Thursday, 14 November 2013

Hot nights in bed

A sizzling title to be sure! It's not quite what you may think, although this post is very definitely bed-related.

One of the well-known consequences of transition is that you tend to put on weight. It's the oestragen of course. Our body chemistry has changed, and we join the natal women in spending the rest of our lives fighting a losing battle with the fat we begin to store. Curves are welcome, bulges are not. It's nice to see muscles melt away, and the arms and legs become slender and rounded. But it can be distressing when the waist disappears and the abdomen sags. But this is exactly like most women who are not on TV, or in magazines. You have to get over it, and just say to yourself, 'Wow, this heftiness looks wonderfully natural'.

There are of course trans women with high principles and colossal willpower who can stick rigidly to a sensible diet. I'm guessing that being a strict vegetarian must help a lot. And some people have strange metabolisms, and never put on weight. Some very odd persons actually take no interest at all in what they eat, and even forget to eat. But if you're like me, you love your food, you are fascinated by it, you watch every episode of Masterchef, and the weekly weigh-in never ever gives you a golden glow of achievement. Just a faint smile from getting no worse.

Let's now discuss why I've been having a hot time in bed.

One little-acknowledged aspect of accumulating fat around one's feminised body is that you acquire some impressive extra insulation against the chills of the night. This is why teenage girls can cavort around cold northern cities on winter nights dressed only in skimpy dresses, knickers and shoes. You'd think they'd catch the death of a cold while standing around outside clubs and pubs, but they don't. They are warm enough, at least if they are of the drinking and eating persuasion, and have got a bit voluptuous.

Well, I'm no half-naked teenager (I'm sure you have noticed that) but I have built up a satisfactory amount of padding, and I really don't feel the cold like I once used to. I still notice that it's damned cold, from various signs such as frost, but it doesn't reduce me to a whimpering wreck. It simply keeps me on the move, and a light coat or jacket is all I need. I conclude that I have a fighting chance of surviving the next Ice Age. You too, of course, if you're in my situation.

So when it's time for beddy bo-bos, I am happy to have one (or even two) windows open to let in cooling fresh air. Maybe not in a howling gale, or a rainstorm; but on a Silent Night, when the snow is deep and crisp and even, I like the air in the bedroom to be nice and cool so that I will sleep well and soundly under my cosy duvet.

The trouble is, my trusty winter duvet (of 13.5 togs) has become too warm to bear. My natural insulation - all that girly subcutaneous fat - supplies some of the warmth I need, and under a 13.5 tog duvet I just roast. And I can't sleep well if I'm cooking.

Two nights ago, I flung the 13.5 tog duvet aside, and got out the 10.5 tog duvet I use in the caravan. The caravan duvet is only for a single bed, but it had a lot of overlap on each side of me, and I felt just right underneath it. After two nights of very good sleep, I resolved that I would buy a proper-size 10.5 tog duvet for my bed. And so I did. Today.

King-sized beds need king-sized duvets, and that tends to mean big expense. I decided to drive over to Worthing, where Beales and Debenhams face each other across the road, locked in a bitter struggle for custom, and I felt sure that even though this is hardly the best time of year to look for duvet bargains, one of them would have a deal for me. I wanted a duvet filled with duck feathers and down, like the one I use in the caravan, and not hollowfibre (which is heavier and bulkier).

Both stores had a good range of duvets. The one I liked best in Debenhams would cost £75. It had to be king-sized, remember, and it had to be duck feathers and down. Noting their price, I walked away, and trotted over the road to Beales. Another good stock of duvets. With offers. I found exactly what I wanted at £59. It's now on my bed, inside a cream cotton cover, and I'm looking forward to a cold night and a lovely unbroken sleep.


  1. I haven't got time to put on weight. I have to say I haven't noticed a tremendous change in gaining fat deposits around my body either. The only change in weakness with me is down to age I am sure. All this after 11 years post op. I don't know where the idea springs from that the average transitioned female is supposed to gain all the extra curves and padding you describe, unless they are quite young. I have a friend who started on hormones in her early teens and had her operation when she was around 25, 11 years ago and she does have all that extra padding and curves. I think it is different for the older woman and is more likely to be due to overeating and lack of proper exercise in many cases. Just my opinion but I fancy there is much truth in it.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Welcome to the menopausal hot flushes dear lady.

  3. It isn't hot flushing, just too much warmth on top to feel perfectly comfortable. And you need perfect comfort to fall asleep properly.

    Shirley Anne is surely correct about weight gain. It's mainly a mismatch between eating and exercise. I think it's worth a muted cheer if you can maintain a particular weight, month in, month out, instead of noting an inexorable increase. But ideally a stricter regime is best.

    As I hinted, there are those who can stay lean no matter what. But then there is another problem: they can't develop those desirable plump curves. I have a friend who is very conscious of this, and she has to cover up more than she'd like.



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