Question: Sorting out my gender identity and what it means in relation to my sexuality

Riley asks…

What does it mean when someone doesn’t feel like they match their gender do to sexual inexperience? I’m 25 and a male-bodied virgin. I’ve had sex with boys. I’ve enjoyed it. As a child I enjoyed dressing up as a girl, fantasized about being a girl and in some cases being the female heroine in cartoons geared towards girls (sailor moon). I still desire and occasionally dress as a girl now (in secret).

Everyone I know says there is nothing inherently feminine about me. That I come off as a complete guy. My lack of sexual experience makes me feel different. I feel huge amounts of anxiety even thinking about approaching women. I don’t even know if I would like sex with a girl.

Sometimes I think I am a girl. Other times I’m not sure. When I’m angry or upset is the only time I identify as having “male” qualities. I don’t know what to do. I sometimes wonder if I have a gender at all… Has anyone else ever felt like this? What does this mean?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on June 22nd, 2012 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 11 comments »

11 Responses to “Question: Sorting out my gender identity and what it means in relation to my sexuality”

  1. fluffy

    I’m a bit confused by the characterization of being a male-bodied virgin who has had sex. That seems more than a little self-contradictory. Care to explain that a bit more? (You don’t have to go into uncomfortable details, of course.)


    Anonymous replied:

    I’m pretty sure they mean virgin in the “traditional” schoolyard sense: i.e has never been with a member of the opposite sex in the usual heteronormative way (connect part A to part B).


  2. Anonymous

    Riley, it doesn’t matter how others think of you so much as how you relate to yourself. I’m a feminine-identified male-bodied individual (genderqueer or genderfluid if you have to give it a label). When I first tried to talk to family about it they were shocked as they couldn’t see anything feminine about me. This is only natural if you’ve been raised, socialised and forced to live in a male role your whole life: of course your manner and the way you do things is going to be influenced by that.

    But at the end of the day, you are yourself: the rest is just muscle memory and will evolve over time. It may take some time to bubble to the surface but just try to focus on freeing that inner you and don’t try too hard or purposefully try to change yourself to prove who you are to others.

    By all means, if you do decide this is what you want, ask questions and get advice on the things you don’t know about (a positive and encouraging stylish female friend has done me some wonders in improving my image), but really remember that your journey should be about setting yourself free, not living up to the standards of society’s idea of “feminine”.

    Go be forth and be Riley. Unless that is you decide to change your name, in which case just be you. :)


    Anonymous replied:

    Sorry, should clarify. By “if this is what you want” I meant some kind of transition or alternate gender presentation or identification. You know, what we specialise in here. :P


  3. Nai

    I had a male partner who realized that he crossdressed because it made him feel better about being attracted to guys. He was pansexual, but in your case, you sound like you could be gay. I don’t know if this is helpful, but I just thought I would put that out there.

    It is possible that you’re non-binary, of course. The same partner I mentioned above said to me, a FAAB person, that I “just seemed feminine to him” when I came out to him as a genderqueer. At the time, I presented in a more “feminine” way, but I felt like it was pretty clear that I was androgynous in many ways (including, but not limited to, my presentation). Fuck the gender police.


    Elle replied:

    “Fuck the gender police.”

    You are AWESOME Nai.


  4. alison

    Society makes it very difficult for men to display femininity, both due to social pressure to be masculine and confirmation bias, wherein anyone who is male bodied is automatically assumed to be masculine unless they are very flamboyant in their display of femininity.

    So its not at all surprising that you feel feminine yet others perceive you as ‘a complete guy’. Are you trans? are you genderqueer/fluid? are you gay, bi or pan? Only time will tell.. it takes time to figure these things out and expect twists and turns along the way.. =)

    And look at the bright side.. your lack of sexual experience and the fact that you are not tied up in a relationship will make it much easier for you to figure out your gender identity on your own terms.


  5. Jade

    just want to say that i wouldn’t pay to much attention to how people close to you perceive your gender, they could well be trying to reassure you (since society is pretty big on telling cis people that they are doing their gender wrong), or themselves. either way the longer someone has know you, the more invested they are likely to be in maintaining their own mental image of you. this is not to say they cannot perceive how you actually are, but does mean that it is very hard to see past he filter of what we want to see.


    tigr~ replied:



  6. Charlotte

    I believe you are what you feel you are. If you feel happy dressing in women’s clothes then by all means do it! Maybe you’re a woman deep down somewhere. If you are, that’s awesome! Come join the club. ::) If not, that’s totally cool too. You can be any combination of feminine and masculine without necessarily being a man or a woman. Maybe you’re really feminine, maybe you’re a female. It’s whatever you feel like.

    I totally agree with your choice to not do anything sexually with girls. I never do anything sexually that I’m not comfortable with. I learned that hard way that it just confuses me more. Emotionless sex doesn’t truly exist, and it messes with my head when I try to make myself do something sexual. Take your time. It will definitely make your self-exploration easier.

    Also I would say to trust yourself. Trust your feelings, your gut, and your brain. You always know yourself better than anyone else. People may tell you that you’re not feminine, but that might mean that they just don’t know that part of you (yet).

    Best of luck to you!!


  7. Danne

    “Everyone I know says there is nothing inherently feminine about me. That I come off as a complete guy.”

    I know what you mean. I once shared the fact that I have some masculine traits and try to adopt androgynous dress (usually by wearing men’s clothes) with a close bisexual friend of mine. Yet he did not get the genderqueer perspective and reasserted that I look like a cisgender female. This felt like complete denial, and I’m getting increasingly annoyed with the fact that unless I adopt a proper butch style people will never read me as androgynous or genderqueer. Unless, that is, they are well-informed queers ( and sometimes no even then).


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