Life with anxiety is like a game of whack-a-mole. If you deal with one thing, another will just pop up. And adding more estrogen to my system shakes it up and switches the game to advanced mode. I am (re)discovering so many things that I thought I had dealt with hiding beneath the surface.
So often when there’s a photo of me I go back and look at it only a few days later and dislike it because of dysphoria. But I took this one the other day using my iPhone portrait mode that I’m really loving. It feels like I can actually see myself looking back at me. My hair is extra curly here because my spouse had just helped me style it.
Last night I was admiring how different my breasts feel now. Before I took estrogen I did have some fairly visible breasts due to my weight and low testosterone levels but they were just pockets of fat with pectoral muscles deep below. Now there is definitely tissue underneath and they feel totally different. My spouse described them last night as “somehow soft yet firm” because underneath the initial layer of squish they have a layer that is clearly not muscle but also not fat. I think my nipples are already bigger than hers too but she disagrees.
One of the funniest parts is watching how they grow unevenly. The pattern seems to be that my left breast will grow one week and then my right will catch up. Sometimes they are the same size but right now the left is significantly bigger. Currently they are pretty tender and painful with pressure but don’t actively hurt. We just redid my measurements last night so I guess it’s time to start trying out some bras.
Last week I increased my dose of estrogen to 6 mg a day which seems to really be helping my mood. I no longer appear to have the radical mood swings. At first I was taking 4 in the morning and 2 at night but I was seeing a dip in mood and energy in the early afternoon. I spoke to my doc and she recommended spacing it out evenly which seems to be solving the problem. Apparently my body likes estrogen, just not low levels of both hormones.
Content warning: Description of sex and genitalia
This is a first for me. I don’t usually write so publicly about the actual details of how I have sex. But I had a moment I am really proud of this weekend that I thought other people mind find helpful.
So here goes.
Are you ready?
Lately I have been having difficulty having sex that involves my penis. Partly it is dysphoria but mostly with the estrogen and the low libido it is causing I am just having a difficult time getting and staying hard. I’ve used generic viagra for awhile now for ED because I had so many issues around sex anxiety that I was working through because of how my ex messed me up. But before I started E I was using less and less. Now I need to take any time I want to use that part of my body.
But this weekend I had a date with my spouse and I was feeling more sexy than usually and decided to take the viagra. Predictably as we were getting ready to have PIV intercourse my dysphoria kicked in which usually would have put a quick end to it. As I touched myself to put lube on, it literally felt like my penis wasn’t my own and wasn’t part of my body. But this time I found a way to work with that feeling.
Without even thinking too hard about it my brain decided to make that a part of the sex. I conceptualized my penis as the best strap-on dildo ever. It was both attached to me and not part of me at the same time in a really hot way instead of a disturbing one. I could feel what was happening but it felt like I was feeling that through something else instead of directly. The part that I’m most proud of is that I was able to make that switch so smoothly that it didn’t interrupt the flow and we had great sex and I told my partner about how I had done it afterwards.
I’m not sure if I can always do that but hopefully the memory and success of that moment is transferable. How do you find ways to use your body through dysphoria?
I think I’m a transwoman in a nonbinary body.
I’ve talked about this before but when I think about the steps required to bring my body into alignment with my internal gender I get extremely overwhelmed, not only by the amount of work but the realization that I wouldn’t be doing it as much for myself as I would to change how people see me. I have no problem with my beard or 80%+ of my body. I don’t want to spend years trying to learn how to change my voice so that I can pass. And I don’t want to give up a perfectly functional penis to gain a vagina that I don’t even know if I would like as much.
What I do want are breasts (working on it), less body hair (need to get back on that), and a more feminine distribution of fat (hopefully that will start soon). I also want access to motherhood which seems like the far more challenging thing to achieve since I can’t/won’t do that alone. I want to be treated like the woman I am without needing to jump through the unattainable hoops of passing.
But the more I think about it, the less I think my internal gender is actually nonbinary. As in I don’t know of any masculine traits that I identify with. I have the gender of a lesbian woman and the gender blurriness that comes packaged with perceptions queer femmeness. I am just as much a woman internally as any lesbian and probably more feminine than most. I just happened to not be born with a cis woman’s body and I can never attain that no matter how hard I try.
In other news, I am toying with the idea of trying out she/her pronouns but I’m not sure I’m quite ready to make that switch yet. So many complex feelings where I’m torn between what I feel I deserve and what I feel I can reasonably fight for.
I just got the results back from my first checkup post-hormones. My estrogen is twice the maximum for recommended male range and on the low end for women (90.5 pg/mL). My testosterone is almost nonexistent (21 ng/dL). I’ve been swinging pretty radically between extremely depressed to extremely euphoric throughout the course of the week and my breasts continue to grow. I talked to my doc about the mood and she said that there is a 50/50 chance that more estrogen will make that either better or worse. So tomorrow I start with 4 mg in the morning and 2 mg at night (currently 2 twice a day). We’ll see what happens!
PS – I’m not taking spiro to suppress my testosterone because my T levels were already below the male range before I started and clearly I don’t need them now.
It’s been too long since I’ve shared a photo. Here’s the one that’s giving me joy lately from my first attempt to put on my own eye makeup.