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Is I is or is I ain’t

Name: Kate
Gender: Female
Age: 20
Location: canada
Lately I’ve been noticing I am attracted to both males and females. So I don’t know if I am a lesbian or not? Is that normal?

Perhaps you are unclear on the concept. If you’re attracted to both women and men, you could hardly be a lesbian, right? I mean think it through, darlin’! A lesbian, by definition, is a woman who is ONLY sexually interested in other woman. Apparently, that rules you out…unless you are simply fooling yourself about being attracted to men.

You are more likely bisexual — a rather common phenomenon in the female of the species, don’t cha know!

But, truth be told, all human sexuality is on a continuum. Probably it’s time to haul out my Handy Dandy Kinsey Scale for a look-see.

Wait, are you familiar with the Kinsey Scale? The dean of American sex research, Alfred Kinsey, and his associates developed this 0 to 6 scale as a way of classifying a person’s sexuality in terms of both behavior and fantasy.

This is what they developed.

0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual behavior or fantasy.
1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual — most likely in fantasy only.
2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual — fantasy for sure and possibly behavior too.
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual in both behavior and fantasy.
4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual — fantasy for sure and possibly behavior too.
5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual — most likely in fantasy only.
6- Exclusively homosexual with no heterosexual behavior or fantasy.

These pioneering sexologists also discovered that an individual could occupy a different position on this scale, at different periods in his/her life. It’s conceivable that one could go from Kinsey 0 to 6 in a lifetime, or just a afternoon at the Lilith Fair, if ya know what I’m gettin at. This seven-point scale comes close to showing the many gradations that actually exist in human sexual expression. Amazing, huh?

Good luck

Nick’s got a problem

I want to share an exchange I had with a fellow named Nick. He’s 30 years old and writes from Canberra.

Nick: “So here’s the situation and some facts. Newly out – i.e. just started hooking up with guys last year (I’m 30 years old) and in fact just started having sex last year.”

Dr Dick: Better late than never, huh Nick? 😉

Nick: “I have meet up with a few guys now but it has mostly been to have a bit of fun – often without sex. When I do have sex I get more enjoyment out of being topped rather than topping.”

DD: I would say that you are in the majority in this regard. There are more bottoms in the gay-dom than tops.

Nick: “When I do try to give anal, I go partially soft and actually cannot feel anything, even though the guy I’m topping can feel me and gets off.”

DD: Again, not a particularly uncommon complaint. If I had to guess you are like a lot of men who are new to gay sex. They often experience what we, in the business, call performance anxiety. I’ve written and spoken a great deal about this. You can find all these posting by going to the CATEGORIES section in the sidebar of my site. Scroll down till you find the heading: SEX THERAPY. Under that heading you will find numerous sub-categories. The one you are looking for is titles: Performance Anxiety.

Nick: “My cock is a fairly decent size (7.5 inches and fairly thick).”

DD: Mmmm, lovely! 😉

Nick: “The same is the case for when I am getting oral — I just cant feel it or enjoy it.”

DD: Again, this is pretty familiar territory for me. I see a lot of this in my practice. Generally speaking, guys get so into their head that they are unable to enjoy the pleasure sensations in the rest of their body.

Nick: “As a result I have never cum with a guy, even though I come close, especially when I am being topped.”

DD: Yep, this is pretty classic. Sounds more and more like performance anxiety.

Nick: “This is proving to be a problem. I have started getting serious with a guy and he is getting frustrated that I don’t cum.”

DD: I can pretty much assure you that things will only get worse if you don’t nip this in the bud, my friend. Have you ever thought about talking to a therapist about this? I really encourage you do so before this becomes a full-blown sexual dysfunction. You may have noticed this already, since you said you’ve visited my site. I offer therapy by phone and online through Skype for my clients who don’t live in Seattle. You can get all the details by clicking the Therapy Available tab in the header above.

