I have a tricky history when it comes to sex and sexuality. Growing up, I did not feel sexy at all and sex was often problematic.
In my younger years I dated men. However, although I would feel attracted to men, I never felt entirely comfortable when being sexually intimate with them.
In the early days of a relationship, when the thrill of meeting was fresh, sex would initially be enjoyable. However, as soon as that heightened state diminished, sex would return to feeling ‘off’ in ways I could never adequately put into words.
I would then do everything I could to avoid having sex. This lack of sex was a cause of many arguments and relationship break-ups.
For many years I carried a great deal of shame about what I thought was a failing on my part. I thought that there was something inherently wrong with me. There was so much about me that felt wrong.
I detested my body and the last thing I felt was sexy or desirable. I didn’t feel feminine and I felt inadequate when I compared myself to other women. I thought perhaps if I could be more feminine, I might feel more sexual. However, I could never manage to pull it off, it just was not me.
I felt utterly confused by all of this, until that is, I discovered the LGBT+ community. I strongly related to many of the coming out stories around not feeling comfortable sexually.
I also related to a lot of the stories about identity expression, especially in relation to the women who identified as butch lesbians. These experiences appeared to echo my own. I therefore came to the seemingly natural conclusion that I was a gay woman; I was a lesbian.
I began dating women. Relationships with women felt far more natural and sex was much more enjoyable and comfortable. However, before long, the same issues with sex reappeared.
I started to fall into the same pattern of not wanting sex and doing everything in my power to avoid it. The initial relief of thinking I had discovered myself and overcome my issues, was replaced with utter dismay and more confusion.
In 2010 I discovered a surprising answer to my sexuality issues, I discovered that I was transgender. Although I had been assigned female at birth, I realized that I was in fact male.
I began to understand that the reason my body felt so alien was that it had grown in ways that were not congruent with my gender. This new understanding made my issues around sex and sexuality make sense.
I could see that the reason I felt more comfortable as a lesbian was that I had been able to play more of a male role during sex and intimacy.
However, midway through my gender transition, this understanding of myself was once again thrown into question. As I began to feel more comfortable in my body, I also became aware of a growing attraction to men.
This was a shock as I had been convinced that I was a straight man. I tentatively began dating men, expecting to discover that the attraction was nothing more than a passing fascination.
To my surprise, I discovered that the attraction was genuine and came to realize that I am in fact gay.
I can see now that I have always been attracted to men. The issue was never that the attraction wasn’t there. The problems with sex were because men were relating to me as female.
Understandably, the disconnect between my external female presentation and my internal male identity, was the cause of my sexual discomfort. Now, having gone through gender transition, I am seen and related to completely as the man I am.
For the first time in my life I feel sexy and I have a desire for sex. Its funny because in many ways, my body is in a much more battered shape than it was before my gender transition.
I am forty-six years old and rather rough around the edges. Parts of me no longer defy gravity, I am carrying more excess weight than I ever have, and I’m covered in scars from my gender affirmation surgeries.
However, this scarred and aging body is a body I adore because it is truly mine. Being intimate with my partner feels thrilling, sensual and affirming, in a body that finally reflects the man I am on the inside.