Transitioning Twice

Friday, June 22, 2007

Question

I am an FTM who has been on testosterone a little more than a year. I have a girlfriend who has stuck with me through this transition. We've been together for three years. My decision to transition from female to male didn't bother her, except for one thing. She has frequently expressed the fear that I will leave her to be with another man. We have many friends who've gone through this process and left their female lovers to become gay men.

Well, guess what. I can't seem to help it, but my sexual fantasies have become obsessively gay. I can't stop thinking about what other men would look like naked. I rarely notice attractive women on the street any more; I only look at men. And some of them look back!

I've also found that certain acts that I didn't enjoy have now become quite pleasurable. My girlfriend doesn't know that I regularly use the dildo on myself. We bought this toy so I could use it in a harness to fuck her, but I am finding this less and less erotic. If my girlfriend knew that I was fucking myself, she'd have a fit. I've never let her do this to me, and she would definitely take this as a sign that I was becoming a fag. I just pray she never figures out the password to the part of my computer where I keep my man-to-man porn.

Why does this happen? What is wrong with me? For most of my adult life, I hated men. Now when I am at an FTM support meeting, I just want to turn to the guy next to me, kiss him, and unbutton his shirt, not to mention taking down his zipper. I feel like if I don't get to have sex with another man, I will never know if this is just a fantasy or something that I really need and want. But I am really afraid of other men sexually. I don't want to get hurt or rejected. Besides, I am in a monogamous relationship. What should I do? I feel like I am

Answer

We don't know a lot about how hormones like testosterone and estrogen affect our sexuality. Most FTMs go into transition understanding that they'll have a higher libido. But few of them are prepared for more drastic changes. A gender transition affects every aspect of your life, not just how you dress or what pronouns you want people to use. I felt as if testosterone rewired my brain.

We also don't know a lot about how sexual orientation is grounded in the body. Where exactly does it come from? Maybe being homosexual is about being biologically programmed to seek out a member of the same sex—not about seeking out men or women specifically. You've been gay for most of your life; perhaps there's something genetic or emotionally desirable about continuing to be gay.

There's also the simple matter of curiosity. Your body is getting more masculine. You are looking more like a genetic guy. So of course you have some curiosity about what men's bodies look like and how they function sexually. Being turned on to other FTMs is understandable because they know, from direct physical and spiritual experience, what you are going through. They will validate your manhood, despite the fact that your body is different than an xy-chromosomed boy's.

I feel for the partners of transgendered people. They go through so much at our sides, and yet almost nothing celebrates their courage or warns them about what a sex change will do to their loved one. I almost wish that we could take a two-year vacation from all previous commitments so that we could go through this artificially induced adolescence, watch everything we believed about ourselves get thrown up into the air, and see where the pieces are going to land.

The fact that you are keeping so many secrets from your partner isn't healthy for you or the relationship. Even if it changes your feelings for one another, you have to tell her what is going on. She has a right to decide whether she still wants to be your lover. If she was at all open to it, I would suggest that allowing you some freedom to experiment with man-to-man sex would be important. There is no other way to tell if this is a hot sexual fantasy or something you want in real life. Could be you'll find a couple dates on Craigslist, decide this isn't for you, and settle down with her, much more content. Could be that if she fucked you, you'd stop thinking about cocks quite so much. Maybe she has a few sexual secrets of her own that should be brought into the open.

For the benefit of my readers who are not transgendered, I want to include the fact that many, if not most, female-to-male transsexuals wind up in relationships with women. These guys usually identify as heterosexual. Some, who've been involved in the lesbian community prior to transition, see themselves as being bisexual or queer. Sexual orientation among transgendered people is diverse. The feelings that draw you to a specific type of sexual partner are a separate issue from the feelings you have about what kind of body you ought to possess.