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It's no joke--but the real, dismaying experience of a normally sexed wife

"My Husband Was A Woman!"

by Anonymous



Vol. 2, No. 4, January, 1952

     Perhaps you saw it in the newspapers. It made the front page all over the nation--not with a banner headline but in a little box. Most editors probably ran it because they thought it was good for a laugh.
     It occurred early in 1951 in a fairly large town in Connecticut. A young girl who was unmarried found that she had become pregnant. Since for some time she had been in love with a young factory worker to whom she had given herself freely, she insisted that he marry her. He refused, so the girl took her paternity suit to court. There, in a melodramatic scene that would never have been believed if newspapers hadn't carried the story as fact, a doctor examined the young factory worker--only to discover that "he" was a "she!"
     Possibly you don't think such a thing could happen.
     Let me tell you, then, why it can happen. Why, in fact, it did happen--to me.
     It's not an easy thing to talk about. Sex never is; and what I have to say goes right to the heart of the matter. It may make some people laugh, but I refuse to let that keep me from speaking frankly to the rest of you.
     I am a woman who for several years was very happily married and who then learned that my husband was a female. Like that other young girl in Connecticut, I too found out from a doctor.

     To explain how such a thing can come about, I must speak honestly. I am 27 years old. I know what a woman of my age should know about sex. I know how babies are born, have known ever since a girl friend explained it to me in no uncertain terms--in crude terms that upset me profoundly.
     For weeks, I couldn't look my father in the eye. For months I wouldn't go near a boy. Slowly, however, that blunt introduction to sexual facts became simply a part of my knowledge of life. If that had been my only shocking encounter with the business of male and female relationships, I doubt that things would have occurred as they did. After all, many woman who pretend to have a refined attitude toward the sexual act are still familiar with every word a truck driver uses--and use them themselves on occasion.
     But for me that was only  the first of a series of experiences. When I was seventeen, I went to a dance in a nearby town with a boy who had borrowed his father's car. On our return, he stopped in a lovely spot we called Lover's Lane. It didn't surprise me. As a matter of fact, I'd been waiting for it. I had been kissed before and liked it.
     But that night I found out what happens to a boy when he kisses too long and too passionately. Before I could stop him, he was pushing me back on the seat. I screamed; and he froze at the sound. Minutes later, in silence except for my sniffling, he drove me home.
     I won't go into detail about other experiences I has with men--the dentist I worked for, who took me into the dark room to show me, so he said, how to develop x-ray pictures of his patient's teeth; and the doctor who, to diagnose a complaint of sinus trouble, insisted on a "thorough" examination; and the shoe saleman with his special way of holding my leg. Male animals, it seemed to me, had many words on their lips but just one idea in their minds.
     Not that I grew up hating all men. I enjoyed being with some, and whenever a Saturday night slipped by without a date, I was as blue as the next girl. But I wouldn't go out with just any fellow who asked me. More and more I tended to go with a certain type.
     What sort? Women would call him "sweet." I can't say what men would call him--"sissyish," perhaps. Let me state right away, though, that my dates weren't homosexuals. They were just men with refined tastes, more to a woman's liking.

