I woke up this morning with a lyric stuck in my mind, along with a number of thoughts about sex.
When this song was written there was so much negative stigma about sex in the LGBTQ+ communities, specifically surrounding AIDS and HIV. I’m not going to lie I fell victim to the false information. I mistakenly believed it was a “Gay” disease, and possibly a judgement from god. (I was very foolish, impressionable, & afraid.) The song also deals with misogyny and teen pregnancy.
I was 23 and trying so very hard to be the person I was told I should be. I attended and volunteered in a christian (mormon) church. My ex-wife was pregnant with our first child. I was also trying feverishly to hide and extinguish who I was afraid I was. The things I hid at this time were my need to express my femininity, my expanding sense of attraction to people I thought at the time to be the same gender, and my self exploration of penetrative anal sex. Surely if I let anyone in on my secrets I would eventually catch AIDS and die. I must again state how foolish and lacking in knowledge I was.
The portion of the song I quoted now has many more meanings to me than when I first heard it.
Let’s talk about sex…uality!
Back in the 80’s and 90’s I had only heard of Gay & Lesbian, and I was told both were evil things to choose. WOW! I was a very sheltered and unknowing young woman. I had also heard of transsexuals but thought them to be a kink in the Gay world. To be clear being Transgender or Transsexual is NOT… I repeat NOT a sexuality. Being Transgender or Transsexual is a person’s identity.
Sexuality = Who I am attracted to
Identity = Who I am
Some of you may have cringed seeing that I use the word transsexual. I use this word based on it's true meaning. One who has changed their sex. Crossing from one sex to another. I consider myself to be a transgender person who is taking the medical steps to become a transsexual person. The use of the term transsexual in reference to sexuality or a kink or fetish infers that because a person is transsexual they are someone to be fetishized. This is a hateful and damaging perspective.
A person’s sexuality can seem to shift over time. I used to think I was a heterosexual male. I forced myself into believing that anything outside of the heteronormative realm was bad. WOW! Was I wrong! Deep introspection of who I am and my beliefs brought me to the conclusion that I am indeed not male. I may currently have some male body parts but they do not define who I am. My old perspective of being heterosexual was also challenged. I learned that this perspective, for me, was based on unfounded fears. As I discovered more about who I am, I removed most of the fears from my life. This allowed me to understand my sexuality more in depth. To others and even to myself these actions and understanding may have appeared to be a shift in my sexuality. I am learning that this was always part of who I am and always have been and what type of person I am attracted to.
As I grew in years and knowledge, I came to understand there are seemingly infinite labels for a person’s sexuality. I now feel the most accurate term to describe my sexuality is Omnisexual. I am attracted to people of every gender presentation but I recognize I have a preference to those who are more feminine. How my attraction manifests also differs in relation to a person, their expresion, parts, and hearts. If you are interested, this article from Cosmo (Yes, that Cosmo!) contains a listing of many sexualities using inclusive language. A Comprehensive List of Sexualities to Know, From Pomosexual to Heteroflexible
Let’s talk about sex…ual experience
I want to make something crystal clear. A person’s sexual experience does not dictate their sexuality. I will explain this using myself as an example.
I have only ever had sexual experiences with cisgender females. If this defined my sexuality I would be labeled a Lesbian. Hang on! NO! I love and find things sexually attractive about males, non-binary, gender fluid and agender people too! Recently in a peer support group I stated it this way: Uhhh adult humans? YES Please! This is a bit extreme to explain my attractions. They are far more nuanced. Because I am able to be attracted to pretty much the whole range of humanity does not mean I want to have sex with them all. I still have my personal standards. I am also in a relationship with my very loving, and compassionate wife.
I also want to express how I used to, and how I now experience sex from a mental awareness and thought process perspective.
As a young girl with male parts, the feelings and ways I thought of sex were to say the least, confusing! I wanted to feel pretty, dress sexy, develop breasts, and be penetrated during sex. How could I do this and remain the person I was supposed to be? My male parts demanded that I fall in line with other males. They demanded that I own the role of the penetrator in a sexual encounter as something I was entitled to because I looked and acted male. I tried to own this role for many years. I had a number of encounters. No, I’m not telling you my body count. Each of these encounters were very gratifying physically. The thing is, something always felt off afterwards.
