Some thoughts on gender. Also sex. So, umm,
vaguely graphic things you probably don't want to know about me? ETA: This got SUPER tl;dr, so you can treat the bolded bits like a summary and just read those, if you're interested.
Over the past couple of years, I've begun to sort of question my gender identification, but I always end up feeling . . . idk, inadequate. I have long hair and I wear skirts literally all the time, I must be like the femalest female who ever femaled, right? When I go bra shopping, I look for things that push them up rather than push them down. I can tick absolutely zero of the standard outward-appearance indicator boxes for other-than-cis-genderism.
But I was looking through an old notebook a few months (maybe a year?) back, and something in there triggered a memory of being very young (7-8 ish) and in the shower and sort of daydreaming that I was pregnant because I was both male and female, and had managed to inseminate myself internally. (Weird, I know.) And that was a running thing, the feeling that I was both male and female. I mean, I knew it was biologically impossible, but that ~fantasy stuck with me for years.
Beyond that, you had your standard tomboy stuff -- I spent every day at the gifted program in elementary school playing kickball with the boys during recess; I remember one of my friends moving back in with her aunt for the summer across the street from my house and saying "Okay, let's start on your tomboy-ification" because she'd spent the year getting her hair brushed and wearing fancy clothes and I wanted a friend to climb trees with; I thought makeup was a fun toy back in third and fourth grade, but in middle school when girls started wearing it to actually wear it, I wasn't interested (save a bit of the black eyeliner goth stuff for a while, but even that got given up on all but special occasions). Those by itself, obviously, indicate nothing about a person's gender identity, but I feel like it's sort of a record of my never feeling female. On the other hand, I never felt male either. I never pressured my mom to let me buzz my hair, or pitched any more fits than the usual kid being forced into a dress for Easter church; I even chose to go by Alexandria instead of Alex in middle school (though that was more because I wanted to be unique than anything else).
As I got older, I spent late middle and most of high school pretty sure I was a lesbian, but I think that's because I wasn't interested in penetrative, penis-in-my-vagina sex, and thought that automatically, logically meant I was a lesbian. It was also a role to play, an identity that I could have -- I still call myself a homo all the time, even though it's not 100% accurate, just because I want to claim that experience, to be a part of that identity that as an other-than-mainstream-branch queer I sometimes feel I'm pushed to the side of. (That gets into a whole other long thing that there have been plenty of diatribes about by people much less tired than I am, so have some keywords like biphobia and erasure and Google it yourself.)
But still, I remember somewhere in earlyish high school (I was probably 15 or 16) watching an Oprah about women with huge clitorises
with my Dad omg it was awkward at the time, and it being mentioned that they were pretty much just like little penises, and wondering aloud why that would be a bad thing. He said it was probably just image, or being worried the people they're with will think they're not female, but I didn't really get it. You still have all the female bits, you don't have to deal with the stigma of outwardly presenting as other-than-cis-gendered, and you get a mini penis that could be used (as one of the women's anecdotes related) for penetration; what's not to like?
Late high school/early college, I started to wake up to my boy attraction (thank you, David Tennant), but realized that I still wasn't interested in PIV sex. I get sex dreams pretty much never (maybe two or three a year, idk) but the few times I did, it was always oral/handjob, frot, or me as the penetrative partner (with a strong slant toward the latter two). Okay, dreams, I figured, we'll see if there's anything to this. It's very rare that I would fantasize as myself with someone else (I always masturbated to fanfiction without putting myself in either player's place really, *shrugs*), but I sort of tried it a bit, and holy shit does imagining fucking Olivia Wilde with my invisible dick get me off. Imagining jerking off said invisible dick is also surprisingly helpful. Frot (with both males and females) is pretty much Number One
and has turned into my hugest fic kink ever. So, um, okay then. Apparently, my subconscious had a point, and I kind of want a dick.
