Approaching Sex With A Trans Person

If you don’t have a lot of experience having sex with a trans person, you might be seeking information on what to expect and how to be more aware of your partner’s needs. 

In this stream, sex and pleasure education Louise Bourchier explains how to approach sex with a trans person — a person who identifies with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. 

First, Bourchier explains there’s no one way to be trans. A trans person may of may not choose to modify their body hormonally or with surgery to match their identified gender. Some may choose a combination, such as having surgery to modify their chest, but not their genitals. It’s important to respect whatever choices a trans person has made in regards to their body, and to respect their identity and preferred name and pronouns. 

Bourchier then addresses some concerns a cis person might have when approaching sex with a trans person. For example, questions about how to make your partner comfortable, and how to go about being intimate in the most respectful way. On the flip side, a trans person may wonder about their partner’s experience level, if they will touch them in ways they like, etc.  

Ask your partner questions about their preferences, like what parts of their body they want touched and what words are okay to use when describing their genitals or chest. Bourchier notes that genitals are basically all made of the same parts, but are structured differently. The head of a penis, for example, has the same kind of nerve-endings found in a clitoris. A trans woman,then, may refer to their penis as a clit and a trans man may refer to their clit as a cock. 

Overall, it’s important to ask questions when approaching sex with a trans person and to also do your own research before entering an intimate situation. The more you know, the more safe and comfortable you and your partner can feel.

