Posts tagged: sexuality

Sex, sexuality, and surgery

By , December 12, 2011 1:34 pm

No one looks like they're enjoying this situation, to be honest

In Which A Question Is Asked

What does it mean to be a sexual trans person? A sexual trans woman?

Sidenote: I’m looking for my copy of Fucking Trans Women, an awesome e-zine available at http://fuckingtranswomen.com/. I know I bought and downloaded it, but am having trouble finding it. I emailed the site owners, tho, and hopefully they’ll be willing to send me another copy. At the very worst, I can spare another $5 for their great project.

Back on topic, I think being trans and sexual is tough for me (gonna try to use ‘I’ statements in this post, and not make generalizations) in part due to the huge variety of mixed messages I’ve received over the last 27 years. I’m sure I’m missing some categories, but here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Messages about male sexuality, even though I didn’t identify as male
  • Messages about female sexuality, which I picked up even though I wasn’t yet presenting as female
  • Messages about heterosexual sexuality, mainly from when I was presenting as a straight male
  • Messages about queer sexuality, both before and after I came out
  • Messages about specifically lesbian sexuality, again from both before and after I came out
  • And last-but-never-least, messages about specifically trans sexuality, limited primarily to ‘chicks with dicks’ and ‘she-male’ porn

Continue reading 'Sex, sexuality, and surgery'»

Interview with Jaclyn Friedman, author of What You Really Really Want

By , November 7, 2011 3:12 pm

A while back, I was able to participate in workshops around Jaclyn Friedman’s creation of her latest book, What You Really Really Want. The book has been released (WOO!) :  and this post is a stop in Jaclyn’s blog tour. The full title of WYRRW is What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety. Be sure to check out her next stop tomorrow at Tiger Beatdown.

REBECCA KLING: For how long has this book been bouncing around in your mind? In the introduction to WYRRW, you talk about an interview surrounding the release of Yes Means Yes (released in 2008) which you co-edited with Jessica Valenti. In that interview, a reporter asked how women are supposed “to figure out what we want to say ‘yes’ to in the first place.” Would you place the creation of this book around that time, or further back?

JACLYN FRIEDMAN: That was definitely the question that first planted the seed. Honestly, I didn’t give a very complete answer at the time. I think I said, basically, you have to try things, and follow your intuition as to which things to try and who to try them with, and then learn from your experiments. And that it had taken me, personally, a long time to figure things out, and that in some ways I still was, and might always be. Which I still stand by, but is wildly oversimple. And then when I started hearing it over and over from different women as I toured for Yes Means Yes, I realized that I had a lot to share about what I’d learned along my own sexual journey, through personal experience, reading and talking with other people, all kinds of things. That’s when I realized that the answer to this crucial, recurring question was really a book.

RK: WYRRW is by no means aimed exclusively at young women, but throughout the book you discuss the cultural messages aimed at young women. How has what you “really really want” when it comes to sex changed from when you were growing up to now?

JF: I long ago stopped faking orgasms, so that’s a big change! In a funny way, I behave less “certainly” in my sexual interactions now than I did when I was first dipping my toe in those waters. Back then, I thought I needed to be “good at” sex in order to please my partners – and as much as I enjoyed sex when I was younger (and I really did, that’s for sure), I was heavily invested in pleasing at the expense of my own satisfaction. In some ways, I got lucky — my early sexual partners were decent people who also cared about pleasing, and honestly, everything about sex was so exciting then that I was getting a lot out of it without having to do much self-centering or self-reflection. But I’ve also just stopped caring so much about being magically, seamlessly “good” at sex, because I’ve learned two key things. The first is that that’s a meaningless concept to begin with: everybody likes different things, so the only real way to be a good lover is to get better at communicating with your partner(s) about needs, desires, preferences and boundaries. It’s really all about learning how to pay attention to yourselves and each other. Well, and it’s all about the other big thing I’ve learned since then, which is that the experimentation and discovery that you can only enjoy if you come to sex clear that there aren’t “answers,” and even if there were, you don’t know them, that sense of playfulness and co-creation is one of the best parts of sex. I wouldn’t trade it for all the certainty in the world. Continue reading 'Interview with Jaclyn Friedman, author of What You Really Really Want'»

Sex and vegetarians

By , June 17, 2010 9:49 am

I’ve been thinking about sex. With men.

