As a bisexual and polyamorous transmasculine person, I can testify that there's a lot of cisgender men out there who want to have sex with us. But I've also found that many have a lot to learn, even if they are well-intentioned. So, let's make the most of it, in ways that feel good and right to each of us. To that end: As a human who has been out here as a highly gender-expansive, gloriously sexually active queer and trans person, I have some things to say.
Here you'll find some pointers, primarily from my personal perspective, for those of you who may be cis men who appreciate how ridiculously sexy I am and want to know how to do right by me, at least in the casual sex department. I also posted a query to a Facebook group that centers transgender men and transmasculine people who have sex with (cis and/or trans) men. So you'll see some quotes and reminders from some of the fine folks there in this piece as well, though there is much more than can and should be said, particularly from the perspective of those who have had lower surgeries.
On the Apps: Yes, Ask. But Before You Ask, Ask About Asking.
Anything ever written about pursuing trans partners usually focuses on one key thing: We are all different from one another, and your assumptions may be wrong. They urge you to not assume our pronouns, the names we prefer to call our genitalia or other parts of our body, if we've had top or lower surgery, or how we like to have sex. And if you want to know, just ask. But here's what I want to add: I don't really want to talk about most or any of this with you, random App Man.
I don't want to talk about my gender or be Encyclopedia Trans for you now -- or perhaps ever. We're on a hookup app, and if you don't meet my key criteria (not cheating on a partner, having a compatible schedule that fits my busy life, geographical proximity, and more), it's going to go no further than here and likely end soon, as I usually despise endless chatting and want to focus on IRL encounters.
Even if you do pass those hurdles, I am not here to share my gender journey, my preferred names for my bits, surgical history, or intentions.
So, ask before you ask. Here are some ways to do that, adapted from actual dialogue from considerate, smart, and obviously sexy men online:
"I'm fairly inexperienced with trans partners. Is there something you'd like me to read or ask before we chat further?"
"Consent is important to me. Is there anything you'd like to talk about first so I can honor your consent practices?"
"Do you prefer to share information about your pronouns and language you use for body parts before you make plans with someone?"
"I read that link in your profile that educates cis men about transmasculine partners. Thank you! Is it appropriate for me to ask you questions about your gender journey at this point, or do you prefer to keep that private?"
When it comes to communication during sex, I agree with Hal from the Facebook group, who wrote, "It's hot to have a guy ask if he's sucking my dick the right way / if I want him to put his dick in my hole / if I like what he's doing with his hand."
He prefers a cis partner who is confident, but also asks what Hal wants, "and then is like 'Oh, like this? You like this?' while doing what I ask."
He added, "You think we are hot, so tell us we are hot. I like when men express verbal desire for me! Preferably in a way that lets me know you see trans men (and me specifically) as individuals."
And that individuality can include those rarely depicted in "FTM" porn -- including trans men who don't bottom in sex, people who have had lower surgeries like metoidioplasty or phalloplasty, and those of us who present as non-binary and/or femme.
UTIs Are a Drag
Bodies have their pleasures and their perils. And mine has a propensity for a dreadful annoyance called UTIs -- urinary tract infections. You may not have encountered this challenge much if you and your partners' "receptive compartments," as we say in HIV prevention research, are soley anal or oral.
But for me, it means that any toy or body part that has been in contact with butt stuff -- mine, yours, or others' -- can spur infection if it gets in or near my front hole. It may feel really great to both of us when you're touching me in a lot of ways and places -- but if I'm the only one calculating what digit or organ has been where, I'm holding up more than my share of work in this otherwise casual encounter, lest I have to pay another $50 to Urgent Care and suffer through another round of antibiotics.
So wash your hands thoroughly before you get with me, and then consciously save one for the front if the other is working in the back (extra points for the ambidextrous!) or just pick one place. Same goes for your dick, so that means keeping track of "site switching" to make sure it's a one-way road from front to back, not the other way around, unless we're using condoms and switching them up as needed.
All of this applies super-extra if we're in some sort of multi-partner situation or sex party or whatnot. So even if you're not using condoms with others, you're using them with this guy, because you're carrying all of them around with you till you clean up. No moral judgement, just practicalities.
Different people may have a greater or lesser propensity for getting UTIs, so some may not need to be as vigilant as I am. And some have reported that measures like anal douching before sex or peeing and showering after sex seem to help.
But if you are reading this as a person who has experienced repeated UTIs, and/or is concerned about site switching, ask your provider about possible daily preventative or right-after-sex treatment with the antibiotic Macrobid (nitrofurantoin).
My STI Risk Is Different From Yours
For those of us who have receptive front hole/vaginal sex, we're in a different sexually transmitted infection (STI) situation from that of other partners you may have who don't, regardless of their gender. The lining in there more readily picks up bacteria or viruses, and gives them a cozy, moist place to grow undetected. We're also less likely to show symptoms. And if we do, they can be mistaken for stuff like yeast infections.
So here's some things you can do to help:
- Frequent testing and treatment of any STIs, whether or not you are on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or are HIV undetectable, or if you use condoms for most sex (because let's be honest, you're unlikely to be using them for giving or getting oral sex);
- Recognition of why the decision to have condomless sex or use condoms may have different implications for some of your partners, and respecting our preferences or requests; and
- Supporting our right to trans-competent and trans-specific health care, so we can access good care, including sexual health care that is affirming and helps us take care of ourselves.
