Oh Hey, I Have Sex Too. Surprise!
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.
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.
Filed under: personal | 18 Comments
Tags: PWD, sex, sexuality, transgender