Oct 192012

The world of erotica can be a lot of fun. I like stories that stir my imagination and give me sexy ideas. My friend, C. P. Foster, wrote the short short erotic story below, that not only gets me thinking about what I might do, but reminds me of a few dates I had in the back row of that theater! If you’d like to read more of her work you can find her here.


A Night at the Movies
by C. P. Foster

Veronica loved the Mercury Theater with its ornate décor and threadbare velvet seats. Old places like this had a romance and sensuality that modern theaters lacked. They also played more interesting films. At midnight on Friday, the Mercury showed NC-17 movies. Veronica liked to sneak past the “This Section Closed” sign when no one was watching and take a seat in the balcony. The rest of the audience had no idea she was there. Alone in the dark, she could slide her hand under her skirt and thoroughly enjoy the show.

Tonight they were playing Henry and June. Veronica loitered next to the stairs until the coast was clear, then scurried up to take her usual place. But it seemed someone else had had the same idea. A man sat in the middle of the first row, holding bag of popcorn and a bottle of soda. He looked up when she came in.

“Um…” he said.

“Sh!” She glanced out at the main auditorium to make sure no one had heard, then whispered, “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

He broke into a grin, and gestured for her to join him. She hesitated, thinking if she sat a few rows away she might be able to indulge herself in spite of his presence. But he was kind of cute, with his spiky hair and thick horn rimmed glasses. Veronica grinned back and took a seat beside his. When he offered her some popcorn, she helped herself to a handful, and they crunched together in comfortable silence as the movie began.

1930s Paris filled the screen in exquisitely composed images, like Brassai photographs come to life. Veronica shifted her weight as one sex scene after another unfolded. When the last of the popcorn was gone, she lingered over licking her fingers and tried not to squirm. Her companion kept the empty bag on his lap. Out of the corner of her eye she saw his breathing change, and his lips parted as Anaïs Nin wandered through crowds of naked women.

Veronica picked up the bag and set it on the floor.

His erection made a huge bulge at the front of his pants. The man flushed bright red and kept staring at the movie screen until Veronica inched her skirt up to bare her thigh. He turned to watch as she slouched, scooting forward on the seat so she could open her legs and ease her hand under the fabric. With a hiss of pleasure, she stroked her fingertips across her clit.

“Go ahead,” she whispered.

He swallowed. Hesitantly, he cupped his palm over his groin and massaged his stiff cock. The seat squeaked when Veronica began to rock her hips. Biting her lip, she forced herself to be still. Her back arched as she reached lower to wet her fingers. The skirt kept getting in the way, so she pulled it higher, then moved her gleaming fingers back up to her clit.

Her companion moaned and stared as she played with herself. He fumbled to unfasten his pants, and Veronica watched him take out his cock. It strained up, hard and thick, and he wrapped his hand around it and began to stroke. They both turned back to the screen where Anaïs and June were in bed making love. The musical score drowned out the quiet sounds they made as they each pleasured themselves. With her free hand, Veronica squeezed her breast and pinched the hard nipple. Her muscles tensed as she grew close. She stayed on the edge as long as she could, holding back…making it last…until finally the orgasm burst over her. She barely managed to stifle her cry. The man clutched the arm of his seat and pumped faster. Clenching his teeth, he went rigid from head to toe, and came.

Both of them slumped, breathing hard. Veronica glanced over and giggled to see him grimace at the sticky mess he’d made. From her skirt pocket she pulled out some tissue and a couple of wet wipes, and held out one of each. He gave her a sheepish look as he accepted the offer. They cleaned themselves up and rearranged their clothes.

When the credits rolled, Veronica leaned in and murmured, “Next week they’re playing The Lover. Want to come?”

He grinned. “See you then.”

Sep 162012

I’m very lucky to have a lot of support for my blog. Not everyone can be as open as I am about sex blogging. I’m blessed with amazing family members who think that I am doing something valuable and meaningful. Nothing drove this home to me as well as my my mother-in-law cheerfully posing nude for me. She’s a fantastic photographer herself, so it was fun to get her on the other side of the lens. We had a lot of fun. I am so grateful to be able show these images of a beautiful 67 year old woman – because erotic is ageless.

Beautiful and over 60


Amazing body over 60


Look for more sexy images by clicking on the link below.

Sinful Sunday

Aug 062012

The Beautiful KindI believe the most effective and radical act you can do to change the world is to be open and honest about your whole self. It’s hard to do to. It’s scary. It could be life threatening or cause you to lose everything you hold dear. And yet, I think many of us reach points in our lives where it becomes more painful to repress the truth about ourselves than to face our fears.

