Navigating the pathways of sexual health and pleasure can be a mine field for many of us, but whilst there is plenty of information and guides available for the LGB community, the trans population is often left in the dark— especially if they’re experiencing gender dysphoria.
Gender dysphoria encompasses the feelings of anxiety and discomfort that trans people can experience regarding their sex assigned at birth. Not every trans person experiences gender dysphoria, and for those who do, it can be more or less intense depending on the day.
Whether it’s the ongoing process of learning how to communicate your needs or having frank and formal discussions about your sexual health, when your body is incongruent with your identity, exploring it with curiosity and desire can be extremely tough and daunting. But don’t get discouraged. You can and should enjoy sex even if you’re experiencing gender dysphoria.
Understand That Gender Dysphoria Is Different For Everyone
One of the most important things to know about gender dysphoria is that it can vary in intensity from person to person. Some people may feel very intense dysphoria about much of their body, some can feel dysphoric about specific part of their bodies, others may only feel a small amount of dysphoria and other may experience none at all.
Dysphoria not only varies from person-to-person, what a person feels dysphoric about can change between sexual encounters, or even during a single encounter. For example there may be times when a person’s dysphoria is so strong that it’s all they can think about during sex and any acknowledgment of certain areas of their body can cause distress. However, on other occasions that person’s dysphoria can be less intense and they many feel more comfortable with the same parts of the body.
Communication Is Key!
When navigating gender dysphoria with sexual partners, open, honest and clear communication is crucial.
If you prefer to wear certain clothing during sex such as a chest binder or use specific language to refer to various parts of the bodies for example gender neutral terms or certain gender specific language establish this before sex begins.
Set Clear Boundaries
Consent and setting boundaries regarding where you feel comfortable being touched are the most important parts of making sure sexual encounters are safe and fun for everyone involved.
Setting clear boundaries on where everyone feels comfortable being touched also creates an environment where everyone can explore and discover what makes them feel good.
Practice Active and Ongoing Consent
Active and ongoing consent means checking in regularly with all partners involved during sex to make sure that they are still comfortable with what’s happening.
Since gender dysphoria is not static, sexual acts that felt good at one point may not feel good later on.
All A Bit Daunting
Discussions about communication and consent can sound daunting, but when it comes down to it, all it really means is that you care about how your partner feels, and it shows that you’re not willing to put your wants over their wellbeing and comfort.