Sex Lives chronicles the evolution of one person’s sexual history. This week: Felix, 38, in Los Angeles, who is trans and uses he/him pronouns.
I do remember pretty specifically, [my sexual awakening] was watching Sirens (1994). I would have been like eight or nine. I don’t really know what it’s about, to be honest. I must have been a kid in Northern Ireland watching that on TV, but there’s a scene where Portia de Rossi and Elle McPherson are in a lake or something together naked. It was the first time I’d seen breasts on TV. It was the first time I felt something sexual; I knew it was forbidden. I could never tell anyone being from Northern Ireland—a really conservative, Christian culture. I came out to my friends as queer at 19 and to my family at 23.
I lost my virginity to a guy when I was 19; I wasn’t turned on at all by any of that. I lived in a small suburb outside of Seattle, a pretty conservative suburb, and I met my first lesbian. We worked together at a daycare and she was 25 and one night we got drunk and watched Gia with Angelina Jolie and hooked up. We just made out drunkenly, but it was the first time I was turned on with another person.
Because of my background, I didn’t even masturbate as a teenager. I had sex, but sexual pleasure was off the table, even when I was by myself. But then I discovered [masturbating] at 19 and had my first orgasm. And I started to understand what sexual pleasure was a little bit more and what I was interested in and that I definitely wanted to have sex with women. I still sort of found men attractive, too. I hadn’t really enjoyed sex with men, but I thought there was a possibility; there was potential. So what came next was a very slow, painful coming out where I couldn’t even tell other queer people that I was queer. I had explored a lot sexually as a teenager, but in my early 20s, there wasn’t much going on until I was 25 and I moved to San Francisco. Then It was like everything was on the table with everyone at any given time.
I was having fun, but still not mind-blowing sex. I bought toys, I was coming into my own in terms of masturbation and understanding my body, but still navigating it with another person was really difficult and confusing because I also had additional barrers of being a bit fucked up about what was going on with my gender and not understanding that totally or how it impacted my sex life.
But then I got in a relationship when I was 26 and fell in love for the first time. And that was when I started to have really, really good sex. Now it seems tame, but at the time it was very exciting. They were 11 years older, and they were going to leave a relationship, but they were still in it. They were living in separate bedrooms, but it was an affair. And they were my boss, so if work found it, they would have been fired. We were running around secretly for 6 months, which was really thrilling. We were having really great sex in strange places and cars and bathrooms. We did end up staying together for five and half years.