Let’s Marvin Gaye Get It On….

**Insert disclaimer here…if sex makes you squeamish, if you are underage, if you don’t want to know the TMI this post might include, stop reading now. Just close this post and move on to the next one…although I intend to keep it clean and informative, yet non-descriptive, I am also going to keep it honest. Might I also add, this is MY experience, I speak for me and me only, and I’m guessing you are reading because you are at least a little bit curious.

Laine has been on testosterone for 13 weeks, or rather three months as of today. (Yes, do the math, there are 52 weeks in a year, and so although there are 4 weeks in a month, there are technically 13 weeks in three months…we pick up an additional week in there somehow, just go with it.) Over the past three months, do you know what our one transitional issue has been? Sex. No joke. I’ve mentioned before that I have a high drive overall. However I am still human. There are days I didn’t sleep well the night before or I am overtired for any number of reasons, so I crawl into bed and want to crash. Laine crawls into bed and the testosterone has been flowing all day…this makes for interesting evenings from time to time.

When you are given the informational sheet by the doctor upon beginning hormonal therapy, you will find it slipped into an “effects of” list that testosterone heightens your drive…but no one wants to discuss the fact that your drive will literally consume you. Trust me when I say this, I am engaged to a 52 year old 14 year old. There is no benefit what so ever to having a conversation while wearing my bra and panties while I’m mid process of getting dressed for the day…the conversation itself goes right out the window because he is focused on the way the bra cups my breast. I could potentially tell him I sold my kidney on the black market, used the money to buy a Porsche and I’m painting the house pink with glitter accents…he’d probably agree to all of it because all he heard was “boobs, boobs, boobs.” Don’t let anyone tell you that the sex drive might be “slightly affected” by the testosterone…the fact is, the damn drive skyrockets, and as a couple, we have to learn to navigate that.

Every blog, article, website, etc. regarding FTM transition has this question listed within it somewhere…How do you have sex with a Trans* Man?…and yet no one really ever answers it. I have yet to find an answer that didn’t include “the same way you do” or “do I ask you about your bedroom antics?” I get it; trust me I do…but people are curious. Let me correct that, SOME people are curious, others are just naïve. (“What do you mean you don’t need a biological male with a birth given penis and a biological female with a birth given vagina to have sex??!!!”) (MIND BLOWN!)

Fact is there is not ONE way to have sex. Sex should be fun and creative no matter who you are crawling into bed with. Be honest with yourself, the same position every time…there is no fun in that, am I right? That being said, use your imagination…and your hands, and your mouth and your toys…am I getting my point across??

Being intimately involved with a Trans*Man for me is both a mental and physical experience. We as a couple have to throw sex-ed norms out the window and figure this shit out on our own. What works? What doesn’t? What used to feel good yesterday might not feel good two days post shot, but tomorrow it might feel magical once again. (Testosterone does affect the junk, and I wont go into detail here, you have Google for that…for the purpose of this post you need to know it does change things down there.)

Identifying as a Pansexual individual, I have been intimate with both biological male and biological females in the past. Laine is the first trans*man (in medical transition) that I have been intimate with, and for me it’s the best of both worlds. What I have noticed during this experience, when compared to hetero-normative sex, is there is no room for laziness. I’m not certain laziness is really the word I need here, so let me explain….in biological hetero intimacy, you have birth given penis, birth given vagina, you both go at it until the end when you both end up satisfied within a few minutes of one another (at least if you are doing it right…if that isn’t happening you might want to Google a few other things while you are scrolling through informative internet websites….just saying) and then everyone rolls over and goes to sleep (or makes a sandwich or whatever it is you do after full satisfaction.) Intimacy with a trans*man involves so much more than penis and vagina. There are bodies, hands, mouths, toys, (combined together I personally find it much more intimate, emotional and personalized than hetero-normative sex EVER was!) But what this also means is achieving a joint satisfaction is more of a challenge because typically there is physical stimulation for one or the other but rarely both at the same exact time, unless you are really working for it. Which means you either have to put in that extra effort to find that bliss at the same exact moment together, or you have to take turns, which means partner #1s sandwich grabbing has to wait…either way there is no room for laziness.