I recently had an opportunity to exchange emails with Kendra Holliday of www.thebeautifulkind.com. She is an amazing woman who has been blogging about her life for six years and has faced many challenges, but ultimately has been able to create the life she wants for herself and her family. Kendra is someone I admire because she is just such a radical activist. She is incredibly brave and she is educating people everywhere she goes.

Because I wanted to know how Kendra manages to be so open, I asked: You are the only person (besides myself) that I have seen blog honestly about their sex life while still being real about being a parent, AND you use your real name (I assume) and photos of yourself. What kind of consequences have you experienced since you “came out” and what have you gotten out of it? Is it more satisfying to be open?

I wonder where you are located? [Editorial note: near Seattle.] That makes a difference. I’m in the Bible Belt, St Louis MO, right in the middle of the U.S. It’s a conservative area, but not as bad as many think.

I do use my real name and pics of myself when blogging about parenting and my sexuality. I feel it’s important to demonstrate that people (particularly mothers!) are complex beings. It’s not healthy to deny or compartmentalize ourselves so much. It’s healthier to be fully integrated. Trouble is, that is very difficult to achieve in our society. People fear losing jobs, kids, families if people were to find out who they really are!

When I came out as a sex-positive mom in Oct 2010, I faced some serious persecution. Before I came out, I lost my job for having a sex blog. After I came out, I was ostracized, judged, and my ex-husband sued me for full custody of my daughter. I almost lost her and my house. I went into debt. It was very scary.

BUT I did not back down, I didn’t cave, I stood my ground. I walked through the fire and got out on the other side. And it was SO much better on the other side! It got better.

Now, I enjoy the respect of the community. The media contacts me for my opinion on issues that are near and dear to me. My relationships are stronger than ever. People who said terrible things about me and turned on me returned, sheepish and apologizing. I have a good job where my activism is a non-issue. I was able to keep my house. Best of all, my ex-husband dropped the suit against me right before it went to trial. He realized he could not prove I was an unfit mother. I’m a single mom working full-time and am raising an amazing, creative, knowing daughter. She is wiser than most adults I know!

Kendra HollidayI think everyone should explore their role in society on their own terms. Obviously a pre-school teacher couldn’t do what I did. At least not right now. But I’ve seen more and more people successfully claiming their sexual rights, and it’s extremely heartening. I’m proud to be an example. I hope my story inspires, and I’m very excited for my 12 year old daughter’s future – I think we’ll see a lot of progress by the time she’s 18!

Thank you for fighting the fight as well!

Please show Kendra and The Beautiful Kind your love and support. Also www.sexstl.comwww.twitter.com/TBK365, & www.facebook.com/thebeautifulkind!

Jun 232012

Sex GeekI met Reid Mihalko when I was down in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. We were at OpenSF (an amazing non-monogamy conference), at a gathering for presenters and staff to relax and unwind after the weekend. I knew who he was, of course. He’s the kind of guy whose reputation precedes him. After I saw Reid’s videos on Passionate U, I believe my response was that I wanted to put him in my mouth. I did my research, so I knew something about him. He was someone I really hoped to meet on our trip.

Within seconds of being introduced, we were flirting. In fact, I was sticking my hands into his pants pockets. I liked him immediately because not many people are as physical as I am. Reid is very funny, sweet, and personable. He’s a natural storyteller. He’s also smart. Reid’s responsible for the Sex Geek t-shirts that all the cool kids are wearing. And he has a lot to say about sex and relationships.

Not only did I get to meet Reid, I arranged to do a quick video interview. I didn’t get a chance to ask him the all-important boxers-or-briefs question (I imagine he’s probably commando anyway), but I did get him talking about some things I care about. The first segment focuses on flirting, then we discuss how pleasure can help heal pain, and finally kissing! Here is the first of the videos, with more to follow:


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Jun 142012

When Babeland sent me the most epic vibrator of all time to review, a Hitachi Magic Wand, I immediately thought of the epic woman who introduced me to the Magic Wand, my metamour, Melanie. Here are her own words, explaining why you need to have a Hitachi:

Melanie with the Hitachi Magic WandIf You Don’t Have a Hitachi Magic Wand, Go Get One!
guest review by Melanie

The Hitachi Magic Wand is the best vibrator ever. To say I recommend it highly is an understatement. If I were stuck on a desert island with ten things, and one of them was a generator, another would be a Magic Wand.

