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Sexual Pleasure in Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals: an Update on Recent Advances in the Field


Purpose of Review

The goal of the current publication was to review literature on sexual pleasure in transgender people published in the past 3 years. An additional aim of the review was to determine whether recent literature differed from the traditionally narrow focus of transgender sexual health research, which has clustered almost exclusively in three topics: (1) orgasmic potential for transgender people who have undergone gender-affirmative genital surgery, (2) sexual desire in relation to gender-affirmative hormone therapy, and (3) HIV-related risk.

Recent Findings

Twelve recent studies were included in the review. The disciplinary focus of the articles included biomedical interventions, including sexual pleasure in relation to gender-affirmative hormone therapy and surgeries; psychology/sexology, including basic and applied research on transgender people’s sexual pleasure and health; sex education, including pleasure-based and transgender-inclusive curricula; and HIV and sexual health, including the role of sexual pleasure in facilitating or preventing disease transmission.


Recent literature builds upon existing bodies of research in meaningful ways. However, the subject matter of recent literature did not stray from the traditionally narrow focus of this research area. Additionally, the vast majority of research was conducted in wealthy, industrialized countries (mostly North America and the Netherlands). Implications for research and clinical practice are explored.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Sexual Orientation and Identity

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Bradford, N.J., Spencer, K. Sexual Pleasure in Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals: an Update on Recent Advances in the Field. Curr Sex Health Rep 12, 314–319 (2020).

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