At GenderGP we think sex education resources for trans people have a long way to go, so we are pulling together our own. As part of this exercise we recently asked the community for their answers to the following question:
If you were re-writing the rule book on sex education for trans people, what advice would you give?
Here are their answers:
Ditch preconceptions, embrace diversity, accept individuality!
Bottom surgery, especially phallo, can be complex and multi-staged and takes years to complete. A lot of people I know are shy and anxious about sex while in the middle of this process. Get to know yourself on your own and demedicalize your new parts in between surgeries and it will go much easier with others! You’ll be surprised how many people are curious in a good way.
Don’t be afraid to give firm instructions during sex about how things differ, like the fact we often have more sensation around the base than the tip. I like to explain beforehand on apps and get clear on what they’re looking for so we don’t end up at an impasse.
Sex is not just penetration. For so many of us growing up we are conditioned to believe that if penetration isn’t involved in sex then we have either not had sex or hadn’t done a good job at it. Not only does this expectation of how sex should be put a lot of pressure on trans people, as some of us may not be able to take part in penetrative sex, don’t want too or just don’t don’t feel the need for it, it is also a very heteronormative expectation to put on young people during sex education. Many lesbian, gay and bisexual people do not take part in penetrative sex and it is just as fulfilling and meaningful.
Communicate with your partners, in and out of the bedroom. Make “Will, Want, Won’t” lists together, one for each person involved. Listen to them. Adjust to suit them in whatever ways you can. Don’t be afraid of toys; they can enhance your sex life and they detract from nobody. Respect their preferred language; if they feel more comfortable with certain terminology, you should use it. Engage in aftercare, as if you were doing BDSM.
The body parts you have don’t dictate the kind of sex you have or the ways you can have sex. Dysphoria can make sex really hard, especially if you are waiting for surgeries etc. but you can do, and should just do, what you are comfortable with. This might mean you don’t have penetrative sex, or maybe you don’t get fully undressed, or involve certain parts of your body, use particular words to refer to body parts etc. This doesn’t mean the sex that you are having is ‘less than’ or wrong, or that you are broken. Even when/if you are waiting for surgeries, like I am, you can still find ways of expressing your sexuality in ways that don’t make you feel really bad and dysphoric.
Contrary to what the media and society says – trans people are worthy of love and trans people are attractive. Being trans does not mean that you cannot have these experiences in your life, or mean you are too ‘broken’ and ‘disgusting’ to be sexual or romantic. Sex that diverges from a cis/hetero penetration-centric idea of sex is not ‘not really’ sex or lesser than, it is just as valid and healthy way of sexual interaction and being in your body.
That you can’t talk about sex without also talking about asexuality and the asexual/aromatic spectrum. Not everyone has to have/like sex and that’s okay too.
Discuss with your partner(s) what body parts are okay to touch and what aren’t, and what names to use for them, especially around areas that might cause dysphoria (chest, genitals…)
There’s this prevailing narrative in the world that people with a certain type of genitals like certain types of sex, always. everyone with a prostate likes to have it stimulated; everyone with a vagina prefers vaginal over anal; everyone, EVERYONE, likes to receive oral sex, and if they don’t they’re just scared or embarrassed. none of these are true! even if you don’t have specific dysphoria around your genitals (particularly thinking of NBs, but this is plenty common for everyone) it is OKAY if you don’t like certain things! explore what you like with an open mind without holding yourself to these narratives or taking them as a given. It’s okay to tell a partner that you don’t like certain things, and if they don’t respect your boundaries, leave.
A woman can have a penis and vice versa, they still are valid in their gender.
That my ass is a gateway to a wonderful land of opportunities and new sensations… Also, like, an explanation that sex isn’t just penetration. And that just going along with what you think you’re “supposed to do” is silly, when you could be communicating openly with your partner and developing something that makes you both really excited and happy.
Youngsters, please learn from my mistakes. Don’t grow up to have bland boring sex you don’t even want just because it’s what’s expected of you.
That it’s good to talk about sex, boundaries and expectations. Also that it’s good to follow what you think is valid for you to see if you can make it work for you. Don’t be afraid to explore, and don’t be afraid to say no.
I wish someone told me that it’s not like what’s portrayed in the movies and that sex is not just purely based on physical sensations but could be psychologically and it’s abt exploring each other’s bodies and being able to reveal our most vulnerable unlovable self to the person whom we are sharing this experience with and who will love us for that.
That it’s okay to not have sex until the age of whatever feels right for you. Also a personal one, that feeling sexual attraction is nothing to be ashamed of.
That it’s something with the right person will be comfortable but with anyone else it’ll make you feel uncomfortable.
it’s ok to laugh during sex, and be silly and have fun!! sex is play 🙂
Queer Sex Ed has a fantastic podcast about exactly what the title says. The hosts have trans/non binary bodies and sex ed training so they are knowledgeable and well-informed. It is 18+ though.
The actual use of condoms, dental dams, birth control and how there’s different kinds.
Sex is supposed to be fun, not just pleasurable. Sex isn’t just about penetration.
That it isn’t the most important thing in the world, that it isn’t a requirement of humanity, that it’s okay to not be obsessed with getting laid all the time. Also my parents were very reserved so I wish it hadn’t been stigmatised as shameful by them also. The combination of those 2 really gave me a messed up view when I was younger, and it’s taken me until now to truly understand what sexuality means to me and realise I’m demi-sexual.
I wish someone had told me that sex is not a performance – it doesn’t matter if you pull a weird face or if you don’t finish at the right time, or if you laugh or sneeze or cough.
If you’re a top it can be especially tough since adding more dicks to the equation with a harness complicates things, but a condom and sports tape can keep your new phallus hard if the other party is well-lubed and stretched beforehand (butt plugs are friends). The external erectile devices don’t work well until you have a glans, but the stretchy silicone tube kind can sometimes work too.
It seems that open and honest communication is the key, learn to love yourself and your body and help your partners to learn from you. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to pleasure, so use whatever works for you to enjoy a happy and fulfilling sex life.