(Sex Drive Q Cont) One of my major motivations for trying to get on T would be to help out my sex drive (along with all the other benefits of the hormone, of course). Is this a misplaced desire? Also, how could I talk to my girlfriend and reassure her that changes brought around by T aren’t a) going to change “me”— just my aesthetics and b) doesn’t mean insta-death for my sex drive.
Zak: To answer your first question, it is incredibly common for testosterone to cause an increase in sex drive. In fact, synthetic testosterone is often advertised to cisgender men to up their libido. I would say your friend is probably one of the rare exceptions. Sex drive is complicated, though, there are a lot of emotional as well as biological issues at work. Testosterone may make you aroused more often, but it won’t necessarily make you more interested in having sex with your partner if you aren’t emotionally into it for one reason or another. Some trans* people also struggle with their sex drives because of dysphoria, so they may be very much aroused but so uncomfortable with sex that it doesn’t seem appealing to them. But, as a short answer, yes, testosterone usually increases sex drive.
As for your question about whether or not this is a good reason to take testosterone, I think that is complicated too. If that is your only major reason, than I don’t really think so (but also, who am I to tell you what to do?). It’s certainly a valid thing to put on the pro side of a pro-con list, but I’d be hesitant if it was one of the only things on there. One of the reasons I say that is because there are lots of different ways to deal with a diminished sex drive, and a lot of causes that can not simply be cured by hormones. Also, taking hormones is a huge decision and not one to be taken lightly. Having said that, only you can know if it is right for you. If you think it is, then by all means go for it.
Personally I think the best way to talk to your girlfriend about all of this is to show her youtube videos of people talking about their transitions (just search ftm or transguy on youtube and you’ll get lots of results). The sheer volume of people out there talking about how T increased their sex drive should be ample evidence to convince her that it doesn’t mean instant death to your libido (plus it’s just well-documented, so tell her to just google “sex drive and testosterone”). Videos and blogs are just a great way in general to see how HRT and transition changes people. Showing her instead of telling her helps because it is offering her concrete evidence of what you have to say. A lot of times transitioning, not just physically but also socially, really does change a person. I don’t mean this just superficially or aesthetically, because for many individuals transitioning is a spiritual and emotional journey and that kind of major change in your life has a tendency of changing you. Testosterone by no means turns you into a completely different person or erases your life experiences, but it (or even socially transitioning without HRT) often makes you change quite a bit, even if you are just growing as a person.