Buck Angel is an erotic film producer and actor as well as motivational speaker on the topics of self-acceptance, gender fluidity, and having sex as a trans person.
Having sex as a woman never felt right. I hated my body. And being so physically in it seemed wrong. Still, though, I had an appetite for sex. And I sought it out, often using drugs and alcohol just to let someone touch me. But after the high of coming, I’d crash to an extreme low. I had no idea why.
Back then, I was a sad, angry, lonely person. Being a "woman" wasn’t comfortable. I’d try to disguise myself by wearing the most masculine clothes I could find, but that only worked until I started talking—my voice was unconvincing. It wasn’t until I started my transition at the age of 28 that I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The things I had always longed for in life were finally, actually, within reach: My muscles grew, hair sprouted from my face, and my voice began to deepen. I was becoming the version of myself I had always envisioned.
When it came time to consider bottom surgery, though, I stopped myself. Don’t get me wrong: I wanted a penis so badly. I wanted to fuck with a penis. I wanted to jack off with a penis. I thought a penis would complete me.
But getting a penis isn’t simple—and it especially wasn’t two decades ago. I was told it would involve removing tendons from my forearm to attach to my clitoris, then taking skin from my ass and molding it into something resembling a dick. But the deciding factor for me was that they said I probably wouldn’t be able to orgasm anymore. And my new penis wouldn’t get hard on its own, either. (You had to put a stick down the urethra to get an erection.)
I decided not to do it. I couldn’t see myself with a penis like that, but I was deeply saddened that it was my only choice if I wanted to fully become a man—or so I thought at the time.
In fact, I would come to fully realize my manhood by learning to love having sex with my vagina.
I had no idea how to go about sex with my new body. How could I fuck as a man with a vagina? I longed for human interaction. But I assumed no one would want to have sex with me. I felt like a freak of nature. And I was afraid that I’d come off to potential partners as deceitful—as if I’d been trying to trick them into having sex with a body they didn’t expect.
Finally, I pushed myself to go out to a bar. It was my first time cruising as a fully male-presenting person looking to hook up with a man—a gay man. It felt like starting over. How should I move my shoulders? How do I walk? How do I flirt? I had no idea what I was doing. No one had mentored me. Nowhere was there any information for trans guys wanting to hook up with other men.
But I braved the bar. And, to my surprise, no one looked at me strange. No, they lusted. It’s all in the eyes, I remembered. I sat at the bar. I met a guy. We talked and flirted. He didn’t know. Then, he asked to lick my boots. I could feel the excitement surging through me. He started at the bottom and slowly worked his way up until his head reached my crotch. My heart was pounding. I was terrified of what was about to happen.
Impulsively, I pulled his face up to mine and looked him in the eyes. "I have a pussy," I said.
He looked confused. I said it again, looking for a flash of anger in his eyes—anything to confirm my self-loathing.
"I don’t understand, sir. It doesn’t matter to me. I think you’re hot and that’s all that matters."
I was shocked and relieved—but mostly turned on. We played and played as other men watched. In that moment, I was the sexual man that I had always dreamed of being. I was the G.I. Joe at the gay man’s bar. I had made it.
Before accepting my vagina, I would never put my fingers inside myself. It felt too feminine—embarrassing, even. Just the thought of touching myself like that made me feel like maybe I was a fake man, like if I did it and orgasmed it would prove that I was actually a woman. For so long, I couldn’t let go of the idea that vaginas were female; that my body wasn’t really mine. The brainwashing goes so, so deep.
But I was tired of never feeling like a whole person, a whole man. And so I took a risk and touched myself the way I knew I really needed to be touched. And that changed everything. Once I embraced the pleasure, I finally felt like I had the freedom to be. I began to feel connected to my body for the first time.
Eventually, I didn’t feel like I needed to hide anymore. And I wasn’t scared that no one would want me. All the shame that had built up in my brain, instilled by society’s insistence on governing who we get to be, was shattered by my ecstatic orgasms. So much so that I wanted to shout it out, to tell all my trans brothers and sisters that connecting with the body you once recoiled from can happen—it can happen through sex and masturbation.
It honestly all felt like a miracle to me. And how can you not share a miracle with others? So, 18 years ago, I started doing porn as a way to amplify my perspective around trans sexuality. Men like me weren’t visible in porn back then. And I knew that showing myself masturbating or having sex would get across what I wanted to relay: that the bullshit they teach you about who’s supposed to be equipped with what is bogus. It's valid to want different genitals, but it’s also okay to love yourself—and have hot, pleasurable sex—if your body falls outside of the neatly defined categories, like mine. Doing so may even take away the fear and the pain of wondering if you will ever be a whole person, if you will ever meet a lover, if you will ever fall in love.
To me, transitioning doesn't just mean changing physically. It also means connecting to your body—the one you now have an opportunity to love like there is no tomorrow. The one that is finally all yours. For some, that requires surgery. For me, it required sex.
But we don’t speak positively about sex in the trans community. We shut it down, because of years of being told that genitals equal gender; years of feeling like the whole world is only focused on trans people’s genitals, and that if we’re open about our bodies, we’ll be fetishized for it. I find that silence so incredibly damaging.
If we are open about sex, about our bodies, about the ways that we experience pleasure, we can help each other reach new levels of authenticity. Isn’t that what transitioning is all about?
This article originally appeared on VICE US.