Preciado, born in Burgos in northen Spain was raised and educated as Beatriz, and having earned a Fulbright Fellowship, at the age of 28 and generally taken to be a queer lesbian, took Philosophy and Gender Theory at the New School for Social Research in New York studying with Agnes Heller and Jacques Derrida. Her doctoral topic was
“Saint Augustine’s conversion as a process of transsexuality: when converting, Augustine moved from a luxurious desire and a booming sexual activity to an ethical imperative of chastity and sexual self-renouncement”.
She started to think of sexual plasticity as something that exceeded modern gender politics, and wanting to get deeper into the discourse on deconstruction,
“I took my odd Augustinian topic from the New School to the School of Architecture at Princeton University. Entering the world of architecture meant a radical deferral of my philosophical practice. Though trained in constructivist theories of gender, I had never reflected about the very materiality of the performative processes of gender construction.”.
This emerged as a PhD in Philosophy and Theory of Architecture: Pornotopía: Architecture and Sexuality in Playboy During the Cold War. (quotes from the Introduction to the English version of Countersexual Manifesto: 2-3)
In 1998 Preciado participated in a Diana Torr drag king workshop in New York, and later took Torr to France and Spain acting as the translator in the workshops.
Preciado’s first book was Manifeste contra-sexuel (2000) written while she was Princton working on her PhD and available initially only in French. It is posited as a disruption of feminism and of queer theory, and calls theorists such as Derrida, Foucault, Butler, and Haraway to task for not going nearly far enough in their attempts to deconstruct the naturalization of normative identities and behavior, and invokes countersexuality’s roots in the history of sex toys, pornography, and drag in order to rupture the supposedly biological foundations of the heterocentric regime. It was acclaimed by French critics as “the red book of queer theory” and became a key reference for European queer and trans activism.
Six years later Preciado provided the text for a series of photographs by the gender-variable Del Lagrace Volcano.
From 2005 to 2014 Preciado dated the writer and film-director Virginie Despentes, a woman with sex-work experience.
Preciado’s next book was Testo Junkie. In French and Spanish 2008, English 2016. Preciado discusses the taking of self-administered testosterone, and how the body is politicised by "pharmacopornographic capitalism”. Taking testosterone is both political and performance, and Preciado discusses the changes and how they interact with the relationship with Virginie Despentes, and also deals with other drugs that transform the body such as birth control, Viagra, performance-enhancing drugs, Prozac, and estrogen.
Pornotopia, the book version of Preciado’s PhD dissertion came out in French in 2010 and in English in 2014. It was awarded a 2011 Prix Sade in France.
Preciado, in his mid-40s in 2014, announced that he was transitioning, and shortly afterwards that he had taken the name of Paul.
In 2018 the English translation of Countersexual Manifesto finally came out with a foreword by Jack Halberstam.
November 2019, Paul Preciado was invited to speak in front of 3,500 psychoanalysts at the annual conference in Paris of the École de la Cause Freudienne (Lacanian). Aware that most of those in attendance regarded him as a “mentally ill person” suffering from “gender dysphoria”, Preciado drew inspiration from Kafka's “Report to an Academy” in which a monkey tells an assembly of scientists that human subjectivity is a cage comparable to one made of metal bars. He touched on the homophobia and transphobia of psychoanalysis and spoke of its complicity with the ideology of sexual difference dating back to the colonial era. This he regarded as rendered obsolete by technological advances allowing us to alter our bodies and procreate differently. He called for a new psychoanalytic discourse allowing for a multiplicity of bodies without reducing the body to its sole heterosexual reproductive capability, and without legitimizing hetero-patriarchal and colonial violence. This was met with heckles and boos, and he was not permitted to finish. What he had said had been filmed on smartphones, was published online, where fragments were transcribed, translated, and published with little regard for exactitude.
