Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dilution, Dilation, Depth, Dildos and Delayed Delight


My partner Martin just blogged about dilation. I love him so much. It takes one very special guy to fall in love with you and wait for you until you can. Until you can? Until you can what? Life is full of disappointments they say, it's also full of euphemisms and innuendo; well, grown up life at least. When I say 'what' you probably have a very good idea exactly what I'm referring to. Yes, it's true, it MIGHT be 'until you can say I do'. It's a really nice idea, but it wasn't that. Those who know me well are aware that I'm always falling into the trap of (inadvertently) trotting out euphemisms; 'Do you want a little bite of my muffin Darling?', 'It's in my box', 'those are nice buns'....the list goes on, most of my friends can't keep a straight face. So now you know what 'what' refers to. Oh dear, how am I going to avoid 'steaminess' in writing about what is after all one of the nicest bits about being a woman?

Dilution and Dilation are two things that go hand in hand for post-op girls. I'm talking about those 3 times a day dilations with hard Perspex. They have to happen regularly from the moment they remove your vaginal pack until well....forever! Dilution is optional. A little Videne (povidated iodine) diluted with water was suggested to me for vaginal douching by my GP it helps keeps internal and external wounds infection free; it really helps. What isn't optional is the dilation. Those daily sessions of stretching and maintaining the depth of a totally new part of your body are a painful essential. It's such a new part of you that even hearing a nurse say 'your vagina' and you having to say 'my vagina' seem incredibly odd at first....a bit like saying 'my husband' in the first few weeks after you are married (something else I'm so looking forward to now). Dilation seems to fascinate my boyfriend. For a while it really worried me. Dilation is so painful at first that it is truly difficult to imagine anyone pushing, let alone, forcing something in there. By 'something' I mean....well, you know what I mean. Use your imagination! The weeks go by and although things get easier, progress seems so slow. Nerve endings that were once in one place are starting to reconnect and are in another. Feelings when you dilate are incredibly raw and intense; at least they were for me. How would it ever change? I couldn't even begin to imagine.

A (Trans) friend suggested I try watching 'female friendly' erotic videos whilst dilating. Okay, so to you guys reading out there that's 'Porn'. Actually I find 'porn' a turn off; there's no slow sensual seduction or build up, no languorous teasing and heady romantic/erotic attraction. Inject all that back in, make it girl friendly and you've got me aroused. I found watching it and dilating helped. Strangely or maybe perfectly naturally, I began to associate intense sensation while dilating with pleasure and arousal. Bingo, it worked. Slowly but surely, dilation actually became comfortable and then rather nice. Some sessions even went on longer than I intended!

I had been concerned too about orgasm, doesn't every pre-op girl worry her little head off about that one? Dire warnings from the surgical team at my pre-surgical appointment and exam had made me nervous. You get warned that although you might have pleasant sensations post-op, some post-op girls can't reach a climax. Returning sensation left me wondering if I'd be like that too. For a girl who desperately wanted a boyfriend, romance and happiness in bed, that one was all too important to me, maybe it is to everybody.

Every girl should have a Rabbit....seriously, they are a truly essential 'girl's goody drawer' item. Add a flexible sex toy to that too....okay, if you insist, a dildo. 'Toys' are one thing, dilators another. As my boyfriend wrote in his own blog, Perspex dilators are not sex toys; they're too hard and unforgiving for that. They need to be rigid to maintain depth and width. Sex toys are different. At 8 weeks post-op, dilating with sex toys and watching girl friendly erotica, the temptation to raid your goody drawer becomes tantalising. When you succumb, there comes incredible relief at how nice it feels and how deliciously sharp and intense the feelings are. Orgasm when it finally arrived, crept up on me unawares; an enthralling involuntary onrush of sensations and sexperiences; an intense unavoidable skydive of exhilarating proportions and a glide down into utter marshmallow soft bliss.

