Intimacy with a [trans]woman

Pixiv original art by touma raito
A friend of many years asked me a question that you really shouldn’t ask a transgender person unless you’re close enough to have laughed about how neither of you are sexually attracted to one another. In other words, I’m really close with them and comfortable with satisfying their curiosity and concern. For the sake of taking a bit of the mystery away from others honestly wondering to understand a little more deeply about a trans female’s mindset, I’m sharing this unique, juicy, and mildly insightful information.

That’s the only reason why you’re here, right? So, the question was:

Will your decision to be intimate with someone be based on how you feel about your genitals? Like…they’re okay with you as you are, but I know you’re not.

Honestly, I had no idea how to answer that. As someone who has virtually shoved nearly all manner of sexual thoughts and hopes into a deep, dark closet, I really didn’t want to care enough to answer. But I gave myself a moment to really think about all the possibilities that immediately separate me from all the typical cisgender females in the world. All these concerns and fears that swam through my mind – if they didn’t know I was trans* and things got heated, or if they knew and somehow had a different expectation of what it would be like, or how uncomfortable I would be regardless because of how viscerally I’d be reminded of my inadequacies in the presence of another…

My answer was simple.

I don’t expect to be sexually intimate with anyone for a very long time. If ever. Whether I am intimate with anyone will depend on so much more than just my body. And if they’re okay with me as I am now, I still don’t think I’d ever be okay with thinking, even for a moment, about the possibility that I am being fetishized.

As a trans* girl, I want to be loved, cared for, and given attention just like any other female. Except for the additional scenarios regarding genitalia and the possibility of being raped or killed out of rage…we are not very different. What it means to be a woman is something I’ll be learning for as long as I live, but lately I’ve been coming to terms that I’ll never be able to bear a child. That I’ll never have a proper period. That I’ll never have to take a pregnancy test. That I very well may never experience and be able to offer the level of intimacy and tactile affection that are typical of being female.

Basic every day things that I thought I’d be able to ignore and shrug off have gradually crept into my heart and left me crying on the inside. I’ll always be this anomaly – passing physically, well attuned to girl talk, stirring the sexual curiosity of various people – but never quite being complete. Accepting the body that I have, yet crushed by the reality of being denied experiences I deserve.

Then I wonder what will I do if my significant other is unable to do the things I should be able to do. A surrogate just…I just wouldn’t want that. Though I make no point to hide that I’m transgender, thoughts like this make me feel like a broken failure. Though I’m strong enough to not allow my emotions to tear me apart, I’m still hurting.

Intimacy in itself remains a strange mystery to me, regardless of who I’ve messed around with. And the thought of someone wanting to be intimate with me is honestly pretty unfathomable at this point, regardless of how much I love myself now more than ever.


4 thoughts on “Intimacy with a [trans]woman

  1. I can identify with this statement: As someone who has virtually shoved nearly all manner of sexual thoughts and hopes into a deep, dark closet, I really didn’t want to answer.” I have my own reasons why, as I go through the motions any red-blooded female cis/trans is expected to take.

    And the question of having children is one both trans and cis women encounter. A great many cis ones, a fact society chooses to sweep under the carpet. So the difficulty with this dilemma is shared and I don’t say this to erase or to make light of yours. Only to draw a bridge where you might not realize there is one. This is a challenge for many cis sisters of age and medical conditions not apparent on the surface. Many who would like this not to be.

    “That I very well may never experience and be able to offer the level of intimacy and tactile affection that are typical of being female.” The thing is, ‘typical’ is an illusion women sign up to affirm. I don’t think there is any typical, and you are affectionate and an intimate personality so I think you most certainly will Nina. I just think finding the partner in our culture may be frustrating, because people are media educated instead of life educated so much of the time.

    Still, there are always individuals who veer from the herd.

    So I think you and I both have a chance to find relationships, over time.

    Just try to play it open and see what happens.

    Allow in that little stream of light onto the path of extinguished hope when the opportunity presents itself. You’re a lovely heart, manner, and great mind. Definitely the best of us (trans/cis women), so I don’t see the chance passing you by for too long.

    Still, I understand being organized around not dealing with it. I’m pretty much that as well, but life can surprise you.

    Much love friend, xoxo

    1. Yes, I appreciate your sensitivity to the topic, but you are absolutely right to draw the bridge where it is very well necessary. I have a friend my age who suffered from a condition that made her unable to birth a child. She seems to have long since made peace with it, but the fact does remain that the difficulty & potential damage to a woman’s self-worth does lie beyond the trans* community as well.

      You could be right that that may be my unintentional alignment with is considered “normal” in society to show. That alone is a never-ending mental battle to ensure that my perceptions are not being limited by the brainwashing of a cis-normative society. Though you speak the truth with there being no “typical” way to experience a certain level of intimacy, it’s also true that how that translates to my body in comparison with the hurdles to gain what is, undeniably, a possible sexual experience common among cis females can sometimes become a demoralizing thought. I don’t speak for all [trans]females by any means, but though I desire and believe I can obtain relationship, arriving at a point where I can feel wholly in control and engaged with the sexual experience [as a female] is much more terrifying and daunting for me than for most of my girl friends. Especially when it comes to anyone who identifies more on the masculine spectrum.

      Thank you again for sharing your perspective and offering me overarching compassion/encouragement, regardless of the time needed to compose it. I still hold onto the belief that “playing it open and seeing what happens” organically is the way life can surely surprise females like us. We can’t much help how we feel at times, but self-care is always the best focus to have in times like these as I’m sure you agree with me as a hard-working, creative, intelligent, and self-sufficient woman such as yourself.

      Much love to you as well, T. Thank you xoxo

  2. Yes, I do agree with you about self care. And you know what? I think in that context, we can develop, and grow, experience profound joys, and remain acutely aware of the gifts life have to offer (when they emerge). Instead of having it as part for the course.

    Also this might seem trite and contrary, but it’s simply what I’ve noticed:

    Women who are bearing children are not necessarily the most insightful, or sensitive, even aware of others and their world. And thus not necessarily nurturers (moms) because the hardware functioned. In fact, the part the media and society does not discuss is that, many women who become mothers are simply ill equipped.

    They may not be developed mentally, emotionally, even mentally to help a child navigate our world full of triggers and challenges – because they may not have done so successfully themselves. Case in point, I have a friend who recently announced she wants to be a mom with her new love. This is someone I’ve known for years and I can tell you, due to her mental status and emotional stunting (much as I love her): it’s a terrible idea.

    In this, the ground work for the trauma of a baby is being set.

    But you can see it on the subways of NYC everyday (a blog post in and of itself).

    Meanwhile some of the most caring, affectionate, astute, connected and wise women I know, never had children or will not. However, society is a better place with them in it. So the nurturing capacity is horizontal; spread everywhere. This to me is more valuable than a women conceiving a child, only to raise a monster via her chaos.

    As I get older, I sincerely believe, based on what I am seeing that – that is so much of the time error in judgement produces baby. Whoever asks themselves if they are stable (psychologically/mentally/spiritually) to raise children? Many jump in without much meditation besides the monetary considerations.

    I hope your friend and you find a way to express your nurturing ways, on par with having a child someday. And that the pain of the reality evolves into something else.

    Even the demoralizing thoughts of all involved regarding future intimacies.

    I do believe we receive opportunities over the course of life to shift how we experience things. So may those issues be transformed in you as you grow.


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