Some people don’t know this, but I used to work at a porn store during my early twenties. There was a television mounted on the wall near the front of the store and we were required to have a movie playing at all times. Most of the time we would choose your basic ‘Tab A/Slot B’ straight porn, but every once in a while we would throw in something with a particularly strange box cover, or even a gay porn, just to see people’s reactions to it.
It was during this time that I discovered trans* porn was a thing and more importantly, that people were into it. Once I figured out that I was transgender, I became convinced that nobody would love me the way that I was. I went through a really nasty period where I would fool around with guys and not tell them what I was. I would consider it a victory of some kind when I was able to pull one over on them, which happened quite often. In my mind, I was being accepted. I was being shown love. It wasn’t until much later, when I realized how dangerous this all was, and how like a lot of things in my life up to that point had been, it was an illusion. Those guys weren’t loving me. They were loving what I wanted them to see.
So, when I saw customers purchasing trans* porn, it made me feel like I wasn’t such a freak, after all. That someone could be into what I was, and maybe even fall in love with someone like me. I started watching trans* porn on the television at the store and fantasizing that I was the women in them. After a while, I noticed a really disturbing trend in the movies I was watching. There would always be at least one scene where a trans* woman would look right at the camera with this distant, almost dead look in her eyes. Her partner in the scene never seemed to notice, but I couldn’t help but be aware of it. To make matters worse, she didn’t seem to be physically enjoying herself, either. She was completely limp and couldn’t bring herself to masturbate while she was being fucked.
I enjoy sex – a lot. I could fuck morning, noon, and night, and never get tired of it. Those images terrified me. It seemed like transitioning came with some sort of twisted bargain. You could be extremely passable or finally look the way you have always felt you should, but could never enjoy sex again. Sort of like ‘The Little Mermaid.’ I knew that some of the drugs you could be prescribed could lead to erectile dysfunction, but that seemed to be the point. I would read one blog post after another from trans* women who seemed incredibly willing to give up that part of themselves, in order to be the women they have always wanted to be. I seemed to be the only one questioning this, the only one wondering if the price to pay was too high.
I recently reached the point in my transition where my doctor wanted to write me a prescription for Spironolactone, which is an androgen, or what is commonly referred to as a ‘blocker.’ Typically, just introducing female hormones into your system is enough to start flushing out any testosterone you might have. But sometimes your body rebels against this and continues to make more, so they give you blockers to help stop that. Immediately after telling me that he wanted to put me on Spiro, my doctor made sure to tell me that the side effects included loss of ‘spontaneous erections’ and possibly the inability to have or maintain an erection at all.
‘Oh my God,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’m going to be that woman in the porn scene.’ It was my worst nightmare coming true. My mouth got dry and my eyes started to dart around the room. I was already on the highest dosage of hormones that my doctor could give me, without being on a pill, or moving on to injections. The pill comes with a slight risk of cancer and I already decided there was no way I could ever inject myself with a needle. I could take the blockers and possibly move things along or I could risk plateauing and take even longer to get where I want to be. I took the prescription and began preparing myself for what life would be like, if I wasn’t ‘fully functional.’
After a week of being on Spiro, I’m pleased to say that any fears I had about not enjoying sex anymore were completely unfounded. While I’m not able to go as many times as I used to, I’m still able to physically enjoy myself, and a couple of times a day, at that. It feels great knowing that I don’t have to pay what I consider to be a steep price just to be myself.