The Beholders

Someone wrote…

The trouble with being attracted to someone who isn’t thrilled with their body is the feeling that your enthusiasm for their body could be viewed poorly.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?


Posted by on April 23rd, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 26 comments »

26 Responses to “The Beholders”

  1. Andronymous

    Yeah, that’s a fine line. I have a friend who’s getting mastectomies this summer, and telling him about how beautiful he is gets awkward sometimes. I make sure to pepper in a few “you’ll look great after the surgery” comments for balance. Kind of weak, but I’m trying.

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  2. Cameron Joel

    THIS.

    It’s almost like attraction can be seen as a form of betrayal. :\

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  3. tino

    YES. I’ve experienced this with people regardless of gender/presentation.

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  4. Samson

    YES. I was, at times, terrified of expressing things that I liked about my trans boyfriend’s body, because really not only were there a few parts of his body that he had gender issues with (in all sorts of ways–there were masculine and feminine things both that he both loved and hated), he struggled with general self-hatred and the ghost of an eating disorder.

    Meanwhile I was trying to come to terms with my body, and trying for the first time to be sexual as a genderqueer person, and I think he often felt the same way about me. How do you know what the other person wants to be appreciated for when there’s no template for genderqueer and trans* bodies, and when the other person hardly knows, themselves?

    I guess this underscores the need for as much open communication with one’s partner as one can bear.

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  5. Anonymous

    This is one of the major reasons I don’t date. I’m so uncomfortable with certain parts of my body that I can’t live with the idea of having someone like those bits of me. And I’m always afraid they’ll love me for the parts I plan to remove.

    And I’m not good enough at trust or communicating my feelings to be able to feel comfortable with intimacy.

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    Tommy replied:

    This.

    I also don’t plan on having sex until I get rid of my breasts. I’d hate for someone to touch them in a sexual way.

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    Demian Y. replied:

    SECONDING. Gah. Life sucks

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    Nick replied:

    Sex can be pretty good while wearing a binder. just saying.
    It’s your life and your choice though, do whatever works for you.

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    Tommy replied:

    I know it can be an option for some people…but I’d still feel “too clothed” and…dunno…I’d still feel too unconfortable.

    I guess that if I happen to fall in love with someone before top-surgery we will at least make an attempt with a binder and a packer…but I’m not going to actively look for a partner. It seems like looking for trouble to me :/

  6. Anonymous

    I miss those parts because she misses them, but that’s the only reason I miss them.

    - The Beheld

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    math replied:

    aw
    so sweet

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    Imi replied:

    uber-sweet!

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    Anonymous replied:

    I wish you luck in your relationship.

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  7. m

    I think this extends to all sorts of insecurities and issues. Someone once said to me that it takes a lot of self esteem to receive a compliment gracefully. It’s sort of similar to what Woody Allen says at the beginning of the movie Annie Hall:

    “The other important
    joke for me is one that’s, uh, usually
    attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think
    it appears originally in Freud’s wit and
    its relation to the unconscious. And it
    goes like this-I’m paraphrasing: Uh …
    ‘I would never wanna belong to any club
    that would have someone like me for a
    member.’ That’s the key joke of my adult
    life in terms of my relationships with
    women.”

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  8. Clare

    So – possible to try just being friends and reassuring the person that this is not the case – our attraction rarely comes down to just the body, anyway…

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  9. Jessica

    Before I transitioned, I could never talk about sex. I wasn’t a prude exactly, but I didn’t seem to have any connection to sex. This drove my partner nuts, because she wanted to discuss sex and work collaboratively on making it better. I never could.

    As I transition, I come to understand that I was unconnected to sex because I was unconnected to my body. I didn’t like my body, I didn’t consider it to be really mine. Sex was pleasurable, sure, but what’s that got to do with me? It was a part of me that this alien body ran.

    Imagine that you fell downstairs, got up, brushed yourself off, and found you were unhurt – if somebody then asked you, “Wow, how did you do that?” what would you say? It just happened, I guess I was lucky, or whatever. Sex was like that for me. It wasn’t something I did, but something that happened to me.

    I can now experience sex as something personal, something involving me and over which I have control, or at least influence. Now that my body is becoming mine, sex is something that is becoming mine, too.