Video transcript

So now, perhaps it's a good time for me to introduce myself and give you a bit of the lay of the land to what we're gonna do today. So, my name is Louise Bourchier, and I am a sex educator as most of the people on our school are. And I've been teaching workshops to mostly grown up audiences and mostly people over 18 for the last seven or eight years. I love teaching workshops, I love having conversations about sex and sexuality. The topics that I most often teach about has to do with anatomy and sexual techniques, things like the clit, how does it work, how to play with it, or prostate play, that kind of thing. Those are the sorts of topics I mostly teach on, but I also just love to have any kind of conversations around sex and also broader things within that area, sexual activity, kink, gender, sexuality, those kinds of discussions. So I love working with our school. It gives me an opportunity as somebody who's living in New Zealand to speak to people further away. I have a map of New Zealand behind me as well. You can't see quite the whole thing, but you can see Auckland, where I'm currently located. Yeah, thank you, I'm glad you're gonna let me Google, Chelsea, it's too much to type out. I feel like as soon as I Google, oh, of course, I just briefly forgot. So I think that I came, I just wanted Q to train before this one, and Q gave a really great introduction about who they are, and I just thought, "Okay, maybe I'll give a few more details "about who I am than I might normally do for an intro." So I am from New Zealand, I grew up here. And I think that I've always been a sex geek. I think that I was somebody who came to being a sex educator because I was always that kid who was telling other kids where babies came from and telling them about periods and drawing vulvas on Burger King napkins during high school outing, it was that kind of thing. So, I, uh, I feel like often there's two different ways people come to doing this work. One is because they've just always been interested in sex and kind of always been the person that was up for those conversations. And then the other one is often 'cause people have had like a significant life-changing experience where they have discovered their sexuality or they've come out of a relationship that wasn't working for them or they've discovered an area like it could be tantra or something, and they really feel like they wanna share that with people. So I'm less of the second category, more of the first category, someone who's just kind of always been or always had this unusual talent of talking about sex with strangers or is talent the word or just interest. I just like, I like having these conversations. So, grew up in New Zealand, I did my undergraduate degree here, it wasn't related to sexuality. I did an arts degree in languages. And then I went overseas for a couple of years and traveled around, and then at the end of that time, after I spent a little while gallivanting with gangs of lesbians in Noumea in New Caledonia in the Pacific Islands, that was one of the highlights of that interim couple of years, I did move to Melbourne in Australia. And Melbourne's a very kind of alternative and interesting and sex-positive city, I mean it's a diverse city, so there's all sorts of people there, but it's got big urban niches where you can access people who are doing interesting work in sexuality and interesting studies and just kind of people who always really came to, to connect with and to become more alike I suppose. So I came to Melbourne with the idea that I wanted to get into sexual health. At that time, I wasn't entirely certain what that would look like, but I knew that I wanted to do sex education. And I was thinking, I might do some further study to work towards that, I did some volunteer work in an LGBT sexual health promotion organization, so it was putting condoms and little packets and handing 'em out of events, that kind of thing. That was kind of the start of it. And then little by little, I got some paid work in that organization, then I got a wonderful job at D.Vice, which is sadly doesn't have a physical brick-and-mortar store anymore but at the time, they had a wonderful store in Melbourne, and they also had stores in New Zealand, but they also had the store in Melbourne I worked in. And so I spent three or four excellent years selling dildos and vibrators and having conversations with people about sex. It's a store that's really dedicated to education and making people feel at ease. So it was a place that really worked for me. And during that time, I taught workshops in the, in the store and that kind of thing as well. Also during that time, I did my masters in public health, which was focusing in sexual health. So I was getting the fun sort of knowledge from working at D.Vice and just being really my wonderings through the sex-positive community and then simultaneously getting that academic side from doing my masters of public health and you know, getting more knowledge around, for example, disease patterns of HIV or vulnerabilities around different kinds of sexual related problems and infections and that kind of thing. So it was really an interesting time period. I don't live in Melbourne anymore. From Melbourne, I went to Indonesia for a little while in a, an academic related work assignment. And I moved back to New Zealand where I'm currently living. And I have been here for about three years. And I'm really loving it, I really appreciated being able to kind of bring my skills home to New Zealand and sort of use them here on my home too. Although, word on the street is that I'm actually leaving New Zealand in a very short number of weeks and I'm going to Canada with my partner who is Canadian. And we're just gonna see if we want to move there. So, I'm going to Canada in July, and we'll just kinda see what happens, but it's possible that I'll, if I find work or study or a lifestyle that suits me, well, we'll stay there in Canada. So yeah, keep your eyes peeled. I don't have the same image behind me as I usually do because I've left the room that I used to live in which had that wonderful help book on girls calendar photo series, anyway, that's been 14 minutes of me introducing myself and talking about you know, setting up some of the stuff around talking about transgender people, to get our minds ready. So now, let's really get into what we're doing here today. So, what we're talking about is approaching sex with a transgendered partner. So when I say approaching sex, I mean like what are some of the things that we can think about, what are some of the pieces of information that's really good to have, what are some of the potential challenges or areas of sensitivity or awareness that's good to have when approaching having sex with a transgender partner. So as I mentioned at the beginning if you were here, this stream is more geared to people who don't have a lot of experience having sex with transgendered partners. Might be thinking like, "Hey, I've met this cool person. "They're trans, I'd like to hook up with them, "but I'm just kind of curious about how to do that." Or you know, "What are some things "to be aware of as I approach that?" If there are people in the audience today who have or in the viewing today, who do have more experience of being with trans partners or who are transgender themselves, I would love to have your contribution on the chat to kind of flesh out the discussion with your perspectives. It's great to have experts in the room as well. So, I also wanted to say pat yourself on the back for coming here, I know that this sex streams are just fun and easy for some people, but for other people, they can be challenging to come along to, so especially if you might've registered for the chat for the first time. You might've watched a few streams, but now you're like, "Okay, I'm gonna finally do it "and put myself on the chat and participate." So pat yourself on the back for coming along today and for being willing to learn and to engage with these awesome, awesome topics that we have here at O school. Alright. Happy Pride as well. Happy Pride month for North America. Sadly where I am, it's not summer right now, and it's not pride, we have pride in like January, February kind of time but it's really awesome that it's pride month in June in North America now that it's June. So Happy Pride to everybody who's here on from that part of the world. Okay, so just positioning myself here. So I am not a transgendered person. I'm a cisgendered person, I am queer identified. I identify as a woman-ish maybe androgenous. I don't really know exactly what word I use. I don't consider myself entirely cisgender, but I certainly don't consider myself trans either. So that's kinda my cis-spectrum, I like that term as being a way of kind of avoiding labels. But I think it's really important to say who I am and kind of who I am in this discussion. I have had various trans partners in the last sort of 10 years of my life, and I've had transgendered partners who are trans-men and trans-women. Trans-men are female-assigned at birth, and they transitioned to being male. So I've had trans-male partners, I've had trans-female partners, so people who are male-assigned at birth who transitioned to female. And I've also had partners who are non-binary or kind of don't specifically identify as a certain gender but who identify as trans. So I got a bit of personal experience there. I'm also drawing on my kind of general experience of knowing trans people and having its kinda conversations around me. So, Maya says, "Interesting, cis-spectrum." Yeah, I don't know if it's a real, 'kay. I don't know if it's a word other people use or if it's one that would even get into urban dictionary or other kinds of more official dictionaries. But I like it because I don't, I don't feel like a trans-person, but I also don't feel like I'm just totally a woman in a woman's body with a woman's identity like I feel kinda like, yep, okay, cis-gender is more where I sit, but I also feel like I'm more comfortable with kind of androgenous-style gender expression. And I don't feel entirely at ease when people say like, "Hey, ladies," or like woman kind of words like that. I don't like having to choose miss or missus or whatever in those drop-down boxes. So yeah, I don't think cis-spectrum is a word that would make a lot of sense for everybody, but I quite like it, it's sort of, it's some shish. So, while we're talking about language, what is cis and what is trans? It's really obviously important we get that clear. So a transgendered person is a person whose gender is different from the one they were assigned at birth. So when a baby's born, you look at their body and their genitals and say, "Oh, it's a boy," or, "Oh, it's a girl," or sometimes, very intersex, baby there might be a little bit less clarity about what gender is assigned to that baby when they're born. But a transgender person, a transgender person is somebody who identifies with a different gender from the gender they were assigned at birth. So let's say a baby's born, they're like, "Oh, it's a girl," or one that's kind of perhaps raised as a girl by the family at least for a while, and then it might become clear that that baby actually identify, or that young kid or teenager or however old the person is, identifies as being male or as being non-binary, and actually, the girl that they thought when the baby was born actually is not the correct gender assignment for that person. And similarly, that's the same for a transgendered woman. So it would be, just waving out the window cause I see some of my friends walking past. So, like a transgendered woman would be somebody who was assigned male when they were born. So the baby was born, "Oh, it's a boy." But actually, as that person got older, it became clear that they've felt more like a woman or like a girl, and so they become identified as a woman or a transgendered woman. Um, someone's just knocking at my door, give me two secs.

- [Louise] Hi.

- [Jules] Hi, this is Jules.

- [Louise] Hi, Jules, nice to see you. Sorry, I'm just streaming.

