “It depends on whether they are straight, gay, lesbian, bi or pansexual.” While they mull that over, perplexed, I’ll add, “Unless they’re asexual. Then the answer is nothing at all.” Boom. The inquirer’s head explodes.

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  7. themodernidiot

    “Your Mom” HAHA I’m so stealing that when they ask me how 2 chicks do it! Hands down, best answer to this type of question, ever.

    Reply
  8. Oh hey, guess I’ll weigh in. I was aware of the fact that I was transgender for sometime, it’s been a part of me since before I was a teenager. So that out of the way, I didn’t come out unfortunately till recently. I was always attracted to feminine features though, it’s fundamental to who I am, and despite hormone therapy that hasn’t changed. I’ve also retained my, uhm, strapless, I like to call it, and it’s functionality. I don’t have such a contentious view of that part of my body, and I don’t intend to change it.

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  9. I find myself being mostly asexual and celibate (I am transgender and a two spirit (a whole other topic, but basically a person in between who often acts as a bridge in every imaginable situation) even though I am married with two kids. I recognize michelleliana’s comment about not having much sex drive, plus I am busy to the point of being overwhelmed, between housekeeping, being with kids and providing them transportation, plus my involvement with my church. But what prompts me to write is to comment on the state of relationships between trans and non trans people. I define sexual orientation as being about gender identitiy of the person you want to be with rather than the genetalia of the person you want to be with. So if you are a pre-op f2m trans person still living as the opposite sex, and and you are in a relationship with a genetic woman, you are heterosexual because you have opposite gender identities. To me this is the only way to approach it that makes sense. You don’t fall in love with a person’s genitals, you fall in love with a person. But in the end, as Rose Colored Photo points out, it doesn’t really matter. As my friend Emily says, after a while you just look for the light in the person’s eyes.

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  10. Part of transition for me was losing my identity as a lesbian. Well meaning friends reminded me I was no longer a member of the tribe and to kindly return the toaster oven. The mourning period is over. And looking back I have a deeper appreciation for that tiny voice of doubt in my head constantly asking me about “really” being a lesbian in the first place.

    Reply
    • I got some of that, too, realizing I was bi. I wasn’t queer “enough” anymore. I wouldn’t say I’m still in mourning, but it definitely still rankles. Tribalism sucks.

      Reply
      • Yes it does. Humans seem to use exclusion as a way to feel included. It doesn’t have to be that way.

        Reply
      • I date a Bi Woman and I love her exactly as she is. I know that Bisexual people have a difficult row to hoe. The Lesbian/Gay community often reject them out of hand and the straight community does as well. There is the idea that Bisexual people don’t know what they want, want the best of both worlds, are confused, transitioning from one orientation to another. It’s a terrible way to act.

        I am sorry that you are not considered Queer “enough”, I am sorry that you get it from both sides. I am sorry that you are not accepted. I just want you to know that this member of “the tribe” thinks that there is plenty of room for anyone who wants a spot at the campfire.

        Reply
        • Thank you. I read your comment, too, and had had the urge to thank you for not being like that, but it sounded patronizing in my head.

          There are gays and straights alike who accept me as I am, just as there are those who don’t. But I think my gay circle of the time felt betrayed when I realized boys are fun, too. You’d think that they’d know better, since most had parents going through the same, but people can be irrational that way.

        • We all have to step carefully around each in team rainbow. 🙂

  11. My take is that labels are only useful insofar as they facilitate communication. Not to be glib or dismissive, but if the available labels don’t fit, fuck ’em. Be you.

    I don’t pretend this is remotely comparable, but having grown up identifying as lesbian (I proposed to a little girl named Laura when we were 4), and then discovering I was bi in my teens, I have a great deal of difficulty defining sex, as opposed to foreplay or making out. To the point that when asked, I have to say I have no idea how many people I’ve had sex with. When does it ‘count?’ And I’m fine with that.

    Perhaps a similar attitude to your orientation would be helpful. You’re attracted to whomever you’re attracted to, so sleep with whomever you want (even if that’s no one). Though I suppose that would probably be considered pansexual, so there’s a handy word if you want one.

    Reply
    • It may or may not be at all helpful, but I have a simple rule for when it counts as sex. Whenever you do something with another person that, whether it did or it didn’t, *could* result in an orgasm, using any body part(s), clothed or not, it’s sex.

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  12. Michelle – your post was very insightful and well written – thank you so much for sharing.
    My cisgender is female (I’m still not sure If I’m using the term correctly so guidance is welcome) and I am very aware of the privilege that comes with that.

    I have thought, with concern, about the difficulty that attempting to assign orientation and being trans* can create. Unless the Trans* person identifies as Bi there is no orientation that really fits “gay” or “straight” concept since you will either feel attraction towards the gender you were born or the gender you are. What a tangled mess – I can see the wisdom of being celibate until you get all the bits and pieces sorted out.

    I was raised to believe that I was straight, as this was the only option. I dated men and eventually married one. The conversations or apparent curiosity about sex was minimal and then tended to be in socially appropriate times. Right before the wedding a few jokes are common, when you first start dating and the question of “have you done IT yet?”. And of course concern or curiosity about the possible outcome of cisgendered heterosexual intercourse – babies.

    When I got married, up to the point of the wedding I was told we were “too young” or it was “too soon”. As soon as I came back from the honeymoon “when are you going to have kids?” . . . really? I’m too young to be married but I should be a mother?

    After several years of marriage our relationship became poly and another woman joined us. We had known her as long as we had known each other and I realized that I was in love with her. I always had been.

    While we were in that relationship the direct questions we got that involved the bedroom involved literal sleeping arrangements. As in where do you put three bodies in a bed during not awake time – some even said they didn’t want to know about sexy time.

    BUT the indirect questions and comments generally cast us into three roles. The male was a stud, pimp, manly man, lucky or impressive. Occasionally he got sympathy for living with (read put up with) two women.

    As the legally recognized partner I was deluded, foolish, abused, confused, allowing this to happen. The non legally recognized partner was a whore, foolish, confused, ruining the marriage.

    Both of us – as females – were responded to with a certain amount of disdain or assumption that we were promiscuous. Poly implied looseness of morals or willingness to have sex, much in the same way that Bi Sexuallity means that the person must want to sleep with everyone.

    Eventually the other female partner and I left the male because the male was abusive and it was a bad relationship. Poly is not inherently bad but being in a relationship with a Narcissist is.

    It took me a year to sort out my orientation and it actually was easier when I stopped caring, identified as Queer. I figured I love who I love, and what does it matter who it is. Once I relaxed and stopped fussing I realized I’m a lesbian. It worked for me, it won’t always work for everyone. My partner is Bisexual and we work very well together.

    And now that there are two of us, the sex stigma and unasked questions remain. People who are really comfortable and accepting don’t seem to give it a lot of thought. There are no long looks, raised eyebrows and half said comments.

    People who disapprove or think we are wrong, sinful, an abomination they can’t handle it. Any sign of affection between us, or physical contact sends eyebrows climbing to the hairline, pursed lips, sighs of disapproval or pointed stares to the other side of the room. We are fairly low on the PDA scale. We occasionally link arms, gently touch a should or an arm, lean on one another or throw an arm around the other one. When we kiss in front of others it’s short usually as a goodbye.

    The sex lives of the LGBT community is under more discussion and consideration than any other group.

    Reply

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