Sex and sexuality questions

s.health

My physical, sexual anatomy transition has prompted new questions about sex and my sexuality, questions which had not arisen since August of 2015 when I changed my profile from Greg to Gina. At that time, I was asked if I now considered myself a lesbian, since I was married to a woman. It was a question worthy of putting before me. Because I had not asked myself about my orientation since I began the process, I then had to once again examine myself.

Did transitioning to female make me a lesbian, since I remained attracted to women? Crazy as it seems, I came up with a no. Here’s how.

I am a genetic male. That I fathered five children proves it. And, because I understand the reason for my gender identity issue to have its origins in my endocrine system’s being disrupted when I was forming in the womb, I consider my desire to be a female to be out of order for the person my genetics say I would otherwise be.

So, no matter how I live or what surgeries I have, my starting point is male. Because I am male and am attracted to females, I consider myself a heterosexual male. Yet, I have an intersex condition, which prompted my gender dysphoria, which then led me to transition.  Now, I identify as a heterosexual male who is a transgender woman.

For some reason, Sesame Street, Electric Company, and Blues Clues never taught me about this!

Now, having actually had my male genitals reformed to female, new questions have surfaced. I am pleased to answer them because this is an excellent, teachable moment, because folks simply don’t know anything about what we trans folks experience, and when they ask logical questions, and do so in a respectful way, I am happy about it and eager to answer.

One friend had trouble grasping how I could now have sex reassignment but remain married to Julie. After we explored this a bit, I came to recognize something which had not occurred to me, that folks naturally equate my having had this surgery with my desire to have sexual relations.

Did I have the surgery because I desire relations with a male? Do I want to experience being a female in this way?

It makes total sense that folks would think that I would want to change my sex organ so as to enjoy sex in the manner in which I identify myself now, as a female. But, for whatever reason, that thought never dawned on me. Why didn’t it occur to me? I suspect it is because it was never the issue.

I have joked that I have no business daydreaming about having sex with a man (or another woman) because I am married! Actually, that is a true statement. I am married to Julie. My heart and desire belongs to her. I long to be faithful to my vows. My first desire is to be an upstanding, highly ethical Christian and spouse.

Now, let’s ask: Does transitioning ever alter one’s sexual orientation? Some folks who transition do experience a change in attraction, but from my reading it is a smaller percentage. Changed desires, along with the inability for one in the couple to cope with transitioning, and much more have split up many couples. Easily, Julie could have said, “I didn’t sign up for this. I am not a lesbian. I married a man and I want a man for a husband.” Thankfully, she has lived our marriage vow, “For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. Till death parts us.”

When my hormones changed after I had been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for awhile—meaning that my estrogen was higher and testosterone lower to match that of a genetic female in my age bracket—my sexual appetite was all but extinguished, leaving me with little to no sex drive. I was thankful for that, because I could no longer emotionally practice sex as a male. Yet, my attraction to Julie never wavered (nor hers for me), even though I could do nothing more with it than to be affectionate.

This is hardly the case for all. Indeed, I might be in the minority. I know of plenty of trans folks—male, female, pansexual, gender fluid, queer—who continue to enjoy sex with their natal anatomy. As with all of life’s experiences, there is no one-size-fits-all to this.

Am I curious as to how my body will react after I heal from surgery? Will my sex drive reignite? Will I have any change in desire? What things might happen which I cannot predict or know to look for?

How about after I go back on HRT this week, which I have been off for six weeks for the sake of undergoing surgery? When my hormones return to female-oriented levels—hopefully in about a month—and I now have female anatomy, will this new situation give me such a feeling of wholeness and rightness that I experience new feelings, and cause my sex drive to return?

As for Julie and me, we believe that our attraction remained, though neither of us have changed our sexual orientation, because our attraction is built upon our love for each other. Remember, we fell in love through our writing, before we ever saw each other’s picture.

https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/wow-um-wow/

I personally know a few couples—in each case, heterosexual couples in which the genetic male transitioned to female—who have not skipped a beat in their love and commitment to each other.