Nick: “I get hard just seeing him and kissing him and being close to him, but when it comes time to have sex, I start getting a bit nervous, go soft and loose all the sexual arousal.”

DD: Your use of the word “nervous” is the clincher. You got it bad, sir, and that ain’t good.

Nick: “So I guess my question is — What’s up with not being able to feel anything when I’m on top? Is it just a question of position? Should I try other positions when I’m topping someone?”

DD: It’s not about positions, not at all. It’s about being disconnected from your dick in partnered sex.

Nick: “I have reassured my partner that I am attracted to him (he’s hot!) and that I am turned on but its starting to be an issue — what can I do to get over this?”

DD: In this instance, Nick, there is no substitute for talking to a professional. And there’s no shame in that. You just need to learn how to jettison the anxiety and relax into it your newfound identity as a sexually liberated gay man. There is a program of sensate focus and relaxation exercises that would certainly help you.

Nick: “That’s my rather long rant for tonight.”

DD: Thanks for writing Nick. I wish you well as you address this. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Good luck

Everything about female orgasm and how to touch a woman

By Zoey Miller

How to Touch a Woman: Everything You Need to Know About the Female Orgasm

Are you wanting to become a better lover? Do you want to make a woman go wild? Is your ultimate goal to please a woman and drive her to the best orgasm she’s ever had?

If you want to learn to please a woman — and please her well over and over again — then you have to practice. With every encounter or relationship you have, you’ll build your skills and get better at knowing what to do. Every woman is different, and so you really won’t know what truly turns her on until you have the opportunity to interact.

The bottom line is that figuring out what makes her go wild is a journey and it will take time — but it can be a fun journey that is informed by research and practice. And if we’re talking about sexual encounters, then there’s nothing more fun than that.

If you’re ready to take your sexual encounters and your ability to please a woman to a new level, then read on to get our full guide that will lead you through everything you need to know — and everything you need to do to get better with every interaction. There are few things that are more of a turn on to a woman than to know her lover want to make her scream.

Let your woman know this, and she’ll feel a comfort level with you that will allow her to reach the place where she can let go and experience a real orgasm.

Are you ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know about how to touch a woman right now:

Everything About the Female Orgasm

What is an orgasm?

The female orgasm — much like the male orgasm — at its very base is a physical, pleasurable reflex when the woman’s genitals relax during sex. During intercourse, the muscles in the body are tightened, and when the female orgasm occurs, they release and return to what is known as the pre-arousal stage.

Depending on a woman’s anatomy and unique being, she may be able to have multiple orgasms in a row. Following an orgasm, a woman is going to be sensitive because of the overpowering sensation of her muscle’s reflexes. That’s because the blood rushes to the vessels in her muscles to create that sensation.

What does the female orgasm feel like?

Every woman’s experience in feeling an orgasm will be different but some very common occurrences are a feeling of intense warmth or sweating, heavy or increased breathing, vibrations of various body parts and the urge to scream out in pleasure.

An orgasm will feel differently and will be unique to each woman, so that’s why it’s so important that a woman really know her body and be able to articulate what turns her on. If a woman says she has never experienced an orgasm, then that’s an opportunity for you to show her that she can.

This is addressed in more detail in the next section.

What if my female partner can’t have an orgasm?

If you’ve ever had a woman tell you she cannot have an orgasm, then it’s time to stop in your tracks and do a little pressing. What you may find is that some women may feel embarrassed or ashamed to let go and be turned on — or they may think they are taking too long to achieve an orgasm and believe that they are being a burden to you.

Still others may find it challenging to have an orgasm because anatomically, their clitoris is too far away from their vagina. Researchers have discovered that typically, if your clitoris is more than 2.5 centimeters away from your vagina, or roughly the tip of your thumb to your knuckle, that you may not be able to achieve an orgasm by penile penetration alone. That doesn’t mean they can’t achieve orgasm through intercourse. It just means you need to work a little harder and be little more creative to find what really turns on your partner.

A very low percentage of women — less than 10 percent — claim that they can achieve an orgasm by penile penetration alone. It’s more likely that your partner prefers and needs more than one method of stimulation. So from oral sex to masturbation to using a vibrator — there are many different ways you can get your female partner to reach climax. It’s just a matter of knowing her anatomy and what she prefers in bed.

Overall, however, it’s really important that you create a safe and welcoming environment for your woman to relax and really let go. In that trusted space, she will be able to open up to you and tell you what she wants — what she wants you to say, how she wants you to touch her and what her fantasies are. Those are critical clues that will help you achieve her orgasm together.

At first it takes a little work, but it’s all in love and fun — and once you get there, the two of you will have a renewed and special trust that will take you into the next bedroom encounter.

How to Touch a Woman

Create an Environment for Intimacy

You’ll want to start out the night by creating a safe, trusted and intimate environment that will make your woman feel comfortable and loved. Women like many different environments for sex, and again, no one woman is alike.

So you need to know your woman well. Does she respond to flowers, candles and romance? Does she want sex quick and dirty? Does she need a chance to unwind with a glass of wine or a hot bath? Whatever her triggers are for relaxation and comfort, you’ll want to deploy those for her.

What this does is let her know you are watching, listening and responding to what will make her feel most wanted and loved. So pay attention — or ask her — and that will go a long way in creating a better environment for being vulnerable when it comes time to making that climb toward the female orgasm.

Kissing is Key

If you want to give a woman an orgasm, kissing is going to be key. Lower yourself to her vagina and use your tongue to massage her clitoris with slow licks. Pay attention to her breathing as you are doing this, as you may want to speed up or slow down depending on how she is responding.

Some patterns think that if they do everything quickly, then that is a turn on. But that’s likely going to make her feel like she needs to perform and fake an orgasm because she knows it’s not going to come quickly.

Instead, ask her what is feeling good as you are doing it. Ask her if she wants more kissing, more tongue licking or flicking, or the speed to be faster or slower. If she feels comfortable with you, she will tell you what is feeling especially good.

Ask her to guide your head as you are giving her oral sex so that you know the exact position that feels the best.

A bonus move that works really well: Ask her to masturbate if she feels comfortable while you are kissing or licking her, as you can watch her do this and pay attention to where her fingers are going. She is going to know her body the best, and you can know the exact location of where your tongue or fingers should be next.

Start Out Slowly When Penetrating

Another urban myth about penetrating a woman with your fingers, also called “fingering.” You can’t do it quickly at first. If you’ll remember from the first section, a woman’s muscles are usually tight during sex. When she orgasm’s they contract.

Leading up to the Big O, her muscles will begin to relax and it will be easier to penetrate her and arouse her as you lead her to an orgasm. But at the beginning, start out slowly.

Use your mouth to apply a good amount of saliva to her vagina so that your fingers can slip in fairly easily. Start with one finger and move it very slowly back and forth. If you find that there is more room and that she is getting more aroused with one finger, try to insert two fingers.

Move those two fingers back and forth very slowly, while asking your partner if she is enjoying it along the way. If she is showing signs of discomfort or pain, stop. Communication is really key as you are participating in fingering because your woman will give you clues that she is ready for penetration with your penis.

If she prefers fingering over your penis, then continue in the method of moving your fingers in and out slowly. When she is just out of breath and close to having an orgasm pull out your fingers and begin using your tongue to rapidly flick her clitoris. Continue massaging the area around the clitoris as you are flicking it until she reaches orgasm and screams or sighs in delight.

You may not get verbal affirmation as not every woman is not a screamer. But, ask her if she is reaching orgasm and pay attention to her body. Usually a woman will become very sensitive and she won’t be able to handle you touching her in her vaginal region any longer. She’ll need some time to reset. Some women can have an other orgasm a few minutes later. Keep that communication open so you know what to expect and exactly what you need to do to get her to that place of absolute pleasure.

