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TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

Today, I will start with a declaration. A “Thus Sayth Doctor Dick,” sorta deal. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. I reject the concept of sex addiction, that is floating around in the popular culture these days. I know this will rankle a bunch of you, but you need to get over it. Ya see, there ain’t no such thing as a sex addiction. Period!

That being said, I hasten to add that there are sexual compulsions, plenty of ‘em. However, compulsions are not addictions and addictions, while they may involve irresistible impulses, are not the same thing as compulsions. Get it? Got it? Good!

Check it out. With the help of my handy-dandy dictionary, a good place to start in all such discussions, I discovered these two very distinct definitions.

Addiction — a need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. Broadly: persistent use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. A state of physiological and psychological dependence on a drug.

Compulsive — driven by an irresistible inner force to do something; i.e. a compulsive liar.See! Different words. Different meanings. Not a particularly complex notion to grasp, right?

And listen, just because a bunch of pseudo-intelligent afternoon talks show hosts banter the two concepts about like they were interchangeable doesn’t make it so. In fact, we do ourselves a huge disservice by jumbling these two very specific concepts. Because finding the proper intervention for either an addiction or a compulsive behavior will be as specific as the problem itself. One thing is for certain; misidentifying one of the things, as the other will surly complicate the problem solving. It’s kinda like going to the doctor with a headache, and when the doc asks where it hurts, you point to your stomach. It simply won’t do.

Dear Dr. Dick, I’ve been married for 5 years now and truly love my wife, however I can never seem to get enough sex. I am 30 and she’s 29, but I constantly find myself in the chat rooms and porn sites lookin for more sex. It’s more than just a hobby; it’s a habit! And if I have a few cocktails in me, and that happens more and more, I really can’t stop myself. I once lost a job once because I used the work computer to search the web for sex. It’s like I’m addicted to sex. My wife knows I have played around (we even did a 3-way once and it was totally hot) but she has no idea how extreme it’s become. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m not unhappy with my wife. I just can’t seem to stop wanting sex. Any suggestions?   — Brian

Dear Brian,

You got it bad, and that ain’t good!porn.jpg

It’s interesting to note that you tell me about your compulsive sexual behavior in the same breath that you claim to love your wife. Love and sex are two very different things. And as you’ve probably guessed already, there’s no necessary connection between the two. Sometimes they go together, but not always. So it is possible to love someone dearly and deeply, but still be consumed with pursuing sex with others.

It appears to me that you’ve really got two problems happening simultaneously. First, your compulsive prowling of the internet for sex. (This is complicated by your alcohol abuse.) Second, the deception you’re practicing on your wife. Let’s deal with each of these in turn.

Your particular sexual activity, like any compulsive behavior (over eating, excessive shopping, etc.), is more than just a bad habit. It’s a serious dysfunction. Take it from me, breaking this behavior pattern will be very difficult, if not impossible, without some professional help. If the problem is as serious as you say, then you’d better seek help right away. This sort of thing, if left untreated, will not only destroy your marriage; it will ruin your life. When you seek professional help, I encourage you to include information about your alcohol consumption. If there is an addiction in all of this, it’s the alcohol, not the sex. And in your case, your (alcohol) addiction may be fueling your (sex) compulsion.

Look for a sex-positive therapist, someone who has experience working with other people similarly challenged. A support group may also be an option. Since you’re not alone in this, there is probably a group already meeting in where you live. You’ll need to do some legwork to uncover these resources, but I promise you it will be well worth your effort.

Now, regarding your relationship. It’s imperative that you come clean with your wife about your (sex) compulsion and probable (alcohol) addiction. Not only will you feel better not having to deceive her anymore, but you’ll also need her support in overcoming these problems. I suggest that you attend to this right away. There’s not a moment to lose.

Good luck

Hey doc! I think I’m addicted to having sex on the internet. I haven’t told my partner. Do you think this is a form of cheating or is it just harmless fun? I like getting off with guys in chat rooms and with my webcam. I feel guilty about it so I guess this tells me something!— Luke

Dear Luke,

You’re having what is commonly known as cyber sex, right? If that’s a good call on myfingering.jpg part, I don’t consider it a form of “cheating” on your partner, any more than I would consider jerking off to porn to be cheating. (We’ll address this notion of cheating in a later column.)