This all has been a grand lesson in sex and attraction and love. Sex is neither reduced to nor confined to one’s genitals. Yes, mine are now different, but I remain the same person. To me, that is the key. The essence of the human does not change even as some significant aspects of that person are altered. The sex act is a performance of the whole person—body, mind, and spirit.

Sex never was my reason for the surgery. Possessing body parts which are correct to my identity was my reason for sex reassignment surgery. Male genitals simply were wrong on me. I neither wanted to see nor touch myself.

If I were not married, other things could come into play for me. Since I am a turning-sixty-years-old-this-month married person, they are out of bounds. I don’t even ponder them. Ultimately, I much prefer my situation in life, because I have Julie and, well, you know how I feel about Julie. I am as blessed a human being as there is.

To me, my marriage lacks nothing. Julie so fills me in every wonderful way that I do not find myself wanting for a thing. I always live in her love. And she in mine. I would not trade our marriage—as much as we have been through, as challenging as it has been, and even as unusual as it became and the spotlight under which we found ourselves—for anything in the whole world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next time, I will address the asking of questions, and how one might know what is okay to ask a trans person and what is not, and what situations can inform a person when a question will be fair play and when it will not.

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12 thoughts on “Sex and sexuality questions

  1. Gina, excellent post……………..

    One thing you forgot to mention is that when couples go into a transition, if the marriage is strong going in, it will survive a transition. When one partner transitions, so does the non transitioning partner in the marriage. Some people may look at our marriages as a lesbian marriage, but them are just labels. It is called redefining the transgender marriage. You never lose the attraction to the person you are in love with, it only grows stronger.

    Gender identity and sexuality are two different issues. Gender identity is who you identify as, and sexuality is who you are attracted too. When you go into a transition, you have to have an open mind, because nobody can predict where your sexuality will fall. For some it switches, others it stays the same, or it may expand like mine did. It’s part of being comfortable with who you truly are.

    I do like the word Juliesexual, great way to describe it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, as always. Very thoughtful.

    Each of us walk our own path, and while a lot of our paths are parallel, they are clearly our own. How each of us perceive our genders is wholly unique, even, I would venture, among cisgender people. Personally I cannot conceive of still regarding myself male in any sense of the word, except how I was regarded historically. I know lots of other transgender folks that feel the same. But we all are, as I stated, walking our own paths.

    You, my dear Gina, remain as always, a rose in a field of daisies… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey TheOneAndOnlyKelly~

      Your points are spot on about how we walk our path.

      Go off HRT for six weeks and see how easy it can be to talk about yourself being a genetic male. 🙂 Thankfully, I go back on HRT, tomorrow. A few weeks ago, after being off HRT for a few weeks, I felt like I was stripped naked of my femininity. It truly is a wonder that I did not have a tremendous meltdown.

      Indeed, most trans folks either feel so strongly about their gender, or so despise their past/birth sex because of how hard, even traumatic their lives were. Regardless of how we do or don’t acknowledge our genetics, they are what they are. And I can’t change the fact that I fathered children, and never carried them inside me (as much as I wish I could have done that). I is what I is!

      Thanks for reading, Kelly, and for your thoughtful comments and kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sara, your points are excellent and right on the mark. I especially should have thought of your first one regarding the strength of a marriage. And, indeed, the other partner has her or his own transitioning to go through.

    This is such a dynamic situation, presenting many variables and, as with so many things in life, no two people will experience this exactly the same.

    Thanks, Sara!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am following your posts with great interest, Gina, because I hope to travel down the same path as soon as I can afford it. We are almost exactly the same age.

    I am particularly interested in your surgeon, Dr. Gallagher. I’ve heard great things about Dr. Brassard in Canada, with one anecdote concerning sexual function that is absolutely amazing. But seeing him may not be possible. I’m getting to the age where waiting lists are a major concern! I don’t remember seeing Dr. Gallagher’s name outside of your blog. Is she in Indpls? (Incidentally, although I no longer live in central Indiana, I grew up not far from there.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Ann, you ol’ Hoosier, you!

