What differentiates our romantic relationship from our relationships with friends? Both require a certain amount of trust and a commitment to be there for one another. You celebrate the good times in your lives and support one another through the tough times. You share your joys and sorrows. You hold a confidence and keep your secrets. All relationships are a balance between give and take. It is also advantageous to have similar interests and be like-minded. Having things in common and enjoying the same activities is also noted in both types of relationships. So it seems that the biggest difference is a physical sexual attraction towards one another.
It is this powerful sexual attraction that often leads us to begin a relationship in the first place. The sensations you feel through your body when you see someone you are attracted to. You feel that pounding in your chest, the butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms and a feverish sensation. It overcomes you. Feeling almost drawn to them. All reasoning goes out the window and you need to talk to them. The hormones released in our brain increase our desire to be with that person. This passionate connection that we feel in the beginning of a relationship is what makes our sex with them so intense and in most cases, quite frequent.
“This is normal in all relationships for cisgender and transgender people alike.”
However, our drive for sex declines as we age and in the wake of having children, a mortgage and bills to pay, stress, a disagreeable job, aging parents, a decrease in hormones, and sometimes sheer exhaustion at the end of the day. This is normal in all relationships for cisgender and transgender people alike. Now, as partners of transgender men and women let’s add hormone replacement therapy, the introduction of a second adolescence and our partners just beginning the journey to self discovery. It can feel as though we are up the creek without a paddle (as my mother would say). The start of transition is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone involved. Many partners are left wondering, “what about me?”
First and most importantly, you need to have good communication with one another. Many transgender people suffer from dysphoria when thinking about, going near, or touching their genitals. Your partner may just not be ready. That’s ok too. Have patience and concentrate on other aspects of having a close relationship. Remember there are many levels of intimacy. It is not just about having sex; there are important stops along the way to the outcome that you seek. Moving at a slow pace and exploring your partners “new” body will not only be fun but also help you both to get to know them better.
“Like everything else in the world our sex drive is a cyclical cycle of ups and downs.”
Like everything else in the world our sex drive is a cyclical cycle of ups and downs. Sometimes it consumes every thought in our head and other times it’s the furthest thing away. The demands that our daily lives put on us are sometimes overwhelming. It is the reason we need to give ourselves an adult timeout. Some days we need to pamper ourselves and do the things we enjoy doing alone or with friends. Other days it’s a timeout with our partner. To take a walk, cook a meal together, or sit in a bubble bath, but most importantly to talk to each other. Reignite the fire you had for each other at the start of your relationship. Again, this is not just a transgender issue; it is an issue for all couples in a long term committed relationship. Just like a flower that needs sunlight and water to grow, our relationships need time and compassion to flourish.