This isn’t something I’m sure I want to do – now or ever – but it’s something thathas been on my mind for a long time. And, as my transition had progressed and I’ve moved from being perceived as a man to being perceived as a woman, the idea has seemed less and less outlandish.

It’s kind of like being a vegetrarian.

Continue reading 'Sex and vegetarians'»

Sex and sensibility: thinking about attraction

By , May 20, 2010 3:04 pm

The obligatory 'queer sexuality' symbol

A while back, beo_shaffer asked how I feel (sexually) about “people with non-binary gender [and] about other transsexuals?” I’ve been thinking a lot about it since then, and realized I don’t have a quick-and-easy answer. So I’m going to use this post to talk about beo’s question, but also to more broadly consider my own sexuality.

I identify as a lesbian. And I think, to some extent, that means I’m saying that binary genders are important to me sexually. Or, at the very least, that I perceive people within binary gender categories, even though politically I don’t think we should see people that way and it’s something I’ve tried to overcome when I notice myself doing it.

At the same time, I do find the idea of penetration to be a turn on. I know penetration is not an inherently heterosexual act, but I’ve been exposed to 25+ years of heteronormative culture and I do associate the two to some extent. While I’m coming to understand a much wider (and healthier) concept of sexuality – one not so penis-in-vagina-centric – most erotica I’ve read has been heterosexual. Mainly because I can’t find reliably good lesbian erotica. (Suggestions welcome!) And while I’ve never found a specific man to be attractive, the theoretical idea of being with a man sexually is interesting to me. (Probably due in no small part to the copious amounts of erotica I’ve read over the years…)

To put it another way, I feel like I’d probably be a five on the Kinsey Scale – I could imagine having fun in a heterosexual sexual experience, but it’s not what primarily ‘does it’ for me.

Continue reading 'Sex and sensibility: thinking about attraction'»

Sex, and the effects of hormones (pt 1)

By , September 25, 2009 12:03 am

I think it’s false to say transitioning allows you to experience the world “as a man and a woman.” While is has given me insight into how those around me treat people they perceive as men and women, I never 100% thought of myself as a man and am not 100% confident of myself as a woman – I would say I’ve only rarely experienced the world “as a man” or “as a woman” to begin with.

(Fortunately, the insight on how people see me has mostly been “Wow, I’m surrounded almost entirely by really awesome people who basically don’t treat me any differently.”)

However, transitioning has given me the opportunity (or inevitability, depending on your point of view) to experience the world hormonally as a man and a woman. At least, that’s what my endocrinologist tells me, seeing as I had normal testosterone levels and now have normal estrogen levels. Some of the effects of that have been the standard or expected stuff: heightened emotions, redistribution of body fat, loss of muscle (particularly upper-body muscle), etc. And as I’ve said before, “heightened emotions” means I cry easier, yes, but I also laugh easier. I used to really pride myself on being able to keep a straight face, and it’s much harder – often impossible – now that I’ve been on hormones for two years.

What no one really mentioned (at least, no one I’ve really been able to find) is how all those hormones effect your sex drive, sexuality, and experience of sex.

Continue reading 'Sex, and the effects of hormones (pt 1)'»

Porn! (And sex in general)

By , September 10, 2009 7:14 pm

I’ve been thinking recently about a topic I haven’t really touched on at The Thang Blog: Porn. More broadly, sex in general. I’ve talked about it a bit – and obviously have been thinking about it – but I’ve sort of danced around writing any specific posts

On the one hand, this blog has been helpful in my own processing of my transition and experiences as a trans woman; that’s one of the reasons I originally started this blog. Likewise, a discussion of trans sexuality is something I’ve looked for (hence the Feministing advice write-in) and a part of me feels like, “Well, if I can’t find it I should just write it myself!”

On the other hand, I know friends of mine – not to mention significant others – read this blog. I put this blog on show materials to try and generate interest. I’m not thrilled of the idea that friends, coworkers, family, might read a post on porn preferences or sexual positions. And I do think there are ethical issues of discussing sex without first talking to the people who I’ve had sex with…would you want to read a friend’s blog and see an explicit description of a time you had sex? (Or implicit, for that matter.)

