But everyone is doing it!
REALITY: Don’t believe everything you hear…it may seem like everyone’s doing it, but in reality, less than half (48%) of all high school students have ever had sex. People lie and exaggerate and can talk a good game when it comes to sex. But in the end, it doesn’t matter who’s telling the truth or not. The only truth that matters is what’s best for you.
*Despite his protests “no no go ahead,” I refused to publish this until Alex read it and approved it, so I didn’t violate his privacy*
For me, and I can only imagine for many other trans* men who are also androphiles, hitting puberty and becoming interested in guys was an extremely confusing time. It became clear to me as a person who was female that there were very narrow boxes of attributes that most straight cis men were interested in, especially during high school (and if you’re a FAAB androphile, straight cis men are sometimes your only dating pool). My gender identity was just one characteristic on a laundry list of personal traits that were suppressed and compartmentalized in favor of pleasing the only type of men I knew of to be interested in people who had female bodies. So I guess it comes as no surprise that when I finally started dating this guy who loved, appreciated, and respected me, I started to come out as trans*.
In high school, I met this boy, Alex. We became friends when he lent me his copy of Sim City 3000—this was in 2007 when 4 was around and Societies was just starting to be a thing, but Sim City 3000 is still the fucking shit (lol now I want to play it when I’m done writing).
I was in a relationship (with a huge douchebag), but regardless, I fell absolutely head-over-heels for this geeky, intellectual, kind, gender non-conforming person. In my entire life, I had never felt more like I *got* someone and that they got me. Thank God AIM was still popular when we became friends; we’d spend hours and hours just talking on AIM about everything. That’s how I fell in love with him. Not by going on dates or spending a lot of time with him in person, but by our intimate and intellectually stimulating conversations, in which I could be myself more than anyone had ever let me. And even though it took Alex, another person, to make me able to be myself, he gave me the wonderful gift of learning to be myself for myself. I think it shows in that in the course of our (going on) four-year relationship, we have disagreed about certain things, but he always loved me wholly, even the things he felt uncomfortable with. He never made me compartmentalize the things we disagree on the way other men I dated had. What has characterized our relationship even since our awkward AIMing days is that there was some cosmic understanding between us. When we first started dating, I wrote a poem about it in which I likened it to peering through a crystal-clear, transparent window at another person, when in every other instance, it was like an opaque, half-mirror type of thing. It was dazzling. It still is.
When I say that Alex and I have dated for almost four years, I have to qualify that by saying that in 2010, we broke up for about two months. I got cold feet and suddenly felt like I needed to run, run away from whatever it was that we had. I think the magnitude of our relationship frightened me. I think commitment frightened me. But whatsmore, I think that the honesty of our relationship frightened me, because I wasn’t out to myself as trans* man yet. I think I sensed it. I think I smelled it in the air that if I stayed with him, with this guy with whom I could be nothing else but my most honest self, I had to face up. I had to come out.
You can guess how the next part of the story goes. We got back together, and no-time later, I wrote in my journal, on June 13th, 2010, that I was a queer boy. I was listening to All Time Low’s “Damned If I Do Ya” on repeat and singing it to my mirror and I just looked at myself and I knew a queer boy stared back. If I can point to a single night that was a tipping point, that was it. That was the night I verbalized it, articulated it, typed it in a beta version of Word 2010 and clicked “save.”
When Alex and I try to come up with the moment I came out to him as a trans* man, we can’t. I’m not even sure if there was a single moment. There was just, “I’m coming over tonight dressed as a boy” and “I think we’re boyfriends” and a series of naturally-occurring events. I can’t remember the first time I said to him that I was a trans* man. Even though I wrote in my personal, private journal that I was queer boy, it feels like Alex was privy to every one of my moments of coming out to myself. So instead of me coming out to him, he was just there while I came out to myself.
And then I started to come out to other people, and all hell broke loose. For this post, I’ll focus on how it related to my relationship with Alex. First, of course, everyone told me I couldn’t be a man and love a man, which I think is just a huge punch-in-the-dick for every gay/bi/queer man on the planet, cis or trans*. Even a cis gay guy said to me once that I couldn’t really be a man if I loved men, and I was just like, “look in the mirror, buddy.” Silly MB (I was going by MB then), only lesbians become trans* men, don’t you know that? Second, turning on Alex’s identity. To this day, I can’t tell you how often people who are practically perfect strangers ask me how my boyfriend identifies! I don’t even think they realize just how RUDE that is! Does Alex being equally in love with and attracted to me before and after coming out imply that he is not 100% cookie-cutter gay or straight? Yes, it does, but frankly, some people think it’s their business when it really isn’t. People find out I’m trans* with a boyfriend and they feel the need to pry. No need to pry. I’m a trans* boy with a cis boyfriend. That’s all. No further explanation is needed. Just because I’ve made my identity your business doesn’t mean I’ve made his identity your business. And for the record, if you want to know how he identifies, he doesn’t. He doesn’t identify his sexual orientation with any of the existing labels or categories. He doesn’t feel that he has to. From someone who knows him as intimately as I do, it makes perfect sense that he wouldn’t, but other people just can’t stop gaping. We both go to the same doctor in our hometown where we met in high school, and when I came out to her, she was so accepting, asked if I was binding, knew her shit, but then she asked sweetly and innocently, “Do you think Alex is a homosexual?” OMG, the two of us still laugh out loud at our doctor’s professional and sweet voice asking that. Saying that in her voice is our inside joke about people’s messed-up perceptions of our relationship.
