Fantasy And The Unthinkable Self

Masturbation has always been among my favorite pastimes. As a teenager, however, my sexual fantasies posed a strange problem: I wasn’t in them.

I’d always imagine an anonymous man and woman together. If I’m a lesbian, I wondered anxiously, why do I always think about straight sex? Though I can be aroused by ideas and images of lesbian sex, straight sex has always been what really does it for me. I found this rather disturbing. Was my mind just that colonized? Was there something wrong with me? Most importantly, who did I want to be in this interaction?

My transgender self was literally unthinkable. I could become aroused only by removing myself from the scenario altogether. Fantasizing about myself in a sexual encounter was impossible–I suppose because my self was a lie.

It all fell into place when I realized I’m a guy. There is nothing wrong with me, and I know who I want to be, who I am, during sex.

But I notice that I still edit myself out of my sexual fantasies. Even when replaying a real experience, I imagine it from the outside, like a movie. This is a real mental contortion, but it feels like nothing at all, the habit is so ingrained.

I see this as one more effect of growing up trans. There’s this persistent sense of unreality around my body, around me. I guess it’s just the years of denial. It doesn’t help that there are vanishingly few images of people like me–having sex, eating lunch, or doing anything else.

I don’t want to indulge meaningless conjunctions of other, anonymous, idealized, cissexual bodies. Whether alone or with my partner, I want to be aroused by actual sex–personal, specific, meaningful, imperfect.


  1. Lesboi

    I’ve had similar thoughts too. I remember watching a lesbian sex video with some friends a long time ago (weird I know to watch that with friends but whatever…) And I thought it was the most boring thing I’d ever seen. Then years later my current girl introduced me to straight porn and I found it much more enjoyable. For a long time I wondered why the straight sex was a turn on and the lesbian sex did nothing for me. Also my fantasies have always been “straight” in nature. I guess these were clues if I’d been paying attention. Probably had something to do with why I never felt like a “real” lesbian too.

  2. genderneutral

    Wow!! Beautifully said. I recently wrote a similar thing to an ex of mine. Explaining what is waking in me sexually where I can be fully engaged and present now because I the real me gets to participate. How liberating!!

  3. Khai

    I find this interesting; I have never edited myself out of fantasies, but I am stone in my fantasies in a way I never have been in real life. I wonder if it’s a similar thing?

  4. janitorqueer

    really interesting! Since starting testosterone, I’ve almost exclusively been interested in the idea of gay men, sexually. But simultaneously also increasingly interested in my partner, who is female, so I’m trying not to over-think it! I could totally predict things would go down this way, once I started testosterone. I talk to my partner about it; she’s not concerned. So far, it’s not worrisome at all, but definitely quite dis-congruous!

  5. hayleesomeday

    Masturbation has always been complicated for me… I didn’t understand it as my friends described it when I was going through puberty. I didn’t do it until I was 16 and had figured out that thinking about kissing or performing oral sex on someone made me excited. Now, I don’t do it very often just because I don’t enjoy touching that part of my body. Whenever I have had fantasies, I always pictured myself, but it was a different version of myself than what everyone else is able to see. I hope one day, through surgery and time, those two versions of myself will be the same. We’ll see, I guess! Sex is interesting, of course. It’s complicated for me, I hope someday I can be solidly founded in my sexuality. Right now, I’m not.

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