August 5, 2009

Autogynephilia defined

When I started this blog last year, it was to have a place for discussing a phenomenon so rare that I it is never mentioned in popular media.

There are men (like me) that fantasize about having a woman's body and get sexually aroused by this. If you met me, you would find no sign of this inner woman in my outward appearance.

I do not look particularly feminine (quite the opposite, actually). I dress like a man, and have many typical male interests (including science and technology). I love women and have a  girlfriend.

Gay or what?

It is more than a little confusing, because -- even if I cannot for my life think of having sex with a man as a man -- my female self has no such scruples. I could be a closet homosexual, of course, living in denial. Still, going down a busy city street, I have only eyes for the women and rarely remember the men.

Sometimes I wish I was a homosexual, because then I get out of the closet and start living a normal life. I live after all in a country where the male finance minister took his male partner to a royal reception and noone objected.

But I am not. Sometimes I also which that I could just come out as a transsexual, get gender reassignment and start a life as a woman. But my inner man protests and tells me that I am definitely "more than a woman".

The search for language

Given that the identity of modern man is so strongly defined by sexual orientation and gender, I have a huge problem, and it is hard to grasp this problem out of lack of words. For a long time I found no words for this condition, and you need language in order to understand yourself.

This is why I was so relieved when I found the term "autogynephilia" on the net: "to love the image of one self as a woman". If there is a scientific term for this condition, it means that I am not alone. And if I am not alone, there may be others I can discuss this with.

So I started this blog. Then I stopped writing, because it dawned on me that this area of research is very much in its infancy, and also very controversial.

Although I recognized much of myself in the descriptions given, there were also parts of the research that did not ring true to me, not so much the descriptions of autogynephiliacs as the explanation -- the underlying narrative. I needed to read more.

Anne Lawrence

In a series of blog posts I will try to sum up some of this reading. I will quote Anne Lawrence liberally. She is an expert in the field. Moreover she is male to female transsexual herself, and a self-confessed "autogynephiliac".

Summary of autogynephilia

Anne Lawrence gives the following summary of what autogyenphilia is, referring to the researcher Ray Blanchard, who coined the term:

"Ray Blanchard proposed that these transsexuals have a paraphilia [i.e. sexual disorder] he called autogynephilia, which is the propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of oneself as female.

"Autogynephilia defines a transsexual typology and provides a theory of transsexual motivation, in that Blanchard proposed that MtF transsexuals are either sexually attracted exclusively to men (homosexual) or are sexually attracted primarily to the thought or image of themselves as female (autogynephilic), and that autogynephilic transsexuals seek sex reassignment to actualize their autogynephilic desires."

Two categories of male to female transsexuals
In another article, she makes the following summary:

"One category of MtF transsexualism includes persons who were overtly feminine as children, who are very feminine as adults, and who are exclusively sexually attracted to men; these individuals are usually referred to as homosexual MtF transsexuals (Cohen-Kettenis & Gooren, 1999). [called nonautogyephiliac by Lawrence].

"The other category of MtF transsexualism includes persons who were not overtly feminine during childhood, who are not remarkably feminine as adults, and who are not exclusively sexually attracted to men, but who may be sexually attracted to women, to women and men, or to neither sex; these individuals are usually referred to as nonhomosexual MtF transsexuals (Cohen-Kettenis & Gooren, 1999).

"Nearly all persons of this second MtF transsexual type have a history of transvestic fetishism or sexual arousal with cross-dressing (Blanchard, 1985; Blanchard, Clemmensen, & Steiner, 1987).[also called autogynephiliacs]"

Four types of autogynephiliacs

Autogynephilia denotes the propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as female. This imagening may take different forms. Blanchard operates with four types of autogynephilia:
  1. Transvestic (fantasy of wearing women's clothing)
  2. Behavioural (fantasy of engaging in typical feminine behaviour, let's say knitting together with women)
  3. Physiologic (fantasy of pregnancy, breast feeding, menstruating)
  4. Anatomic (fantasy of having a woman's body, including partial autogynephilia, where the focus is on a mix of male and female bodyparts, as in -- for instance -- becoming a "she-male".)

More autogynephiliacs take the plunge

The autogynephiliacs are, according to Lawrence, now dominating the group of men who undergo sex reassignment surgery:

"Most of the increase in MtF transsexualism can be accounted for by men who would have been considered atypical—and probably inappropriate—candidates for sex reassignment only a few decades earlier. These men are usually unremarkably masculine in their appearance and behavior, and they typically seek sex reassignment after having lived outwardly successful lives as men, often in male-dominated professions such as engineering or computer science.

"Most have been married to women, and many have fathered children. They invariably have a history of sexual arousal with crossdressing or cross-gender fantasy (Lawrence 2003, 2004). Most MtF transsexuals who undergo sex reassignment in the United States and the United Kingdom now appear to fit this pattern (Green and Young 2001; Lawrence 2005)."

Again: the reason I have found the term so useful, is because I recognize my own life in these descriptions.

That does not mean that I necessarily will accept the theories that lies behind these terms.

In the next blog post I will take a look at why this terminology has been considered so controversial.

[Note of September 2010: Due to the negative connotations following the world "autogynephiliac" I am no longer using it to describe men with feminization fantasies. Instead I use the term crossdreamers.]


[Note of August 2012: I realize now that new reader's who come to this blog and read this post only, may believe that I am a supporter of the autogynephilia theory. This is not the case: Although I know for a fact that crossdreamers (or "autogynephiliacs") exist, the theory used to explain their condition is seriously bad science). Take a look at the following blog post for an in depth discussion of the term and the theory:
Dr. Charles Moser's critique of the autogynephilia theory.
Julia Serano's critique of the autogynephilia theory.
On Blanchard and the DSM-5 discussion of perversions]

112 comments:

Anon said...

The first three paragraphs could describe me quite well, save for the fact that I'm letting my hair grow out (more because I've always cut *very* short, and I wanted to try something else). Male, straight, masculine, sci-tech background, girlfriend, etc.

My rationale for the interest is that it stems in part from the science background. I've always been prone to experimentation, doing things just to see what it's like. To pick just one recent example, I don't drink much, but I'm playing with different types and quantities of alcohol to see what it's like to get drunk, and how much it takes to do it. And the approach has been quite methodical - try 1 shot of something, then 2 a few days later, until I hit "drunk".

Anyway, that aside, I think that at least part of the autogynephilia comes from the same desire to experiment, combined with a few parts of "unknown is sexy", and that it's impossible for a male to know what it's actually like to be female, making it one of the ultimate unknowns. Therefore, the chance to experience that unknown is a profound turn-on.

My $.02.

Linsie said...

The definition: "sexually attracted primarily to the thought or image of themselves as female (autogynephilic)"

Seems to ignore that women are sexual people. Aren't women turned on by the thought of having sex as women? So shouldn't M2F's be that way too? If a M2F isn't turned on by the idea of having sex as a woman, it seems like they're the ones who are "atypical"

Beladona said...

Thank you for this blog, I believe that I am in an identical situation that your describe and this blog has helped me understand my situatioon better.

Rebecca Molay said...

To Anon: I think there are depths to all human hearts that modern medicine and psychiatry haven't even started to explore. In other words: Many experiment in the way you describe, at least in their minds. So that timid, shy, grey mouse at the back of the class may be a raving dominatrix in her mind, at night.

To Linsie: Yes, and it has been argued that most natural women are autogynephiliacs, getting turned on by dressing up sexy and so on. The counterargument seems to be that that is natural, while autogynephiliacs are unnatural. That kind of arguments are not very helpful.

Linsie said...

A thought just came to me. Is there a parallel phenomenon to autogynephilia for F2M transsexuals? Autophaliphilia?

Rebecca Molay said...

There is a term called autoandrophilia (which ought to be a parallel to autogynephilia).

I find two uses of this word, one of which is about women fantasizing about being men ( see http://www.wasvisual.com/lecture.html?lecture=17 ). The term is also used by Lawrence, but then to designate gay males who impersonates other men (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093196 )


In another study we find the following interesting quote:

"In qualitatively profiling and analysing these 10 persons, it clearly demonstrates that the links between primary or secondary sex or gender dysphoria, autogynephilia and autoandrophilia may at times only be incidental rather than causative. These cases further show that such cross-sex body fantasising exists in the general population who do not desire to undergo any form of real-life bodily alteration or engage in any everyday cross-gender social presentation activities. This shows that previous research, based on the observational premise of perceived pathology into the concepts of autogynephilia and autoandrophilia, were likely to have been monoculturally biased research."

http://www.tracieokeefe.com/Autogynephilia.htm

Tanya said...

Thankyou for writing this blog. A lot of what is being said rings true to myself, and I suspect there are many other people who struggle to discover 'where they fit' - partially because of the "accepted" wisdom, for them, doesn't seem to fit.

For example, many times when younger I would read that virtually all CDers were straight - yet this didn't seem to fit with the people I met online. I was scared for a while that the trans-pornography that was available would 'make me gay', then I thought I might be gay (or at least bisexual); now it seems to me that it's "bisexual, but only in a particular context".

In my own case, I suspect that the release of Orgasm also co-incides with guilt of this behaviour; which makes me wonder if this is the reason for a supplementary attraction to chastity devices - to sustain the image for longer.

Rebecca Molay said...

It has been argued that many crossdressers try to uphold the belief that they are normal heterosexuals to save their marriages. I can't argue with that, since the alternative story is so hard to explain. As you say: "bisexual, but only in a particular context".

Tanya said...

"It has been argued that many crossdressers try to uphold the belief that they are normal heterosexuals to save their marriages" - I'm sure this is probably true in some cases (just as it is for those who are actually gay or bisexual), often possibly because before they got into that relationship they didn't fully understand themselves.

