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This Viral Sex Ed Tip For Trans Women Reveals How We’re So Far Behind In Transfeminine Pleasure

There's a pleasure gap impacting trans bodies.

A transfeminine nonbinary person with a transmasculine GNC part seem to be disagreeing with each other.

NSFW warning: The following article contains explicit sexual education material.

As a trans woman, I can personally attest that sex is a difficult and complicated topic for transfeminine people to navigate.

For those of us undergoing hormone replacement therapy, testosterone suppression and estrogen usage radically alters our sexual relationship with our bodies. Our orgasms change, our skin responds to touch differently, erections become less common, and our genitals experience pleasure in brand new ways. If you’ve ever seen a trans girl talk about her first “girl orgasm” on HRT, then you probably know what I’m talking about.

This isn’t the difficult part, though. These changes are pretty amazing to experience and explore. It’s the way people respond to these changes that’s the problem — and the way our society doesn’t make room for sexual information on transfeminine bodies.

Relearning how to work your body

I first started writing about transfeminine sexuality in 2017. For a couple years, I even ran a monthly column on trans sex for the Daily Dot. Sadly, not much has changed in five years. Sex education resources for our bodies remain as rare as ever.

Sure, there are plenty of guides out there on the most basic of basic questions. These cover things like “how your body will change under hormones,” “how to use gender-affirming terms during sex,” and “why you shouldn’t make assumptions about a trans sexual partner’s genitals.” These are all great starting points for navigating sex as and/or with a transfeminine person.

But sex is far more complicated than poking the tip of a girl’s penis and saying it looks pretty. Sex is about physical intimacy and embodied pleasure. Trans anatomy and trans sexual technique are two incredibly important topics that often go missing from these 101 guides.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see an incredibly useful trans sex ed tip hit Twitter, all thanks to a now-viral inforgraphic from trans adult content creator Sheepwave.

In her post, Sheepwave describes how estrogen-based hormone therapy changes the way transfeminine bodies with penises operate. So “for girls who are still trying to get off like they have a dick after HRT,” they might want to try “‘fingering’ by rubbing the area your pussy is supposed to be, maybe with lube,” she explains. Her attached infographic offers a pretty good example of how to masturbate this way.

Anatomically speaking, Sheepwave is accurately describing the perineum, the gap right between the scrotum and the anus. This just so happens to be “rich with sensitive nerve endings” across body types, b-Vibe’s founder Alicia Sinclair told Refinery29.

The prostate is right underneath transfems’ perineum, so this kind of external stimulation can feel incredibly pleasurable. For example, it’s not uncommon for trans women to place a Magic Wand against the taint, as Mira Bellwether describes in her zine Fucking Trans Women.

“The penis, the perineum, the prostate, and the anus share several nerves, and the perineum seems to like those stimulated with pressure,” Bellwether explains. “Try rubbing the taint at the same time that you suck or rub the glans. Fun times!”

Unfortunately, most transfeminine people aren’t taught that the gap between their genitals and rear is an enormous source for sexual pleasure. As Sheepwave notes, most of us first assume our penises are our sole domain for sexual gratification.

How could it be any other way? We live in a cissexist and heteronormative culture that claims the penis only exists for one thing: To get hard and enter the vagina. Bellwether’s work challenges this idea and provides a new way to think about the penis: femininely. As she explains, the penis is “an extraordinarily complex, sensitive organ and not just a phallus,” and penetration “shouldn’t be the limit of what we think a penis is capable of.”

“It’s hard, so to speak, for us to seriously consider the concept of sex with a soft penis because we’ve been indoctrinated to laugh at the idea,” Bellwether writes. “Penises are supposed to be hard, penetrating organs, and definitely not sexy when soft. […] To put it simply, this is stupid. “

Instead, Fucking Trans Women describes a network of nerves from the penis to the anus that are a rich playground of touch, an incredible backdrop for stimulation that can result in some immensely pleasurable sex. It turns out a penis doesn’t need to be hard to orgasm, and there’s way more to penile pleasure than “stroke shaft” and “lick tip.” To date, Bellwether’s work remains the gold standard in transfeminine sex and masturbation for this reason.

Yet stigma remains about affirming and nuanced explanations of transfeminine sex, which can make trans women and transfeminine nonbinary people feel uncomfortable openly discussing and celebrating their sex lives.

“I think it’s sad that every time I make a joke about ‘fingering my pussy’ among trans girls, a lot of them don’t even know what I’m talking about,” Sheepwave told The Mary Sue. “Cultural narratives told mainly by cis people to treat our anatomy as inherently wrong and shameful suck.”

Combating the stigma of trans sex

A transfem and transmasc couple navigate intimacy together.
Image via the Gender Spectrum Collection (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0))

If you’ve ever been on Reddit, you’ve probably seen one of many threads that satiate cisgender curiosity around sex with a trans woman. Most devolve into immensely objectifying voyeurism about trans women and their genitals.

Marginalized bodies are deemed “remarkable” for their outlier characteristics, as Julia Serano writes in Sexed Up. This leads the privileged individual, “unremarkable” in their normalcy, to gaze and ponder at the “remarkable” characteristics of the marginalized form.

Sure enough, this is exactly what transfems experience constantly around sex. Our bodies challenge convention. They break the mold. Either there’s something fundamentally wrong with us and our bodies (bigots often describe trans women as having “broken” penises), or our bodies are treated as desirable objects to be seen and touched. Either way, the trans body is never seen as a subject of pleasure and joy, and we are treated as such a bizarre anomaly that sex educators should largely ignore.

A society that provided ample, affirming information and resources on trans sex would treat our bodies with respect and care. Or perhaps vice-versa. Either way, transfems should be able to learn all the various ways they can enjoy sexual pleasure through a quick Google search. The first step to solving this problem is to normalize trans sex, trans bodies, and trans pleasure by providing more resources and representation for how we look.

Fucking Trans Women is 12 years old and still one of the best resources for transfeminine people who have penises. It’s a shame that, to this date, we haven’t had many publishers or websites do the work to expand on transfeminine pleasure, or to explore the various ways our bodies deserve love, care, and affirmation. Instead, we are forced to rely on each other for advice, or we have to turn to DIY resources to learn how to orgasm. Zines are great, sure, but they aren’t forms of widespread education. Sex becomes a difficult experiment in trial and error when society at large places its own cissexist assumptions on your body.

“I love that Fucking Trans Women exists, but it’s a shame that it’s been the standard for a decade,” Sheepwave said. “I made this doodle after a joke on my Discord about making an infographic spoke to people and figured I’d tweet it out too rather than just having it be in my own space.”

It’s not enough to say “trans women are women” or “transfems are valid.” Talking openly and proudly about trans bodies is fundamental to cherishing trans lives. Finally, it’s time for sex educators to talk about transfem bodies in-depth. It’s time to close the gap between cis and trans pleasure. And it’s time celebrate the beauty of trans sexuality in all its various forms.

(Featured image: The Gender Spectrum Collection (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0))

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Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.