Category Archives: Sex and sexuality

To Fall In love With Life Again

(CW: mentions of self injury, as well as sex stuff)

Hello everyone, I thought it would be time for an update on life and all that’s been going on. I’m going to be mostly talking about trans stuff, so if there’s any trolls lurking on here who objects to this, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

No, seriously, I logged on here a while back and had a comment from someone who called themself an ally but had all the hallmarks of a TERF trying to bitch me out for banging on about trans issues. Funnily enough they never came back after calling them out. But anyway…

The past few weeks I feel like I’ve awakened from a the depths of a long winter. An apt metaphor in a lot of ways because this winter has been the hardest I’ve had for a couple of years in terms of my mental health. Back before Christmas I had finally gotten my second surgical opinion and it then took until the end of March to finally receive that in writing. This basically means I’ve been in limbo for three months because this means the hospital were also waiting for this. Until it was sent out, I could not progress and I find that extremely hard to deal with. Having to make half a dozen phone calls to chase this up while seeing friends go through this state and onto surgical appointments only added to things while I was getting so frustrated by being held back for no appreciable reason I would have meltdowns that ended up with me smacking my head as a result.

What was also not helping was the fact in the meanwhile I had heard there was a very good chance I would not be going to my choice of hospital (Parkside) as there’s evidently a disconnect between Tavistock GIC and Imperial College. Imperial only send people to Parkside if they can’t get people through their place within 18 weeks of referral, while the GIC imply we have free choice regarding which surgeon we want to go with. With all else going on I was at the point where I didn’t give a damn who I saw, I just wanted things done.

Thankfully this has finally been resolved. I got my letter towards the end of March and was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from Imperial a week later asking if I ‘didn’t mind’ going to Parkside as they had capacity issues at Imperial. Needless to say I said yes to this and another week passed before hearing from Parkside and I’m now two weeks away from my surgical consultation.

The thing that irks me most about all this is the fact after you get your second opinion, it’s good for 12 months. Not 12 months from when they send the letter out, 12 months from the day you’re seen. Thanks to all this mucking about, 4 months of that time has been burned up. I really don’t want to know what the procedure is if 12 months elapsed. It’s just one of so many things that are fucked up with the present system and needs reforming.

Presuming I don’t have any complications I should have everything over and done in the next couple of months and I can focus on just getting on with life now that I feel energised once more. Speaking of which …

It’s the end of a week off from work  for us both here and unlike the last time off we had I feel like we’ve achieved stuff. We have a new sofa for the living room and new side units to go with them so we’ve got more storage for stuff. I also did a spot of minor DIY and repainted and treated the mould in the window bay as well as put some new curtains up.
The back bedroom is organised to a point where I can set up the spare bed and use the room for the aftercare I’ll need to do post op too. It’s probably just as well we spent the holiday doing productive stuff as I fully expect my next chunk of time off work to be recovering from surgery.

Basically because things are finally progressing and I’m getting closer to getting a big thing in my life sorted out I’m feeling more more energised and more able to do stuff and tackle some of the other ongoing stuff that crops up in my mind from time to time.

First off, I finally got a proper hair cut. I know that sounds trivial, but given I’ve spent the last few months flip flopping between styles and not being able to make a decision, it’s a big thing to me. I didn’t want to rush in and regret it later as it’s taken me 4 years to grow my hair out it’s a big deal to me. As you can see I’m over the moon with the results.

 

 

Secondly, I’ve managed to sort out something else that I’ve ummed and ahhed about for a while not. Y’see, you spend all these years trying to live a life that you then find out isn’t you and it all unravels because you figure out you’re trans and then rebuild from there. You get left with all these snippets and not knowing what to do with them, if they’re still a part of you, if they’re still relevant, or just another piece of the shell that you broke out from upon coming out and finally living as your true self and doesn’t belong to you now.

Sex, sexuality and kink are some of these fragments and for the past two years I’ve made a few goes at sitting down and trying to figure them out, only to become rather bewildered and pack them all away, to try again later. Well without going into too much detail, I’ve finally partially figured this out As you many well have noticed lately I’ve taken to wearing collars and chokers once again.

