Tobi Hill-Meyer

As Different as the Next Girl

Filed By Tobi Hill-Meyer | August 14, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: advice column, sexis, sexuality

Sparked by a trans woman's call for submissions for a zine titled "How to F*ck a Trans Woman," I recently wrote a piece about trans women's sexuality and specific things to consider when getting sexual with a trans woman.

I got it published in an online magazine I started writing for, Sexis: Sex and All Things Sexual, and since they are actually paying me for it, I feel obligated to point you to their page rather then reprint the entire article here.

You can read As Different as the Next Girl there, but I am happy to post an excerpt of the beginning after the cut.

As Different as the Next Girl

There are some things that are important to check in about when you're getting involved with a trans woman. At first it may seem unfamiliar, but after a while it should become second nature. In fact I find myself doing theses check-ins even when I'm hooking up with a cis woman, and I believe that they are helpful no matter who you're connecting with.

  • Check in about what language to use for her body
  • Check in about what language to use for her gender
  • Check in about what touch she's comfortable with before touching
  • Check in about what kind of sex she might be up for

Check in #1: Language to use for her body parts

Depending on the context, it might not be necessary to go through all of these, but they are hardly ever a bad idea. Like the time I hooked up with a friend who was used to being one of the only trans women in the group of trans men she hung out with. In the middle of our foray she asked me if she could touch my "chest" (the term preferred by many trans men for the parts that, on my body, I call "breasts"). Now, I understood what was happened so I laughed because I thought it was cute and we just continued on, but it might have been a problem for a different woman.

Anyone can be sensitive to language. While trans women can be particular about what words are used to describe our bits, some cis women can also be very touchy, preferring words like "vulva," "cunt," or "pussy," or being turned off by words like "vagina," (which originated from the word for the sheath for a soldier's sword). Each person is as unique in their language preferences as anything else.

Some words that many trans women use for their bits are "clit," "girlcock," or "outie." But they are far from universal, and personally, I'd be a bit peeved if someone referred to my bits as a "big clit" - my preferred term is "strapless." Sometimes word preferences can be unexpected. One partner of my mine prefers "cock." The first time she told me that, I had to ask her twice just to be sure.

For the rest you'll have to check follow this link: As Different as the Next Girl

Also, if you're interested there's a discussion board on Sexis about my article that you can access as well as leaving comments here.


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Tobi, no offense but the entire article assumes a pre or non op woman.........and leaves the impression that post corrected women don't even exist. This is yet another reason post corrected women wish to be severed from all things trans, especially transgender.

Hmm, you're right that I'm speaking mostly from my experience and that's the vast majority of my experience.

Personally, I hate overly categorizing things by surgical status and that was what I was trying to avoid when I ended up with sections talking about pre/non-op trans women and only saying "trans women." But there should be ways, even with identical content, to make a diversity of surgical statuses visible without resorting to peppering the article with "-op." I'll have to think harder about that next time. Thanks for the feedback.

For what it's worth, though, the vast majority of what I'm trying to communicate with this article is not surgical status specific. Trans women can be femme tops, butch bottoms, everything inbetween, be conscious of gender-associated language and check in about it, check in about dysphoria triggers, check in about touch and sex. It's all applicable. Nonetheless, you're right, someone who didn't know post-ops existed could read my article and not have their ignorance challenged. That's not how I want my work to be.

Hey Tobi...

I appreciate the overall message, ask, don't assume, be open to unexpected and evolving answers, it's OK to express interest/attraction/intrigue without a pre-defined, hoped-for outcome.

That is in sync with what I want and need as a gay guy with a history of defying stereotypes.

A. Dionne Stallworth | August 15, 2009 7:33 AM

While I agree on the back and forth on the comments I have just read, it really does seem to me that there is very little frank discussion about sex and it's negotiation by those who can't or don't have surgical options. At 50, I am just becoming comfortable enough wiht my body regardless of appearance - enough so, to try dating again. While I think that this will and can be problematic, it doesn't always have to be. Thank you for going out on that limb.

Kathy Padilla | August 15, 2009 1:57 PM

There really is far to little that is accessible and respectful available for trans woman seeking information on their sexuality. The article serves a very, very important need; though I do agree with transheritic to some degree. It could more clearly state that it seeks to speak to only one portion our experiences.

A subtitle noting this or links to articles written by woman with that life history and those differing needs might be helpful.

Here's a few links for those who may need that information:

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/SRS.html#anchor104946

http://www.tsroadmap.com/sexuality/index.html