Totally amazing; 18th June; delayed delight happened in the end. No girl was more relieved than I was that day; deliriously happy, tousled hair and a pretty post-orgasmic smile on my face. The event seemed so important that it made it both into my my diary and onto my calendar. Ridiculous as it now seems my second climax did too (a girl has to be sure that it wasn't just a fluke doesn't she?). After that climax and several more in quick succession, I stopped counting. It was like coming home. It became part of my life; a process of unashamedly enjoying my body and the feelings surrounding it: a sweet crescendo I could enjoy without the other icky 'wrong gender' stuff associated with it. By 'stuff', I mean....well, you know what I mean.

I said that my boyfriend had to wait until 'I could'; I hope that it was worth the wait, the putting up with me rushing off from lunch dates to dilate and missing me when I travelled down to Charing Cross Hospital. Travelling down for that all important post-op examination: An examination and hopefully a discharge from the care of Mr Bellringer's surgical team. The exam was uncomfy but okay. It was the first of several Gynae exams which seem much more routine now. The advice was caring and helpful. Yes you can have sex but be careful and gentle at first. 'Try dilating beforehand, use lots of lube and start with you on top'.....Try remembering that advice when you've been passionately kissing a guy for several minutes and he's slowly undressing you!

There is of course the whole side issue of losing your virginity for the second time in one's life but I'll leave that for another blog post. When I finally got to try it, it became clear that sex is very different to dilating. That became obvious very quickly. Part of the thrill for me and maybe for girls, is becoming someone else's, losing control and being pleasured, being (quite literally) in someone else's hands and becoming about as lovingly close as two people can get. Trust is a huge part of the equation and strangely, learning to let my boyfriend bring me to orgasm was all about becoming vulnerable and ceding control. Even after you begin to have sex, that has to wait for the right moment; the moment when you trust him absolutely; trust him to be caring but loving too.

For a girl whose romantic attachments have been dominated by an addiction to males who want to control me, that wasn't easy. I was surprised how quickly it happened. How rapidly after falling in love that I was willing to be his. It was a delayed delight, but delayed for a remarkably short time in the end. I am a lucky girl, I know, to have found such a caring, supportive romantic and deeply loving guy as Martin. Becoming HIS so absolutely and utterly has been way easier than I expected. Having the ultimate pleasure of climax with him even more so.


Jane x


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nakedness, Intimacy and the New Me

Time was when I could never be naked, or wouldn't allow myself to be, even in private. It seems odd looking back but showers and baths always saw me wearing underwear or swimming things. It's strange I know but when you grow up transgender and hate the sight of your body parts it's a way of coping, of getting on with life as best you can. Intimacy was possible only in my head, in a sort of double, fantasy life where I was just another ordinary girl like anyone else. In my dream world boys were exciting and nice. As I grew older through my teens, the thought of intimacy with one was arousing and lovely. The reality was very far from it. Fantasies always had to end with the return to real life.

As a girl you crave the validation of your prettiness and beauty. You look around for signs that boys fancy you, that they admire you and want you. I could have none of that. The most that I could hope for from a boy is that he would be my friend. The worst that I could expect was to be beaten up for being who I was. None of this serves to build confidence in yourself, your looks, your self image and your body. I grew up feeling that it had let me down and I pretty well knew that nobody could put things right. What was the point of carrying on? At first there seemed to be a half pretty girl staring back at me from the mirror. Once the ravages of hormones began to take their toll, I gave up: There was no way anyone would see me as attractive or desirable.

Fast forward to much more recent times. It took a best friend to point out that most women of 'our age' are not supermodels and that attractiveness and sexual attraction do not require you to present yourself as a fashion model. My best friend was the first person I came out to. Much as I disbelieved her, I took her assertion that one day men would want to date me as a talisman on my journey; a sort of distant beacon of hope. I remember that we bought perfume together in Leicester on a shopping trip one weekend; Estée Lauder's 'Beyond Paradise'. I didn't imagine making much use of it. Who on earth would I possibly attract and what on earth would I do if he wanted to come home with me after a date, for a 'coffee'?

