I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on Gender Blender Podcast. Gender Blender is a Montreal-based podcast hosted by Tai Jacob, (They/Them). Tai aims to talk to different trans, Two Spirit, nonbinary, and agender folks about the multiple ways that we relate to gender, our bodies, community spaces, and social movements.
Listen to my interview HERE.
We talk about sex, kink, intimacy, polyamory and my work at The HEAL Project.
Check out interviews with bklyn boihood, Trans Liberation Collective (TLC) and more.
You can find info on Gender Blender here:
Although The Dating game was first aired in 1965 and continued onto the 80’s, the show was revived so many times throughout the years, most people know the concept of the show.
There would be one bachelorette/bachelor and three potential dates.
In the original version of the show, as described on wikipedia:
Generally the bachelorette would ask questions written in advance on cards to each of the three hidden bachelors. The same question could be asked to multiple bachelors. This continued until time ran out. The bachelorette would make her choice based solely on the answers to her questions. Occasionally, the contestant was a bachelor who would ask questions to three bachelorettes. Certain kinds of questions were “off-limits”, such as name, age, occupation, and income.
The show highlighted heterosexual, majority white folks, looking for a connection. But what if…?
What if there was a dating/love/sex connection game show for us GenderQueers? GQ’s seeking GQ’s, GQ’s seeking trans, gay, lesbian, hetero, bi, queer and then some. Gender Queers of all abilities, shape sizes, cultures and colors.
As GenderQueer, gender non-confirming, gender fluid and non-binary folks, seeking connection can be challenging when you can’t, won’t or desire not to subscribe to the gender binary. How does a person who flows from femme to masculine to androgynous create the perfect profile to entice and not scare off potential love interests? How do you explain that, dating you, can be dangerous, but that your worth it? Society at large can’t or won’t wrap their minds around a gender or sexuality that is moveable. How we look, love, fuck, touch and are in the world, can change at any time, it’s just too confusing for folks.
What if we had this show? What if you actually had the agency, openness and opportunity to say what you want, who you are and be unapologetic. What would you ask for? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a game or let’s dream here, live in a world that was open to and expected these shifts of beauty and ownership.
What if? Hmmm?
Imagine you as the bache, (either both or neither a bachelorette or bachelor), what would you want? What would your questions be to weed out this perfect date? If you could ask for what you want and not have to explain yourself, worry about violence, being seen in your truest form(s), loved, or treated with respect, what would it be?
Picture looking across a crowded room and seeing the sexiest person you ever did see. Your interest is peeked and your mind wonders. You are turned on. Plenty of us have experienced this. Our attraction for someone sparks images in our minds—the possibilities. Our fantastical perceptions of this hopeful interaction are just that, our perceptions. We make assumptions of who’s on top, who takes what, your compatibility and oh how good it could feel. No harm done, right? It’s all in our fantasies. A little secret we can smile about, but what if those harmless fantasies are the catalyst to how you approach this person. What if it colors how we try to negotiate and how that person engages with you?
I’ve had many conversations with many different people, who’ve discussed frustration about how people have sexually perceived them and how that perception leads to pigeon-holding them into a “sexual identity.” Sometimes our fantasies/impressions fit the person but what about those times that it doesn’t?—Queer femmes only seen/accepted as bottoms, masculine folks desired as tops and expressed disgust if they show any switchery or bottom desires. Femme’s having to prove that they are worthy, strong enough or able to top. When we’re attracted to someone, our first impressions, fantasies and societal influence all conflate to have a huge impact on how we sexually perceive that person. How does that in turn alter who is attracted to you, what kind of relationships you have, how you fuck and love when most people are set in a one-dimensional way of viewing you?
This perception of course affects everyone regardless of gender identity or sex, AND there is a unique experience for gender non-conforming, gender queer or gender fluid, non-binary (GNC/GQ/GF/NB) folks. How do GNC/GQ/GF/NB folks navigate sex, love and relationships in a society that positions our sexual behavior/desire within a binary context? What if, you’re a person who shifts your gender from day to day? What if you live as one gender for weeks/months/years and then shift to another gender and then again? What if you mix it all up, all of the time? How do you negotiate your, for lack of a better term, sexual positioning with potential lovers/fuck-buddies? How do you de-construct the binary desire for GNC/GQ/GF/NB folks?