It’s not just me who thinks this. It really is the gold standard of vibrators. On the Internet, people say things like, “The Hitachi Magic Wand Massager is the best thing I ever bought my girlfriend for Christmas” and “Now I know why it’s called the OMG machine.” Betty Dodson, sex expert of sex experts, recommends it for women trying for their first orgasm. A few people complain about it, but don’t listen to the complaining. It’s like people who go to fish restaurants wanting steak. The Hitachi delivers on the thing it’s supposed to do: Give you a great clitoral orgasm.

The person who introduced me to the Magic Wand was my first girlfriend. She was amazed I’d never tried it, and she insisted I get one right away, jumping up and down and squeaking in her passion. She was right. Later on, my raves and our experience with it led a boyfriend of mine to buy an extra for me and also one for his wife. She raved too. Every woman I know, once she’s had a chance to use it a while, has given her thumbs-up.

Why is it the best? It’s intense. For some people it’s too intense, and for them I’d recommend what my girlfriend did, which was to put some layers of cloth between you and it. A pillowcase, a sheet, your jeans, whatever works. The point is, it’s intense enough that for me the orgasm is pretty much a sure thing, unless I’m exhausted. It is the promise of the sure orgasm that makes the Magic Wand magic.

It’s also the right shape for clitoral application. I know it has an attachment for G-spot play, but to me that’s just window-dressing—G-spot play is not what I use the Magic Wand for. It’s for that day-to-day, “I just want to come” thing, the bread and butter of vibrator use. For that, it’s perfect. Though it’s heavy and big, it’s maneuverable for something its size. And it’s made like a real appliance: It’s not some gacky purple or fluorescent green, it feels solid in your hand, and it holds up to intensive use.

For anyone who really likes intense sensation, it’s the only vibe I know that has such strength. It has two settings, but I rarely use the faster one. The strong vibration means strong orgasms. Like I say, it can take getting used to, but I’d recommend making the effort. It will reward you.

The only downside is that it’s a bit noisy. So put a pillow over it.

Buy one. Buy two, one for home and one for travel. (Though don’t do what I did and burn it out in a French hotel because you forgot the adapter. Quelle tragédie! It only works on 120-volt AC current.)

The Magic Wand is magic.

  • Review: My Hand
  • Review: Intensity
  • Review: Crave Duet
  • Review: Silicone Jack Rabbit
  • Review: Tenga Eggs

Jan 042012

Many families get together over the holidays and snap a few photos. Our family is no exception, but we can boast that our family includes porn stars! Harold and I teamed up to take some photographs of the incomparable and totally adorably in love, Ned and Maggie Mayhem of meetthemayhems.com while they were here visiting.

It was fun to watch them together during the very active photo shoot. Ned and Maggie are both athletic and playful. There was wrestling and Ned doing pushups bearing Maggie’s weight. Their sense of humor permeates their interactions, but mostly what I see is love. There is nothing as sexy as people in love.

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Jul 292011
Aleksa by Michael Doucett

Photo by Michael Doucett

It wasn’t until I interviewed Aleksa that I realized how stuck I still am in the idea of binary gender. Despite my best intentions at boundless gender, I kept asking Aleksa questions that revealed my biases. Thankfully, she is as gracious as she is beautiful and set me straight time after time. Gender tries to confuse me, but Aleksa makes it seem so simple, “The freedom we have as human beings is that we are able to come out and identify however we wish.”

If Aleksa has to pick terms for her gender identity, she might use “gender variant,” “transgenderist,” or “gender queer” but she also admits that her answers may change on a different day or under different circumstances. I picked Aleksa for this series because she’s my favorite drag queen. In fact, I mention her in the very first blog post I made here. She’s alway glamorous, poised, earthy, humorous, compassionate, professional, and REAL. In short, I’m impressed.

We meet in a coffee shop. I start off by asking her about her gender. She says, “My personal gender is evolving and continues to evolve. To say that I am a gay man is SUCH an understatement. It really goes beyond that. My sexual orientation, my gender expression, the way I present, the way I socialize, the way I interact with other people – it’s so varied.  It changes.” I feel so moved by this. Of course we are all growing and changing all of the time. It’s comforting to grab a piece of gender real estate and have some labels to hold onto. But what if we didn’t have to define ourselves?

Aleksa has some of the same problems with falling into the binary gender trap. She confesses, “Even though the binary is sort of a mainstream concept it overflows to the LGBTQ community. I find myself being a victim to the concept of the binary system – that I’m either this OR that. That I am his OR her, he OR she, never in between.”

Aleksa was raised Catholic, in the Philippines, heavily influenced by her single mother. “Growing up I knew I was different but I never had the word for it. I didn’t know what gay meant. I just felt I was different. Then I moved here when I was 19 or so, and that’s when I realized, oh, okay, I’m gay.  That’s what it is. Does that mean I want to be the opposite sex? That’s when I started dressing up. I didn’t have a term for it. I didn’t know what drag meant.”