However, your feelings of guilt are another thing all together. They tell me that you are not at peace with your sexual practices. Maybe you need to take a look at this. Are your cyber pursuits a serious concern? Do you squander your sexual energy on cyber sex, instead of sharing it with your partner? Only you can determine this for sure. I can assure you that the guilt feelings will continue to plague you until you dump the sexual practices that are hurtful to you and those you love, and integrate healthier ones in their place.

Good luck

Hi Dr. Dick, My boyfriend cheats on me. Every time he does he begs me for forgiveness. I think ok, but don’t do that again. I love him, but I hate feeling bad all the time. I feel stupid putting up with all of this, but I can’t leave him. I still love him. Please give me some advice. Thank You. Hope to here from you soon, Denise

Dear Denise,cunny_illus.jpg

Before we turn our attention to your boyfriend, let me make a quick observation about you, Denise. You’re a mess, girl! I mean really, take a long hard look at yourself, you’re a freakin’ doormat! How’s the BF supposed to respect you when you have no respect for yourself? How can you say that you love a person that makes you feel bad? You are deceiving yourself, girlfriend, cuz LOVE don’t ever make you feel bad.

As screwed up as your BF is, and he is pretty fucked up, he is just part of the problem. You’ve got some obsession issues yourself that you need to address.Your boyfriend probably has you pegged as a pussy…and not in a good way. He knows you will tolerate his misbehavior, which of course gives him permission to do whatever he feels like doing whenever he feel like doing it. If you’re really serious about reining in the bastard, you’d better come up with a clear, unambiguous message about what you will and will not tolerate. Until you do precisely that he’ll just think that he can roam wherever he wants and whenever he wants.

There are root causes for his behavior, just like there is a root cause for your behavior. To get to the bottom of all of this each of you will need to invest a good deal of time and energy with a therapist. One can only hope that there’s a bank of goodwill between the two of you, enough to carry the day. However, if I had to guess, I’d say there was a slim to no chance for that, right? If so, I advise you throw the bum out. And no more relationships for you till you get your head screwed on tighter.

Good Luck

Stop, I Want To Get Off!

Name: Stefanni
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Gender:
Age: 28
Location: California

Dr Dick: I get off on making out or having sex in public spaces? Is this illegal? Am I Sick? Stefanni

All depends, Stefanni. Most jurisdictions, particularly there in the Golden State would

probably wink at a couple making out in public. I suppose you’d be pushing the envelope if the make-out session included heavy petting. And as to full-on sex in public…CumOn, honey, a 28 year-old female who can’t discern if fucking in public is illegal or not, needs to be in supervised care 24/7. You’re not sick, dearie, you’re retarded.

Good Luck!

Name: stefan
Gender:
Age: 24
Location: GA

Is it weird if I can suck my own dick? Sometimes I do it when I’m really horny?

dares-selfsuck.jpg

Reminds me of the old joke about two guys sittin’ around shootin’ the shit. When they notice a dog over yonder lickin his balls. One guy turns to the other and says; “I wish I could do that!” And the other guy says, “Gee, I hope the dog doesn’t bite!”

Is it weird that you can suck your own cock? Dude, it’s every man’s freakin’ dream! Anyone who is limber enough and/or has a big enough dick to blow himself — wins, IMHO.

Good Luck!

Name: Chris
Gender:
Age: 18
Location: TN

Dr Dick: I’m an uncut male, but am thinking about getting circumcised for the sake of appearance? I don’t like how my dick looks like an anteater. Is this safe? Any suggestions where or what type of doctor to consult? Should I go to a urologist? Plastic Surgeon? Thanks, Chris

Whoa, puppy, stop right there. This ain’t like getting a haircut or trimmin’ your toe nails or even gettin pierced. Circumcision is irreversible and it’s mighty risky too.

