*I should preface this article on transgender dating by saying that I am speaking here about trans men who vary anatomically from natal males.*
When I first made the decision to transition many years ago, I honestly believed that I would never date, or be in a relationship again. For me this was a sacrifice I needed to make, and was prepared to live with, but was very pleasantly surprised when this turned out not to be the case at all.
My personal experience has been that, despite what many men think, women tend to care more about what’s in your mind and heart, than what’s in your pants.
Sure, we might be at an anatomical disadvantage when it comes to casual sex, but I’d say we’re actually at an experiential, emotional and psychological advantage when it comes to satisfying sex and navigating intimate relationships. Our “predicament” forces us to communicate very openly and honestly, very early on about our vulnerabilities, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, is what fosters true connection and trust. Brene Brown has a lot to say about this. If you haven’t heard of her, definitely check her out.
I can speak here only of my experiences over the years of dating straight women, and hope that I can give others insight/hope/understanding with just a few pointers.
Yes, I’ve used dating sites. My favourite has always been OkCupid. I like it because it allows for very specific filtering, gives a percentage match and allows for more nuanced identities and orientations than any other site. Having said that, I do not take advantage of these nuances in my own profile. I list myself as boring old “heterosexual male” although you can choose trans if you wish. The reason I do this is primarily that I personally, do not identify as trans. Yes, it IS my physical reality, but I have always thought of myself as a heterosexual male whose body, historically, just begged to differ and whose body is now pretty well aligned with what I’ve always known myself to be.
Then at what point do I tell someone I’m trans?
What’s the point in telling someone if it’s not going to get past a first date anyway. Generally I’ll subtly weave a trans topic into conversation to establish their feelings on the subject. Assuming they pass that litmus test, and if after a few dates, there is a clear mutual attraction, it’s then a case of working out that sweet spot of the best time to say something. My experience has been that once someone likes you, then being trans is more often than not, not a deal breaker, though sometimes, it just is.
And yes, I will make out with someone before telling her, as that tells both of us a lot about what kind of physical/sexual chemistry we have. It’s usually only when I think we’re actually getting close to sleeping with each other, that I think it’s time to tell. The first time I had to do this, I was completely terrified, but over time, I’ve gotten a lot more casual about this, which I do think helps quite a lot in terms of how it’s received. I pretty much always say exactly the same thing, which is that “I wasn’t, physically speaking, born male.” This statement usually results in rapid blinking and a very confused look on their part as they’re trying to put the pieces together. The usual responses are “What does that mean?”, “So, you were born female?” or just plain old “Okay……….”
In any case, they never see it coming, so it does take a lot of gentle navigating from that point on to elaborate. I need to always remind myself that I’ve done this before, but at least in my experiences, it’s always been their first time, and I have to hand it to them, I have had some really awesome responses. The first girl I ever told, once I’d elaborated on what that meant in terms of my downstairs configuration, responded with “well… penises can be quite aggressive and stabby…” Another girl said “sometimes you get given a gift you didn’t know you wanted until being presented with it.”
My experience has been that most heterosexual women simply don’t know how they feel about the idea of dating a trans man. It seems to be more of an experiential thing, than an intellectual thing. Yes, some women have given the “I’m really sorry, you’re a really nice guy but…” response, and I always have to be prepared for that, but most of the time, there’s already enough of a connection there, that they are open to exploring further and in most instances, once we do become sexual, they realise that there’s far more pros than cons to being with a trans man.
So what are the pros and cons?
Well, let’s start with the cons. Really there’s just the one, and it’s entirely contentious as to whether that even is a con. I do not have a biological penis. The end. (Admittedly for some women, the fact that they will not be able to have biological children with a trans man is a big deal, but for myself personally, as I don’t want biological kids, this is a moot point.)
Pros: I have a better understanding of the female body than any of their past partners.
I understand that sex is far more satisfying and fulfilling when you’re not just focused on genitals.
Though, having said that, my penis self lubricates AND vibrates! (see the Joystick) For me personally, this is hugely important as I do want mutually satisfying penetrative sex to be part of my sexual relationships. For me, there’s something incredibly intimate about being able to move together in that way and orgasming with my partner. It has also been hugely encouraging to know that some women, who have not been able to orgasm during penetrative sex with their natal partners, have orgasmed with the Joystick.
I won’t make a mess of the sheets. (Though again, I guess it’s contentious as to whether that’s a pro or a con.)
No chance of unwanted pregnancies.
And even if I don’t really know what it’s like to BE a woman. I do know what it’s like to be treated as a women by society and to be in a woman’s body. This gives me social, physical, emotional and psychological insights that no natal male can possibly have.
Thanks for this insightful and highly personal article, dude. That’s a lot to lay out there, and I can’t imagine (yet) how to navigate things with another person. This gives me hope, even as a gay trans dude, because what you presented isn’t only applicable to dating straight women–your list of pros/cons and thoughts on what it’s like for you to communicate with women with your perspective is something I can turn inwards and think about my own relationships. (Phew, long sentence!) Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to have a conversation not just with good, close friends, but with someone I want to be intimate with and hopefully build upon someday.