     Take Alex, for example. He was a landscape architect, shy, sensitive, and with a nice sense of humor, yet physically strong and masculine. He also had the most delicate but delightful way of making love of anyone I had ever met. The trouble with most male animals is that they know only one way of pleasing a woman--and a lot of women aren't left pleased. I've heard enough wives speak of their own husbands as "brutes" to know.
     Alex was no brute. He was a artist at making love. To him, a woman's lips, her neck and shoulders, these were wonderful areas to explore, while most other men don't even know they exist. Besides, Alex was never in a hurry. Instead of racing to see if he could set some kind of world's record, Alex dilly-dallied delightfully --even when we were just eating or going for a walk or talking. He made everything a pleasure.
     As you may have guesses, Alex is the man I married. (I shall call him a man because otherwise it would be confusing, and besides, that is how I think of him. I realize that, physiologically at least, Alex was constructed like a female. But as a doctor explained to me later, physical structure is only one of many things that mark the difference between men and women.)
     Before Alex asked me to marry him, he explained that he didn't want to have any children. I thought that he might change his mind in the years to come, and in any case I loved him too much to allow such an objection to keep us apart. That, in a way, explains why neither on our wedding night nor at any later time was there any problem of sexual maladjustment.
     Obviously I cannot go into detail about this. The only point I want to make clear is that sexual love is like a violin. Many different themes can be played on it, and when beautiful notes are struck, there is no limit to the intense pleasure a person can be experiencing. And who would stop a violinist in the middle of his playing to ask: "What is the name of that piece?" While your pleasure lasts, who cares?
     That's what happened to the girl in Connecticut who thought that her lover had fathered her child.
     That's what happened to me for several years.

     There were things that bothered me, though. At the outset, Alex made it clear that he was a man who liked privacy, even in marriage. Since I did, too, that was fine, although I did think he was touchy about such matters. I remember walking into the bathroom once, when he was taking a shower and had forgotten to lock the door. The wild urgency with which he cried out from behind the curtain for me to leave, was enough to send shivers down my spine. Later he apologized and tried to make a joke of it, but he didn't convince me.
     Then there was the queer stubbornness with which he refused to join the local Y although we both loved to swim and the Y had the only pool in town. He fell back on all sorts of odd excuses, and in the end I dismissed it as a prejudice of his against group activities.
     Matters finally came to a climax when Alex became ill. We didn't know what was wrong but one night he started running a high fever. In alarm I called a doctor, but when Alex heard me on the telephone, he flew into a furious temper. He shouted that he'd never had a doctor in all his life and didn't want to start now. I thought that was nonsense and told him so. I didn't mind his rage--I thought it was the fever.
    That illusion flew out the window after the doctor arrived, for Alex still refused to admit that he needed any kind of medical attention. It was a nightmarish situation, one that I'll remember to my dying day. There lay poor Alex, weak with fever, yet fighting desperately to keep the truth from being bared.
     Finally, exhausted by the violence of his protests and by his fever, Alex collapsed.
     Our marriage, of course, collapsed at the same time, although I didn't know that until the doctor came out of Alex's room after completing his examination. From his troubled air and his difficulty in choosing words, I leaped to the conclusion that Alex was dying and the fear deafened me so that I couldn't hear what the doctor was really saying.
     So he uttered the terrible truth a second time.
     "Your husband," he said, "is a female!"
     I couldn't believe my ears. I thought that I had gone insane, or that it was I who was running the fever. I grew a little hysterical and the doctor gave me a sedative.

     Later that night, while Alex fought off an attack of virus pneumonia, the doctor tried to help me in my personal struggle. He explained that every human being is a combination of male and female, with one sex dominant. Physiologically a man is distinctly different from a woman--and yet those elements that make a man a man are present, though undeveloped in the woman. Female characteristics, on the other hand, are also present, though undeveloped, in the man.
     Sometimes, the doctor said, nature slips up. A person who is externally shaped as one sex, is given the wrong glands. Alex was such a person. In one crucial respect, Alex was really "Alice," a woman. But in most other respects, he was Alex; flat chested, hairy, strong muscled, deep voiced.
     Unfortunately, the doctor concluded, society judges males and females according to the single crucial characteristic. But "Alice" could not tolerate being considered a female. She called herself Alex, and as Alex she was happy. As Alex she made me happy.
     What could I do now? Nothing--absolutely nothing. For though at first I thought we could go on as if the doctor had never revealed the truth, I later realized that that was impossible. The knowledge had divorced us. That, incidentally, was the only divorce we had. Legally we had never been married.
     The doctor told "Alice" that surgery might possibly change her completely into what she wanted to be, a man. She is going to have that operation.
     I had always known that life and death can hang on a stroke of a surgeon's scalpel. Now I know that sex can, too.

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