Oh Hey, I Have Sex Too. Surprise!

14Feb10

Warning: Some of the material described in this post may contain triggering descriptions of an abusive relationship that involved a rape. I tried to keep the description abstract but it may still be a problem for some. Some of the material in here may not be appropriate for younger readers as it describes in detail sexual acts and sexual methodology.

There’s that word again.

Sex.

A scary word for a lot of people. Some with more reason than others. But sex is a part of a fairly significant number of people’s live. Whether you’re busy telling other people not to have it or how to have it or just trying to figure out what you like, sex is something that a good chunk of people struggle with a bit. I’m no exception to this rule. I’m sex positive (in terms that I regard any consensual, risk aware sexual activity to be absolutely fine and feel that when it comes to sex, people should respect others’ expression), pro self employed worker controlled porn and pro self employed worker controlled sex work. But I’m also not exactly a whirling maelstrom of sexual activity. In fact, I don’t have sex a lot and tend to be extraordinarily picky about who I have sex with and in what contexts. Of course, this isn’t exactly a shock (unless you’re a prescriptivist jackass or competitive douche who believes that sex positive translates into “fucktoy” or “fuck machine” respectively) when you take into account my personal disposition (I’m actually fairly shy and very picky about both personality and looks, although personality does trump looks).

In case you’re new here (and can’t read the damn title), I’m a trans woman with disabilities. This can present some complications to sex that cis and/or abled people may have a lack of awareness on. Or assume make us automatically asexual, cuz yanno that isn’t erasing to actual asexual people too.

Namely, the fact dissonance, chronic pain, depression, anxiety and especially ableism and transphobia can be very disruptive to things like sex. Now this isn’t to say that all trans people and people with disabilities have the same complications I do or any at all. But all trans women have the potential to face objectification in the trans fetish community (and all trans guys have the potential to face fetishization by the lesbian community) and the complications of partner rejection for being trans. You can even end up risking assault, abuse, rape and murder from seeking a partner (or two or more) and/or dating people while trans (and clearly, these risks worsen exponentially for every kyriarchal oppression axis that you are subject to beyond being trans). Certainly, we’re very vulnerable to sexual and domestic violence and abuse (trigger warning). Combine that with being PWD and things get notably worse (that exponential boost of risks thing again). After all, there’s a large community of folk with a fetish attraction to PWD too. And just like the trans fetish community, this community has a widespread issue with its members engaging in objectification (something that, just like in the trans fetish community, dismayingly few of its members seem interested in preventing). PWD also have high rates of assault, abuse and rape.

The abuse I faced was largely orientated around me being trans (objectifying behaviors by my ex, pushing to get me to transition faster and in a way my ex felt I ought to be) and me being a PWD (the overdosing me with painkillers and the mistreatment for my depression and chronic pain) and I was raped almost entirely for reasons related to me being trans (specifically a sexual issue related to being trans that I had mused about but had no intention testing. My ex took that choice away from me).

So even navigating a relationship with other people while trans and PWD can be messy, even moreso when sex gets involved. But it isn’t just danger that provides complications for me. Let’s face it. I’m not exactly pleased with my genitals. I’ve got bodily dissonance (also commonly called bodily dysphoria or gender dysphoria as it pertains to the body), an issue that many trans folk have. This provides some complication for the actual actions of sex (which can and do involve genitals). I’m not incapable of being sexually stimulated, but it does require a little bit of extra work to avoid a dissonance attack in the middle of sex (something that is never ever fun. No, not ever). Before I went on hormones, I had dissonance regarding my entire body (the hair volume, the boxy shape of my fat and muscle, the lack of breasts) not just my genitals and facial hair. Sex was so difficult back then that I mostly didn’t bother. So I went through a lot of relationships sort of sexually dead to my partners. This was an issue especially in community college, where I was within a really sexually active group of friends (it was very much the “everyone has fucked everyone else” sort of group). So I passed up a lot of virginity loss crusades (for moral reasons and just cuz I was so adverse to sex, this included a virginity loss crusade by a guy which quashed the idea that I was some sort of a gay guy or something), relationships and involvements for the simple fact that sex was such a major part of them. Out of the only two women I actually dated back then I’m fairly certain that one of them broke up with me because she interpreted my lack of sexing her up combined with my inclination to be protective of people I care about to be some sort of “gentlemanly knight in shiny armor” thing and decided that she didn’t deserve me (or she was cheating on someone else with me, rumors were abounding about that one). The other one I actually broke up with for distance reasons (I was moving post AS graduation and transferring to a 4 year school for a BS, where I would be financially pillaged by the school) but neither of us really became sexual during the time we dated.

