Having sex with yourself as a trans+ person can be pretty overwhelming. Finding sex advice tailored to trans bodies is hard to come by if you don’t know the right blogs or zines to search. Plus, a lot of sex advice is often written with trans+ people as an afterthought. Some sex advice is so heavily focused on euphoria, where the sheer grandiosity of it all makes it sound like the heavens will part and the angels will sing every time you touch yourself, and if it doesn’t, you’ve done something wrong.
Luckily, more information available now is more realistic and accessible. While we might not have fancy diagrams with all the hot spots to hit on our bodies to bring us immense euphoric pleasure, we don’t actually need that. Every body has its own set of hot spots, its yeses and noes and preferences for techniques that one diagram just cannot possibly cover. Part of the fun of having sex with yourself is learning about your body and what it likes, and getting to do with that information what you like!
So here are some general tips to try out when you’re having sex with yourself: no matter the shapes, sizes, parts or textures of your body.
Putting pressure on yourself to cum, or to stay in the moment, or to ignore parts of your body is unrealistic. As Emily Nagoski might say, pressure = brakes on sex. In order to get in the mood and stay in the mood, it is going to involve staying in a curious state of mind.
Be curious. When you find something that feels good, follow that feeling! How does it feel? What strokes/pressure/speed feels best? Do more of what is working. Starting to feel not-so-good? Go back to the good stuff and try something different.
Be inquisitive. What kind of fantasies get you excited? What are you doing in them? What is being done to you? How can you draw on that fantasy during solo-sex? Be open to listening to the body’s response and find that path of pleasure to play on.
Ditch the Cishet Rulebook
If your sex education was anything like mine (which I hope it wasn’t) then you’ll have been brought up with a bunch of rules about why you have sex, how you have sex and who gets to have sex. And us trans folk were not on the sexy-times-list. The silver lining to this is, queer sex exists, it is for us, and it is more fun than you could have ever imagined!
Ditching the rulebook involves learning that sex is not just genital-focused, and does not have to involve penetration. There are no rules on how to touch your body or let alone what to call your body parts. There is also a big wide world full of queer and genderless sex toys that all bodies can take pleasure in, that cover a huge range of accessibility needs. Ditching the rulebook also means learning that pleasure is your human right, and it is not just something that cis people get to enjoy.
Queer and Trans+ Porn Exists
Porn is for entertainment. Watching trans+ bodies experience pleasure can inspire plenty of ideas on how you can bring that pleasure to your solo-time. A google search for ‘ethical trans porn’ will show you options for paid sites that you can enjoy. You can even jump on twitter or OF to support trans sex workers. The extra benefit of watching queer and trans+ porn is that you get to see a beautiful amount of diversity in bodies that can have a positive impact on the relationship you have with your body.
You Don’t Have to Love Your Body to Have Sex with Your Body
Solo-sex is a great way of getting to know your body and to figure out the safe-enough ways that you can please your body. It is about learning how to find that path to pleasure in a way that is curious and exciting for you, with language and techniques that serve your body. Sometimes, people wait for a particular milestone (certain time on HRT, surgery) before they want to start exploring their body sexually. For some people this is an absolute non-negotiable for safety reasons.
Being nervous is normal (distress and panic on the other hand is a very clear signal to stop what you are doing). Tending to nerves might look like setting the mood: getting the room right with lighting and scents, wearing (or not wearing) materials that feel good for your body, finding exciting and accessible toys to use, watching porn, building a fantasy – all of these things can help build energy that helps you connect with your body in a pleasurable way.
It is also important to remember that sex is expansive, part of ditching the rule book is accepting that there are almost an infinite amount of ways that you can touch and/or stimulate your body – and that bodies aren’t inherently gendered. So once you have found what combinations have worked for you, you can start to enjoy loving your body without necessarily loving your body.
Your Brain is Your Most Important Sex Organ
No matter what your body looks like or how it functions, we all need to take care of our brains if we want to take care of ourselves sexually. The tips above will help toward creating an open state of mind to sexual pleasure and to the possibilities for your body, and they can be practised before, during and after masturbating.
Getting into the habit of being curious toward your body and seeking opportunities that feel good for you are going to impact your brain in a way that benefits you when you have sex with yourself (and when you’re not having sex with yourself). Ditching the cishet rulebook of life is also going to be an incredibly freeing journey – the more you embrace diversity and see all bodies as valid and deserving of pleasure (including yours) the better you will feel.
Seeing queer and trans+ bodies experiencing pleasure and joy – seeking out representation and filling your life with representation of all bodies is going to address some of the harmful messaging about transness you have likely had to deal with growing up. And committing to finding pathways to neutrality (and hopefully pleasure) in your body as it is right now can be an incredibly powerful grounding experience when things feel too much or when you’re trying to access pleasure.
If you want to read more about trans+ sex why not check-out these book recommendations:
Fucking Trans Women by Mira Bellweather,
Mx Kiara DOVE (they/them) is a trans non binary Sexual Health and Gender Affirming Psychologist at Birdy Psychology and transgender health researcher in the Postgraduate Program in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney.