Everyone’s sex drive is different, and everyone responds differently to this particular biological force (except the boys in my 8th grade language arts class when I was teaching, who morphed en masse into beings from another planet as soon as puberty hit).
So, although I am posting this in response to a new reader’s question from yesterday, I need to make it clear that my experience with testosterone is my experience with testosterone. I have heard similar stories from other trans men, but they will have to speak for themselves, and are invited to do so in the comments section.
One of the most interesting things about the effects of testosterone and trans men is that we have something else to compare it to. Non-trans men do not. And non-trans women do not, which is why I wrote the post “It’s the Testosterone: What Straight Women Should Know.”
When I started testosterone a dozen years ago, I expected my sex drive to increase. The “horror” stories are a part of trans man lore, passed down from generation to generation as we all gear up for male adolescence, no matter how old we are, and take out a line of credit at the adult toy store.
And it did increase, within about four days of my first shot, and I basically squirmed a lot for two years before I got used to it. But I was planning for that. Here are the things that took me by surprise:
> It became very focused on one thing – the goal, the prize, the end. That doesn’t mean that I was not able to “make love.” What it does mean is that there was a madness to my method, because it was goal-oriented. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. There was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There was an unguarded hoop just waiting for a slam dunk – score!
> It became very visual. I saw it, I wanted it – whatever it was. This was a new experience for me, because, in the past, I had not been aroused so much by pictures and body parts (or pictures of body parts) as I had been by words – erotic descriptions, stories, and things said to me.
> It became very visceral – instinctual – with a need to take care of it. It had very little to do with romance or even an attraction that made sense intellectually. You’re hungry, you eat. There was a matter-of-factness about it, especially when I was by myself. Hmm … peanut butter sandwich sounds good. Okay, done. Let’s move on.
And that was how it changed. And I need to add some caveats here.
The first is to remind everyone that this was my experience. I cannot speak for anyone else.
The second is to point out that there are no doubt both women and men who have experienced or do experience something very similar. We can speak in general terms about the differences between men and women (and I personally believe, in general terms, that there are differences). But those generalities cannot be assumed to apply to all individual men and women.
The third is to totally refute the claims that have been made over the years that “all men are rapists if given the opportunity” and similar accusations. I think this is utter nonsense, as is the idea that men “can’t control themselves.”
And last, these things change. Either they eventually become less intense or we adjust. We are going through a male adolescence, and we survive and come out on the other side.
And, unless we are truly 14 (I was 42), we have a little bit of maturity and the intelligence to know what’s happening to us and how to handle it. This maturity and intelligence is what allows most men and women, trans and non-trans, to have loving adult relationships that succeed on many levels.
You only go through adolescence once (or if you transition, twice), so hopefully you enjoyed yours. Now have that peanut butter sandwich and move on.
(Photo: my first adolescence – 8th grade)