I met a queer identified bisexual cis man at an event many years ago. I was instantly attracted to him and I’m assuming, he to me. We exchanged numbers, flirted, made our attraction known, and discussed my gender in detail. This was before testosterone and top surgery (no-op/no-ho), so I wanted to make sure he understood that. He said he did. We continued to flirt and set plans for a sexual encounter. The aftermath of our hotel encounter was one that is etched in my mind. It set the tone for many internal dialogues about how I should share my body with cis men—especially while I was no-op/no-ho. We made out, his clothes slowly came off. He commented on my strong arms. We rolled around, kissed some more. My clothing came off. His hands/fingers digitally stimulated and I saw it. His face shifted. His mood altered. Seeing me in all my nakedness did not allow him to see me for who I was. I became a woman to him. His dick softened and I was mortified. I grabbed my clothes. Quickly put on my jeans, t-shirt, Tims’, and baseball cap. In the midst of getting dressed to exit for a much needed cigarette, he said, “Right there! There’s my man.” He could only see what he perceived me to be. I presented manly in that moment, breast bounded and fully dressed. His original fantasy of what I could be sexually returned to him as I stood before him, my naked vulnerability
Another time, at a club, I was embodying masculinity. A queer femme identified woman approached me. We talked. Eye contact was intense. Energy sparked. Our bodies found themselves closer and closer to one another. Sexual whispers between drinks and in the midst of the chattering crowd. We both revealed desires for a one-night-stand. We went back to my place, and entangled ourselves in an amazing night of pulsating heat. Afterwards, we were both clear, that that had to happen again. We exchanged numbers, had a few chats and decided to meet up again. This time, my energy propelled me to embody femme. As soon as she saw me, it was like the proverbial scratch of the record. She literally yelled out “NO!” and proceeded to let me have it. Exclaiming that, this is not what she signed up for. And that was that.
These binary, and often stagnant ideas, do not allow one to shift from that initial desire or fantasy. It is rooted in patriarchy and heteronormativity. It creates gossip on social media about “two fingers.” It slut shames and it confines us in very big ways. This binary view or (perceived) identity, at times, puts GNC/GQ/GF/NB folks at the mercy of who is attracted to us. We sometimes fit into that role because we want to be desired/have sex/be loved. As a polyamorous person, at times, I’ve allowed for the one-dimensional view. I do so knowing that I am able to receive alternate or more beautifully complex views from others whom I’m sexual/intimate with. Although, this does not mitigate my desire to show all of me, all of the time.
I sometimes stress about those first impressions. When I’m at a conference and meet new people, what do I want them to see first—My femme expressions, my masculine expressions, androgyny? Can I even control what comes out of me? It’s all fluid. I actually have no idea how people see me half the time.
This is where negotiation is helpful for me. Just as I ask everyone, regardless of my assumptions, what pronoun they use, I ask potential lovers/fuck buddies how they sexually identify or how they are feeling in that moment. As I’ve negotiated through flirting, in the moment, over text, via email or a face-to-face conversation, I’ve learned that there is always more to a person— and I like that.
Imagine a scenario in which people are too uncomfortable, afraid or shy to let their lover, partner, fuck-buddy or spouse know that they don’t particularly enjoy some aspect of their sexual interaction.
We are taught that sex with the right person is wondrous. Provided the connection is right, then the sex is amazing. The concept of two bodies or souls becoming one in a splendor of love and magical sex, is a popular monogamous narrative. I’m quite sure that many who are monogamous don’t even believe this rhetoric. Whether monogamous, polyamorous, kinky, heterosexual, bisexual, trans or queer many have strived for this utopian understanding of how good sex should feel/work. These intimacies become fairytales of which no one can actually realize.
A vicious cycle ensues…
You have sex. Lots of the things you did were great and some were uncomfortable or just not your “cup of tea.” You don’t want to embarrass your mate, so you don’t say anything hoping it will just go away. The next time you have sex, they do that thing you don’t like so much again because they think it was so wonderful for you the 1st time. You try not to react too excited about the thing they are doing, that you now hate but don’t want to make them feel bad about. The next time it happens you say to yourself, “It’s not so bad. It will be over soon and we can get to the other things I like.” For others, their sexual encounter weren’t partially tainted but completely. They really didn’t enjoy any of it but the person they’ve chosen to have sexual relations with is perfect in every other way. Clearly they just have to hold on until the magic takes over and their souls leap into one another. That is of course what we’ve all been told, Right?
