Birds do it. Bees do it. But can Katie and I do it?

I’ve avoided writing about this topic for many reasons. First, my friends, family, and some coworkers read this blog and sex is not something I openly talk about with any of these audiences. (Mom, Dad, this is your warning now to discontinue if you don’t want to know more about your daughter on this subject. I respect you if you don’t want to know. That said, I’m not going into graphic detail if you do want to keep reading because, well, those details are for me and for Katie). Second, the subject of sex and my role in it makes me uncomfortable. This discomfort plagues me: Why am I uncomfortable? Did my Catholic K-8 education influence my ideas about sex? Undoubtedly, but how? Am I a prude? I don’t think so? Am I just “not sexual”? No, that can’t be it, right? What’s wrong with me? If I knew, I wouldn’t be writing. I struggle to talk openly about sex, even with Katie. Ultimately, I think the vulnerability involved in being honest about my insecurities about the subject in light of my own perceived shortcomings feels too raw to share with others. The idea of specializing in Sex Therapy interests me for many reasons, one of which is because I think the challenge of the subject matter involved for me is a challenge I need to understand my own relationship to sex. I digress.

I am writing because I feel lost in Katie and my struggle to re-engage and redefine sex in our relationship together. Before Katie came out, before she started taking hormones and her body began to manipulate like clay under the careful, unwitting guidance of estrogen, I understood sex and what it meant to her and to me. We knew how our individual bodies worked, how to enjoy sex together. To my knowledge, the handbook for learning how to have sex again isn’t written for our situation. I can’t Google-search “how to learn how to have sex with your previously male-bodied, transgender female partner” without getting a lot of unwanted search results. I wasn’t ready for how quickly hormones would disengage the parts of Katie’s body we both understood before. I didn’t know the last time I had penetrative sex would be my last time because I didn’t know how quickly estrogen disengaged this part of her body. I do know there are other ways. This is obvious. Learning them feels incredibly daunting and complicated.

Since Katie came out, we have been navigating this awkward minefield of learning how Katie’s body works as her mind comes to understand the person she is within that body. Sometimes, dysphoria clouds her ability to feel sexy even when she wants to have sex. In tandem, I’m stuck in the prison of my own mind, helpless to battle the constant fear of triggering her dysphoria while simultaneously terrified of not knowing what I’m doing or of not communicating well enough how attractive I think she is. The idea I worried about in the beginning, the fear of a loss of attraction, seems incredibly far away to me now. I wish attraction was the issue as at least there would be a clear pathway. This issue isn’t as simple as the adolescent exploring their own body in conjunction with their partner while hormones explode through both of them and their mom sits in the next room unaware. The journey Katie and I are on has felt so separate at times; our individual experiences so different. We are two thirty-somethings trying to understand what the fuck is going on, what is too much to communicate and how.

After Katie came out, the trust we needed to feel safe with each other took time to rebuild. As we navigated each new part of the transition, we underwent a lot to repair as individuals and as a couple. Our therapy together primarily focused on how to do that, how to communicate through the whirlwind of transition. Last week, Katie and I both agreed we needed to shift focus onto this now-important topic: How do we get out of our own heads and have the sex we both want to again? I’m sure an update at some point will be provided, but please respect my privacy on this. You can ask your questions, but I may tell you I’m not going to provide the answer.


10 thoughts on “Birds do it. Bees do it. But can Katie and I do it?

  1. Ok so I know this is probably not the most wanted response but have you tried looking into kink? Its a very big thing in the trans community because of how it can be used to facilitate sex that is more attuned to all participants particular desires. Even if you don’t want to look into it too much, I recommend both using a test like (don’t be afraid to give things a No) to more thoroughly explore what both of you like. The overlap might surprise you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brigid Lee

    I needed to read this. This post came to me at the exact right time for it to impact me. I came out to my wife as trans in September 2018, started hormones in February/March 2019. I’ve just begun to lose the ability to have sex “as a man” and I’m struggling to find a way to have sex “as a woman”. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. It is so very important and so very appreciated. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This post couldn’t have come at a better or worse time for me. It struck me hard because this is exactly what I am dealing with.

    This is the first time I am truely upset with Madison’s transition. In the three years since she told me and the five months she has been on hormones, I am actually sitting here crying. I know damn well I am over-reacting, as it that time of the month, and it was my 44th birthday yesterday. But today I am upset at the hormones for taking away Madison’s ability have or even want sex. I asked her back in May to get viagra. But after a 2nd failed attempt. I feel bad for pushing her to take them. Now they are in the back of the cupboard. I took the bluetooth speaker out of my room this morning because we only had it here for listening to music as one thing led to another.

    I truely feel like a bad partner right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cat

    This. This this this. There is no f’ing roadmap for this. This is so hard. I have fear and performance anxiety and grief and guilt – and how are you supposed to have sex with all that and more as well as worrying about your transitioning partner’s dysphoria? How are we supposed to know what to do? And I don’t think kink is really going to help us with our emotional and physical backgrounds so disrupted… Thank you so much for addressing the topic, even if the answers remain hidden to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have kind of a unique view on this as I’m used to having sex with women and people with oestrogen driven systems. I’ve found if both the people are operating off oestrogen, sex is much more of a mental process than a physical act, foreplay is super important and often takes significantly longer than ‘actual sex.’ Sex toys are also a massive part, things like strap ons can assist with penetrative sex. As for dysphoria my partner keeps some of their clothes on to alleviate that which does help but unfortunately dysphoria will sometimes stop sex. I found that once we stopped focusing on ‘what we should be doing’ and started exploring kinks and what we actually wanted to be doing, sex was a lot more fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Z H

    I found the book “Girl Sex 101” to be a really helpful resource as far as understanding options for sex and physical intimacy with a trans woman. The framing device in the book is a bit tedious, but it’s got a lot of useful information.

    Liked by 1 person

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