FAQ: Gay Men and Gay FtMs Redux

Alright, this post is one of the most popular pages on here, but it’s a bit outdated so I’ve decided to write a new one. Let’s start with the basics: what is a gay FtM? In this case I’m using it to mean trans men (however you want to define that) who are attracted to men, including cis men. There are plenty of trans men who are attracted to other trans men without being attracted to cis men, but this isn’t going to focus on them. For many of us the bigger question is whether or not a cis guy will ever be willing to date/sleep with us. The answer is…it’s complicated. It depends on a variety of factors that I’m going to try to cover here. This is all based on my own experiences in various cities and countries at different stages of transition. Like everything on this site, your experiences may be different. Yay for diversity.

  1. Perceived gender. The ‘perceived’ part of this is important. I know, you’re a guy.  That’s great.  That doesn’t matter if no one else can see it.  If you go to a gay club or group or event and all anyone sees is a straight woman or lesbian you’re not going to have much luck.  Why?  Gay men are (get this) attracted to men.  If they don’t know you’re a man they’re probably not going to be attracted to you.  Are there exceptions to this?  Yeah, of course.  I know I dated gay cis guys before coming out, some of whom knew I was a girl and others who didn’t, but that’s fairly uncommon.  It also tends to cause issues as the guys question their sexuality.  So if you’re no-ho or pre-T or early-T or whatever don’t expect to pull at a night club.  Coming out to a group of guys and then eventually dating one of them?  Bit more likely.  The random, anonymous sex bit is harder to do when not passing though.
  2. Perceived gender expression.  Again, ‘perceived’ is important.  If you’re like most trans guys chances are you’ve vastly overestimated how effeminate you are.  Here’s a hint: if you prefer a lumberjack look most guys will consider you butch.  They don’t know about your My Little Pony collection or ballet training.  Even if they did, they may not consider that enough to override the flannel and cargo jeans.  Consider it a bonus, effeminate guys of any orientation or genital configuration tend to have a harder time finding dates/sex.  Sissyphobia is still alive and well in the world, including the gay community.  Biggest difference between you and a cis guy here is that you’ll probably get at least one variation on “why didn’t you just stay a girl?”  Yes, it sucks.  No, chances are you won’t be alone forever.  It just makes everything a little more difficult.
  3. Age.  The world has changed a lot in recent years.  There’s more knowledge of trans guys, including gay ones, than ever before.  We’ve been on the news, in TV shows, and in gay men’s publications.  Sometimes this is useful, it means we have less educating to do.  It can also be a problem when guys think they know everything already.  I’ve found the younger a guy is the more likely he is to be open to the idea of dating/sleeping with a trans guy.  It’s not a 100% thing, but in general younger guys don’t have all the “oh crap, they’re trying to make me straight” hangups older guys do (for good reason) and tend to know at least enough to not think you’re a drag king or something.  That doesn’t mean go for 18 year olds if you’re 40 or something (that tends to not go well regardless of genitalia), but keep it in mind when deciding how to go about coming out.
  4. Subcommunity.  I will never understand why this is, but bears and leather daddies have always been the nicest, most accepting guys I meet.  If I was into them I’d totally be having more sex right now.  If gay trans guys blogging about their sexual experiences are any indication, they’re also pretty open to trans guys in their community.  I wouldn’t know, it’s not my thing.  Go you if it’s yours though.
  5. Preferred ‘type’.  This goes in combination with your own perceived gender expression.  Guys who are perceived as neutral or masculine tend to be able to go for anyone they want.  Guys who are perceived as effeminate get strange looks when we’re attracted to other effeminate guys (exception being hipster effeminate).  It’s stupid and heterocentric, but that’s the way things are for now.  It is entirely possible to be an effeminate guy who is into other effeminate guys and still find sex/dates, it’s just another thing that’s a bit more difficult to navigate.  It also seems to be getting easier as time goes on which is nice.  Just be prepared for straight people constantly asking “so who’s the girl?”
  6. Sexual preferences.  This is in combination with all of the above.  Guy who’s read as a feminine straight girl and is into effeminate guys and really wants front hole sex is going to have more trouble than a masculine, passing guy into neutral guys who hates anyone going near his vagina.  In my experience if you’re effeminate the assumption is you like stuff up your ass so if you prefer strapping one on you’re going to have to say that.  Only not in those words, they’re likely to make people think “lesbian”.  Which brings in the next factor.
  7. Language and how you try to pull.  Guys, this isn’t straight girl flirting.  Being coy is more likely to turn other guys off than get you laid.  Spend a few weeks just watching gay guys interact without trying to get any.  Learn what the cues are and how they’re different from whatever messages you’ve internalised.  Then go practice without expecting to actually succeed.  Be prepared in case you do of course, but don’t be too disappointed if you don’t.  It takes a while, even for cis guys.  Unless you are exceptionally hot you’re going to have to work at it a bit.  Everyone does.  Only difference is that you also have to find a good way to come out.
  8. Confidence.  This is probably the one I’ve seen guys (cis and trans) have the most trouble with.  Remember what you learned in middle school?  That idea that no one wants to be with someone who doesn’t like themself?  It’s true.  If you walk around with body language that says “I’m so disgusting, no one will ever love me” then chances are no one will.  I know, that sounds harsh.  Unfortunately, the world at large is not going to accommodate your self-esteem issues.  If you don’t believe that you’re hot then fake it.  Stand in front of a mirror and pretend you are the hottest guy in the world.  You will feel like a moron at first because it’s just an awkward thing to do, but eventually you’ll get over it.  Keep doing that until it feels natural.  While you’re doing that work on your actual confidence. Find a good therapist, start volunteering, whatever works.  You will be amazed at how big a difference being comfortable with yourself makes.
  9. Sociability.  I want to make something clear: you do not have to be a club kid.  You don’t even really have to be all that outgoing.  If you don’t like partying or going out with large groups then don’t do it.  Honestly, why would you want to attract someone who’s into that if you don’t want to participate in it?  However, I keep seeing trans guys sitting on their computers all day and whining that they’re not getting laid.  Well no shit!  You’re not even trying.  Get up off your ass and go meet people.  Sign up for Match.com for all I care, just don’t expect the universe to send you a boyfriend via FedEx.