A fear of tactile intimacy has pervaded my love life (such as it was) over the last eight years. It has run through every amorous encounter like one of those ornamental rope barriers they have at functions or events. It separated me from natal girls who had the choice of saying 'yes' or 'no'. There was a fear of roving hands that might find their way down over my bottom as we kissed or to other places far more worrying. For a long time I could never bring myself to tell anyone about my gender history. These days apparently that sort of misrepresentation can land you in trouble with the law. After discussing it with my therapist I began to be more open with guys but it didn't really help. Once you have revealed yourself to be a pre-op Trans woman you open yourself up to a whole world of stereotypes and objectification. You are desirable but as a particular type of girl. Porn videos would have guys believe that you're absolutely 'gagging for it' and 'you're in their area'! You are a rare novelty to be enjoyed, not someone to love and to cherish. Bye bye love.

Having craved intimacy with guys for so long I felt disappointed. I don't know about anyone else but none of this served to make me feel validated or attractive. Having a guy want you solely for what's under your clothes doesn't do anything for you as a girl. It doesn't make you feel valued or lovely, it doesn't make you feel desirable or respected. Many many years after dreaming about life coming right for me I was still no nearer feeling whole as a person. I had intimacy of a sort, forced nakedness and a feeling of being used. If anything I felt worse than ever. Look through my song lyrics and you'll find it everywhere:

"I don't want you here, so scared to feel you close, can't take no more hits from you can't take another dose."

"Craving for your one night stand and crazy 'bout this girl, if what you want's the best of both, guy I'm noT your GirL."

So what about the here and now? Post-op since April 11 last year, the new me has had a very different experience. From the moment I went for a shower in hospital after compression bandages were removed, I've loved my body. Ever since then I've been happy to stand in front of mirrors naked and to be nude. In summer last year I had the divine experience of being totally undressed in the sand dunes with my boyfriend and it felt fab. I've even been surprised to hear myself saying 'yes' to the 'Naked Bike Ride' through Manchester this year and I feel totally okay being unclothed in the presence of others. As for intimacy, one orgasm after another has changed how I feel about that. Now I can be intimate and tactile with my boyfriend, bathed in the glow of sweet desire and mutual love. It is such a liberating experience to feel one with my body at long last and to be happy in my own skin. My fantasy existence and my real life have merged and left one person; a whole woman, content with how she is, complete at last.

The strangest thing of all is that it feels pretty much how I imagined it would in my fantasies, only WAY WAY better: Better for being real without any come down and the return to 'real life'. This is 'real life' now and I ain't never going back!


Jane xx

Thursday, January 16, 2014

BA musings

And here I am back from my appointment with James Barrett. Caffè Nero and its wifi gives me an excellent chance to say how it went. So here goes. Excuse the photo by the way and no, I'm not dressed like this in the middle of Hamnersmith, sat here drinking coffee. Please don't all rush here at once!

So, boob job or not? I'm a little nearer to a solution. Here I am looking at my picture and or not? Maybe I don't want to change anything.

My discussion with James Barrett ranged over the need to consider the long as well as the short term, to think about exactly why I might want BA and whether I can deal with the maintenance responsibilities of implants and having them redone from time to time. Looking at myself I can grudgingly acknowledge (at last) that I might just be cute and pretty and maybe that IS the way I want to stay and need to be. I was glad of the chance to run my musings and ideas through a reality check. It had not really occurred to me (obvious really) that few of my dresses would fit after surgery or that I might possibly ruin the proportions and balance of my body. I realise now that you can, if you're not careful, lose sight of the whole picture, i.e. your whole self.

Okay I admit it. I've spent my whole life hating my body but today the brakes finally came on good and hard and I stopped that or most of it. I realise that it's time to rejoice in what I've become and enjoy being the person that I am. Though I still haven't wholly made up my mind, I think I have had a useful lesson in looking at myself and trying to see what others tell me that they see; a beautiful girl. I'd always thought it narcissistic to feel that way but I'm beginning to realise that accepting myself for the unique person that I am might be the best way.


