Transitioning in intimacy

I was having coffee with a friend this afternoon as we discussed our various historical relationships. At one point, the talk turned to the motivation behind relationships. I challenged them to find a way to meet some of those emotional needs outside the context of a relationship. This is not because I am heartless and think love never happens, but rather, if one can meet one’s own emotional needs in some way, shape, or form, then in theory, one would actually be a better partner. This is because there would be less dependence on the other to have those needs met.

This got me to thinking on the drive home about my own emotional needs, and how I get them met. I then realized something very, very profound: I am a terribly lonely individual. It’s not that I lack friends; on the contrary I have a surfeit of people who seem to like me and who I like in return. My social circle has people of differing views, experience, genders, orientations, and almost every other flavor one could hope to find. I have friends who are very well off financially, and others who struggle as much or more than I do to make ends meet. No, it’s not a lack of people I struggle with, it’s a lack of intimacy.

Now let me be clear what I’m talking about when I say “intimacy”. I am NOT talking about physical intimacy, though physical intimacy is often an outgrowth of real intimacy. Crudely put, getting laid is something I can get if I need it badly enough. What I am talking about is emotional intimacy. The kind of intimacy that comes when you can let down your guard, be yourself and feel certain that what comes out isn’t going to make people turn away from you; the kind of intimacy where you can let your guard down and be the kind of self you don’t even really allow yourself to see when you’re all alone. Yeah, that kind of intimacy.

What in the world does this have to do with being a tranny you ask? Everything and nothing. Like nearly every human being on the planet, trans folk everywhere struggle with achieving intimacy in their lives. The complicating factor is the dissonance between body and self. I speak for myself when I say that I pass as male reasonably well most days. My hormone therapy has brought significant changes in my vocal pitch and, though I still hit my old range from time to time, by and large I don’t give my biology away when I open my mouth to speak anymore. In fact, I can often obfuscate any questions that may arise simply by speaking. While it’s not basso profundo, my voice is now pretty firmly in the overtly masculine range. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself, haha.

Where I run into problems is with my body itself and my body history. For those of you just joining the game, I’ve borne a son (as well as lost two children borne by me) and when I talk about my histories and their still echoing effects, I feel I have to take care in how I phrase things from time to time so as not to confuse my audience or render them uneasy. I often try very carefully redact any indications of gender when I speak. Only once I’ve gotten to know a person well enough that I feel there will be no confusion or discomfort from my revelation of transness, do I use gender and begin to connect the dots.

The issue is even more pronounced when it comes to physical intimacy. As of this writing, I have not allowed any recent partner to touch me in a sexualized way. Of note, the prohibition only goes one way. I have no issues with touching my partner in an often very erotic, playful and intimate way. I have felt, however, very uncomfortable with the thought of that touch being returned to me in an equally erotic and intimate venue. As I came to realize this afternoon, it’s because I do not feel intimacy. I do not yet feel as if I can well and truly relax around my partner be myself. It’s a truly sobering thought and one that leaves me feeling very sad.

At the end of the day, we really only have ourselves don’t we?

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