…I wanted to make this an even 10, but that’s all I can come up with right now.  Really guys, there are a wide variety of factors that play into whether or not you’ll get laid.  Some of them are related to being trans and some of them aren’t.  Just get out there and start trying.  Be prepared for disappointments, everyone experiences them.  Don’t let fear hold you back though.  Only person that’s hurting is yourself.

29 Replies to “FAQ: Gay Men and Gay FtMs Redux”

  1. “If you’re like most trans guys chances are you’ve vastly overestimated how effeminate you are.”

    “Guys, this isn’t straight girl flirting. Being coy is more likely to turn other guys off than get you laid. ”

    Halleluja and Amen!

    I’ll sign the whole thing. Get it on transliness or something, it’s going to be mightyly helpful.

  2. I’ve found though that it is much more difficult to find gay cismen who only like to bottom.

    personally, for me I have never felt comfortable with that part, so I wouldn’t want to be a bottom in any respect. This is just my personal preference, but it also has to do with some insecurity.

    Have you guys had much luck finding guys who want to bottom with transguys? I’ve been met with some hostility.

    • If I remember right, SoF and I both predominantly top. There are some guys who are hostile (and really I wouldn’t want to bottom for them either, even if I did enjoy it), but I’ve certainly met plenty who are ready and willing. There are also guys who are happier with blow jobs or frot or any number of non-penetrative things. Just takes a combination of luck and skill (not to mention trial and error) to find them.