In kink terms wearing a collar indicates you belong to someone, in my case I belong to Rebecca. For me a collar is a symbolic thing. I’ve said from early on she’s got my heart and soul and in wearing one it’s a physical manifestation of this. I feel more secure for doing this, there’s a grounding element to this, form the perspective it’s a reminder that no matter what is going on in my life, she is always there, always protecting me, always loving me for me, and odd as this sounds I feel liberated for doing so. Being able to trust someone enough to confide in this and give myself fully to. I’ve not figured out much else beyond this, but even making this step is more a help than you can imagine. Once again I’m struggling to put things into words, but I’m not struggling, if that makes sense.

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D-Day?

Or should that be E-Day? Yes, I think it should. Well after several months of ticking down months, then weeks, then days and dealing with the associated anxiety that came with it today was the day. The day I go find out if I can get myself onto hormones. I’ve been self medicating for six months now, using the pill they give women to stop them falling pregnant as this could be obtained from a pharmacist rather than take my chances on the internet. It isn’t perfect and does nothing to block testosterone, but it was a start. I was slowly developing a feminine figure and happy with what I was seeing, but it was a stop-gap measure. I am fully aware it’s not good in the long run, hence booking an appointment to see an endocrinologist privately and get things organised instead of waiting who knows how long for the NHS.

Before I go any futher, I’m going to point out I’m not going to sugar coat or hold back here. There’s plenty of talk about sexual function and nudity, stuff that can be dysphoria triggering and talk of depression and self harming. Don’t say i didn’t warn you, and as a friend of mine says; “Transition isn’t all tits and rainbows”.
I’ve been worrying like hell about today, going through so many what-ifs and reasons why things might not go to plan and having to deal with bouts of anxiety that at times threatened to cripple and overwhelm me these past couple of weeks. Anyway, 9.30am rolled around and so hubbie and I got into the car, complete with my folder containing all the information, consultations and test results from my transition and headed on up to Enfield to the King’s Oak hospital and my appointment with Dr Seal at 11.45, with the usual battle between my music (which I use to relax in the car as long distance travel and travelling at speed can both set my anxiety off) and Richard trying to listen to the brand new sat-nav he bought the day before to make sure we got there OK and in time.

A couple of bouts of road rage on his part and me trying to be irreverent and funny on Twitter later we get there a full hour early. That’s part down to me despising being late for anything and getting highly wound up if I am late and partly because I know the M25  and Dartford too well to not factor in long and ludicrous delays. Still, that gave us time to have a drink and time enough for my anxiety to continue to play merry hell. If that weren’t enough, Richard had one of his chest seizures in the waiting room and I spent 10 minutes supporting him and reassuring everyone that everything will be OK in a minute. Horrible timing, but not his fault and not much he can do about them and all I can really do is stop him smashing his head up.

Anyway, that extra and unwanted drama sorted out I get called and we go in to see Dr Seal, where he explains what’s going to happen, that he’s going to ask questions and a bit later on he’s going to take some measurements,  examine my breasts and my genitalia. Eep! I had an idea that might be happening today and I thank my lucky stars I had a good trim down there and that I hadn’t overdone the Christmas eating this year.

But first the questions, oh so many questions. I was asked about my birth and early life, if there were any complications at birth and my development. I was born just fine, if rather late and as for my development, that was fraught at times, between having ADHD and being pretty slow learning to talk.

Once again I was asked about my earliest memories of gender dysphoria and I recalled how I wanted to be called Chrissy when I was 8 among other things that pointed towards things not being quite right. I got asked about when I started wearing women’s clothing, which started with me borrowing sisters stuff, getting girly stuff from charity shops as a late teen and then introducing dressing up a couple of years into my relationship with Richard and how I felt good wearing what I wore and felt awful havijg to take everything off and soon learning it wasn’t a sexual thing going on there. Family history was next and I was asked if any one else in the family who were homosexual/ bisexual or had a history of being transgender/sexual.

Next came questions about puberty, how it went, how I felt and so on, so I went into some depth about feeling very awkward about my body, hating my body image and things I did to lessen those feelings, such as getting rid of my body hair as well as being asked how my body developed, including asking if  had any breast development then. Sadly no, all that happened was a lot of hair appeared and I went from a short and stubby fatso with a 30″ waist to being 5’10” and having the same waistline.

My mental health was discussed and if I had any depression or history of mental illness, always a fun topic, especially being asked to recount if I self harmed, how I did it, if I tried to take my own life and how I went about that. I won’t go into too much detail here, I’ll just say I’m lucky that I’m still here, didn’t do more damage than I have done when I used to self harm, though I also recalled how the black cloud that’s sat at the back of my mind most of my life disappeared once I came out.

