Living life as a woman and being, for the most part, treated as one these last few months has been strange and interesting. There are a lot of things I never really expected, and throughout my transition I’ve learned a lot about myself. As fascinating as the subtleties of gendered treatment and sexism have been to experience, I have to say the one single thing that occupies my mind the most right now is… well, it’s going to sound a bit shallow.
I’m kind of boy crazy right now.
I know. I know. Give me a break though, this is my first time ever experiencing attraction to men. I still find attention a little too intoxicating.
That’s what I wanted to talk about today, actually. I was never really into men back when I lived as [redacted]. I mean, sure, I could look at some guys and go “wow, he’s really attractive” but it was more like the way you would admire someone’s cool transparent umbrella than anything else. I was attracted to girls, and it wasn’t one of the many things I had to work hard at imitating other men in. It came naturally. I liked women.
Which is why it’s been so odd that things have pretty much turned upside down. I’d read that romantic attraction can change a little throughout transition. I remember speaking to my psychiatrist a short while before I came out and started hormones. I mentioned I was interested in exploring my sexuality, but honestly I never thought it would change at all, other than maybe adding a slight attraction to men.
I keep coming back to the subject, not solely because such a drastic change in romantic/sexual orientation is odd in as little as 1-5 months, but also because of how different it feels. This is a slightly stereotypical, pretty heteronormative, oversimplification, but when I liked girls I enjoyed the feeling of making someone else feel special and taking care of them and having them admire me, while liking men has been… kind of the opposite? Being on the receiving end of that kind of attention and being made to feel special is completely different and, to be honest, much more fun and enjoyable.
I don’t know if this is a sexuality thing or a gender thing, though I’d love to find out.
Do bisexual people feel the same sort of attraction towards men as they do towards women? Does attention from each feel the same? (This isn’t a rhetorical question… if you’re bi please let me know!)
On a similar vein, do gay men feel an attraction more similar to that felt by straight dudes, or by straight women? Or is it completely different?
Regardless of whether the difference is due to being the girl in interactions or due to being attracted to men, I’ve been pondering a lot on what has led to the change.
I started seriously questioning my gender at 13; I self-identified as a woman when I was around 18-20 years old; I started my public transition about 6-7 months ago; I started hormones about 5 months ago; I’ve been mostly gendered female by others for the last 3 months or so now. However, I haven’t started feeling this change until a little over a month ago.
Is it due to HRT taking effect on the hormones that affect sexual orientation? Is it due to me being treated as a woman by men more nowadays? Is it something to do with feeling some pressure to be a heteronormative woman, or losing the pressure of ‘having’ to be a heteronormative man?
I don’t really know. All I know right now is, a really cute strong guy at work grabbed my shoulder and greeted me by name yesterday, and it took me a few seconds of deep breathing to calm down. That never really happened before. As strange as it is, this has definitely been one of the most fun parts of transition so far 😛
What do y’all think it might be? What have your experiences been with romantic/sexual attraction and gender? If you’ve experienced a shift in sexuality, why do you think it happened, and has it felt any different?