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Hop aboard the Crazy Train…next stop…Floral Department.

I have so much to say and so many things to talk about (no joke, I keep a running list so I wont forget) yet when I sit down here to write I always struggle with the same issue…how to get it all from my head to this screen. I don’t even know where to start after busy weeks like this past one.

The big news regarding Laine’s transition is that he officially filed his application for a name change with the court. We have to wait until Wednesday when we can call and get his court date. Although the process is a headache (2-3 trips downtown to file papers, appear in court; then a trip to SS office and the DMV after we get the paperwork post-court appearance, not to mention changing legal name on every account, document, etc. that currently exists under current birth name) it will be worth it in the end. He is also getting the necessary doctors/therapist letters so he can change his gender marker at the same time. This is yet another big step in this process, and a very exciting one.

Due to the fact that Laine and I are who we are, we didn’t think his transition, planning our wedding and daily life in general was enough going on currently, so we decided in the middle of it all, we should also build ourselves a new home. Well, WE aren’t building anything, but we are having a house built. We have spent the past two weeks running numbers, looking at our design center options, moving wants and needs around so all the numbers fit into the budget, and yesterday we went to the design center to pick paint colors, cabinets and fixtures. The house will take approximately 5-6 months to build so we aren’t moving until after the new year, and we aren’t going far…only about 7 minutes northwest of our current house. I have never been through this process before so I am like a kid on Christmas morning…Laine had built his previous home, so he has some prior experience. What is most important to me personally is that this house is OURS…we are designing it the way we want it (and in that design process we are again reminded just how much we belong together…for example we walked into a room of 9 different exterior color schemes and both immediately picked the same one…even the salesman was shocked how easy that process was for us!!) Currently the “house” is a plot of dirt…but soon it’s going to be our home. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

For anyone who has bought a home, you know the paperwork is extensive. Sign this, initial that…and guess what it all has to be done in a legal name. So for us that meant “coming out” to the homebuilder. When we initially looked at the models, Laine introduced himself as “Laine.” But when it came time to begin paperwork, it had to be clarified as to what name needed to be on the forms. Since the salesman and I had already began a texting chain, which contained his answers to our 15000 questions (Thank you Jason, you have been amazing!) we decided the simplest way would be to toss the information in a text to him since he was writing up our paperwork. He was very receptive to the information I gave, and continued to utilize preferred name only face to face, even though all paperwork is in legal name. (Kudos for that as well….if anyone wants to be our neighbor, ask for Jason!) The design center experience went just as well yesterday, the decorator (Jeanne) utilized “Laine” without question. Thus far Garrett Walker Homes gets my vote for their diversity skills!!!

As far as wedding planning goes…we have a date, a venue, a photographer and a caterer all confirmed. Only 439 days to go… I say “only” facetiously…it feels like forever away. I am extremely confident in the vendors we have chosen so far. We still need a DJ, but we have a contact we are scheduling a meeting with, and a florist. (Plus attire, etc.) We did have one florist appointment, but we both checked out within minutes of being in that meeting. This woman was certifiably nuts, I’m fairly certain…I don’t even know how to explain her here so you all can understand. Because of her high-strung nuttiness, she was NOT a good fit for us upon immediate impression, however we didn’t want to be rude and walk out, so this experience became something to laugh about, and that we did.