Doing drag gave Aleksa an opportunity to learn about herself. She says, “That’s when I realized that I just needed to be comfortable accepting that I am a feminine, male-bodied person. I started empowering myself around my feminine expression. The more I embraced my femininity, the more I realized I did not need to go all the way. I’m just feminine.”

While not overtly feminine at her day job, Aleksa is simply a feminine person. She says, “It doesn’t matter if I’m public or private, it’s just the same.” She likes to dress up, and female oriented clothing provides so many more options. A tux is always going to be a tux. I try to ask about being masculine, “Me being masculine is really like trying to be a butch lesbian. When I think I look butch, I get called ma’am. I use the term butch because there’s fluidity to it. I can use butch across all genders, where masculine is just male.” We talk some about the differences between expression and perception in gender. How people perceive you can be very different from how you feel.

Aleksa may have started out doing drag performances, but she now uses the term drag queen loosely when describing herself because her identity now goes beyond the stage. She now has performance clothes and everyday clothes. I’m not sure how to explain, but it doesn’t read as cross-dressing. This is not a boy in girl’s clothes. This is Aleksa and how she chooses to express herself.

Although Aleksa is very positive, it’s obvious that sometimes other people’s perceptions can hurt. She tells me about some things she’s run into, “Often I hear I gay men say, ‘I’m not going to be with a drag queen. If I wanted to be with a drag queen, I might as well be straight!’  That’s pretty stigmatizing.” While Aleksa has an appreciation for the female form, she’s is definitely attracted to male energy.

She’s gotten good at loving herself and rejecting hurtful comments, “So what if people think I’m a queen or I’m a sissy boy. Okay, I am. So what.”  She goes on to say, “You have to be internally comfortable with it. That’s all that really matters because you’re going to please some, displease some, but you’re not going to please everybody. I doubt that you’ll displease everyone. It has to start from within. It has to be that internal comfort. That internal safety that you feel about who you are.”

Being on the stage has helped Aleksa develop skills for carrying that internal comfort through to life situations like this, “People try to figure me out, ‘Is that a boy or a girl?’  Yes. But the way I look at it, I bounce it back. If people are snickering I find that more comical. I turn it around, and I’m watching them, watching me.”

Aleksa by Michael Doucett

Photo by Michael Doucett

Does Aleksa have advice for anyone aspiring to be a drag queen? Yes, and none of it has to do with the external, “Once you hit the stage: think it, feel it, be it once you feel the warmth of that spotlight, whatever that ‘it’ is. If you feel like a diva, if you think you’re a diva, feel it, be a diva. If you think you’re a princess, feel it, be that princess. Really, it’s about loving yourself. Love the audience.”

It wasn’t until we were leaving the coffee shop that Aleksa tossed off a comment that I feel really sums up the message I want to send to the mainstream, “Get over it people! It’s just gender.”

Jul 282011

KyleI met Kyle after hearing him read one of his erotic short stories. I was taken in by his slow drawl, cowboy hat, sparkling eyes, and sweet charm. And yes, I got that his gender was not clear-cut. Later, I looked at his website and realized that he is smart and articulate. And complicated. Kyle is female bodied and dual gendered. Or as he explains to me, his gender is gender queer, his orientation is queer, and his presentation is butch. It’s a lot of labels, for a complex set if ideas, but the reality is simple: Kyle is Kyle. And Kyle can be whatever he (or she) wants.

I ask Kyle to explain how things work. He says, “I’m still trying to figure out how to explain it to myself. The way that I visualize the internal gender identities in me is that there’s a male identity that’s Kyle and it’s distinct from the female identity of Casey – both are masculine. So even in my female identity I’m butch or masculine. I’m not unfeminine. But in general, I’m sort of wholly masculine.”  So we’ll use masculine pronouns unless speaking directly of Casey and Kyle to refer to the whole person.

It fascinates me. Kyle’s core sense of self is male and two personalities grow out of that center. One is male and the other is female, but very butch. Kyle tells me that he thinks maybe the two will merge back together at some point. Kyle and Casey have different personalities, preferences, sexual preferences, and histories. Kyle is younger because he hasn’t had as much time to develop. Casey spent their childhood covering and protecting who they really were. Kyle explains, “In a way it’s like fraternal twins that didn’t separate. Sometimes I sense that we are collaborating to a point that we are a single unit.“ How does it work? I ask Kyle how they share one body. He says, “It’s not like I’m thinking to myself, Oh, I’m gong to be Kyle now, it’s a very fluid interaction. It’s when the mood strikes us, one or the other or both. It’s hard to describe how that all works. But it does.”

