Orchard in bloom with poplars, detail (2)For someone who moves as often as I do, I have a great deal of junk- especially as “De-cluttering” is fashionable. I have a spare bedroom filled with junk, stuff I might use again and stuff I certainly won’t, and there is a bag in it which gives me painful memories when I see it in the pile, though I cannot quite bring myself to throw it away. It contains four plastic dilators, some outdated lubricant, and tools for douching myself.

I went to Thailand for my op, having heard that Dr. Suporn Watanyusakul produced particularly deep neovaginas, did not require pre-operative electrolysis to remove hair from the scrotum, and preserved the glans to produce a clitoris. Rather than lining the neovagina with penile skin, he used the scrotum, and I understand much of my seven hours under anaesthetic was occupied removing those hairs. Scrotal skin does not stretch like penile skin does, but there was no need to stretch with the 7″ of depth he generally achieved. Immediately after, I would have to “dilate” by inserting a plastic dildo into myself for two hours each morning and two hours each evening. I would hold a water-bottle between my legs to prevent the dilator from coming out.

I found this painful. The pain was in the opening to my vagina, and was constant while I dilated. Initially I was supposed to put in the medium dilator at first and replace it with the larger one, and then use the larger one only. I found this difficult. I used to get up at five, insert the dilator, and lie in bed trying to rest, but though I was supine I found it exhausting rather than restful. I crashed my car, writing it off and damaging another which I shunted, driving home in order to dilate after work. I hated it.

After six months, I was supposed to be able to reduce this to one session of two hours each day. However, when I did so, I found I could only use the medium dilator. On two hours a day, the opening was shrinking. So I gave up. I consulted a plastic surgeon and a gynaecologist, but rather than looking for a solution I was really seeking absolution for giving up. I could not celebrate my determination in sticking out six months, as I had failed. Eventually, I absolved myself.

I thought the orifice would heal up, and it does, but very slowly: ten years later I still have a neovagina, suitable for intercourse if my partner’s penis is no longer or thicker than my thumb. (People sometimes comment on my beautiful, feminine hands.) I had one try at what we jokingly referred to as “organic dilation”- using something organic rather than plastic- but it did nothing for me. My friend said her partner, after, complained of being sore, as our organ is not as stretchy as real ones. I have little sexual sensation in my clitoris, though this may be psychological rather than physical.

Some years after a trans woman gave me a dilator as thick as my thumb, to use in order to build up to thicker ones. Worth a try, perhaps, though I have never used it. Yet I cannot bring myself to throw that bag away.

6 thoughts on “Dilation

  1. I hold onto stuff for far too long. One of my most liberating experiences was a few years ago when I took all the letters, all the cards, all the mementos I had been keeping- and just threw it all out.
    I was attached to them because I used them as physical evidence to convince myself of… sometimes of things that weren’t even true. That napkin from that restaurant from that day means “I was loved”- or some other rubbish.


    • This is my diary, which I kept from October 1984, until I wrote less and less in it after I started the blog.


      There is a lot of good stuff in it, such as people’s stories, descriptions of places, things I did, and a lot of whining- surely it can’t be right to transition, I don’t know how, etc.- and latterly my notebooks were bound in leather. I don’t read it back. Possibly, throwing it out would be liberating.


  2. Heave it all out … I’m famed for my capacity for throwing things away. My boyfriends have all lived in terror that I toss their beloved smelly basketball outfits … oops, uniforms … into the trash. Truly, I use the time-honor motto. When in doubt, leave it out.


  3. Thanks for this post, Clare. Your diary looks aesthetically pleasing, actually, and I would keep it. But I do agree with PA that holding on to things with spurious or sorry memories attached is not such a good idea. Why give that stuff houseroom? Okay, complicated answer….I understand….the complexity. xxx 🙂


    • I can either suppress, or experience and pass through, emotion in the moment. It seemed to me that all these past moments which retained their emotional impact on me- that one in 2009 and that one in 1975- retained that impact because I had suppressed the emotion rather than dealt with it, learned the lesson it had to teach. And they will. So I may continue to suppress that feeling or face it and learn from it. Why give it houseroom? Because I have not shat it out yet.


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