Yes, Women Can Be Raped By Other Women
(Inter)National Coming Out day was really rough for me. It brought up a lot of issues. One of my friends put it very poignantly in her Facebook post about coming out: even long after we've come out, it still leaves its effect. It creates baggage, maybe even scars. I had to come out twice: as trans and as lesbian. It's hard to come out as lesbian after one has come out as a trans woman, though. If I date guys, then well, obviously, trans women are (or were) really just gay men, so it makes sense that they'd date boys. If I date girls, then well, obviously, trans women are (or were) really just straight men, so it makes sense that they'd date girls. There's no sexual orientation I can adopt that doesn't "make sense" to people. So coming out as having a particular sexual orientation, as a trans person, is difficult. So while I did come out as a lesbian, there was little to no recognition of it as such. Honestly, I feel an odd sense of being robbed of that experience.
But this post isn't about that. This is about faking orgasms and rape. I was married to a woman before I transitioned, although we had divorced well before I decided to transition. Even when I married her, I wasn't in love *with* her; I was in love with the idea of marriage. It was an unhappy marriage. Heck, it was an unhappy relationship except for all but the first month of dating. It got so bad that by the time I started my PhD I was clinically depressed. (Thankfully, a couple months after we'd split and she moved away, the depression was gone. Magic!)
What's relevant, though, is how I was forced to fill a particularly gendered role of "the man." Prior to my transition, the last time I got close to figuring out my gender identity was right when I met her. In fact, one of my distinct memories is her showing up at my place and my having barrettes in my hair (and having forgot). She made a disparaging joke, and made up some excuse for having them in (e.g., to keep my hair out of my eyes, which was true enough). And my meeting her in that context was yet one more excuse to bury what turned out to be my identity as a woman.
My ex-wife and I didn't have a lot of sex, since it wasn't enjoyable for me (although I wouldn't realize why for another 8 or so years). Although, she was the first girl with whom I managed to orgasm during sex. That gave me hope that maybe I could make it as a boy (…how wrong I was!). However, most of the time I had to fake orgasm. I got pretty good at it (apparently).
Even for the few girls I had sex with after my ex-wife, I very rarely orgasmed during sex. That means that I faked 95%+ of the orgasms. Sex in that role (with those genitals) never felt right. I was faking the sex in addition to the orgasms. Nothing about it was fun. However, I kept trying it because maybe *this time* I'd finally figure out how to make it enjoyable.
But I never succeeded. That's bad enough on its own. However, I had a couple experiences that I now know are pretty common amongst trans women. I was raped by my ex-wife.
This depends pretty heavily on how we define rape, though. And most discussions of rape are extremely cissexist. There was even a recent legal ruling in Sweden that trans women *can't* be raped. That was a case of a man raping a trans woman. Mine is a case of a woman raping a trans woman (although at the time I hadn't yet identified that way). While I think my case is less serious than some other stories I've heard from friends, the pattern is sufficiently similar.
This is a hard thing to talk about–harder to admit to. Rape is coercive sex. I was coerced to have sex for the sake of "the relationship." Although someone with (at the time, anyway) a penis is often viewed as the 'active' sexual participant, that's the wrong way to look at sex. The idea is that only those with penises can rape only those with vaginas. It's enough of a stretch (apparently in Sweden) to think that someone with a penis can rape someone with another penis (whether they're a man or trans woman), but it's even more of a stretch to think that someone with a vagina can rape someone with a penis.
But it can happen. Maybe someone will threaten to end a relationship if they don't have sex. Maybe they'll threaten something else. In either case, coercive sex is rape whatever genitals the person being raped has, and whatever genitals the person committing the rape has.
And while I wasn't yet identifying as a trans woman at the time, that's what happened. I have friends, post transition, who've had similar experiences with their partners. Part of the problem is sometimes that they were partners before the transition, remained together through the transition, but their partner never really considered themselves gay/lesbian, bi, or pansexual. So sex to their partners still involved the trans women taking the "male" sex roles.
Sex has to evolve as our identities evolve (if that's what we want, though). Treating transitioned women (with penises) just like cis men isn't cool…unless the trans women are fine with that.
I'm not sure how to end this post. …