Jane xx

BA and 'Talking (to) the Barrett'

Here I am on the early London bound train, on my way to see the Barrett....again. It's a while since we last met. For those who aren't Trans and treated by Charing Cross Hospital, James Barrett is one of the Psychiatrists you are almost certainly going to have to talk to at least once on your journey. The last time the two of us met I was so incredibly scared. It was as if this one man had my whole future in his hands. At the time I was pre-op, hoping for the go ahead to be referred to the surgical team. That was such a nerve wracking time. Would I say the 'right' things? What were the 'right' things to say anyway. In the event I was just myself, answering honestly and truthfully; pouring my heart out about how tough it had been at school and growing up feeling a total girl and not being one. There were some strange questions about whether I had any friends who would lend me money and how much, about my sex life and clothing preferences. I suppose that these questions have to be asked but I felt more comfortable during a recent Gynae exam!

Now I'm a post-op girl and I'm on my way to see him again. I wonder how the conversation will go this time at my follow up appointment? I'll let you know when I'm on my way back. In the meantime I'm trying to imagine what on earth we'll talk about. Here I am; Jane, the girl who won the Trans lottery in 2013: She got it all; the surgery, the amazing recovery, the new friends, the acceptance, the boyfriend, the most beautiful summer, the commitment ring, the promise that her surname will change and that truly wonderful day when 'he' moved in to stay. The stroke of midnight on New Year 2014 brought much more than a lovely romantic kiss; it marked the start of my first complete year as a transitioned woman. A woman on her path to marriage and happiness.

But there's one thing that I'm still not sure about; if you can excuse me mentioning it. It's the size of my boobs. At 34A and a slim little thing I still feel like a teen in the itty bitty titty club. Am I really bothered about it? I don't know, I honestly don't. On the one hand I enjoy being a cute and slim young slip of a thing on the other hand I don't. I'm a woman now and standing naked in front of the glass (something I never did until last year) I still don't feel like one: I feel like a teen. My partner loves it. Sex is great and I can still wear size 6 skinny jeans and size 8 tops. Slim hipped, I don't want to look top heavy and false. I would love to be a B cup and wonder if I'll ever be. If I do have BA it will be for myself and nobody else, to make me feel like I would have been had I been born the girl I should have been.

Pause for thought. Who would I have been really. Who would I have been if I had followed my heart and given birth to at least 4 children? settling for a rather controlling guy (they've always been my my secret addiction) who would have maybe made me feel inadequate, spending my life as a kindergarten teacher. By now, would I have kept looks or lost them? Would I have kept my husband of goodness knows how nanny years? Would I have lost my confidence? Would I have looked like my Mum? Goodness only knows. What I do know is that I am exactly who I am and pretty much starting life all over again: the ultimate 'do over' wish....apart from it having been a necessity. Right now I'm wondering very much whether I shouldn't just accept the woman I've become; just as I am now.

It's hard isn't it? If I was someone who always took the path of acceptance, maybe I would never have transitioned in the first place. I was not. That would have been so hard to bear. Facing the future with a body that didn't match my inner gender I knew I had to change. Now, thankfully, having undergone surgery to become who I truly am, maybe breast augmentation is the logical next step?

So, as you can see, I'm nowhere near ready to make a decision as yet. I need help. Someone to run all this past and help me see inside myself. Will talking the Barrett help. I'm not sure but I'll let you know later.


Jane x

Monday, January 13, 2014

Identity, Gender Identity and 'The Twist'


Okay, let's do the Twist shall we? I'm a little too young to remember the Chubby Checker variety. I have vague recollections of practising the Twist with my best friend Julie in the lounge but we were three years old at the time and it was chance for fun, pretending to be grown up and a good laugh. In my previous post I mentioned that there was a twist to my last blog but omitted to mention what it was. Here goes.

Gender pronouns and washrooms are strange things. Pronouns are placeholders for something else. The information they convey is limited so we have to do some imagining. When I say 'he' or 'she' you probably have some sort of stereotypical male or female image, especially if you don't know the person I'm describing. Stereotypes are like the symbols on male and female washroom doors; an outline generalised from typical expectations. So, that stylised figure in a dress or in trousers, just how accurately does it represent men or women? When you go out clubbing on Manchester's Canal Street (or anywhere else in the Village) and you want the loo, you're faced with the choice of a urinal or unisex toilets. It's bit of a shock to those going there for the first time. They see individuals in skirts, dresses, jeans, hot pants, leggings. They might be male, they might be female and does it really matter? It seems strange for me as a Trans woman to be saying this but why on earth should a dress or trousers be an indicator of gender anyway? Comments invited :)

I first met Tina on the December 13 2012. We met for lunch in a little seaside cafe close to where I work. We had met previously online via Facebook. Tina became a really lovely and supportive friend. We kept in touch throughout the Winter and early Spring of 2013, through all of my pre-op prep and that awful 'menopausal' period on no hormones. I kept in touch from my hospital bed. After I returned home from Charing Cross Tina came round to see me, indeed she was one of the first to visit me at home.....