You’ve missed the window of opportunity to end that thing you cringe at during sex. At least this is what most people think. They didn’t say anything at the beginning; so to say anything now is just a nightmare. Your partner will know that the “good sex” feeling was not reciprocal and probably feel embarrassed by your proclamation. This is what you tried to avoid in the first place but now the truth at this juncture will be worse. In actuality you’ve lied to yourself and to your sex bud. Several years later, you’ve learned to live with that thing or you just don’t have sex anymore.
Seems outrageous I know but indeed a repetitive story I’ve encountered as a sex(uality) educator. Have you been in this predicament? Have you asked yourselves, “How did I get here?” This can happen to any one of us. We’d like to think that we’re comfortable with sex. The truth of the matter is, some of us are comfortable having sex but not talking about it. Even those of us who are at ease talking about it, talking dirty and even negotiating sex, sometimes get stuck. We don’t want to ruin the moment, hurt someone’s feelings, lose out on this hot person and so on. There are many reasons we don’t stop, don’t talk and don’t get what we ultimately want out of sex or a partnership. Unfortunately, this does everyone involved a disservice. You don’t get what you want, you’re not able to be present and the other person isn’t allowed a genuine interaction. Our fears hinder us from connecting with our bodies and being good lovers. It also doesn’t allow for the other person to truly explore your body the way you want.
As a survivor, I’ve told myself I’d never let someone do anything to my body that I did not want. Then it happened and I just felt awful afterwards. I was angry at myself for not speaking up. It just bought me to a bad place and it didn’t have to be that way. When I have found the agency to change less than delightful moments, I’ve felt empowered and the outcome was well worth it.
I know getting to the point of being able to say something can seem difficult so here are a few suggestions that might help you shift sexual situations:
Tell the truth! I know, easier said than done but you will be a happier, orgasmic person for it. Whether the sex gets better or you decide that you’re not sexually compatible, you’ll be truer to yourself and your sex partners.
Things you can say:
“I’m not into that.”
“I’d rather do this…”
“Can we do this instead?”
Navigate the person elsewhere. If you’re not comfortable saying anything, you can take action instead. If your sex buddy is touching somewhere you don’t want, gracefully move their hand to where you want it. They’ll see the positive reaction they get from you when it happens. If you’re in a position you don’t care for, move your body to get to where you want. If the way you’re being fucked doesn’t feel good, sexily maneuver out of it or say, “I need to be on top of you.” “Lets change positions.” “I wanna try something new.” Just because one thing isn’t going well, doesn’t mean you have to stop it completely. Change it up. You’ve got the right to do so. Just remember to keep eye contact, be enthusiastic, and give verbal reinforcement. You’ll be able to feel good, get what you want, and keep the sexy sex flowing.
You don’t have to be a jerk about it–but just stop.
What “stoping” can sound like:
“I’m not feeling up to that now.”
“I’m not ready to go further.”
“I need to stop.”
…and if you couldn’t do any of these things, in the moment, that’s ok. You will have another opportunity. Check in afterwards. Talk about what you loved, then what you’re not too keen on.
“Can we talk about how wonderful X,Y&Z were? I’d love to do more of that with you and less of A,B&C. That would defiantly make me hot.”
Download a list on the web or create one with your partner(s). Go over the list on your own and decide on some of the many wonderful sexual, romantic and kinky activities, with a “yes, no or maybe.” Meet up with your lover/fuck buddy/spouse, go over it and discuss. This exercise should be judgment free and fun.
Show me/Show them:
You can ask your sex bud or you can offer to, show how you/they masturbate. You can also mutually masturbate. I love doing this. It truly gives you the space and pleasure of watching how your lover enjoys being touched. You can witness every touch, breath, squeal and moan. It’s the perfect teaching tool.
Another way to show, is to use your partners hands as if you were a puppeteer. Guide their hands or have them guide your hands to touch them, fuck them and tease them how they desire. It’s their actions with your hands or vise versa. It’s a “win-win!” situation.
Go get coffee and talk about what you’re into, what gets you hot and what you do not want. Use this as an opportunity for pre-four-play.
