Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh no! Trans Women's Genitals!

Because not everything about sexuality is frustration and pain. If it was, why would we try to have sex?

I'm going to talk about sex. And yes, this is a highly NSFW post.

A momentary digression about terminology: Many if not most trans women refer to the central part of the whole apparatus of sexual sensation - the part that biomedically is referred to as a penis - as our clitoris. I do this. HOWEVER. For the purpose of this post I will be using the word “penis,” for clarity this refers to a clitoris of the externally-mounted variety.

First, I’m going to issue a plea on behalf of every person with a penis - pre/non-op transsexual women; cissexual men and the relatively rare post-op trans men: It is a sensitive organ. Treat it that way. Treating the penis as a something that penetrates is an example of patriarchy that harms everyone. As far as you need to be concerned, the hypothetical gentle reader who is reading this before she (or he) goes down on a trans woman for the first time, it is an organ that is packed with nerve endings and craves moderate to gentle touch, wetness, and lots of sensation. Actually: craving moderate to gentle touch, wetness, and lots of sensation pretty much describes the whole complex down there, doesn’t it? Dryness and roughness pretty much kill the mood. Contrary to popular belief and The Vagina Monologues, the penis and the clitoris have roughly the same number of nerve endings - those in the latter simply tend to be more concentrated toward the glans. This bullshit about phalluses being implements of rape harms EVERYONE. It harms women; it harms men; it harms everybody in between.

NOT penetrative. Receptive. All sex organs are inherently receptive. We receive sensation through them which our brains (HOPEFULLY!) interpret as pleasure, which makes us want to receive more sensation.

Now, that said. Trans women have very complicated relationships with sex. The way we experience sex is, I believe, utterly unique among the many different kinds of people there are in this world. We have the parts for penetrative sex but by and large prefer receptive sex. We can be penetrated in more ways than the casual observer can be counted on to see.

Ask one of us who is relatively knowledgeable about muffing. It feels really good. Ask me sometime, for that matter. If you want to get technical, muffing will probably feel good for ANY person with a penis, once they get used to it (it hurts a little at first, as all good things do), and might feel good for any person, period. What is muffing, you may ask? Muffing is the act of penetrating the inguinal canals (a pair of internal, diagonally-oriented tubes running in the groin area around the middle of the pelvis). For sexual pleasure. For the sexual pleasure of the person being muffed.

OK, here’s the deal: There are four major nerve clusters running in the groin: The pudendal nerve (P nerve), the ilioinguinal nerve (I nerve), the genitofemoral nerve (G nerve) and the inferior hypogastric plexus (plexus nerve). As you can guess from the name, the I nerve runs through the inguinal canals. But here’s the point: All four of these nerves are hungry; they sense and transmit sexually pleasurable sensations. Playing with any of them is going to feel good - and it just so happens that the easiest way to play with the I, G, and Plexus nerves is to essentially poke a finger into the inguinal canal and stroke them directly. Pretty much anything in that area stimulates the P nerve.

Men, you’ll thank us for this later.

Learning this made me interested in my genitals as installed at the factory for the first time ever. Because my body is awesome that way.

Our bodies demonstrate the true complexity of an XY* body. For those of us who are pre-op, we have very complicated, difficult relationships with the whole complex of tissues and organs between our legs. Even when we’ve been on estrogen & anti-androgens for a while, the bits tend to stick out a bit, making wearing tight clothes problematic. Pressing them too tightly can remind the more genitally dysphoric among us that they’re THERE, leading to feelings of apprehension, emotional hurt, and even in some cases, actually triggered.

And of course, it’s impossible to ignore their presence when we’re having sex; and relatively few cissexual women know what to DO with a trans woman’s genitals because the way we see and experience them has so little to do with the way that cissexual men see and experience them (I’m told).

If you have experience with clitorises, treat a trans woman’s penis as a large clit. Because that is really what it is. The structures are roughly the same, with the exception that between World War I and the 1990s, in the United States, the ‘clitoral hood’ of the penis - the foreskin - was routinely cut off (i.e. circumcised) at or shortly after birth, often without even the parents’ consent. This is utterly unnecessary, by the way.

What is equally unnecessary is stigmatizing cut penises by calling them “mutilated.” It’s unnecessary because there is no loss of function, and more importantly it is also unnecessary because it needlessly, arrogantly trivializes female genital mutilation. It is also a backdoor step to stigmatizing gender confirmation surgery (aka “sex reassignment”).

Few pre/non operative trans women really enjoy penetrative sex with our factory-installed** parts. I’m not going to say “no” pre/non op trans woman, but it is plenty rare. We are women, and we want to experience sex as women, NOT as ersatz-men.

*: On average
**: As an attempt to avoid the stigma associated with the term “biological,” which discriminates against trans women and treats our bodies as unnatural, I frequently use “factory-installed” and “upgraded” to describe the pre- and post-op statuses of trans women’s genitalia.


  1. Hi, I've no idea how I ended up here when I'm meant to be writing an english essay, but I had NEVER even heard of the inguinal canal and I have a ton of questions. I'm what you would call a cis-woman and wondered if I'm able to access this nerve in the same way as someone with male factory settings? I've been looking for information on google images to track down where this opening actually is on a male body but it's all anatomy drawings rather than a picture of a real living person. Likewise there are no articles on using it for sexual pleasure, just medical ones about hernias. I find it shocking how little is taught about it.
    So my two questions to someone who knows about muffing, ;) how do you do it to a male/transwoman and is it possible for a female? Thank you xxx

    1. Well, this is pretty late, by a whole month, so you might not see this, but there's some pictures on the Fucking Trans Women zine.

      It costs a little money, but it's a fun read. And it's the only place I've seen pictures. And there are a number of them. From different angles.
      So, yeah. you might not see this, i'm not sure how the reply system works here, but yeah.

      I can try to describe where the entrance is...I'm not sure about its presence in a cis woman's body. I'm sure the nerve is probably there somewhere in some form, or that there's an equivalent. But how you can access it...that I'm not sure of.

      I'd explain where to find it, but...well, it's kind of hard to describe, honestly. :\ The anatomy pics show where it is (generally) and at what angle you need to enter at, it just doesn't show what it physically looks like realistically to do that.

      And like i said, the only pics I've found were in that zine.


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