TranSex — A Few Words From The Sex Therapist

| Jul 18, 2007
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Dr. Michele Angello is a sex therapist in Wayne, Pennsylvania. She has been working with the transgender community for many years and in this month’s post she shares a few of the things she’s learned about transgender sex. You might want to slip into something more comfortable…

Dr. Michele AngelloTranny sex. For some, perhaps it’s a scary thought. To others of course, it’s the thought that allows for some of the most mind-blowing fantasies. So, how do we talk about in a way that is not offensive, but also not too titillating? Seriously, without minimizing the stress of accepting your gender identity, there are several interesting ways to explore sexuality. Back in the days when there was a magazine called Transgender Community News (some of you may remember the time before everything was accessible online and people had to have post office boxes to receive their discretely packaged monthly magazine in order to feel connected to others), I wrote an article on heterosexual crossdressers and sex. I’d like to expand that concept to include the transgender spectrum, since many people struggle with sexuality and have difficulty reconciling how they respond sexually with their gender identity.

For example, in my practice it’s assumed on any given week, that someone who identifies as a crossdresser will come into the session and uncomfortably admit that while dressed en femme, she enjoys thinking about having sex with a man. As you might expect, I as the therapist encourage the person to delve deeper into these fantasies. Usually we explore it for a bit and then, almost as if on cue, the client assures me that, “I never have these feelings when I’m a guy. Seriously, it’s not like I’m gay.” Internalized homophobia aside (yes, it’s true, when you feel the need to convince me or anyone that you’re not gay, you have some work to do) why not use one of my favorite therapeutic techniques and reframe the concern? You see, we’re all born with a certain erotic potential and have natural sexual desire. Seeing yourself as solely attracted to men when you’re dressed as a woman, and to women when dressed as a man, can be quite limiting both to you and potential partners. How would it feel to consider yourself a sexual person who happens to have a variety of turn-ons, dependent upon what you’re into in that moment?

Of course, if you’re in a monogamous relationship, this desire to explore sexually can open up an entirely different issue around betrayal if you act on things without discussing it with your partner ahead of time. Remember, under no circumstances is it appropriate to feel entitled to expand your sexual repertoire without dealing with how it might impact your partner. And, simply because you have decided to be upfront about your curiosity, don’t assume your significant other is going to be willing to jump on the sexual exploration bandwagon with you. That my friends, is where the luxury of fantasy comes into play! If the parameters of your relationship do not include you having sex with others, there’s no stopping what you think about when you’re aroused.

The other issue that comes up a lot in my office is a concern that no one will want to have sex with you if; you’re dressed, you start hormones, you come out to the object of your attraction, you surgically transition, and so on. Of course, that’s a possibility, but in my experience, when we go into a situation feeling sorry for ourselves, we start out as pretty unattractive to others. Think about it. Of the incredible sex partners you’ve had (or for those with active imaginations, wish you’d had), were they usually the “woe-is-me types” or were they confident, upbeat people who appeared to feel pretty good about themselves already? Maybe it’s just a personal-preference thing, but I’ll take the latter group every time! So, regardless of where you fit on the spectrum of gender identity, if you’re interested in sex, start out by feeling good about yourself. If you don’t, find some support””therapy, a life coach or even a good friend who can help boost your self-esteem. Second, remember to respect yourself enough to be safe. Without getting into the Sexual Health 101 lecture, keep in mind that sexually transmitted infections are not pleasant and that many people are dishonest when they’re horny. So, if your intention is to get lucky, know your limitations and use protection.

Often sex is presented as mysterious, scary and even dangerous. Though it can potentially be all of those things, generally if you go into it from the perspective that it’s natural, healthy and exciting, you’ll attract partners who have a similar mindset. Best wishes for amazing experiences!


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul

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About the Author ()

Michele Angello, Ph.D. is a clinical sexologist with offices in Wayne and Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Dr. Angello works with clients to help them reframe feelings of guilt, fear, shame, embarrassment, and even hatred around sexuality, and encourage feelings of acceptance, responsibility, joy, and sharing. She specializes in issues around gender and sexual orientation.

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