There is something radical and transgressive about flipping the heteronormative narrative of queer sexuality to fit our own needs and our own identities. I would argue that gender affirming role play does not recreate hetero relationships but rather subverts any traditional notions of gender and sexuality and helps us create our own identities.
Masculinity and femininity are social constructs. It’s time to unlearn some of these unconscious rules we may be following.
Start by having a conversation with your partner about boundaries and desires.
Listening is the most important thing a person can do in any kind of relationship. Not just listening to the words a person is saying, but being actively involved in the listening process. Active listening techniques show your partner that you really care about what they’re saying. Try restating their thoughts in your own words to check for clarity. Validate and acknowledge their feelings while communicating your own thoughts and ideas.
Find out what words your partner wants to use for various parts of the body. I asked my followers online for their insights on this topic before writing this article. A femme-identified reader said that she uses the term “chest” instead of “breasts” when she refers to her butch partner. Another androgynous reader said zi prefers to use the term “cock” when talking about the dildo zi uses with zir partners.
Ask your partner where they like to be touched and what they’re okay with doing. One transman said he felt loved and respected when new partners asked permission to touch him. He said he needed patience and respect because of his body dysmorphia. Explicit consent is sexy. Whisper into your partner’s ear everything you’d like to do with them and ask them if it’s okay to follow through.
Don’t assume that gendered role play is related to personal identity.
Sometimes being interested in role play is just fantasy and other times it’s connected to how someone views themselves. The line of thinking that all masculine of center people like one sexual act or another is generalizing and confuses the difference between gender and sexuality. Don’t assume because someone is masculine-presenting that they’d like to be the initiator of sexual contact. Sometimes it’s just the opposite. A masculine-identified lesbian said, “If I don’t initiate, it’s assumed that I’m not interested. As a person, I like to feel desired as much as I like to make someone else feel desired.”
A transmasculine queer person said, “Gender has nothing to do with dominance. I let my partners dominate me all the time — that just seems like letting societal norms into the bed rather than finding masculinity in submission.”
Gender is far too complicated to be done justice in just one article, but these are some basic ways for beginners to start exploring gendered role play. Remember, communication is key. The more you talk, listen and learn, the better your sex life will be.
Meg Ten Eyck is a fun loving and feisty LGBT advocate and community educator. Her blog Dopesontheroad.com is among the most popular lesbian travel and culture blogs on the internet. Have questions for her? Email her at Meg@dopesontheroad.com.
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. This column, its author, the magazine and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation.