Hormones & Handcuffs
How many trans or gender nonconforming people are involved in BDSM, nonmonogamy, or other forms of alternate lifestyles? Actual numbers do not exist, but anecdotal evidence suggests percentages are significantly higher than in cisgender (non-transgender) populations. Why?
Those of us in the transgender and gender nonconforming community have nontraditional relationships with our bodies. A large number experience bitter dysphoria pretransition, having spent decades tormented by a conflict between our inner identities and external selves. So often this clash centers on genitalia, the most prominent markers of gender; we may have an intense disgust and a desperation to rid ourselves of parts that feel so alien. Also, numerous studies have documented higher rates of trauma and abuse in trans populations, and some people are so troubled by their bodies that they shower in the dark, completely unable to view themselves unclothed.
Others do not experience such distress but still choose to live as a gender other than the one they were born into physically. Those of us who feel this way may be running toward futures we believe will be happier rather than away from pasts of suffering, regarding our transitions not as how we have to live, but how we want to live.
Whatever our motivations, being trans or gender nonconforming demands we spend at least some time occupying the liminal space between “masculinity” and “femininity,” existing in that middle ground where we are neither one nor the other. This is especially true for those of us who identify as genderqueer, gender nonconforming, genderfluid, bigendered, demigendered, agendered, gender expansive, gender diverse, two spirit, or outside gender binaries altogether. We defy easy classification.
How do our genitalia interact with other facets of our identities? What do our genitalia say about our sexuality? Often sexuality is a dialogue between individual and society, so how do we reconcile our identities as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, or straight if our sex organs don’t necessarily match? What if we don’t identify as either male or female? Pretransition, how do we make use of organs we may otherwise reject, or relearn our bodies posttransition? How do we negotiate with partners… and, for that matter, how do we have sex?
We don’t necessarily even use the same language as the rest of you. Vagina, clit, chest, breasts, penis, certainly… but we also use “girlcock,” “boycunt,” “manhole,” “cockpit,” “lollipop,” “bits,” “strapon/strapless,” “trannyclit,” “dicklet,” “asspussy,” “stock” versus “aftermarket,” and countless others terms11. We relabel and reinterpret our genitalia so as to align them with the bodies we internally visualize. Or for fun.
So it is a tiny step from there to “alternate lifestyles,” a world which offers us the opportunity to express fantasies and other aspects of our identities in creative, safe manners. Why not continue exploring outside boundaries? Some of us happily pursue monogamous, heterosexual, or “vanilla” lives, but for others, traditional relationships and missionary sex seem to be quaint social constructions. Sensation and impact play (bondage, whips, paddles, crops, clamps, featherdusters, needles, Wartenburg Wheels, ice, wax) allow us to submerge ourselves within an endorphin rush that encompasses the entirety of our bodies. Roleplay (ageplay, genderplay, fantasy) mirrors our pretransition experience of periodically assuming identities that may not match our daily “realities.” Through dominance and submission we are provocative around power dynamics in ways that sometimes parallel gender dynamics and other times liberate us of them, while nonmonogamy and leather families offer us the prospect of taking pleasure in the many loves and bonds that were so often denied to us before. And at times we become empowered by eroticizing the abuse, victimization, and trauma in a manner that can be healing.
Being trans of any variety involves questioning how we relate to our genitalia; those of us who identify as genderqueer or otherwise nonbinary go further by openly confounding normal and destabilizing social convention. Many of us make it our life’s mission to play, to be confrontational, to creatively investigate the body, identity, and sexuality. Ultimately, for a large number of people in the trans and gender nonconforming community, heteronormative or not, reveling in these nontraditional forms of sexuality and relationships is part of our ongoing examination of the human experience.
Our bodies are the playgrounds of our fantasies. And there is so much to enjoy.
You can find more about me at: LauraAJacobs.com
1I refuse to include “junk.” Genitalia are anything but.
|11||1 Rubin, J. D., Moors, A. C., Matsick, J. L., Ziegler, A., & Conley, T. D. (2014). On the margins: Considering diversity among consensually non-monogamous relationships. Journal f|