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My Sexuality
... and more

 

"Sexuality" - the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive role.
"Heterosexual" -
 sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex.

For most people a question about their sexuality is a easily answered, but I'm somewhat of an exception as a heterosexual woman who was once a heterosexual man.  As a man I never seriously considered myself to be homosexual, whilst as a woman I have never felt any strong lesbian inclinations.   There was also the best part of a decade where my libido was low and I struggled to be attracted to men or women.

Transitioning
As a young man I was attracted to girls - sometimes strongly - but I had no serious girlfriends and no sexual relationships.  When I started to take female hormones in 1994 I continued to like women but my physical attraction to them quickly dropped to nearly zero, I had no sexual urges and this only mildly revived during the periods when I stopped taking hormones.  


I had my ears pierced when I was 21, which convinced my Mum that I was 'gay'!

In early 1995 I started to go out and socialise en-femme and the constant chat-ups by men were a huge confidence boost.  Late at night - and after a few glasses of wine - a snog with a guy sometimes became inevitable as I practiced passing as a girlie girl, although I was very conscious where his hands were and the dangers involved.  In just a few weeks I spent more time kissing men than I had spent kissing girls in all the previous 29 years of my life! 

My sexuality was seemed to be drifting inevitably towards relationships with men when in late 1997 I hit a big road bump.  I was arranging my SRS and everyone (from the surgeon to my mother) was emphasising the finality of this and asking if I was absolutely sure.  A combination of some doubts plus meeting a wonderful girl who wanted an intimate relation with me, resulted in total mental confusion as to my sexuality.  However after the initial explosion of feelings, my attraction to her soon began to diminish and my female soon side remerged.  After a year I went back on hormones and our relationship ceased to have any physical aspect.  We sadly parted ways after two years when I started on the road to my transition and living full-time as a woman ... she tried to accept this but couldn't.

Sexual Attraction
In 1997 my slight but growing sexual attraction towards men was badly affected by an unexpected relationship with a woman.  However by the time I transitioned, I again wanted to be attracted to men and actively sought this.  If I was going to be a sex object for men (and anything otherwise indicated a failure by me to "pass") I wanted to be able to enjoy it, and occasionally reverse the compliment! 

I would actively examine men and consider whether they were "hot", if I was vaguely attracted to them at all I would try to imagine kissing them and then being in bed with them.  I also watched  many old romantic and soft-porn movies and tried to imagine that I was the woman - with increasing success and enjoyment.  Reading women's and teenager magazines was also very important in helping me to help develop a female sexual orientation and point of view.  I can certainly recommend teenage girl magazines for advice on sex, love and men that is just as applicable to an inexperienced heterosexual transsexual woman in her early 30's!

 
I spent many hours imaging myself as the woman rather than the man this situation.

As I gained more confidence I started to relax and began to try out an essential female pastime - flirting with men.  A defining moment was a business trip to the UAE.  The client took me to a candle light dinner and then serenaded me with a guitar!  We didn't do anything intimate but it was a really lovely evening and I had never been so flattered in my life. 

I started to regain some libido after years of almost no sexual urges, but a switch had flicked - I began to fancy men even when stone cold sober!  The reasons for this are difficult to analyse, but doing my text book best they perhaps come in four overlapping parts:

  1. The bombardment of "female" signals that my body and subconscious mind had been getting from hormones and anti-androgens for years.

  2. Living as a woman, I was expected to be attracted to men rather than women.

  3. There was an enormous change in how both men and other women socialised and interacted with me. 

  4. Some men clearly found me attractive as a woman, and (unless they were totally ugly) it was strangely hard not to reciprocate.

I could contemplate an attractive man and both regard him as desirable and enjoy in my imagination thoughts that would have been disgusting to me before I transitioned.  I was increasingly curious and even eager do more than imagine intimacy with a man, indeed conversations with hunk'y men began to result in severe distraction and blushing on my part!  I also found myself having very odd dreams about sex, pregnancy, breastfeeding ... at one point I became an extremely "broody" browser of Mothercare shops until a traumatic few weeks working as an assistant at a Pre-School cured me of all thoughts of motherhood.

Beauty is Physical
By the time of my transition in late 2000 I was very used to appearing and passing in public as a woman, usually it was for just a few hours, but as a 'dry run' for going full time I spent several weeks on holiday living as Annie.  At the risk of being totally politically incorrect, one thing became clear to me - like it or lump it, below a certain age being a woman involves being constantly assessed by men and women for physical beauty.  Men are assessing you as sex object and a potential repository for their sperm, whilst women are assessing you as a potential rival for a man's affection.  There is no debate about it - anyone thinking otherwise is either not seeing the wood for the tree's, or trying to deny thousands of years of evolution and social development.

My First Boyfriend
About six months after my transition I was both panicking and flattered to discover that I had acquired a determined would be boy-friend at work.  I was hugely embarrassed when he started to leave romantic notes and small gifts on my desk.  But his persistence gradually led to a kind of acceptance on my part; indeed after a while it became strange if he was not beside him if we went to the pub after work, or to some other social "do".  Our physical relations were very limited as we were both shy and nervous about anything more than a quick good night kiss, although when looking back at photos taken at various social events - we were holding hands in almost every one!

In October 2001 - after we had been going out together for four months by his reckoning - he persuaded me to go on holiday to Cyprus with him.  Cleverly he gave me absolutely no time to think or worry about it, and defeated my slight resistance with "it's already paid for and arranged", he had even booked my leave dates.  After some frantic shopping and packing we were on the way to Cyprus just two days later - but whilst still at work I received extensive encouragement and tips from girls who had hardly ever spoken to me before, clearly we were the gossip of the day! 

As we took off (holding hands of course!) I finally felt that I actually had a boyfriend and that I was now someone's girlfriend.  One thing very much on my mind was that we were clearly on the verge of being intimate without ever having discussed my "medical condition". When we arrived at the hotel the promised single rooms turned out to be one double - he still claims that it was a mistake.  It was that room or nothing, and he was certainly a total gentleman that night and kept his distance.  But ever since agreeing to go the holiday I had been thinking about us making love and had mentally accepted that, I now began to worry that he had a problem with me as I lay awake most of the night waiting for something to happen - and nothing did.

Thankfully the next day evening our initial shyness faded as the wine flowed and we cuddled and then kissed and began to explore each other - he's always maintained that because I took my top off I was in fact the initiator of what happened thereafter.  Certainly, we both had a lot of long pent up desires.  Obviously penetrative vaginal intercourse was impossible for me, but in bed we both discovered that some areas of my body were wonderfully - almost ridiculously - sensitive to physical stimulation.  

Don’t want you for the weekend
Don’t want you for a day
Don’t need love divided
Don’t want to feel this way
See I want you to need me (the way I need you)
Just like I need you (the way I see you)
And I want you to see me
Like no-one before

There was then no holding either of us back and I mostly loved it - even when hung-over and very tired.  Although getting woken up at 4:00 am and responding to the groping of an already aroused man can take a lot of effort.   I learnt how to keep him satisfied while all but asleep myself!

Being constantly being held, massaged, stroked and even intimately fondled was strange and even uncomfortable at first, but became enjoyable and then expected.  I began to miss it, and eventually to worry, when he wasn't touching me when we were alone.

Courting and making love to a man as a woman is different from making love to a woman as a man - it was wonderful to be woo'ed and pampered and wonder what he was going to try next, frustrate him, slowly start to give in, and then surprise him with a treat!   I also started to have fun as I discovered how to excite him sexually - as I learnt I couldn't resist sometimes teasing him in public places! 

During the holiday I had many wonderful experiences that I'll always remember and still treasure. 