Thanks for all you do, mate.
So helpful, thank you.
This article assumes that all women are cisgender. That is transmisogynist.
Hm..I don’t follow your logic. How does being straight equate to cis gendered? The two are completely separate. Also I am speaking here of my own personal experience. Though these women have all been natal females, this does not necessarily make them cis gendered. In fact one woman did admit to me that she has fantasized about being a man though I also understand the complexities of gender identity well enough to know this does not necessarily make her gender dysphoric. I myself have only ever been with natal females though having said that, would be very open to dating trans women also. I just haven’t had the opportunity. If I ever found myself in a situation of coming out to a potential partner and have their response be “oh wow, me too!” mine would be “oh my gosh, that’s awesome!!”
Oh be quiet. Obviously they’re talking about cisgendered women
go read an article specifically for trans men AND trans women then lmao
I don’t understand how you don’t identify as trans because you are heterosexual (?) sex versus gender? I am a trans male, and also heterosexual. You’re trans because you’re not cis. I feel sorry for you, because it seems that you are only validated by having a penis (seeing how you list it as a con, as well as saying that you haven’t had sex properly because you don’t have one) and have a really facile understanding of gender…I’m so glad I didn’t read this as a baby trans boy, I would have been all screwed up.
Sounds like our experiences are just very different. I do envy people who are trans but not dysphoric about their genitalia. You are lucky. For me personally, not having a biological penis is difficult. That is my own personal experience. Luckily my partners seem to care much less than I do. Also being trans and heterosexual are two completely unrelated things. Me not identifying as trans has nothing to do with my heterosexuality. It has to do with my inner identity. It’s always so sad to have trans people be so confrontational towards one another because they don’t share the same experience. My experience does not invalidate yours and your experience does not invalidate mine, so please consider being less judgemental and more thoughtful and compassionate towards fellow trans folk in the future.
You do realise genital dysphoria isn’t a choice, right? And what’s wrong with being validated by having a penis? Those of us with bottom dysphoria need that. Personally, genital dysphoria is and always has been my biggest dysphoria, so how is not having a bio penis (yet) not a con? Just because some trans people don’t need to chan ge their genitals doesn’t mean we all don’t.
I am a disabled transman who has not head any surgery…I have had great long lasting relationships with many woman….I have noticed the ability to see the world through their eyes means sooo much to many women.I feel it my duty as a transman to be an example of what a real man can be….we are the bridge between the sexes…on a soul level our valley is greater than perhaps anyone of us will ever know……
This is such a sweet thing to read! And it makes me think about my own identity slightly differently. I am Trans Masc, but I grew up mostly surrounded by girls. I always wanted male friends, but with female anatomy, connecting was harder especially when groups would tend to segregate by sex. Now I have friends of all sorts of gender identities, which is incredible. But I still strongly understand the experiences of girls and women on a personal level.. this has made me feel that I am female adjacent or just kidding myself, but you’re right. It’s just a blessing to understand what it is like as a female or female presenting person, and doesn’t define how I view myself.
“I do know what it’s like to be treated as a women by society and to be in a woman’s body. This gives me social, physical, emotional and psychological insights that no natal male can possibly have.”
Trans women, who are actual women, have vastly more insight into what it’s like to be a woman than any man. Trans women have female socialization because socialization is a process of internalizing messages that you perceive as about you.
Agreed. All women have more insight into what it’s like to be a woman than I do, seeing I never really was one. I just have more insight than most natal males :)
Thanks for your personal story, honesty, and ability to focus on commonalities instead of divisions, Alex. Trans guys (and maybe gals, too?) sometimes need to know how similar we are: to each other, and to cis folks of either gender, sex, and orientation. All bodies are different and equally beautiful, but human connection happens when we see beyond our own individuality and differences.
Couldn’t agree more :)
This was a great, insightful little piece on a topic that is rarely covered in detail. As a fellow transguy who is bi/queer and dating a lot, I highly enjoyed it.
All you commenters who are so eager to find some little detail to twist up and harp on and be negative about, this message is for you: Being queer and/or an activist and/or jerking off to Judith Butler every day doesn’t mean that it’s now your responsibility to go barf on everything in the world. We’re all sick of your cowardly callout culture. And I say that as a queer activist myself. STOP THE INFIGHTING. The community needs internal support and positivity, not another asshole to defend ourselves against; we have enough of that in the outside world. Queers having to defend themselves to other queers on a queer website! It’s exhausting. Make it stop. Get over yourself. No one is impressed. No one thinks you’re intelligent for finding some argument in everything. You’re not helping anything or anyone by being such mega downers. We are all different and that’s okay! To be celebrated! Pride! SMDH.