Create a boundary list
On your own, think about all the experiences you’ve had. What are some boundaries that have developed for you over the years? Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits a person creates for themselves to identify what is reasonable, safe and permissible. Make sure to think about your response to crossed boundaries. This will only work if you speak up and hold those accountable for boundary violations.
Some boundaries might include:
Safer sex or no sex
Sober sex is a must
I want the option to use a safe word
What are some ways you’ve re-routed a sexual mishap or unpleasantry?
I haven’t always communicated like this but through trial and error I’ve found that speaking honestly works best for me. When we take other routes, it has the potential for failure.
Don’t instantly brand someone a shitty sex partner. We all get nervous and sometimes we fumble on the first encounter. Maybe we’re just not compatible. It doesn’t mean we’re bad at sex but that we just don’t go well together. It’s up to you to decide if you want to give it another go or end it graceful. Tagging someone as a bad lover to others isn’t fair. It hurts them, their potential partners and puts them to blame. It takes two, or three or four to tango. If all are consenting, we need to take responsibility as well. Another “easy way out” is ignoring the person. Don’t just stop talking, texting or calling someone because it seems less stressful to do so rather than be honest.This leaves people feeling awful and often wondering what the hell happened. Healthy sexual relationships start with honesty and communication. We speak of honesty and communication but often leave out the accountability piece. We have to learn to be accountable to ourselves and to those we interact with.
Being accountable to ourselves means being true to yourself. It means asking for what you want and getting it. Accountability gives us permission to determine what we want/need, communicate that to our partner(s), and have them realized. Accountability to others means being honest with them about your sex/relationship. Give feedback when needed and work through the bad stuff. If you never tell someone, correct someone, teach someone about you and vise versa, how would any of us have a chance to grow sexually? This process not only helps you with sex, but as a whole. It helps us to communicate better. It allows us to give and take critique that is useful and non-degrading.
This is what sex positivity can begin to look like. When we think about it this way, ruining the moment is but a small thing to worry about in the larger scheme of things. Anything worth having is worth working for.
Thanks to Courtney Trouble and Jiz Lee today is International Fisting Day! Every year I like to commemorate this wonderful day by fisting as many people as possible and enjoy some hole-filling, heart-pounding, orgasmic punch fucking myself. I share this love of fisting with many and some of those fisting enthusiasts happen to be those on the trans-masculine spectrum, masculine of center, trans, genderqueer, gender non-conforming folks who were identified female at birth. Some of those people happen to be on Testosterone also know as T. As I’ve shared my new journey on T with friends I’ve been warned about the effects its had on their cunts.
Has T effected your stuff, your innie, bit, hole, cunt, man-gina, whoha, front hole, boi hole, vagina, pussy, vajayjay, junk,or dik? Whatever we call it, there is a dire emergency for those of us on T who like to get fucked– better yet FISTED! Bleeding, discomfort and pain bad enough to cease wonderful penetration. This hasn’t happened to me but it could. The thought of not being able to be entered and filled propelled me to do some research. Here are some remedies to try and stop, reverse or cure the effects that would make us un-fuck-able.
Menopause happens to most people identified female at birth generally in our 40’s. This happens when the ovaries begin a decline in producing estrogen. Well, if you’re taking T, it accelerates that process. Essentially, T reduces estrogen and introduces higher levels of testosterone into the body, allowing for redistribution of body fat, more muscle mass, facial hair growth, possible drop in voice pitch, as well as other changes. The drop of estrogen in the body can cause atrophy, vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis. The walls or your hole become thinner, dryer and inflamed. This can make getting fucked painful–not in the good way. You can also experience, discharge, itching, bleeding during penetration, shortening of the vag canal, continence and possible increase in urinary tract infections. WTF?!
The Mayo Clinic states other ways that estrogen level drops and atrophy can occur
During the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause)
After surgical removal of both ovaries (surgical menopause)
After pelvic radiation therapy for cancer
After chemotherapy for cancer
As a side effect of breast cancer hormonal treatment
Other factors that increase atrophy:
Smoking: since smoking affects circulation of the blood, your hole may not be getting enough oxygen. It also decreases natural estrogen in your body.
No-vag-births: If you’ve never had a vag-child-birth, researchers say you’re more likely to develop atrophy than folks who have.
No sexual activity: Sexual activity and masturbation increases blood flow and makes your tissues more elastic. So please, fuck and jerk off!
