Let me tell you what sex from my perspective is like. It’s a question you want to ask right? I know when you see me sitting there at the bar that you’re thinking it. I know that in a minute you’re going to come up to me, and because I’m trans, because you think it’s okay to ask, you’re going to ask me outright, what’s it like? I know you want to know the details, and that somehow you think it’s okay to ask if I’m pre or post op, not that you’d put it that politely, not that that’s in any way polite anyhow. No, that’s beside the point. I’m trans, and just by existing, just by being visible, just by being me, I’m somehow outside of normal social conventions and normal boundaries. I’m outside normal human interactions.
Obviously to you, asking about what bits I’ve got, what I like to do in bed, how many people I’ve been with, that’s all okay, because you know, it’s nothing personal, well, not to you anyhow.
To me though, it means you don’t see me.
And yet, despite this, I do get it. Trans people fascinate us. I know this because what I’ve just written happens to me on a fairly regular basis. Everyone wants to know what it’s like because it’s so outside the majority of people’s realities. More than this though, trans bodies fascinate us. If there’s one thing people want to know more about it’s bodies. Or more specifically in this case, my trans body.
My perception of my identity does not rely on the body I’ve got. To be more exact, my identity as a woman does not rely on the genitals I’ve got.
This body though, it feels right to me as a woman. That should be all that matters.
Of course though, it isn’t.
For so long we’ve been taught that men have penises and women have vaginas. It’s science, it’s fact. It is set in stone. Any deviation from that can’t be true, because if it is then where does that leave us? What does that make us? What does that make you when a woman you find attractive tells you she has a penis?
Well, for one thing, it doesn’t necessarily make you gay, or straight, or anything else you might be thinking. What it might make you though is just like everyone else, with desires, and attractions, and a need to connect with other people, even though it’s often scary, and means giving up something personal, and often sensitive about yourself.
Think about it from this perspective. When a trans person feels comfortable enough to talk to you about sex then they must really like you, and more importantly they must trust you.
I know, from experience, how risky it is to talk about this, how difficult it is to disclose intimate details about your body. It’s a jump into the dark, and my people still get beaten and murdered for taking that jump.
So, with that in mind, is it okay for people to be curious about trans sexuality? After all, if you’re going to be sleeping with someone you want to know what bits they’ve got right?
But hold on, being curious about trans sexuality is one thing, genitals though? I’m not so sure.
For one thing, although the two are connected, they’re also two very different conversations. You could ask me how I identify, and I could tell you that I’m bisexual, and you most likely wouldn’t bat an eyelid. If I tell you I’m a trans woman who identifies as bisexual, then things might start to get interesting. If I then tell you I’m a trans woman, with a penis, or vagina, who’s also bisexual, then it feels like personal boundaries are being pushed all over the place, certainly for me, and potentially for you as well.
Here’s the thing though. I wouldn’t tell you what bits I have. I wouldn’t tell you because of the risk, because of the boundaries, because really, who does tell someone about what they’ve got down there?
The only time that’s going to happen is if we get to a point where we are going to sleep together. Because that’s when it should happen. Not whilst I’m sitting at the bar waiting for my friends to show up, not when I’m queueing for the toilet, and definitely not when I’m walking down the street at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Be curious, but also be respectful.
I know what you’re thinking. This is all great, be respectful, be nice, don’t ask inappropriate questions. Also though, just what is sex like from a trans perspective?
Well, it’s pretty good. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s pretty fucking amazing. Sometimes it blows my mind, like every nerve is firing at once, overwhelming and powerful in all the right ways.
Often it’s comforting, and occasionally it’s tinged with a strange melancholy feeling, of times past when I was unable to let people get this close to me.
There are awkward bits, funny bits, and bits we don’t even have words for.
It can be intense, or carefree, spontaneous or planned, wonderful or mediocre.
Maybe it’s penetrative, maybe it’s not, it doesn’t matter, because sex is how you both chose to define it. Sex is about being physically intimate with someone, and physical intimacy has many forms.
And maybe in the morning, when real life kicks back in and gravity pulls you back to earth you’ll be like fuck, I slept with a trans person. Maybe you’ll worry about how that’s going to sit with your identity, your friends, your family . Maybe you’ll wonder how it’s going to sit with your life.
But maybe you’ll think she’s probably really worrying right now as well and that maybe that gravity thing doesn’t just affect me.
Because you have a choice as well. You have a choice to go with something that may be unfamiliar, something that doesn’t sit with what your current experiences, but it’s true nonetheless.
You don’t have to tell anyone what bits the people you sleep with have. I’m going to hazard a guess that normally it’s not something you’d tell people anyhow. Penis, vagina, whatever. It’s between you and the person you’re sleeping with.
And that’s the reality of it.
The big reveal, the final plot twist, is that sex with a trans person is just like sex with anyone.
Yes, there may be aspects that are different to other experiences you’ve had, but isn’t that the same with anyone new you sleep with?
This article originally appeared in Issue 1 of Ladybeard.