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Sex Lives: A Person Who Figured Some Stuff Out While Watching Return of the King

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Luke, 29, talked to GQ about gender, threesomes, and hobbits. 

Sex Lives A Person Who Figured Some Stuff Out While Watching Return of the King

Illustration by GQ; Photographs by Getty Images

Sex Lives chronicles the evolution of one person’s sex life. This week: Luke, who is 29 and nonbinary transmasculine. 

I was a really horny kid. I started masturbating when I was young, not knowing what I was doing. The first time I was turned on by something was when I saw Return of the King with my parents at the local cinema. It was actually Merry and Pippin. They were just two silly little guys and they were really cute. Pippin sang a song and I just remember identifying the feeling of like, “Oh I’m turned on by this silly little guy.” 

I was usually the funny sidekick character in my own life. That’s who I’d been attracted to prior to my transition and now I’m actually embodying that in a way that feels so much more connected to me than anything sexually outside of myself. It’s interesting to look back at that moment and be like: There’s layers. Heterosexuality is a lot of things, but I think the toxic version that we have around is very much rooted in the fear of the other while also being attracted to the other. Whereas queerness lets you want it. Queerness allows you to want to embody the thing that you also want to fuck.

I’d come out as bisexual in eighth grade because I’d fallen deeply in love with the girl playing the Tin Man. I was the Scarecrow in this community theater production. The Tin Man knew from a very young age that she was asexual and not interested in sex at all. It’s a very specific type of heartbreak to have someone be like, it’s just never gonna happen and it has nothing to do with you. My parents are actually lesbian, so I told them pretty early on but that didn’t make coming out easy, interestingly. Definitely easier than others, though!

The first time I had p in v sex was when I was 17 with my then-boyfriend. He was a senior and I was a junior. We talked about it beforehand, we got condoms, I got on birth control. We were super sex-ed prepared. It was really nice, actually. I was nervous beforehand so we made a pillow fort together to ease the tension and then we had sex in the pillow fort. It didn’t last long, but I’d heard it was going to really hurt—it definitely did for a second, but then it was fun and nice and I had a good time. It was a very positive experience. 

The relationship went horribly south later; he broke up with me and I spent 10 days throwing up. He’d gotten rejected from Harvard and he took it really badly and then he broke up with me after the Grease cast party—very theater kid. He left the room and was like, “I’m just not strong enough.” I think he thought it was very cinematic. I actually dated his younger brother and took his brother’s virginity, too. The younger brother was better. The younger brother was a sophomore and I don’t know if he was just happy to be there or what, but he was definitely better sexually.

I went to Ireland to go to school for two years and I ended up having a frequent sexual relationship with this girl that I was so intimidated by. She scared me so much. Sometimes her boyfriend would join us, sometimes he wouldn’t. And I hated when the boyfriend was there. I just really wanted to focus on my relationship with this girl. It started at her birthday party. She sent her boyfriend over to me, like, “Oh for her birthday Molly wants to have a threesome with you.” I thought he was joking, so I laughed and continued partying and then she came up to me later and was like, “Are you going to come home with me and Tony?” I’d never done that before and I was curious and they were both attractive. That happened a couple times. 

I feel like there’s a very specific type of feminine friendship where one party is terrified of the other. I’ve had them a few times in my life and they’ve always been really sexually charged. That couple was constantly cheating on each other—they weren’t open. I was a part of that and it left me very emotionally confused. Since I’ve come out and started to transition she’s been liking all my posts—she’s kind of cheerleading me from the sidelines.

When I first met my current partner, I was still very feminine-presenting, if not completely binary. I knew that I was nonbinary, but I was still very much performing—so much was about performance and making the other person like me and proving something to myself. I came out as nonbinary in 2017 and I don’t remember exactly what led me to that realization. Interestingly, at first I was like I think I might be a trans gay man. I told that to a group of friends and a twink who was there that night was like, “No you’re not.” And I was like, “Okay, sure. You know. This is your community.” 

I didn’t really believe in gender, but I was still very feminine-presenting and clinging to womanhood for a lot of reasons. Then during the pandemic, I’d been in a loving relationship for a while and I’d stopped pretending to be a horny little fuck freak. I do love sex, but my libido is much smaller now that it’s not tied to my self worth. I was horny for attention. The actual sex I was having [before my current partner] was so bad, but I needed it all the time.

My partner and I were loving each other and having intimacy in other ways outside of sex and I think that allowed me to feel settled and secure enough to arrive at the notion that my gender might be something else. I was actually watching Newsies and they were all singing together and I had a breakdown and I started bawling and I recognized a feeling of intense gender envy and secondhand gender euphoria. When I told my partner, he was really funny. He’d worked in a hat shop in Seattle for a long time and he has a lot of hats. He was like, “Oh, if you want, I’ll give you a newsie cap.” It was this sweet moment of him being on board immediately and accepting me in a kind of misguided way. I had to be like, “No no, if I wear those hats, I’ll look like an asshole. It’s an internal newsie hat.” But immediately he was like, “Wear my clothes, we’ll share a wardrobe and I’ll call you by this new name that you’ve chosen for yourself. I love the name you picked.” He was on board right away.

When I first met my boyfriend, I actually thought he was gay. I tried to set him up with my roommate, who was a gay man. Finally I asked him point blank why the set up didn’t work. I was like, “Are you gay or queer or what?” I was shocked. I was like, “Oh! You’ve been flirting with me while I’ve been trying to set you up.” He was so handsome and hot and I was like, hell yeah, this rules. He has not really experimented, though. I will say that he is often attracted to queer-looking people. I was not the first masculine-presenting person he’s been with. I joke with him like, “I met you, I thought you were gay and then I was like, ‘I’m gonna make you gay.’”

Transitioning didn’t change my sex life, surprisingly. It was more or less the same. I expected him to not be attracted to me anymore, but no. He likes to take off my binder, he has a good time with that. I think he really likes my breasts and I think he would be really sad if I ever got rid of them, so that’s a conversation we have to have if I ever do decide to medically transition— things might change then. But right now, it hasn’t changed much. I have no complaints.

The best sex I ever had was when my partner and I were long distance early in our relationship. It was very hot and heavy. I didn’t fake a single orgasm, I was so satisfied and contented and sopping wet all the time. There’s no specific time, just that period of our relationship.

There’s something else that comes to mind a lot—I wouldn’t say it was the best sexual experience. But I’d just broken up with this girl who I really liked who didn’t like me very much, and I was on the rebound. I found myself in bed with this woman who liked me a lot more than I liked her, and I needed that at the time. She was an athlete, so she had very firm toned muscles and she had these small perky breasts, but like with big nipples. Not the areola, but the nipple itself. And those weird boobs turned me on so much. I still think about those boobs all the time. They were weird boobs, but I think about them often.

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