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Beyond Top and Bottom: Demystifying Trans and Non-Binary Sex

Robyn Exton

Jun 21, 2021

Beyond Top and Bottom: Demystifying Trans and Non-Binary Sex

This content has been produced in partnership between Durex UK and HER as part of the #MySexMyWay campaign. 

For too long the world’s understanding of sex and intimacy has been focused exclusively on cisgender heterosexual experiences, meaning that the health and wellbeing of the queer and trans community are left behind when it comes to sex education, information, and representation. But it’s absolutely crucial to provide trans and queer folks with reliable sex education—and that includes information on queer and trans dating, relationships, intimacy, and pleasure.

That’s why Durex has launched an extensive survey to better understand and expand on topics relating to LGBTQ+ sex, hoping to identify individual experiences within a greatly underserved community. With the specifics of how queer, trans and, non-binary people and how they relate to one another, Durex hopes to better understand and support everyone, so that each person can enjoy sex their way — safely, consensually, and with the confidence to bring their whole selves into any intimate situation. 

As part of this mission, we have created a range of articles that provide you with information to help you live your sex life your way. Join us in completing the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ sex survey from Durex, solely aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, and share your experiences to help us enable everyone to live their sex lives, their way.

👉 Link to survey. 👈

There’s no one way to have sex, and that’s especially true if you’re trans or non-binary. But even if you identify as someone under the wider transgender umbrella, there’s no real inclusive sex education. And what if you’re someone having sex with someone who identifies as trans or non-binary? 

People who are transgender identify as a gender other than what they were assigned at birth, whether that’s binary (male or female) or non-binary, which means they do not subscribe to a specific gender at all, finding themselves either in the middle of or outside of the two or may even fluctuate based on their feelings any given day. Not every trans or non-binary person takes hormones or has surgical procedures, but some do, and it’s important to honor an individual’s boundaries around discussing anything related to medical interventions. 

It’s important to realize trans people are not a monolith, and so every single individual will have turn-ons, turn-offs, and non-negotiables. The individuals who are trans-identified are just that — individuals. Communication is key to all kinds of relationships, but perhaps even more crucial when a trans/non-binary partner, so whether you are trans or non-binary or partners (perspective or otherwise) who identify as such, the number one rule is to make no assumptions when it comes to sex. 

Besides talking with your partner about what you like, try showing them, whether that’s through erotica, use of a toy, or a homemade video. The more the two of you can share will inform your consenting to certain sex acts and highlighting your boundaries. Understand that some people might experience moments of dysphoria; anxiety or discomfort related to their experience of being assigned a sex at birth. 

Dysphoria can take someone out of the moment and turn pleasure into something uncomfortable and unpleasant. For some people, this means asking your partner to stay away from certain body parts and highlighting others. This can vary, even with the same person based on aspects of trust or how someone is experiencing dysphoria or their bodies on a day-to-day basis. 

As a trans or non-binary person, talking with your partner about your desires and your dysphoria will prove the most helpful. As their partner, using the language they’d like used about their body parts is crucial. Follow your partner’s lead and if you’re ever unclear, ask and confirm.


Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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