Trans people and sex – what you need to know


Today is Trans Day of Visibility, and whilst trans and non-binary people have indeed become increasingly more visible in society, a lot of the narratives you may hear about us can be misleading. Beyond the fear mongering in the press around which bathrooms we should use or whether children are able to really know their gender identity (FYI, they are) is a community of people inhabiting lives probably not entirely dissimilar to your own.

Unfortunately, the view of trans people represented in popular media is often quite one-dimensional. Of the many aspects of our lives that often go unexplored is our relationship to sex and sexuality. So, let’s see what we can do to set the record straight by tackling some of questions that cis (that is, not trans) people often ask us …and wow, do they ask us!

The pressure to educate

For a lot of trans folks, sex and relationships are often punctuated by having to be a point of learning for prospective partners, which can get really tiresome. So I’ve picked two of the more common questions we get asked, so you can avoid them and get on with talking to that cute trans persons you matched with on Tinder.

When will you be getting “the surgery”?

There’s a huge range of surgical procedures that a trans person may or may not choose to have. Some trans folks are perfectly happy with their bodies, including their genitals and might never opt to undergo surgery at all. If sex is on the cards, try asking what feels hot, how we like to be touched or if there are words we chose to avoid for certain parts of our body. Try not to jump straight in and ask, ‘what junk do you have?!?’

If you’re into X people, aren’t you just Y?

A lot of people struggle to separate sexuality from gender identity but trans people are just as likely to be lesbian, gay or bisexual as anyone else. Try to be respectful of trans people’s sexuality as well as their gender. If and when people transition, it is to make their lives more in line with their gender. So, a trans guy (that is, someone who was assigned female at birth and identifies as male) who is into other men, isn’t a straight girl, because when men are exclusively attracted to other men, they would most likely identify as gay men.

Assumptions about sex

Also, it’s important to remember that body parts aren’t indicative of how we like to have sex. Not all trans women like or feel comfortable as the insertive/active partner and not all trans guys bottom either. Try exploring our likes and dislikes just as you would with anyone else.

Thankfully trans writers and allies are starting to demystify a lot of the conversations around trans sex and sexuality. For more in depth info, check out Juno Roche’s book Queer Sex, this blog by Alex Cheves for Advocate and this feature on having sex for the first time after transitioning by Lux Alptraum for them.

By Aedan James (@aedan_james on twitter, also follow @tMSMWellness on twitter and @tmsm_wellness_project on Instagram.)

With thanks to Dan (@transboyhood on instagram) for allowing us to use this image.

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