Transmen and HIV
What are the HIV and STD risks for Transguys?
If you have unprotected sex you are at risk. This is because it is easy for cum, blood, or vaginal fluids that have HIV in them to be absorbed into your body during unprotected sex. Physically there is nothing about being a transman that puts you at a higher-risk for HIV than other people. Know the basics of HIV and STD prevention and think about the sex you have or want to have. Educate yourself about the risks associated with those sexual activities and learn about ways to reduce your risk while still enjoying the sex you want.
Most queer or gay guys play safe most of the time, but it is not uncommon for some guys to have unsafe sex. For some it’s rare or on occasion. For others it’s more frequent. Transmen are no exception. Unsafe sex can happen for lots of reasons. Sometimes it’s just accidental or we are caught up in the moment. Sometimes we are drunk or high and make different choices from when we’re sober. Other times we are really upset and don’t really give a crap, or are really happy and feel invincible. In the needs assessment we did, we found transmen face some particular barriers to having safer sex. Here are some of them:
Sometimes we feel lucky if other guys want to sleep with us and we get validation as guys and as gay men. There is a focus in gay communities on flesh cocks and the bodies of non-trans men. This can make us have a low sense of self-esteem and self-worth if we don’t see ourselves represented and frequently we feel like we don’t deserve to be thought of as hot and sexy. This sometimes means we have sex in a way that might be risky, let people do what they want so they won’t reject us, or we don’t feel confident enough to say ‘stop’ or suggest safer sex. Fighting these feelings is really difficult and there are no easy answers. Try to remember that gay culture is more than sex. If you can find experiences and people which affirm your identity as a man (or a gay or queer man) you might not need the same degree of validation from sex. Also, remember that even in gay communities of non-trans men there is a lot of variation, from cock size and weight, to hair distribution and height. Non-trans gay men also deal with a lot of these feelings of low self-esteem.
For guys who are more isolated or marginalized from the ‘body beautiful’ culture in the gay community, it can be particularly difficult to know what you want and to then assert that to a sexual partner. Some transmen have a really hard time talking about our bodies or genitals. We might want to have sex in certain ways but don’t have the words to ask for it or know how to communicate this to our partners. If there is a problem acknowledging our genitals it can be really hard to look at them or to touch them, and we may not spend the time we need to think about how best to protect ourselves and our partners.