I’ve also thought of starting a separate blog to discuss exclusively that, but I’m not dying to deal with the additional work (and website registration fee) that would require. I also would obviously like to use the readers I already have, rather than say, “Oh, I just happened to stumble across this new blog about trans sexuality! It’s a total coincidence that the author has a writing style very similar to mine…”

Has anyone out there in reader-land had any similar experiences with their own writings? How did you deal with it? Any general thoughts on why posting about sex might or might not be a good idea?

I (Heart) My Friends

By , August 20, 2009 11:48 pm

Twice in the last twenty-four hours I had an experience that really reminded me how awesome my friends are.

First, last night, I was talking with both of my roommates. We had one of those long, meandering conversations, and it came up that a girl we all knew in highschool was engaged. This was particularly noteworthy because she’d dated another girl in highschool for about a year, and explicitly identified herself as a lesbian at the time.

One of my roommates said something along the lines of, “So she was gay then, but is straight now.” I was about to speak up and point out that sexual identity doesn’t need to be so simple, that A) bi people exist, and B) there are other possibilities as well (that she only publicly identified as a lesbian but never really felt it, that she only now publicly identifies as straight but doesn’t really feel it, that she doesn’t identify with any mainstream sexuality, and so on).

But, before I could, my other roommate said almost exactly that.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in a liberal group of friends to begin with. But there’s a big difference between being liberal-and-well-meaning-but-still-ignorant and absorbing all of the identity politics I sometimes feel like I spew. So it felt really good to hear one of my roommates speak up against making assumptions about identity and, on top of that, point out that sexuality doesn’t need to be a binary.

Continue reading 'I (Heart) My Friends'»

Social Circles

By , July 18, 2009 2:08 am

I’ve mentioned before that I live in the same city in which I grew up. (Well, the larger city imediately south of the city in which I grew up.) I’m living with friends from highschool, working with organizations where I was involved pre-transition, and so on. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to me at this point that A) I’m going to run into people at parties who I haven’t seen since highschool and B) most of my friends (and their friends) are not queer.

Continue reading 'Social Circles'»

Transitioning and Changing Sexuality

By , May 25, 2009 1:29 am

Feministing has a regular sex advice column called Ask Professor Foxy. I submitted a question about sexuality changing over the course of the transition, which was posted – along with a response – earlier today. The basis of the question was this: I’m a trans woman in the process of transitioning, and having a lot of frustration in figuring out how to deal with my ever-changing sexuality.

And from the resposne:

Part of this process is also going to have to be exploring your new body and your new desires and not judging yourself during this process. You can even think of it as a burden or as an extra gift during transition. Unlike cisgendered women, who typically have to get used to things on their body, you are going to be able to explore things on your body that you very much want: the breasts, the hips you will likely develop. Enjoy it!

It’s definitely worth reading, but what’s a lot more interesting is the comments…

Continue reading 'Transitioning and Changing Sexuality'»

Trans-sexual

By , February 21, 2009 8:59 pm

Trans blogger Rebecca, over at Rebecca’s Thoughts recently had a post, Heat, about how her experience being sexual has changed recently as part of the transition. Obviously, everyone’s transition is different, unique experiences, my transition doesn’t mirror hers, bla bla bla standard disclaimers. That said, I certainly identified with many moments in her post, and if you’re curious how trans womens’ sexuality can change (not will change, but can) you should read it. From her post:

And the orgasms? Well, they are now better and worse, to be honest. Worse in that they are no longer quite as pleasurable in many ways, due to the arousal and sensitivity issues, and because any arousal now causes that intense pain. But much better in that the actual orgasm, if achievable, is completely different, and quite awesome, now. In addition to there being virtually no discharge anymore (yeah!), the orgasm presents itself as a growing warmth in my groin, and upon release floods my entire body in intense waves of pleasure. I’ve actually found myself having to really watch my volume! and I usually end up giggling afterward. Anyway, not having grown up with a female body, I’m not sure what exactly to make of this. But from what I’ve read and been told by my girlfriends, it sounds like I’m well on my way to having full-on female orgasms.

Check it out.

-R

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