When he was a child, it was a shock that he had to be a girl because he felt distinctly masculine. It didn’t sit right. It was hard to try to be what he wasn’t. His mom always pushed the girly stuff. He goes on, “When I was younger, the gender differences weren’t about anatomy, They were about what you were permitted to do, what the roles were. I wanted to be a boy, live like a boy, because boys got to do the cool stuff. I was a boy. Boys got to run around, and wrestle, and climb trees, and didn’t have to worry about getting dirty, right? Girls had to wear dresses and be ladylike and worry about scuffing their shoes and whatnot. To me, that was a horrible restriction. It didn’t feel right at all to me.”

KyleI ask Kyle how it he feels about gender now, and he smiles, “I’m still reveling in the idea that I can have both. I can have gender, I can express gender positively, and I’m not constrained about what gender I express. To me, that’s the big freedom – being able to express gender. Which goes counter to some people who are like, ‘we should just get away from gender.’ Well, you know, I’m not there!” Talking about gender is powerful and Kyle’s gestures are getting more pronounced. “It’s powerful. It is! There’s a lot of power around it. For me the power is in getting to acknowledge it and getting to express it because it’s been suppressed for so long.”

And both Kyle and Casey express themselves. Kyle tends to be more of a playboy and has a “fag side” – he is attracted to boys. Casey generally holds the job and has the family – she’s married to a woman and they have 2 daughters. Their first act of gender expression was rejecting women’s panties and wearing men’s underwear. They merge in other ways, like having short hair, growing out chin hair, and packing (a cock and balls). But they don’t always get everything they want, “We kind of have this divide. It’s weird on the inside sometimes because we’ll get into these conversations. There’s some things we still have to work on in terms of both getting our needs met.“

I ask about being a gender queer parent. Casey got pregnant through artificial insemination and gave birth to one of her daughters. She didn’t feel that it was in any way incongruent. The worst part was the selection of maternity clothes – they weren’t designed for butches. As her daughter gets older, they have had lots of good conversations about trans issues, gender expression, and sexuality. Casey does get called Mommy, which was fine in the beginning, but she now wishes for something more neutral. Kyle says, “I don’t know what genderless feels like,” but goes on to say that parenting is just parenting and it’s the closest to genderless he gets. For teacher conferences and outings, he assumes a father-type role.

We talk about the differences between putting on a gender and expressing what’s inside. Kyle talks about how performance can be useful to start expressing gender, “There is gender as a performance, which, I think, most people could put on if they thought about it and tried. We are very well versed in the stereotypes and norms. Almost anybody could put on something that is a gender performance. That overlaps with expression, but I don’t think they’re the same exact thing. I don’t consciously express, I just do. It’s not really a conscious act anymore. But at first it was.”

KyleWe spend a lot of time discussing trans concerns. Kyle considers himself transgender, but isn’t interesting in taking any more steps toward the masculine at this time. “I’m not interested in transitioning because that would leave my other half homeless. There’s not a real good solution except for what I’m doing.” He does think about it sometimes, “I look at that process, I’m like, well, I’d lose my boobs, and I’d gain what, again? The loses are too big for the gains for me because I don’t identify strongly enough. I am that middle. I like having both.”

It seems that wanting to have your cake and eat it too tends to make some people upset. There’s always that need for people to defend their territory, so if you have sex with guys, you can’t be a dyke, and if you don’t give up your female side, you can’t be a trans man. Kyle refuses to give up anything that he is, even when faced with negativity, “There are times when I feel that I’m not really trans. I feel in the middle. I have trans friends and they don’t ever make me feel like I’m an other, but there’s this popular notion… I read web sites, I’ve gotten some pretty harsh comments for using those terms.”

But Kyle feels a lot in common with the trans experience, “As far as trying to be a gender, there’s an overcompensation thing. It’s like, you’ve gone to all this effort and you’ve stuck your flag in the ground and you’ve said, ‘this is who I am,’ and then instead of just being yourself, there’s like this, ‘Recognize me, recognize me, see me, see me, see me.’ I can say that without being extremely critical because I know I’ve done it.”

KyleKyle goes on to talk about breaking all the gender boxes – the one that say that boys are good at some things and girls are good at other things – and just having everything be one big box that contains all possibilities. He says, “I don’t want to have my life be about what I’m telling myself NOT to be. This more about letting myself DO. Accepting both genders is about wanting to do all this stuff. I want to be all the things that I am.”

