It has been 6 months since I started HRT! I’m just happy to be on the correct hormones for once in my life. But, HRT isn’t a magic bullet, it’s a long-term commitment to change and those changes will likely be subtle depending on a LOT of factors like age, body chemistry, genetics, etc. Don’t go into HRT thinking that you will suddenly be the woman (or man) you have always seen in your mind. I so hope it does for you and for me, but the reality is that it is a small step along the way, but even one step is important.
[Full disclosure, I am 48 years old now, so my changes are subtler than if I had started at 17 when testosterone hadn’t ravaged my body too badly. My meds are Alora Patches 0.1mg (2 patches/every Tuesday & Friday) and Spironolactone at 75mg (1 ½ pills daily)]
Emotions – The very first thing that changed was my ability to feel empathy. I had always been a crier, if *I* felt bad or sad I would cry easily. But to cry for others or to feel empathy for them, it was very hard to impossible. I now feel greatly for friends and family and even strangers on youtube. I don’t always cry out of sadness, sometimes it is for other emotions, happiness or awe (cuteness), etc. My ability to express my feelings to others has improved, I now can tell my friends that I love them and tell them that I appreciate them. I can put words to those feelings where before it never crossed my mind to need the words. My best friend, Joe, has said that I seem a lot more feminine now, which I take to mean he hears the difference in the way I express myself when we talk on the phone. I feel happiness now, previously I had mistaken pleased with happiness, it’s a whole different level I hadn’t experienced before. I also learned that I could be upset or angry and still be happy. That duality always confused me as a child and adult when I saw it in others. I also have anxiety now. I have had several anxiety attacks because now I have an increased awareness of my emotions and I hadn’t yet learned to deal with those emotions. Dealing in a healthy manner with anxiety is as skill and it’s one that I never needed to learn. It has taken a few months, but my anxiety is now under control through processing my way through it.
Physical – This is everyone’s favorite subject on HRT, the physical aspect. I can tell you that initially it was my primary reason, but now it’s all about my emotional changes. Boobs. I have them, but they aren’t very big, they are still sore, which started around my second month into HRT. I’m alright with the soreness, it’s part of change and your welcome to puberty. They have gotten a little bigger, mostly from nothing to a full A cup (I noticed I had mistakenly said B cup in a previous post… I wish!). The biggest change for my breasts so far is when I put my hand on them, I can feel the rounded sort of dense fat and I find that fantastic. They will likely keep growing in small amounts for the next several years, but I’ve come to terms with having small-ish breasts. My skin is softer, more elastic and looks better with fewer blemishes. The bags under my eyes are less pronounced and generally it looks better (younger). I literally feel better in my own skin now. Body hair comes in pretty slow now, I can shave my legs and go for a few weeks without much stubble, whereas before, I shaved every week. The hairs do come in lighter each time, nothing as coarse as before. My butt, which was flat before now has a pleasing roundness to it, my legs have a nicer shape, mostly all attributed to fat and muscle changes. My face has changed a bit as well, more rounded, softer. I like the effect, though it’s likely only noticeable by me.
Sex [Warning, May Trigger]– Well this is such a personal subject and not an ideal one for me. My wife and I aren’t having sex lately, she has her own issues which is not my place to disclose, but it has little to do with my changes apparently. Again, her issues and I will respect that. For me, masturbation has become a kind of long play with a finish that sends electricity through me. While I generally enjoyed seeing men and women nude or in sexual activity (in any configuration), I usually needed the visual or physical stimulus. Now, however, I can be very stimulated completely in my mind, and the thoughts are very deep and enveloping. Also, while I can be VERY motivated, the penis… sigh, the penis is not really the point of attention. It gets aroused but takes time and is a bit smaller than before. I am perfectly fine with this, it does become hard eventually but it’s not my concern or the reasoning for my release. I still want the thing gone, it’s not supposed to be there, but I’m less concerned with it now at least. When I do release and discharge, there is almost nothing there, just barely anything at all, but the feeling of release is a torrent and it feels like I have ridden a tornado. So, sex did change for me, it’s so much better than before. I don’t get horny at the drop of a hat and need to satisfy it. I can take my time, on my own terms. I am a bit more attracted to men than before, well, that isn’t right, I am more attracted to a larger variety of men now. With women, I think I am still in the same place of attraction, no more no less. Sexual dreams, while still rare, are more vivid and now have a context and emotional attachment that they didn’t have before.
Overall, my HRT experience has been beneficial, and I feel like myself more than I have in my entire life. But it’s a long game, I will never be off the meds, at the very least I will be taking estrogen the rest of my life. I don’t like that kind of tether to my well-being, but it is what it is. I am happier with it than I ever was without it.