So how do women identified female at birth and those of us on the trans spectrum taking T, work on staying fuck-able? Check out the information below. I hope it helps you so that by this time next year, you can ring in International Fisting Day with a BANG!
I’m no doctor but I suspect that Hormone therapy may not be the route some trans-spectrum folks want to take since taking T helps to reduce estrogen. I’m guessing its counteractive. I’ve listed both some hormonal and non-hormonal remedies to choose from. This information can be used by women and trans-spectrum folks identified female at birth. In any case, please consult with your doctor before trying anything. I am not a medical professional. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned through my personal research.
Is a cream applied to your whoha. This is a lower dose of estrogen therefore does not reach the blood stream as much as oral estrogen. If you have a history of cancer, please consult your oncologist. If your cancer history is hormonally sensitive, there may be an increase risk in cancer reoccurring.
Is a pill that is taken daily. Prolonged use of estrogen can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. If the uterus has been removed (total hysterectomy), then there is no risk of endometrial cancer. Low doses for no more than a year decreases risk.
A soft flexible ring is inserted into the upper part of the vajayjay. The ring releases estrogen and is replaced every 3 months.
A tiny tablet is inserted into the boi-hole with and applicator.
**Keep in mind that the hormonal route has side effects that can be serious. Below are non-hormonal avenues to consider. These are most likely the possible remedies trans-spectrum folks identified female at birth should mull over.
Moisturizers help restore some moisture to your man-gina. This can be applied every few days. There are several cunt-moisturizers out there such as Replens, Bloosom Organic and Vagisil. Make sure you look at the ingredients to insure you’re choosing the right moisturizer for your body. I like Sliquid Satin. It’s a daily moisturizer that doubles as a lubricant and its vegan. If you’re looking for a more natural stuff you can find in your home, you can use coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or Vitamin E capsules that are opened then applied to your bits.
Is great for reducing discomfort during penetration. Don’t use lubricant that contains glycerin. This can cause irritation and may contribute to yeast infections. My absolute favorite lube is made bySliquid. There are several choices but I recommend Sliquid Sea. It contains seaweed extracts that help with elasticity and replenish skin.
These are usually inserted with an applicator and best used at night. Insert and go to bed. Suppositories containing vitamin A and calendula: help to sooth irritated bits.
Black Cohosh/Wild Yam suppositories: Although a non-hormonal remedy, black cohosh has estrogen-like properties, while wild yam has both estrogen and progesterone like effects. Together, they help innie lubrication as well as supports healthy front hole tissue.
Black Cohosh: is an herb. It is high in phytoestrogen. Black Cohosh should not be seen as herbal estrogen or a substitute. Its best to think of it as an herb that acts similar to estrogen in some people.
DHEA: is a hormone that is naturally made in the body. It decreases as we get older. It is produced by the adrenal gland and is changed in the body to a hormone called androstenedione which leads to the production of androgen and estrogen. DHEA can be made in a lab with chemicals found in soy and wild yams. Simply eating soy and wild yams does not produce DHEA.
Regular sexual activity and masturbation: helps maintain the ability to lubricate and increases blood flow to your dik. Blood flow keeps pussy tissue healthy. Penetration exercises the muscles in your whoha. Think of dildos, fists and cocks as the dumbbells and your vagina as your arm. The more you pump, the more toned you get. Work your boi-hole out often. Make it toned, strong and keep it healthy.
Diet and Exercise–
Raw pumpkin, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and fish are high in fatty acids. Vitamin A and B and beta-carotene are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are great for producing innie lubrication. Eating foods containing isoflavones can help regulate decreasing estrogen levels. Isoflavones rich foods are soy, cherries, nuts celery, apples, legumes and flaxseeds. Hydration is key. Drinking lots of fluid is good for our skin. Our front hole lining is basically skin, so drink! Don’t forget to exercise regular. It helps to maintain hormone balance and healthy blood flow.
You can be fuck-able! Talk to your doctor, figure out what works for you, hydrate and stay active. Your boi hole will love you for it.
Happy International Fisting Day!!!
Ignacio Rivera M.A., is a queer, Trans, Two-Spirit, Black, Boricua, Taíno who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” Ignacio is an activist, writer, educator, filmmaker, performance artist and mother.