But I don't want to be male. Not particularly. Not consistently. I've expressed a desire to be male when doing things like going to the Adam Lambert concerts, because I wish that things like painting my nails and putting on tons of makeup and glitter were expressed to other people as the alternative gender performance that they really are for me, rather than it just being something that girls are expected to do. I'd get a hysterectomy simply because I have such severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder and it's the cause of much misery and suicidal ideation, but I don't think I'd ever get top surgery because my breasts don't really bother me. I'd love to magically have a penis, not gonna lie, but I don't know if I could stomach ever doing something so drastically radical and unchangeable to my body, and definitely not at the sorry state of technology that bottom surgery is now (for those who haven't spent ages looking this up and thinking about it -- probably another sign that I wasn't just investigating for Roommate and Scientific Curiosity -- a huge huge percentage of FTMs don't get it because it's like $200,000, and even then comes with severe risk of losing sensation and has only mechanically-assisted function and isn't even always able to pass, like most good MTF bottom surgery is).
Speaking of Roommate, I spent quite a while not talking about this (or even really thinking about it) because I was sort of worried that maybe I was just feeling this way because she had been exploring her FTM-ness and I just wanted to . . . be special like her? But now that I'm thinking about it, it goes back so far that I think it just took Rachel to make me realize that maybe this was a thing and not just that my body issues were just standard low level eating disorder and the fantasizing about having a penis thing was a minor and probably-should-be-suppressed-if-you-ever-want-a-working-relationship quirk. Would I ever have expressed it anywhere but my own fantasies if she hadn't been around? Doubtful. But I don't think that makes it any less real, I guess?
I think there's a lot of weight to be put on my attraction map. (I'm not sure if that's a thing, but that's how I've been thinking about it for some time now.) Somewhere along the line, my concept of beauty got set with a skew sort of towards the feminine, as this ideal with a feminine face and (generally) androgynous body, and that's more or less my ideal image for myself. One of them, I guess. I'm attracted to people who are more or less that andro-chic look, but I also find a strong aesthetic appreciation for people with more feminine bodies (i.e. curves), and therefore sometimes I'm okay with looking like that, too. Sometimes. The ~feminine me still doesn't like to do her makeup and hair every day, or make a sandwich for her boyfriend because she's supposed to, or stay home and watch the kids, and is definitely still more of the power female, but she's more okay with her curves even to the point of sometimes feeling sexy in a clingy dress or something. It's like I'm bigendered, with the two sides being genderqueer and female. Which is super weird.
I know that most of my gender performance is because it's just easier. The constant skirts is a body image thing, because I have, um, probably some kind of serious body dysmorphic disorder when it comes to my thighs and have a hard time handling looking at them, so it's easier to just wear skirts. The hair is vanity, given, but it fits in with my sort of feminine facial ideal. I'm not sure if I'd rather be flat chested or curvy (the andro or the feminine), but I've got tits. (Pretty easily bindable ones, much to Roommate's consternation, but all the same.) And so I work what I've got; I buy the push-up bras, because I at least want what I have to be perfect. (Hallo, perfectionism/control issues/the root of much misery.)
It tends to mean I attract "the wrong kind of person" for me; I think, because of the typology of people I'm attracted to and my slash hobbies and all of this stuff, etc. etc., if I ever were interested in a relationship, even with a man, it would probably have to be someone out of the queer community. I'm read pretty much as straight, or on very rare occasions, hit on by more butch girls, when I want to be the sort of dominant one or at least equal in a relationship (not that relationships require any kind of dom/sub -- and I do not mean this in the BDSM way, but just in general dynamics; the leader and the follower -- or male/female traditional binary roles, but often they sort of happen, even in friendships sometimes, I find). I'm the toppiest top who ever
hasn't actually sexually topped, as we say. Which is why I think I'm not hit on by gay girls more often; idk, maybe I put off dominance vibes, so no one comes to me, but then I don't go out and go after anyone? I mean, I'm not interested in a relationship, really, which is why I have no particular drive to change anything about how I present, but it doesn't mean I'm not super jealous when Roommate gets hit on all. the. time. by lesbians and nobody ever looks twice at me.