I need to say one thing from the outset. Circumcision is a particularly thorny issue for

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me. I firmly believe in the right of an adult to augment, adorn and embellish, or in any other way customize his or her body. Just as long as that person has taken enough time to think it through. None of this, “OMG, I got so drunk and then the next thing I know I have this tattoo emblazoned across my chest!”

At the same time I am a furious proponent of genital integrity. So you see my conflict.

There are, of course, medical reasons for adult circumcision. But having a foreskin that looks like an anteater is not one of them. Besides, no self-respecting physician is gonna start cutting on an 18 year old guy’s cock, just because the fella doesn’t like the way his unit looks.

Here’s what I want you to do, Chris. Take a really close look at your foreskin. I mean a really close look. What do you see? Veins, right? Now pinch your foreskin between

your thumb and forefinger as hard as you can. OUCH! Ya know why that is? Your foreskin is just chock-full of nerve endings, darlin’. Your foreskin contains about 240 feet of nerve fibers and tens of thousands of specialized nerve endings, which can feel the slightest pressure, the lightest touch, the smallest motion, the subtlest changes in temperature, and the finest gradations in texture.

In many ways, your foreskin is just like your eyelid. It covers, cleans, and protects your dickhead just like your eyelid covers, cleans, and protects your eye. Your foreskin keeps the surface of your dickhead healthy, clean, shiny, warm, soft, moist, and sensitive. And there are a whole lot of us who think a foreskin is like totally hot.

Your foreskin is a specialized, sensitive, and functional organ of touch. No other part of the body serves the same purpose. You may be too young to have noticed how pleasurable having an intact dick can be, how it enhances your sexual enjoyment. You

certainly have no frame of reference to the contrary. Therefore, I encourage you to hold on to your lace curtains till you have a little more experience. Besides, if you get cut it removes 50% of the skin of the cock. Do you really have that much to give away?

Finally, I’m of the mind that millions of years of evolution has provided us a covering for our dickhead for a purpose. And to remove it is simply unnatural.

So, Chris, keep your skin unless there’s a medical necessary to remove it!

Good Luck!

Name: Nick
Gender:
Age: 64
Location: Chicago

Are there any vitamins or minerals that will increase the amount of ejaculate? Thanks…your site is very cool and provides a great service!

Why, aren’t you a sweetheart, Nick. Thank you for your kind words.

There sure are loads and loads of companies out there who claim to have products that will increase the volume of a man’s ejaculate. When I search the web for products that promote male sexual enhancement of any sort, I do so as a skeptic. That’s how anyone should go about such a search. If you keep your eyes open and look beyond the pseudo-medical babble you’ll discover two things, as I did.

First, every site I visited advertises their product as a miracle medical breakthrough. Often there is a testimonial or two from some doctor (MD) or doctor (Ph.D.) who substantiates the claims being made. We never really discover who these professionals are, but we are encouraged to take their words as gospel…well because we all know that professional types would never knowingly try and hoodwink us. Exactly! And if you buy that we have some swampland in Louisiana for you too.

Each site also claimed that the product they hawk has undergone rigorous clinical studies proving its efficacy. But they never actually cite any of the studies in question or where these supposed studies were published. Here’s a tip, If there is a sited study and that study was sponsored by the company that produced the product, or is published by them, then you know you’re in trouble.

Second, inevitably each product makes the most outlandish claims. Take this one for instance. I’ll not disclose the product name, because that would be like shooting fish in a barrel. But this is actual copy from one site. Product X will…

  • Intensify ejaculatory contractions due to the strengthening of the vas deferens muscle (the muscle responsible for the expulsion of semen)
  • Increase volume of released ejaculate
  • Produce faster recovery for second orgasms
  • Improve semen quality
  • Produce more satisfying orgasms due to increased contractions and ejaculate
  • Improve prostate health
  • Improve Erectile Dysfunction caused by diabetes
  • Increase sexual well-being and vitality
  • Cure cancer
  • End world hunger

Ok, I made the last two up.

