Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy, Sexuality and Intimacy: Australian Trans Women‰’s Experiences


The majority of contemporary studies on transgender women revolves around issues such as systematic marginalisation, physical/emotional/sexual victimisation, serostatus, sex work, and physiological health. While these areas of research are important in providing a picture of trans women‰’s lifeworlds, a significant factor remains largely absent from their findings. Few empirical studies of trans women undergoing Gender-Affirming Hormonal Treatment (GAHT) focus on their experiences of sexuality, intimacy and satisfaction, and those that do exist largely within the context of evaluating the impact/success of Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS). Even fewer studies intentionally explore the sexual experiences of trans women who have not undergone, or do not desire, genital surgery, but who are nonetheless medically transitioning using hormonal therapy. This presentation will report findings from interviews with 12 transgender women who had been on GAHT for 12+ months and had not undergone GRS. The interviews focused on the women‰’s experiences of sex, sexuality, intimacy, and relationships, as well as the psychophysiological impact of GAHT and the way it intersects with those experiences. These findings provide new insights into the ways trans women negotiate the effects of transitioning on their sexuality, including: fluctuations in erectile functioning; expansion of erogenous zones; changes to quality of orgasms, and; shifts in the ways they understand and desire intimacy. The presentation will discuss what these findings could mean for future research, as well as for our understanding of sexuality more broadly.


Shoshana Rosenberg |

Shoshana Rosenberg is a queer researcher currently working with Curtin University, having completed a Masters of Sexology through their School of Public Health in 2017. Her research focuses on gender diversity, queer sexuality, and queer theory as applied to music and other forms of creative media. Matt Tilley is an academic in sexology and a Research Fellow CERIPH in the School of Public Health at Curtin University; he is also a clinical psychologist in private practice. He is a Director of the Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd. and the WA Branch Vice President.