    I was delighted to hear from you. Please, do tell me how you found me. I love learning this, especially when I was found via Internet search.

    Almost exactly the same age as me, eh? Then, you bet, waiting lists are to be avoided!

    Yes, Dr. Gallagher is in Indianapolis, with IU Health, but she also works with Eskenazi and Methodist hospitals. She is new to the area, having begun her practice here in October, 2015. She came to Indy after having had some experience here (interning? I can’t recall what she said), and she had liked it here, and saw the need for a surgeon here for trans folks – she has done eight times as many top surgeries for trans men than bottom surgeries for trans women, about 60 to 8 – and eagerly jumped on the opportunity.

    You might have read what I said about Dr. G’s skills. From my first appointment with her, thirteen months ago, to post-surgery, the professionals who work with her praised her for her skill. Now that my swelling and black-and-blue condition has eased a lot, I can see her artistry. When I am fully healed, I will be very pleased with what she did for me.

    I don’t think she has a long waiting list. I encourage you to call her office manager, Nicole Jackson, at 317-944-3636.

    The wait part of this is the removal of one’s genital hair. Mine took thirty, one hour sessions. So, after my initial appointment last March, I was not ready to schedule my surgery until December. Then, I was slotted quite efficiently, for February 14. That had to be pushed back to April 11 because of the vocal cord surgery I had in January.

    Keep in touch, Ann!

    Peace,
    Gina

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    1. How did I find you? I think was googling “transgender” and “happy,” and stumbled onto your “Happy To Be Transgender?” post. When I saw the similarity in our ages, your location and the fact that you are in the middle of your surgeries, I was hooked. 🙂

      Thank you so much, Gina, for the information about Dr. Gallagher. If you are having all your surgeries done locally, can you refer them to me, as well? It’s early days yet for me, but I’m starting to collect information now so that I’ll be prepared when it’s time. I’ve seen a wide range of prices already, and local surgeons can be much, much less expensive than the stars everyone writes about on-line.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for letting you know how you found me. It is very gratifying to hear how key words connect to me. I number of folks have found me this way.

    As for my other surgeries, my vocal cords were done with The Voice Clinic of Indiana, located in Carmel. They also have a therapist, Gabrielle, who works with trans folks who do not have surgery but want to train their voice at a higher pitch. They are at https://www.voiceindy.com/ If you contact them, by all means please tell them that you were connected to them via me. When I told them that I blog, and was doing posts about them, they were pleased.

    For FFS and body work, I first saw Dr. Gregory Chernoff. He is out of my insurance network, and though I could get some coverage if I went with him too much would be out of pocket, so I didn’t pursue him. I then went to Dr. Barry Eppley, in Carmel. http://www.eppleyplasticsurgery.com/ His staff have submitted my list of items to insurance for approval. If all are approved, I could have as much as full FFS, breast implants, and abdominal liposuction. He has a reputation as a world-class surgeon, with folks from all over making use of his skills.

    That’s the extent of it. Hey, if you would like to email, so that we don’t have any privacy concerns, you can find my email address in my profile. Through Facebook, you can message me. Look for Gina Eilers. There are several of us, but I’m the only one in Indianapolis. Go figure, huh?! 🙂

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    1. Thanks for offering a way to speak with you privately. However, WP will not display your profile to others — when I couldn’t access it, I joined hoping that would help — and I have closed my FB account because I’m shedding my birth name and they won’t let me open a new one under my new name without proper ID.

      However, it may not be a total loss. I’ve been posting a blog on another site as a sort of diary of my own surprising journey, and I’ve been thinking about moving it. 🙂

      Like

      1. I am befuddled as to WP not displaying my profile. Ugh. Well, shoot, since I’m all over the place, I’m sure my email address is no huge secret. It is porthopepizza@gmail.com. (As I typed it, I see on a previous comment in this string that it appears under my name. The question, of course, is whether you can see it. But, I can see yours so . . . wow, my brain can’t afford to be overloaded so early in the morning!)

        By all means, I’d love your blog address!

        Like

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