One only has to look closely at the claims to realize they’re hogwash. Besides, they don’t really tell us anything other than the product in question might somehow improve something that may have something to do with male virility. The same could be said about a glass of water. Please read on…

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The truth is, Nick, you can probably do just as well with a modest daily intake of zinc and lecithin supplements. For some, these nutrients have a noticeable effect on the volume of ejaculate. And they’re a whole lot cheaper and easier to get then the trumped-up stuff you see online.

Also keeping yourself hydrated also will also increase the volume of your spunk. It just

stands to reason, the more hydrated you are the easier and more efficiently all your glands responsible for secreting a watery substance, like your prostate, will have getting water from the bloodstream. If you’re dehydrated, your prostate will not have as much water available, and subsequently you’ll spooge considerably less.

Good Luck!

Boys Will Be Boys

Name: James
Gender: Male
Age: 19
Location:
I want to know if I should have sex with a man for the first time.

Well gee, darlin’, I suppose that would all depend on if you are into man-sex or not. If you are, I suppose having your first encounter will be like falling off a log. However, if you’re not into gay sex, then why would you even be considering such a thing.boys kissing

For the sake of argument, let’s just say you are into some hot man-on-man action, or think you are. If that’s the case, I have some questions. Do you have a particular partner in mind? If you do, what is it about this guy that makes you want to get physical with him? If you’re honest with yourself about this, you will probably be able to determine what kind of sexual contact you want to have with the dude. Which brings me to my next set of questions.

What kind of gay sex are you looking to experiment with? Something light, like kissing, making out, mutual masturbation, shared hand-jobs? For more information on this, check out my swell tutorial about hand jobs titled: The Art Of The Humble Hand Job.

Perhaps you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous, like cock sucking. That’s great too. But wait! Would you know how to smoke some pole with grace and ease? If not, check out my tutorial: So Ya Wanna Be A World-Class Cocksucker …Or How To Give The Perfect Blow Job. To find this brilliant expose and lots more information about the humble hummer, go to the CATEGORY pull down menu in the sidebar and look for “ORAL.” Then look for Cock Sucking.

Maybe you’re considering butt fucking. That’s a bit advanced for the gay sex novice, but it’s not unheard of. If I were you, I’d return to the CATEGORY pull down menu in the sidebar and check out the heading “ANAL”. There you will be treated to loads of information about being a good top, like my tutorial, Finessing That Ass Fuck — A Tutorial For a Top. As well as my tutorial for being a good bottom, Liberating The B.O.B Within.

There’s only one thing you absolutely need to know when it comes to ass fuckin, regardless of what position floats your boat. Be sure that whoever is on top uses a condom. And if you don’t know why you need to do that, then darlin’, you’re just not ready for sex with any kind of partner…same sex or otherwise.

Good luck

Name: Tony
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Location:
I’m trying to find out how to get ink marks off my dick without hurting my dickhead.

Whoops! Looks like you need to reevaluate the company you keep when you drink to the point of passing out, my friend.

I realize writin’ shit on a guy’s johnson while he’s unconscious is a hilarious practical joke among the frat-boy crowd. I mean, what could be funnier, right? Of course being on the receiving end of this little prank, like our friend Tony here, is considerably less comical.

i enjoy penisRidding oneself of ink marks, particularly the indelible variety, from one’s privates is a pain — both literally and figuratively. The best one can say about this clean-up chore is that it will probably cure the guy of binge drinking, at least with a bunch of rowdy adolescent-minded companions with Sharpie markers and too much time on their hands.

OK, Tony, here’s what you do. First, apply a liberal coat of baby oil or mineral oil to the effected area. Take your time massaging the oil into your skin. You may discover that this oily massage gives you a woody. That may be the silver lining to your ink-stained cloud. Actually having an erection will help expand the skin of your dickhead and allow the mineral oil to better penetrate the skin. The oil will sink into your skin and help lift the ink stain to the surface.

Follow this part of the treatment with lots of warm soap and water. You should see ink stain lessening.

Next, massage in a liberal mount of rubbing alcohol. Follow this with more warm soap and water.

