A Few Things I Wish I’d Known About Sex, Dating, & Kink

A Letter to My Younger Genderqueer Self

  1. There are no rules that will actually make sense to you about how to date. It’s ok. You’ll figure out how to date anyway. After all, you can’t understand the rules about gender, and even if you did you wouldn’t fit them, and don’t really want to most of the time (except when damn, it would be easier, and you’re exhausted from all the alienation and social punishment).
  2. Chances are, yes they are flirting with you (if you think they might be). Even if you don’t really know why, or how that happened, or what it means. So, figure out if you want to flirt back. Even if that’s a scary thing to contemplate, and sometimes it just feels so lucky and miraculous that anyone might be attracted to you at all, so it doesn’t occur to you to think about whether you are also attracted, because you spend so much time hoping that you will finally find folks that are into you. There are more folks into you than you think. Your desire matters in so many ways, and is much more important than whether they want you. Really. Even if it doesn’t feel that way. In fact, the more you know what you want, the hotter you are. At least to the people that are worth wanting.
  3. Wearing that blue sequined tank and tight jeans felt exactly right and made you dance like you were on fire and fully in your power, and that’s why the hot butch picked you up and took you home and begged you to fuck her ass. Because you were deep in the gender you needed to be exactly right then and nothing is hotter than that. She knew your topness even before you saw it in yourself, even though she thought it was called Mistress. You would figure out later it was called Sir, and that the hottest thing about it was watching her face as you evoked those ripples of intense reaction.
  4. Go with the language you have at the time; the folks that won’t respect that are not worth dating. Whatever your gender presentation, if Sir feels right, then they should get over themselves and use the honorific that actually fits you. You spend energy and time and care on honoring and celebrating their genders, and they should do the same with you. Period. (Speaking of which, it will be heartbreaking when that crossdresser who ached to be seen as a girl and felt so celebrated in your play says she doesn’t really think of you as Sir in her mind, “because you are a woman”. You will be right when you decide to never play with her again.)
  5. It’s not ok for people you are dating to police your gender. It wasn’t ok when you were 19 and the first girl you dated wanted you to stop wearing skirts and start dressing like Max in Go Fish. It wasn’t ok at 28 when that top asked you to dress like a girl instead of being in the boy gender you were in when you arrived for your date, because it better fit his plans for the evening. Going along with what they want will put shards in your genderqueer heart, which frankly is already hurting enough, but it’s ok if you try that because you are doing the best you can in a fucked-up situation.
  6. Gender border wars in queer and kink communities will rip open your guts, damage your armor and shred you deep inside. The alliances you make in those situations are some of the most intense and gorgeous relationships you will have. In the end, whatever the outcome of a particular fight, it is unlikely that you will ever feel ok to play in those communities again.
  7. Listen to what your body loves. It doesn’t have to be anything that looks like sex to vanilla straight people. If your body loves punching and kicking and body slamming, then let yourself rejoice in the deep grounding rightness of that.
  8. You can be stone and not be butch. I know that it doesn’t seem like it, but it’s true. It’s ok that it took finding butchness for you to understand that you are stone. That doesn’t mean that you weren’t stone before.
  9. You will learn to flirt in ways that are solid and sublime and playful and you. You will learn to flirt in all your genders, from high femme submissive deliciousness, to a raunchy faggotry that is all about cocksucking, to a stone butch sadist cruelty, and the folks that can match and dance with you will be all kinds of queer genders themselves. You will learn to flirt in that specifically queer way that is about talking politics or processing and intensity of feeling and witnessing of identity and access intimacy. You will learn to flirt in ways that are all about butch-femme dynamic, all about faggot queen-femme dynamic, all about genderfluid queers playing off each other. You will learn to flirt in ways that play with dominance and stoneness and evoking strong reactions, glorying in making them squirm and blush and fluster.
  10. Sex might always feel edgy, full of risk and promise and heady with emotion and intensity. Casual sex and play can still be hot and good and right, even in that context. It can be easier when someone is treading on tender spots unknowing. Easier to set the boundary, and then let it go, and sink into your body and the moment. Casual sex will be some of the most healing and transformative sex you will have. It’s ok if casual sex and play stops feeling worth the risk at some point down the road, too. It’s ok if you want to take a break from sex for a while to figure shit out. It’ll probably help.
