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Stopping Testosterone

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Intro [May. 28th, 2010|03:36 pm]
Stopping Testosterone


[Current Location |United States, District of Columbia, Washington]


I'm Max, 19, assigned female at birth, and genderqueer/fag/drag queen-ID'd.  For several years now, I've been playing with the idea of physically transitioning.  I felt like i had to decide between living as a woman and living as a man, and that seemed like an impossible decision to make.  Then, about 6 months ago or so, I found out about the possibility of going on T to get the desired effects, then stopping before things advanced so far that I began being read as male 100%.  I have been talking about this with various people, including my therapist, since then.  The idea continues to intrigue me.

Most of the (man-ID'd) trans guys I know who are on T said that they had an awkward "in-between" period sometime during the first 3-12 (since of course, this is one of those YMMV things) months.  I want to get to that point, then stop.  Looking about 50/50 or maybe 60/40 male/female would work for me.  I realize I can't control how people see me, but I know I want to present myself in a way that feels comfortable and feels like me.  I want a body that I can present as male or androgynous (maybe occasionally female if I have to) depending on the day and the situation I'm in.

I am well aware that nobody can predict or control the effects of T on any given person.  I know it's pretty much a crapshoot and I may end up with acne for 6 months before any facial hair grows in, for example.  Looking at how puberty went for the men in my family, I'd guess that I'd probably get acne (mostly "bacne" since my brother was covered in that all through high school), then grow sideburns and a little bit of body hair.  I also doubt my voice will drop very low, which is good, but it's also not something I'm terribly worried about either.

1. I have heard that going on birth control after stopping T helps skin clear up faster.  Is that true?
2. Do the masculinizing effects of T on the face remain after stopping T?  I've heard different things about this.
3. I read that hair "continues to grow" after T is stopped--I assume this means that any new hair growth will remain and those follicles will continue to be active.  But does this mean additional body hair and facial hair can continue to grow significantly well after T is stopped?
4. I've also heard from some people that new hair growth thins out after T is stopped.  Is this just kind of another YMMV things?
5. One of my biggest concerns, though it's only one I've heard about from 1-2 people in some random internet community, is that after stopping T, the female body won't be able to support the increased vascular needs of the enlarged clitoris, making orgasm extremely difficult to achieve (similarly to cis men whose testosterone levels drop as they get older and make it difficult to maintain erection).  Have any of you guys experienced changes in arousal, orgasmic ability, sexual sensation, orgasmic sensation, etc after stopping T?  

Thanks to anyone who has an answer to ANY of these questions!  I'm also going to discuss this with a doctor but I'd like to gather more information before deciding to go see one.


[User Picture]From: leolapyre
2010-05-29 05:35 pm (UTC)
I don't have any answers to your questions, but I'm curious about these things as well. I plan on being on T for an indefinite amount of time to help me obtain a more gender-ambiguous appearance. Maybe you should try x-posting this to ftm? I know there are a lot of people in the community who have stopped taking T for various reasons.
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[User Picture]From: gaysexual
2010-05-29 06:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, I'll go do that now! I thought about cross-posting to a more active community, but figured this was more relevant here.
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From: kadec22
2010-07-13 11:26 pm (UTC)
I know I'm replying to this a bit late, but I just stumbled upon it.

Anyways, I am someone who was on T for 2 1/2 years, stopped for 2 years, went back on for 3 1/2 years then stopped again. I have now been off for a little over a year. I stopped for many reasons, and went back on for many reasons. But prior to stopping I passed as male 100% of the time. Now I still pass almost all of the time to straight people, but I think I get read as trans or butch by queer folks instead of cis. I think that I look a lot younger off T, more of a baby face.

Okay so to try to answer some of your questions:
1) I didn't really notice a differece in my skin in terms of acne, I think that maybe it cleared up a bit after stopping T. Everyone kept telling me that my skin looked really good, I think also because my pores got smaller. So I just have softer skin off T, not just on my face, but the rest of my body too.

2) My face looks different when I'm on T than when I'm not on T. When I first started T my face thined out, when I stopped it became rounder and more femminine I guess, thinned out when I started T again, and then rounded out again. I think that some of the effects of T in relation to masculinizing the face are permanant, but some of them go away. I think you have some permanant change in the bone structure of your jaw, but the face does become more feminine when stopping T. I think it may have more to do with fat redistribution.