My first actually sexually active dating relationship was with a cis woman who lived in the dorms of the school I transferred to (yes I waited till late college) and that’s where I really first confirmed that my dissonance was a serious fucking problem. It wasn’t that the sex was bad or anything, I just found that virtually all of my problems with it were linking right back to how much I absolutely hated my body. My disabilities didn’t play a role in that relationship (they weren’t visible yet) nor did hers (I never really had much of a problem with mental illness in partners). I’d like to believe that my white privilege didn’t mess with that relationship either but my lack of perspective in that zone means that I’ll prolly never know unless I get back in touch with her. Subsequent relationships were online, with my aversion towards dealing with people up close in the dating scene (which seems more just my personality) and they lacked any form of sex due to dissonance (and due to long distance. I don’t count cybering which wasn’t subject to the limitations mentioned here for me). In fact, it was only until I met my current partner (who is nonbinary gender fluid trans and trying to find a way to transition to a more neutral zone), who actually went out of their way to avoid my dissonance (I had figured out that I was trans by then, although not the details, i.e. that I was a transsexual woman) that I had a truly fulfilling sexual relationship. Likewise, before my abusive ex became abusive (and became an ex) during the poly relationship with my current partner, they too attempted to avoid the dissonance (although the ex did keep on trying to get me to let oral be done to me, a bit of foreshadowing of the creepy chaser esque actions that occurred later). And the fourth and final individual that I’ve been sexual with in meatspace is a bigendered individual, specifically to experiment on some sexuality and attraction stuff (nothing really came of that, unfortunately). So that’s… 4 people I’ve been involved with sexually? Yeah, not exactly a prowling sex fiend. Dissonance has always been a big hang up. It played a role in worsening my being raped (since the sexual act in question was dissonance inducing normally) and it acts as a stumbling block for any sexual activity now that involves my genitals (oral and penetration both being too distinct as sensations for me to handle).

I include the issues from my past trauma because that may very well come under the heading of disabilities and the trauma itself was targeted on me due to being trans (if a bit indirectly). So getting triggered during sex was a major risk as well as having a flashback.

Complications and small number of past partners aside, I wasn’t completely screwed (pun totally intended). I found workarounds for the dissonance, namely, mutual masturbation. Mutual masturbation did pose some issues. Namely that it didn’t sound right and continued to remind me of my structure, inducing dissonance. So finally I had the novel idea to amp up the amount of lube that was used so that the sound was more like that a vagina made when a hand enters it (I pretty much just needed to get close enough to a different sound than “cock wanking” to help my brain not return to that concept). That worked adequately enough that sex moved from “completely unworkable exercise in dissonance pain” to “Russian Roulette” where all the barrels but one are filled with happy and one has a painful bullet. As in, even with the aid of not looking at my genitals and using the extra lube, I sometimes still couldn’t escape from the knowledge that yes, that’s a cock down there and then I fell apart.

That being said, I really really fucking (not a pun this time, I swear) enjoy sex. Oh noes! I’ve gone against the established and expected narrative! What ever will we do?! *gaspfaint* Once I got methodology down that made sex workable for me, coping methods and techniques (and had some help from the biological shifting of estrogen for my body), I developed a pretty vibrant sex life. That got kind of kicked in the head by the steadily mounting abuse and later rape, but after some time to recover from that, my sexual drive and enjoyment rebounded to previous levels and even boosted. Probably because my ex did some creepy stuff that took away from it and my lack of confidence from the abuse and transition delays didn’t help so once those were gone things improved. But it could also just be that as I’ve gotten more confident in myself and my body and as the dissonance fades more from estrogen modification of my body, my sexual drive and capacity to follow it have increased steadily.