For myself, I don't see it applying to my situation. I'm very happy with my 'conventional' life and, moreover, the more I understand about what I'd think of as autogynephilia, the less worried I am that actually I'm just in denial. But it is a -'philia', so the only thing that bothers me is the extent to which it is healthy to the rest of my wellbeing.

Rebecca Molay said...

Tanya: "I'm very happy with my 'conventional' life and, moreover, the more I understand about what I'd think of as autogynephilia, the less worried I am that actually I'm just in denial."

That sounds like a very sensible position!

Rebecca

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I happened to read this. This describes my situation as well. I don't cross-dress, and haven't really considered reassignment, mostly because I don't think I would pull it off very well. I do consider some part of myself female, but am masculine generally and attracted to women. In fact sometimes I have considered the idea that I am so strongly attracted to women that I want to be one.

Interestingly, my brother is FtM trans, and my wife is bisexual (and understands my quirk to some extent).

I don't feel this is a disease, but it is a "condition" anyway, natural or otherwise. I don't feel bad about it other than wishing I could understand it and indulge it more. It's good to see that other people are writing about it and it's not just me.

Jack Molay said...

Dear Anonymous,

It has been a while now since I wrote that post, and since then I have been in touch with a large number of fellow "crossdreamers" (as I call us now).

Like you many of them manage to include this aspect of their psyche into their regular lives as men.

It is very interesting that you have a F2M brother. Some argue that transgender traits may be inherited. But this is the first time I have heard of a M2F and F2M sibling combination.

Samix said...

I echo what others have said – I am so glad to have found words to describe what I feel and who I am. Blanchard’s Autogynephilia describes me perfectly. I am 50 years old happily married with children. However, I have a dysfunctional sex life and now I better understand why – my sexual interest is directed to an image of myself as a female. It is remarkable how well the research in this area fits me – I could go on and on, but suffice it say that I can check almost tall the boxes for a heterosexual autogynephiliac. Just a few days into this revelation, the question that hits me is “now what?” Is autogynephilia something that can be cured? If it is, is it worth it?

One thing that annoys me is the apparent effort to discredit autogynephilia as a diagnosis. I KNOW autogynephilia describes me and I KNOW that I am not gay (not that there is anything wrong with that), so I don’t appreciate someone suggesting that I am in denial. I’m not thrilled to find confirmation that I am abnormal, but I am thrilled to find that 50 years of confusing feelings can be understood.

Jack Molay said...

To Samix,

I had the same revelation reading about autogynephilia. Finally there were someone that were describing what I am experiencing, and that was -- of course -- why I set up the blog in the first place.

As for discrediting the diagnosis, I have found that it is important to distinguish between the description of autogynephilia (or crossdreaming, as I call it now) and the explanation for it.

Gynephilic men dreaming about having a woman's body and getting aroused by it do exist, but that does not mean that Blanchard's explanation for it (as a target location error paraphilia) is the right one. More about that elsewhere on this blog.

Samix said...

Thanks Jack,

I’d be interested in reading the competing explanations for autogynephilia. I have no idea why I feel the way I do (aroused by the though of myself as a woman), but I know that I have been this way as long as I can remember (at least 40 years). Since I just walked into the discussion, I might not understand the debate, but it seems that there are some out there who (for whatever reason) want to minimize or discredit autogynephilia as a condition. Of course, I have know way of knowing how prevalent it is, but I know that autogynephilia describes me perfectly – I’m not gay or even bi-curious, I wouldn’t seriously consider cross dressing in public much less seek a gender change, but my sexual fantasies are plainly centered on my feminization. I suppose there is no denying that autogynephilia is abnormal (i.e, not the norm), but I’m not terribly troubled by it. If there was a simple “cure,” I’d probably pursue it, but I am not gong to allow this to disrupt my life. I’m actually comforted to have some insight into why I feel the way I do.

Anonymous said...

Just like many others I just found the word for the mental state I've had almost all of my life and just like many others I was pretty confused.

The reason why I wrote this comment is to help to get to the roots of this autogynephilia.

When I was about 6 years old I loved the games at school where you could be punished by having to be in the girls' team. I was like NO I DON'T WANT THAT but I knew better and besides.. I got attention from girls by letting them have a good time to chase a boy they wanted to makeover.

When I was 15 or something my mother told me that she had a dream about me when I wasn't born. In her dream I was crying and begging her to love me even though she wanted a girl. She remembered I had a birthmark near my eye in that dream and it's pretty weird but I was born with that mark and I still have it on my face.

I liked to think about how I become like this and maybe that could be one of the reasons.

I hope this story is a bit helpful for you (even though I made a few mistakes in my English:P)

Jack Molay said...

I am amazed there are schools were you are "punished" by being allotted to the girl's team! But in this case I guessed it helped you get a better understanding of your inner self.

I see this again and again. Although not all crossdreamers look and act feminine, the associate wit being a girl and share many of their interests. They (including me) loved the more peaceful kind of games and were not good at the rough and tumble play of the regular boys.

Your mother's dream is pretty amazing. There may be a connection between the state of your mother's health and hormone production during pregnancy. Some speculate this may be the cause of variations in masculinity, sexual orientation and "copulatory instincts". To what extent your mother's body may have sensed this and given her this dream, I don't know.

somerandomperson said...

thanks for the info dude... it really helped me a lot i was totally confused by my state know i know what i am autogynephiliac with all perfect male tendencies during normal circumstances i always had a doubt whether i could lead a normal life as male know i know i can... thanks a bunch for it dude..

SophiaGirl said...

Great discussion. I’m glad I found it! I have the same issue with identifying. I do get excited when I dress or become en femme. It seems that I would be autoG. Does the excitement from dressing stem from a desire to be a woman. Is it because I feel I am a woman, that the excitement is just because I feel that’s the way I should feel sexually (as a woman) ? Did I even make any sense right there?

Thanks for listening!

Jack Molay said...

@SophiaGirl

"Does the excitement from dressing stem from a desire to be a woman. Is it because I feel I am a woman, that the excitement is just because I feel that’s the way I should feel sexually (as a woman) ? "

if you ask whether your feel this way because a part or whole of you ARE a woman, I would tend to think that this is the case. I use to say that I have a strong woman inside me.

Blanchard disagrees. He thinks I have internalized my external love object: women out there. I don't believe him. More about that elsewhere on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to thank you for this blog. I too felt the whole concept of autogynephilia described
my orientation. I was of course horrified (and turned on) that the "cure" is large doses of hormones and castrating surgery. I feel like if drs, surgeons, psychiatrists, counselors, and drug companies weren't making so much money off of this, transition would be very rare indeed. Gender/orientation is a spectrum. I just wish that more women were accepting of this trait in a partner.

TakiNoxy said...

Hello, I join the definition.
Thank you for the blog. Someone from AVEN told me about it, so I came to read, and yep. Only difference here is that it is the only "feeling" that arouses me. Asexual Autosexual Autoginaphiliac (Panromatic).. hahaha so many words.
Also am 47XXY, Intersex masculine, so this autoginephilia-ism is just another characteristic more, and quite a curious one I must agree *smiles*
Taki

Mercy said...

I find it interesting this blog post has steady comments for more than a year, and also strange that the most recent comment was made mere hours before I stumbled here. Anyway...

I'd just like to throw in my own 2 cents. While I am often sexually aroused by imagining myself as female, it's much the same sort of arousal I get from simply admiring a real woman. This feeling is more a feeling of comfort, confidence, satisfaction; more of an emotional arousal than a sexual one. Just like how you can look at a picture of a naked woman and appreciate her beauty without feeling aroused, or listen to a woman talking and admire her speech or mannerisms.

I'm comfortable as a man, I have no desire whatsoever to have any sort of surgery, but if I thought I had even an inkling of a chance, I would crossdress as a sort of outlet or an 'actualization' of fantasy. To me it isn't sexual in nature at all, that's merely a side effect (and honestly a welcome one).

If anyone happens to read this comment and is curious, I am bisexual with a heavy preference for women and except when I'm completely alone, I live a 100% "guy" life. I do have a girlfriend (7+ years and about to get married).

Well, it's nice to know that I'm not that special!

Jack Molay said...

@TakiNoxi and Mercy

Your comments, as well as the ones from others demonstrate the heterogeneity or the variety of the crossdreamer experience. Crossdreamers may consider themselves gynephilic, bisexual, asexual or transsexual. Some feel at ease with being a man; others long to be a woman.

We need to respect that variety and resist the urge to reduce us all to some kind of crossdresser stereotype.

TakiNoxy said...

Yes, I agree. Society has a tendency to stereotype everything, especially what is "out of the rule".
I believe in Diversity as the common denominator of Life, not only Human life but all forms, from mammifers to bacteria, etc.
As intersex I see stereotypes everyday, and in certain supposed to be openminded circles, I even get ask if I like animals when I say am Asexual... so.. most people tend to have absolutly no idea when it comes to something they are not used to, and then they start using all the preconceived ideas and stereotypes they can think of, instead of thinking for themselves and use those wonderful things in their heads called Neurons.

Coming back to this characteristic, I do crossdress, although I call it brining my feminine side out; Only in private and lately most close friends know about it. I decided to explain to the close ones certain things, in a way to open their minds a bit, and to show that Natural Diversity is just wonderful. I am this way, I am not ashamed, and I respect any other form of beings, ideas, attitudes or beliefs. I believe talking with real friends about "weird" stuff is very good for everyone in the conversation, and slowly it helps others to talk about those things they don't feel confortable with or have a problem with; it helps people to realize that Normalization of Sex behaviour is not the only way to go, and stepping out of the rule is NOT a malediction or some kind of curse only appliable to negative people who will burn in hell. Experiencing new things is based on curiosity and Human kind needs curiosity in order to progress, else we would still believe that the world is flat and that the Earth is the center of the universe.
Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

You continue to quote what has time after time been termed offensive terminology by the majority in this field.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

"You continue to quote what has time after time been termed offensive terminology by the majority in this field."