And while we're at it, recognize that people who are front-hole bottoms who use PrEP need to stick to everyday dosing, rather than intermittent dosing (at least until we get a wider range of drugs approved for PrEP). Kindly keep an eye out for any community information or discussion that doesn't specify that not all people -- or even all men -- can do intermittent dosing, and correct the record.
Are You Gay, Bi, or Straight? Why It Does or Doesn't Matter
You may consider yourself "straight" or "gay" on that "men's" app -- I don't care. And getting with me makes you no more or less so. But other people very much do care -- you may find that being or calling yourself straight renders you ineligible for some or even many trans men as a partner. Accept that some transmasculine people will not play with you, just like some cis guys won't.
You may find yourself wanting to say something about your identity to reassure yourself, or to try to make some sorta impression on me -- that's when I do start to care, because it's annoying and not of my concern. And I'm certainly not any more or less male or female, or whatever the hell that would mean, if I get with you.
And before you think, say, or type that you'll know what to do with us because of your sexual history, sexual identity, or porn-watching proclivities, just don't. It's highly problematic -- entirely unproven at best, and offensive at worst.
Perhaps what you're implying is that you can get us off better because you have sex with cis women -- which we aren't. And that can be a super unsexy thought for those of us who are super triggered by it, and/or have been or are in hellish situations in this transphobic, violent, binary-obsessed world because of this misperception and bias.
And it could potentially get in the way of understanding what we, specifically, want. For example, here's some advice from Jason on Facebook: "You can't treat my dick like a clitoris. It's not one anymore. It's not just bigger, it also feels different. I can't stand when partners just swirl their fingers around it like a clit, it's just annoying and unpleasant."
So what to do? Here's some generous advice for you from Facebook group member Curtis:
"My genitals have changed. Touch my cock like a cock, not some foreign object and not like you saw once in straight porn. … You don't have to treat me much different than you do other piggy guy bottoms. … Don't assume you have to be more gentle and careful with my body than other men."
Also, testosterone commonly can lead to front hole/vaginal dryness, so you may need to use more lube than when you are an insertive partner to a cis woman. As Jason pointed out in the group, "You need to be willing to stop & lube frequently. I've had partners take it as an insult that I'm not getting wet naturally, but thanks to testosterone I simply can't. No lube, no deal. You will hurt me."
But, again, we're all different -- so what goes for me or Curtis or Jason may not be what someone else is hot for.
Stop Apologizing If You Can't Get or Keep It Up. Just Do Something Else.
Speaking of porn, we all know that in real life, few cis men are endlessly hard and ready to go over and over. But you don't have to apologize for it over and over, instead of focusing on doing something else to bring me pleasure or to get it from me.
If you act like that's the only thing there is to sex, you're erasing most of my own sexual experience and my vast capacity to pleasure others! And that would make the world a much more empty and sad place.
For that matter, unless we're tight for time, I very well may still be ready to keep going after you get off or need to recharge. That's why I have learned my lessons and probably took care of it myself before you even got here, and can do so after you leave -- but consider the delights that may occur if you hang in there for more fun, or even learn a thing or two yourself.
If You're Not Going to Help Make a Baby for Yourself or Others, Why Not Get a Vasectomy?
A few months back, I was at a party and got one of the usual unwelcome questions from a cis guy who was hot for me: "When did you transition?"
I said, "Never. I've been myself my whole life. How about you?"
"Last October," he replied, "when I got a vasectomy."
While birth control is a completely different thing than gender, I must say that I liked that answer almost as much as mine, though I still wish he hadn't asked in the first place.
Due to my age and use of hormone blockers as well as added hormone, I'm not at any real risk of pregnancy. But it is a very real concern for many of my beloved trans-kin who still have reproductive capacity (through continued possession of a cervix and uterus) -- and testosterone is not birth control.
Pregnancy may be a sensitive issue on the minds of transmasculine people, or others who were AFAB (assigned female at birth), no matter what our gender identities are. Insisting on birth control measures in the moment of a sex encounter can be extra shitty for those who want no reminder of those internal organs. And getting gynecology exams or procedures for some kinds of birth control like IUDs can be hellish for many who are triggered by it.
I'd say that this issue falls into the "ask to ask" category mentioned above, because it may be that people already have taken measures for ourselves and/or don't want to talk about it. For example, the Nexplanon implant, a teeny rod put under the skin of the upper arm, releases progestin, a hormone that works well for contraception without interfering with testosterone levels.
And condoms remain pretty awesome for old-school pregnancy prevention.
But if your sexual behavior could transmit pregnancy, and you've got no use for those lil swimming sperms, consider eliminating that worry through a vasectomy, if you can get insurance to pay for it or afford it on your own. Or let me know if you want to provide that missing ingredient to some awesome queers who are ready to make a kid.
Don't Just Take It From Me -- Read Up
So, now you know my top thoughts on this matter. But there are a number of very good articles out here in DigitalLand that speak to this topic, ranging from other extremely personal perspectives to more general guides. Here's one by Alexander Cheves, a cis gay man, that I found charming, specific, and thoughtful: 16 Things I Learned From Having Sex With Trans Men. And The Dos and Don'ts of Hooking Up With a Trans Person When You're Cis is very clear and to the point, plus contextualizes the information in the important realities of violence and harassment, particularly against trans women.