The meeting began with us introducing ourselves to coo-coo bird. Although introduced as “Laine” she insisted on calling him “Laine-E” Now I understand if she had read it on paper and wasn’t sure of pronunciation, but no, we verbally introduced ourselves. She just chose to alter his name, and she used it every chance she got. We sit at the desk (but this wasn’t a calm and collected have a seat moment…there was much energy and spastic activity going on) and she asked if he wanted a bouquet or boutonniere. Ok, thank you for asking, here is where I stepped in and explained the transition process in very little but informative detail. So right after I get done saying “he” “him” and “by the time of the wedding in 15 months the male features will be much more obvious” she begins filling out the contact form for a quote. She scratches out “Groom” and writes “Laine.” I’m done at this point. Laine is trying not to burst into laughter because he can see my agitation and he checked out the moment we met this nut case. I’m squeezing his hand under the table and I can’t make eye contact with him because we both will break out in giggling laughter if we do. This woman blows through a picture book of flowers, points out random stuff, I’m not really following because I already know my answer, “Thanks but no thanks.” I’m beyond overwhelmed by the spastic energy, I’m irritated that the paperwork has become “Bride and Laine” and all I want to do is kick Laine under the table because every time crazy lady says or does something I can see him out of the corner of my eye and he’s making me want to loose it with laughter like a kid in the back of a classroom. Needless to say, this was a quick appointment, we will not be using this vendor and we have an appointment with another floral vendor next week. Hoping that one has a bit less crazy involved.

Assumptions make an A** out of U!

WHEN DOES THE MISGENDERING STOP??? This isn’t a rhetorical question, so if you are reading this and you have an answer, please comment here or on my facebook posting…it’s making me crazy. Maybe it isn’t my place to be so worked up over it, Laine doesn’t seem to be, in fact he has to remind me to breathe in these moments…but it seriously makes me crazy. I know I am jaded, as I see him for who he is, and to me that is male. He, him, his. I expect everyone else to do the same and yes I know that is unrealistic only 8.5 weeks into hormone treatment, but I can see the changes, why cant other people???? (He is shaving every 3 days to keep the mustache growth under control…that is pretty quick progress if you ask me!)

I’m not talking about friends and family either, I understand that is a process…for those people that have known him as “she” for years, months, or even weeks prior to transition, I get it. It takes 3 days to create a habit and 21 days to break one. For those who personally know him, it is a process, and you all have been wonderful about making the necessary adjustments and correcting your pronouns when appropriate. (Except for my future mother in law, but I’ve already explained that situation…to date there are no changes.)

I am referring to the general public. Those who have no idea who Laine is or what pronoun he goes by. We as a society make way too many assumptions in life. Waitresses at any given restaurant “Have a nice day ladies!” (I want to respond with “Thanks I will, and HE would too if you used the proper pronouns!!”) Greeters within the antique stores in Palm Springs…PALM SPRINGS…one of the LGBT capitals of America…but again, the T is excluded there and if you are not a gay man then you MUST be a lesbian couple and therefore Laine MUST be a butch lesbian, who happens to be wearing a clearly visible pendant around his neck of the Trans* symbol. Pretty sad when our own community needs some 101 training on the basics, what does that symbol mean again?

If I ran the country, (hmm that’s a scary thought) I would require all customer service related job fields to be trained in gender-neutral pronouns, or communication that excludes pronouns. “Have a great day!” would be sufficient, drop the “ladies” from the end of that. Everyone needs to quit making assumptions. (Of course this would be beneficial in all aspects of life I do believe…most assumptions tend to land everyone in more trouble than not.) While we are in the process of training society about proper pronoun use, we’ll also be renovating every public restroom into a gender-neutral facility. No more “pants and capes” on the door. No “M or W” on the shiny little plaque. Just individual single stall bathrooms that are open to everyone. (#Puskar2016)   Just Kidding…but only about the election hashtag, the rest I am drop dead serious about, society needs to make some changes.

One of the best ways to push for changes is to educate. That is part of the reason we tell our story so openly; although this is a very personal and private process, we invite you all in to experience it with us. People are curious and they have questions. If you think about how we learn as children it involves about 400 questions per day…why stop as adults? If the answer to your question will help you better understand something you are unfamiliar with, then ask the question in a respectful manner. There is very little information for public consumption surrounding personal experiences with this process. There are even less options for the experience of partners like myself. That is why Monday morning I completed a Skype interview with Elspeth Brown, a researcher out of Toronto. She is focusing her study on historicizing the experiences of the partners of Trans*men, specifically those who were with their partner before and during transition. Her goal is to document our stories and get them written down.