- [Jules] Oh, sorry to interrupt.

- [Louise] Yeah, I didn't put my sign on the door. Welcome to my life, just saying hi to new people around the house. So yeah, transgendered people are people who identify with a different gender from the gender they're assigned at birth. And so a transgendered person can be like a, have a binary gender identification. So in that situation, it would be somebody who, you know, people say, "Hey, it's a girl," and actually that person says, "Actually, I'm a boy." That's a person who goes from being identified as a girl, by others being, identifying it was girl to feeling like, "Yeah, I'm a boy," and just feeling like, "That's my identity." So we say binary 'cause there's two pieces from girl and boy and the person identifies within that binary gender. There's also people who identify more outside of the binary. So they might call themselves non-binary or gender diverse or spectrum kind of people. And so that's somebody who says, "Actually, whatever genitals I was born with, I don't really feel like saying male or female, or man or woman entirely suits me, so I'm gonna identify as being outside of the binary, being non-binary. So there's different kinds of ways that trans can look, and trans can also look different on the body. So I'm just gonna jump back in to check cause they're gonna say that, "Okay, well, comments have come in." Maya is making some comments about my term, cis-spectrum. Maya says, "Have you heard the term STEM?" Oh, I think it's actually STEMM. I don't know the term STEMM as relates to this. I know the term STEMM as relates to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In terms of the educational field of STEMM, but I'm sure that's not what you're talking about right now. My day job is at a higher education institution, and so STEMM has a different meaning for me, but tell me what it means in the context of gender, Maya, or else you could leave that to be another thing that I Google once we're done today. So, what I was gonna say about bodies or what I'd like to say about bodies is that transgendered bodies can look really differently. So some people, when they come to realizing that they are transgender or they feel like they want to kind of you know, tell people they're transgendered, they may or may not modify their body. So for some people, the body that they're in, they actually feel fine with. They don't really feel the need to take hormones or do any sign of surgeries or to modify their body. They just say, "Hey," you know, "You thought I was a girl "cause of the body I was born with. "But actually, I feel like a boy, "and this is what I want you to treat me as now. "I want you to call me he, and I want you to use "the name that's appropriate for me. "But actually, my body I'm fine with. "So I'm not gonna change my body "hormonally or with surgery." That's one way of being trans, and sometimes it's harder to, for trans-people who don't modify their body to be recognized or kind of treated as trans-people because they haven't undergone any kind of physical changes to their body. And we associate gender so much with biological sex and the physical body of a person. And then, you have some people who say, "Yup, I'm trans, what I really like to do is take hormones "for the gender that I most identify with. "And I want to take those hormones to change my body." So it could be, so for example, a transgendered woman, so somebody who grew up as a boy feeling that they were actually more identified as a girl or a woman might say, "Look, it's really time for me to take "hormones that will feminize my body." So they're taking hormones. In that case, the person's skin will be softer, hair on many parts of the body will reduce. It'll change fat distribution so the hips will, you know, hips and butt will carry a bit more fat. It'll, breast development will start. And similarly for a female-bodied person, someone who is assigned as a girl but actually feels like a boy, if the person wants to take hormones, they'll start to masculinize, their body will, they'll start to grow hair on their face. The voice will deepen, the clitoris will grow, and the fat distribution will change somewhat so that there's less fat around the butt. Sort of just, yeah, moves a little bit around the body to, to look like a more typically male, male kind of body configuration. So that's a way that some transgender people go. Some people choose to have surgical procedures done. So they might say, "Hey, look, I'm really not okay with "the breasts that I have, they feel like, it's not my body. "I want a different kind of chest," and so they'll have top surgery where the breast tissue is removed. People might, transgendered women might get breast implants. So even if a transgender woman takes feminizing hormones, the chances of breasts developing, breasts take quite a while to develop and don't necessarily get as big as people want. So breast implants can be one of the surgeries that transgender women get. And there's also some genital surgeries that can happen for transgendered people. So that might involve for a transgendered woman, it would involve turning the penis and testicles into a vulva and clitoris and vagina. And for a transgendered man, it would involve turning the genitals to masculinizing the genitals. There's kind of two ways you can do that. You can have phalloplasty which is when a penis is constructed from skin of other parts of the body. A penis is added to the genital area and there's sort of, there's a range of different surgeries that can do that. Or there's also metoidioplasty or some other kind of surgeries which don't involve attaching a new kind of penis structure to the area, but they do involve kind of, uh, sort of freeing the clitoris tissues so that it takes a little more phallic form and looks more penis-like. So yeah, there's a few genitals. Sorry, "genitals," surgeries you can have on your genitals if you want to modify them to be more in line with your gender of choice. It's interesting with vaginas, so while you can create vaginas from a penis and testicles, you can use those to create a vagina, which you know, is self-lubricating and very vagina, what's the word? You know, it's a very effective vagina. Term's not quite the right word. It's actually very hard to get rid of a vagina. So although transgendered men might have genital surgeries, the vagina will still be the main part of the genital structure whether or not they want to use that sexually or not. So, there's a range of options, you know, and the person could have chest surgery but choose not to have hormones. Or, you know, you might have hormones and not choose to have surgery. There's all sorts of combinations. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this little discussion about physical bodies, some people would choose not to have any kind of hormones or surgical intervention, they'll just say, "Hey, I'm fine with the body I've got." Or they might say, "Look, there's medical reasons "why it's not appropriate for me to have "hormone treatment or surgeries." That might be a physical, like a health risk. So they might just be living with the body, the hormones in the body that they have. So there's all different ways that we can be trans. And so clarifying what is cis, Okay, we're already at half past the hour, yikes. I've been talking a lot, but we're gonna get to sex soon. So cis is the opposite of trans. Cisgender is the opposite of transgender. Okay, um, once I finish talking about cis, I'm gonna jump into the chat and just check in with the comments that have been coming through. So transgender is like the gender you're assigned at birth, you actually swap a different gender. So that's the transition, the trans-ness, whereas cisgender is like this, the gender you were assigned at birth is the gender you identify with. So baby's born, "Oh, it's a girl," and that person feels like a girl, feels like a woman and identify with the female gender they were assigned. Well similarly, baby's born, "Oh, it's a boy," and that person identifies as a boy and a man as they grow up and they feel like that's the correct gender to have been assigned to them. The term cis came about because it was really inappropriate, but it was like the term transgender, and then people would say, "I'm not transgender, I'm just your normal "or ordinary person," and those words suggested that being a transgender person was somehow like abnormal or like, It was just a little bit inappropriate to use that kind of juxtaposition. So the term cisgender came in to say like, "Hey, there's two kind of equally, uh, "equally good or equally appropriate "or equally reasonable ways we can be gendered. "There's transgender where the gender "you're assigned at birth doesn't fit the gender you feel, "or there's cisgendered where the gender "you were assigned at birth does fit "the gender you feel you are." So cisgender is the word for that. So as I mentioned earlier, I'm cisgender. Although I don't know, sometimes, I feel curious about that one, but I'm basically a cisgender 'cause I basically identify as a woman. And yeah, that's me in a nutshell, and that's cis in a nutshell. Okay, jumping back into the chat, um, okay. I'm going back a little while here. Maya says, "It is super weird when you think about "a doctor looking around to find a little baby's genitals "for this purpose," yeah, the peeking between the legs, it does sound a little bit strange, doesn't it? And Maya says, "Haha, no, I think STEM means "stud femme, which I've only just recently heard. "And I think it's fascinating," stud femme, interesting. Interesting, um, I'm gonna look that up because I certainly don't identify as femme. And I don't identify as a stud, so let's just see if it's a word that fits me, but I love that you've helped me get familiar with a new term. Okay, what else is the next one? Maya says, "Oh, sorry, I don't know if it means "stud femme, but I think that's where the word come from. "I think it means someone who doesn't present as "butch or femme but as somewhere in between maybe." Oh, I see, yeah, yeah, cool. Maya said, "I sort of imagine that's a little bit like "a gender identity as much as femme as a gender identity "that matches with androgenous presentation." Yeah, yeah, cool, I like those. This has been enriching for me. I really appreciate it, okay, so that's trans and cis. And, uh, let's set some general kind of principles for how to interact with a trans-person. So we're gonna talk about approaching sex with a trans-partner, but first of all, let's just have a bit of a discussion about if you're talking to a transgendered person or interacting with a transgendered person in general, so not having sex, just like in life, what are some of the things that it's important to do or not do to make sure you're being respectful to that person and their gender? Okay, so, I'd like you in the chat, to pop in any thoughts you have about how we can be respectful to transgender people when we encounter them in our lives. So for example, the first thought that I had there was you want, sorry, I'm hiccupping, how gross. So, okay, let me start again with that one. So, what I wanted to say as my kind of first contribution to that question is, uh, for example, when interacting with a transgender person, you want to use the name that they prefer. So if a transgendered person says, "Hey, my name is Max," you're like, "Hey, Max," even if maybe you knew them with a different name before or maybe you're thinking like, "Hm, I'm curious about this person's gender," you use the name that the person presents with. So if you have other ideas, yup, correct pronouns. Maya says use the correct pronoun. Absolutely, so yup, pop your ideas in the chat if you have ideas for how to interact respectfully and appropriately with a transgendered person. So use correct pronouns, pronouns are words like he and she and him and her and they and them. And this is really important because if I, for example, am pulling at my friend and I go, "Hey, that's Max, he really likes hamburgers," or whatever, and then, you know, another friend I'm talking to you too says, "Oh, she likes," whatever, talking to the same person, talking about Max as well, I'm like, "Oh, actually Max prefers to use he pronouns." It's really important that that person that's talking to you says, "Oh, okay. "I'm gonna use the he pronouns that Max prefers," rather than saying like, "Oh, no," you know, "I don't think so, that person's obviously a girl." That's really, really disrespectful. And it's really important to use the pronouns a person chooses, so the pronouns I use are she and her. Although in a nice, queer bubble environment, I often use they and them, I don't use he and him pronouns. Although I do have one friend who calls me he and him, but that's just a bit of fun for me. But yeah, making sure that you respect the pronouns and the person's choice is really important. And Maya says, "And ask if you don't know." Yeah, so if a person approaches you and they say, "Hey, my name is," I don't know, "My name is Sally, "and I want to ask about something," like they come to a business, they're asking at reception, and they're female, feminine presenting, then the person at the reception desk, it's gonna be quite inappropriate for them to say, "Oh, hey, what pronouns do you prefer?" when the person has presented themselves with a feminine name, and they're feminine-presenting in terms of their clothing and their, the way they present themselves even if the person's thinking, "Oh, this person's physique "might say that they're transgender," it's probably not a good thing to ask what their pronoun is because the person's really clearly