Sexuality isn’t just having sex, there’s also the attractions. I’m queer, formerly identified as a lesbian, and my sexual attractions have not fundamentally changed in any way since before transition. I just use wording that does not exclude or erase trans folk (binary or nonbinary/GQ) or use transphobic and binarist tropes against trans folks (binary or nonbinary/GQ). Trust me on this lack of change, I have experimented. Nada. Zip. I still regard pansexuality/omnisexuality as a bit of a superpower and there’s nothing to say that my steadily growing confidence in my body, my reducing dissonance and my inclination to not really like identity labels much (and not be invested in say, only being attracted to certain people due to them) won’t grease the rails towards self discovery of a wider range of sexuality in me than I had previously found. Fingers crossed, right? I also do the BDSM thing and I’m a bit interesting in that I’m a switch on the dom/sub line, but apparently not on the sadism/masochism line. So, my mood will shift whether I want to be tied up (yes I use rope) and submissive or tie someone else up and be dominant, but I’m always a sadist. I’m not one of those super “omg I’ve done everything BDSM under the sun” kind of practitioners. I do what I like, explore a few things here and there and don’t really involve myself with the community (transphobia and ableism being the main reasons). I know, shocking that a sex possie just sticks to her tastes and isn’t a fucktoy or nothing. AWE AND SHOCKERY.

This post was kind of rambling for a reason. I’m not really trying to make any major particular point here. Well okay, one point. Too many of us (trans folk and people with disabilities or both) are badgered or intimidated into silence by gatekeepers, feminists and a society that regards our sexuality as disgusting and our bodies as wrong and unwanted. Well, I’m done with that. It’s time to reclaim my sexuality from a cissupremacist society that seeks to take it from me and either use it for its own consumption (as though I were merely a commodity) or smother it out like a dying ember. So I rambled. About how I have sex, what I face in it, what I enjoy. And there will be more ramblings in the future. More explorations of me as a sexual being.

And I won’t stop. No matter how many radscums try to twist it for their bigoted bullshit. No matter how many gatekeeping cis folk or gender policing HBSers try to use what I say to invalidate my existence. No matter how many chasers come here to treat me like a piece of meat. My sexuality is my own and I damn well will fucking defend it from everyone that seeks to wrest control of it away from me or quash my expression of it.

Sad that our world is so fucked up that just being open about sex would subject me to all of that shit. Sad that a trans woman with disabilities being open about what she likes and what she does in the bedroom, no matter what sexuality she has or even if she’s vanilla, is a radical act. Oh well, time to be radical.

I have sex. It isn’t always easy. But I still like it and I still have it. Quite a bit.

Get fucking used to it, society. Cuz I’m not stopping.



18 Responses to “Oh Hey, I Have Sex Too. Surprise!”

  1. Great post! All this stuff about sex reminds me, Dave Hingsburger is hosting a Disability and Sex Fest for Valentines Day. See his reminder post for more details. I already wrote up a post that is scheduled to automatically post at midnight, but because I am a virgin in all respects, I couldn’t really go into so much detail. Maybe this could count for that or else you could write up another one for tomorrow.

  2. I am not sure if I have ever had it as severe as you, but everytime I “wank” without my clothes on and look down, I have this moment of “oh” and whatever fun I was having evaporates.

    RP, you doing special tomorrow or do you not much care for the day?

  3. I wish sex didn’t have to be so complicated, but it is. I never know whether it (the complicated nature of it, and it in relation to everything else) is inherent or purely created by society or both.

    I’m glad you still have it and like it though.

  4. 4 nome

    Beautiful post! I’m trying to work out my sexuality on many of the same levels – trans, past abuse – and having a hell of a time with it. It’s great to see examples where you can work it out and have enjoyable sex. I have the hardest time even making out without hitting a trigger about my ex, although I luckily am pretty safe on the gender side of triggers. I’m lucky also to’ve found a partner who is willing to work with me on having those good experiences without all the badness attached to many of those actions in my head.

    Ya, I’ve also found that mutual masturbation is much more pleasant and less trigger-y for me.

  5. “Singles Awareness Day” and/or “Bribe Your Lover Day” don’t really hold my interest. XD

  6. I dunno, this one goes a lot more into the trans side of it. I didn’t go in depth on my disabilities.

  7. 7 Srsooudi

    Wow! You are such a strong person (sounds corny I know) thank you for sharing you story, experiences, and views. I wish more people would do this. I have mental illness and it makes me so angry, & thus more depressed, when it effects my sex drive. Sex is very important to me. My sexuality, pan, and tastes are things I want to develop and share with my husband. It has been difficult for me to accept this side of myself because it isn’t “mainstream”. But now I ramble.
    Reading this encourages me to accept myself. Sorry for all the pain you have suffered. But thank you again for pereservering and sharing.

