Anna Pulley, @annapulley
RedEye's sex columnist
12:28 PM CDT, April 3, 2013
My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years and have been best friends and roommates for many years before that. In the past, I've found evidence that not only is my boyfriend interested in transmales (specifically young men who can pass as young, model-thin girls), but that he's had some success at hookups with these types in the past, and keeps a large amount of trans pornography on our shared laptop.
I realize many men are interested in trans sex, and some even experiment before settling into heterosexual relationships. However, I'm starting to feel like he's projecting his physical interests in these boys onto me. He constantly comments on wanting me to have pixie-short hair, reminds me that his past girlfriends were all cocaine-addicted ectomorphs, and he has absolutely zero interest in female breasts, including mine. I haven't experienced above-the-waist foreplay since we started dating.
I have no doubt that this man loves me, but I feel like I'm not the right person for him--that he may be more content with someone more androgynous. Do I continue to ignore his past trysts and current porn collection and just try to work on our sexual relationship? Or do I confront him directly about the evidence of his sexual interests and try to work something out that way?--A Real Girl--
I hate to be a wet blanket so early on in our acquaintanceship, A Real Girl (mind if I call you ARG?), but first I have to call you out on your language. Trans people aren't any less "real" than you are, ARG, and the trans dudes your boyfriend seems to be into aren't "less real" girls either; they're dudes. I realize that your use of the word "real" may be stemming from an insecurity in your relationship, and I get that, but still, trans folks are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.
That said, it sounds like you're coming from a place of concern and not judgment, which is the best place to start in matters of the heart (and not, as previously suspected, Cleveland). While your boyfriend's porn habits and short hair preferences may be indicative of his desire to date trans boys, they could also mean nothing. I like to watch burly cowboys get it on, but this doesn't mean I'm secretly nourishing a self-loathing "Brokeback Mountain" hangup. Also, pixie isn't exactly "crew cut," if you catch my drift. I will say that I find your boyfriend's lack of interest in above-the-waist foreplay to be slightly troubling. But again, I can't unpack all that might entail from the few sentences you provided. Maybe he's just not into tits. Maybe he was boob-suffocated as a child and now finds them all triggering. Maybe he's not wild about jugs but doesn't realize you want jug foreplay and would be happy to accommodate if you asked. I can't say for sure, but that's definitely something to bring up when you have a chat with him, which you're going to do, right?
Notice how I said talk and not "confront." Your boyfriend hasn't done anything to merit a confrontation. Y'all are going to have a nice, respectful, supportive chat about your insecurities (you gotta own 'em, ARG, because they are at the heart of your letter), your fears and desires, and you are going to then respectfully listen to what he says in return. Talking, yay! How you choose to go about it is your prerogative, but I've found it most useful to couch concerns about others in terms of my own issues. Like, "This is hard for me to say, but when you suggest I cut my hair off, it makes me feel like you think I'm unattractive." Is having these kinds of conversations painful? You bet! But it's OK to ask for validation from our partners--that's half the reason we get into relationships in the first place (the other half is so someone will program the DVR).
We all have preferences--some people like brunettes, some like curves, some like "cocaine-addicted ectomorphs," and one dude in Peoria likes to jerk off to Swiss cheese shaped like Ann Coulter. Having preferences doesn't mean your boyfriend wants you to be someone else. Just as having concerns and insecurities doesn't mean the end of your relationship. It simply means we're human. I think you'll find that airing your concerns will be a tremendous load off your shoulders. Be honest, be brave, be vulnerable. And go from there.
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