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Illustration for article titled Sex talk: Everything you ever wanted to know about neovaginas

***no main page, please. I don't want this to turn into trollbait or a guide to being able to spot a trans vagina***


Okay guys, we talk a lot about the social elements of transition, but we (rightfully) don't talk a lot about surgery and I know a lot of people are really curious about it. I've had my very own vagina for over a year now, things are all healed up, I've had a chance to test things out and I'm in a sharing kind of mood. Normally, it's really rude to ask a trans woman about her vagina, but it's also really interesting so I thought I'd write down some of the common things people wonder about surgery or might not have even thought about andfor the next couple of hours I'll take your questions. I will be very very frank in my answers so if you have problems with TMI, this is probably not the post for you.

How does the surgery work?

There are a couple of variations. As far as I know*, the old technique was a pretty straightforward penile inversion, but newer techniques use the scrotum for parts of the vaginal canal since it's stretchy and the glans are used to make the clitoris.


How does it look?

Pretty good, honestly. Not perfect but pretty good. Contrary what certain radical feminists (TERFS) would like you to believe, surgeons aren't just turning out 'perfect', 'identical' vaginas as a means to demean the natural variation of womens' bodies or some such blah, blah, blah, there is a lot of variation in how our vaginas look. How it looks has as much to do with what you had to begin with as it does with the surgeon you go to. Each surgeon has a slightly different technique, so their results will favor each other in a certain way but since most of the penis is recycled a lot of the outcome depends on what you had to begin with, so two vaginas made by the same surgeon might look radically different.


Really, the most important thing to get right the first time is sensation and depth because you can go back and work on cosmetics later, but once the initial surgery is over you can go back and add more depth or more nerve endings.My doctor did a good job of getting the plumbing right, I have good depth and good sensation but cosmetic surgery is tricky. It's hard to be 100% sure of how everything is going to settle after the swelling goes down. I think it's pretty normal for people to have or need minor revisions to tweak everything. I'm going back for a revision in the fall (which is an out patient proceedure) and while I think things could be a little better, I'm not disappointed in what I have.

Does it work?

Yes very much so. I have a lot of sensation and orgasm pretty easily.

How do the orgasms feel?

AMAZING! but also variable. Sometimes they're oh-my-god-the-word-is-ending-I-probably-look-like-a-dying-fish-but-it's-so-worth-it, other times they're like, 'oh, okay.' Compared to before, I would say they're generally more intense, more diffuse and internal. I don't think I ever really had earthshaking orgasms before surgery but now I do pretty regularly. How much of that is mental and how much is physical, it's hard to say. They're definitely stronger when something is inside me (penis, sex toy, fingers) so maybe the contractions happening happening around that object make it feel more intense?


I can have orgasms from both clitoral and penetrative stimulation but a combination is best. The prostate is still there (although shrunken because of hormones) and it's in about the same place that people usually describe the G-spot as being. Since the vagina is kind of between the prostate and the rectum, it gets more stimulation than you would during anal which makes vaginal orgasms fairly easy for me.

Like everything else lot of this really depends on the individual and the surgeon. With older techniques, the ability to orgasm was really kind of a matter of luck. When I first started transition, you kind of had to ask yourself if having a vagina was worth losing the ability to orgasm, however, there has been a lot of improvement in the last decade as doctors have focused on preserving sensation rather than just making a hole. I would like to say that most people can orgasm after surgery, with the caveat that if you had difficulty orgasming before surgery, you're probably going to still have difficulty orgasming after.


How does it feel compared to a natal vagina?

Having been *ahem* on both sides of this issue, I can say that it feels pretty good and pretty close to a natal vagina. There are a couple of differences, though. Trans women are limited in depth by how much material they had to begin with so our vaginas don't expand naturally when we're excited. They'll stretch a little, but what we've got, is what we've got so if the person penetrating you is larger than average they'll bottom out, however, this happens to cis-women too and there are techniques you use to prevent that from happening. I would say the average depth tends to be around 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches with outliers on either end—again depending what the person had to start with.


Modern surgeons are lining the clitoral hood with mucusal tissue which helps keep the cliterous lubricated and precum can help but generally we don't produce enough lubrication on our own for penetrative sex, so lube is pretty much a must.

Since our pelvises are shaped a little differently than those of cis women, the angle is also slightly different; a little straighter in I would say. That aside, once you're in it pretty much feels the same to the penis, it's soft and warm and fun and all that good stuff.


How does it feel for me?

Fucking amazing. Jesus Christ. For me, it is soo soo much better that being on the other side (being the penetrator). I've always really loved receptive sex and when anal was my only option, it was good, but the feelings are much more intense with vaginal sex and it's just much more comfortable. A friend of mine compared it to the difference between black and white and color TV.


Other things:


Like I said before, depth depends largely on what you had to begin with, but it also has to be maintained by dilation. Basically, there are a series of different sized stents or dilator which are kind of like polyurethane dildos that you have to push in and hold for a set amount of time to expand or maintain the vaginal canal. If you don't dilate, regularly, you'll lose depth as the tissue used for the vagina starts to contract.


How often and how long varies from surgeon to surgeon. I started out having to dilate 5 times a day for 20mins for the first two months, 3 times a day until six months, once a day from six months to the first year and now I'm supposed to dilate twice a week for as long as I want to keep the depth I have or until I find a partner who will have penetrative sex with me regularly (this is an outcome I'm hoping for since it's way more fun that dilating).


We don't get them since we don't have uteri. This question has been asked enough times for me to include it here.


Awkward questions I have for you guys:

1) I know that there's some erectile tissue in the vulva so women can get 'lady boners', how does that feel? I mean, how 'hard' do things get? Does it only happen when you're excited or do it sometimes happen randomly? How much do things swell up? My surgeon left in a lot of erectile tissue, it really helps with sensation and pleasure but she left a little too much and it can be a little uncomfortable (better to leave too much than too little, though) and I was just wondering how things compare.


2) Do your inner labia protrude past your outer labia? If they do, is it just the lips themselves or does the clitoral hood protrude too? My clitoral hood tends to stick out a little and since my labia majora are pretty small, it looks a little weird (outer labia are really difficult to make). I know there's a lot natural variation on this, but I was curious about other people's experiences.

3) I know it's hard to describe, how would you say your orgasms compare when it's just clitoral stimulation vs. having someone/something inside you?


*I'm not an expert, I'm speaking from my own experiences and what I've read.

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