When your partner is trans, sex can be a little more complicated. Some people experience gender dysphoria or prefer to avoid certain activities in bed. In the end, though, trans people are just like everyone else. They want to feel good, be respected, and have a fun time with their partner.
Remember, there’s no better expert than a real person. Don’t take this article as the final solution. Ask your partner what they like and continue to check in. Sex should feel good for both of you, and with a little thoughtful consideration, you can help your trans partner feel comfortable.
Here are a few general sex guidelines to keep in mind if your partner is trans.
Don’t Assume Anything
Transgender is an umbrella identity. It includes people who identify as more than the gender they were assigned at birth. Your trans partner may identify as a man, a woman, a trans man, a trans woman, nonbinary, genderqueer, or none of the above. Body parts don’t dictate gender identity, and you can’t tell someone’s gender just by looking at their body. Plus, you can’t always tell what genitalia someone has just from outside appearances.
The best thing you can do for your trans partner is to never assume anything. Some trans people feel very confident about their gender identity. They know exactly which pronouns they use and what they like. But many trans people experience frequent shifts in identity and comfort levels. That’s why it’s a good practice to check in regularly about pronouns, identity, and sexual preferences.
Just because your partner liked something last week, it doesn’t mean they’ll want to do it exactly the same way this week. Pronouns change and preferences change. Help your trans partner feel like themself by never assuming anything.
Practice Getting Consent Regularly
This is a good practice to incorporate into your sex life in general. But if your partner is trans, it’s especially helpful to regularly get consent.
By giving your partner an option to say yes or no in the moment, you allow them the opportunity to fully embody who they are in each and every moment. Think about it like this. Just because you were on the bottom last time doesn’t mean you always want it to be that way. It’s a strong indicator that you like that position, but it doesn’t mean you will always want to have sex that way.
For trans folks, bodies can be a source of extreme joy and transcendence as well as sorrow and grief. When your physical body doesn’t align with your mental experience of yourself, sex can be pretty jarring. There are unspoken societal narratives about how people with penises should act during sex. But a trans person with a penis might not enjoy using their body in that way. They might prefer not to be touched, or to pleasure you instead.
Consent makes it possible for you and your trans partner to have great, satisfying, consensual sex every time. There are a lot of toys, like the Satisfyer, that are designed for people with all genitalia.
Discuss Their Preferred Terminology
Start by having a conversation about terminology. For people who experience dysphoria, it can be helpful to refer to body parts with non-biological names. This doesn’t make them childish, nor does it mean that they need to see a psychiatrist. Trans people sometimes use different terminology for their genitalia to ease the dysphoria around sex in their current body.
This goes both ways. For instance, your trans partner might enjoy it if you describe their body as if it had the parts they wish it had. Dirty talk and role-playing can be incredibly affirming for trans people when you use their preferred terminology.
They may already have preferred terminology that they use privately. See if they’re willing to share. For instance, it’s easy to say “chest” instead of “breasts” or “boobs.”
If you’re anticipating having sex for the first time with a trans partner, you may not have had the opportunity to discuss terminology yet. If you’re just getting to know each other, you could start with some low-key massages. In bed, it’s safe to stick to general comments. You can observe how they make you feel, or qualities about their body rather than specific parts. Say something like, “You’re so strong—I love the way you’re touching me,” or “I love the way your skin feels on mine.”
Try to keep comments about size, girth, hair, or gender-specific adjectives to a minimum until you know more about them. If you’re feeling nervous, just ask!
Ultimately, having sex with a trans partner is the same as it is with everyone else. In fact, you may have already had sex with a trans person without even knowing it!
Be present and in the moment with them. Follow their lead, including nonverbal cues, and have patience. A sexual relationship mindful of these tenets is bound to be worthwhile.
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