This “off” feeling made me think I was either not doing it right or not frequent enough. I did what heteronormative males do, I overcompensated. My body count grew and so did that feeling of something being “off”. Eventually I tried what the church was telling me to do. Move my sexual encounters into a relationship with one person and begin a family. Supposedly following god’s plan of procreation was supposed to bring me sexual fulfilment. It did not. Was I with the wrong partner? Yes, but because my belief system had revealed itself to be different from what I originally understood it to be. Maybe I needed variety? Many views I was exposed to indicated that males needed a wide variety of partners and how shal I say it “Unique” experiences. I became “That Guy”, and still something was “off”. Eventually I settled into a relationship which I still very much enjoy and want to be in.
Let’s talk about sex…ual dysfunction.
All throughout these experiences I continued to hide who I truly was. I also continued to discover more of who I am. My “off” feeling grew at a controlled rate. When I finally came to the understanding that I am female, my “off” feeling made sense. It’s growth suddenly moved from a steady growth pattern to an exponential model. That is to say, each time I experienced it, the feeling seemed to double if not triple. My encounters also shifted to those of a solo nature. My “off” feeling has also been compounded by the dysphoria encountered by having a sexual experience as a female minded person with body parts which many females do not have.
The spironolactone and estrogen I take to assist my bodily changes and ease the mental anguish I feel also somewhat ease the newly modified “off” feeling. They do this by bringing on erectile dysfunction (E.D.) and changes in how I experience an orgasm. The medications at first decreased my libido. The addition of progesterone has brought back and even increased my libido. While I welcome the E.D. some transgender girls do not. My inner self image does not have a penis while my current physical self does. If you haven’t thought to yourself how does this work now, go ahead now and think about it and how it may disrupt your thoughts of sex and the encounters you have. While I still crave a sexual encounter it is not the one I used to know. This change and the discrepancy between my mental image of how my encounter should be and how it physically has to take place makes for many difficulties in reaching my goal. This is further compounded by the recommendation that a transgender female try to stay sexually active (even if solo) so the donor tissue does not atrophy.
Let’s talk about sex…ual stigma and misconception.
Since coming out as a transgender woman I have been asked by many more people about my active sexual encounters than ever before. Most of these have been medical professionals. While I understand the need for an accurate health history, working on the assumptions that transgender women have unhealthy and risky sexual encounters is just that, an assumption. Questioning us further when our sexual history is documented in our charts leads to a mistrust in the medical relationship.
My active sexual encounters have also been questioned by random people and even friends. This in none of your business unless we are about to have a sexual encounter.
Many scenarios assume that a transgender person is more promiscuous that the rest of the population. Sadly in some cases transgender people have had to turn to the sex work trades to continue to survive. A sexual encounter with a transgender person has also seen by some as an accomplishment to be achieved. Generalizations like these dehumanize and fetishize us. These actions are very damaging to our mental health. Many of us develop a false sense that we are not worthy of an actual healthy relationship, especially one that includes sex.
Misconceptions of transgender people directly relate to our physical safety too. Many times have I wondered if I will live past an encounter where someone finds out that I am transgender. Please keep in mind that I do not purposefully put myself into a circumstance where my safety would be at risk. These thoughts of mine on this subject tend to deal with only one possible future where I may seek a sexual relationship.
Let’s talk about sex…ual thoughts
Transgender people think about sex as much as the rest of humanity. My thoughts on the subject have definitely changed and continue to evolve as I discover more about myself, and my body. This entire article and many more thoughts were spawned by just having that simple song lyric stuck in my head.
We enjoy fantasies, role play, and even many kinks that the rest of humanity also enjoys. Assuming that we will enjoy something simply because we are transgender again dehumanizes and fetishizes us. We just need some extra time to deal with all of the other mental clutter left over from years of hiding our true selves. I’m very hopeful that when my body is in more alignment with my self image that most of these extra thoughts will no longer invade the pleasant and good thoughts I have when I am presented with thoughts of sexual encounters. I know the fear of not surviving an encounter will always weigh heavy on my mind.