presenting their gender. So there is a little like, somehow it's a bit of challenge around, yes, you do wanna ask a person's pronouns and clarify, but you also don't want to kind of unnecessarily inquire about their trans status by making a big deal about it when you're obviously presenting with a certain gender. But one thing that I found as a quite good approach is if you are curious about a person's pronouns is you could ask a friend, if there was a friend, you have a mutual friend, you can just say, "Oh, hey," like, um, I'm gonna read the comment in a sec. I just saw a good comment come in, you could just say, "Oh, hey," like, "What pronouns is Sally using now?" or, "What pronouns does your friend use?" That can be a good question, or you could just go to the, talking to the person, just say like, "Oh, hey. My name is Louise, I prefer to use she and her pronouns. I'm just curious what pronouns do you use?" That way, you can kind of also make it a question for yourself as well, we're oftentimes singling somebody out, it's like you are trans, therefore your pronouns might be complicated. So, it's definitely important to ask and to know about pronouns, but it's also important having a bit of subtlety in that conversation sometimes. Okay, jumping on the chat. Maya says, "Hey, Louise, I've been looking and listening," great, "I think it's a good rule of, "a good role of thumb is also not making it about yourself "if you accidentally use incorrect pronouns, "just apologize and move on "versus making the situation more uncomfortable." Yeah, absolutely, I think this speaks to one of the ways that a lot of people are not taught how to be kind of emotionally mature and communicatively mature and humble as they grow up, and it's tricky because when somebody says like, "Oh, like actually like, I don't use that pronoun. "You've used the wrong pronoun," a person's reaction can be like, "Oh, wow, I really didn't mean to offend you," and they can say, "Okay, I'm so sorry," and be quite defensive and like, "It's not my fault. "I thought it was this," you know, whatever. And it's very unhelpful as it is to make it about you and how you feel and like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean that," and to be defensive. If you feel that way, maybe there's someone else you can debrief with it about that later. You know, like, "Wow, I felt really awkward," if you're talking to some other friend, but it's not the person who corrects you with their pronoun who needs to deal with the emotional baggage of you feeling like you need to be seen for your intentions in that moment, it's better to say like, "Oh, sorry, that was really foolish of me. "Absolutely, I'm gonna use the correct pronoun now. "Thanks for correcting me is much more gracious." Sara M says, "Great advice, I'm not so subtle, hahaha." And Maya has also reminded everybody here that there's a tipping option down the bottom there. So there's a little jar on the bottom right if you wanna give a tip to me and our school cause of the stream that you're enjoying today. So just think about that down there as you're listening along. So where was I at? I was talking about generally good principles for interacting with trans-people. I think I have wrote another couple of things down here. Okay, so using their preferred name, using preferred pronouns, not asking what is a person's real name, not being like, "Oh, okay, that person's Michael, "but what was their real name?" Or you know, "That person is Katrina, "but what was their real name?" That's a really inappropriate question cause their real name is the name they're telling you. And another thing, it's best not to ask about surgeries or genitals or hormones or hair removal, anything to do with the body which is of a personal nature that you wouldn't ask any other stranger, so obviously, as you get to be closer friends with someone, some of those topics might come up and be appropriate, but if you meet a transgendered person you don't have a lot of closeness with them, it's really inappropriate to ask about the body and in those kind of ways. So those are kind of some general principles which are important when you're interacting with a transgendered person in any context. But those principles also come in to the bedroom. So in terms of approaching sex with a transgendered partner, it's really important to respect the pronouns of choice. It's really important to respect the name that a person wants you to use for them. It's important not to ask about what's your real name. And it's important not to ask unnecessary questions about genitals and body, so if you are interacting sexually with somebody, chances are you might need a bit more information than you would if you were just interacting with them over, you know, like a work setting or something or a social setting. So we'll talk about that very soon. Okay, let's jump back in the chat. Okay, "Ooh, love that you bring this up, Louise. "I've only heard this a couple of times "and just in passing, but it seems "that the prevailing sentiment is that "we should always, just always, always ask "because it's better to ask than be wrong. "I've done this before even though I've been told "that it can be rude to ask trans-women their pronouns "because it can feel de-legitimizing their femininity." That's a brilliant way of phrasing what I was trying to say. "But when the fear bubbles up "that we're gonna make a mistake," yeah, yep. Um, yeah. Yeah, yeah, it can be a little bit challenging sometimes to know if you should ask a person about their pronouns or if you should make an informed guess based on the gender they're presenting. But it can be challenging sometimes. It can be hard to gauge what's important sometimes. Absolutely, okay, so when approaching sex with a transgendered person, it can, Obviously, you have anticipation, it can be hard, it's gonna be exciting, it's gonna be fun. When you're into that person, you may have some flirtation and banter, there's lots of reasons why that's gonna be a really fun experience. But what are some of the feelings or concerns that can come up for a cisgendered person, so a non-transgendered person, as they consider being intimate with somebody who is transgender. So somebody who doesn't have a lot of experience having sex or being intimate with a transgendered person, what are some of the questions or fears that you think might come up for a cisgendered person as they think about like, "Hey, I wanna take it "to the next step with my new flirt friend. "I wonder how I approach this. "I wonder what we might get up to." So pop in the chat what do you think are some questions or fears that might come up for people, cisgendered people in that context who are considering broaching or embarking on a sexual relationship with a person who is transgender. I'll give you a second to write there, but