a writer’s journey to orgasming: from battling medication, to discovering her own pussy
like most transfeminine people i was born with a penis.
although i wasn’t particularly comfortable with it, it worked fine when it came to getting off. there’s a taboo around discussing masturbation so i’d never heard that it wasn’t normal to not be entirely present while self pleasuring, or that feeling of snapping back to reality post-orgasm shouldn’t be accompanied with a furtive, shitty feeling which i sometimes conceived of as sin. but anyway the dick worked even if my brain didn’t, and getting off was a pretty easy way to stop thinking about gender stuff for a while. at some point in this long period of pre-transition cranking i stumbled on the concept of “autogynephilia”: a made-up disorder where a man is aroused by the thought of himself as a woman. i didn’t realise it but this was the first time i’d encountered a deliberate attack on trans identities that went deeper than an unfunny punchline in a movie. that deepened the shame i felt about exactly where my mind had to be to make my penis work, and even temporarily (very temporarily) put a halt to things.
illustration courtesy sammy
eventually, despite warnings and fears from myself and nearly everyone in my life (and people on the internet i’d never met), i got around to transitioning. and things were great for a while! i finally didn’t have to check out to orgasm, even if i had to think pretty creatively about my penis sometimes. this all changed when i started hormone replacement therapy (hrt), a combination of anti-androgens and feminising hormones to bring my body more in line with how i felt it should be.
hrt doesn’t affect all trans women the same way but, for me, it made me lose my sex drive at about 5 months and i basically didn’t touch myself again for about a year. i also certainly wasn’t letting anyone else near it: not only this period coincided with a covid lockdown, but i was also dysphoric as well as increasingly sex-repulsed. while asexuality is definitely a thing, and i later found out i was somewhere on the spectrum, i experienced this as a sense of loss and general wrongness which probably meant something wasn’t working as intended.
a lot can change in a year on feminising hormone replacement therapy, and that’s as true of the penis as any other part of the body – from titties to the face. personally i found that after a year, when i finally felt like picking it up again, i had a lot of learning to do about my anatomy and how to make it work for me. it was harder to achieve an erection and almost impossible to keep it, but also, not necessary, because it felt good to touch anyway. it took a long time, but eventually i found the right way to touch it, and i was able to cum. when i did i noticed another change – i saw bright (and sometimes impossible) colours and couldn’t stop laughing afterwards. i don’t know about the laughter but seeing colours is something called orgasm synaesthesia which i had somehow developed during the last year. not only was i coming, so were all my senses.
once i got the hang of me again, i was enjoying masturbating pretty regularly. but the lockdowns, my collapsing home life and general depression were beating me in the ass so i started taking antidepressants. one of the side effects of these is that it commonly causes sexual dysfunction – aka lower arousal and difficulty or impossibility in reaching orgasms.
and so i started over again, and again, and again, and again, and again. physically nothing else had changed but mentally i had to learn to show myself some kindness and patience, and sometimes use some additional toys to make it happen. it took a few months of persisting but eventually the orgasms beat the drugs and i could make the fireworks happen again.
while all this was going on i was on a waiting list for medical help with transition through the nhs, and my number came up and i was scheduled for lower surgery, a vaginoplasty which creates a vulva and vagina from components of the penis. i had never shaken the dysphoria i’d always felt about my junk, so despite my fears about the process and possible complications, i took myself to the hospital on the allotted day, was put under, and woke up with a brand new gorgeous pussy.
the anti-trans brigade is very vocal about this surgery, and the silence about it from people who have it allows their words to reach everyone who even contemplates surgery. in my case this happened continually for decades. aside from the names they call our vaginas, they are adamant that they won’t function sexually. what makes it worse is that there’s a grain of truth in their hateful noises. during the long horizontal recovery, it’s just you and a wound that smells bad, and things can, and do, frequently go wrong. surgical recovery is never a straight road and a vaginoplasty is a complex major surgery. i suffered from granulation, a very common condition. and maybe, if the words of decades of online creeps weren’t ringing in my ears, i might have realised that i was going to be ok. but i didn’t. i recalled the first hurdle i encountered on my first steps along this path and i became disgusted with my own body and my own self again. while i no longer had dysphoria about my genitals, i couldn’t bring myself to touch them at all.
this took time and a willingness to keep trying alongside the help of friends and lovers who helped me overcome my fear and self-hatred and encouraged me to reach out for help. in the end nothing was seriously wrong. and though i didn’t think i’d make it, i started trying to orgasm again, this time with an entirely new set of equipment but with all my experience of trying again, and again, and again, with patience and kindness and self love. i had no idea how to make it happen but for the first time in my life i liked my body and it felt like i could stay in it for the whole ride.
i wanted to share all this because if no one talks about it, we will continue only to hear from the people who hate us and who have been honing the words they use to harm us for decades. i want to rise above the hurdle i walked towards. the truth is that there is nothing wrong with trans bodies, and that no matter what a quite frankly evil and disturbed gang of people (doctors or not) have to say, we deserve to love ourselves, mentally and physically.
and, for what it’s worth, i got there in the end, a bit over 4 months after surgery and after a lot of wanking. i saw the brighted colours, laughed uncontrollably and wrote this.
this piece is part of our first print issue: tenacity. you can buy the magazine here.