      • I’ve even met quite a number of straight-ish guys who liked to bottom. I always seemed to attract them for some reason. I’m ok with non-penetrative sex as well, just as long as the guy is on the more passive side of things, or at least not a total top.
        The cis guys you referred to, Dan- were they tops then? Or didn’t they just want to bottom in general? I’ve met quite a number of gay men who just don’t like anal too much.

        • I’m also wondering if some feel it’s more risky to do anal with a strap on (because of lack of nerve endings in the cock and soft anal tissue)? I have to ask some friends about that. Do you know, NA?

          • It’s not something I’ve ever encountered. I’d probably laugh if I did, to be honest. If I’m doing something painful or unpleasant I fully expect whoever I’m sleeping with to inform me. Silicone dick or not, that’s just basic sense.

          • What I meant was the following- I read in a strap on book once that the risk of hurting someone is higher because of the relative firmness of the dildo, the lack of cock sensation und the soft tissue in the anus (something that according to the book, wouldn’t happen so easily with a cis cock). I’ve never heard about that in real life, but I was wondering if there might be something to it.

          • And again, I expect people to tell me when I’m hurting them. Being able to feel someone’s ass around you doesn’t mean you won’t hurt them, it’s not like you can feel the tiny fissures opening up in the tissue. That’s all up to the person being fucked. Same way you can’t necessarily feel if you have a sharp edge on your nails that’s hurting someone, but they can feel it and have to tell you.

            As for firmness, the newest strap ons are surprisingly similar to cis dicks. Same slightly squishy outer shell with firm inner core. This isn’t 1965 anymore, we don’t have to use rubber or plastic.

          • That’s what I thought too. The risk that was mentioned wasn’t tiny fissures but rather breaking through the inside wall of the anus (word?) because it’s not as tough as a vaginal wall, or something. Sounded a bit creepy, and you never know. But I’ve never heard about that in real life.
            And the book was written by a dyke, so — 😉

            What brands are you using? I recently saw one with a firm core here, but we don’t have them too much.

          • …If you’re breaking through membranes like that you’re going to have a TON of warning in the form of intense pain. Like, ripping and tearing kind of pain.

            I have a few different dicks, but the one I use most often is probably my custom LolaJake. Not sure if they’re still around or as good quality as they were to begin with, it’s been like five years. It’s a bit shiny so you couldn’t pass it off as flesh in looks, but texture wise it’s surprisingly realistic.

          • You’re not talking about those 200-400$ Lolajakes they make nowadays? http://lolajake.com/secure/category/play/ I have never seen one over here, and wouldn’t want to order something that expensive without ever touching it :/

            I tried to build a hard-core *lol* dildo once by stuffing a tiny dildo into a cheap soft packer. Felt super realistic, but was rather fat 😉

            Btw- anybody ever seen an uncut dildo? I just can’t get used to the cut look, as almost nobody over here is cut.

  3. Hi!

    I’m really not sure if this is the right place to say this, I’m not really that internet-guy. Anyway, I just wanted to say that reading this (not only this special article, but this one is good ;)), I mean, reading your blog did mean much to me. I’m also a quite effeminate gay ftm, I’ve not even started transitioning yet, and the thought that there are other guys like me… other transguys like me… is quite reassuring. More than reassuring actually, but English is not my native tongue, I don’t know the right word for it. Anyway, thank you for writing that blog. If it means anything to you, it helped me. A lot. 🙂

    greetings Tervicz

  4. Tervicz,I’m a gay transman too!
    I’m from Brazil,here the transmans gays are still very few!But this blog helped me a lot.Thank you very much!

  5. Hey guys. I am one of those trans guys who has vastly overestimated how effeminate I am. There was a time early in my transition when passing was the most important thing in the world, and basically all my behaviors were built up around that. What small traces of femininity I had in me just faded away. I’m even told that the way I eat ice cream is manly (how?!). I’m perfectly happy with this and I don’t ever feel the urge to femme it up or anything. But I happen to like effeminate guys, and I can never seem to get their attention. I’m kind of shy and I don’t directly hit on them, so they always think I’m straight. How can I make it more obvious that I’m gay? I have considered trying to act more effeminate but maybe that’s a dumb idea.