Continue alternating between mineral oil followed by soap and water and rubbing alcohol followed by soap and water. Always ending the treatment with the soap and water part. A couple applications like this should do the trick. I would, however, recommend that you be as gentle as possible. If the satin persists after two such applications, give your prick a day to rest before attacking the stain again.

Good luck

Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Why Sex Is Better At 57 Than 27

Jordan E. Rosenfeld

Dame Helen Mirren approves of her wax replica.

Dame Helen Mirren approves of her wax replica.

Despite the fondness certain corners of the internet and cable television have for mocking sexually vital women of a certain age, new research suggests that those who embrace their sexuality may be laughing all the way to longer, healthier lives—though older men aren’t as lucky.

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A study out of Michigan State University (MSU) published this month in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior has found that frequent sex (defined as once or more per week) for women age 57 and older—especially if it’s “extremely pleasurable or satisfying”—resulted in a lower risk of hypertension and protected against cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately for men, frequent sex in the 57 and older range is actually dangerous, increasing their risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke. The risk is compounded by the use of medications such as Cialis and Viagra.

The study—an analysis of survey data of 2,204 people collected by the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project in 2005-6 and again five years later—isn’t just good news for older women, and should offer hope for younger women as they look to the future of their own sexuality.

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce, a nurse and clinical sexologist, suggests the best thing a young woman can do for her continued sexual health is to cultivate an attitude of optimism about it as she ages. “Younger women think sexy has an expiration date. Older women know it doesn’t,” she says.

The study is a stride toward busting the cultural myths that older women are supposedly non-sexual beings, which Sutton Pierce says “absolutely does them a disservice.” Sutton Pierce, who is almost 60, happily defies sexual stereotypes of older women. Married for thirty years to the same man, she says, “My sex life is better than ever, much better than my twenties.” In her work she says she sees women after forty “blossoming,” adding, “As women mature, we mature on all levels, which means we start to own our sexuality and sexual power. We don’t need someone else to tell us we’re hot, we can feel it.”

Study author Hiu Liu, an associate professor of sociology at MSU, also finds that for women, quality of sexual experience is a key contributing factor to the health benefits, not just quantity. “As a sociologist, I don’t see sex as just a physical exercise, as medical doctors do. It’s a social behavior, and has emotional meaning,” she says.

001For older women experiencing other kinds of physical declines related to illness, staying sexually active may bring other benefits. Irwin H., who asked to remain anonymous, of San Francisco found that for his 70-year-old wife, who has multiple sclerosis, increasingly limited mobility, and walks with a cane, “Sex gives her back her former sense of her physical self.” He even waxes a little poetic: “Sexuality for her is like an unexpected warm day in the middle of winter. It doesn’t end winter, but it makes it bearable.”

Some older women may believe they’ve lost their sexual selves when they experience the often dramatic physical changes at and after menopause, such as vaginal dryness and reduced libido. They need not despair, says Celeste Holbrook, PhD, a sexual health consultant and sexologist. “Sex, and fulfilling sex doesn’t always have to be centered on the goal of an orgasm, or penetrative sex,” she adds.

004However, Liu points out that the female sexual hormone released during orgasm, oxytocin, “may also promote women’s health” by reducing cortisol and increasing estrogen.

Holbrook urges communication between partners rather than silent acceptance. “Redefining your sexuality as we age for anybody is really good. Talk to your partner about your body changes and how you can create a fulfilling sex life while embracing those changes.”

Men shouldn’t worry too much, however. Though the MSU study seems to be the research equivalent of a cold shower for older men, Liu reminds them, “Moderate sex is good for older men, too.”

Complete Article HERE!

What Does Transgender Mean? Your Guide to Understanding Trans Terminology.

By

what-does-transgender-mean-your-guide-to-understanding-trans-terminology

For this edition of Elle Oh Elle, I’ve enlisted the voice of Monika MHz, a Portland DJ and columnist. Monika is a trans woman, and she’s here to explain how you can make the world a better place by removing transphobia from your life.

Although ultimately impossible to measure precisely, a new study suggests that about 1.6 million Americans are transgender. Too often in the LGBT discussion, we focus on the LGB, and forget about the T.