If you happen to be reading this and are a partner of an FTM individual and you two were together pre-transition and then during transition, or know someone who is (and this is NOT just for the cis-gender females either, it is for any partner of a Trans*man, no matter how you identify) check out her website at:

http://www.elspethbrown.org/page/transpartners-project

Her email address is located on the page where you can contact her if you are interested in being a part of the study and sharing your own story regarding your partner’s transition. (It’s all done using anonymous alias’) She also has a fabulous list of resources on her page for partners of FTM individuals, or anyone looking for more information on the process in general.

A Dose of Our Reality…

We took last week off from reality and spent a few days just being together. We labeled it our “Engagement-moon” and escaped to Palm Springs for 4 days. Our road trip consisted of antique shopping (specifically looking for certain items to be utilized within the wedding), time in the pool, eating in, dining out, a few bottles of wine, and one on one time with minimal distractions. It was nice to just get away and relax without any of life’s disruptions.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our life and I would not trade it for anything, and that includes all its disruptions, but some days it is nice to take a true vacation and escape from the schedule and the chaos. Have I ever explained the details of our chaos here? I’m fairly certain I have not so let me give you a glimpse of our daily life.

The day starts around 5:30 am. By “starts” I mean one of the six (yes you read that correctly, SIX) dogs begins barking or howling to be let outside. Once one begins, they all feel it is necessary to chime in, just in case we didn’t hear the single crier.

I typically take on the task of the first to roll out of bed to answer these demands to be let outside. Stumbling half asleep down the hallway, I attempt to avoid stubbing my toe on one of the two pet gates that divide the hall way from the living room and the living room from the kitchen. Everyone is let out into the morning air and stumble back to bed hoping to catch one more hour of sleep. Typically by this point Laine is also at least partially awake and we cuddle up for our last hour of snuggle time.

6:30 rolls around and one of the six, (usually the daschund) begins their morning bark-fest at the neighbor who works out in his backyard bright and early. The others of course join in and since we don’t want the neighborhood to hate us, Laine takes this turn at getting up and bringing the pack back inside. On a weekday, this is about the time Laine then heads to the shower to get ready for work. On Thursdays, this is shot time, which means I roll out of bed too. On a weekend, he returns to bed and hides deep under the covers.

Sometime within the next thirty minutes of the morning, 1-4 of the kids wander out of bed and down the hall to find the TV. (Unless it is a school day, but currently they are on Summer Vacation.) Their noise mixed with the TV noise, prompts the bird (an Indian Ringneck) to begin his fire alarm impersonations. I originally bought this bird under the impression that he would talk, sing and mimic sounds.   The only thing this bird has ever copied (and repeats daily) was the smoke detector the ONE time it was set off by a child dropping something into the burner pan and making the kitchen a bit smokey. My personal recommendation if you value your eardrums, skip the bird.

Laine is ready for work by this point, and depending upon his schedule for the day, we might get to share a moment for a cup of coffee before he leaves for the day. While he goes off to work, I stay home with the kids. I attempt to keep the house in some type of order and keep the laundry from overflowing (there are SIX of us in the house, that equates to two loads per day on average.) I also work on my part time job and any volunteer work I might be involved in on any particular day.

After work hours, Laine returns home and helps me with any tasks that may not have been completed during the day because a child needed a few extra moments of attention or the hours just ran short. We cook and serve dinner around 6, eating around the table as a family. On most evenings after dinner, Laine messes around in the back yard, he claims it is therapeutic. Typically myself and at least the youngest two children find our way outside to join him, which results in Laine forgetting about his goal of yard work and instead playing with the girls. There have been tricycle races, chalkboard creations on the back wall, and bug hunts. The other night he ran laps around the yard pushing the girls in their ride on car. Their laughter and his willingness to be a goof ball in order to prompt that laughter makes my entire day in those few moments.

The day wraps up with an 830 “ready for bed time.” There are teeth to be brushed, pajamas to be found and books to be read. The chaos ends around 9pm when kid lights go out and then it is “our time.” We get to spend just a few hours of quiet time together before we call it a night and lay down in one another’s arms, hoping to get some sleep before it starts all over again tomorrow.