I venture into this territory knowing that it is the most quintessentially unmapped terrain even if the most heartily explored. The lust of conquest, that ultimately male, patriarchal desire to own, extends most poignantly to this domain. So much of civilisation is constructed on top of a desire to control, restrain and proscribe female desire and sexuality.
French feminist philosopher Hèléne Cixous introduced to me the idea that “female virtue” was really a tool to subjugate women. She wrote in the 1970’s. Her work is still relevant. Not as much has changed as we might think.
The landscape of female sexuality is where my favourite therapist is taking me: teaching me to appreciate and understand the vast ethereal world of female desire, to appreciate the divine feminine. She talks to me about female rage and power, using the ocean as metaphor. Chaos. Wild, natural, unstructured. The untamed female.
I am clearly drawn to this.
The parallels to the dominatrix are unmistakable. She is the wild child grown up. She has self-tamed, but the power is intact. A woman in her power is the most beautiful thing on earth. The handful of women that I have come to know who are professional dominas have all shared that taking control of their own sexuality and power was one of the principal reasons for being a dominatrix in the first place.
Whatever is happening in my body and my mind enabled by Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) has made this world more accessible. For someone who has lived a life in appreciation of the feminine, has gone out of his way to be respectful, I could never get close enough to that feeling, that energy, because I was always outside of it, nose pressed to the window, looking in.
The other byproduct of stepping into my own feminine energy has been a plummeting of what I would describe as male sexual desire. I can’t say that my male sexuality was typical; I know it was not. But it was still male. Just atypical. But this is gone. Am I crazy for letting go of something which was such an enormous source of pleasure and so central to who I always was? Yes. Why? Because what I gain is so much greater.
The energy that I believe men feel is one of a desire to possess (I am speaking of the man who is oriented towards the woman and do not mean to exclude). But this desire to possess never felt right in me. Yes, I wanted to be with ‘her’, oh so badly, but possessing her, conquering her, reminded me of the one time I caught fireflies and put them in a jar. They died. It was not for want of trying. It was a nice big jar, with lots of holes in the lid for them to breathe, grass and flowers for them to eat or be in nature, but they died anyway.
What have I gained? Communion with women. A woman I have been “seeing” in a vanilla setting, but who has been very curious about my experience as a trans person. She is another of the women in my life who has been coaching me and helping to find the feminine within me. She is also another woman who has sought to dominate me in an erotic way. How many times have I come across the laments of men, including my own, that there are no dominant women out there? That is no longer my lived experience. Only I don’t know what to do with them anymore.
Fetishism never felt right to me. Source of intense pleasure, but also guilt and shame. The guilt was not that I didn’t need another person to tap into the arousal that grew from fetishistic indulgence, but from the act and object itself. Therapy was not able to get rid of it. Years of therapy. A year with a dominatrix didn’t get rid of it either, but it did finally make me lose the shame of it. Not just playing with someone who was evidently unjudgemental about it, but also made a living playing with other people who shared the same predilections was incredibly liberating.
A snippet. A lovely domme spent the night with me. She had swaddled me in nappies and fed me a bottle, while she talked to me and tucked me in. The next day she asked me to help supply her with goodies as she had a brand new client who shared my fetish, and had not travelled with all the accessories. I drove her to her assignation and later picked her up and drove her to her next one, and heard snippets of how it went. I remember being struck by how courageous and special and curious and intrepid and adventuring she was to just waltz into some strange man’s apartment to explore into the depths of the psyche and sexuality…and to do so with such charm and grace. It was really something of extraordinary beauty to me.
I wonder of the skills and personality it takes to not just do this work, to do it well, but to also feel your energy grow from it, rather than be diminished. The two Dommes that I have played extensively with both share this incredible energy, and appear to grow in joy and strength from the work and from the life it enables. It is and has been an honour to ride pillion with them.
But the gifts that I received from either have been dwarfed by the gift that has come to me from GAHT. Feeling my brain switch over to female was almost like night and day, and was quite stark in some ways. There was a day that I woke up and realised I was not a man anymore. And once I realised that, I didn’t even to try to be one either, not for me, not for anyone else. The liberation was enormous, not just for what I left behind, but also for what lies ahead.
One key thing that has changed, is changing, is my sexuality. If fetishism can be said to be a part of sexuality, it has left me definitively. It has left me before–there were times in life when I didn’t feel like doing certain things, at times measured in years, but this is different. It really is gone. And it has been replaced. What turns me on now? I will call it spiritual cuddling. I want to connect with people. I want to listen. I want to touch. To caress. To feel connected to. To explore an exchange of energy. Can a hormone be responsible for all this? It’s quite extraordinary.
