Ask Professor Foxy: Am I Betraying My Gender Identity By Enjoying Sex? And What About SRS?

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Dear Professor Foxy,
I am a trans woman in her early twenties. I have known about my gender for a long time now, but have only started (ok, it’s for the second time after being scared off by my family a couple years ago) transitional stuff about 6 months ago. I have a very caring cis-female partner and we are sexually active, both wanting to spend lots of time on making the other feel good and enjoying the process of doing so.
I, however, have a couple issues about sex. The majority of my stimulation comes from my genitals; I enjoy the sensation of things on other parts of my body and I have some enjoyment from the pain of my breasts being bitten, but for me to actually be enjoy things erotically my penis has to be involved. And I don’t like it, mentally. I like the sensations, my partner is very good at making me physically enjoy things, using her hands or mouth or vulva, but I have to ignore part of my head which is telling me that I really don’t like having anything to do with my penis. This is irrespective of positions taken, whether I am being dom or sub, as we do all of these (though being ‘on top’ I feel this even more so).
I suppose my question is two fold. Firstly I would like to know if you think that by being physically active in this way that I’m going against myself, because that’s what it feels like to me, and if so what I should do about it, as I would sort of like to be able to enjoy myself sexually.
Secondly is a question for the future. I am not near the point of sexual reassignment surgery at the moment, but in a couple years I will be in a position where I could have it (and paid for by the government as I’m in the UK). I really don’t like having a penis, I think it’s ugly, it messes up the way my clothes look, and jars with my self image, but also since I don’t have any sexual pleasure from any other part of my body I’m worried that after surgery I simply won’t be able to enjoy sex any more and wonder if you can tell me about what sexual sensations women have, if any, after SRS.

Dear Conflicted –
I in no way think you are going against yourself. In the words of a trans woman friend of mine who I spoke to about this question “everyone has the right to sexual pleasure with the body they have.” Your body does not match your gender and that is hard. Let’s think of ways to make it less of a disconnect. I love the support of your partner. First, how do you and she refer to your genitalia? Instead of penis, why not use words like clit, pussy, or whatever word you like the best. You are female and, in sexual situations, should feel free to use female words to refer to your genitals. This may feel awkward at first, but I think you’ll grow into it.
What do you picture in your mind? If you are thinking about penis, penis it will be. Think of your genitalia as female and it may start to be much more comfortable. Inner voices will likely tell you that you are lying to yourself, try ignoring them or answering them with “it is MY clit.” A lot of people, trans and cis, do not use the biologically accurate terms to refer to their genitalia and gain power and pleasure from this.
As you move through transitioning, you deserve sexual pleasure. Frankly, I think it will be a good release.
As to your question for the future, sex reassignment surgery (SRS) has different outcomes for different people, but the majority of trans women do have sexual sensation. I also think that many of the things that you describe (uncomfortableness with your genitalia and body) will be alleviated. In all people, being comfortable with one’s body is key to enjoying sex.
Choose your surgeon carefully, see pictures of her work ahead of time to make sure you like the physical outcome. Make sure she will talk to you about your fears and concerns. See if you can find other trans women (the internet is a great resource for this) who have used the same surgeon. How do they feel about their results?
Keep in mind that this is surgery and your body is going to take time to heal, do not panic if it takes up a few months for sensation to develop in your genitalia or any place where you have had surgery.
Sexual sensations may also be different and try to embrace this. It is a mark of a new body and a new relationship with your body.
Last, celebrate. Why not have a vulvatastic party with your partner? You are coming into a new phase and that should be honored. Transitioning can be difficult, but there are rewards and happiness along the way. Enjoy them!
Professor Foxy
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