Gender Affirmed & Euphoric! - a SHAG Mini-Workshop - PART 2!
October 13, 2022
If you haven’t checked out part 1 of this workshop, read the transcript here!
We're continuing our conversation about euphoria in sexual experiences that are gender affirming!
Some of this effort can involve thinking about what language you want to be used for your body and body parts, because your body is yours and you can decide how you want other people to refer to you and your physical self. You can communicate your preferences with partners and see how it feels to have those conversations. It's also possible to have a little debrief or check-in before or after you play. It's possible you'll say, “Hey, you know what? This time I want my chest referred to in this way,” or “I don't want my chest acknowledged.” Then, afterwards, you might reflect and think, “Well, that actually didn't really do anything for me,” or, “Wow, that felt so good for me.” We sometimes don't know exactly what we want until we get in a situation where we're able to test drive things, and sometimes what we want shifts over time. This all holds true for whatever body parts you want as well as the way our partners refer to us and we refer to them. There are many very gendered ways to refer to one other. We can do like “good boy” or “good girl,” right? Many words we might want to use to address each other in the bedroom have a strong gendered resonance:
Having sex that is gender affirming is not just something that trans people have. For example, for a cis man or anyone who feels very masculine and that's how they want to be seen, being called king or daddy is having their gender being affirmed in that moment, right? Those words are affirming for them because that feels right for them. If we can open up those lines of communication instead of assuming what people want to be called, we can all have much more affirming, happy sex lives. There's the gender that's expected of us, all of us, along with any associated ideas or traits – those binaries we talked about – and then there's the gender or gender traits we choose, which can be subversive. It can be subversive for me to be called “mommy,” and then maybe double subversive for me to be “daddy” again. Playing with gender in the bedroom can mean fun sexual mind games and finding what feels right.
You can de-gender language by adding an “x” to the ends of words or phrases. "Mysteryx” or "prince x” are ones I've heard, and, of course, “zaddy” is a classic in de-gendered language. Just put the “z” at the beginning and there you go! Another de-gendered one is “your kindness.” You can also explore all the words and titles that don't have anything to do with gender, like “toy,” “pet,” or “plaything.” One that everybody uses all the time and doesn't think about is “babe” or “baby,” which is a genderless title we often use for our partners or lovers. You can also get goofy or creative and have fun with it, maybe get into some roleplay: “captain” or “boss” are great options. I think if you wanted to have a little Sopranos scene going on, “boss” would be fun. I just finished the show, so I’m in that Italian-American head space. Or “head chef” would be culturally resonant and has a lot of options. I feel like it's making a comeback, the whole Gordon Ramsey thing. Go wild, get out the wooden spoons and aprons!
Try to play and think on your own about what language you are using now and what language you think might feel good. Then, when you have some ideas, talk to you partner (or go solo), and give it a shot. Then check in afterwards (again, even if it’s by yourself), and think about if the words felt good or not.
Another way that we can interact with our gender, broadly speaking, is through an idea called “gender performance,” which comes from Judith Butler. Rather than thinking about those words in an “all the world's a stage” kind of way, try thinking about gender as just a series of indicators and behaviors – performances – that we choose. We can make choices about what we're wearing or what we're using in our sex life that can help to affirm what we're trying to feel good about. Starting with some clothing stuff here at SHAG: we just got these in, and they are very fun. They are from a brand called Menagerie.
These are slightly gender fucky, sexy, lacey briefs. They have a pocket for packing. So if you have a packer, which is a prosthetic flexed penis, you can tuck that in here and have a little bulge and feel good about that. Those are fun.
Something that's inherently de-gendered that I just want to mention is the entire kink section: collars, cuffs, crops, whips, and floggers. You can imbue these toys and props with any gender qualities you like in your play. Blindfolds can be a really powerful tool, too!
comfortable, light-blocking, and gender-neutral!
If I'm not feeling great about my body, being physically unable, or not allowed in kink terms, to visually perceive myself can be a really relieving thing and not something that we're afforded day to day. We love kink at SHAG. Also, sex is synonymous with genitals or penetration for so many people. Kink makes it really obvious that sex can be completely disconnected from our genitals, and that can also be a relief. A kinky scene that does not involve the genitals can be an especially safe and joyful experience for someone who is not feeling comfortable with themselves in a given moment. If you have an impact scene where you are either being hit or hitting, that can be a completely genderless experience. It also doesn't have to involve power exchange. You can be equals, and then you can ask for someone to hit you as an equal, and in doing so, they can be giving you the gift of hitting you. You can perceive these actions in any number of contexts, not just the obvious ones. If you want to play with the dynamics of top being submissive and a bottom being dominant rather than the other way around, that can also be a fun way to toy with binaries to find what feels good. It's all on the table.
A very popular and iconic item here at SHAG for gender play is the Tomboi harness:
This is just like a nice little pair of briefs that has an o-ring sewn in, so you can put a toy in there and use the briefs as a strap-on. It also has two different pockets, in different places, for bullet vibrators, so you can put a bullet vibe in the right spot for the wearer or their partner, and it has a fly so you can also pack while wearing this. This is a great option if you want to pack and play or just not have to wrestle with so many straps and buckles when getting ready for strap-on play. Obviously, lingerie is something that tends to be femme coded. We have lots and lots of lingerie at SHAG! All kinds of lacey, meshy, strappy things for all tastes, from budget pieces to handmade, local designs. Sometimes, anatomically, lingerie can be a little tough, but we have lots of crotchless lingerie, which is a great workaround.
Another great item for gender play is perfume or cologne.
Pheromone Fragrances available at SHAG!
Decide which one feels right for today...try the next one tomorrow.
You can start by thinking about how you smell and if maybe smelling a certain way enhances a certain gender expression. That's fun, and it's also fun to go shopping for a signature scent. Maybe you pick a bedroom scent that you only wear in the bedroom! At SHAG we have some scents enhanced with pheromones, which can be really fun, too. Back to lingerie, I do want to mention Unclockable, a company that makes a stretch adhesive tape device that's meant to help people who want to lift penises (who want to tuck). That product can help smooth things out and make some of the lingerie, especially thinner thongs and stuff, much more comfortable. Trans Tape is another similar product. At SHAG, we're going to be carrying a new similar product from Sportsheets, which we’re really excited about. It is an alternative to a binder. If you're trying to have some chest compression to get a flatter chest, Trans Tape can do that; it spreads and goes around your back and sticks. That's nice because you can still be naked and have the compression, or wear stuff unbuttoned, having the whole of your chest exposed. On the topic of chest binders, any constricting, tighter clothing, like shapewear, can achieve that as well.
**This text was transcribed from SHAG’s live Mini-Workshop on October 13, 2022 and edited for clarity. This opinion piece is not intended to constitute licensed expert advice; all content is for general informational purposes only.**