So… I’m a straight girl and I started seeing a Trans guy about a month ago. I’ve only ever dated regular dudes before so this is a little different for me and… yeah. I reeaallly like him and I’m really attracted to him and I feel really happy around him – like we just really connect and get each other, but at the same time I’m super scared of getting frisky because he hasn’t started transitioning. I know there’s no wang down there, and I’m afraid that when we start getting more ‘intimate’ that I’ll be turned off by his girl-junk. I have no idea what to do and I’m super scared of hurting his feelings. What should I do?
As always I’d like to start off by thanking you for reaching out about this, it shows that you care a lot about your new partner’s feelings. From your question, I get that you’ve only had relationships with cisdudes before, and that this experience is really new and novel for you. It sounds like you feel deeply connected to this new relationship but are scared of how sexual intimacy might change things.
While I can’t tell you what you should do, I will say this: a really important part of any relationship’s wellbeing is communicating open and honestly, even about the hard things like sex and getting intimate. I wonder if talking honestly about your fears, hopes, and expectations with your partner might help alleviate some of the concerns and insecurities that you’re feeling, and possibly open up an avenue for them to air some of their feelings too.
If you feel like talking to your partner is a good option, consider having this talk before things get hot and heavy – that will give you both a chance to get on the same page before running into some potentially awkward or possibly painful experiences (like you getting turned off by their junk, and him feeling dysphoric and rejected).
This can also be a chance to talk about safer sex, like using barriers for oral-genital and genital-to-genital contact. If you’re using toys, putting a condom on them before use (and every time they come into contact with a different partner) can be an easy way to play safely. If you’d like more information and resources about safe sex practices, you could check out the Wellness Centre on campus, or submit questions to Queer Sex Education (a question-and-answer blog like ours, but with a specific focus on safe queer sexy times).
Lastly, this can be a great opportunity to talk about the language to use when getting busy – some transfolks can feel triggered or dysphoric when people refer to their genitals by certain names. What does your partner like to call his sexy bits? What do you like yours to be called? Though this conversation might seem a little weird to have, it can make future communications about sex easier and dare I say, more sexy, for both of you.
Personally, I think it’s best to communicate face-to-face about the hard stuff. When it comes to ‘intimate’ matters, it’s usually best to do it somewhere private and not in the local coffee shop. At the same time, it can be hard to talk about bedroom matters in the bedroom; consider somewhere that’s safe and private but not intimate.
You might want to give them a heads up too, that you want to have a hard conversation – if you do this, it’s important to emphasize that the relationship is not in danger. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that you’re not thinking of ending things right now, and if that’s the case you won’t want to give your partner the impression that a break up is imminent. You might say something like “Hey, there’s something important on my mind that I’d like to talk with you about. It’s nothing bad, but it is something that I feel we should talk about so that we can keep having an awesome time together”.
As to the conversation itself, consider telling your partner what you told us: that you really connect with him, that you feel super happy around him, that you’re really attracted to him and this relationship means a lot to you, but that this is new and you’re not sure how you’ll feel, and that you respect him and care about his feelings.
Make lots of space for your partner to talk about his feelings too, chances are that he has a lot of the same fears and concerns that you have. Make sure to hear him out.
I also want to add that at the end of the day, we can’t help who we’re attracted to. If his genitals do really turn you off, you might need to decide if that’s something that you can overcome with a little creativity, or if it’s a deal breaker. It’s better for both of you if you’re both honest about your needs and what they mean for your relationship. A way to keep tabs on this might be to think about what your needs are, sexually, emotionally, etc., and encourage him to do likewise. Check in with each other about these needs and how they’re being met.
I hope that helps to give you an idea of how you might go forward in this relationship. Remember that these are only suggestions – only you can decide what you want to do and how to do it. If you’d like to talk about other strategies for facing this challenge, why not give us a call? We’d be happy to help you brainstorm.
We’re online everyday except Tuesday from 5-10 pm at qlinks.ca/outline.
UPDATE: There’s a new monthly social meet-up for trans and non-binary folks. Gender Intersect meets the 3rd Monday of every month at the Red Brick Café, 8 Douglas St., at 7 pm.