As a result, my coming out has been a coming out for him, too. Coming out as dating a trans* man, at least. Those of us who keep our partners through transition always must be sensitive about the fact that our partners are coming with us on this journey. It becomes a journey that belongs to the both of you. It’s welcoming to know that someone is going to cross a desert with you, go with you on the march, endure the parched mouth, the heat hallucinations alongside you. But it also means you have to find sustenance, shelter, water for both of you, instead of just enough for one. It’s a double-edged sword. You get support through your journey, but it becomes a more complicated journey. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather share the last drop of my canteen with him while we both pass out of heat exhaustion than cross the desert alone.
Transitioning with a partner presents its own challenges that transitioning without one doesn’t, but at the same time, those of us who keep our partners through transition are incredibly blessed and fortunate. I know a lot of relationships DON’T survive transition, and I can’t even fathom the pain of both losing a partner AND having to deal with coming out yourself at the same time. Or what it would be like for me to transition without him right there with me.
Oh God, I’m starting to cry, how emasculating (JUST KIDDING!). Alex is my best friend, my life partner, the person I’m going to marry, the person who will raise children with me. The world doesn’t understand how to fathom relationships outside of heterosexual, cisgendered norms. I find that incredibly sad, that “Alex and I love each other” isn’t enough for some people. How tragic, that traditional notions of gender rule their own ideas of relationships. I don’t know how to wrap this up neatly any other way than to say I love him so much, and I’m so glad we get to huddle in our tent together on bitter-cold desert nights.
Thank you so much for writing this. While I’m non-binary, not a trans* man, our histories have so much in common, and this was beautiful to read. It gives me hope that this kind of love will be possible for me, too :)
This was just beautiful.
A new federally funded program is delivering free condoms to teenagers in many California counties. The orders are taken online and delivered straight to the teens’ homes in a nondescript envelope.
This free mail-order condom program is supported by the California Department of Public Health and was launched by the non-profit California Family Health Council (CFHC). The initiative, available through teensource.org, provides 12-19 year olds a place to order free condoms online and find locations where they can pick up free condoms from sexual health clinics across the state.
This program is targeting California counties where the number of STD cases are on the rise. Any teen in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Alameda, and Kern counties can receive free condoms through the program.
According to CFHC’s vice president of public affairs, Amy Moy, “We can’t keep our heads in the sand and pretend there isn’t a problem. Research shows barriers such as embarrassment or concerns around confidentiality or affordability,” limit teens from buying condoms.
Some parents aren’t thrilled with the plan however which sends a package of condoms, lubricant and an educational pamphlet to teens. Some parents argue it encourages the 12-19 year old demographic to engage in intercourse. Repeated studies have show just by providing teenaged with access to birth control and sex education does not encourage this behavior.
Since its launch on February 14th, over 550 order have been placed online.
ONE® Condoms is a supporter of comprehensive sex education and positive sex behaviors. ONE® Condoms aims for universal condom use and safe sex practices. A portion of every ONE® Condoms sale goes towards HIV/AIDS prevention efforts at home and abroad.
Do you think that it’s a good idea to provide free mail-order condoms to teenagers?
I am so sick of the “providing access to condoms encourages people to have sex.” To me, that’s like saying, “Providing teens with access to cars that go faster than 60 miles per hour encourages them to speed,” or, “Providing kids with access to matches (or maybe more appropriately, fire extinguishers) encourages them to light fires,” or, “Providing students with access to the internet encourages them to plagiarize,” or, “Providing people with access to doctors/antibiotics encourages them to get sick.” I know those are maybe absurd extremes, but then again, I think the condom argument is absurd as well.
The fact of the matter is, some teens will have sex. Some won’t. How easily they can get condoms is not going to be a huge factor is swaying them either way. You could have given me a box of condoms every day in high school, and I still wouldn’t have been having sex (though I would have a huge supply of condoms now, and I might have been encouraged to start a condom dispensary). The only thing that making condoms easier to get changes is that it makes condoms easier to get. For those teens who had decided to have sex, it’s making it easier for them to have safe sex. It’s not doing a damn thing other than that.
If you’re worried about things encouraging teens to do things, why don’t you focus on something that actually might be a problem, like the millions of ads, TV shows, movies, etc. that encourage kids to accept and perpetuate entrenched and problematic societal norms? Take your energy and focus it on, I don’t know, the portrayal of thin, beautiful people as the ideal, which actually does encourage kids to be unhappy with themselves and have poor body image and often, to engage in dieting and unhealthy eating habits.
