***Terms to know before reading this article***
Cisgender : A gender that aligns with the gender you were assigned with at birth. When the doctor slapped your booty and said “It’s a ______”, you were content with that. Even if you questioned it, it always came back to you being okay with being a ______.
Transgender: A gender you weren’t assigned with at birth. When the doctor slapped your booty and said “It’s a ______”, you were not content with that. This could’ve been in childhood or even much older. Either way, your gender is valid.
Nonbinary: Deviates from the binary (man/woman). Example, I am agender. I identify as nonbinary. I also identify as trans. Some folks who are nonbinary identify as trans. However, not everyone is me.
Content Note : Mention of consent violations, discussions of sex, discussions of dysphoria.
Sex is a complicated thing.
Every single thing about it. Finding out about stuff you like, meeting people that you can vibe with in a sexual way, and even finding specific toys that make you feel good is a very complicated thing. This factor increases even more when you’re nonbinary or transgender.
I started having sex when I was confused about my gender identity but could not put a word around it. Around that time, I was still learning about myself and called myself a cisgender woman even though I knew that didn’t make me really comfortable.
Fast forward a year later.
I realized that nonbinary was the term I wanted to use. I stopped using “she” pronouns for the comfort of cisgender people and used “they” pronouns because I was definitely more comfortable with that. I told people to stop calling me a woman and to start using more gender inclusive words to describe me. I did also realize this complicated my sex life. People would want to get in bed with, see body parts usually associated with “women” & then continue to she bomb me. When I would tell potential sexual partners I was not a woman, they would claim to be okay with it and then ask questions about if I was really not a woman.
Often, the people that would affirm my gender, were not cisgender people. They were other trans and nonbinary folks that were tired of dealing with the bullshit that came with it. Many times, trans and nonbinary people are forced to cater to the needs and wants of cisgender people, inside and outside of the figurative bedroom. They are forced to deal with frequent misgendering, despite having conversations about what they like being called.
As someone who is open about sexual experiences and is nonbinary, I definitely know how wonderful and beautiful consensual gender affirming sex can be. For a lot of trans and nonbinary folks who are sexually active, sex with someone who validates their identity can make someone’s day (or night).
This post is dedicated to the trans and nonbinary folks who have given up on ever having the sex they deserve. But it also dedicated to cis people who might at some point meet a trans person and decide they might want to get busy.
Either way, here are four things you can have sex with who is someone who is nonbinary or trans without being gross.
Ask them what they like to call their genitals : I recently facilitated a workshop that was a general overview about sexual education through a queer, trans and feminist lens. One of the things I mentioned before doing this workshop was that while I use terms like “people with vaginas” and “people with penises” for educational purposes, I do acknowledge and respect that people have different names for their genitals. I even have different names that I have related to my genitals. Ask this question. First of all, for sex to be gender affirming, you need to call someone’s genitals during dirty talk what they are most comfortable with. If someone with a vagina rather call their clitoris a dick, don’t call their dick a clitoris. If someone with a penis rather call her penis a girlcock, then for the love of god, don’t call it a penis. Second of all, it’s just common courtesy. When you’re cis and sleep with another cis person, you might have conversations around genitals as well. It is not different when you talk to a trans or nonbinary person about it. The only difference is that while certain terms might disgust your potential sexual partner if they are cis, certain terms might be a massive trigger for a trans or nonbinary person.
If they tell you a certain body part gives them dysphoria and they don’t want you to touch it, DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT: Personally, I love being touched all over. Even during my periods of gender dysphoria, I want to still be touched at the parts causing me dysphoria. However, everyone is different and that’s what makes ever sexual encounter unique and different. If a trans or nonbinary person feels uncomfortable with being touched in a certain area regardless of reason, don’t touch them there. If you continue to pressure a trans or nonbinary person to the point of coercion, they definitely did not consent to that, even there was a “yes” involved.
Affirm the shit out of them in bed : Terms of what someone likes being called in bed should be discussed regardless. However, the importance of this intensifies when you’re a trans or nonbinary person. What someone is called while in bed can be the difference between a glorious sexual experience and a triggering sexual experience for the person you’re sleeping with. The best thing to do is to ask before sex, even if it’s a couple of questions and then check in during a sexual encounter. For example, I know that being called “Sir” or my name in bed is much more affirming to my gender than being called “Mistress” or “Ma’am”. If you fuck up with terms, apologize and check in with the person. However, never make the apology about you. That will end up forcing the person to be sympathetic towards you, despite not being the one with possible hurt feelings.
Don’t reduce a trans or nonbinary to their genitals: I will refer back to the first point, where I said ask what they CALL their genitals but that does not give you consent to center sex around them. Even though you should ask questions about someone’s genitals for affirming purposes, just reducing someone to them is not okay. Seeing someone only for what they have underneath clothes is constantly something one has to deal with in public. While you are having sex with someone, constantly referring back to a certain body part, especially when they have dysphoria around that can make sex not a pleasurable experience at all. In fact, it can end up with more trauma and tears than anything. If you ignore when someone discusses discomfort, you’re not trying to learn or affirm at all. You are only focusing on your pleasure and not the pleasure of the person that you’re sleeping with. Trans and nonbinary people are not sex toys. They are not experiments. They are human beings with feelings and they should be treated as such.
One of the things I realized about having sex while nonbinary, even when I’m at my pickiest, I still end up hooking up with folks that invalidate me because they’re ignorant.
They will constantly say “teach me!” without wanting to put in the effort to learn. Emotional labor ends up being an unwanted part of the sexual experience. Instead of pleasure, there is frequent frustration.
To the cis people with trans or nonbinary partners, who claim that it’s so hard to learn about the things we deal with everyday, this article is a great starter. Sleeping with a trans person doesn’t mean you are no longer transphobic. You are still problematic. Put in some work.