Yes I do.

The first theory crossdreamer meet when trying to discover themselves is the autogynephilia theory, so I have to discuss it extensively on this blog.

If you read other blog posts, however, you will see that I have probably spent more time on debunking the autogynephilia theory than any other blogger around.

Although Blanchard's description of the symptoms of crossdreaming may be correct, his explanation for them is unfounded and offensive.

This is an old post. I later stopped using the term autogynephilia for this condition all together, as the term -- which means love of oneself as a woman -- is misleading.

Anonymous said...

Autogynephilia shouldn't be a problem for transsexuals - it's an extreme treatment when the condition is extreme. People don't describe how it affects them so no one knows what's truly measurable. I'm sure for some it's the need for an occasional private moment, but for others they have to live it full time.

Where am I? Im obsessed by it, but it remains private. There are times when it becomes overpowering, when I can't function normally because I have to "crossdream" (great term :) to get over it. If transsexuals feel like that most of the time even when living as the opposite gender, then I think surgery probably is a suitable treatment for them.

But it should be clear where the crossing over points are. And that's important because by the sounds of it most autogynephiles have very reasonable lives and "coming out" could tear it apart. At the moment it's subjective and left to psychiatric judgement and that's where the battlefield is. We need more research with larger sample sizes to get a grip on where the boundaries are.

Am I somewhere near the edge or just dreaming about being at it? If it was clearer, surely there would be more legitimacy surrounding autogynephilia?

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

"We need more research with larger sample sizes to get a grip on where the boundaries are."

Exactly!

And now we have two problems:

Transwomen hestitate to admit to crossdreaming, as it is stigmatizing.

No one has made a proper and broad study of non-transitioning crossdreamers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - this describes me as well. I've always been sexually attracted to women almost exclusively (with just two exceptions, though nothing ever happened with either of the men). At the same time, the idea of myself as a woman has been an ongoing sexual fantasy for me for 25 years now, including plenty of private crossdressing/masturbation for all of it, since I first reached puberty. I'm extremely happy with my "conventional" life (wife/kids), and while I have occasionally fantasized about reassignment, it's never been something I seriously considered (I wouldn't want to ever give up my "conventional" life). My wife is somewhat accommodating to my fantasy, though she's not fully aware of it (we've played some gender-swap fantasy games, and she has figured out that the quickest way to bring me to orgasm is when she is on top, between my spread legs - which allows me to better fantasize about being a woman). Right now, I'm vicariously living through a silly video game on my phone, in which I'm a woman doing modeling jobs, with the proceeds going to my wardrobe, and allowing my character to go to nightclubs and flirt with/date men. Silly, yes, but it really turns me on - I guess it just gives me a private "virtual" existence as a woman.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this really describes me the most. I've lived a happy life from childhood to when i was 20 (which would explain that im not a true TS). Still I used to be depressed for a long time from the thoughts of being gay and transgende/transvestite in denial. But recently it all makes much more sense. I'm attracted to male genitals and somewhat bodies, but somehow i don't feel like I'm gay or even bi. I've never been attracted to a male person or in love with a male. I've always been into women and have only had sex with women. I found out that this term, autogynephilia, described me much more than all the other jibberish misleading me to be scared that "wow im a TS". I get aroused of the though of being a hot woman im attracted to irl and imagining her / me having sex with a male or another girl. It turns me on. I do not feel the need to crossdress or to undergo surgery, even if that sometimes seemed to be an option when i was depressed or anxious. Those are just more of things you fantisize about to make your experience more pleasurable. I always have felt to be a male, im more masculine than feminine and i would wish to live a happy life as a male. I don't even understand woman and i look better as a male. I have no problems with my current body and i even work out. I also get turned on of the thought of being a shemale and having sex with other shemales. I think my mum and grandpa are both autogynephiliacs and it would make sense to me that it could be some kind of genetic thing. They've told me not to worry, rather to enjoy my current life and move on with this autogynephilic feature.

Jack Molay said...

" I think my mum and grandpa are both autogynephiliacs and it would make sense to me that it could be some kind of genetic thing. They've told me not to worry, rather to enjoy my current life and move on with this autogynephilic feature."

So you have discussed this with them and they reacted in such a positive way? That is great!

Why do you think the two of them are crossdreamers (autogynephile/autoandrophile)?

Unknown said...

I'm so glad to find this site. For the longest time I felt like I was totally alone in this. Here is my story. I was a normal (whatever that is) boy as a young child. I never felt like a girl in any way. With the onset of puberty right out of the blue I became sexually infatuated with the idea of being a girl. When my parents left the house I secretly would try on my mothers clothes. Also I use to babysit and once the kids were asleep I'd try on the underwear of the woman of the house. I know 20+ years later how badly I betrayed those people's trust in me but I honestly couldn't even begin to help myself. To this day I feel a crushing shame even thinking about it. I know I'm going to seem very odd by saying this but I was in my early teens before I even understood what masterbation and ejaculation even was. I grew up in a extremely devote Mormon household and such things were never discussed.

Here is the facts about how I feel as honestly and straight forward as I can possibly present them. I fantasize about being a woman, about dressing like one, having the parts of one and having sex with a man like one. The problem comes in that in the real world I have absolutely zero interest in men and do not find them attractive in anyway. Only in my mind in the role of a woman do I entertain such ideas and it does get me off.

Walking down the street I present as a man and you would have no idea that I think these things. I look and lust after women likely the same as any man would. The problem is that when I try and get intimate with a woman I feel hindered almost like I'm just going through that motions. I can have sex with a female but my batting average when it comes to erections isn't the greatest. I'm so scared that because of this strange "fetish"(I'm sorry I don't know what else to call it) I'll never be able to have a long term relationship with a woman. I'm worried that when I do even attempt these relationships that I'm just messing with the woman's head. I love women but this thing that I have to think that I was born with has put the whammy on any possible future with them. After much self examination I know that I don't truly want to transition but I'm infatuated with the idea of it and can't get it out of my head. I wish I was a homosexual then at least I would have a community but as of now I don't. I feel cursed to spend the rest of my days living in my head and to be honest at times it makes me feel a little suicidal. I live alone and although I think about it a lot I don't even crossdress like I did when I was a teen. I need to understand myself. I need hope. After reading many of the comments on this site I think that autogynephilia is the closest explaination to how I feel. It's good to know I'm not alone.

Jack Molay said...

@Unknown

Welcome to Crossdreamers!

You are definitely not alone. There are, in fact, millions of us around the world, both men and women.

The story you are telling will be familiar to many of them.

You bring up one particular problem that other crossdreamer's also are facing. How do you harmonize these "crossdreams" with having a love relationship with another person.

When female to male and male to female crossdreamers meet, this is not much of a problem. But it is hard to identify another crossdreamer. It is not as if we are carrying badges.

If your look around at this blog you will find several posts on how "regular" couples manage to integrate this into a realtionship, even if your significant other is not a crossdreamer. It is amazing to see how some couples manage to do this in a good way.

But again: How do you bring this up? How do you explain it?

It seems to me there is no simple recipe for how to handle this, and we all have to find ways of handling this.

I have been with my girl friend for many years, and I still find it difficult to move the crossdreaming over from the world of fantasy and into our love life. But I know one thing for certain: This is much better than being alone.

Anonymous said...

This is the most comfort I have received in many hears, just to know I'm not alone. As with many of you I look and act like the typical middle aged husband/father/heterosexual male. However, when young I would occasionally cross dress and found it arousing. now, although I would never consider a man attractive, when fantasizing being a woman or when cross dressing, the thought of making love to a man is very strong. There are times when watching a steamy love scene that I find myself identifying with the woman. My defining moment when all this came clear to me was a few years ago when I was talking with an extremely attractive woman. Suddenly, instead of wanting to "do" her, I wanted to "be" her. Talk about an eye opener. Anyway, thank you for this blog.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

Thank you for your comment.

There may not be a "solution" out there for all of us, in the sense of a realignment between what we feel and the way the world perceives us, but I am convinced that we can at least free us from the shackles of our own minds.

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody,

I posted a comment earlier about me finding my autogynephilic self.

Lately i have been questioning it, not the term itself, but rather why i personally have it. I've read from a transgender support site in finnish (Transtukipiste.fi) that: "many shy youngsters, if not older ppl too, tend to create an inner girl to ease stress and thats actually quite a common thing, at least among transvestites."

It kindof makes total sense that we might be sexual predators in nature filled with testosterone, but our personal nature lacks courage and manly libido so much it's much easier to create an inner girl.

For me, I've always been very unsure amongst girls and as when i think back to when i was a teenager, I regret every time i "didn't go for it even if i wanted to do her". I have been through a nasty breakup with sorrow i pushed inside of me (maybe still), and when i finally had the courage to take home a beautiful lady, during sex my erection just stopped (never have had that problem before). That killed the last bit of courage in me i think.
I started fearing that i might be gay and always have been and then my interest in women faded. Somehow that didn't feel quite right even though i am at least a bit bi-curious. I felt that i still have a heavy preference for women.
This autogynephilic tendency i found in me was (or maybe still is partially) the only thing safe enough for me until i get back on my feet. Imagining my sexual object as me, not identifying me with women. I still feel like a strong man inside but not on the outside / in society.

I suggest for people to explore their sexuality, i recently have tried fantisizing about having sex with another man and somehow, my inner girl isn't as much, or at all, around during these fantasies.
Some people report that autogynephilia might be a reaction of denied homosexual feelings.

There are even times that i dont fantisize about being a woman during masturbation and just being a man, with success but that's like a kid trying to ride a bicykle. I need to gather my courage. Maybe this feature still will be in me but not as strong as its presented now. But i thank my "inner girl" for supporting my insecure me.

Summa sumarum, autogynephilia is a real issue but the reasons are worth exploring because you might find out why you have a "inner girl" in you, whom necessarily isn't inside of you permanently.