I'm also gonna consult my oracle, it is my phone, and see what it has, when I head here. So one of the things that I think a cisgendered person might worry about or might go through their mind at that moment is that they don't wanna make the transgendered person feel uncomfortable, they might feel a bit uncertain about like, oh, like, "I haven't been intimate "with a transgendered person before. "I feel really unsure about how to do that "in a way which is respectful, so I'm feeling worried "that I might accidentally make that person "feel uncomfortable or use language "or touch their body in ways that don't suit them." So that can be something that can come up for a cisgendered person, what else do you think might come up for a cisgendered person as they're sort of thinking about taking the next step with a part trans babe friend they've been flirting with? My phone keeps like putting itself to sleep, sorry, you know, closing the screen. Just keeping an eye on the chat. Sometimes, people say or people express that they're a little bit worried about using the wrong words to describe a person's genitals. So if they say, "Do you want me to touch you here "or do you want me to touch you there?" they're a bit worried that the word they use to talk about the person's genitals or body might not be the word the transgender person wants to hear. Like it might be misgendering to talk about to say, for example, to a trans-man to say clitoris or vagina might be really off-putting or jarring. But a cisgendered person might be thinking, "Okay, maybe that's not the right language, "but what is the right language?" So that can be something which is a more of a kind of concern or a little bit worrying. Another thought is perhaps kind of how we do it, how we have sex because I mean everybody's different so everybody likes to have sex in different ways. But if you're approaching having sex with a transgendered partner, you might be thinking, "Okay, so how does this person like to use their body? "How do transgendered people of this "gender identification like to use their body? "How do many trans-women like to use their body "or many trans-men like to use their body?" And yeah, "What their sex is gonna look like? "Are my signature moves gonna work? "Other, the partners that I've had before, "is my experience that I've developed "gonna be similar or different?" And that can be a little bit uncertain, you know, like, "Are we gonna do the things that I like to do sexually?" or like, "What's gonna be on the table or off the table?" That can be an interesting question or query for cisgendered people on that setting. Next question is the other side of that coin. What do you think are some of the concerns that a transgendered person would have as they approach having sex with a new cisgendered partner? So what do you think might be some of the thoughts that might go through the head of a transgendered person or the worries? Is their thinking like, "Hey," like, "I'm flirting with this "hot babe, I'm pretty sure they're cisgendered. "I wonder what their level of understanding is about "transgendered people and transgendered bodies. "I wonder what it might look like if we were intimate." What do you think are some of the questions that might go through a transgendered person's mind at that point? You can use your typing fingers to pop your suggestions in the chat. Wow, I've only got 15 minutes. Man, I did lots of talking at the beginning of this one. Don't wanna miss out any juicy things. Um, okay, so, this is sex, so you can offer any suggestions for what transgendered people might be thinking. I'm gonna have a little sip of water. You'll notice that I'm drinking out of a glass, not my customary boob cup, 'cause my boob cup has been packed away for my impending international travels. So I don't have it on hands really. Okay, so some of the things that a transgendered person might be feeling or a bit concerned about would be is this person that I'm with gonna use the language that I like to use to describe my body? Are they going to use language, words to describe my genitals or my chest or other parts of my body that don't feel right for my gender? For example, as a transgendered man, you might worry that a cisgendered partner might touch your chest and talk about your breasts when actually, you find the word breasts really doesn't feel like what you wanna hear. You refer to your body as your chest. A transgendered partner, yes, safety. Yeah, absolutely, it says, safety. Tell me a bit about more what you mean safety cause that could be like physical or emotional safety. Tell me a little bit more, I'm curious. A transgendered partner might feel a bit worried or a bit kind of reticent or cautious because they might be thinking, "Hey," like, "Is this person gonna touch me in parts of my body "that I don't want to be touched?" They might, on a similar note to that last example, just gonna put their hand on the person's chest to touch the breast and the person's like, "Actually, that's really not an area of my body "that I like to be touched sexually." And that can be like triggering or misgendering to have that that sensation of somebody touching, touching parts of your body that you, that you don't identify with, you don't identify with your gender. Um, what else? I wonder if sometimes trans-people also might feel a little bit, uh, weary of being like an experiment for a person. I mean some people, some transgendered people you know, don't mind being a person's kind of first experience with a trans-partner, and they quite like that idea of being an educator for that person and kind of being that, taking on that role. But sometimes, for a transgendered person, that can feel a bit like, "Uh, I don't want 'em "to be hooking up with me just to kind of, "because they just wanna try having sex with a trans-person, "I don't want 'em to hook up with me because "they're gonna use it as an educational opportunity "to ask me questions, oh, so how do trans-people do this? "How do trans-people do that? "How did it feel before you had surgery? "How did it feel afterwards? "How does it feel with hormones or without?" It's like maybe, maybe it's not always hot to have like an educational session when you're having sex. Yes, there are things you want, you need to talk about, and you need to clarify, but I think that sometimes transgendered people do feel a bit weary if they're approaching sex with a cisgendered partner who's potentially inexperienced with having sex with a trans-person. They're thinking like, "Oh, I don't know. "Do I have the energy to potentially have some of those "conversations?" which might be a bit tiring or unsexy or they might just feel more a bit like an educational example rather than like a genuine hot, sexy person. So those are some of the things that people kind of get in their, might have