I'm not sure if I'm attracted to males (almost exclusively gay males in real life, or celebs with more feminine features/presentation) more often when I'm feeling genderqueer/andro and females more often when I'm feeling feminine, or if it's the other way around. I think genderqueer me is attracted to both/pan, and feminine me is more attracted to the women side of the spectrum, maybe? I notice periods of time when I'm much more likely to look pretty much exclusively at women and periods when I look at both or more men (but I don't think ever exclusively), with androgynous types being somewhere in the middle of both, but I'm not sure if that correlates to periods of feeling one way or the other. (I also couldn't tell you how often I feel one way or the other, because it's not really a line that I jump across or anything.) I know I've never had a sexual dream/fantasy where I was explicitly female with a man (a lot of the time, I'm sort of . . . non-gender specific?), but I've been female-bodied in lesbian dreams.
And when I say attracted, I really just mean aesthetic appreciation. I'm pretty sure I'm pretty asexual. I can look at people and think they are ridiculously attractive, and I can look at people and think I want to spend time with them, and I can look at people and think both, but never do I look at someone and think "I want to have sex with you." That's just not something that goes through my mind ever. The biggest, longest running crush on a Real Life Boy I've ever had, I don't think I've ever had a sexual thought about him, and only fleeting ones for my Real Life Woman crush (but that didn't really count, because she wasn't really a Real Life person because it was literally impossible to have a relationship with her
being, um, my teacher) -- I'll on occasion have sexual fantasies about celebs or something, but I know if I ever, for instance, had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted with Olivia Wilde for one night in real life, we'd have dinner and talk politics and maybe cuddle. I remember realizing, at a Halloween party last year, that I hadn't gotten off in a while, and there was a guy there who was kind of cute (in that lighting, at least; turns out not so much, but still), and that I could totally make out with, possibly do him if I wanted to, but I didn't. Not at all. Not even "oh, that'd be nice but I don't really know him so that's dumb"; there was just no desire whatsoever, even when I tried to mentally put someone else (including women) I knew better in his place.
But then again, I think I would have no problem, if I broke past some barriers and was in a relationship, having sex. I enjoy orgasms. (Or, um, I did. Fucking anti-depressants.) But I don't . . . go out and look for it? I have no particular desire to have sex with another person, save maybe for scientific curiosity, but if you were here and I was here and we were really good friends/in a relationship and were bored or (idk if I ever actually get this way, but) horny or whatever, sure; as is an occasional catchphrase in our house, "Here, have some orgasms." I've told Roommate before (I think I was probably drunk, but still) that I would totally do her if she ever wanted to fool around, just because I love her (platonically) and if I can do something that makes her feel good, why not? That puts me more on the aromantic side of the spectrum and would disqualify me from "true" asexuality in some people's
narrow views, but whatever.
COOL STORY BRO. Just some things I've been thinking about. I kind of tend to just go "agh, fuck labels" because I am so confusing, but at the same time, I feel . . . idk, like I said above in regard to my lesbianism in high school, like I don't want to get left out of this group that I belong to? I don't generally stress about them, but they helped in this case to sort of ~express my feelings. Of all the things I angst about, though, this isn't one of them. The fact that I'm Ace doesn't disturb me (even though I have the probably unpopular opinion that most asexuals probably could be diagnosed with some kind of attachment or arousal disorder; just because it's a thing -- like Roommate's Gender Identity Disorder, or my redheadedness -- doesn't mean you have to do anything about it if it's not distressful or an impediment to functioning). I imagine the gender thing might be more disturbing if I was desiring of a standard, heterosexual relationship (or any relationship at all), but because of the asexuality, it's just not an issue. I wish that my gender performance could be more in line with how I actually feel I'm performing (see above Adam Lambert example), but that's life.
Sometimes, Roommate and I say we're 200% gay. It's crazy; we're like fucking SuperQueer over here or something. Fuck yeah, house of fabulousness.
I keep reading over this and wanting to add more/change things to make sure it all makes sense, but I think exactly two people are going to read even this much, so we'll just hit post.