On the first of November I was a guest in the Dutch talk show Pauw & Witteman. One of the guests there was Sunny Bergman, who wrote a book about sluts, how they're being regarded and what it takes to be seen as a 'slut' by one's environment. As the topic of gender comes into play here I was asked by one of the hosts - Pauw - about how I experienced this drive to have sex considering that I have both male and female genitals, also whether I do experience a kind of conflict between these two sides.
What I answered then was that yes, I do experience things from both a male and female perspective. I can most definitely imagine having sex as either, leading me to believe that just having either type of genitals will lead one to have the associated thoughts and desires. What I didn't get to expand upon in the limited time of the show were the details of this as well as my views on what a 'slut' truly is.
Although I have never had the full male testosterone levels - levelling out at only about a quarter - I do remember that before I began taking the testosterone blockers, which reduced this level to a female level, I had far more trouble dealing with sexual urges. If I try to imagine what I felt back then in terms of sexual urges and multiply it by four times that, I'm frankly more surprised that men who are subject to such urges are still able to function. I'd more or less expect them to revert back to cave men, incapable of speech and other higher brain functions.
That, I feel, is the primary reason why men are so quick to think that 'more sex is better', as their whole being is tuned towards accepting it as such. Those men who take a more nuanced view of sexuality are rare and far between. I'd speculate that general intelligence levels determine here how well one can handle these nuances, but since that would likely get me into a highly controversial mess, I'll refrain from doing so :)
So, then what is a 'slut'? One requirement for this seems to be that one behaves and/or dresses 'slutty', which seems to mean without any sense of decency. Wearing revealing clothing and touching oneself and/or others in a suggestively sexual manner would suffice here. Having sexual contact with many partners then would come in as a less important, secondary requirement, possibly even optional. Seems clear-cut enough. The more interesting question here is really why one would wish to behave in such a manner. What is the gain or benefit?
Looking at the primary gain of such behaviour is a lot of attention, even if it's all focused on the physical and sexual. One can then deduce from this that the person behaving in such an indecent manner craves attention - any type - to fill up an emotional void. For this void many causes can exist. I'll refrain from quoting or paraphrasing Freud here. Simply put, however, it implies a flaw in one's psyche, generally due to a lack of something in one's upbringing or environment, or possibly traumatic events. There's also the possibility of group pressure forcing someone with low self-esteem into such behaviour. Low self-esteem is generally a high risk factor for many types of harmful behaviour.
I'm not afraid to admit that for a brief while I was a slut as well by this definition. In my case it was the uncertainty about my body's configuration which led me to trust certain people too much, leading to me getting raped. That traumatic event was the trigger for a period of about a year during which I behaved in a manner of which I am currently anything but proud. I understand why it happened, but I really wish it never had. I have previously blogged about this and this blog starts with the last section of that period. After many talks with this older woman who had relevant experience I was able to far better understand my behaviour and realize this hole I had inside of me.
That realization didn't save me from suffering more psychological damage during years following it, though. If anything I suffered more sexual trauma in the following years. It has driven me to a place where I am pretty much the very opposite of a 'slut', however. I do not involve myself with any type of lewd or indecent behaviour. I abhor sexuality and consider relationships to be something which should not be shown off to the outside world. I realize that much of my feelings of disgust towards these topics are due to my traumas and that it'll take years for these to heal somewhat, but that's fine. These traumas will keep me safe, preventing me from ever being used and abused in such a manner again.
This then kind of brings me to the related topic of what a 'normal' sexuality looks like for someone who has an everything but regular body. Truth to be told, I have always found male and female bodies to be quite... odd. As though there's something wrong with them, that they're misshapen or missing something. I'm really not sure how this works, but what I do know is that in terms of sexual attractiveness at least for me a body like mine would come in first place. A female shaped body, with both male and female genitals. A female body comes close, but there's a big part missing. The male body... on some level I can understand the sexual attractiveness for it and even feel it, but it's a definite third place for me.
Maybe that part of this preference is born from trauma. After all the hermaphroditic shape is what I am most familiar with and which is the most comforting. Does that sound like a theory that girls who get raped become lesbian? Maybe it does and maybe that's a true theory as well. I don't know.
Perhaps the best I can settle with at this point as far as my own sexuality goes is that it's just incredibly confusing and it'll probably take that reconstructive surgery plus a loving, healthy relationship to get some semblance of clarity. Just the first one alone would be a nice start.
The answers are all to be found in Germany, it seems...