    • I honestly have no clue. It’s not an issue I’ve never had before. If it’s ok with you I could link this on the forum and Tumblr blog to see if anyone else has ideas.

    • You could wink at them, lol. Or give them that shy smile with bedroom eyes. Check the guy out openly. You don’t have to do anything effeminate, you just got to make your interests more obvious. If however they are not the outgoing type that you’re hitting on, chances are it will go nowhere if you don’t directly hit on them.

  6. Could it be that the answer lies in bisexual men?

    I am bisexual and love straight sex but when i am with men I prefer to bottom exclusively, I also love being passive to a woman with a strapon. If i met a ftm top, I would gladly be exlusively bottom, no different than meeting a bio male gay top or a strapon woman.

    In fact a ftm top has a big advantage over a bio male, you don’t have to recover 🙂

    • Not as much as you’d think. First off, it requires finding a bisexual man you’re attracted to which I’ve never managed to do. Rather, none of the men I’ve been attracted to long enough to find out their sexual orientation have been bi. I could very well have oogled more than a few bi/pan guys without realising.

      Then you get into issues of body and identity. For some guys the fear of being seen as ‘the best of both worlds’ or something other than 100% man is too great to be able to comfortably date bi guys. I had that issue for a long time. There are bi guys who reinforce this by making comments that I’m sure are intended to be flattering, but end up just being painful. On the other side, there are bi guys who refuse to date trans people because of the idea that we’re ‘both’. The whole “if I wanted to date a man I’d find a REAL one” problem. I’ve heard of that less than the first, but that doesn’t really help matters when you’re being rejected. So while dating bi guys is a great solution for some people, it certainly isn’t a sure thing.

      • I’m a gay top and I date a fem bi cis boy bottom. I don’t want anyone near the shit I hate down there, and before we dated he made it very clear that he got it. I’ve found that with bi guys you have to make it clear that you are not the best of both worlds, you are a GAY MAN and a top who feels like he had his dick and balls stolen (if you do indeed feel that way, I know I do). Any bi man who, upon my trans disclosure, grinned and made a reference to female genitalia would have HIS dick and balls stolen by my laser glare (I dream, at least).

  7. Hey Aiden,

    Ran into your blog by chance and have been reading it for the last half an hour. Just wanted to say I really like your writing, and your POV – You’re really good at this

    I know a lot about this world though I’m just an ally -Got at least 2 FtMs in my immediate close circle of friends – but there’s still so much to learn.

    So, thank you. Keep up the great job!


  8. no-ho, pre-op bi transman here. never really thought I was all that effeminate maybe since I had a reputation for being the ‘girl’ guys would date and then ‘realize’ they were attracted to men. To which I’d reply, ‘no duh.’

    Your advice is, as usual, superb and cutting and I really appreciate this update.

    Something that’s really served me well is just generally not having any expectations about whether I’m going to get laid. In fact, I generally just assume that I’m NOT going to get laid, and focus on finding friendships and meeting interesting people and getting better at conversationalizing.

    Entitlement is a turn off. Many cis guys rarely get laid, and so you’re not special if you are having trouble picking up. No one but your mama will sympathize with you if you whine about it. Join the club, as they say.

    RealJock forums also had a thing on trans guys, and a lot of cis gay guys are really open about trans guys, even frontal. The thread’s currently active, btw.

    Didn’t know that about bears and leather daddies- good to know since I love bears and leather daddies. And other bi switch/vers. queer/pan/bi guys AND effeminate guys and drag queens and cross dressers and country boys and all the boys, ha, i’m a slut.

    Alternatives to picking up are chatting (I’ve found a few good chat partners on manhunt). Ask for dick pics if you want them. I generally do. I respond with ass pics because my dick don’t look like a dick yet and I don’t have $900 for the dream dick reelmagic prosthetic i want.

