A Phantom Pain

Someone wrote…

“Sometimes I’m sure I had a penis, but I’ve somehow lost it. I reach for it…and find…nothing. Just a phantom pain. A niggling memory in the back of my mind.”

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on November 8th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 13 comments »

13 Responses to “A Phantom Pain”

  1. Anonymous

    I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder who I could blame for having stolen my penis….sometimes I can smile about it and think `ok, so let`s call the police to catch the penis-thieve`, but mostly it feels just painful and makes me angry to miss something that IS there in my mind but not visible.
    The most painful moments are the ones I am having this fucking invisible errection….


  2. Anonymous

    You may be interested in some emergent research about phantom limb syndrome and its potential relevance for trans folks. Here’s a somewhat related article – http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2007/1861116.htm

    Basically the idea with phantom limb is that the brain contains a neurological map for a part that no longer is (or, as the case may be, never was) there. Because the brain continues to have the part “mapped” in the somatosensory cortex however, the person experiences the part as though it were there (as, to the brain, it is). I’m sorry i can’t find the actual research, but there are some folks theorizing that this is what’s going on for (some) trans folks – to your brain, that penis is as real as your fingers and toes (which is why you feel that pesky invisible erection) and the rest of you is struggling to figure out what it means for you as a person, as a gendered person, and as an individual person, if you feel like you have a penis but you don’t

    One perspective (re-hashed poorly by me!)


    Anonymous replied:

    Hey, this is really helpful….I understand it like…my brain HAS a penis but it is not grown on my body.

    But I also am very sure that there has never really been something removed or taken away in my early childhood….what if you really have no signs of beeing intersex or so? If you are definetly totally xxx??? Where does this invisible penis come from?
    OMG i gotta go to work, I`m late already…too much questions….but thanx so far. Genderfork really helps!!!!


    gk replied:

    You could look up Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, who is doing this kind of research. Here’s an interview about the link between phantom limbs and trans people:


    Click “view transcript” to read the interview. Trigger warning for misgendering on his behalf, and skepticism around trans identities (he believes “the science” more than trans people’s self-reported feelings).


  3. Elle

    I’d be happy to trade. As soon as they come up with a genital exchange program we’ll talk.


    Oliver Leon replied:

    Oh my god. This has to happen one day. Genital Exchange Program.


    Elle replied:

    I know, right? I’ve also got a broad chest and a set of linebacker shoulders I’m willing to throw into the deal for some hips and an ass.


    Anonymous replied:

    where do I sign for that????

    Elle replied:

    As soon as medical science gets that far I’m willing to consider a trade for everything from the neck down. AND my facial hair, just as a bonus.

  4. Hans

    This exactly. Sometimes when I’ve just woken up and am not quite fully alert yet, I reach for what should be my penis and it’s just.. not there. This always trips up my brain for a moment.


  5. Meike

    @Elle “Genital Exchange Program”…tee hee hee. Totally want to sign up for that one.

    But yeah, I totally agree with the OP. It’s not a constant thing, but every so often…quite obnoxious.


  6. Elle

    Coming from an alternate gender angle, my phantom pains come from the idea that my physical penis isn’t mine, that it’s covering up my vagina. That it is attached to me but separate from me, like a parasite, a leech or a lamprey that steals my blood. That’s why I want a Genital Exchange Program: seriously, it’s not mine, you can have the damn thing, just make it stop touching me.


  7. Vero

    for me its a plesure to have a phantom penis and a female body , the benefits of both genders.


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