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    Quelle replied:

    Hmmm, that’s interesting, very interesting. I find the male sexdrive to be a very prominent thing. I don’t mind it, although I wouldn’t mind if it would cool down a bit. But still, before I became aware of any genderqueerness in me, sexuallity was something that I allways experienced in the 3rd person, 2nd person at best. As if you could only sit at the sideline and try to enjoy watching the game, but never joining it. I find it amazing that as I started playing in my mind with how I feel my gender identity is, sexuality became far more personal, far more enjoyable. And strangely enough (because society would actually say the exact opposite) it feel far less perverse…
    I must admit that it sometimes makes things even more complicated.

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  10. Sarah-Sophia

    The thing I like about this is, you can take it in a lighter way too. Not just about gender, but in general. I have self confidence issues and I can understand how hard it would be for someone to call me beautiful when I shoot them down. :/

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  11. Nick

    I think the most important message to give to a partner is that you love their body because of the person inhabiting it.
    Personally, I make it very clear to my male-identified partners that I consider every inch of them male-bodied because my definition of male-bodied is ‘a body inhabited by a male’. I never think of them as female bodies, simply as non-standard-shaped male bodies.
    And hat is what I’m attracted to: the bodies of the men I love, regardless of the exact shape. I love every inch of their skin because of the person underneath.

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    Jessica replied:

    My partner says that my body is “creepy.” It is a body that she felt was perfectly fine before and is now changed into something she did not choose. For me to have changed thus feels like a spiteful insult, another proof that I am selfish.

    I try to be ideal in every other way and to demonstrate that it really is better to have a well-adjusted, functionally sane human partner than what I was previously (self-destructive/ egocentric sociopath)… time will tell, I hope.

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    Anonymous replied:

    Ohmygod — I never comment here, but I can’t look at this comment and not say something: Telling you that your body is “creepy” is BULLSHIT emotionally/verbally abusive behavior, and you have every right to be livid that your partner is saying shit like that. You do NOT deserve to have your partner — or anyone else! — tell you that your body is “creepy.” You deserve better from people who supposedly love you. I hope your partner gets some help dealing with her issues.

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    Jessica replied:

    Thank you. I appreciate what you are saying. But I also know that people feel what they feel. This is why someone who is sincerely gay is sincerely not attracted to women – not because they have problems, but because of the way they are put together. My partner also equates the changes in my body with my less than open and honest words in re of my transition… I am in a cleft of my own cutting here.

    Nick replied:

    ‘creepy’. What a cruel thing to say. I know people feel what they feel, but it doesn’t seem like an okay thing to say to you.
    if your body had changed because you survived an illness or a car crash, it wouldn’t be okay to call you creepy. And it isn’t okay to call you creepy now just because you weren’t born in the body that’s right for you.

    People in relationships go through the process of growing old, growing ill, growing fat, and get used to it. They stick with their partner regardless of whether their body is desirable to them. That’s what a partnership is about.
    Your partner has a responsibility to help you feel comfortable in your body, whatever the circumstances. She is being abusive making you feel worse about it. It is not okay.

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  12. Elle

    I know that my difficulties with my body can make it hard for a partner to be with me. I just don’t know how else to be. I try to tell myself that I’m dealing with my gender issues, that once I finally figure myself out and accept who I am that I’ll be ready to look for a partner again. But how long can I put my life on hold while I try to learn how to live it?

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  13. Kherath

    I personally am one to take offense at compliments. At least, from people who know me. Strangers, I just smile and nod. Friends, I am annoyed at or at best just say thank you and ignore it. People who know me more than most, I do get offended if they call me pretty or sexy.

    The only compliment I seem comfortable with is that my eyes are pretty.

    I’ve known this for a while about myself, and I think my sweetie has slowly switch over mostly to “I love you”s and just expressing general happiness with me… but still they insist on calling me sexy and pretty now and then since I am told that I AM that, regardless of how I feel, and it is because of who I am.

    None of this really makes it easier to not be angry, offended or annoyed at being complimented… for some reason I can NOT shake that reaction.

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    Jessica replied:

    My partner also is one who takes offense at compliments. Myself, I either dismiss the remark as “very funny” or wonder what they want. I always remember the line from “Pretty Woman”:

    Vivian: People put you down enough, you start to believe it.
    Edward Lewis: I think you are a very bright, very special woman.
    Vivian: The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?

    [Reply]


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