Meanwhile he published An Apartment on Uranus: Chronicles of the Crossing. Despentes provided an Introduction. The book, mainly a collection of essays previously published in Libération, recounts the transformation from Beatriz into Paul B., but also considers political, cultural, and sexual transition, discussing issues from the rise of neo-fascism in Europe to the technological appropriation of the uterus, from the harassment of trans children to the role museums might play in the cultural revolution to come.
“My trans condition is a new form of uranism. I am not a man. I am not a woman. I am not heterosexual. I am not homosexual. I am not bisexual. I am a dissident of the gender-sex binary system. I am the multiplicity of the cosmos trapped in a binary political and epistemological system, shouting in front of you. I am a uranist confined inside the limits of technoscientific capitalism.” (p29)
A year later Paul published the correct text of the unfinished address to the École de la Cause Freudienne, and followed that by Feminazis in which he discusses the insults from the “lords of colonial patriarchy”.
“Since women speak for themselves, representatives of the old sexual regime have been so nervous that now they are the ones who are beginning to run out of words. Perhaps that is why the lords of colonial patriarchy have been digging into their necropolitical history books for insults to throw us in the face and, by curious chance, have chosen the one they always have at hand: nazi!”
Preciado was Head of Research of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) and Director of its Independent Studies Program (PEI) from 2011 to 2014. He has taught Philosophy of the Body and Transfeminist Theory at Université Paris VIII-Saint Denis and at New York University. From 2014 to 2017 he was Curator of Public Programs of documenta 14 exhibited in Athens and in Kassel Germany. He participated in the LUMA Foundation, Arlès, France.
- Beatriz Preciado translated to French by Marie-Hélène Bourcier. Manifeste contra-sexuel. Paris: Balland, 2000, 157 pp. An English version was issued 18 years later as by Paul B. Preciado translated by Kevin Gerry Dunn with a forward by Jack Halberstam. Countersexual Manifesto. Columbia University Press, 2018, xvi+216 pp.
- Del LaGrace Volcano with text by Beatriz Preciado. Sex Works 1978-2005: From Love Bites to Postporn, Tübingen: Konkursbuch, 2006, 159 pp.
- Beatriz Preciado, Testo junkie: sexe, drogue et biopolitique, Paris: Grasset & Fasquelle, 2008, 400 pp. English translation by Bruce Benderson. Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. Feminist Press, 2013, 427 pp,
- Beatriz Preciado, Pornotopía: arquitectura y sexualidad en Playboy durante la guerra fría, Barcelona: Anagrama, 2010, 220 pp. English translation Pornotopia: An Essay on Playboy’s Architecture and Biopolitics, Zone Books, 2014, 303 pp.
- Paul B. Preciado with an introduction by Virginie Despentes. Un appartement sur Uranus: chroniques de la traversée.Paris: Grasset, 2019, 334 pp. English translation by Charlotte Mandell. An Apartment on Uranus: Chronicles of the Crossing. Semiotext(e), 2020, 263 pp. 
- Paul B. Preciado, Yo soy el monstruo que os habla: Informe para una academia de psicoanalistas, Barcelona: Anagrama, 2020, 96 pp. English translation by Frank Wynne. Can the monster speak? a report to an academy of psychoanalysts. Semiotext(e), 2021.
- Paul B. Preciado. Feminazis. Gato Negro, 2021.
- Paul B. Preciado. Terreur anale. 2022.
- Diane Torr & Stephen Bottoms. Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigation Gender as Performance. The University of Michigan Press, 2010: 165.
- Rachel Santee. “Review: Testo Junkieby Paul B. Preciado, Translated by Bruce Benderson”. Akashic Books, September 17, 2013. Online.
- Sarah K Hansen. “Paul B. Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era”. philoSOPHIA, 6,1, 2016.
- RL Goldberg. “Even This Review Is a Dildo: On Paul B. Preciado’s Countersexual Manifesto. LA Review of Books, February 16, 2019. Online.
- Crispin Long. “Boundary Issues: In An Apartment on Uranus, Paul B. Preciado undermines geopolitical, technological, and gender binaries”. BookForum, July 30, 2020. Online.