Monday, March 31, 2008

Dating Trans Man

I am a gay man who is friends with a Trans Man who I like very much and find attractive. We've made out a couple of times but it's never gone any further. Recently he let me know that he wants to take our relationship to the next level. The problem is that, although he is definitely a man, he hasn't fully transitioned and still has a vagina. I don't want to hurt his feelings or lose him as a friend, but I have to admit that's a problem for me -- I'm into d--k. I feel like a bigot or something but it's just too big of a hurdle. Any advice? Anon.

You're not a bigot, you're just a gay guy who knows what he wants. Just as you respect your friend for being true to himself, you have a right to be true to yourself as well. [For the record a Trans Man is someone who was born biologically female but is male inside, and undergoes various procedures to look as masculine on the outside as he is on the inside. Unfortunately, many Trans Men cannot afford an artificial penis and when they can are disappointed with the way it looks. Therefore many retain female sexual organs.]

Trans Men, be they straight or gay, are in a difficult position because -- like it or not, and don't anybody kill the messenger -- a man with a vagina is still considered pretty exotic if not downright weird in our culture, even in the gay community. That perception will undoubtedly change over time. Also, while the public has known of male-to-female sex changes since the days of Christine Jorgenson, the opposite is not as well-known, which also will change over time. Gay men don't have a "fear of the vagina" as some have charged (an outdated, rather homophobic notion, in fact) they just have a disinterest in it -- it's not a turn-on. The same for straight women. Even bisexual individuals may not be attracted to a person who combines the characteristics of both sexes.

Some gay Trans Men find lovers in the edgier or "kinkier" members of the gay male community (or with each other). Yes, it sounds terrible, but that is how some have put it, and how some see sex with a man with a vagina. There's no point beating yourself up because you're not as -- for lack of a better word -- "kinky" as some.

If you were madly in love with this man, you might be able to overcome all obstacles (straight women have, on occasion, stayed with husbands who transition, for instance) -- but maybe not. It's likely that you would have a problem even with an "ordinary" man who for one reason or another lacked a male sex organ or had impotency problems. That doesn't make you prejudiced against Trans Men or anyone else. Just as the fact that you don't want to have sex with women who have vaginas doesn't make you a sexist.

My advice is to gently tell your friend how you feel. Assure him that you can give him friendship and love of the platonic variety. Don't lead him on by making out with him, even if you want to -- that's just not fair. He's got to know that it will not lead to anything of a lasting nature, or even to a hot sexual episode.

Be this guy's friend. If he's in love with you, it will be very difficult for him, and he may need to cut you out of his life to get over you. But maybe his feelings aren't that intense. Hopefully he will understand how you feel and you can continue to have a cherished friendship.


Kian said...

I'm a gay transman and often the only thing standing in the way of a non-trans gay man hooking up with me is that he can only see what's in my pants, not the rest of me. Once he gets over these "feelings" and realizes that having sex with a man with a vagina is not that different, he suddenly becomes much more accepting.

You equate his not wanting to have sex with a woman as the same as not wanting to have sex with a transman and yet continue to insist that a transman is a man. This is very contradictory.

You are also encouraging him to accept his friend as man platonically while discouraging him to be sexually involved. Why? If he likes making out with him, why not encourage him to go all the way?

Bill Samuels said...

Thanks for your comments, Kian.

I equated having sex with a woman only with having sex with a transman who has retained his vagina -- because of the sex organs only. I was not saying that transmen aren't men, only acknowledging that most gay men are just not into vaginas, regardless of whether the sex partner is male or female. Some gay men are so turned on by masculine traits [without being misogynous] that anything remotely "feminine" -- like a vagina -- is a turn-off to them, a real cock-shrinker. It depends on the individual, of course.

I didn't see the point in encouraging him in getting involved sexually or romantically with his friend when it seemed like it just wasn't what he was into, and he might just be leading him on. I took my cue from the correspondent but perhaps I didn't fully explore his options.

However, you've raised some interesting points. Certainly in a situation such as this there would be no harm in the guy giving it a try if he's very attracted to his friend. I can also imagine that a top might find sex with a vagina -- on a man -- not TOO much different from the usual backdoor sodomy. [Although I have to say it IS different. Asses and vaginas simply have different "feels" to them.]

Anyway I'm glad you've found responsive and accepting gay men! And I encourage you to continue to express your opinions and educate people -- it's the only way we can learn! The more we know the more we understand each other.

Your comments are much appreciated!

Best, Bill

Kian said...

You are very correct on the different holes having different feels to them. I use both equally, so if a man only wants backdoor, that's what we do. I'm for equal opportunity and I'm a bottom. TMI?

As for some gay men being turned off by non-masculine traits, fair enough. I just don't see vaginas on men as particularly feminine, even though I think you and most gay men would disagree with me on that one. To me, a vagina is just where the penis goes. You don't have to stare at it...just stick it in!

Bill Samuels said...

LOL -- Great, Kian! Bill

ShipofFools said...

Hey Bill, I appreciate that you are discussing gay ftm, because that means we have come a long way during the last 20 yrs or so. Hopefully we will come a lot further during the next 20 yrs. (though I'll be probably too old to benefit from that)
As many gay cismen know, to be impaired in size can mean the end of attraction during a date with some guys. Which I always found a bit weird-- I like it that my lovers have different cock, it's interesting. So an ftm might be regarded as very much impaired in size--
On the other hand, anon. said that he was attracted to his ftm friend- I assume that he never tried to have sex with an ftm before or hasn't even seen one naked in real life. Neither have you (a vagina on a woman is not the same as an ftm's vagina, the testosterone changes the vagina, not just in form but in texture etc)- so I'm wondering, why not just give it a try? Why are you guys so afraid of the unknown? You might miss something. I was surprised to see how many of my goldstar gay cis friends have ftm lovers now and seem to be really happy.
Ship of Fools

Bill Samuels said...

Glad to hear it. It isn't necessarily that some gay men have a fear of the unknown as they simply prefer the familiar. I apologize for this bad analogy, but it's like ordering a dish you know you love and will enjoy at a restaurant instead of trying something different that you may not like. However, there appear to be gay guys who are willing to explore something new. Many, of course, will prefer the back door approach. And if they're bottoms they'll just have to be really creative! Anyway, thanks for your comments and the information. Best, Bill