Again, these are only my thoughts, i hope you understand.

PS. As told before, propably by Jack Molay, i think it's important to distinguish between people who are aroused of wanting to live as a woman (and maybe transitioning), and people who only gets arousal of existing as a sexual woman of their desire. The latter one is imo, more welcome one.
Also its important to distinguish between people whoms autogynephilia is out of control and those who fantisize about it occasionally.

Alot of text haha. =)

TakiNoxy said...

Take into account that every single being within Humanity has both femenine and masculine parts, call it Yin & Yan if you will. How we balance those parts is what makes us complete. There are no Full males or Full females.
And Yes, exploring sexuality is a great thing to do to understand the Self.

Anonymous said...

One other thing i have thought about is if we are some kind of hardcore metrosexuals in a much more severe way?

When i was a teen i was a metrosexual dressing up in feminine male clothing in public and it gave me courage and i felt attractive for women and could approach them in more comfort. Nowadays i dress more in a manly way but still concider myself a little metrosexual. Theoretically, not that im interested in public crossdressing, i wonder if it's "feminisation" or just thought of being a sexy woman that turns us on? And what part of these are sexual orientations and which ones are just personal identities? Is it that metrosexual dress up to attract others and autogynephiles to attract themselves?
I personally think metrosexualism is admiring myself as a feminine man, and autogynephilia as a woman.

Still, even though im a bit bi-curious and admire stylish men, I dont get aroused by dressing up like a metrosexual (men of my "desire"), i only get more courage. But i get more attracted to men in a temporary womans role.

I don't want to mess up the conversation with this metrosexual issues but there's alot of possibilities to explore!

Jack Molay said...

I have also asked myself whether crossdreaming could be the result of feeling inadequate.

Given that our sexist societies tend to give males higher value than women, it might seem like a solution to chose the "easier" option of being a woman, if you fail to live up to the stereotypes of being a man. This was the argument used by Virginia Price when she ridiculed male to female transgender who wanted to transition.

Reading about Gilmartin's "male lesbians" you can see a similar pattern: introvert, love shy men who refuse to be the extrovert aggressive testosterone driven brutes the stereotypes demand.

Still, the male lesbians (and the metrosexuals) are normally not transgender. And there are a large number of male to female crossdreamers who are both outgoing, aggressive and dominant.

The reason I finally abandoned this theory, however, is the existence of female to male crossdreamers, i.e. female bodied persons who dream about being men, and who may even adopt stereotypical male dominant behavior.

I am sure we can come up with a purely psychological explanation for this too -- but to me that is not convincing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Jack. That actually makes kindof sense.

But another thought i have is about body image. Normally people are somewhat happy with their bodies. I used to be very appearance-fixed and used to work out and admire my looks. I have VERY hard to believe that my good body image i had would change like that and all of the suddent, because i never used to have ANY issues with my gender in my teens and before that. I still found men not to be my "thing". Or my crossdreaming i think is much more severe now because of something that has happened.

Nowadays that depends. I'm ok with my looks but still sometimes feel like im unattractive because i have a mans body, but at the same time the "ugly" body feels right. Thats what my small amount of GID is based upon. I would propably get severe dysphoria if i stated to live full time as a woman but now when i feel right in the body, i want to feel sexy like a woman.

Main point is that maybe our body image is based on attraction / sexuality and not basic identity / gender. I mean if we are not liking men / thinking they are attractive, why would we like ourselves more then? If we would think men are attractive, it would be a bit different? The dream for me is to have a beautiful outside but still have my basic male identity. Then again, there is also bisexual / homosexual crossdreamers among us so that kindof ruins my theory haha.

Autogynephilia, or crossdreaming, for classic transsexuals cant be too welcome for them because they just want to become women even if they would look worse.

Zamy said...

I would definately like to see a forum / topic, where everyone could in detail describe what their autogynephilia means to them.

For me its plain sexual and its very progressive, sometimes its sronger (when im stressed and tired) and sometimes i dont have it at all. For the most part i feel comfortable in the male role during sexual fantasies, but i'm still not so eager about the body image of men and perhaps myself.

I never had any gender issues during childhood and my teens and although i didnt feel masculine and felt a bit different from other boys, i was happy and never thought i was a girl. I crossdressed only once that i remember and had only a few fantasies of being a woman, i got the arousal from that and nothing more. I dont crossdress, maybe just a few times, and i like my male identity much and feel more like a man now than ever. I'm strongly lean towards women. I have a bit problems with erection and arousal since last fall, at the same time my autogynephilia came out properly but mostly im ok with my current "partner".

I feel autogynephilia is partially something inborn and partially determined by causality and life situations, as for many transvestites. Autogynephilia exists in transsexuals / TG but it not their motive for SRS or crossgender behaviour.
I feel AGP has something to do with our feminine body image we thrive for while swimming in our testosterone. But then again, if our feminine body image dissappears after masturbation, it can't be all about that.
I have thought about SRS sometimes but its definately not something i would seriously proceed only as a last resort and in my fantasies.
My dream is to be able to be a male without any problems. It would be ok to get rid of this AGP feature in me but then again, if its just a fetish, it gives me great pleasure to give my "inner woman" a place in my heart even if i want to have a stable family life some day.

This was my story "in short" haha.

Chase said...

I am a full anatomic autogynephiliac. Such as you said your female self finds men attractive, I feel similarly and in a similar way to the other types of autogynephilia. If I was suddenyl a woman I would very much like to try acting feminine and trying on womens clothing. But I have no real desire to as a man. Bodily functions are just bodily functions.

I am not attracted to men as a man. The very thought of it is a good bit sickening, which is a little unfortunate. I am glad some people have the option of MtF reassignment, but I have no such chance.

Money being such as it is in the world. Would I if I had the chance... maybe. I would have to think hard about it, side effects and so forth. Never had to since I don't have the finances for it.

Maybe in the next few years they will find a nicer genetic solution with SRY, SOX9,and FOXL2 manipulation. That would make me far more inclined to try for it, since it isn't just faking it so much.

Chase said...

Whoops, I cut that comment a bit short.

The interesting thing is I am a bit androgynous, relatively slim and slender, and since I have grown out my hair into a ponytail, I have been confused for a woman on multiple occasions.

Even a number of times, "Oh you a man?" Even after seeing me straight on.

This is a bit confusing and I have obvious mixed feelings on the mislabeling. But I decided to to give up trying to correct anyone and let them believe what they want.

Perhaps my feelings towards being a woman are strong enough it effects me physically. But more likely just a lucky accident of genetics.

Anonymous said...

It occurred to me, when i read about post-op TS who have changed their sexual orientation and started to live out a heterosexual womans life, that maybe autogynephilic fantasies, despite from gender / gender identity, could be a tendency and the only way for normal males and females to express homosexuality in society?

If the theory about "all humans being naturally bisexual" is true, this could explain that a male, who deep down is bi "in nature" and acts heterosexual, would actualize their same sex urges in a more pleasant way. Society still looks down upon same sex intercourse as "gross" / wrong and to avoid any same sex fantasies people learn to think this way.
So these people prefers straight sex but still might have some kind of urges to be penetrated. The only way to fulfill these urges is to imagine themselves as sexy women having straight sex with men because that is normal and sexier than homosexual intercourse.
I have fantasied MYSELF having sex with a male, instead of fantasizing myself as a female having sex with a male, and it feels gross but after the sexual ease, i somehow feel better about myself and my gender too. If gay males, who imagine themselves as women during sex, can imagine themselves as women, that only proves that they dont think women are completely gross.
I think †his also proves
that almost anyone can get attracted to the same sex if they want to in time. Ofcourse there are people in the sexual spectrum who maybe is placed as completely heterosexual or homosexual.

Autogynephilia might be a way for "straight" people to express bisexuality in a more pleasant way and doesn't have to do with gender. Because when i tried to deny my "gay" side, i started to think all men are gross and it got me to feel grossed about myself.

I think those with "real" gender issues recognises them early and try not to intervene that with sexuality. Of course, during crossdreaming, people might face their "inner other self as opposite gender" but its different.

namrata said...

@Anonymous
I don't think gay men find females gross. That is akin to saying straight men find other men gross.Liking someone does not have anything to do with whether you want sex with the person. However, that said,and using your own argument that AGP is only to express a sexual side, it is obvious that autogynephilia cannot be an outcome of a repressed gay side of a male.This is because as is evident from most posters here, most AGPs imagine themselves as women even while having sex with women.
Besides, many AGPs also have a feminine side to their personality in several other aspects of life not even connected to sexual orientation.

TakiNoxy said...

@Anonymous:
"If the theory about "all humans being naturally bisexual" is true" ..I would change that to "all human beings naturally Pansexual".
Remember that Gender is a rather new concept and it's all Social.

Also I dont agree with the idea on ""real" gender issues" in the sense that not because it's not common it's an issue. Most heteronormative laws treat anything other than hetero- as wrong, deviated, or unnatural.

I am not to turn your arguments up or down, but I believe you only look at the Binary Sex system. If you remove the idea that there are "only 2" sexes, you will see that every individual has a composition of various traits, some defined by our societies as Masculine or Femenine. Go to another culture and you will see how those change.

I find it very natural in my case to think how I think to get aroused, I don't see any excuse for anything.