There seems to be this misconception among certain individuals and groups of people that when someone has sex outside of a certain set of perimeters (usually the after marriage to make babies perimeters) that that person has no self respect. This is, apparently, especially true if you have lots of sex, or have sex with multiple people and you’re not committed to them in a relationship.
This kind of thinking is not only harmful, but demeaning. It implies that people (especially women identifying people) can’t enjoy sex without having some sort of mental problem behind it. It invalidates very real sexual feelings and reverts back to old societal ideals that sex is not a source of pleasure, especially for those who are women or who identify as women. It also shows how narrow minded people are, and leads to laws that seek to constrict sexual freedom.
This is the reason I started this blog; to show people that you can be comfortable in your own sphere of sexual expression and still respect yourself. It doesn’t matter how you like your sex, how many people you have sex with, if you’re having sex with someone you love or just a fuck buddy. Your expression of sexuality is not the only part of you; you are a whole person with ideas and feelings. The fact that people judge you and me and others for how we decide to show and express our sexuality is a large failing on society. I’m just one, young blogger, but I at least hope to help instill people with the confidence and self-love that’s so hard to get with all the negative attitudes towards sex.
Why is this? Because sex-positivity is not intended to be about personally wanting to have sex; it’s about supporting the right of all people of all genders to have as much or as little sex as they want without being judged by arbitrary standards of “purity” or…
This is only partially related to sex/sexuality, but I’m posting it here anyway. I am a little tired of the whole “It Gets Better” campaign. Not because I don’t think it gets better, and not because I don’t think people deserve hope in dark times… but because I don’t think our only answer should simply be, “I know it sucks now, but eventually, it gets better.”
Saying “It gets better” almost seems like a brush-off. Yes, it’s important to be supportive, but we really shouldn’t just be telling kids, “That’s just how it is right now - one day, it won’t be like that for you.” We should be doing everything in our power to make it better, now. People shouldn’t have to be in situations where they’re just desperately looking forward to the day that it gets better. It should be better.
To me, saying “It gets better” is like the way I turned off the water to my toilet when it wouldn’t stop running last week - it stopped the running toilet, sure, but it didn’t address the underlying issue. In addition to telling kids that it gets better, we should be addressing the hateful, prejudiced attitudes that are so prevalent in our society. We should be actively and almost aggressively promoting respect and acceptance for everyone’s sexual decisions, choices, and preferences. We should be fighting to get more comprehensive sexual education into the mainstream, or at least onto the internet in a big way where kids are likely to watch it. For example, instead of just making a bunch of supportive videos (again, I’m not in any way suggesting the videos are a bad thing), we should harness all those celebrities to make some educational videos, explaining different things to kids and getting the message out there that there is no such thing as a wrong sexuality.
Yes, it does get better, and if you’re in a horrible situation, don’t give up hope, because one day, it will be better. For the rest of us, those of us not in those situations, let’s stop just thinking we’ve done our good deed by saying, “It gets better!” and start actually doing something to make it better, everywhere, now, for everyone.
With that being said, I would really, really like to figure out how to get some dialogue going on here, with people just talking (anonymously, if preferred) about their sexual experiences, their sexuality, their feelings and attitudes toward sex, etc. As it stands, I have very few followers, but I think I’m just going to start posting questions anyway, and asking people to answer them, and hope that you, my few followers, will help me get them out there to make this more of an open sharing blog, and less of me talking randomly. One day, my dream is to really get this out there, and get people openly talking so we can show the world that there is no set path or right or wrong way to have a sex life, but at the moment, I’ll settle for some small action on Tumblr.
So recently I’ve been seeing some misuse of terminology commonly used re: asexuality. And it’s bugging me a bit! So in my own infinite vanity, I decided to compile a list of some useful terms people seem to get muddled up a lot, and some other concepts that, again, people sometimes…
Although most boys figure out how to bring themselves to orgasm by age thirteen, half of girls don’t have their first orgasms until their late teens, twenties, or beyond. Teenage girls widely agree that they get the message loud and clear that masturbation is something boys do, but girls don’t, can’t, or shouldn’t. The cultural focus on intercourse tells young women to expect they’ll begin to experience sexual pleasure once they have sex with a man (whether or not they’re even interested in sex with men). Nearly all teen boys, on the other hand, experience sexual pleasure long before they get their hands—or other body parts—into a partner’s pants. Despite the massive advances in women’s equality, young women’s sexuality is stuck in a surprising paradox. Young women are sold provocative clothes but aren’t taught where to find their own clitoris. Many girls give their boyfriends oral sex, but are too uncomfortable with their own bodies to allow the guys to return the favor. It’s still a radical act to say that women need and deserve access to information about their own sexual pleasure—not just about the risks and negative consequences of sex.
—Dorian Solot, I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide. (via feministhistorian)