    I only ever got the ‘best of both worlds’ comment once, when I was presenting female, VERY female. Case in point: your maleness can ‘shine through’ (or ooze out?) even if you’re a no-ho pre-op trans guy in a mini skirt, weave, and heels as long as you let it. Ever see the episode of Drag Race where they stick the ‘straight’ guys in drag? You were probably a lot more like that than you realize, a corollary of the “you’re not as effeminate as you think” advice.

    We’re men, and other men will be able to see that even if they don’t want to acknowledge it at first. That’s their hang-up, not yours.

  9. Just giving a shout out that I read this blog post. It was interesting! I’m biologically female and gender identify as female. I have always wondered how transgendered people met romantic partners and it doesn’t seem like it’s much different from non-trans gendered people. As in it’s complicated… It’s hard for EVERYONE to find a romantic partner who shares your political and religious views, who you are attracted to and mesh well sexually. It seems like you are trying to give the impression that it is even harder for you to find a romantic partner so I wish you the best of luck. I hope you find your special someone someday 🙂

    • Ok, I normally try to be fairly balanced in comments, but you need to be called out on your privilege right now. I’m sorry if any of this comes off as rude, I don’t intend it to. This just needs to be done before you talk to someone else who will call you a transphobic bitch and not explain why.

      First off, you are a cis woman. “Biologically female” implies that trans women are robots or fake women or something. That’s why we use cis and trans. They’re equalizers. It seems like a little thing, but language is important. It shapes our thoughts and limits our arguments. So cis and trans. Remember them. They’ll come in handy if you keep wanting to educate yourself on trans issues.

      Second, you don’t get to have an opinion on what dating is like for trans people. You don’t know what it’s like. You have nothing to compare it to. A lot of the time being an ally is knowing when to be quiet and learn from the people around you. If it involves something that only trans people can know about — dating or passing or discrimination, things like that — then it’s time to sit quietly. Listen to what people are saying. Learn about their perspectives. Be sympathetic. Try not to do the things they’re complaining about. But stay quiet unless they specifically ask for a cis person’s opinion. Because these are things you can never understand. Not the way we do.

      Finally, dating is not the same for cis and trans people. It’s not even the same for straight trans people and gay trans people. Cis people don’t have to worry about transphobia. They don’t have to think about whether or not the person they’re interested in will turn violent when they disclose their trans status. They don’t get told that they’re trying to “trick” or “trap” people. They don’t have to worry about being turned away from gay-run hotels because the staff wants to believe their boyfriend is a “client”. It’s not the same. We have the problems of politics and romance and compatibility, but we also have this giant extra layer of issues to deal with. A significant portion of the time when we’re rejected it’s because the person we’re interested in is too transphobic to even take the time to learn what being trans really means. That’s not an issue of ‘meshing well’, it’s an issue of living in a transphobic world.

  10. My experience with being a gay FTM has changed a lot over the years.

    Initially there was the frustration of not-passing and not being able to pull in nightclubs, and meeting all these hot gay guys who didn’t see me as male and weren’t interested. Then passing, but feeling like an imposter when I tried to pull because I knew I had the “wrong” equipment and I felt like I was tricking them — which, yeah, will put your self-confidence in the can. Then successfully pulling, but being far too self-conscious and unhappy with my body to enjoy sex at all, even when I was with partners who weren’t as bothered by it as I was.

    That finally changed when I started dating a bisexual guy that I had SPECTACULAR chemistry with, who was patient with my body issues but made it perfectly clear that all the hold-up was on my end, that HE thought I was smoking hot in every way and he wanted to fuck me through the goddamned mattress. It was with him that I finally learned to *believe* it when partners said they found me attractive, instead of being convinced that they were just saying that to make me feel better.

    (Pro-tip, guys: if your partners tell you you’re hot, take it at face value. You gain absolutely nothing — and stand to sour everything — by second-guessing them.)