in their minds as they're approaching sex with a trans-partner or a trans-person approaching sex with a new cisgendered partner. So there's a bunch of questions obviously that came out of that. So questions that it might be appropriate for a cisgendered person to ask their trans-partner would be like, "What are the words that you like "to use for your genitals?" and you know what? Tip, no matter what gender a partner is that's actually a great, great question to ask. Obviously, if you're a cisgendered person approaching sex with a trans-partner, it's especially important to say, "Hey," like, "What are the words that are sexy for you, "for your genitals and parts of your body?" But actually for anybody, you know, it's like, "Hey, what do you like your genitals to be called?" because for some people, they love the word pussy. Some people, they hate the word pussy, and they find it really a turn-off. Some people, like, love the word cock. Some people hate the word cock. Like regardless of their gender. So it's actually quite a helpful question for anyone. You can kind of make the questions sexy and go like, "Hey, I'm really enjoying taking your clothes off. "I wanna put my hands down your pants. "What are the words you use for your junk? "Your bits that are below the belt?" And then a person can kind of offer the words the are hot for them. You can also, yeah, frame it as like, "Hey, what are the words that are hot for you "for talking about your genitals?" You try to avoid the word genitals unless that's sexy for you but I'm a bit of a nerd side of mine using the word genitals, but it can be a little bit like clinical to some people. But using the word junk, like, "Hey," like, "What are the words that you like to use for your junk?" Or offering your own words like, "Hey," like, "Before we get hot and heavy, "I want you to know that I really like the word pussy, "and I really like the word," whatever. And, "What do you like?" It can kind of normalize their conversation rather than making it sound like an interview. Like, "Okay, so, you're a transgender. "What do you like the words for your genitals?" That can seem a little bit formal. It can be nice to just present it as like, "Hey, this is what I like to use. "What words do you like to use?" And that way, you can be really affirming in the language that you use. Okay, let's see what's going on the chat. So Jess M says, "Safety is one of the concerns "that might come up for trans-people." So let's see what Jess is, additional comments are there. So, all of the things, all of the safety things. So emotional based on dysphoria someone might be experiencing, absolutely. So dysphoria is when you feel like the physical parts of your body are not actually like the parts that you wanna have. So you feel kind of a bit dis, you feel disconnected in your body. You feel like, "Actually, I really don't "like having these breasts," or, "I really don't like having this penis. "It's not the body that I identify with." So that's dysphoria, and then during sex of course, a partner might be eager to interact with those parts of your body, and actually you're like, "Uh, those are really not "parts that I want you to touch "'cause they feel like they're "not part of me and part of who I am." Okay, and physical safety, says Jess. Yeah, physical safety, depending on the person. I've had friends who were trans who did not disclose their identity to someone who was cis, those experience, whose experiences weren't, those experiences weren't always positive for them. I say, "Yeah, absolutely, as a transgendered person "approaching a hook-up with a cisgendered person," or someone they, you know, assume as cisgendered, it does sometimes put the question like, "Does this person know I'm transgendered? "Is it important that I tell them beforehand? "Is it not important, like is it actually really important "that I don't make that a big, an issue?" It can be a, a sort of a safety concern? Cause sometimes, it does happen that a person's like, a cisgendered person might be really surprised that a person is transgender, and they might be like, "Actually, you're not a sexual partner I wanna be with," and that can be really hurtful and potentially physically dangerous, people get assaulted for that kind of thing. Of course, people shouldn't get assaulted for that, but it can be a question of safety for a trans-person thinking like, "Ooh, you know, what do I tell a person? "How do I tell a person, when do I tell a person?" Or, "If I tell a person." What else have we got, "LOL," Maya says, "I like the informal interview style. "Both my partner and myself." Yeah, cool, yep, so yeah, I think that finding out terms for people's genitals that they like to use is actually really important for whatever their gender is. And like, it can be framed not so much as like, "What do you like to have your genital called?" But it can always be put in that spin of like, what's hot and what's not? There are lots of people who likes certain words used in the bedroom and other ones not, and you could even kind of frame it as like, "Let's set the boundaries for our dirty talk." You know like, "Hey, I really like being called a slut. "I do not like being called a bitch, so don't call me that." What are some of the words that you, might be hot for you to hear in the bedroom? What are some of the words that are not?" You know, "Hey, I like being called boy," or, "I like being called" whatever it is. You can kind of set up the framing and give your partner space to answer as well, regardless of gender, but especially if you're never getting intimacy with a transgendered partner. It can be a really cool way to set up that dynamic. Okay, seven minutes?! How can I do this chat topic justice? Okay, so, genitals, genitals, genitals. Okay, what have I got here? Talking about different sex, talking about different body stuff. Okay, so, I did wanna say that genitals are all made up of the same parts no matter what a person's gender. The hormones that people have like sort of naturally in their body and the hormones they might take through like injection or sort of pills will influence how people's body, sorry, how people's genitals develop. But essentially, they're made of the same parts. They can be really useful to know because you can think about like the head of the penis is actually kind of the same as the clitoris like in terms of its structure and how it, how the sensation works. And so if you're with a transgendered partner, it's not uncommon for somebody who's like, for example, a transgendered woman who has a penis might refer to that as their clit. And they might say, "Hey," you know, "I want you to call this my clit, "touch my clit," whatever it is. And you think, "Okay, cool." So maybe from like a biological, anatomical, whatever it is perspective, this is, the structure is called