Thank you for saying this
Who are you can I be your friend? :-)
“Being queer and/or an activist and/or jerking off to Judith Butler every day doesn’t mean that it’s now your responsibility to go barf on everything in the world. We’re all sick of your cowardly callout culture. And I say that as a queer activist myself. STOP THE INFIGHTING.”
You just made my day.
Bro. Thank you.
The only thing better than someone putting a piece of them selves online forever, is a TERRIFIC conversation that results from it.
“Callout Culture” – omg! THAT is so spot on! As married for 10 years trans guy, (to a very cis woman) I have watched our POWERFUL Queer Culture begin to spiral downward into being split into them & us. Within our own culture! Our OWN! Read about Harvey Milk and Stonewall! Join #theresistance! Join together, don’t fault=find. That’s too easy.
I transitioned late in life (at 50) and had lived as a feminine-presenting, straight woman for my entire adult life until then. I gave birth to my kids and was married to a cisgender man. By the time I allowed myself to transition (after having suppressed my male identity since puberty) I didn’t care if I ever dated again. But dating found me. I dated a few women who identified as bisexual before I began to ‘pass’ (or as I prefer, ‘blend in’), and eventually met my girlfriend – who sped up the process of leaving her husband (cisgender man) in order to be with me. She is straight – had cisgender boyfriends as a young adult and married her husband 25 years before she and I met. I know that passing isn’t important to everyone, identifying as straight doesn’t cover everyone’s sexuality, and so on; but for those of us who do – yes, there are straight women who see a trans man as the man he is, and the lack of a biological penis does not get in the way of that. I think that the way I feel about myself and present myself, the way that I take care of my body, and so on – this is part of my physicality, too, and part of what has allowed attractions to happen and flourish. Take the best care of your body that you can, and seek what – and of course, whom – you desire with confidence.
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I’ve been transitioning for 10 years. I am 32. I’m borderline suicidal. Women are attracted to me but they either use me as an experience or turned off by my vagina from the start. I can’t handle the constant disappointment. I don’t want to hope for anything anymore. It all makes me feel like I’m not worthy enough to be taken seriously for a relationship. Fuck being trans.
@Brian I’m a 33 year old straight cis (mostly) female. Your comment broke my heart- please don’t give up on yourself. I’ve been trying to figure out how I fit into the whole dating world for the last five years- feeling like a failure as I just couldn’t seem to make anything work out. This year I stepped out of my comfort zone and dated a bisexual guy and considered other options that weren’t so open or common as they are now. It was liberating and enlightening and I could finally see myself in a relationship again for the first time in years.
You are just as worthy as any other man and there are girls out there for you who will really see you and love you as you are. Cast your net a little wider- they’re out there, I promise.
Can you give an example of how you’d casually bring a trans topic up to see if they are transphobic or anti LGBTQ?
Maybe if you’re talking about movies, TV etc ask if they’ve seen the series Transparent. Or bring up something else trans related that’s been in the media of late. Maybe Trump’s attempt at a transgender military ban or talk about a movie like “The Danish Girl” etc
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I’m a cis straight woman…I most certainly would be willing to date a transman. But what has mostly stopped me from doing so is because so many transmen seemed triggered easily. I don’t feel I would be able to talk to them freely without offending them. Every transman is different of course, its just I haven’t met any that haven’t been triggered because of their dysphoria. I’ve seen some really hot transmen who are extremely masculine…but in the back of my mind I’m always concerned about their dysphoria. I don’t want to be that girl that accidentally says something and then leads him into a state of depression or something. I don’t care about the genitals because honestly I think its an asset. If most men were built like transmen, I would be more willing to date. :) I’m not interested in having biological kids so that is not a problem for me. Its just the fact that many of them seem very triggered by things and you don’t always know which one will be triggered by what.
I don’t want to be attacked for this comment. I really would like to know how to navigate the emotional complexities a transman goes through when they are trans in this world. I just don’t know how and it hold me back from wanting to date them.
That’s a very interesting perspective. All I can say is every person is different. And any one can have triggering things. Cis folk, trans folk, young folks and old. You don’t really know what will trigger someone until you get to know them and half the time not until it happens. Most people don’t know that music being played that I have no choice in is triggering to me. Music was used as a tool for psychological abuse in my past. It has nothing to do with being trans but it causes me to completely shut down and panic. And no one would think this is a trigger. It’s very strange and happens randomly. I do not bring it up on dates.
I appreciate your care in this but would tell you to not let it stop you. You are not the only one responsible for their mental well being. You will also find folks stronger than you thought. If something has triggered us once, it’ll happen again. We all need to prepare ourselves for that and work on it ourselves. (but having emotional support does help) :)
Hey brother that was beautifully written and your words are the words that I have wanted to say to my girlfriend to give her some understanding as to who I am so I thank you for that. I too don’t see myself as trans I am a straight male just born in the wrong body and thankfully it’s now in the right one. I don’t quite understand how ftm can date mtf’s I know that’s probably prejudice and I apologize but I was wondering if you could help me understand that. thanks for the help in advance and God bless.