Neo-Vagina Monologue 9
In a recent TG Forum article ("Recovery into Discovery", 2003 May 26) Bobbi Swan discussed the wonderful new sexual feelings and sensations she was discovering in her post-operative genitalia. I am happy for Bobbi. But I am also very jealous, because I am experiencing no such sensations myself. I am writing this rather dull and embarrassing article for balance, lest those considering SRS be left with the impression that they will be guaranteed to enjoy the type of results that Bobbi reports.
Bobbi and I have been close e-mail friends ever since we discovered that we were on similar paths and time lines in our transsexual transitions. Bobbi had her surgery in Thailand in January, and I had mine in Menlo Park, California in February. So we are both a few months post-op as we write about our sensations. We are also both older women, Bobbi being 70-something and me nearly 50. We are both happy with the results of our surgery and in general delighted with our lives as women.
Unfortunately, I am feeling absolutely nothing sensual about my twice-daily
dilation sessions. My clitoris is sensate, but touching it is just irritating,
like touching a wound that is still sensitive or perhaps scratching an itch.
It was overly sensitive a few weeks after surgery, but my surgeon
Dr. Cholon instructed me to massage it during my dilation sessions and a couple of weeks of that calmed it down. At this point it isn't really painful to touch it, but it's not pleasant or sexy, either.
As to my vagina itself, there is very little feeling. There is some pain stretching out the very tight PC (pubococcygeal ) muscle near the opening--think forcing a 1-1/2" peg into a 1-1/4" hole. Also there can be some pain at the end when I press very hard with my stent, which I do to work on increasing my depth. Sometimes I use a vibrator instead of my hard delron stents, and I can feel a little bit of tickling when I poke it around in certain ways, but that sensation is promising at best. I've heard that much of the sensual feeling in a post-operative transsexual woman's vagina comes from stimulation of the prostate gland (just like with anal sex), but I have a bit of a depth problem and I don't think I'm getting to that organ. Besides, my prostate will shrink up to just about nothing over time, so that doesn't seem like it would be an on-going source of sexual pleasure.
I have experimented with sexual intercourse a bit--strictly for scientific purposes! (NOT!) I was quite surprised to experience absolutely no feeing inside my vagina. It was really a matter of, "Oh, you're in already?" I experience a little more feeling with my own fingers or when I'm controlling a stent myself, but I guess these feelings are really being transmitted through my hand.
I also need to admit that my sex drive is completely absent. It had already been well diminished after being on hormones for several months, but after the surgery it was gone gone gone. I believe that this is the root of the problem with lack of sexual responsiveness. Sexual arousal comes first from the brain, right? I don't think I have a physical problem in terms of my genitals being useless; rather, I think it is a psychological problem, possibly stemming from a physical cause, i.e., hormones. I have started using a testosterone gel to see if I just need a little bit of T back in the old system. I've also noticed that my source of sexual arousal has shifted from visual to tactile. I simply just don't get turned on by visual stimulus, be that beautiful women, rich men, pornography, etc. But start fondling and caressing my body, and I start to get interested. (Flattery helps too.) I did find myself getting a little bit turned on in a general way during sex--thank goodness!
I haven't seen any statistics about how many post-op women are orgasmic or sensually sensate vs. not. As with most TS health issues, there is a dearth of reliable data. As with many issues, this one is hard to judge because orgasmic women tend to trumpet the fact delightedly (I certainly would!), whereas those of us who are not so lucky tend to hide quietly in our corners.
Did I just pick a bad surgeon? Maybe if I had gone to Bobbi's surgeon, I would be experiencing the same delights as Bobbi! Well, maybe, but I don't think so. All surgeons have some patients with good results and some with not such good results. Maybe some surgeons have better success rates than others (and certainly there are some butchers to be avoided at all costs), but every patient is different. I believe my results are just the best that could have been achieved with my body, not the result of a poor surgical technique or skill.
Nor do I think my results are bad. I fully believe that I will be a joyfully
orgasmic woman sooner or later. Some women report this coming on 6 months
or a year after surgery. It takes time for the nerves to remap themselves to
my body's new configuration, and for them all to start firing properly again.
Even Bobbi said, "It's as if the new genitals are slowly but gradually coming
alive with the discovery of known and unknown nerve endings." Maybe my nerves
are just a little slower than Bobbi's. (Or maybe next month I'll get a pleasant
surprise--after all Bobbi is one month ahead of me!)
And I need to get my hormones and my head back into a happy sexual space.
I'm not worried about it. I'm willing to give it all the time takes. A
vacation from driving sexual need is actually quite refreshing!
What if my sex drive never returns? What if I never get sexual pleasure from my female genitalia? That would be a big disappoint, of course. But it would not make me regret my decision to have the surgery. I thought about this (and even wrote about it) before my surgery, and I concluded that it did not change my mind. I feel the same way today. I love my life as a woman. I love having a vagina instead of a penis. If you are considering SRS for yourself, and you do not feel the same way about this, then I would suggest that you had better keep thinking about it.
That's all for now. I've got to go dilate!
Update, 2/2007: My sex drive has NOT returned. I'm pretty much asexaul at
this point. I am not orgasmic; in fact, I do not feel any sexual arousal no
matter where or how I am touched. You can fondle my breasts or vagina (just
ask first, huh?) and it just feels like a massage to me. (I like massages.)
I know other girls who had surgery with the same doctor and they are orgasmic,
so I don't think it's the doctor's fault. I think it's just the luck of the
draw. A lot of cisgender women are inorgasmic, too. C'est la vie.