What bothers me most about most sexual health coverage today is the fact that it’s often unrelatable to trans folk.
Usually, sexual health topics are covered by and concerning cishet (cis, heterosexual) women writers. Trans and gender nonconforming people are included mostly only in a political sense. While this political aspect is necessary, there is just no fun in that. Coming out stories and stories about discrimination are essential for visibility and education, but trans, gender nonconforming and genderfluid folks deserve to also be visible in reflecting on their sexualities, and in a carefree way if possible.
Personally, I’ve never liked showing my chest in the bedroom to my lovers, a fact that cishet women told me I could resolve by working on my body positivity. The fact that I didn’t have any trans voices in on this conversation made me feel pretty self conscious, the same way I felt self conscious about acting childlike during sex and wanting to be spanked again and again by a partner. But if you can relate to anything I’ve just said, you’re not alone.
How trans and gender nonconforming people experience sexuality might be different than cisgender experiences, and other times it’s exactly the same (because, hello, we’re all human and have similar hang ups about our bodies and sex lives). However, there is a lot of fear and shame sometimes attached to trans sexuality because of things like trans panic and other transphobic societal forces. But it ultimately sucks to be hidden.
I talk about my sex life time and time again on this platform, so I thought I would extend my own community of trans and genderfluid folks I know to you–to celebrate sexual empowerment in all humans and to show my amazing trans readers that they’re not alone. Of course, this spans beyond trans readers, as everyone’s relationship with sexuality is different and complicated.
I asked each person I surveyed: ‘what makes you feel sexy?’ The answers vary vastly from person to person, as you might imagine. Some cite a specific partner or sexual position, while others reference something they wear or a frame of mind. Sexuality is experienced differently for everyone, and we appreciate the honesty our interviewees gave to HelloFlo, as it goes to show that there should be no judgment about even aspects of our sexuality that seem like (or are) insecurities.
For me, I feel the sexiest during sex with my shirt on and with my partner riding my face. Here’s how some other folks defined sexy for themselves:
Valkyrie, she/her pronouns
“So honestly, no judgments? For me, what makes me feel sexiest is positive attention from either cishet guys or cis lesbians. I have an almost pathetic need for affirmation that people who are exclusively into women want to have sex with me. Not that it happens very often, but it’s beyond gratifying when it does.
Also a huge turn-on? Conversations about sex that have nothing to do with me being trans. Just talking about shibari, or toys or whatever, without my gender identity playing a central role. Basically, times I can just forget that I’m trans and just exist as a female sexual being, you know?”
Aerin, she/her pronouns
“Dating as a trans woman is very awkward and complicated and it kinda kills the mood. I don’t fantasize much. Sometimes adult movies allows me to overcome the dysphoria enough to feel sexual. I rather prefer it happen naturally but the last time I was involved, I was sexually assaulted by my partner and physically abused. Being intimate makes me cringe but I still have those needs like most people.
What makes me feel sexy is the idea that someday I will meet the right guy who I can trust enough to let go and be vulnerable with. I don’t want to be dominant. I want someone to be in control. What turns me on is this idea that when I finally find that person, I will feel like nothing can hurt me as long as I am with them. I only had that once and it was as if the world literally would stop the second I saw them. I want that again someday. That’s my fantasy.
I feel sexiest when I have an opportunity to feel pretty. I love putting on my favorite outfit and spending hours to put on my makeup till it’s perfect. Then go out to eat in a nice restaurant. I pretend I’m going to meet someone for dinner. 99 percent of the time, my kids are with me but I look around at the other couples and wonder what it must be like. I focus on the couples that seem genuinely happy. I kinda feel like I’m a prom date with no place to go, but I look fabulous.
Valkyrie is right one hundred percent, being able to forget that you’re trans and just be treated and feel like a woman is the best turn on.”
