If you’re a cis person (as in, not trans) and you’re interested in pursuing a hookup with a trans or gender nonconforming person, there are some basic dos and dont’s to keep in mind. The following tips will help set the stage for you to both have an experience that’s sexy, pleasurable and respectful.
Firstly, get clued up on how to Tinder in a gender-diverse world. And, as always, use your date’s correct name and pronouns.
Discrimination Against Trans People Is Real
Unfortunately, many trans people face the threat of violence and harassment daily. The statistics aren’t pretty: according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender survey, nearly 1 in 2 trans individuals are verbally harassed and 1 in 10 are physically attacked - simply because of their identity.
As always, use your date’s correct name and pronouns.
This violence and harassment can spill over into the bedroom, ranging from ridicule about their body to physical violence. At worst, trans women have been murdered because their date felt “tricked” when they found out they were trans. You may not know your date’s personal history, but it’s good to remember that they’re trusting you to be kind, respectful and treat them and their body with the safety it deserves.
Don’t Ask If They’ve Had Surgery Or What They’ve Got In Their Pants.
It’s none of your business. Even if you’re planning to get naked with them, it’s still none of your business - for example, would you ask someone the size of their penis before they take their clothes off, or if they have one or two testicles, or if they shave down there? When you get naked with each other you’ll see soon enough; until then, it’s ok to be curious, but keep that curiosity to yourself.
Do Ask What They Call Their Body Parts.
Not everyone uses the same words to refer to their sexy bits - even cis people have preferences! (For example, some cis women love the word “tits,” while others can’t stand it.) It’s important not to make assumptions.
Many trans and gender nonconforming (GNC) people don’t use the words that doctors have assigned for their bodies; for example, what you see as a clitoris might be someone’s dick or cock, and what you see as a penis might be someone’s clit or pussy. Someone with breast tissue might want that area to be called their chest, not their breasts.
The possibilities are endless, and a respectful question like “What words do you use for your sexy bits?” communicates that you care and respect them. And while you’re at it, share yours!
Do Ask If They Have Any “No” Zones.
Again, a good question for anybody - and trans people especially may have areas of their body they don’t like to be touched. Check in, follow their lead, and share yours as well. Also remember, never penetrate anyone (cis or trans) without asking first!
Do Ask, Ask, And Ask Again.
The answers might be different tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Just as cis people’s identities and preferences change and evolve, so do those of trans people.
Don’t Gape Or Stare In Fascination At Their Body.
Nothing feels worse than having someone stare at your body like a confusing science experiment. Similarly, being fetishized (see below) doesn’t feel any better. When you get naked with a trans person, take in their beautiful body with admiration and desire the same way you would with anyone you’re attracted to - it’s as simple as that.
Do Know The Difference Between Fetishizing And Genuine Attraction.
When someone is fetishized, it means they’re treated as an exotic object of fascination rather than a full, complex human being with needs and feelings. People can be fetishized for all sorts of things (race, ethnicity, class, religion, skin tone, hair texture, body type), and trans and GNC people are often fetishized for their gender, appearance, or even their genitals. This can be very dehumanizing, especially during sex.
“What words do you use for your sexy bits?”
Express interest in their whole self, not just their gender or genitals, and focus on reciprocity - what are you both getting out of this connection? And be honest with yourself: if you’re interested in hooking up with this person just because they’re trans, or because you’ve never been with a trans person before and you want to see what it’s like, it’s best to take a rain check or keep your curiosity confined to the internet.
Do Notice The Gendered Ways You Might Touch Their Body.
This one’s subtle - for example, we might be conditioned to touch women’s bodies more softly and sensually, while interacting with men’s bodies in a more rough or assertive way. Ask the person how they like to be touched (this is good for all hookups, not just with trans folks!), and follow their lead. Pay attention to subtle things - for example, a trans man may like his sexy bits to be stroked like a dick, rather than flicked like a clitoris - and be open to learning.
How To Respond If You Start Hooking Up With Someone And They Tell You They’re Trans
Don’t freak out! They haven’t lied to you or “tricked” you; when we make assumptions about someone’s gender or body, it’s a good opportunity for us to slow down and check our assumptions. Ask yourself, “Can I be present and treat this person and their body with the respect I’d give anyone else while we get sexy?” If so, then smile, thank them for telling you, ask if there’s anything specific they need, and move forward with your normal sexy vigor.
Hooking Up With A Trans Person Doesn’t Make You Gay, Or Straight, Or Bi, Or Anything Except For A Human With A Libido.
Their gender or genitals does not define your identity (although it may give you some information about yourself and your attractions). You can explore that on your own, in your own time.
Express interest in their whole self, not just their gender or genitals.
And remember, all the same tips for regular hookups apply. Communicate, ensure consent, ask them what they’re into, ask and respect their boundaries, share your own desires and boundaries, check in with each other, validate and respect each other, give and receive, etc. At the end of the day, trans people are people - and these tips can help ensure that our sexy encounters leave everyone feeling sexy, respected, and satisfied.