I then got a load of questions on how I eventually came to the decision I made and came out as being transgender, so I described how I felt when I used to dress up for fun and felt awful when I had to take the ladies clothes of afterwards, how I eventually got clued up on things and spent a couple of years wondering if I was genderfluid before sinking into a real hole this time last year because I finally worked out I was trans and didn’t know how the hell to tell Richard. We discussed if Richard had been supportive, leaving aside the fact he’s just driven me to my appointment and helped me get through some of what I’ve been asked,  described how he’d wait for me by the door with my clothes when I wasn’t out at work and he’d shoo me upstairs to get changed and feel happy, among other things he’s done, as well as discussing how I came out to him. Family support was discussed, how I came out to them. Richard had to tell them because I’d worked myself up into an anxious and non-verbal mess that day, and we described how dad and his mum had both said it was about time I did this and how awesome mum’s been throughout. I described how much of a help being on Twitter has been, how we all chat to one another, giving advice and being supportive to one another and generally how awesome you all are 🙂

I also described the time after I came out to family but before I got work sored out, how I was living a double life, how Richard supported me with dealing with that and discussed how I eventually came out and how the work transition was handled.
I was then asked about relationships, how many partners I’ve had and my own sexuality and sexual function. That’s pretty simple. I’ve only had three or four serious relationships with guys and a couple of platonic ones with women. As for sexual function, Richard was very helpful with helping describe how I’ve found intimacy awkward for a long while, years before I came out and how he thought something had been up but wasn’t sure but now he looks back everything made sense now, as well me basically saying I don’t want any sexual function down there, I just want the damn thing gone.

So that’s the psychoanalysis pretty much done and over, now for the physical part of the exam. I was asked what procedures I was looking at having, the only one being getting my bits turned inside out and then my weight, height and blood pressure were taken, all normal. Then I was asked to go behind a screen and get into a surgical robe while a female chaperone was called in. That was new and weird. I did ask if it was OK to just have Richard there but for legal reasons a chaperone had to be present. With that done I lay down on the bed and had my breasts checked over, including being shown how to check them for breast cancer. Again something new and something I wasn’t expecting today but nice to know how now. Then the other bits got looked at. Needless to say I felt terrible when this was being done given I hate touching those parts myself, never mind anyone else doing it. I just closed my eyes and tried to take my mind elsewhere. A couple of minutes later I was told I could get changed and oh by the way you won’t need electrolysis down there, which I found surprising and we’ll see if that still holds up in the future.

After all that excitement and being dressed and sat down again, then came the question. “Would you like some oestrogen?” Best question I’ve had asked in a very long time. We discussed ostrogen and was prescribed Progynova, which I can get myself with a prescription, and Decapeptyl, which is the testosterone blocker and is a 12 weekly injection, and which I can sort out once my GP gets the confirmation letter from Dr Seal. Aside from that I was advised to get a blood test done in 8 weeks time and make a follow up appointment in three months time to review things and possibly increase my dosage if things go well.

In short, today went as well as it could have done, though I couldn’t have done it without Richard at my side and helping me along when I needed it. I know this is tough as hell for him and I hate putting him through all this, but he really is my rock and I am so glad he’s sticking around for this journey. We drove back home, dodging a series of suicidal drivers on the now wet M25 and celebrated in style: A trip to the chippy and a pint of Hobgoblin apiece.

 

 

Enquiring Minds

Remember the phrase ‘There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers’? I beg to differ on that one, especially since coming out as trans. Of course all of us trans people get the seemingly obligatory questions that are frankly invasive and none of other people’s business and which will probably continue until people are better educated and know better than to do so. Enquiring minds need to know and sensitivity be damned, right?

Luckily I’ve mostly escaped  two of the most invasive ones of all so far; ‘What’s in your pants’? And ‘What toilet do you use’? In fact both have been asked once. The former wasn’t asked directly at me but to a co-worker by one of the residents I care for and my co-worker had the sense to tactfully tell them that it’s my own business and a rather personal question to ask should they feel the need to ask me directly. The latter was asked by my mum so a blunt ‘none of your business’ type reply wasn’t really on, so I ended up briefly telling her that I’d been using the ladies for some time and she was happy that I was comfortable to do so and that I’ve not had any trouble for doing this.