3 & 4) Body hair: Before I had ever gone on T I had no body hair. On T I did grow some hair, hairier legs, a small happy trail, and a little on my stomach. The men in my family are not very hairy, so I never got too hairy on T. When I stopped my body hair slowly fell out/thinned out and now I am a little hairier than before I had ever gone on T but not nearly as hairy as when I was on it.
Facial Hair: I still have the ability to grow as much facial hair as I did on T, but it grows much slower. I think it's thinned out a little too. But after about 6 months of not being on T i decided to not shave and see what I was capable of, and did grow a little beard. It just really irriated my skin and my gf's so I shaved it off. I'm able to get an extreamly close shave now though, where it can feel as smooth as before being on T. I shaved about 24 hours ago and already have a little bit of stubble. So yes, what you get on T is bascially what you will continue to have off T, it will just grow in much slower, at least in my experiance.

5)I've never heard about having trouble orgasming after stopping T. I've never had a problem with this and my orgasms are just as strong and easy to achieve as they were on T. I think if anything it's a little harder to get hard. I have to be more sexually aroused to get a hard on now I guess, but I still get hard just fine.

I hope this helped and feel free to ask me anything else that I may have left out or that you're wondering about.

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[User Picture]From: gaysexual
2010-07-14 09:46 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks for your detailed answer! Better late than never :) I haven't gone on T but I do plan on going on it soon. I may be on it for 3 months, 6 months, a year, 2 years, 10 years, never, whatever...but it's really good to have a clear idea of what is likely to happen when/if I stop. The main thing, I think, that would make me want to stop would be excessive (by my standards) body hair growth...fortunately I don't come from a hairy family. I just don't see myself as a hairy guy, and the men I identify are the type that would/do shave a lot of their body hair anyway.

Just curious, what made you stop, then start again, then stop again?
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From: kadec22
2010-07-16 06:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad my response was somewhat helpful. I totally hear you about not being into excessive body hair for yourself. I see myself as a man in many ways, but in terms of appearance I feel more comfortable looking like a boy. When I started to acquire more body hair, facial hair, etc. I found myself not being into it.

I started T the first time very young, when I was 15. I really really wanted to at the time and don't regret it at all. But I started to feel like I maybe did it because I thought that I only had two options, male or female, so I chose male because I had always felt male. But as I transitioned further socially and physically I started to feel different from the other guys around me, the cis guys, and started to feel like I was a guy, just as much as any cis guy, but diffferent too. I felt like I had transitioned in the way that I did, because I was unaware of other options, because I didn't know that I could be whatever kind of person I wanted. I started to really long to see that queerness physically. Taking T just didn't feel right to me anymore and I was feeling much more genderqueer at that time and wanted to explore all my options, not just go down this path that I was told to go down. All the trans people I met when I was that young told me this is how you transition: You take hormones, you get surgery, you change your name and all your records, try to erase any legal trace that you were ever female, etc. And I think this is great if that's that way you want to do it, but it should be because that's what you want, not because it's the only way you think transition is possible. Does anyway of this make sense?
So I was off for about 2 years and finally got tired of being harrassed all the time. I was living in san francisco and people thought I was a dyke all the time and it started to really upset me. I mean dykes are awesome, but that's not who I am. I'm a boy and I wanted to be seen as a boy. I started to long for the effects of T again, I wanted muscles, I wanted more facial hair, I wanted to not be so angry all the time. I started to feel more and more uncomfortable and I wanted to look more masculine.
So going back on T was awesome and I felt better on many levels, and I also achieved more irreversable effects of T this second time around. So now that I'm off again, I still pass almost all of the time, but I have my emotions back. I think this time going off was more about my concerns about my emotions and the way I communicated with people. I was with the same partner through most of this and he basically told me that being on T made me emotionally cut off and unable to communicate. I just sort of got to a point where I didn't feel like I needed T anymore, having already achieved all of my goals.
So yeah, I guess that's the best way to explain my reasons. And from talking to my about the health risks of going on and off, he told me that as far as we know, there aren't any shown health problems from it.
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