Q: I am writing about a friend. By all appearances, he is straight. However, on more than one occasion, he has gotten drunk and tried to hook up with a transvestite or a person who could have been one. In one instance, he went to a club and was approached by a really masculine-seeming girl who proceeded to give him head. My friend, in his drunken state, reached into her pants and felt for a pussy only after she started giving him head. On a trip to Las Vegas, he drunkenly picked up someone who I was told looked like “Kevin Garnett in a wig” and was very obviously a man. He tried to take this person back to his hotel, but friends put a stop to it. I just received a message from a friend who is with him on a trip to Europe, who said that he just tried the same thing again with yet another manly looking transvestite type. Again, my friend was stopped before he did anything he might regret. I can understand if these cases happened with transvestites who looked like real women. It’s easy to fool someone when he’s drunk. However, the situations I have seen personally and have heard about all seem to indicate he is seeking out transvestites. Could he be harboring some gay or bisexual tendencies? I’ve never seen him act this way when sober. Or could he just have the world’s thickest pair of beer goggles? —Cautious Lad Observing Developments
A: When we speak of “beer goggles,” CLOD, we refer to someone too drunk to realize that he has accidentally picked up — or fucked the shit out of — a type that he would not normally, soberly find attractive. But I don’t think your friend is getting drunk again and again and going after this particular type again and again by accident. Once? Yes, that could be an accident. Twice? That could be a coincidence. But three times that you know of? Sorry, CLOD, your friend isn’t going after these types because he’s drunk. He’s getting drunk so he can go after these types.
Before we go on, CLOD, a word about the particular term you use to describe your friend’s type: transvestite. That word? I don’t think it means what you think it means. A transgender woman is not a transvestite, and a transvestite is not a transgender woman. A trans woman is someone who was “coercively assigned male at birth,” as they say on Tumblr, but who now identifies and lives as female. A transgender woman may or may not have had sex-reassignment surgery — which means, of course, that a transgender woman could have a dick or she could have a pussy. “Transvestite” is an archaic term for “crossdresser” that no one uses anymore.
Now, I don’t know what your friend is looking for in a sex partner, CLOD, but considering his observed pickup history (“a really masculine-seeming girl,” “Kevin Garnett in a wig,” “another manly looking transvestite type”), it’s possible that he’s not interested in either trans women or crossdressers.
I did drag for nearly a decade, and there was a certain kind of guy who lurked around drag shows. By all appearances, these guys were straight. But they weren’t interested in women, they weren’t interested in boys who could pass, and they weren’t interested in trans women. They were interested in “girls” who were obviously men in drag. They were interested in guys like me: six-foot-eight in heels, big tits, 26-inch waist (thank you, waist cincher!), and a latex minidress. I was pretty — I’ll tweet out a few pictures to prove it — but I didn’t look like a woman, cis or trans, I looked like a great big fuckin’ drag queen. (My drag name? Helvetica Bold.)
The queens I ran with called the guys who wanted to fuck us “panty chasers.” It was an odd choice, seeing as none of us actually wore panties. (Trans and cis women wear panties, CLOD; drag queens wear dance belts over tights.) I didn’t know at the time that there was an actual $20 term for guys who were into us: gynandromorphophiles, aka “lovers of males in the shape of females.” Some gynandromorphophiles are into crossdressers, some are into drag queens, and some are attracted to trans women. While some want partners who can pass, many gynandromorphophiles do not. They want the mix to be obvious. Give the kind of gynandromorphophile who chased after me and my friends in drag a choice between a “real woman” — cis or trans — and a guy who looks like “Kevin Garnett in a wig,” and he’ll choose Kevin Garnett every time.
So back to your panty-chasing friend, CLOD. I’m pretty sure the reason you’ve never seen him “act this way when sober” is because booze provides him with the courage he needs before he picks up “Kevin Garnett in a wig” and the alibi he needs after. My advice: Stop cock-in-frock-blocking your friend and let him know you accept him for who he is, and you may help him find the courage to accept himself before his liver gives out.
Q: I’m a straight 18-year-old female, a senior in high school, and I’m still a virgin. I’m fine with this. I’m going to a university about 3,000 miles away next fall, and I am starting to wonder about going on some method of birth control. My degree is going to take me six years to complete, and I expect that within those six years I might want to have sex with someone. Would going to the doctor and having an implant or IUD inserted be dumb? (I might want a long-term method of birth control.) I trust the doctor I have here at home; the second I turned 14, he gave me tons of info on birth control and how I can get access to it. So I would be more than comfortable getting it through him. Please let me know if I’m overthinking all of this and whether or not I should cross birth control off of my pre-college to-do list. —Thinking I Might Encounter Love Yearnings
A: “It is in no way ‘dumb’ to consider contraception as a virgin,” says Dr. Unjali Malhotra, medical director for Options for Sexual Health British Columbia, aka the Planned Parenthood of British Columbia. “It is actually best to get on a method prior to ever having sex to ensure she is happy on her chosen option before acutely requiring it for birth control.”
Dr. Malhotra also supports — acutely supports — your preference for a long-term method.
“Although oral contraceptives are popular,” says Dr. Malhotra, “they have up to a 9 percent ‘typical-use’ failure rate.” Pills can fail a woman who forgets to take them — which is all too common — but a woman can’t forget to take her IUD or implant. Which is why progesterone-releasing IUDs have failure rates of 0.2 percent, copper IUDs have failure rates of 0.8 percent, and implants have failure rates of 0.05 percent. “TIMELY can choose between a nonhormonal copper IUD, a progesterone-releasing IUD, and a progesterone-releasing implant,” says Dr. Malhotra. “Timing wise, she has options of a three-year implant, five-year IUD, and 10-year IUD. There are advantages to each, which she can discuss with her physician. And, despite myths to the contrary, there are very few risks with an IUD, and she can remove it and get pregnant at any time if she wishes.”
None of these options, however, will protect you from sexually transmitted infections, TIMELY, so use condoms regardless. For more info about birth control, sexual health and STIs, see optionsforsexualhealth.org.
FindDan Savage’s weekly podcast every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Reach him at email@example.com or @fakedansavage on Twitter.
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