My Breasts
After I started hormones, my budding breasts were a constant source of both happiness and grief pre-transition - fondled by men in night clubs but hated by a female partner.

Within a year of transitioning I had a serious boyfriend.  He enjoyed my breasts immensely, indeed they were essential for him to be sexually excited by my body and be able to accept me as a woman. 

After we started to share a bed I realised that the real function of breasts is to give a man's hands something to play with until he falls asleep - just when the woman is getting interested!

I had mixed feeling about it, but in January 2002 I had surgery at a local clinic to increase my bra cup size from a small B to a full C.  You can read much more about it here, but despite my doubts it was a success.  My boyfriend was delighted, my bosom was attracting almost embarrassing eyeball attention, I was getting more chat-ups than I had for years, and I found that I had fewer concerns about being outed.

Sex Re-Assignment Surgery (SRS)  Part 1
After I transitioned there was a obviously a major mismatch between my claimed sex and naked physical appearance.  I was still not totally female as I had the remains of a penis, even though a full erection had not been impossible for many years,

At the time of my transition in December 2000 I was hyped up to complete my physical transformation and undergo sex-reassignment surgery as soon as possible, and I put 10,000 in to a special reserve savings (SRS!) account for this specific purpose.  But SRS is difficult to obtain quickly as most reputable surgeons require prospective patients to live and work for at least 12 months (preferably 24 months) in the social role of a woman before they will accept them for SRS - the infamous but well justified "real life test".

In the weeks and months immediately following my transition, I had absolutely no sex life and getting SRS became an ever lower priority in the midst of so many other challenges and problems - which having a vagina would do nothing to alleviate.  I never had the hatred and aversion to my penis that some girls describe - indeed at times I felt that the pressure from family and friends for me to have SRS actually exceeded my own desire.  I'd also long ago stopped worrying about physical exposure when using the ladies toilets or changing rooms, although occasional bad experiences such as body searches had me shaking. 

In late 2001 my life finally started to become a little more settled and I had become intimate with a boyfriend.  Whilst I was able to satisfy him sexually by various means other than vaginal intercourse, I was not happy myself and began to seriously consider my surgery options.  I resolved to have my sex-reassignment surgery before my birthday in June 2002 and Dr Suporn Watanyuskul in Thailand became my selected surgeon.  Disaster then struck when I was made unemployed in November 2001, I soon had no choice but to dip in to my SRS money to complete my hair laser treatment and pay other urgent bills.  Almost on the spur of the moment, I decided to use the remaining money to have a bilateral orchidectomy - before that was gone as well. 

Orchidectomy
In May 2002 I had a bilateral orchidectomy (castration) which irreversibly cut my last ties to being male.  The procedure involved a visit to a clinic in England, where it was performed on an out-patient basis.  The cost was very low compared with SRS.

The orchidectomy was a wonderful move mentally and physically, I ceased to feel that I had to have SRS just because it was expected of me now I was living as a woman.  I was satisfied with my body, even happy with it.   If I could have waved a magic wand I would have happily exchanged the remains of my shrunken penis for a vagina but, failing that I had no rush to undergo a serious and expensive surgical procedure.

It's hard for me to independently judge the results and effects of the procedure - psychological as well as physiological -  but at the time I was certain that they were all positive.   I could still get sexually aroused - but the process, thoughts, experience and physical feelings were different from my recollection of a now distant 'male' past.  Also, when I did get sexually excited, my remnant of a penis swelled somewhat but not enough to worry unless wearing a skimpy bikini bottom (never!).

After orchidectomy my occasional but sometimes strong inclinations to revert to male finally ceased.  To my own amazement, I now found myself automatically feeling and answering as 'female' in gender sensitive situations, although I'm not sure how much of that was due to the growing relationship with my boyfriend which had become so important to me.  I was also engulfed in the very complex physical and emotional sexuality of a woman.  For example I enjoyed a cuddle but was ambivalent to physical sex, enjoyment of the later needed imagination combined with prolonged stimulation of erotic parts of my body by my partner. When watching the 2003 Rugby World Cup, I found myself regarding some of the players as seriously attractive hunks.