Hang on, haven't I written something like this before? Does any of it sound remotely familiar to you? Things were shaping up for a really close 'bessie m8's' relationship when Tina casually mentioned that Martin would be popping in to see me the following week instead. Cue the moment when I sat in my sunlit lounge curled up on the carpet and couldn't take my eyes off the gorgeous brown eyed guy gazing back at me from my sofa.

Cue the coolest, most rewarding and beautiful loving relationships I have ever known. I mean that sincerely. I love both sides of my boyfriend and the fun and amazing possibilities that loving someone so adventurous brings. What is the difference if he put on a skirt and top and I slip on a 'boyfriend' sweater and a pair of jeans. These are clothes at the end of the day, nothing more. Why should we girls have all the glam stuff and the bling and guys have the drab stuff?

There are so many advantages. I now have a boyfriend I can surprise with little presents like a pretty piece of jewellery or a cute watch. I can indulge him in a sparkly red dress or on occasion and have him indulge me too. More importantly, it's a blessing to have someone who knows what it feels like to be a woman; who has tasted the horrors and delights of having guys objectify you walking in heels! He knows my dress size; my favourite perfume and my taste in clothes and lingerie. I can talk about makeup tips, mascaras and eyeliner and he knows exactly what I mean.

So what if we need more closet space for our ever expanding wardrobe? Does it really matter if he borrows my tights or stockings or any of my makeup? Having a cross-dressing boyfriend is fun. I love shopping for clothes together, even if it does mean I end up spending more than I intend to! Most important of all is that he is someone who loves and trusts me enough to share that part of his life with me. I must be the luckiest girl out :)


Jane x


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Love (and GRS) Changes Everything

Yes, I know, it's ages since I've blogged but as you can see I'm back (at last). It seems silly to offer one but I guess I owe you all an explanation. You're an audience. I told you about my life so far. Up till now, aspects of love' (I'm not talking Lloyd Webber here) have featured only a little but in the next 'act' that's about to change. I've been more honest about my past and life than I ever thought I could be or maybe should be? Then my life came to a crescendo, there was Gender Reassignment Surgery, the house tab came down for the interval and I guess or wonder if you've been waiting there for the next, you wouldn't wait that have a life to live LOL. But on the off chance that there's anyone left in the house still eating popcorn or ice cream, here's what's happened. Given that there's been an awfully lot happening, this is kinda like 'so that's what you missed on Glee!' Apologies to those who don't watch that maddeningly addictive series!

Surgery has changed so much; way more than I imagined. I had somehow persuaded myself that it would change very little really; a matter of dotting 'i's' and crossing 't's': Indeed my therapist had said the same. "If by the time you approach the eve of your GRS you aren't psychologically a woman...rearranging a few bits of anatomy will do nothing" summed up what he had to say. I have been living and working as a Mom and as a woman' for the last seven years. 'As'? that's stupid....I had just finally been given the chance to be myself for the last seven, almost eight years. When you get to that point, what is there that's so different? One doctor (my ex-endocrinologist!) even asked (referring to surgery) 'Do you really need to do this? There can be so many problems!' Small wonder that I wasn't prepared for the huge changes that GRS DID bring. I genuinely saw none of this coming and I'm not quite sure why.

So what was so surprising and new? I'm sure that you don't want to know about my experiences of surgery itself....anaesthesia, haemorrhaging, compression bandages, morphine, analgesia, catheters, messiness, pain and all that. There's little point in telling you about procedures, about post operative healing and learning how to pee many have written about it and what to expect if you too are transitioning. No, 'life changing' came in the form of new and changed relationships. Surgery and your hospital stay are relatively short but if you're like me you will leave with a whole new bunch of friends as well as your dilators, a few packs of lube and your discharge instructions. Finding yourself back home with 3x daily dilations and cleaning up to do can be so lonely. It's nice to have visitors and someone to chat to. I longed for them. I didn't expect what happened next.

Martin was someone I'd known since December 13 2012; a Facebook friend. We'd met after introducing ourselves online. There is a twist to this story but I'll leave that till later (pause while the curious go to check for another blog post - sorry it hasn't been posted yet!). On that lovely 13th day, Martin and I shared lunch at a seaside coffee shop not far from where I work. We kept in touch over the Winter about my impending GRS in Spring this year. Fast forward to April 16 this year and there I was spending the first two pain ridden pre-op weeks at my sister's house doing what seemed like a never ending round of dilations. When, in my first few weeks back home, he arrived bearing flowers at my apartment one morning, I was so pleased. He stayed for what seemed like hours and I loved his company. He was so understanding, so interested in what I'd been through, so supportive. I sat on the sofa and couldn't take my eyes off him, just couldn't look away. Entranced by those lovely brown eyes; I felt like I wanted him to stay forever; I desperately wanted to see more of him: I just had to.

Over the coming weeks and months, not only did I see more of him but it was quite clear that we both wanted to spend more time with each other. We had a long hot summer reaching out in front of us but I was still seeing others. In those initial weeks we had emphasised a really open relationship; friends with benefits, a refusal to trap each other into a closed love affair. Who was I kidding really? myself primarily I suspect. At the time I was still talking to potential dates, flirting online, saying I would date others, texting, sexting wanting to at last find out what it was like to be out there. It was a little scary. No it was REALLY scary. Predictably some of the guys I went out with at first (yes I was still doing this while I was recovering and healing, was I mad?) wanted only one thing (I was in no position to give anything of the sort!) Some people are so desperate for 'it' I suppose. I guess that I really needed to ask myself why they were single!

It was only when I set off one weekend for a date with someone else and faced with his expectation that I might sleep with him that I realised what an incredible mistake it would be. Waking up in a stranger's bed the following morning, having someone else touch me, suddenly felt really wrong and I realised then what I had chosen to ignore, that I wasn't actually finding out what was out there, I had already found it. I was head over heels in love even though I had told myself it was WAY too early for that!

Even when you can admit that you've fallen in love, it's so hard to tell someone isn't it? It works that way both for boys and girls; at least I think it does. It took a trip to Bruges, Belgium to bring up the 'L' word. Maybe it is being aware that the girl you are fond of is out on the North Sea, on a ship bound for Zeebrugge with a rapidly dwindling phone signal that concentrates a guys mind. I wouldn't know. What I do know is that getting a message from him telling me 'I love you' and realising that there might be very little time left to tell him you feel the same, concentrated my mind! Already so in love. I messaged that I loved him back from an upper berth in an outside cabin on board the 'Pride of York' car still remains an intensely romantic moment!

You can imagine the long hot summer of days on the beach, first kisses, warm sensual intimacy, lunch dates, romantic seashore walks with his arm around me, evening walks with lovely kisses, losing my virginity in rain soaked woodland with water cascading down on us. I hope you can because I'm not giving details. All these things and more lead to me realising that having GRS changes way more that just a few bits of anatomy. Love does change everything, especially the way in which you perceive your GRS. Before surgery, GRS had become an end point, now it seems like a beautiful beginning. GRS paved the way for a freedom to experience intimacy as a woman, to feel orgasm and sensuality as I had never felt it before. Maybe even more important it opened the way to experiencing love and emotion in a completely new way.

Fast forward now to December this year. December, the Solstice, Christmas, Hannukah; a time of miracles and wonders, of light that refuses to go out, of hope for the future; a time for gifts and new beginnings. I got my new beginning, my miracle and my precious gift. In December this year my love moved in with me and came home to stay. There are no more tearful goodbyes waving until his car disappears out of sight; no more desperate hugs feeling that I want him to go on holding me forever. Now all I have to do is reach out tenderly in the night and he's there by my side. I still find it hard to believe that it's really happening.