a penis, but it's really just a clit that's grown a bit differently. So we can totally call this a clit. And same with the other side of the coin. So a person might say like, "Hey, I really want you to call this," Sorry, a transgendered man who has a clitoris, they might have taken testosterone, and the clit might be bigger or not, but they might just say, "Hey, that's my cock. "Call it my cock," and that's really cool being able to say, "Actually, I can totally see how those two structures "are really the same, "they've just grown to different sizes." So, yeah, those kind of pieces of information can be really helpful, knowing that our bodies are actually all made of the same things. Maya says, "No, for reals, what do you "like to call your genitals isn't necessarily unsexy. "But I think it can be really sensual and intimate." Yeah, absolutely, yeah, it sort of depends what your personality is and what your comfort is that you're saying those words as well. I think that you're right, it can be totally hot and totally intimate, I just like to give people options, because for some people, they just can't imagine ever saying, "Hello, what do you like your genitals called?" It just doesn't sound like them. So I like people to know that there's different ways you can ask the same questions that are more authentic to how you like to communicate. Question, Maya says, "Can you talk about "the potential for changing attraction "when folks go through hormones? "I'm particularly curious about estrogen." Interesting question, I might have like a part two on this one. But that's absolutely something that comes up. You might, like it might be somebody who hasn't previously been taking hormones and starts to take hormones, and they might, that person who's taking the hormones might find their attraction changes. Instead of being attracted to feminine or estrogen-based bodied people, they might actually start to be attracted to, to men or masculine people. Or, the kind of opposite thing, like a partner of somebody who's trans, that trans-person might start taking hormones. And the partner might actually find that the smells and sort of the way that person's body is developing becomes more or less attractive to them. It might just kind of alter the way that attraction works, which is quite interesting. I don't know exactly about how estrogen particularly works or influences attraction, um, I know that taking hormones can certainly influence people's genital function and sexual desire or sort of sex drive as they call it. Although sex drive might not be the right term. But people's kind of interest in sex or eagerness to have lots of it, or you know, some of it. So often, a transgendered male who starts taking hormones, changes that happen to the genitals, clitoris gets bigger, the vagina might be affected, especially if you've been taking hormones for a while. It might thin the wall of the vagina. So penetration might be uncomfortable. Although it's totally different for different people. Man, this is like hiccup day, I really apologize. And it might also affect the natural lubrication of the vagina, so there's less natural lubrication. So those are possibilities, definitely, there's a range of experiences. But that's how testosterone can affect the genitals. When estrogen is taken for a female, like a trans-woman, that typically makes it difficult for that person to get erections up the penis. And it also can make their penis kind of reduce in size, not immediately, but over the period of taking the estrogen, the penis typically gets a bit smaller and, yeah, not as erection-y. So those ways of sexual function differ. And the ways that kind of attraction or sort of sexual desire can differ, I don't wanna generalize 'cause people have so many different experiences, but it's quite common for a trans-man, once they start taking testosterone, to feel like they wanna have more sex, to feel kind of more sexual and, yeah, kind of randy. And then it's also quite common for a trans-woman when they start taking estrogen, to notice a reduction in their sort of sexual urges. And perhaps a different kind of slightly more full-bodied or kind of slow, what's the word? Kind of, I don't know, holistic and round and sort of sense of sexual attraction, it's something you can definitely YouTube. There's lots of people who talk about it. And I also don't wanna overly generalize because everyone's experience is different. But I know that some transgendered women will say that like, "I'm actually okay with my penis." What I feel quite conflicted about is that, they'll have sort of sexual desire, and, it just sort of doesn't seem like it really fits my gender, they might feel too randy, or they just find male masturbation kind of doesn't fit right with them anymore. And so they find when they take estrogen, that it can kind of reduce the urgency of sexual desire, sort of sexual needs and sort of reduce, yeah, the need for erections and ejaculation, that kind of thing, so that can be actually quite a relief to some trans-women. Our hour is already up, which is devastating because I wanted to talk about sex toys a little bit and a little bit more about sexual technique, sort of some of the common techniques that, you know, like strap on playing for example and some things that people do sexually and might be of interest to trans-people. But we haven't got time to talk about that now. So that just means that I'll have to talk about it another time. So thank you very much for participating today. I hope that you've enjoyed the stream. And I really appreciate your participation in the chat, the questions and comments that you offered have been really valuable. I, um, well, I'm not exactly certain when I'm gonna next stream because I'm about to go overseas but if you don't see me in the next couple of weeks, keep your eyes out and about a month or so. I'll be at least back in the routine once I get to Canada, but maybe I'll do a stream in another couple of weeks, let's just see. But thanks very much, looking forward to seeing you again. And enjoy the rest of the streams today and other days that you interact and jump on our school. There's heaps of awesome stuff there. So, uh, Jess says, "I'm off to my lunch break. "You're awesome," yay, "Enjoyed your stream. "Thank you so much for talking about this." Okay, great, thanks, I'm glad you appreciate it. I'm really glad you appreciate it. And Maya says, "Thank you so much, nice to see you." Yup, you can see me, but I, Well, sorry, you can see me, but you can't see Jess. Okay, enough chatter, see you next time.

Approaching Sex With A Trans Person

Jun 13, 2018
2:00 pm
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
2:00 pm

Join kiwi sex educator Louise Bourchier for conversations about sex, pleasure, health and relationships with a touch of international flavour.