Note:  If you are considering having an orchidectomy then it's important to remember that the results of a subsequent vaginoplasty will tend to be less satisfactory (e.g. reduced vaginal depth) because there is less material to work.  For this reason some surgeons - including Dr Suporn Watanyuskul (my surgeon) - are reluctant (although unlikely to refuse) to perform SRS on patients who have already had an orchidectomy  A general guideline is that if you expect to have SRS within two years then an immediate orchidectomy is probably inappropriate for you.

Sex Re-Assignment Surgery (SRS)  Part 2
My boyfriend was very supportive when I chose orchidectomy over my previously planned SRS, but he made it plain that he looked forward to my eventual SRS.  We got engaged in February 2004 and a few days later I had booked my surgery with Dr Suporn in Thailand, I felt that it would be totally wrong for me to marry as a woman without being able to consummate the marriage as a woman. 

I finally had my SRS by Dr Suporn Watanyusakul in October 2004 - three years after first contacting his wonderful International Patients Coordinator, Kim Lertsubin.  I told them that my top priority was a natural looking vulva, female sexual functionality was important, and I also hoped to be able to enjoy sex and - ideally - have orgasms. 

I didn't look forward to big day as I knew it was major surgery and I would be in serious pain afterwards. 

Sex!
Dr Suporn delivered in line with my requests.  In particular the results of my surgery were excellent aesthetically - although I was rather surprised to discover later that photo's of my intimate parts were on his website

A few weeks after my SRS, I married my man.  Sadly I was still in no state for the consummation of the marriage on our wedding night.  Appropriately, it was Christmas when I felt that I was healed enough to have vaginal intercourse for the first time with my husband.

My sexual desires and experience as a post-SRS woman are totally different from that as a man, it's been like going from a black and white television to no television (whilst it is being repaired!) to a colour television, but with the volume of the later rather low in my case.  I love looking and feeling sexy, have been known to flirt with the odd hunky man, and often tease my hubby outrageously.  However actual sexual intercourse is almost always initiated by my husband.  My vagina apparently feels wonderful to him but unfortunately I don't feel much physical stimulation myself.  My husband slowly learnt how to stimulate me physically, and I also learnt how to get mentally aroused sexually as a woman.  I finally and wonderfully had my first female orgasm three years after my surgery - by far the best moment of my life so far!  I had got frustratingly close several times before, so it was fireworks in every way.  Since then I have reached orgasm perhaps one in every ten times that we have had sex - it still takes a lot of foreplay and mental excitement.

Maintaining my sexual functionality means maintaining six inch of vaginal depth.  I've found from years of experience that this equates to sexual intercourse or 20 minutes of dilation every day.  Every evening I go to the bedroom and dilate whilst watching television soaps.  Initially it was a bit annoying to go through this boring dilation routine and then 'get lucky' with my husband a few hours later, but it's become a habit similar to brushing my teeth.

I was once sick with flu and was shocked to discover that after just 12 days without dilation or intercourse my vagina had shrunk dramatically. I had to dilate for 30 minutes three times a day for a week to recover the depth.

Finally ...
I wrote on this page in 2007 that "After over 40 years of mental agony, hormones, cost, surgery... I'm still totally confused as to my sexuality.  In the space of a few minutes I can encounter a beautiful woman and a male hunk - and be attracted to both.  I have to agree with people who suggest that the commonly accepted model of just two sex's/genders (i.e. male and female) is far too simplistic.  .... As a post sex reassignment surgery male-to-female transsexual woman, am I really a homosexual, lesbian, bisexual... ?"

Eight years later I find it hard to relate to this.  I'm a heterosexual woman.

You can read a little more about me here

  


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Copyright (c) 2007-15, Annie Richards

Last updated: 10 November, 2015