Let’s broaden our discussion, to include all of our sex-positive brothers and sisters. It is perfectly OK to not yet be familiar with these terms — but as you seek to better understand the trans community, it helps to start by understanding some of the language. Here’s your starter guide.<

Transgender

Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe a person who does not identify specifically with their assigned gender from birth. There’s a big spectrum on this — not everyone falls into an entirely male or female category — meaning the term includes a lot of gray area.

Some people use the term “transgender” to include drag queens and all gender nonconforming folks; others don’t. Some trans folks hate the term; others don’t. “Trans” bridges some of that gap. “When in doubt,” Monika says, “just say ‘trans.’ It’s a baggage-free abbreviation, umbrella, and identity for a large percentage of the community — and won’t be read as offensive or rude. No one is gonna start a hashtag because you called me trans.”

Cisgender

Here’s a simple way to understand what it means to be cisgender:

ELLE: I’m a cisgender female; meaning I identify with the gender assigned to me at birth. I was raised as a female, and I identify as such.

MONIKA: I’m a trans woman. I was assigned male at birth, and I’m a woman. I’m also a DJ and a writer. I’m wicked hot — and you, dear reader, should treat me like people.

FTM, MTF

FTM is an acronym for “female-to-male” that refers to trans men who were assigned female at birth. Conversely, MTF is “male-to-female” and refers to trans women assigned male at birth. Some people find the term uncomfortable and don’t like to use it; others prefer it. You should always ask before these acronyms to describe an individual.

But how do you ask someone a question like this?

“It’s like asking any other personal question,” Monika says. “Don’t drop the bomb in the middle of discussing Stranger Things on Netflix. But if the topic comes up and you are struggling to find the right wording in your head, it’s OK to just ask: ‘I’m sorry, this might be wrong, but do you prefer FTM or is there a better term?’ Just use good judgment, be polite, and you’ll be fine. Always better to ask!”

LGBT, LGBQ, LGBTQA, TBLG

The above acronyms are used in reference to L) lesbian, G) gay, B) bisexual, T) transgender, Q) queer, and A) asexual or ally. But while we lump all these groups together into a single acronym (i.e., “the LGBT community”), it’s important to remember that each part of these acronyms represents a specific identity. Trans is overlooked too often, even as strides are made among the gay, bisexual, and lesbian communities. But some of that is (finally!) starting to shift, ever so slowly.

“Trans folks have been at the front of the LGBTQ equality movement from the start,” Monika says. “Trans women fought on the front lines of Stonewall and the Compton Cafeteria riots. As things got better for LGBQ folks, the T just seemed louder by comparison. Our stories, eventually, cut through the noise and it leads us to where we are now.

“An ‘ally’ is what you call yourself when you use the right pronoun for your trans friend, or when you retweet Laverne Cox. However, being an ally is more than just a few actions. Even if you don’t know a trans person, you can ally.” Write an email to your state and national government officials in support of employment protections for trans folks, or talk to your family about the humanity of trans folks. You can ally all over your family.

Pronouns

Pronouns are the parts of speech we use to describe the gender of people, pets, and sometimes boats and cars (if you’re into that sort of thing). She, he, and — if you’re non-binary, or genderqueer — they. If you don’t know someone’s gender, it’s really easy to just use “their/they.” Try it! People do it with babies all the time.

“Your cat is licking their paws.”

“That person with long hair is waiting for their cab.”

“People do it all the time in general,” Monika says. “Chicago style manual, Washington Post, and many other style guides recognize it as just plain useful. I have a friend who doesn’t like it for formal writing, but they’re wrong. See what I did there?”

Transition

It’s sort of just like it sounds. It’s usually referring to the medical and/or social puberty experienced by trans folks. It’s just like a young cis (non-trans) boy “transitions” from boyhood to manhood during puberty. You might hear someone tell you that they transitioned when they were 16, for example. That would give you some idea of their life experience.