  11. It is ultimately a bad idea to involve elements of your transition in the service you accept as a dominant. You need to maintain your T levels and your haircut no matter the state of your relationship. It needs to really just be ok, to not be a source of contention or hurt, for you to shave your own head, or give yourself your own shot. It might seem like a sweet and lovely way to accept support for your gender, but trust me, it’s better for everyone if these things are not attached to service.
  12. The queer men who brought you out as a young queer and taught you all about consent and cocksucking and gay public sex should really respect your preferred pronouns. Even if they call each other “she”. It makes sense that it hurts when they don’t seem to be trying to get it right.
  13. Letting people in pansexual kink community think you are a trans man in order to get them to use your preferred pronouns will feel awful and false and create more gender dysphoria and alienation. If they can’t work on getting your pronouns right, and respecting the wholeness of your full complex self, then they are not your community in the way you need community. Letting people think you are FTM will also make it harder to find dates that actually are up for witnessing your whole self. Shorthand approximations that limit who you are don’t make for good dates, so stop trying to shape yourself into what you think people want.
  14. Partnering with people that have gender rules for polyamory will end up feeling shitty and like you are not seen or respected. That whole thing about it being ok to date you because you are a butch or femme or a boy or a trans guy or a woman but it wouldn’t be ok with their partner if you were a different gender, is a sign of other bad shit and will make you feel stifled and insecure. None of those singular genders encompass you (even if they are the gender that you are playing in that relationship). You inherently shatter those rules just by existing, so it will really suck to try to play by them.
  15. Gender play is powerful shit. It is part of your magic and really dangerous and a gorgeous way to find yourself and be seen and support other people to be who they are. It is deep, life-changing and incredibly risky. Through it, you will find ways to let yourself be genders that are gorgeous and exactly right for you. It will also break your heart and smash you to pieces.
  16. Choosing to give control over your gender to a dominant, because you are fluid enough to shape yourself into multiple genders, is not going to feel good and strong and useful. It will curl your sense of self smaller and more shamefully into your gut and will make you feel nauseous and build up resentment and a chasm of grinding pain. That is not the kind of gender play that will let you explore your genders in a way that builds your own self and your relationships. It will mostly make you feel like shit. It has nothing to do with “real submission”. In fact, the whole concept of “real submission” will fuck you up in general.
  17. It can be incredibly healing to be the partner you wish you had been lucky enough to have, the one that supports exploration of gender and queerness. However, you are not an all-powerful top that can singlehandedly create a space that will celebrate and honor new and vulnerable gender expression in the world. Straight people will freak out, and can get hostile and violent. You need to be in private, or surrounded by queers to do this. Not just any queers, either. And, you need to be careful who you do it with. People in heteronormative relationships will likely freak out, and so will their partners.
  18. It makes sense that you might have a selection of strap-ons but that one would settle in to be your cock. That you would stop using the others altogether. That it would hurt to have that girl who you so carefully and sweetly celebrated in her femme queerness ask you to get a bigger cock. That you might be crushed and curl in on yourself and even if you got that bigger cock would not really want to have sex with her again and would really never use it, so it’s a waste of money and will just sit there in the drawer accusing you.
  19. S/M that feels like fucking can be one of the most gender affirming things out there. Playing with tools that evoke your cock is intensely hot and vulnerable and can juice up scenes like nothing else. Knives and batons and boots and fists can make you come. Trust me, that’s real and right and not a substitute for sex, but sex itself with all of the fear and connection and gloriousness that comes with it.
  20. You can fuck with all your clothes on and it can be some of the hottest sex you have ever had, create mind-blowing orgasms and intense connections and thunderstorms full of magic and a deep and abiding embodiment. You can go into sex knowing yourself, and fuck staying yourself, and come down slowly into yourself, and all those selves can be the same, and be different genders, and feel exactly rightly you in all your most powerful and tender glory. That is possible, and it will happen to you.
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35 thoughts on “A Few Things I Wish I’d Known About Sex, Dating, & Kink

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