Have you ever felt so happy with the way you present your gender identity to the world that you wanted to sing? Then you experienced something called the euphoria of sex.
“The euphoria of sex is being able to live your authentic self openly and without fear,” Jerica Kirkley, MD, chief medical officer of Plume Health, told LIVESTRONG.com.
Here’s everything you need to know about sexual euphoria, including what it means, what it looks like, and how it can benefit your mental and physical health.
“Many people know that sexual dysphoria is a feeling of discomfort or suffering when there is a gap between a person’s gender identity and the physical body,” said Elise Pine, PhD, a pediatric endocrinologist at Gender JOY at Chase Brexton Health Care.
But the euphoria of gender plays as important a role in the lives of transgender people as dysphoria.
Here is the definition of euphoria about gender: “This is the positive feeling that arises when a person feels recognized and seen in his or her authentic gender, or feels a correspondence between gender identity and the body,” says Dr. Pine.
What sexual euphoria means to each person depends on who is experiencing it. Noah Cherry, a transsexual hair designer and barber at Bernie and Brother Barber Co., helps her clients find euphoria by helping them get closer to the gender expression that brings them joy.
“For me, sexual euphoria means the excitement, the freedom, the experience of being myself without excuses and being perceived as such,” says Cherry. “In this euphoric moment, I know that my best self exists even in the most difficult days.”
He added: “When he turned the chair and saw a smile [a client’s] the face and the difference in their gait, I know that even if they had many ugly days, at least today they feel their most authentic. “
Why is the euphoria of sex important?
For those who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth, it can be difficult to understand why the euphoria of gender is so important. In fact, there are many cisgender people who may have never experienced sexual euphoria for themselves.
Cherry has a compassionate approach to explaining the euphoria of gender for those who may not understand how it can change the life of a transgender person.
“I usually ask them to think about a moment when they felt their most authentic selves. Did they really love themselves during that time? Did they feel comfortable in their own skin? Cherry says.
“The idea is to recall the feeling of being in a hurry to feel for ourselves and to understand that many trans people never experience this feeling and work so hard every day to achieve it.”
And gender euphoria can do more than just affect how a transgender person feels about themselves – it can also enable them to interact safely and securely with the world around them.
For example, Dr. Kirkley says that sexual euphoria can interact with a patient’s experience in the health care system.
“Most cisgender people, if they go into a health facility or otherwise, they don’t think about using the right name because it’s just that,” says Dr. Kirkley. “Think about what it would be like if [people called you] wrong name or pronouns every day. “
Conversely, addressing with the right name and pronouns can build trust and comfort and encourage ongoing medical care.
There are certain barriers to trans- and non-binary-friendly care, such as your location or lack of insurance. See our guide on how to overcome barriers to gender-based care to access the care you deserve.
What does gender euphoria look like?
Because each person has their own unique gender expression, sexual euphoria can manifest in many ways.
Sometimes people reach euphoria about sex through major changes, such as undergoing sex-confirming hormone therapy or surgery.
Small changes in gender expression can be just as impactful: “Euphoria doesn’t have to come from big, life-changing decisions,” Cherry said. “It’s in the details. Maybe all it takes is to remove the hair from their necks and ears, maybe an inch from the top. These little decisions can save lives.”
Dr. Pine also noted that changes in appearance alleviate sexual euphoria for many of her patients. “[Gender euphoria] it can manifest itself as a feeling of recognition and joy in the confidence of the clothes or the hairstyle that helps to connect a person with his gender identity, “she says.
People may experience euphoria from sex for other reasons. “It can be internal, such as from a person who likes to hear the change in his voice from testosterone, or it can be social, such as hearing the chosen name and pronouns used sequentially,” says Dr. Pine.
And people can experience euphoria from sex even before living in public like their true selves.
People describe early experiences as a waiter who asks, “What would your son want?” Of the child assigned to a woman at birth, and feel happy to address him as a boy – sometimes long before he reveals his true self. someone’s gender identity, “says Dr. Pine.
Health benefits of sexual euphoria
For those who do not see the huge change in quality of life that transgender people experience when they have sex euphoria, it is easy to assume that all that makes sex euphoria is to make a person feel better about myself.
However, there are significant benefits to mental and physical health from the ongoing euphoria associated with gender.
1. Can improve mental health
“One thing we do know is that the transgender community is disproportionately affected by different health differences,” said Dr. Kirkley. “Where we’ve seen these markers move is in the realm of mental health. Numerous studies have shown that access to gender-responsive hormone therapy and surgery – just these two – improves mental health.
Similarly, a study from February 2022JAMA Network Openfound that gender mainstreaming was associated with a reduced risk of depression, anxiety and other mental states for transgender and non-binary youth.
Dr Kirkley also says that her patients at Plume experience significant reductions in anxiety, depression and self-harm when they have access to gender-based care and in treating major medical problems.
As they receive this care, “patients feel more confident than they have ever had because of these physical changes that are consistent with who they are,” says Dr. Kirkley.
“[Experiencing gender euphoria] allows people to participate more in their communities, “says Dr. Kirkley.” And when you can participate in your community, it will do wonders for both your physical and mental health. “
For example, engaging more with your peers and the wider community can encourage you to go out and engage in activities you might otherwise avoid, says Dr. Kirkley.
3. May be associated with a reduced risk of disease
Dr. Kirkley is not the only one who has seen how improved mental health can turn into better physical health.
“People with depression and anxiety may experience higher levels of problems such as heart disease and substance abuse,” says Dr. Pine.
In fact, a study from September 2021Health issuesfound that privately insured transgender people are at higher risk for most chronic conditions (such as diabetes or heart disease) than their cisgender counterparts.
But access to gender-based care – and the euphoria it can bring – can help reduce mental health conditions that are associated with a higher risk of disease.