WHEN MAKING THE decision to transition, many trans people find that their relationship to sex changes and their sexuality expands. Altering or bettering their sex life was not the reason why the trans men Men’s Health spoke to transitioned (in fact, many people do it simply to survive), but it was often a benefit. And experts agree this benefit can make a huge difference in trans people’s daily wellbeing.
Research shows that gender-affirming surgeries and gender-affirming medical care have lifesaving, hugely positive outcomes even as lawmakers across the country attempt to ban them. As Dr. Amy Weimer, medical director of the UCLA Gender Health Program, tells MH, “Living a more authentic gender experience can improve sexual wellbeing by increasing a person’s comfort and confidence in both their body and their mind. Gender-affirming hormones and surgeries may impact sexuality in various ways, so it’s important for people to discuss their personal goals and experiences with their health care providers.”
Many trans men we reached out to described sex pre-transition as unfulfilling, or mentioned how reluctant they were to have it. Today, they have a whole new outlook on it. Below, six trans men discuss what sex and desire has been like after they transitioned, and how they’ve learned to feel at home in their new bodies.
How did your sex life change after transitioning?
“I’ve become so much more comfortable with myself, and I know that I’m attractive and I know people find me attractive. That is something I hadn’t experienced genuinely or in a way I could understand until maybe two years ago [when I transitioned]. My desires have become more succinct and direct, and I’ve very much embraced my bisexuality, which I hadn’t before.” —Jonah*, 25, New York, NY (he/him) trans masc
“There are some things you can expect when you take hormones, but they’re not always universal. One of the things is how you don’t get as wet [when you’re turned on]. I know some people where that hasn’t changed much, but for me it has a lot. It’s not a problem for me because that’s not an area I care about, but there are [other] physiological changes. There are changes to your refractory period and multiple orgasms don’t work in the same way they used to. —Leo*, 33, Des Moines, Iowa (he/him), trans masc
“I feel a lot more comfortable being touched now. [My wife] also likes my facial hair, and I’m more comfortable now with her touching my face. I’m autistic, I have a lot of weird quirks about being touched; I really don’t like my face touched when I’m even the slightest bit upset. We’ve gotten here from the understanding that I need her to ask before she touches me because of the autism and me feeling more comfortable with her touching me because of the transitioning.” —Theo*, 30, Newark, NJ (he/him) trans masc
“What’s been surprising is that the sex that I have with my partner is very similar to the sex we had before I transitioned. We always had really good sex before, and we still have really good sex.” —Liam*, 41, New York, NY (he/him) trans masc
What has your libido been like since transitioning?
“I did not have a working libido until I started properly transitioning. Everything was so fragmented and I was so confused by my own sexuality and the gender piece that I didn’t allow myself to really go there in my brain. But basically, I started taking T [testosterone] and my hormones made me a lot more sexual. I do have more sex than I did before, but I’m definitely not somebody who needs to hook up with someone. I feel very sexually liberated without having to have a lot of sex.” —Jonah
“About three years into the relationship with my wife, I started T and it made me horny all the time, but my wife did not have a libido. So after probably two years on T, I was like, ‘Oh my god, I think I’m bi because I’m into dudes.’ Part of being trans mac for me is wanting to be the dude, but also wanting to be with the dude. We talked about opening up our marriage a little bit or adding a third, but nothing ever came of it. Then we ended up separating, and it’s been a great journey of dicks since then. Now I identify as bisexual.” —Wes, 30, Edmonton, AB, Canada (they/them) trans masc, nonbinary
“The things that I desire haven’t really changed much. I do have a little bit of a higher sex drive, but it’s not enough that I really want sex frequently. I’m fine with just masturbation. I’d say I do that more frequently. I used to do it maybe once a week or every other week, but now I’ll do it like twice a week. And my anatomy is a lot more sensitive now than it used to be, so masturbation feels a lot better.” —Theo
“The first year on T is like going through a second puberty. I mean, I always felt like, for lack of a better phrase, a horny person in general, but my sex drive was even higher that first year. After a bit it started to level out.” —Gabriel*, 39, Seattle, WA (he/him), trans masc
Did what you fantasize about or who you’re attracted to change after transitioning?
“Before [I transitioned], I was not attracted to very many people actually. I think it’s because I didn’t feel safe and because I wasn’t myself. Now I’m actually attracted to a wide range of genders and types of people. It’s been joyful.” —Liam
“Part of my fantasy journey is experimenting with 1) what I call my parts and 2) what I like to be called in the bedroom. I exclusively use they/them pronouns. I don’t like to be ‘he’d,’ I don’t like to be ‘him’ed.’ And especially not a ‘she’ or ‘her’ because I did 25 years of that shit and I’m not interested. But in the bedroom, I recently have experimented with words like ‘daddy.’ I really like daddy a lot. And I had a guy call me ‘sir’ the other day, and I was like, I will take that in the bedroom.” —Wes
“There was a point where I was like, ‘I’ll date anyone except cis men.’ But the more I thought about it, the less sustainable that seemed to be. I think some of it was because I grew up thinking that having sex with men meant they would penetrate me vaginally, and that is not going to happen. So I had to rethink what it would mean to date a cis man if that’s off the table. Transitioning opened up other possibilities for me, [like] what I might do with my body, and how I relate to other people.” —Leo
“I spent like 12 years as a stereotypical man-hating lesbian, I’m going to be real with you. And I heard a lot of people say that after they started T and they became less dysphoric with their own bodies, they developed an attraction to men as well that they’d never experienced before. There’s like a butch lesbian to gay trans man pipeline that’s pretty common. And I was really afraid that I was going to end up attracted to men, but I haven’t.” —Theo
“As a young girl I was into lesbian porn, and then recently I realized I want to watch straight people fuck a lot. As a queer, I’m like, is this weird? I don’t know!” —Wes
“I had a lot of trans masc friends who mostly dated women or were in lesbian relationships and then after they transitioned, they found themselves attracted to men. I thought that was going to happen, but my attraction never really shifted. I was always predominantly attracted to queer femme women.” —Gabriel
How did your own relationship with yourself and your body change after you transitioned?
“I have never felt better about my body because of how I’ve transitioned—I’m hairy and my fat distribution has changed to a more masculine pattern and my voice is deeper and I had top surgery. My relationship with my body has totally changed, and that’s made me more comfortable with my sexuality.” —Theo
“I feel like most of the relationship I had with my body was in self-pleasure. That has been the most illuminating for me, and I still find that to be the best way for me to navigate [my sexuality]. It was a huge piece of my transition. Masturbating itself hasn’t changed, but it changed the relationship I have with my body because I didn’t start doing it until I had the understanding that I might not be cis.” —Jonah
“There was a lot of excitement in starting to transition. I was feeling a lot more confident. And then post-top surgery I just felt a lot sexier in my body. I felt more comfortable doing things that I didn’t always feel comfortable doing before.” —Gabriel
“There’s a lot of complexity for me because I haven’t had all the surgeries that I would like to. I’m still waiting for the thing that will get me to a point where I feel more satisfied with my options, sexuality-wise, but it’s about learning to make the best you can with what you have.” —Leo
*Name has been changed to protect identity.
Sophia Benoit is a sex, relationships, and culture writer, with bylines in GQ, The Cut, The Guardian, Allure, and Bustle. Her book WELL, THIS IS EXHAUSTING is available now. You can follow her on Twitter at @1followernodad where she’s probably ranting about Fleetwood Mac or the Sixers.