And what must it be like for a woman to have this different kind of energy, relational energy? And if a man has a different energy, an objectification energy? This need not be so extreme as a fetish, but could still see sex as transactional, as female beauty as objective or as facilitating fantasy. How hard it must be for a woman to hold space for a man in this sense. Is it any wonder that the sexes struggle to understand each other when what we seem to want, how we perceive our connection, is so fundamentally different?
I am definitely feeling less submissive, despite the reflexologist joking that I am a doormat. Since she is coming across with a dominant energy into my life, and has teased me about it, I am curious to see where that goes. And the fact remains that one of my deepest fantasies is to be collared and leashed, only I feel very differently about it. Before, as a man, I ached for it, and would have been proud to be walked by a woman in public. Now, I don’t want that. I would be worried about potentially casting a negative light on a trans-feminine person, or of disrespecting the female inside me. So, it has become a bedroom thing. A private exchange, but one with no less power. Very strange.
This kind of gentle energetic connection and touch is what I was able to experience when I played with an FSSW. I can’t say I had a theory and it was tested, but rather, it is simply what we did, and it felt really safe and gentle and beautiful. And now I wish to replicate that feeling with all of the women in my life that are swirling around me with sexual energy. I am certainly not interested in the immediate term to settle into another long-term relationship. Though this will come.
What is my experience of female sexual desire?
The woman who is interested is open and curious. She might be playful, which is a kind of poking, prodding way to see what you are like. She also carries divine feminine energy. All women do. Not all feel it, express it, or allow for it to course through their lives in the same way. It is vast and infinite. It is of the earth, grounded in nature, tied to the ways of the universe. It is the original source energy, the one from which all other energies flow. It is the origin.
Feeling it is to taste the divine. In oneself and in others. As a man, not once in my life can I say that I truly ever felt the divine feminine touching me through a partner. Was this a failing? I don’t know. Did I even know to look for it? I don’t know. I certainly loved, had passion, infatuation. Many things. But never this feeling.
About 3 months ago, two months into my endocrinologist-guided step into GAHT (I am discounting the long-period of self-medication and herbal oestrogens which proceeded it), my brain switched from being male to female. It was mid-September, and it was followed in short order with the realisation that my body was cycling, and that I was finding a rhythm in sync with the moon. Yes, I had noticed gradual changes up to that point, certainly in my feelings, in my body, and little hints in my mind. And then it happened, literally from one day to the next. Things didn’t feel the same anymore. At all.
Thank goodness for therapists, and their ability to explain what was happening, both in my mind and in my body. It was like having sisters, for I still have more than one therapist. Finding sisters has been one of the most important parts of this path, as the female members of my family appear to have the most trouble with my transition—lip service, yes, but support, not so sure. And yes, I do have a big sister who through action and example has created enormous space for me to grow into.
And what this means is many things. First, my nose isn’t pressed against the glass anymore. One of my professional women friends said the sweetest thing, “welcome to the other side”. And yes, it has been welcoming.
Most disorienting and hope-filling has been wondering how to be intimate with someone. My whotsit doesn’t work. GAHT has fortunately erased all functionality in that department, and the idea that it is out of commission is strangely liberating. It means that a sexual encounter need not have direction, need not have a goal. It can simply be an exploration.
I first perceived this change in play with a Domina. It was fine to just be, to explore. This has extended into daily life, and interactions with women more generally, whether there was interest in intimacy or not. Our interactions are not guarded, and that on its own is worth any negatives. To be seen, actually seen, as I have always felt, as I always was, means I can just be, as me, not as what you might think I am. Why would that matter? Because being thought of as a man, made me one, at least in the eyes of the beholder…and one cannot help but be at least a little of how one is perceived, for perception very often is or becomes reality. Now, quite literally, I am in the process of removing all doubt.
The other thing that has been going on is that it is as if my skin has picked up the slack where my genitals left off. Only the skin is vast. This is part of what led me to seek out an escort, and will lead me to other forms of body exploration, to be posted in the future.
And coming out as a transgender woman had me briefly worried that I would never find anyone, would never experience intimacy again, but that has proven to be unfounded. I’ve had more kisses in the past few weeks than in the past 20 years. It feels great.
Best of all? I have touched and been touched by the divine feminine. It is all around me, and it comes out to play when I stand before it, without expectation, with gentle, respectful energy, with a desire to connect, to play, to serve. I never saw it before, even when it was probably right in my face. But now I feel it, feel it very strongly. At times I think I can almost see it, so powerfully does it emanate from some people.
Men have divine energy too. It is different. A topic for another day, if ever. I’m not sure I even know what it is anymore. And it always felt tainted to me–not mine, but what I saw in other men.