Should I Be Ashamed of Using a Vibrator?

We get this question a lot — and the answer is you absolutely should be willing to use a vibrator. It says nothing about you that your female partner is not achieving orgasm with your penis alone. It’s actually quite common that this happens because sex takes a lot of practice to get both partners to achieve that pleasurable moment.

So if this is the challenge that you are experiencing — or even if you’re not — try a vibrator! They are fun and safe to use. They come in a wide variety of sizes and textures so that you can experience different sensations. This is especially a great way for a woman who hasn’t been extremely communicative about what she likes sexually to experiment with and decide what she truly loves — and wants you to try to replicate!

Remember to Engage Your Brain

The ability to reach an orgasm is more than half of your brain. You have to exert mental energy to reach that level of being able to let go. If you’ve been able to do it, then it’s good to encourage your partner that it can happen for her as well.

Before you engage in any kind of sexual activity, sit down with your partner and talk to her about expectations and what she should expect out of you. Let her know that you are there for her — to pleasure her and to make her feel good. That’s going to put her at immediate ease and let her know that you are there for her. You’re not there to get the first orgasm. You want her to be happy first.

That’s a great first step along the way to working together to achieve the female orgasm — and your partner will thank you again and again for all of your effort along the way in your bedroom journey.

In conclusion, with this guide, you can get to the skill level you want and learn to please a woman in a way that will make her happy and confident in you. Remember that it does take practice — but don’t let that discourage you.

Learning to give a woman an orgasm is an enjoyable experience and you’ll feel more confident knowing that you have pleased her and that she is impressed with you and your abilities. That should empower you and make you feel good in the process of learning to be a better lover.

If you’re ready to experience that confidence, happiness, health and true skill — then continue implementing our guide in your practice sessions. Every moment you are with the woman you care about is an opportunity to learn what she likes, to better understand her body and to build trust with her so that she truly can let go and experience a real orgasm.

So many women end of faking orgasms because they don’t feel they can be honest with their partners. But if you take the initiative to truly understand what turns them on and to study their body’s response — in time, you’ll know exactly how to touch the woman you love to get her to that moment of pure ecstasy.

Complete Article HERE!

How did evolution change our sexual organs? It’s time to learn the history of sex

By

Porn images are everywhere but we need better ways to teach children about love, intimacy and yes, masturbation

evolution

At the start of this third millennium, sex seems to be all around us – within easy reach, on our screens, constantly talked about in the media. What used to be concealed, shameful and forbidden only a century ago is today regarded as evidence of progress in the freedom of thought. Artists use sex to push the limits of creativity: Paul McCarthy’s “butt plug” sculpture, for example, was installed at the Place Vendôme in Paris in 2014, even though it provoked outrage among residents.

The sexual metaphor is ever-present. Paradoxically, however, sex is rarely explained and almost never taught. Do you know how our sexual organs changed when we evolved from animal to human? When did the first couple show up? Where does our sense of modesty come from? Or eroticism? Or love, that most momentous of human concerns? What about our earliest customs? Which ancient civilisation championed equality between men and women? And why was masturbation frowned upon?

Sex is one of those realities that for a long time we neither wanted to see nor hear about. The sexual liberation of the 1970s – which was, in my opinion, the biggest social revolution in the history of humanity – signalled the transition from a traditional male-dominated society to one in which sex with all its nuances could finally be examined openly and understood. But as sex has dared to uncover itself, to live, to speak, we face the challenge of expressing what for so long has been kept under wraps. How are we to communicate what so recently caused so much shock and outrage?

