How to Best Enjoy Intimacy and Sex Being Genderfluid?

Before I dive into a response for this question, I would like to be fully transparent in that I am not a genderfluid person, nor am I part of the LGBTQIA+ community. The lens in which I approach this topic is as a cisgendered, heterosexual, clinical sexologist. While I am unable to speak from personal experience, as a clinical sexologist, I can offer some information and suggestions based on my own research and knowledge. I will also include resources that offer much better perspective than what I can provide. My hope is that this will provide you with, at minimum, a solid foundation on which to build on.

Genderfluid is a term that you may or may not be familiar with. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first known use of the term was in 1993. However, it is not a new concept. It is something that has existed within many different cultures for a very long time. Some cultures have recognized some form of genderfluidity for as long as 3,000 years.

When it comes to enjoying intimacy and sex, in his book, Sex Outside the Lines, Chris Donaghue, PhD. discusses the ‘pleasure model’ of sex. This model suggests that sex should be framed as “fluid, non-anatomically and non-genitally based”. What is meant by this is that there is “no wrong way to do it” and that there is no “goal for sexuality but the pursuit of pleasure.” When pleasure becomes the main goal of a sexual experience, it becomes less about the finale and more about the process of getting there.

Have you ever eaten one of those ice cream drumsticks? The ones with chocolate covered vanilla ice cream in a cone, typically has peanuts in the chocolate, and a chunk of chocolate in the bottom of the cone? If you gobble one of those up with only a goal of enjoying the chocolate chunk in the bottom, you miss out on the entire experience of enjoying the whole thing. When you take your time and savor it, bit by bit, your pleasure is extended to the whole experience. Maybe you eat it with a spoon, take the chocolate shell off and eat that first, eat the cone first, mash it all together, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is slowing down and enjoying every delicious bite. Where am I going with all of this? I want to establish that, no matter who you are, or how you identify, sexual experiences will be more enjoyable when pleasure is at the core of it.

When it comes to enjoying intimacy and sex, it is important to focus on getting comfortable with yourself. This may come very easily or could take some time. Part of this process could include taking time to learn about yourself outside the concepts of heteronormative scripts. Years of heteronormative messaging may have to be deconstructed and let go. It may be helpful to take time to learn about who you are outside the concepts of heteronormative scripts. Define who you are by your own standards, and not those constructed by others. This also may mean that you need to redefine what sex is, or looks like, to and for you. In fact, most people can benefit from stepping away from the gender binary, i.e. ‘the man does this’ and ‘the woman does this’ when it comes to sex. In allowing yourself to paint outside the lines, so to speak, you can get curious about ALL the things that have the potential to bring you pleasure.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge gender dysphoria as it pertains to sexual experiences. Gender dysphoria is an internal conflict with the sex a person was assigned at birth and with how they currently identify. Because this is something that may already be a struggle outside of sex, it is something that can come up during sex. It will be important to let a partner know if there is anything that could be triggering or upsetting for you prior to your sexual experience.

Finally, I want to stress next the importance of safety. Not just from a use protection, test for STIs, ask about STIs, etc. standpoint, but from a psychological safety standpoint as well. Sexual experiences should be affirming to who you are. This means having open, clear, honest, and non-judgmental conversations prior to a sexual experience about expectations, desires, preferred pronouns, boundaries, roles, etc. with a partner. Depending on the experiences your partner has had in the past, they may bring predetermined binary gender roles into the sexual experience. This can occur even in same sex partnerships. If you and your partner are not on the same page it could lead to some unintended confusion, hurt feelings, or even trauma. You deserve to walk away from a sexual experience feeling respected, appreciated, and affirmed. If those feelings aren’t present beforehand, it is highly possible they won’t be present during or afterward.

Going into a sexual experience with a focus on mutuality, trust, respect, pleasure, safety, and curiosity will lead to better experiences for all. Exploration and deconstruction of the societal constructs of the gender binary will support you in opening the doors to your full pleasure spectrum. As stated before, I hope this at least provides a foundation that can be built upon so that your sexual experiences are what you desire. For further reading I suggest looking into books by Meg-John Barker. They are an activist, author, therapist, zine-maker, and previously hosted a podcast with Justin Hancock. Meg-John offers a personal perspective that I am not able to on this topic. If you need more support with this, feel free to reach out to me. This is not my area of expertise; however, I have some fantastic Sex Coach colleagues that specialize in this area that I can refer you to. Peace, love, and pleasure!

Carli Guzowski is a Certified Sex Coach, Clinical Sexologist, Sexual Health, and Wellness Educator, and Pleasure/Kink Activist. She is owner of Unwinding Pleasure, where her main mission is to spread messages of peace, love, pleasure, and acceptance for all. She supports her clients in recognizing the role pleasure plays in leading a more fulfilling, empowered, healthy, and joyful life. She offers Sex/Intimacy Coaching, and Sexual Health/Wellness Education and Workshops. In her free time, Carli enjoys gardening, fast cars, adventures with her family, and sparkly boots.