Last week I had an awesome thing happen. I was sitting in the McDonald’s drive thru (don’t judge me, I was hungry haha) and was talking to a young dark haired lady. Probably in her late twenties she was very chatty and I was dressed fairly femininely. As I pulled away she just smiled at me and without hesitation, without asking me to clarify my pronouns, she called me missus. The happiest feeling I have had about this transition after my husband confirming he wasn’t leaving me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am quite aware I am not passing or stealth at this time. Sometimes in a dark room, with very dim lighting maybe… but it is obvious how I am dressing and what I am putting out there. This was the first time someone didn’t ask me to clarify my pronoun, and who didn’t roll their eyes before using it.
My coworkers overall respect me and use it, there have been a couple of failures but I can’t hold that against them. I am 6’2″, they originally met me the first time I worked at my job as a male and it very rarely slips out. I get it, I don’t get mad at them, but I find it hurts now.
Fast forward to yesterday, I wasn’t dressed up too much at all and by the time I got home from work I had minimal stuff on my face. My hair wasn’t done and while I was wearing a girl shirt and uggs it still wasn’t really clear. It was more of a “fabulous” gay man then a girl look.
We went out to the local pot shop (thank god for a legal state) and while there we were chatting with the employee he referred to me as a he… not surprising and not offended. I was surprised though when my husband called me a he twice to the guy (we were joking around about something).
First and foremost, everyone slips up and I am not at all upset. I still do it very very rarely with him when we are talking about a time before his transition. I also wasn’t sure if it was to just smooth things over with the employee (sometimes its just easier to go with whatever the person I don’t know says instead of correcting him). Whether it was either one I am not at all upset at him or offended.
What I did learn from that and has been on my mind until this morning is that the pronoun thing does bother me. Not at my hubby. He did nothing wrong and I don’t blame it, but every time in the day someone says he (and it happens almost all the time unless I am talking to them directly, which case most of the time they just use my name) it feels like a small punch in the gut.
I can’t tell if this is a new thing, or if this is one of the many things that beat down on me for decades, but I was too numb and depressed to even know what it was.
It also could be a rough moment for me. I have surgery coming up in a week, lots of debt I put on our family for it, I am not nearly as far into the feminization of my body by hormones due to my testes fighting me at every step, the fact my hormone levels are all over because of my testes fighting my spiro dose, and after a year I am tired and the initial elation of coming out is gone.
It doesn’t change that I am happier, but it means it has been a rough month. It doesn’t mean I don’t have times where I wonder what the fuck I am doing and why am I bothering. They pass quickly, but I wanted to be forthright about how I felt in my writings. I think I am just in a down spot at the moment, hopefully to be buoyed by regaining my wind, getting some awesome surgery and being able to do something with my hair and eyes when I get back from Scottsdale.
Disclaimer: One important note, I am talking here about my experience, everyone experiences sex and hormones differently and this post is by no means exhaustive – I am sure I will have a lot more to post but even then my view isn’t the only one.
When I was younger, long before I considered transitioning I held the standard AMAB viewpoint of sex. I was always interested in it, I liked looking at pretty people in skimpy outfits. I couldn’t keep my hands out of my pants, or if I was in a relationship someone else’s pants.
So when I got married to my spouse, long before he transitioned and he was still my wife, I was the typical guy in some ways. I am told I wasn’t too pushy, but I do know I wanted sex all the time. My sex drive was high enough that it caused some friction between me and the spouse. They had a more AFAB type of sex drive, which isn’t just hormonal of course, it also involves social acceptability and how AFAB people are raised.
We would fight when I was younger because of our differing sex drives. I didn’t understand why someone wasn’t in the mood for periods of time. I can completely admit I never really considered outside my point of view. I didn’t understand truly that others didn’t experience sex drives the same as I, and to be honest that is a pretty typical male outlook from my understanding.
If we didn’t have sex more often then every couple of weeks (or even weekly) I would feel that they were withholding or being arbitrary. I didn’t understand that testosterone is such a big influence on your sex drive, and they didn’t have the same feelings. I was ready anytime, anywhere, I could have sustained a big injury and still want to try. I am ashamed to learn how privileged I was being about it.
Now that I have been on testosterone blockers for about 11 months (with wildly shifting numbers, so we still don’t have it under control) and estrogen for the same amount of time I think I have a lot more understanding of what someone AFAB generally feels, and to be honest I am frankly ashamed of some of my outlook and attitudes before my transition. Not that I was a bad person, but that I just didn’t understand.
