DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m a trans guy venturing out into dating women for the first time since I started transition. One of the advantages of being a trans dude is that we can tailor our genitalia to our partner’s preferences via the magic of prosthetics.
Enter my sense of humor. None of my prosthetics look like a normal penis. There are tentacles, tongues, and weirder appendages.
It occurred to me recently to wonder at what point I should maybe mention my terrible sense of humor? Do I wait until we’re discussing what acts are even mutually agreeable and then bring up that I think tentacles are hilarious? Do I just assume that if I’ve gotten that far with someone that she knows about my sense of humor? Do I pick up a couple more normal prosthetics just in case (how boring)? I have consulted both Debrett’s and Miss Manners, but neither offered any guidance.
Help me doc, you’re my only hope!
Cthulhu In My Pants
DEAR CTHULHU IN MY PANTS: I’m not gonna lie: the first thing I thought of when I read this is one of my favorite fan works from Stjepan Sejic, where Lois is reminded that Superman is still an alien.
But putting the pincers aside…
This is actually an interesting issue, CIMP, because it touches on a number of issues surrounding bodies, sex and worrying about what our partners will think when they see us naked for the first time. Bodies are inherently weird, and everyone has things about theirs that they think are inherently unattractive or off-putting. For some it’s cellulite or stretch marks. For others it’s scars from injuries or surgeries. Some folks have large or inverted nipples, gynecomastia or sunken chests. People have hands, feet or limbs that may be different than normal or who have limited mobility or other issues. There can be too much hair in places you think there shouldn’t be any, or not enough in others. Some feel that they’re too fat, others far too skinny. Still others have moles, birthmarks, asymmetries or countless other little quirks and differences that stand out like a glaring red light when we look in the mirror.
And this is never more true than when it comes to our junk. Some folks have pensises and clitorises of varying sizes and shapes — some that curve in odd directions, some that are much larger than normal or much smaller than the average. Same with vulvas, labia, scrotums… all of these come in such wide varieties, and almost everyone is convinced that theirs is weird or unattractive somehow.
But here’s the thing: by the time we’re at the “getting naked” stage of things, it’s almost always fait accompli. When someone’s ready to start peeling your clothes off during furious makeouts, they’re already all-in; they’re into you as the holistic person you are. Whatever thing you think is a disqualifier is rarely going to turn them off or make them change their minds. As it turns out, it’s really hard to ruin the mood when you’re with someone who’s into you, specifically. Most of the time, the things that are unmissable to you are barely noticeable to anyone else, and when they do notice, they usually don’t care.
That having been said, if things go to extremes — such as, say, pulling out a prosthetic or a strap-on that looks like an outtake from Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife — there may be some moments of “wait, WHAT?” that will need to be worked through. After all, here’re a lot of sex toys, prosthetics, dildos and vibrators out there that are as much for the “What the Cinnamon Toast F--k is THAT?” factor as they are about function. Toys from companies like Bad Dragon are impressive to see during a cam show, but may be a bit much for somebody who wasn’t expecting them. Sometimes they can be absurd, sometimes you are convinced there’s no way that thing would fit, sometimes they look anatomically impossible to use, and sometimes they make people go “Wait, why does that have a bicep??”
(If you know, you know.)
But then again, part of what’s made sex toys — penetration toys in particular — more broadly acceptable has been getting away from looking like body parts. Part of why vibrators, penetration toys and insertion toys like Fleshlights got a rap for the perverted or terminally lonely was because they looked like disembodied genitalia. These days, a lot of penetration toys don’t look sexual at all, but more like objet d’art, when function is allowed to dictate form. So pulling a tentacle or other unusually shaped prosthetics out of the drawer may not necessarily be the showstopper you might worry about.
As a general rule, I’m a big believer that the more likely an issue is going to come up — especially during sex — the sooner it should be brought up to the other person, if only so they can adjust their expectations accordingly. The odds are, by the time you’re at a point where you and your future snugglebunny are at the “your place or mine” stage, they’ll know about your sense of humor. But just as knowing my love of awful jokes doesn’t stop my friends from rolling their eyes at me when I make them, knowing that you think tentacles are hilarious doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to expect to see something they last saw in Urotsukidoji when you get together.
In this case, I think that during discussions about your yes’, no’s and maybe’s, your must-haves and hard limits, bringing up that most of your toys are from the exotic or novelty end of the spectrum is a good idea. fIt’s much easier for things to flow smoothly — as smooth as a first time can be, anyway — when folks know more or less what to expect. While it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, you may have to deal with giggling fits or questions like “how does that even work?” that could slow things down.
Not, mind you, that giggles and happy laughter is a bad thing. It’s just that if they know what they’re likely in for in the first place, then you might still be getting the giggles, but it becomes part of the experience, rather than having to pause while she catches her breath.
Now, speaking strictly for myself, I’m a big believer in preparing for as many contingencies as possible. Having a more standard prosthetic as an option, while not as hilarious, may be a good thing to have on hand. They may not necessarily want that one, but it does mean that you have choices if it turns out that the Black Goat With A Thousand Tongue isn’t what they were down for that night. At the very least, it means that people who are a little more standard-issue when it comes to sex will be a bit more comfortable at the start.
But then again, who knows? Your pulling out the Dread Cthulhu Lies (Wet) Dreaming out of the drawer may not even be the weirdest thing she’s seen that week.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com