Anyway, the two big ones out of the way I’ll move onto the ones that others may or may not have been asked as well. Some are actually good questions, some rather annoying, some upsetting and some are downright bizarre. So here goes, and before we start, yes there is talk about sex and there’s mentions of self harm if you’re sensitive to reading these things.

First up, the thing I’m most asked about is my voice. Now this one I’ve already blogged about ( see Voice Feminisation ) so I’m not going to go in depth here, but it’s curious how so many people think that’s down to taking medication. Doesn’t work for us trans women I’m afraid, that’s all down to hard work, time and effort.

You still listen to heavy metal and play your bass?

Er yes, and why not? Do women not do these things? Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Halestorm, Against Me! and Evanescence. Just a few on my playlist, all of them fronted by female vocalists with Against Me! Being of particular interest as they are fronted by Laura Jane Grace, a trans woman and an inspiration of mine. Why the hell would I ditch a form of music I’ve enjoyed most of my life and has been a source of support throughout my life now? As for the bass, the only thing that’s changed on that front is I’m relearning how to play as I’m now using a pick to prevent my nails being smashed up.

I’m guessing this all stems from the good old gender stereotypes and people assuming that because I’m transitioning I’m going to dump anything that’s either male oriented or from my past life. Not going to happen. I largely enjoy what I used to do though there have been changes in the way I engage in some activities, such as now playing female roles when re-enacting for instance. I will admit I did giggle when at one event six guys couldn’t figure out how the traversing mechanism for one of the gun worked, which I then sorted out in about six seconds.

I got similar looks of surprise when I replaced the passenger side door of the car recently. What, girls can’t do mechanic stuff? I can’t say I particularly enjoy playing amateur mechanic but it’s a simple job and saves a lot of money getting someone else to do it, money I can use on other things such as hair removal and appointments.

Are those your real nails?

Last time I checked yes. True I bit my nails for the best part of 30 years but that stopped after I came out (weird eh?)  and I’ve been able to grow a lovely set of nails that I take great care of. Why would being trans have any bearing on my ability to own a set of real nails anyway? I will admit there is a part of me that smiles inside when people ask me this one because it means I’m doing a good job with taking care of my nails. As for the painting? Well being a make-up toting goth all these years taught me useful things like keeping a steady hand to paint them and being able to do a reasonable job with my make-up each day, which is something else I’ve been asked about.

Are you sure you’re trans? It must be a phase.

Let’s see, before coming out I was miserable, depressed, had several mental health crises which have left a permanent reminder on my body as a result, had zero self esteem, self worth and confidence and hated my body and image. Trans me is happy because I can finally be myself, my depression has disappeared, I have self worth and esteem and Richard has commended on how I appear more confident now, namely that I have some confidence. As for my body image, there’s things I hate still but at least I’m in a position to put things right and move forward. If finally being happy with myself is a phase then I’m going to do my damnedest to make it a lifelong one.

When did you know?

This is actually a good question and I’ve taken some time thinking about this. Some people know from an early age and others it takes a while for all the pieces to slide into place. I’m the latter but looking back if I had some education on the matter when I was younger I might well have come out at a younger age. I’ve lost track of how many different events and thoughts I’ve had throughout the years that all make sense now I am out and on my journey and I’m glad I’ve made sense of everything and able to get on living now.

You’re trans, so you and Richard are breaking up then?

To be fair, I thought trans = end of relationship for a long while. With a lack of visible role models and soap like horror break up stories in the back of my mind it’s the biggest reason why I stayed in the closet as long as I have. Now I know better having met several couples who are negotiating their own transition journeys together and given us hope. Thankfully Richard has stuck by me and we’re well past the point of wondering if our relationship can survive. Admittedly we’re still working out some of the finer points such as intimacy, what to do with old pictures we have hanging around the house, and Richard getting used to the changes to my body but eight months on and we’re still together and I think closer than beforehand now there isn’t a huge barrier I’d been hiding behind.

Does this mean you’re both straight now?

If I’m honest I really don’t think much about sexuality these days. If I find you attractive then that’s that. Man, woman, trans, non-binary, doesn’t matter. Recently it struck me that aside from Richard there hasn’t been a man I’ve seen and though was worth a second glance, much less think about jumping into bed with, though with my libido being rather absent for the most part who knows in the long term? I’ve long since become comfortable with the fact that sexuality is more fluid than we may think it is.

But what about other people, how do you think they feel about this?

No disrespect, but this is about me and my happiness. I can’t hide who I am any more and I won’t. Without sounding melodramatic I’d pick death over being forced back into the closet and if I hadn’t come out I was coming up to a point where visiting those dark days again was becoming a certainty, and I’ve got enough reminders of the last time which I shall carry on me fore the rest of my days. The thought of having to present as a man ever again fills me with dread and if I did this again I’d break down and cry.

Having a hubbie, family and friends all being on board with things and amazingly supportive as they have is a bonus and has made this whole transition a hell of a lot smoother than it could have been, but if I had to go it alone, I would have done.

How do you and hubbie do ‘it’?

Er excuse me? This should be your business why? Yes I have been asked this one. Well frankly not too much has changed. I lay down and Richard does his thing. Richard has always been on top and in charge in the bedroom and it’s an arrangement I’ve always been happy and comfortable with, but we have come to an understanding that there’s certain things I can’t/won’t do because of it triggering my dysphoria. Truth be told we’re still figuring this one out as I’ve got the added complication of my libido having gone off for a long holiday due to my dysphoria and the hormones I’m taking. With various hrt related changes I am learning to enjoy intimacy again as a woman and all the wonderful sensations I now feel and try and ignore the dysphoria and if I can do that I’ve found intimacy to be more enjoyable than ever.

What’s you old name and can I see your old pictures?

No. Don’t ask it, don’t expect me to answer it and don’t be surprised if I rip your head off for doing so. To be honest though, most people who know me know my dead name anyway and anyone who didn’t know me could probably work it out without asking if they’re that way inclined given there’s only two letters different between the old and new.

Same answer goes too for asking if you can see old pics of me. There’s only two of those I’m comfortable with keeping on view at home, both of which I’ve decided to put up after I begun my transition and those are of dad holding me as a newborn and a cute pic when I was 4 years old, wearing my mum’s apron, pretending to cook, rocking a girly bob cut and a massive smile on my face.

Why do you not like me using ‘tranny’?

Same reason why it’s totally inappropriate to call a gay man a faggot or a black person the ‘N’ word. It’s derogatory so stop it or we’re going to have a serious problem here. We have trans, transgender, trans woman/man to use instead.

Questions involving my daily routine.

Do I still shave? What make up do I use? What underwear you you wear? Are those real breasts? Those are some of the questions I’ve been asked and there’s likely others which escape me right now. Again, it’s stuff that’s mostly none of anyone’s business unless I decide to talk about it.

I recently learned at work I’m not the only woman who has to deal with the issue of facial hair and we’re able to have a laugh about this and it’s great that I’m in a work environment where I feel relaxed enough to do this.

Make-up? I’m more than happy to discuss this and trade tips and insight with anyone who’s interested, same with the nails. Asking what I wear underneath my clothes? Really?

As for asking about my breasts, asking about them is bad enough, but copping a feel? I don’t need to spell out why this is wildly inappropriate and yes this has happened, at work no less. The only reason I didn’t slap them to the ground on the spot is because it was one of the residents who did this and I let them know in no uncertain terms that this is not something they should do again. Thankfully they haven’t but it was a surreal and scary moment when they did this.

Does this mean your husband will transition too?

I am not making that one up. Someone actually asked me this. Where do I start with this? Let’s just say that this was someone who had known us to have been in a long term gay relationship and thought that because of this we’d both transition. In a nutshell I think they got the ideas of gender and sexuality rather tangled up. It doesn’t work like that, though stranger things have happened in the world and if Richard told me one day he was intending to transition so then I would be very happy and I would do everything in my power to help.

In fact it is something hubbie and I have joked about because of things he’s done, such as inadvertently picking up and wearing my jeans and sending love emoji’s of two women in love when messaging me. We’ve got to that stage in this journey where we feel comfortable to joke like this and I’m so relieved and lucky that we can do this, likewise I know just how damn lucky I am that the worst I’ve had to put up with so far are occasionally annoying and invasive questions when I know other trans people have had things much worse.

Anyway, as it’s that time of year, have a happy Christmas, holiday, Hogswatch or whatever you do with family and loved ones. Stay safe and love and light to you all.