"the only way for normal males and females to express homosexuality in society? "
Many imposed ideas here. What I mean with imposed, is that those ideas have been introduced by religion, government, and other social tendencies.
Males, as you said, not Men, not the same. Males are not normal, they are normative in western societies and usually called Men, that is masculine and heterosexual..right? But there is nowhere to find a Normal Male on social terms by definition, because that would only affect at a biological level.
On the other hand, to express homosexuality has been in history a common form of expression, until the homosexuality was placed, again, by religion, as a cause of un-rightfulness, so again, nowhere biologically talking that the norm is heterosexuality. Yes, it would be normal Only and Only when dealing with reproduction needs, not with the sole action of sex or sexual attraction.
So, yes, in our Western Normative Binary societies, anything that is not the rightly believed by the Church or other religious standing as correct, is just plain wrong; it has to be repaired, solved, turned to the right side.
Biologically talking there is no right or wrong, only when it comes to reproduction the action has to be heterosexual (and still, this is not always the only way- i.e. 2 true hermaphrodites could reproduce and it wouldnt be heterosexual) in order to give descendency, but we're not talking about reproduction needs here.
It's about trying to understand how come were get aroused by something different than the normative ideas. Not everyone has the time and patience to understand themselves as the ones actually explaining themselves here, or any other place.

Jack Molay said...

I love this discussion. There are a lot of important points here.

I would draw your attention to the post on the bigender sex switchers.

These researchers add another alternative to the heterosexual binary and the polysexual diversity, namely the possibility that some people have a female and male sex identity in parallel.

That could explain why some M2F crossdreamers like to fantasize about having sex with a man as a woman, but not as a man.

Still, I brokenheartedly agree that much of what we call gender traits are culturally imposed. It is hard to distill the biology from the culture.

Please not that there already is a discussion forum for crossdreamers over at Crossdream Life

Zamy said...

"These researchers add another alternative to the heterosexual binary and the polysexual diversity, namely the possibility that some people have a female and male sex identity in parallel."

Makes sense, but in that case it could be discussed if all people are trans to some extent? Or maybe personal identity isn't at all the same as sexual identity? Very confusing haha!

As for myself, one reason why i admire women is because i get turned on and envy them enjoying sex with a man as themselves. I also find myself sometimes envying their beauty but those are mostly sexual thoughts.
But then again, my real male self and identity (which is dominating in me) doesn't feel crossdressing, female identity and feminisation as something that belongs to my identity. It's not me, and yet, i fantasize about it sexually. Well said earlier "the unknown is a turn on". I strongly suspect i would be happy as living full time as a woman. Thats why I wouldn't want to transition, even though i have though about it a bit, because it's not my identity and i would then feel like a male trapped in a womans body. But as for now im a man, envying cis-women.

I hope therapy can help me to build up my manly self esteem and to make me feel attractive as a man. I hope that will work. I'm not sure that this AGP is a result of "trauma", misleading gender stereotyping, long time depression / bipolar syndrome or what, but i would die to know that. I find it VERY hard to believe im a true transsexual as i haven't felt this way as a child or teen, but maybe I am a feminine male.

Anonymous said...

wow this describes me perfectly, Ive always been cool with being a guy and as a kid i was out and about playing pick up football games and playing basketball,and skateboarding. but almost every time i masturbate i fantasize about wearing a dress, short shorts, bikini's, high heels, that sort of stuff; and once i finished i didnt want to be a girl anymore. but if you saw me and knew me you would have no idea,and im not attracted to dudes at all. i love women i could never see myself with a guy. im really happy i saw that there are more people who have similar traits as me.
the past couple weeks i have been trying to not jack off to these fantasizes and keep my mind off it, i was REALLY confused i had no idea what was going on down there, until i found that there are other people like me, its really nice to know im not alone.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

Thank you for your comment!

You are not alone. There are millions of us out there, men and women.

Please do not hesitate to tell more of your story or add more comments on the blog. You may also want to take a look at the Crossdreamlife.com forum, where crossdreamers talk about how to cope with crossdreaming.

Anonymous said...

Hello. First of all I need to say that English isn't my native language (Hopefully I'm not going to make too many mistakes).

I just stumbled on this blog entry and I'd like to know if there is any material on woman who imagine themselves as homosexual men during sex/in sexual fantasies (I mean women who don't actually want to change their gender).

It's so hard to find any information on the web and this blog is one of the very few places where I might get some answers.

I assume that a lot of women have such fantasies (considering that there are so many women who write erotic stories about gay men and prefer gay pornography over heterosexual pornography).

I can't be the only one who's trying to do some research on this topic. :)

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

Yes, I have written about female to male crossdreamers, including those who do not want to change their gender.

Many of them use the word "girlfag" to describe themselves.

Jack Molay said...

Take a look at this one in particular:


Girls who will be boys; on F2M crossdreamers, autoandrophiliacs and girlfags

Sophia said...

What a relief to finally find this term and other men who share this condition (if that doesn't sound too clinical/medical). I have had intermittent times of feeling like this (it seems to come in phases) since I was very small - I remember pulling on my mothers silk stockings and loving the feeling when I was about 4 years of age. I am now in my fifties and still love dressing in women's clothes and imagining myself with a womans body, doing feminine things. It is always an erotic experience, DONE as an erotic experience. Like the vast majority of guys with this predeliction, I am heterosexual. However, when I am fantasising being a woman, I sometimes imagine a guy making love to me - something that repulses me whem I "become" a guy again. I often wonder that if I was dressed as a woman and with a guy, would I actually want him to touch me. I think possibly so, because the "female me" does seem to have a life and feelings of her own. Btw, I feel a much nicer person when dressed :)

Jack Molay said...

@Sophia

"The 'female me' does seem to have a life and feelings of her own."

This is definitely an idea worth further exploration. It may be that M2F crossdreamers can switch sexual allegiance en femme, simply because the female self has her own desires.

This may sound far fetched, but recent studies of the so-called bigendered may indicate that some people has two types of "wiring" in parallel.

That being said, there is no absolute correlation between sexual orientation and sex identity. Which is why most gynephilic (woman loving) M2F transwomen would call themselves lesbian.

Fran said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fran said...

Hi there!
It's such a relief to see such a wealth of similiar & diverse opinions (& even some research) onto this subject. Very encouraging. It's amazing & of course a little worrying to be "part" of an as yet not fully understood area of psychology.

It's interesting that crossdreamers stories' seem to have many differences as well as some core simularities.

I seem to have a background in autogynephilia, in that I have dressed up for sexual purporses. But in tandem, and completely unconnected (at least on a conscious level), I have always identified with looking female & feeling it natural to behave in ways & with feelings that, to me, seems to confirm a deep-down drive to feel & look feminine.

After coming out about crossdressing I've been able to explore these feelings more openly. Since coming out, I feel my whole personality has blossomed & the more confident & independant I feel - the more the feminine side seems to gain in strength. I still crossdress for pleasure but I still have a deep desire to look "classically" feminine & take on more of a female role as a person. When I dress for pleasure now, it's not women I want by men. It's not just a fantasy anymore either, as I have experimented, and have found it more intense & emotional than any straight sex I've had.

It's like the male sexual side of me has collided with an internal emotional need to feel feminine which is not based on sex. I don't feel I can win, as to feel truly one or the other, one of these sides has to "die" & fade away as both feel equally prominent & feel natural. I don't feel that for me, being a feminine man works, it's a compromise that doesn't have any attractions, therefore I'm leaning more & more towards exploring the degrees of transition I could potentially take & how I'd feel about that.

Anyone else, in a similiar quandry?

Jack Molay said...

@Fran

It is interesting to see the same development among many crossdreamers.

It all may seem as a "sex thing" only at the beginning, but as soon as the "other side" has been accepted (as in your case), they realize that this is a transgender condition that go far beyond sexual desire.

Some also go all the way, and transition. I guess you are the only one that can determine if that is the thing to do for you.

You may also want to visit the discussion forum <a href="http://crossdreamlife.com/>Crossdream Life</a> and tell your story there.

Jessica said...

Jack,

thanks so much for this blog - I too have been searching for some reconciliation about this paradox. I'm a scientist running a multi-million dollar contract in a vipers nest of testosterone. I first started cross-dressing and fantasizing about being female at about age 14. I'm now in my mid-50s and have been married twice and have 3 children, none of which would ever suspect this. My current wife however, found my stash of lingerie and confronted me about it and now knows the truth. I suspect a breakup is on the way, though I would see it as liberation in every respect but for financial ruin. I don't know how this will end up but I seem to be gravitating more toward my feminine self. A couple of years ago I took the plunge and hooked up with a few other T-girls and it seemed perfectly natural to me. I actually loved the sex aspect (except for the fear of HIV) but right after I morphed back into a dude and felt pretty awkward. The thing is, I only feel that way sexually; in every other respect I prefer to be a man. I'm still pretty confused about the whole affair even though I'm old enough that one would expect me to have sorted things out by now.

Heather Roslyn said...

(Part 1)
This is ... Very familiar!!!

Right down the middle, Autogynephilia. This is me. You could meet me at work tomorrow and have no clue of the fantasies I keep bottled up.

My earliest memories are of playing with my mother’s things, dressing up, sitting at her makeup table when no one was watching. Watching her dress and do her makeup and even shopping with her. Later in my pre and early adolescence, I had enough time at home alone to play with makeup, eyeliner, eye shadow, curling my long lashes, lipstick, nail polish. I dressed in garters and nylons, panties and bras (stuffed with nylons), jewelry - especially dangly ear rings, dresses and shoes. I was VERY seriously enraptured with wanting to be female. I knew quite clearly that I was not, but I could feel and taste and smell every part of what it would be to be female.

I was not terribly effeminate when passing as a boy, but I was also not what you would call masculine. I never was any good at sports, always picked last for teams. When I would get caught up in a fight with other boys I could not fight back, quite literally had no talent for it and did not know what to do. I was a top soprano in the middle school glee club (wish I had that face and voice now!). I think the other kids knew I was a momma's boy much more than I did. It was not so much that I seemed effeminate, but just not at all becoming masculine. All I knew was that life as a boy was very difficult. I don't believe I ever connected my fantasies about being a girl with my struggles trying to be a boy, at least not consciously. I learned to compartmentalize things quite effectively. I suppose this does shut out others to a great degree because there is a side of yourself that you dare not expose to others. Easier to just keep all the "doors" shut.

