Sure, I bought the dilators and did the breathing exercises the doctors and websites tell you to do. But I was never really doing it for myself. In all honesty, I was doing it for my partner.
Now that’s not to say that my partner ever pressured me into having vaginal sex. Actually, they never brought it up, expressing nothing but excitement and satisfaction with the way we were already having sex. But society’s depictions of sex paired with the fact that my partner has only been with cis women capable of vaginal sex before me made me self-conscious about how valuable I was sexually. When I tried seeking solace in spaces designed for people with vaginismus, I only encountered cis women who reflected a similar idea about sexual expectations. And while their opinions and experiences are valid, they didn’t reflect or affirm my own.
Looking back, I realize my problem was that I was forcing myself to identify with women and cisnormative sexual health as a transmasculine person. What I wanted was a working penis, not a working vagina. If I couldn’t get rid of it altogether, the next best thing was refraining from using it in a sexually penetrative context.
Attempting to engage in vaginismus treatment felt silly, even postmortem.
My ability to identify with my vagina as a trans man was long gone, and I was actively researching the process of bottom surgery. I often questioned myself through these negative self talks and tearful dilating sessions — what was really the point? I couldn’t really feel or feel close to that part of my body. So what was the point in trying to force it to engage in a sexual act that I didn’t particularly care for?
I had no motivation to “get better,” but all the motivation in the world to further masculinize myself during these moments of discovery. So I threw out the dilators and bought myself a packing penis from my favorite sex shop, Babeland.
From the moment I put it on, I finally felt what I realized was a “ghost penis” on my pelvis turn into something real and tangible. I felt whole sporting my pale uncircumcised penis, named “Pierre” by the packaging, and the idea of forcing things inside of my vagina felt more ridiculous than it ever had. For the first time, I truly released myself from the expectations that others place on women and comfortably slipped into my male identity. Feeling my harness hug my hips and my silicone dick bounce between my thighs as I walked, I laughed at myself for ever putting such vigor into a passionless project. But I also forgave myself — for not knowing, for being afraid and for feeling confused about who I truly am.
My heart feels whole when I look over to the top shelf near my window and see my packing penis with its harness in the space where my bag of mostly unused dilators used to be. I ended the silicone war on myself, and instead traded it in for a different, more fitting piece of silicone. This one is between my thighs too, except now it feels just right.
By Meg Zulch
Originally published on HelloFlo.