July 18th, 2015
Having good sex can increase a trans person’s comfort with their body. This is the message Buck Angel and I attempted to impart to over 150 sex educators, counselors, and therapists at the annual AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists) conference in Minneapolis this past June. At our workshop “Sexing the Trans Man,” attendees were excited to learn about the connections between gender identity, body dysphoria, and sexual expression as well as the opportunity to dispel some myths about transgender men. We showed one of Buck’s docu-porns to help attendees hear from actual transgender men as well as see what transgender sex actually looks like. (Hint – it doesn’t look any different than cisgender sex.) as well as see the diversity of transmasculine bodies.The major myth we attempted to dispel is that trans men hate their bodies.
Of course, most transgender and gender non-conforming people are uncomfortable with aspects of their bodies. But not all of them have the intense hate, the “I was born in the wrong body” experience, that most people expect to hear about. In fact, some trans folk like the bodies and the genitalia they were born with. For another portion of transmasculine folk, they may have an initial dislike with some body parts they were born with, but accepting and expressing their gender identity increases a comfort with their genitals. However, they may use different words to name their sexual body parts.
The point being is that therapists and trans people need to remember that there is not one way to be transgender. Body love – and dysphoria – can express itself in many ways. We must allow people to learn about themselves and who they are, not direct them to be or think in certain ways. Ever since therapists and doctors have been the gatekeepers for gender-confirming medical procedures, there has been a narrative about how transgender people experience themselves. And this narrative – the one of hate of one’s own body – has never been true for all trans folk.
However, the most revolutionary aspect of “Sexing the Trans Man” is that fulfilling sexual expression – having sexual experiences by choice with partners that are respectful, responsive, and fun – can influence how a person feels about their body for the better. However, this is true not for only gender non-conforming folk, but for cis folk as well. Almost everyone has aspects of their body with whey they are uncomfortable. (Understanding that a trans person’s experience with their body can be fundamentally different than a cis person’s.) So jerking off, having a three-way with people you like and who respect your gender identity, fucking and/or getting fucked by your partner or friend with benefits, allows you the opportunity to enjoy your body and learn more about it. When we get to use our bodies in ways that increase our pleasure, while simultaneously experiencing someone else finding pleasure in who we are, wonderful things can happen to our self-worth.
If you are looking for a gender therapist or sex therapist in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, feel free to contact Mike Giordano, LICSW at Mike.Giordano.MSW@gmail.com.