The following is an extract from Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships by Juno Roche.
I met a man online recently. He was attractive, seemed sweet, seemed intelligent, had a lovely dog, but most importantly he was quite kinky. I have kinks and our kinks seemed to match. We seemed to have ‘kink-parity’. We spent quite a bit of time talking through online messenger and then via video call. I would have described him as ‘lazy masculine’ or ‘slouchy masculine’. I’ve worked out recently that’s my type (I think). Cross fingers and hope for certainty – my clock is ticking. Writing this book is helping me to find my type and to be brave enough to go out and look for my type.
Slouchy masculine; masculine with a good body but not one from a gym, a beard that isn’t trimmed by a salon, and a sense of self that is able to talk about cock size without that size needing to be big. Masculine that doesn’t shout masculine but just is. I think in truth it’s not an uncommon attraction. Most of us are looking for someone who isn’t trying too hard, but I’m realising that this kind of masculinity resides across the genders and in the nonbinary space. I’m attracted to masculinity and I think by default I experience myself as feminine, although after recent sexual/intimate non-starters I’m beginning to question that. Am I feminine at all? Do I make attempts to be feminine because I have a notion that in order to be attracted to masculinity (my binary world kicks in) I feel that I must be fixed-feminine?
Am I far less defined than that? Could I be nonbinary or fluid or blurred?
I liked the man. When we talked kinks, I could feel the moisture, the wetness seep out and across my vulvic domain. I could feel the uttering light kicks of sexual expectation kick in and I knew that I wanted to explore my kinks along with an exploration of intimacy that would allow me to feel at ease being explorative. As well as sex and role plays, we talked about our views on the world, not in any depth – this was essentially sex chat – but in enough depth for me to feel comfortable sending him a short message saying that I was proudly trans and would really like to meet him in person.
His response was swift and unrelentingly clear. He said: "That should have been the very first thing you told me. I thought you might be but I gave you the benefit of the doubt." It was absolute in his last message, before he blocked me, when he said: "Times are changing and I wish you luck finding someone else."
I wasn’t sure which times were changing if his instant response was to walk away. Before my essentially telling him that I’d once had a penis, he saw me as sexual, sexy, desirable, kink-able and as someone to get intimate with. Had my once having had a penis meant that in his eyes I was no longer ‘feminine’? Did the shadow of a penis override any sense of being now? In truth I questioned my own sense of self. Did I really understand how the world perceives me? A stream of horrible and reductive questions about passing, blending and my own reality sprang into my mind as my pussy dried up like a river in Sudan. His comment "the benefit of the doubt’" reduced me to a visceral fragility that undermined my being the woman who upped and moved to the remote Spanish mountains or the woman who took on the inequality of the education system and made real gains. I became packed to the rafters with bricks of dysphoria that I felt I’d dismantled years ago. I became ‘out of body flimsy’ again.
Does the shadow of my penis – which I didn’t want, didn’t really use, didn’t identify with – really mean that an awful lot of this world will forever see me, us, as masculine no matter how much we seek ‘feminine authenticity’ or a ‘feminine reality’. Seeking a gendered reality in opposition or in contrast to another’s gendered reality is tough if we are consistently taken back to a gender that was never ours.
One thing he did say in parting, which I need to let simmer in my thoughts, was that if I was so proud of being trans why didn’t I say straightaway?