I was fascinated with girls since long before puberty, but never dated girls all through high school, and even in military service, but had a few girls as casual friends. They were never romantically attracted to me, and I did not have a clue how to pursue them. I definitely wanted to BE them. I can see now that they reacted to me like a sort of sexual Switzerland, neutral party, safe to be with. I was very aware of their dress styles, shoes, makeup, and hair -- secretly. I fantasized over the Sears catalog lingerie, dresses, and shoes, and any flyers in the mail. I fantasized over classic romantic movies from the 40s and 50s. I never became interested in sports, have sometimes joked that I wasn’t sure what shape ball a team played with – only partly in jest.

I am not aware of ever having any sexual attraction to boys, but I think my male friendships were a bit different; typically focused on one close friend at a time, intimate friendships, even to the point of secret jealousy over their time spent with other friends, but none of us had any sexual feelings towards one another that I am aware of. (Continued in Part 2)

Heather Roslyn said...

(Part 2)
High school was a painful, desperately lonely and confused time. I was smart enough to get straight A's, but graduated with a 2.1 GPA. I could not focus and had no motivation for school. I never had the slightest desire to return for a reunion. It was the tail end of the Vietnam war, so I volunteered for a branch of the military service not wanting to be drafted into the infantry. I tested well enough for a technical role. In basic training I was picked on again just like in elementary and middle school. One time I was forced to fist fight a third-rate bully in the barracks, an appointed fight, scheduled for after dinner one Saturday. I was scared to death, but had become angry enough at the abuse to want to do something and I surprised him by connecting with one strong girly punch in his face that knocked him down, to his great shame, the one and only punch I have ever thrown, just before the NCO walked in and broke it up. That was just enough to keep me a bit safer after that. I continued to fantasize almost every night. Later I had a private room and found creative ways to dress up. I was very relieved to get out of the service with an honorable discharge.

I have met gay men occasionally through my life, and could easily have explored this if it held any fascination; co-workers and chance encounters here and there. Once, in the service I got picked up hitch hiking a few miles from the military base, and propositioned rather overtly by an older man, his hand reached over and gently cupped my male parts, which totally shocked me. I politely declined, excused myself, and asked to get out of the car. But these men were never remotely appealing to me. I was not at all afraid of being homosexual. It never seemed to have anything to do with my desire to be female. I could not imagine why they would be attracted to the male me I was presenting as.

And yet, it is quite true that my sexual fantasies very often involved my fantasized female self being embraced, caressed, swept off my feet, kissed, held tightly, and yes penetrated gently and lovingly, by a faceless male lover. These fantasies have always been excruciatingly detailed: dangling ear rings brushing against my neck, a lock of hair over my eye and long curls brushing my bare back and shoulders, the feel of a silky dress against my nylon-covered legs, the swaying rhythm of walking in very high heels with a flouncy skirt against my legs, a soft kiss on the swell of my breasts just at the neckline of my dress, a hand slipping under my skirt to explore me. (okay, I'll stop, I am shivering, but I could go on ... ;) (Continued in Part 3)

Heather Roslyn said...

(Part 3)
For a long time I expected that if I could become female I would be a lesbian since I had no sexual attraction toward men as a man, but I have come to believe that transitioning would be like a second puberty, accompanied by a new-found desire just like natural puberty awakens new desires in young men and women. I don't know if I would remain also interested sexually in women, but I would desire to be monogamous.

I had my first serious relationship with a girl in my mid-twenties. She was younger, a very pretty big-boned girl, and she lived with me briefly. She was pretty open-minded and intrigued by my fantasies which I partly shared. She let me wear her clothes around the apartment, but they were not really as classically feminine as I desired. The novelty wore off for her and we didn’t last. I was feeling tremendous desire to transition.

I only learned about TS relatively late, in my early twenties. Remember that this was before the explosion of the internet. Information was much less available. I found two or three books on the subject. Reading Canary Conn's story was a milestone accompanied by soaring passionate fantasy, and depths of despair over seeing no way to accomplish my desire. I immediately knew I was TS, but was still very perplexed about my complete lack of sexual attraction to men (as a man). It was always much more than just wanting to dress up for me, TV just didn’t fit. Going to college and working, I lived alone and cross-dressed privately as often as I could with mail-ordered clothes. I desperately wanted to transition in this period, but could not escape the belief that I could never pass. I managed to correspond by letter with two TS women I read about, and they were mostly encouraging, but I was frightened of failure to ever pass.

In this period I was somewhat reckless, perhaps wishing I would be discovered, often suicidal. I grew my hair long (which was fashionable for a young man of my age), and shaved my legs. I wore pantyhose and panties under male clothes. I would go jogging in the middle of the night in a loose male sweatsuit with bra and panties underneath. I would get into a car pretending I was doing it in a skirt and heels -- practicing. I would try to train my voice whenever driving in the car. I was unaware of most of the work being done in facial and body feminization surgery. If I had known about those things, I would have become ecstatic, even frantic to pursue complete feminization with every fiber of my being. (Continued in Part 4)

Heather Roslyn said...

(Part 4)
I finally married, relatively late, have two children who know nothing of this. I told my wife partly, and she was not horrified by what I shared. Our sex life was never remotely fulfilling for anyone, which was just fine with her. Even before she knew about my secret, sex for her was a burdensome duty of marriage, necessary to have children, but otherwise completely unwelcome. In thirty years of marriage she never required any birth control after our first year together (think about it). I knew a great deal more about pleasuring her body than she had ever imagined. We masturbated sometimes, well -- actually I masturbated her to orgasm and then myself. I very much enjoyed giving her orgasms orally a few times, but she resisted and seemed to feel guilty for letting herself enjoy it. She never wanted to feel sexually aroused, and I grew increasingly tired and hurt from always needing to push her. Now, our marriage is completely devoid of any attraction. We work and share bills but have not shared a bed for a decade. I have been completely faithful for more than thirty years; except of course in my fantasy life.

I have frequently felt ashamed and tried to put these feelings far enough away that they would never come back, sometimes for weeks and months, maybe even a year or two, but they inevitably return with great pent-up furious pink silky passion.

I have long ago accepted my difference, but I know that most of society does not.

With a career life that was punctuated with several high-tech industry declines, I am now at a point in life where I would still desperately wish to transition, but know I will never be able to afford it. Transitioning this late would cost probably $150k or more to achieve any sort of passable appearance. If I had the knowledge, the means, and the permission before puberty, it would have been SO much easier, yet this is SUCH a big decision for a young person to make at such an early age. How many parents could accept this from a child?

I am resigned to an unfulfilled life. My children are the one blessing I cling to, but they have their own lives now and little time for me. They would not accept my transition, I am fairly sure I would have to give them up even if it were possible.

I have always believed the worst decision would be to begin transitioning without the means to make the whole trip safely to a female form that can truly pass; like crossing a deep crevasse with only half a bridge, and falling into the abyss.

I have felt despair and elation over my circumstance in every decade of my life, frequently to the point of suicide, but somehow managed to push through with work or school, or parenting, or something. Now in my late fifties, financially ruined by the economic collapse, finally employed again after more than two years unemployed, but with no savings or retirement and too much debt, I have no hope left.

I am glad a much greater degree of understanding is available to others now. I completely understand why some TS resist the Autogynephilia category, but nothing else has ever fit so well. I hope others will make better choices than I did, earlier in life, and find more happiness. (Sorry for the length)

Heather Roslyn said...

Some thoughts about the controversy over the term “Autogynephilia” (AGP):

(Part 1)
After recently stumbling upon the term, and acknowledging that a definition of AGP fits my life so well, I see that there is quite a firestorm of controversy surrounding this term. After not having kept up with the discussion in the TS community in recent years, I was a bit taken by surprise by this controversy. This brings up several thoughts:

1) I note that different people are using the term AGP in subtly different ways. I prefer a use of the term that includes but goes well beyond mere sexual stimulation to comprehend gender identity, and romantic attraction.
2) Some of the disagreements seem to arise from very different worldviews; are we most essentially our bodies, or are we as we see ourselves in our minds?
3) I propose that it is possible to find more common ground and less angst here. A bit more listening to one another, understanding, and compassionate tolerance for our different views could go a long way toward healing wounds. Surely this would be a good thing? Our community has enough enemies without taking unnecessary friendly fire?
4) Labels and generalizations are useful – even necessary – tools for discussion and understanding, so long as we do not reverse their role and begin to think that reality must be squeezed into conformity with these descriptive tools.

An important part of the confusion and disagreement surrounding the entire field of gender and sexuality has always been the notion of where lies the essential essence of “being.” Are we first our physical bodies, or are we most essentially as we see ourselves in our minds? If one sees oneself most essentially as male because of outward physical things, then an intense desire to change those physical things and become female, is viewed as a change of our essential being from male to female. An almost opposite point of view sees ourselves as most essentially thought and feeling. In this case it may seem more appropriate to say we are already females who somehow became trapped in a male physical body, indeed variations on this have become quite a popular expressions. These two views may use very different language to express what, in many ways, amounts to the same thing, and may even take offense at the language employed by those from the opposite perspective. I propose there is no basis for stating that one view is more “correct” than the other, each has its consequential implications, which we may like or dislike. It is not just that we are “entitled” to our various perspectives, but that these alternative perceptions are themselves a part of the diversity of human psyche which we, above all people, should embrace. This is perhaps the first place we should bring greater intentional tolerance and understanding to our discussion. (continued in part 2)

Heather Roslyn said...