  8. 8 nome

    It seems to be a lot of both. Like, for past abuse, it’s definitely something very personal but if our society didn’t create such messed up views of love perhaps my ex wouldn’t have acted the way he did. And if society were more accepting, it would be easier for me on a gender-level but being trans also means there’s a lot of feeling out to be done around personal preferences, limits, etc. Society doesn’t help in these matters but some of it seems rather inherent to me, at least until the problems are dealt with. All of these things can be figured out (if people have love and support, and the strength to work through it) but it’s definitely not easy…

  9. 9 Lindsaydianne

    Wooohooo! Never let them shut you up, or even quiet you down. A healthy human mind/soul/body requires love, affection, stimulation and suitable contact. We each need to explore closely our own capacities for love, as well as those possessed by others.
    Can you imagine what it must be like to live with that hate in your heart? What causes it? I dunno.

    Now I be rambling, my point is only that your honesty and attitude speak of the strongest moral fibre. I enjoy reading, even though your tales sometimes break my heart; each of us does have a lifetime of ups and downs to experience and grow through. Thanks for letting us come along with yours.

  10. Don’t forget asexual people. They’re perfectly healthy. Just have a different attraction set (i.e. 0)

  11. 11 muse

    Thank you for sharing! This takes a lot of courage. I’m going to respond to this with essentially a “skill share” – some strategies that you might have tried but might not have tried. I’m not trying to be condescending or exercise my cis privilege and I hope it doesn’t come off that way.

    As a kinky disabled cisfemme who is attracted to feminine-presenting people with any sort of genital configuration, let me share a couple things I’ve found that worked for various partners in terms of avoiding triggering. These also work well for me if I’m having sex with my male partner:

    1. grinding, clothes on or off (including latex & lube if necessary). This can be a pretty genitalia-neutral-feeling sex act, and the word grinding is pretty neutral.
    2. spreading my own labia and straddling my partner’s genitalia with no penetration, and then grinding (lube and latex as appropriate). I consider this tribadism and use appropriate vocabulary.
    3. mutual masturbation is also a good one, as you stated.
    4. I’ve also done a lot of nongenital sex acts that I can’t even begin to catalog – penetrating my partner’s mouth with a whole range of objects typically works very well for both of us, and anal can work too (I don’t treat it like a cunt ever, nor do I conceptualize this as gay male, I honestly feel these strategies are somewhat buying into the binary – it’s just a woman fucking a woman’s ass). It helps here that I’m a top, and that I’m willing to use a strap-on.

    This part is 101 level and it will probably be below your level but it might benefit some readers who haven’t had a lot of nonbinary sex: I’m going to emphasize the importance, for all of this, of having open, honest talks about vocabulary that your partner should use, and about limits. I find that using the right vocabulary can make acts possible that wouldn’t otherwise be. Also having cybersex or phone sex can allow you and your partner to concentrate on learning the “right” vocabulary if it’s difficult. I’m going to also emphasize that being a partner of a nonbinary person is a learned art because it’s not like we get any cultural programming to deal with it; I learned these strategies through a lot of patience and experimentation with several different people and reading.

    I keep editing this comment because I’m afraid there’s cissexual privilege in it. Please be kind in calling me on my privilege, I’m actually really afraid to speak up.

  12. As a note, trans folk who aren’t specifically nonbinary would not be considered a “nonbinary partner”. Such would be erasing to binary trans folk.

  13. 13 Kynthia

    I am so subscribing to you hon. Your articulate manner and humor have definitely made my evening.

    Hugs
    Kynthia

  14. 14 muse

    what word would you use in the context i’m using nonbinary, then?

  15. I’m still trying to figure out what context you’re using it in. Could you explain it a bit?

  16. 16 Jemima Aslana

    Remember that asexuals *can* be attracted to other people, just not in the sexual sense. The attraction set isn’t zero, the desire to jump’n’hump people is.

  17. Oh right, my mistake. Isn’t there actually two types of aces? The ones who don’t have the desire to jump’n’hump and the ones that have a 0 attraction set?

  18. 18 nome

    There are aromantic asexuals but most of the aces I’ve met are romantic asexuals.


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