Let me crush the whole idea that you don’t like sex if your testosterone is stopped. That is not the case at all. In fact sex now has been more incredible overall (due to a whole range of effects of the estrogen and testosterone blocking that I will go over in detail later). I love being with my husband and I do have an active sexual imagination.
However, I am not continuously bombarded with the urges for sex during the day nonstop. Before I would think about it multiple times a day. Now when it is quiet, I have some time and I feel relaxed it comes up in my thoughts, sometimes. Without the testosterone it isn’t that drive, that overwhelming need that it was. It gives me time to think about other things and just relax.
I don’t think this is a bad thing, it means I can work on things without being distracted too much. I can focus on my creative works and instead of satisfying a lot of objectification in those works I feel I get more in touch with the work itself.
Another side effect is that I now scroll past a lot of ads and distractions I used to look at and find them frankly ridiculous. They used to capture my attention for periods of time, distracting me from things I wanted to do otherwise.
I didn’t realize how much advertising is placed that way, and how much culture adopts it without thinking. I know I had fully accepted it without a second thought. The good part is that now I have a lot better understanding of how it effects people with and without testosterone.
I am not saying my experiences or views now perfectly match up with people born AFAB. I didn’t have the stigma of sex laid on me (quite the opposite actually) and society didn’t treat me different. What I am saying is I believe I understand those experiences better.
I now understand why women get frustrated with the pushiness of men better. I understand why I heard the words “Not tonight, I am not in the mood” and their frustration when I would ask in a different way. When you don’t have the intense push of testosterone there are a lot of other things going on, stressors, needs, and desires.
I find now that I look at a lot of the way women are portrayed (the super sexy style) and it is not as attractive to me anymore. I can appreciate it, but its different and not really something I find interesting or even healthy necessarily. I will probably need like five posts to explain that.
If you had asked me before my transition, I would have said testosterone had a fraction of the influence that it evidently had. It is eye opening and I wish I could explain it to other AMAB born people. Get them to look outside those feelings. The problem is those feelings are there your whole life, you don’t have a reference otherwise.
I also want to make it clear that having testosterone is not bad at all. It is perfectly healthy, with needed function. I am not one of the ladies that believes it is poison. What I am trying to say is I didn’t realize as a privileged white male before transition I didn’t have to look beyond my urges because society is built around them. Now that the curtain has been pulled back with the urges and I have been shown what others see and feel I have had some realizations.
I am still working on those realizations in my head (and on here), but for now I basically just wanted to say I was amazed at the difference.
TL;DR With my testosterone blocked I found my outlook on sex and the sex drive completely different and I now understand why a lot of women talk about sex the way they do.
I have noticed a whole slew of things that are different now that I am finishing my sixth month on hormones. The first is salt, and the second thing is boobs.
I have never liked salt very much. For 47 years I never added to my food, never cared for it separately, nothing. I have a great sense of taste and the taste of salt never made it better, just made it saltier.
Now over the last few months my sense of taste has changed drastically. I cannot pin down if maybe my eatings habits have changed so much with the 80+lbs weight lost, that things taste differently, or if hormones are causing it, but now I absolutely crave salt all the time.
I am serious, you could give me a salt lick for a treat and I would call it good.
This is a fairly recent change (along with liking spicey things as well, but that is a separate post). Now I crave salt on everything. I couldn’t tell you why, it doesn’t make any logical sense, but either my eating habit change or hormones gave me a 180 turn on salt.
My second observation today is my boobs. Yes, I am actually growing boobs. I will definitely still need implants, however they are as large as an a cup for someone not as tall/broad as me. They poke out and the hubby has announced I will need to get a camisole. That does make me happy.
However the weirdest thing has happened. As an example I was walking around the corner and the hubby scared the bejesus out of me. I leapt back and grabbed my boobs. No joke, I almost shrieked, grabbed my boobs in alarm and watched as he erupted into laughter.
That has NEVER been my reaction. I am not even sure why I grabbed them and held them. I am finding now that I tend to hold them when I am thinking or unsure of something. Also, it isn’t a sexy hold them. There is no sensuality when I do that, I don’t even notice it half the time. It just seems more comfortable.
I feel especially bad because I knew a couple of girls that did that when I was younger and I gave them a hard time about it. I didn’t understand why that was their reaction… now I do it. Maybe it is something subconscious I picked up as a boy, but I also wonder if its partially because there is something new on my chest (in the non-moob type situation).
So there is that, I evidently crave salt, and hold my boobs when scared or uncomfortable… No idea why, but I guess it works for me.
If anyone has any idea what that is about I would love to hear about it.