No One Told Me…
Being a man with a vagina is not easy. (I hate the word vagina because it is so un-sexy, but thought is sounded appropriate for this column!)
I’ve been taking testosterone for well over 18 years, and I see a doctor regularly for checkups, and I also visit to a gyno to check my plumbing. This has not always been an easy thing to do. Imagine being a man and going to have your vagina examined…
Most of you who know me are aware that I’m obviously not shy about my body—since I make a career of sharing my genitals with the world. But going to the gyno used to be one of the hardest things I had to do. I knew it was important, but to get to the point of realizing that I simply had to do it was a long road.
In recent years, I’d noticed that my vagina had become less…moist. Sometimes the dryness made me sore during sex. Well, I just thought that maybe I was having too much sex, and that it was normal.
It turns out, that basically, my vagina was going through “the change.” The testosterone I’d taken for so many years was actually drying me out—which was weird because I was always a very lubricated kinda guy. I never thought that I’d ever be going through menopause the same way a woman does. Who knew?
This is what I’m talking about not having any understanding of how my vagina worked. There were so many years of not dealing with it and not wanting to deal with it, that now I am having to learn all about the basics and the health of it. Vagina 101.
So my gyno in Mexico (which is a whole other story) gave me some estrogen cream to insert at night before bedtime twice a week. WHAT?! I was too freaked out to even speak the word “estrogen,” let alone put it inside of me. Fuck, what was I going to do?
But I had no choice if I wanted to take care of my money-maker. The doctor told me not to worry, because it was a very small dose that would not affect the rest of my body at all. “Think of it as a conditioner for your vagina,” Doc said.
From what I understand, this is common prescriptive for women, but obviously not something that men like me rarely—if ever—discuss. That’s why I felt it was important to write about it. I even made a YouTube video about the importance of getting your plumbing checked! It’s time to start bringing awareness to this issue. After all, if we don’t talk about it within our own community, then the doctors certainly won’t be talking about it.
Of course, most trans men don’t really go around discussing what our vaginas feel like. Many of us don’t even want to see or touch them, let alone go to a gyno to get a checkup. (I’ll bet most of you reading this never even thought about it.) I happen to be pretty rare in the transman world in the sense that I have embraced my vagina enough to do films and show myself off to the world, but many other guys don’t even want to deal. They don’t relate to their vaginas at all, which can make taking care of them really difficult.
The thing is, we have to deal because if we don’t, just like a woman, if we ignore our vaginas we could wind up in deep shit. Unless a transman has had a hysterectomy (which I haven’t), we run the risk of getting cervical cancer, so regular checkups are a must.
When I first started taking testosterone about 18 years ago, I was my doctor’s first female-to-male transsexual patient. He had been working only with male-to-female transsexuals, so his knowledge about guys like me was basically zero. He was the only doctor I could find at the time who was willing to take me on and start the process. I trusted that he knew what he was doing—because he was a doctor and all. Plus, I didn’t even think about what those hormones where doing to my vagina because I didn’t care. It was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to get rid of that female body and those boobs. (Man, how I hated my boobs!)
So, with no knowledge of transsexual men the doctor started administering testosterone to my body in small increments, and while he was careful to monitor my blood and liver enzyme levels (which I still do), sexual side effects of the female variety were never mentioned. After six months, the dose was raised to a level he felt was “safely comfortable” (whatever that means), he taught me to administer the shots to myself, and sent me on my way. Now, nearly twenty years later, I am dealing with a dry, sore vagina!
Actually, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about the doctor. He was great and did what he could for me, and I am very grateful. But that was a long, long time ago and I still hear that the doctors are doing the same thing, which to me is a fucking crime. They need to take this a bit more seriously. There are 10 times more guys getting reassignment now than ever before. We need to have better information. Doctors not only need to take the time to learn more about what long-term testosterone use does to our bodies, but also to help us learn to embrace our vaginas, if we choose to keep them.
So, I am going to be honest here and tell you that I have not been so great in keeping up with the usage of the estrogen cream. It was freaking me out. Even though I knew it would help me get my vagina back to normal, I just felt so weird putting that cream inside me. A friend of mine who is a homeopathic doctor gave me a natural cream that basically does the same thing, but in a non-hormonal form. Now that’s what I like. I have been using it for a short time and I already feel a difference in the moistness of my vagina—plus I don’t have to stress on the word “estrogen.”
So that’s my crazy vagina story, which I bet you never thought you would hear coming from a man! It has been a long road to get the point that I can talk about and even make fun of the fact that I have a vagina, but I have to say it has been one of the most freeing experiences in my life.