(Part 2)
I was drawn to the term AGP, at least as it is used in some places, as I believe many have been, because it sorted out something which had been quite confusing for most of my life. I seem to have felt powerfully drawn to becoming female for as long as I can remember, and yet quite confused about what that meant since in my male presentation I felt no attraction to other males. I have always had a strong predisposition toward heterosexuality, whether learned or innate. For me, and perhaps others like me, I have had a mental compartmentalization which separated my sexual attraction when presenting as male, from the sexual attraction of the female inside me. For a long time I actually wished I could feel the attraction to males as a male, because from my heterosexual perspective it would seem more coherent with my intense desire to be female. I was quickly aware that much of the literature described TS differently than I felt. I was also persuaded that I did not fit TV. My dressing up was indeed quite stimulating, but the enjoyment was principally from the feminization itself, which I could (and can) spend hours enraptured by, and the male sexual stimulation and release was a brief incongruous annoyance, albeit often unavoidable. In my earliest thoughts I expected that if I could become female I would be a lesbian since I had felt no sexual attraction toward men as a man, but over time I have come to believe that transitioning could be like a second puberty, accompanied by a new-found desire just like natural puberty awakens new desires in young men and women. That seems to be consistent with a view of AGP, at least as I use the term. I don't know if I would remain also interested sexually in women, probably so, but I would desire to be monogamous. I do not deny anyone else their choice of any other view of these issues, but it is inescapable to me, and apparently to others, that this AGP perspective helps us to understand ourselves better. Human psychology is vastly more diverse than to permit just one perceptual framework for understanding TS. (continued in part 3)

Heather Roslyn said...

(Part 3)
The social sciences have always been so-called “soft” sciences for primarily three reasons:
1) The fact of a massively complex set of variables that social sciences undertake to study. We still know comparatively little about how the billions of neuro-chemical reactions in the brain work together to create thought, feeling, memory, and learning, nor even much about which are learned and which are innate.
2) The fact that the subject of study, thoughts and feelings, are generally not directly accessible but must be self-reported by subjects with their own biases and agendas. In some cases thoughts and feelings may be externally observed as they work out in behavior, and brain physiology is just beginning to be accessible to study, but these are like the skid marks of a car accident, not the event itself.
3) The fact that for ethical reasons there are relatively few opportunities to conduct scientifically controlled experiments on the subjects of our inquiry; people. We rely on comparatively more interpreted descriptive study, and relatively less controlled experiment than is practical in other fields of science.

By contrast, the “hard” sciences of physics, and chemistry for example, undertake to study subjects which can be studied directly while reduced to simpler combinations, and can be completely manipulated in well-controlled experiments with few ethical boundaries. In these hard sciences, no hypothesis advances to the level of a working theory, or a scientific law, without multiple repeated controlled experiments which tend to clearly support the hypothesis. Even one example of contrary evidence is immediately an obstacle to the progression of a hypothesis. In the softer social sciences by contrast, we find ourselves with a vast array of competing working hypotheses, for which there is often as much contradictory evidence as support. Most evidence in the soft sciences is interpreted from descriptive empirical study, generally self-reported, and completely inaccessible to scientific experimental controls. This evidence is inherently subject to preconception and biased interpretation. There are exceptions, and some well-controlled scientific experiments into behavioral phenomenon and brain physiology have contributed greatly to our understanding of the human psyche, but compared to the hard sciences, these examples remain a much smaller portion of the vast body of social science literature than is the case in the hard sciences.

The point of this is to say that I believe the social sciences could do with a good deal more humility and circumspection in the confident assertion of its conclusions. There should be no shame in admitting that we still know comparatively little with any great confidence about a subject of such great and wonderful complex variety. This perspective ought to lead to a much greater tolerance for competing hypotheses. Unfortunately academia is constantly under great pressure to achieve published results that have practical utility; careers are at stake and unchecked egos abound.

There have been undoubtedly terrible abuses by some professionals in their behavior toward the diverse TS community. A great deal of kindness has also been shown to the TS community by many dedicated professional caregivers. Humanity has a terrible capacity for cruelty, but we also have a wonderful capacity for love. Surely we in the TS community – with so much at stake in the war between love and cruelty – would be well served to work still harder to find love for one another, and even find the capacity to love those who in fact may seem to be our enemies. We know quite well how easy it is to hate, let’s all reach deep inside ourselves and find the capacity to love one another.

Just my humble opinion.

Thanks!

Deborah Kate said...

Heather,

I really like your thoughtful comments.

It'd be good to see you on Crossdream Life forum. Perhaps you could start your own blog?

Deborah x

Heather Roslyn said...

Thank You! ;-)

Heather Roslyn said...

I started a blog with these posts here: http://hthrrsln.blogspot.com/

Jack Molay said...

@Heather

Thank you for some very interesting comments! I will come bac to them asap. I have added a link to your blog in the blogroll.

Anonymous said...

Hello, My thoughts are how many people here are sure of what they are? How many are evolving or just flowing year to year. I am living with someone who is still trying to find where he fits. I am a straight female and have been waiting many years for him to work out what he needs to be comfortable. He has been labeled a Crossdresser, Transgender, Autogynephilia Transexual, Closeted Gay and more. He is taking hormones now and feels calmer within himself.He dresses in male clothing in public and female in private, he leans toward surgery at some stage if he could but it seems to me there is a lot of conflict as to the best way to proceed forward. This is a nightmare for us both.Surely this whole gender situation can be sorted out. Who do you go to for advice? One site says one thing, the next something different.Some are happy with surgery, others not as happy. What does the less damage in the long run.On top of all that I have been classified an various ways as well. Am I Straight, Lesbian or Bisexual? In The Closet, In Denial etc. I am 100% Hetrosexual and I fell in love with a man who has always felt he was different so where does that leave us? Just some thoughts I wanted to contribute to this discussion. Thanks for listening.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

You are right. Understanding this is like hitting a moving target. We are changing all the time, transgender or non-transgender.

One important reason for transgender phenomena like this one being so difficult is that our culture and language does not recognize them. There is no common vocabulary or "schema" for understanding them.

When you mix the diverse life trajectories of the individual transgender person with all the theories that flows around, the end result is confusion.

This is why I have come to the conclusion that the important thing is that we continue talking about this, as crossdreamers, their partners, the medical establishment and others with interest in gender challenging feelings and behaviors. It has certainly helped me.

There are some crossdreamer partners who have written about how it feels to be thrown into this. Helen Boyd has written two very interesting books on the topic.

I think the stereoypes lie. Women fall in love with the more "feminine" men all the time, in the same way many men are attracted to strong, dominant women. It should therefore come as no surprise that women also fall in love with crossdreamers and crossdressers.

Anonymous said...

This sounds so similar to myself. The question is where could I meet a guy to discretely fulfill my secret fantasies?

Trevor said...

Hello, Anonymous.

First of all i can assure you that if this is just a sexual quirk, you have nothing to be worried about. I used to go overboard worrying that this thing would define me as a person but i thought that maybe this is an orientation (or a strong "fetish" in some cases). But..

Still, no matter what the case is, you should find out about yourself if the sexual is not the real deal and the quirk as an effect is just something you don't care for or don't want to aknowledge. It can be a hidden form of gender expression or identity waiting to be discovered and this is also a common thing under the crossdreaming umbrella.

The real issue is the most common one, which you described. How to find a partner who supports this?
No matter if your partner will like your thing, there might be something even more "odd" the partner or other people wants to fulfil so don't feel guilty!

Gina Glowe said...

I am here for the first time and am so grateful to find this place. I am certain that -A) I want to be a woman ( at least in the physiological way -perhaps a she male with the emphasis on feminine- in every aspect and B) alas I probably never will save in my dreams.But everything I have read here confirms a lifelong urgency (urge). It is also conforting to know that I am not alone-even though I feel so. Thanks for being here. I will return often.

Jack Molay said...

Welcome, Gina! Do not hesitate to make your voice heard!

Jean1112 said...

You expressed concern that this was one of the first posts that the crossdreamers (or, for lack of a batter word before, trans-curious) would see. Before I researched it, I felt like I should just shut up and join the crowd, but I feel like such a dumbass now.
Since I was about 4, had noticed the gender difference in society.
My own theory was that, we're such big fans of the feminine side, we want to be just like them. But the gender lines are much more than black and white, or straight and not.
The bottom line is: Human beings are curious creatures. Experimentation is healthy, although you can go overboard.
I'm a straight male, sometimes considered the "pussy shrimp"-boy but I'm not bothered about being the "bossy pushover"-girl either.
Thanks for providing thought-provoking ideas.

Jean1112 said...

You expressed concern that this was one of the first posts that the crossdreamers (or, for lack of a batter word before, trans-curious) would see. Before I researched it, I felt like I should just shut up and join the crowd, but I feel like such a dumbass now.
Since I was about 4, had noticed the gender difference in society.
My own theory was that, we're such big fans of the feminine side, we want to be just like them. But the gender lines are much more than black and white, or straight and not.
The bottom line is: Human beings are curious creatures. Experimentation is healthy, although you can go overboard.
I'm a straight male, sometimes considered the "pussy shrimp"-boy but I'm not bothered about being the "bossy pushover"-girl either.
Thanks for providing thought-provoking ideas.

Jack Molay said...

@Jean1112

Your comment was caught in the spam filter. Sorry about that.

I agree, experimentation is healthy, and i our case necessary if we are to understand who we are.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I came across this blog as I am utterly confused about the whole situation with my boyfriend. When he confided in me, he stated very clearly that he is a transvestite and he only dresses up in women's clothes once a month and he goes out to niteclubs and nothing happens at all. It may sound incredibly innocent on my part but I really believed him. That was until I found out he cheated on me with other men and other transvestites. I felt very hurt and betrayed by this but to add to the pain he ademently claims that is was not cheating because he is heterosexual and not bisexual but he would describe himself as autogynophilia. I really love him and I totally accept that he is a transvestite but I am a conventional person and I want to be with someone who wants to be in a monogamous relationship with me. I am so confused and gullible about the whole thing. I really don't want to cause offended to anyone and I'm aware that everyone is very different but I need to know for my own understanding and acceptance do you think a gynophilia can engage in 100% heterosexual monogamous relationship without suppressing the need to engage in sexual encounters with men?