This is particularly inspiring for me, because I’m not interested in giving up being a girl, but I want to explore the kind of male I am and would be. I don’t want to give anything up. Kyle has mentioned working with teenagers at the high school that he attended, so I want to know – what does he want young people to know about gender?  “Don’t be afraid of gender. Don’t see it as a trap or a solution. Be open to diversity. Throw out the binary. Throw out the ‘or.’ Just look at gender as a very wide range of interesting choices and ideas. And feel free to change your mind.” He thinks for a while and adds, “Check all that applies.”

Jul 272011

When I first met Jim, it was in a social setting and I didn’t think twice about his gender. Why would I? I noticed his loud quick laughter, dark hair, dramatic flair, caring nature, and a certain sense of elegance. In the middle of interviewing him about being intersexed I start to really see both genders in him. His personality stays the same, but as he talks, first the feminine surfaces and then the masculine. I find it incredibly cool and a little weird. Jim says, “I’m always going to look a little bit in between. I still confuse people. I know people who will look at me and, despite the ruff, they still can’t decide what I am. I don’t give a rat’s ass.” So… this is what it means to be intersexed.

I ask Jim to explain and he tells me, “Intersexed is a catch-all category used to describe the children that used to be called hermaphroditic, children who at birth display either both gender characteristics together, imperfect of either, or neither. We are essentially, the third gender that no one knows what to do with.”

Even though the intersexed condition is not uncommon, many people don’t even know that they suffer from it. For years, all obviously intersexed babies were assigned a female gender because, “it’s easier to dig a hole, than build a pole.” It was assumed that with nurturing and hormones, these children would be happy girls.

Jim was raised a girl and didn’t find out that he was intersexed until he was an adult. He was working with a urologist on some health problems and she noticed that his urethra lacked an outer sphincter. Jim continued, “Then she looked further and we discovered a few more things. I have an ovary but it’s way down low, not where it should be, a testicle, and ovo-testicular gonad. My uterus is one-sided, it’s literally like half of one. It’s badly misshapen. It’s very small. I have a prostate and seminal vesicles on the left side. I also have some scar tissue on the left side that looks like something was removed – because it was.”

Jim’s own birth story is horrifying and stereotypical for intersexed babies. He was born dangerously premature to very young parents. They were told that their son would die and they didn’t even see him for 3 days. Jim relates that after 3 days, “the doctor panicked and didn’t know what to do with me.” Although Jim didn’t know any of this until he was an adult, the small hospital where he was born in rural east Texas in 1975, “had done a clumsy, half-assed attempt at sex re-assignment surgery. So what they did was this: I apparently did have a penis, although a very small one. You know the fat pad where the penis sits, they took it, they slit underneath the penis, cut up and sort of around it, took the ligament, cut it and moved everything down to create an outer labia. I don’t have inner labia. All I’ve got is an entrance, which is more or less normal sized. It’s cone shaped and my cervix is the size of a dime.”

Jim’s childhood was difficult. His mom believed (and maybe still believes) that he was switched with another baby at birth – an impossibility in a small hospital with a birth every 3 months. When he was only a few months old, she left him home alone with a 20 pound cat trapped in the crib with him . His grandmother found him and took him to live with her. He bounced back and forth for a while. His parents had another baby when he was almost 4.

Several months after that, while Jim watched his mother change the baby’s diaper, he noticed his brother’s penis. “I informed my mom that I was a boy like my brother, only my penis wasn’t very big. I was sitting on the end of our couch and my mother backhanded me so hard I fell off the couch. Then she picked me up and spanked me. I spent the next 3 days in bed and that’s all I really remember. I never brought the subject up in front of them after that. I was not stupid.” It was the only time his mom ever hit him.

As a child, Jim never felt like a boy or a girl. In imaginative play he was always a pony or a dragon, something where gender wasn’t an issue. Around 10 or 11, Jim ran into troubles with his parents again. “Sex was not a topic in our house. At all. Gender was not a topic. It was just expected.  They were a little concerned that I expressed desires like wanting to grow up and be a priest in the Catholic Church. And they told me, ‘Well you can be a nun.’ I didn’t want to be a nun, I wanted to be a priest. The nuns just sit over there with their rulers and their rosaries and I wanted to be a priest. They kind of blew it off.”

By age 12, Jim started rebelling – wearing boy’s clothes, rejecting his birth name (which he hated) and going by Tig, short for Tigger, a childhood nickname. He was struggling to fit in at school. He says, “I was having authority issues. I had gotten into some fights with some of the kids that called me a lesbian and I didn’t know what that was, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t complimentary. I bit a kid’s ear half off one day when I couldn’t take being teased anymore.”