Transphobia

“People often read this as ‘fear of trans people’ and sorta rightly so, given its etymological roots,” Monika says. “However, the way it’s used is more than just the fear or hate of trans people. It’s about the systemic and socially mediated ways in which society mistreats an entire class of people and how that impacts the way trans folks, and trans women in particular, are treated.”

Intersex

“This has nothing to do with being trans,” Monika says. “It’s a generalizing medical term to describe folks born with genetic, reproductive, and sexual anatomy differences that don’t fit the usual definitions of male and female. Some intersex people are trans, and others aren’t, but they are separate things.”

Genderqueer

Genderqueer is a sort of catchall umbrella term often used to describe gender non-conforming and trans folks who don’t feel like they fit into the male or female identity. Not everyone uses it, and some people identify as genderqueer and a woman or a man. It’s a messy world, and language is often inadequate to describe how folks feel.

In one stand-up routine, comedian Whitney Streed sums their experience as such: “I cut my hair [short], I dress and move about the earth in this particular fashion, because I need my gender to be baffling. Like I need it not to scan. I’ve thought about it, and I want all of my catcalls to end in question marks, that’s what I’m going for. I want my gender to be something like a crossword puzzle. Because you are gonna work on this the entire bus ride to work. Just taking in all the clues, thinking about it. You get there, you think to yourself, ‘Did I get all of that right?’ –That’s me! I am the New York Times Sunday crossword of gender.”

Queer

In the same way some sex-positive people like myself refer to themselves as a slut, most younger LGBTQ people are happy to call themselves “queer” in an effort to reclaim the connotations of the word.

“It’s a term some LGBT folks forged out of an anti-gay slur,” Monika says. “Usually only referring to sexuality, I like to use it to describe my sexuality and not my gender. Some people, though, identify as queer rather than trans. [But] it can be very offensive to some people, especially gay men of older generations.”

Cross-dresser

Everyone is a cross dresser and everyone isn’t. Basically it’s all about social context. Women wear suits all the time now, but at a different time we might have called that cross-dressing.

Nowadays, people seem to use it to exclusively refer to men who wear clothing and makeup deemed too feminine for a man. It’s a ridiculous term past its prime.<

Gender identity

Gender identity is defined as the personal experience of one’s own gender. Which seems vague, but that’s fine.

“Sometimes it [gender identity] can feel less solid,” Monika says. “I don’t just identify as Latina, I am Latina. I am a woman.”

To cut through the confusion, just go with the gender an individual identifies as. A person with a vagina who identifies as a man, is a man. A person with a penis identifying as a woman, is a woman.

Trans man

This is a catchall usually used for trans people assigned female at birth who are men. Sometimes they have gone through — or are planning to go through — some medical interventions to enhance their comfort with their bodies.

Sometimes, people use the term to refer to people who don’t identify with manhood. These are individual cases.

Trans woman

See above. This usually refers to people assigned male at birth who are women. “Trans women” is also sometimes used as a term for all trans people who were assigned male at birth.

Tranny

For both uses of trans, is it OK to use the term “tranny”?< "You’re allowed to say any word, sure," Monika says. "But it’s probably ill-advised to skip down the street dropping the 'T' all day. Not only are you likely to ruin someone’s day, but you’ll likely sound like a clueless relic. So, unless you want to be a wanker, hold off on the 'T-word'... unless you’re a trans woman. It’s sort of 'our word.'” Same goes for “transvestite.” It’s archaic, and should be left to the script of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“Back in the ’90s,” Monika says, “there were these insufferably fine distinctions drawn between different types of transgender and gender-nonconforming folks. ‘Transvestite’ was a diagnosis from the DSM IV codes for mental illness — that has since been removed — used to describe folks who fetishized cross-dressing. If you identify as a man, and wearing lingerie while jerking off sounds like an ideal Sunday activity, then at that time you would have been considered a transvestite. These distinctions have largely fallen out of use, or fashion, or whatever. No one is really using this term anymore.”

Sex, sexuality, and gender are a larger ingredient to the recipe of a society. And human rights are an integral part of an ethical nation — but it all starts with our ability to communicate with each other. Asking questions, showing compassion, and seeking understanding: this is how we elevate our culture to a better place.

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