“Let’s see, straight out of the box, I’m an AB/DL (adult baby/diaper lover) so….umm, yeah…I’m happy in a nappy, though rarely in public (I secretly want someone to force me to wear a nappy in public, though). Aside from that, I like to get the occasional glance from passersby on the street and sometimes I knowingly and willingly wear very short skirts as a sort of way of randomly being flirty. I’m not quite sure if I want to have sex with anyone yet, but I would like to have a romantic dinner with a potential cis-boy slightly younger than myself. I’m afraid to date due to being trans, but also because I feel very unsexy when I expose the top of my head. I’m also not very sure if someone would date an aspie such as myself.”
Adrian, they/them pronouns
“I cannot stand my chest’s current topography. I don’t just want top surgery; I need it. My dysphoria leaves me suicidal at least half of the time.
But somehow, I feel sexy when I wear jeans, a bra that accents my chest, and nothing else. It can only last for a moment before dysphoria crashes back in, but that moment is the only sexy feeling I ever get.
(But because of how strongly I feel about my chest, the sexy feeling results in tons of confusion, so I don’t do it often.)”
Elijah, he/him (photo)
“VALIDATION. Being with someone who I think genuinely SEES me for the person I am is probably the biggest turn on for me. This is why I avoid lesbians and straight men like the plague. Honestly, other trans people have always been the people that made me feel most seen and desirable.”
“I guess I’m still figuring out what makes me feel sexy, because I only came out this past November and haven’t really been physically involved with anyone since early December (and that person was a straight cis man). I’ve only slept with a handful of women and those were casual encounters, although now that I’m more comfortable with myself I’d say I’m most interested in dating women and mostly being the penetrative partner. That said, I’ve always loved riding cock (to put it quite explicitly) because it makes me feel powerful and is just intensely pleasurable.
Although I enjoy being penetrated, missionary position has always felt upsetting to me even when I was suppressing that feeling of being upset because I was trying to enjoy being submissive since it was what I was “supposed” to like. “Girl” on top allowed me to explore being sexually dominant in a way that still felt safe/ within the bounds of “normal” sexual behavior.”
Bear, they/them (their partner uses they/them too)
“My partner is who makes me feel sexy. We’re both genderfluid/NB/Trans, so it’s extremely validating especially when I had previously only been with cishet dudes. Because my partner loves and respects every facet of me, I feel sexy even on my most dysphoric days. I have what most consider the “ideal female body” (which has many problems in and of itself) so it feels amazing to have a romantic and sexual partner see my body as a trans body and that made all the difference in terms of my comfortability with my body being referred to as sexy. I love how flexible we both are in terms of positions as sometimes I really need to be in control or submitting.”
“I hate having sex with the lights on. Actually, I won’t have sex with the lights on. I don’t mind being touched as long as the other person can’t clearly see me because then I can pretend whatever I like about myself.”
Devon, he/him (photo)
“Consistently throughout my life, what makes me feel sexy is pride in my own appearance, both an emotional and intellectual connection to another person, and a stress-free, sober day/night/afternoon.”
“Living in Manhattan, sometimes it feels as though sex is the priority among a lot of young people, especially in the gay community. I have always thought of sex as a more intimate and passionate experience, even if you’re not committed to your partner. Many people don’t see sex in this light, especially with the community of gay men [though I identify as a genderfluid gay male]. They see it as the shell of what it is: anal penetration or a good blow job. There’s nothing wrong with that, however I like to see beyond this and I enjoy feeding off the energy of my partner and creating a sensual experience. I feel empowered wearing all black, low-cut briefs, maybe a mesh kimono or tank top (and I don’t mean fishnet, I mean Lacey mesh. In black of course). I feel like there’s something very sophisticated and seductive with this material and it sculpts the contours of your body and gives you exquisite dimension that just adds to the experience. There are a few positions that make me feel empowered and sexy in bed. There’s sitting on his lap with my arms draped around his neck/shoulders, and almost a doggy-style position, but more vertical where my back is touching his chest and one arm is draped behind me caressing his neck. With both of these positions, at least one of my hands is touching my partner during sex, and I just feel more connected with this little added bit of contact. I feel as though it makes it more personal, more intimate, and most importantly, more human.”