His parents found him a boarding school for gifted kids which Jim describes as, “400 hyper active, hyper intelligent largely unsupervised teenagers in a dorm, left to our own devices except we were expected to go to college classes. Mayhem ensued.” It was in this environment that Jim started really living as a boy. Or perhaps a goth icon, according to his story. Although he knew what transgendered was at this point, he didn’t feel particularly transgendered – he was just more comfortable living with a male persona. He dated both boys and girls, including a man she would eventually marry.

Jim tells me that the real gender questioning happened after graduation, after getting bullied into marriage. ”I had been dating this boy through the end of high school and beginning of college. He was a gorgeous guy. My parents bullied me into getting married. Just flat out bullied me into it cuz weddings are like crack in Texas. I was 19.”

Jim’s marriage was short-lived. I’m going to save time and just say that the guy was a dick. But during their marriage, Jim did have a non-viable pregnancy. He also spent time, “really into the Domme thing. I played the dominatrix to the hilt. I was walking around with this corset on, I tight-laced for years. I was really into the kink scene, he was too, a lot of strap-on play, a lot of naughty play, you know.” I try to imagine this conservative-looking man in front of me, in his white button-down shirt, and burgundy pull-over sweater in bitch boots, leather coset, and whip. I find that it’s not hard at all.

Jim’s husband screwed him over and Jim ended up in Seattle. He moved in with the man who would become his partner, David. While it took them a little while to get together, they have now been partnered for 13 years. It was to David that Jim first expressed interest in transitioning to a male persona. Jim tells me, “I finally realized I was just happier in a male persona than a female persona and I looked at Dave in the middle of a crying jag one day and said, ‘I just want to transition.’ “ Even though Jim’s degree in psychology is in abnormal sexuality, he hadn’t known until that moment that he wanted to transition.

“I didn’t have a lot of the trauma that I hear other people talk about because I guess on the very inside I always felt I was somewhere in between male and female anyway.  It wasn’t that big of a deal to pick one or the other. I knew which one I was happier as, but I would not have been broken up if I had to have been female for the rest of my life, I just felt like there was a screaming gay guy wanting to get out.” Jim explains. He goes on to say, “I really don’t feel any more masculine than I am feminine. I’m just me.”

I’m still concerned about intersexed babies. What happens today when a child is born with an unclear gender? Jim tells me that it’s still a bit up in the air. Best practice is that no surgery will be performed on the child’s genitals unless it is necessary to save the baby’s life. Give the child a gender neutral name. Wait until they are 3 or 4 and let them tell you which gender they are. But I wonder if there is a better answer.

I ask Jim if it helps to have a gender identity. “Yes, it absolutely does. I feel more comfortable living my public, outside life in a male persona.” But would he be comfortable living as a 3rd gender if our culture adopted such a gender? “I probably would. If it were socially okay, I probably would.” Jim has stressed to me over and over, in many ways that he feels between genders, not neither, bot both, between. Isn’t there some way to honor that?


Jul 262011

DavidI’m interviewing David. He has extremely long wavy hair pulled back into a ponytail, suspenders, a wild beard, and a wicked gleam as he tells me with some glee about a recent hospital stay. He has some serious health problems that have resulted in a number of surgeries, but that’s not what makes him happy. His eyes light up and his gestures get more grandiose as he says, “My ego gets bigger every day because here I am in nothing but a gown and there are nurses who don’t know.”  He grins and repeats what the nurses said, “Oh my God! I thought you were a guy. I see a guy.” David was born into a female body, but even after years of being a man, the thrill of medical staff not knowing feels good – like he’s arrived at the destination he longed for his whole life.

David was born into a family with 3 much older siblings, an alcoholic and abusive dad, and a fairly supportive mom. At 3 years old, his mom caught him in a pissing contest with a neighbor boy and tried to explain why little girls can’t do that. David got stubborn and shouted, “I’m going to grow up to be a boy! I just don’t have everything yet.” Growing up to be a boy became a certainty, but the road there was bumpy.

At a very young age, David was traumatized by witnessing death and destruction. He still deals with PTSD from the event. At around 4 years old, he had a relationship with a respected man in the community who treated him like the boy he knew he was, but also molested him. At 6, his school called in a psychiatrist because he insisted that he was a boy. They diagnosed him with gender dysphoria. At age 6. He said, “All I want is to be male.” The school psychiatrist told him that he could have a sex change when he was older and he was suddenly armed with that knowledge. He spent as much time as possible living as a boy.

