11 Sex Tips From (And For) Trans People

Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be trans, especially when it comes to sex. Between the negative stereotypes and the complete lack of information out there about trans bodies, it can be hard for trans people to find the resources that a lot of cisgender people (aka people who aren't trans) take for granted.
Of course, sex can be a vulnerable topic shrouded in taboo, no matter your gender. But it can be even trickier terrain for trans people, due to the stigma surrounding gender identities that don't match up with the sex on people's birth certificates. And considering how much mainstream sex ed leaves to be desired — particularly when it comes to anyone who isn't cisgender or straight — it's no wonder people understand so little about trans sexuality. Add to that the fact that not all trans people choose to take hormones or undergo gender-affirming surgeries, and you have a society full of misconceptions about what it means to have sex when you're not cisgender.
All of this, unfortunately, can leave trans and other gender non-conforming people ill-equipped to navigate the world of sexual pleasure.
But everyone has the right to safe, consensual, and fun sex, and fostering sex-positive conversations geared towards gender non-conforming people is a vital part of making that belief a reality. So we spoke to S. Bear Bergman, a trans author and sex educator, and Gaines Blasdel, a trans medical case manager at Callen-Lorde, to get some pointers about how to open up these kinds of conversations.
While these tips are geared toward the trans community, keep in mind that they are still relevant to everyone. Whether you’re trans or cis, queer or straight, there's no harm in getting a little more sex education. Besides, as Bergman puts it, “If you like someone and you want to have sex with them, and then it turns out that their genitals aren’t what you thought, like, who in the world cares? It just seems like such a foolish reason to not have sex with them.”
Gender and sexual orientation are both highly personal and constantly evolving. So, in honor of Transgender Awareness Week, we're talking about the importance of language and raising the voices of the LGBTQIA community. Welcome to Gender Nation, where gender is defined by the people who live it. Want to learn more? Check out our Gender Nation glossary.