In the west, the union of two individuals is in complete flux, with a drop in those getting married (in France 57% of births now happen outside marriage); same-sex marriage; and the option of “slices of life”, relationships with different partners in the course of a lifetime. But however free our customs may be, censorship persists when it comes to the communication of sex, the words, the particular way of defining sexuality and the idea of sensuality. Literature and fiction have always attempted to push the boundaries of this censorship: in the 18th century we had Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s Dangerous Liaisons; and in the 21st, EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. But mostly our discussions fall somewhere between sincerity and provocation as we attempt to understand intimacy and the fullest expression of sexual pleasure.

intimacy

No history book will delve too deeply into the sexual realm, yet it’s clear that history is a timeline of instructions and condemnations about sexuality. Each culture, each religion, each era has defined its own normality.

But without learning the history of love and intimacy, how can we understand the extraordinary evolution in customs that has led us from an existence ordered by family and society, and reinforced by religion, to the freedoms we know today? In his collection of aphorisms, Monogamy, the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips says that “most people would not live as a couple if they had never heard of it”. In this, he is reflecting the artificial nature of our customs and the need for a way to express our thoughts on sex, intimacy and being with other people.

We know today that human sexuality is not innate: it is learned and constructed through the images that society offers us. Even among our cousins, the primates, who live in a natural habitat, sexuality is learned through experience – young monkeys witness the courting and frolicking of the adults. The need for a model is evident: a young chimpanzee isolated from its peers is incapable of mating when it reaches adulthood.

Yet there is a fundamental difference: we invented modesty. Humans always make love away from the group. This is one of the great problems with sexuality: on the one hand it requires education; on the other, culture and religion collude to suppress sexual education.

The physician Thomas Beddoes was probably the first person to teach a course in sex education, complete with public demonstrations on the differences between men and women, in the early 19th century. But in the following two centuries, sex education failed to gain ground. Opposition was widespread and aggressive, on the part of the church as well as among teachers.

Sex education classes were subsequently written into law, but, in reality, rarely delivered. Sex education is today well established in Quebec and the Scandinavian countries, where primary school-age children are educated about gender differences and roles, as well as sexual orientation. In the Netherlands, where a complete programme of sex education is delivered from primary school, the rates of teenage pregnancies and abortions are among the lowest in the world.

But other western countries such as France and the UK provide little more than a perfunctory discourse on contraception and safeguarding against STDs. In France, a 2001 law stipulates three classes of sex education a year in middle and secondary school. However, as teachers have no training in this very particular field, it is often organisations such as those devoted to family planning that ensure these classes go ahead. In most cases, they rarely take place at all, and when they do they are limited to the three Ps: “prevention, pill, protection”, in other words, information on fertility and STDs. In this educational void the internet and porn offer themselves as models.

This is quite evidently the worst possible model, and the reason why a more reliable source of knowledge is indispensable, from primary school through to the last year of secondary. The average age at which children are first exposed to pornography is 11. Such an artificial vision of sex has altered our most intimate behaviour and has become the frame of reference not just for our teenagers but for us all. It makes us ask ourselves: am I sexy enough, am I the best lover?intimacy2

Nothing could be more damaging than these images devoid of explanation. We can’t stop young people from encountering porn, but a formal, educational approach would allow our society to explain its context and prevent misunderstandings that could otherwise compromise a fragile or still developing personality.

A genuine sex education should take the bio-psychological, emotional and social aspects of sexuality into account, should allow children to understand differences between the sexes, interpersonal relationships, the importance of developing critical thinking, an open mind and respect for the other. We must banish negative terms (sin, adultery, prostitution, Aids and STDs) in favour of positive schooling that allows children to understand desire, pleasure and excitement; the importance of sensitivity in love; the importance of masturbation, even. We must understand that everything can be taught, even the practicalities of how people live together, and we should start in primary school with discussions not only of genital differences but about the variations between boys and girls, the significance of love and of respect that may help with later relationships, notions of gender equality and domestic violence.

Only by speaking frankly, lightheartedly and wide-rangingly about sex, love and intimacy can we provide an education that enables adolescents, both boys and girls, to begin their lives with a better understanding of human relationships.

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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