DavidI’m not surprised to find out that David is very gifted. At 13 he was ranked the top IQ for his age in California and 4th in the nation. He was invited to attend a special program at UCLA for gifted students. He started taking some classes at 13, and then went full-time at 15. He had been having problems fitting in at a school in a rural area. He comments, “Obviously, telling everyone I was going to have a sex change was not helping.” The students attending the gifted program at college were no problem though. David says, “Many of them thought I was a boy or knew I was going to become one and being gifted, they just didn’t frickin’ care. They were socially inept – we were all socially inept anyway. What was weird about that?”

In college, David met the woman who would become his wife. He tells me, “I felt that I was gay, that men were my thing, but I really loved her and that was very genuine. I really liked being the husband to the wife. That was very attractive to me.” They were together for 12 years, during which time David wrote for a living and was a foster father, but his wife suffered from mental health disorders and eventually became abusive.

David is very clearly monogamous by nature. He’s been with his current partner, Jim, for 13 years now. They’re very good together, finishing each other’s stories and fondly scolding each other. Jim spends a fair amount of time grooming David. But I’ll tell Jim’s story later. For now, David explains to me that he is gay, not because he doesn’t like women, but because he likes strong women who can kick his ass, and the PTSD makes it hard to have a relationship with such a woman.

Going back to his transition, at 16 he decided that making changes was better than committing suicide. He moved to Washington state as soon as possible and started with a clever plan to change his name and gender. Basically, he slipped through the cracks, something that would not work now. He also started going through the steps to transition. The process was different before 2000 than it is now, but similar. David jokes that the first year on testosterone all you do is eat, sleep, and have sex. T changes your voice, body hair, and things like hips and belly, but not aggression like some people think. For David, it was the first time in his life that he felt like himself. His body is healthier with testosterone.

DavidI ask about body modifications. He says that he would have a mastectomy “in a heartbeat” if he had the ways and means, but FtM genital surgery is, “literally, just not an option for me. I don’t want them messing with my anatomy.” What little research I’ve done on the internet makes me agree with him. It’s difficult to construct a penis. Harder to make sure that urination is possible. Harder yet to make sure that sex is still pleasurable. Metoidioplasty seems like the best of the surgical options from my limited browsing because it leaves the urethra and clitoris in place, but it’s no towering manhood – just 4-10 cm long. Still, it beats what David told me about shoving metal rods into your penis to make it hard. (I’m going to stop making jokes about duct tape and popsicle sticks to bolster a flagging erection.) And as David says, his sex life is healthy with toys and strap-ons, and no one has ever called him out for sitting to pee in a men’s room.

David doesn’t pack (wear a fake cock and balls) any more and no one has seemed to notice. He gets all excited again when he tells me this. Then he goes on to explain to me the traditional way to make your own packer: fill the tips of two condoms with rice, fill a sock with some rice, cut off the sock and roll it, wrap some of the extra sock around, put a nylon over the whole thing for the right feel, safety pin into your underwear. David says that it passes the “feely test.” I’m now fascinated by packing.

Still, I’m horrified by some of the abuse and discrimination David talks about almost casually. Like being hospitalized after a motorcycle accident when he was 23 and having the staff refer to him as “it” because they didn’t know what to do. David now talks with the staff when he is in the ER or going in for surgery. He feels that helping to educate the nurses will make them more compassionate with the next transgender patient they care for. But he also told me about being beaten and raped in a bar for being trans and/or gay and no one doing anything. He seems like he’s come to peace with it, but it makes me angry that no one in the bar did anything to stop it. Even our own government sees transgendered people as a potential threat to security. David tells me that it is not currently possible to get a US passport if you are transgendered.

DavidFor all of David’s hardships, he is buoyant. He’s clearly very much in love and enjoys working with animals. He is so happy to be male. Most people don’t find that kind of joy in their gender. David has just always known and has gone after what he needed. He told me at the beginning of the interview that he decided at age three that he would grow up to be a boy. Does he feel totally that he is there? He says, “You know, I do now, and that only really in the past 5 years. Mostly showing my bits to people and having them go, Aaaaaaaugh! They didn’t know I was transgendered. I just got a huge ego hit.”

What would David say to young people who want to transition? “Look around first. Experiment, make sure that’s what you want, not what other people say. That’s bullshit. Don’t listen to that. Try it for one year, really go for it. Seek the right help. Get it done. It’s not going to hurt you. If you find out in a year, ‘Oh, I don’t like this at all,’ you know, what’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you grow some hair or you lose some hair, or you get softer or harder, but even hormone therapy isn’t irreversible. It’s just an alteration like a tattoo or a piercing. Do it.”