Five things to know before dating a trans man

So you want to date a trans guy

So you want to date a trans guy, who could blame you, most of us are really hecking awesome!  When you get involved with someone in a dynamic that in some way doesn’t fit societal scripts though, you may feel somewhat at a loss.  That is why there is so much communication before folks enter polyamorous dynamics, society doesn’t tell you what the rules are, so you make up your own.  When dating trans folk it might feel equally daunting, you don’t want to make any assumptions and bungle this up, but you don’t know if the usual societal script in a relationship will fit.  So here are a few things to remember if you are looking to start a relationship with a trans man.

Examine your motives

Why do you want to date a trans guy?  If you are interested in a trans man because you are sure your sexuality is one way, but want to experiment with a person who you see as kind of the other binary gender but not quite, you should fuck off with that noise.  People don’t like being used as an experiment.  If you fetishize trans folk in particular, you should also probably fuck off with that.  There are a few rare trans folk who really like chasers, but for the most part, that is a hard nope.  Most people want to get into a relationship with someone who likes them for who they are as an individual person, not because they are an interchangeable fetish object with any other of the million plus trans men in the world. If you met someone that gives you warm chest fuzzies or makes you feel tingles in your pants and it just so happens that they’re also trans, you’ve got the green light to move on to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to discuss how sex will work…but only if you’ve gotten to that point

So when I start talking to someone and one of the first things they ask me is what I like in bed, I’m probably going to tell them to fuck off, or eat their soul and leave their corpse for the ravens, who knows.  Most people don’t like that. If you haven’t both specified that you’re just in it for a hookup, this conversation comes later in the game. But when you do get to the point where sex is on the table, and you both have said you want to do the funky tango under the sheets, you need to discuss what you want out of that.  Now this is good in any dynamic, never assume what your sexual partners are and aren’t okay with, consent is key.  When dating a trans guy though, some important things to cover.  Firstly, what parts are they willing or not willing to use for sex?  Some trans guys have vaginas, some have had bottom surgery, which can mean that they have a penis or in some cases have a penis and a vagina (yup, you can keep your vagina with some types of bottom surgery, that is a thing). Some trans guys don’t have bottom surgery, but get enough clitoral growth from testosterone that they can use their clit/dick for penetration. Some don’t like the touchies of their genitals at all and prefer to use a prosthetic.  Some just like to bottom, but only for anal sex.  There is no assumption you could make about what kind of sex a trans guy wants that is going to be correct with all of us, so ask!  Also, ask what to call various parts.  Some words can be triggering, and you don’t want to be all revved up for sexy time and then refer to his vagina as a pussy, when the only word he’s comfortable with is bonus hole, and suddenly instead of sex you’re dealing with helping him through intense dysphoria when you could have just asked first!

Do not ever out someone without their permission

This shouldn’t need explaining but it so often does.  Being trans can put someones life at risk.  Being trans is for some, a huge part of their identity, but for others just a part of their medical history that they don’t discuss unless absolutely necessary.  Being trans often comes with dysphoria, a never ending feeling of discomfort day in and day out that makes you want to crawl out of your own skin, and sometimes a trans person may want to just exist in the world without constantly wondering who knows and what they think of them if they do.  It’s exhausting wondering who secretly hates you and wants you dead or judges you as a freak, every time you leave the house.  And when you decide that your amazing man is coming home with you for Christmas dinner and then he gets hit with a barrage of questions about his genitals and surgeries from Aunt Muriel when he just wants to be enjoying some fucking ham, that ranges from uncomfortable to excruciatingly painful and rage inducing.  Don’t put your guy through that.  If you are ever wondering if you should mention to your friends or family or coworkers that he’s trans without asking him, the answer is always NO.  If you have a reason to want to tell someone, you can ask him if it is okay, but honestly, if he wanted someone to know he could almost always tell them himself.

Consider gender in regards to your sexual orientation

As a trans guy who usually dates other guys, I’ve been with some gay guys that have questioned if they were actually gay because of being with me.  Yes you fucking are.  Trans men are men plain and simple. You can totally question if you’re gay because maybe you’re finding you aren’t just into men, but dating a man with the limited edition genital package at birth instead of the stock version, is still dating a dude.  I’ve also seen in the lesbian community that a lot of lesbians will date trans men but not trans women.  Not liking penis is okay, I encourage unpacking those kind of feels because often time there is a hidden societal influence to them, but if you find you just prefer a hole to a pole that is perfectly fine.  But if you are dating a man and you are a woman, that is not a lesbian relationship.  You can identify as a lesbian because that might be your overarching orientation and you just happened to find a rare exception, but make sure to also validate your partner’s gender and reassure them that you do in fact see them as a man and recognize that you are in a relationship with a guy. As a whole, sexuality can be a complex fluid thing.  Labels are very useful for explaining it in shorthand, but sexuality can be a lot more complex and is sometimes filled with “I’m only attracted to xyz, except when a…and maybe sometimes when b….and that one weird time with c but I’m not sure I’d do that again, who knows?” So definitely figure out what labels are comfortable for you, but do not invalidate your partner’s gender with that label by insisting they fit in that box if they don’t.  If there is a conflict there, make sure they understand that you see them for who they are and maybe your sexuality is just a little more variable then you expected.

Respect pronouns (duh) and respect triggers

I shouldn’t need to have respect pronouns on here, but just in case it somehow didn’t occur to you, use the pronouns a person is okay with.  If you don’t you’re a shitbird, and hopefully they aren’t going to actually date you anyway.  If you’re a trans person reading this and your partner is not willing to respect your pronouns, you can do better I promise you.  Less often thought of, respect triggers.  When I say triggers, I am not referring to things that get your jimmies in a bunch, a trigger is something that causes a significant effect on the mental state of a person and often inhibits their ability to function.  Think an army vet with ptsd who can’t leave the house for three days after the fourth of July because of fireworks, that is a trigger.  If you downplay the triggers that other marginalized folks face but can understand that one, you need to think about it for a bit, and learn to cultivate some compassion for anyone’s experience of trauma. When you get involved with a trans guy, you are most likely getting involved with someone who has experienced some amount of dysphoria and discrimination.  I’ve had one of the smoothest and easiest experiences of all the trans folk I’ve known, and I’ve gotten death threats, been shoved around in bathrooms, lost friends when I came out, and faced legal discrimination.  When death threats and physical assault are an easy time, you can imagine what some of us have been through.  Also dysphoria, the feeling that your own body is betraying you to the point that existing in your skin is excruciatingly painful and you just want to tear yourself apart and disappear, not a fun time.  Find out what triggers these things in your partner and don’t do them.  If you do them by accident, offer comfort in the way your partner prefers.  DO NOT self flagellate and make it all about how sorry you are.  If you fuck up and refer to them by the wrong pronoun and now they’re in tears, your response should be a quick “I’m sorry” and then focus on helping them. When you spend five minutes apologizing and center yourself after being the one who did the fucking up, that’s shitty. They’re now struggling to function and have to worry about assuaging your guilt on top of it.  So learn triggers, be respectful of them, and when they happen, react in a way that actually helps to comfort and heal the pain you caused and does not center yourself.

In conclusion

So those are my top five things to remember if you find yourself feeling those good old wibbly wobbly feels for a trans man.  Remember, every relationship is unique, and you should always communicate in depth before jumping in because different people need different things.  Hopefully this at least gives you some good ground to start on.  Let me know if y’all have any others you think are important to add to this list, and when you find a shiny wonderful trans guy has stumbled into your life, enjoy your luck and don’t be a shitbird!

 

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