    We broke up for reasons unrelated to the trans thing, but that relationship was still a watershed in my transition because I came out of it with a newfound sense of self-worth. I was a man that other men found desirable (wanted to fuck through the mattress, in fact :D), there were people out there who didn’t care about the trans thing, and I would do alright for myself.

    That was a couple years ago and I haven’t seriously dated anyone since, but I’ve come to realize that it’s more to do with me than with my junk. I’m simply not interested in most people; I don’t fall in love often or easily, and there’s been no one who moved me as much as that guy did. That said, I also haven’t had any shortage of guys (gay, bi, and occasionally straight) who are happy to have sex with me, “wrong” equipment and all, and would date me if I were interested.

    Which feels uncomfortably like bragging, but the takeaway from this is that ultimately, some people are good at dating, good at finding relationships, and some of us are not. Certainly, the trans thing can throw a wrench in the works, but people who are good at dating always seem to get around that with relative ease (that was a frustration when I had just started T, that I couldn’t hook up with anyone and I knew that other FTMs had done more with less) and people who aren’t good at dating (represent!) are being held up by their disinclination for it, not their equipment.

    • Being good at dating–
      I hear you and I know that the problem has always been very much in my head– but the trans thing can turn you from an easy dater into a horrible one.
      I used to be a very easy dater when I was younger and looked so androgynous that I didn’t have body issues.
      When I got older and realized the whole trans situation (it took me awhile because it was in the 80s and I had never heard about trans men), and my body was looking more female-ish every day, dating didn’t work for me anymore, despite the fact that I dated gay men who knew I was trans at the time.
      When I look around me today, the guys who do “much with less” are the ones who have that hyper-androgynous body type and are nearly passing without T or little T.
      It often *does* make a difference, even if people are not aware of it.
      Why am I insisting on declaring this painful truth? Otherwise it would sound as if all would be fine and dandy if we could only think beautiful thoughts ^^
      Which is a blatant lie. And a very American at that– ^^ (but I wish it were true)

      • Hmm, now that you mention it, I had an easy time dating as female too. I was also younger and in high school/college though, so I had less concrete ideas about what I liked, and more opportunity to meet people. Even taking the trans thing out of the equation, it’s an apple and oranges comparison.

        And bring on the painful truths, in my opinion — like what notaidan said about how you can’t expect people who are interested in men to be interested in you if you don’t look/sound/feel masculine. That’s a straight-up fact, and trying to paper over it with feel-good bullshit about how “men come in all shapes!” is not helpful, is not fooling anyone, and is not engaging with reality.

  11. hey, fellow gay trans guys, I just want to urge you to not rule out bi/pansexual cis guys. I’m a pretty boyish yet hipster-y top, and I wanted to find a pretty, fem-of-center hipster-y bottom boy. I limited my search to gay guys at first because I personally despise the junk I was born with, I wanted to be with someone I KNEW who wouldn’t be with me if they didn’t see me as a boy, and I didn’t want to second-guess my boyfriend’s sexuality every damn second (“what if he sees me as some dominating butch lesbian instead of as the fag I am and always have been?”). I was being a narrowminded ass, but I also had met too many bi guys who would say stupid things to me such as “you’re the best of both worlds, you’re a hot guy who wants to fuck me but you also have a p***y” *GAG*. An added benefit to having a bi boyfriend is that he usually wont have a bunch of snotty gay male friends who might say nasty things about you, nor will he have a bunch of snotty fag hags who WILL say nasty things about you. As a bi boy, he’s been told his whole life that sexuality is either/or and he doesn’t fit in, so he might be more sensitive to your issues as a trans man who has been forced into the gender you despise since birth. Oh, and they’re usually really fucking hot, sensitive, and don’t have an obsession with dick size. The only thing that pisses me off about my bi boy is that I can’t stand to watch him flirt with girls. But this isn’t a trans guy thing; any guy who’s gay and dates a bi guy will have to deal with this.

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