Jack Molay said...

"I felt very hurt and betrayed by this but to add to the pain he ademently claims that is was not cheating because he is heterosexual and not bisexual but he would describe himself as autogynophilia. "

This is the first time I have heard autogynephilia used as an excuse for infidelity. Having sex with someone else, regardless of sex or orientation, is cheating in my book, unless there is an explicit agreement saying otherwise.

I guess his point is that it was all about sex and not about love, but I would have reacted in the same way you did.


"I need to know for my own understanding and acceptance do you think a gynophilia can engage in 100% heterosexual monogamous relationship without suppressing the need to engage in sexual encounters with men?"

Yes, in the same way any man can be faithful even if he desires other women (or men, as may be). That is what fidelity is about.

Anonymous said...

Yup that sounds like me. I used to consider it a fetish and think nothing of it, though recenly I'm beginning to think it is connected to some repressed bi tendenies. Though, I'm also beginning to think that repressed bi tendencies are perfectly average.

Maybe, maybe not.

Don't worry about it too much though mate. I assure you that you're no freak. Guard againt sexism though. That's frequently an easy trap to fall into for people like us.

fox said...

I just wish to say I would not call what you all experience as a philia as a paraphilia is defined as sexual desire played out to humiliate oneself or others or sexual acts involving non-concenting individuals. I would probably just describe this as a fetish in extreme and normal sexual variation in less severe cases.

Jack Molay said...

@Fox

Please note the final paragraphs of the post.

The fact is that one of the main objectives of this blog is to debunk the quasi-science arguing that crossdreaming is a paraphilia. Nor do I belive it is a fetish at the core.

Here is one post giving my take on this.

c00kieMunster said...

hi to anyone who can shed some light into my situation, i would greatly appreciate any comments/suggestions be it critical or brutal.
I've been searching online for someone to talk/ask about sexual confusion/perversion that I have been feeling for quite a long time. That search has led me to this name Autogynephilia but dont know if it applies to me or if i'm simply a pervert and need some professional assistance.
Like most men i like to masturbate but my choice of masturbation and fantasy for masturbation is quite often pretending to be a female online chatting with other males in my case I like to assume the identity of a female who is close to me. Mostly it will be the girl i'm a relationship with, or some one close in my social/family circle. The amount of time I invest in this too long but I somehow end up carrying it out till I have ejaculated and i know its criminal that im assuming another individuals identity at the same time i sincerely would like to stop ...

would really like to know what is wrong with me? online resource has some religious counselling and remedies which is not at all helpfull just desperate to know whats going on ...

Heather Roslyn said...

Search for a "gender therapist" near you.

Jack Molay said...

@c00kieMunster

Heather is right. Finding a good and open minded gender therapist or sexologist near you might help.

Be warned, though, that there are those who do not have much knowledge of what you are going through. In some cases that may not be much of a problem, as what you really need right ow is someone who can listen and empathize with you. In other cases, this may be a problem, though, as they may think they have a simple solution to the whole thing, which -- I am afraid -- no one has.

It seems to me you are a crossdreamer, like many of the readers of this blog. Male to female crossdreamers seek to find a way of expressing another side of their soul, a side that identifies as female in one way or the other. Some crossdress, some write stories and captions, and some engage in role playing, as you have done.

Using the identity of real people is certainly not a good thing, and in this world of online anonymity unnecessary. There are definitely other ways you can explore this side of you.

Why don't you introduce yourself over at the Crossdream Life forum? You will find fellow crossdreamers there who have found their ways of handling their lives.

And finally. "Autogynephilia" is a bogus theory developed by a sexist research who has no sympathy for transgender people. You are not an "autogynephile".

Jacob said...

I am actually hoping for some encouraging words/relief as well. I am in my late 20s and I have always found sic fi & body swapping to be arousing. It is surprising how many TV shows have a body swapped theme episode. Heck I even remember liking the power ranger episodes where they were magically age regressed before i knew what masterbation was (and I had a big crush on the pink ranger!) I never thought twice about this interest (would occasionally incorporate it into masterbation) and have led a very "normal" sex life. I have dated plenty of women and felt extremely confident in myself as a man.

Near the end of high school I found the tg site fiction mania and body swapping/ magical transformation stories became my favorite material for masterbation (not to say it was my only, but it had a much stronger draw). My dating life continued to be unaffected throughout college, I began dating a girl (who I lost my virignity too) and enjoyed sex and our relationship. Body swapping/TG only conciously entered my thoughts when master baiting. After several years and prior to marrying her (which I was/am thrilled about) I began feeling guilty that she did not know this interest. When I told her about it she did not care at all, but i started to feel extremely guilty and analyze why I like this fiction.

This is what brings me here, I searched the internet and found autogynephilia and immediately panicked. I have always been a little bit ocd and sometimes would read about sicknesses online and get wound up. All I saw was that autogynephilia meant you wanted to be a woman and it meant something about your sexuality. I do not think I ever pleasured myself imagining that I was a woman, and I have never been into cross dressing; but i do enjoy fiction stories where people swap bodies or magically transform into the opposite gender. This whole thing has given me a lot of anxiety and caused me to stop enjoying my sex life and question myself and my relationships. Is it that unusual to be into TG fiction and be completely heterosexual/have no interest in actually being a woman? Does it always mean something about you and your sexuality? Any encouraging words will be much appreciated. Sorry for the length!

(and fyi I have seen therapist for the ocd and talked about tg stories. However as a previous poster mentioned, I don't think many therapists really understand this interest and his encouragement that it doesn't sound like a weird sexual interest hasn't resolved my anxiety).

Anonymous said...

Here's my understanding:

A transsexual woman transitions because they identify themselves as female and felt intense discomfort living and being viewed by society as male ever since (regardless of sexual orientation) such that they eventually reach a breaking point, i.e. that its either to transition (regardless of consequences with family acceptance and society, etc..) or die.

Fetishistic transvestitic men on the other hand "fantasize about having a woman's body and get sexually aroused by this", and some may even develop mild gender dysphoria and wish to seek transitioning (SRS and high dosage of HRT is generally not recommended). This fits with the AG theory perfectly. i.e. Blanchard's Theory is a theory for fetishistic transvestitic males, and not for transsexual women.

And crossdressers are simply men who enjoys dressing up in the attire of the opposite gender, to create an illusion for fun, but are perfectly fine with living their lives in society.

A self-labeled crossdresser who later seriously sought to transition into a woman once their gender dysphoria have reached a breaking point, are in fact a transsexual from the very beginning (i.e. one who's born with the brain of the opposite sex wrt to their body).

Anonymous said...

I believe AG is more descriptive for fetishistic transvestite men; but certainly not diagnosed transsexual women.

joannaS said...

@Anonymous

What complicates matters even more however is the fact that the eroticism we call AG is also experienced by transsexual women (not all but by some) and not an insignificant amount either. You can even read about this in the studies of Anne Lawrence who is a disciple of Blanchard.

This makes the delineation fetishistic transvestite and transsexual very complicated for some and why you will find some individuals realizing that what they first thought was a fetish in their youth was actually gender dysphoria which required treatment through HRT and/or transition.

A better model is that of Harry Benjamin who's typologies don't focus simply on eroticism but instead on the level of dysphoria (or disconnectedness) that an individual feels from their birth sex.

I have androphilic transsexual friends who experienced pre transition eroticism but that did not make one difference to them in their path to transition and simply went on to live life as women.

The Blanchard model is too simplistic and does not work well as an identifier of dysphoria.

Jack Molay said...

@Jacob

" Is it that unusual to be into TG fiction and be completely heterosexual/have no interest in actually being a woman? Does it always mean something about you and your sexuality? "

I am with Joanna on this one. It is very hard to put up a watertight barrier between those that read TG transformation stories just for the kick and those who suffer from what is called "gender dysphoria" (a stong sense of misalignment between mind and body).

This is not the same as a plain "love of nylon stockings" fetish, that's for sure.

But as regards your question: Yes, many male to female crossdreamers (and most of the ones reading this blogs are attracted to women predominantly).

Sexual orientation is probably a bit more complex and flexible than most people would like to admit, but that is the way I have found it. Many female bodied crossdreamers are, in the same way, predominatly attracted to men. Reading fictionmania does not mean that you are a "gay" man, to put it that way (not that that would would be a bad thing).

Many crossdreamers also feel no need to become a woman in real life. They do not suffer from gender dysphoria and will often manage to include these fantasies in their regular sex life in some way or the other.

The thing is, however, that you are the only one who can find out how intense these feelings are, and how far towards the gender dysphoria side of the scale you are.

It is true that most therapists haven't got the faintest clue about these things, but if you can find and open minded listeners who will help you find out on your own, he or she may help you even if s/he does not know much about crossdreaming.

Jacob said...

Thank you Jack, that does make me feel a little bit better. I think the hard thing for me personally is that I suffer from mild OCD,which makes the fear of things worse than reality (whether conditions are true or imagined). I do not feel any dis morphia (and like You said in your comment, not that that's a bad thing !). I just don't know why I like reading and prob never will. Whether it's biological or a kink I picked up watching power rangers when I was 6, I'l
l never really know. For me, I have never really dreamed in the first person about being a woman. That's where I don't even really get the term from Blanchard. What if it's not so much oneself as the opposite sex but just depictions of the opposite sex (I happen to think the female body is very sexy and enjoy hearing it described). I think lumping everyone into one box just seems really thoughtless. I find the concept of how people would react to being someone else and shifting their status up or down an interesting thought. I don't doubt that there may be personality traits or something deeper that makes people have an interest in the thought. However every single person is unique and should enjoy who they are without someone telling then what they have interests in that define them and box them. I think people can like things from reasons as simple as that they like fantasy and scifi 1 to more complex reasons about what they identify with and share about a character. Basically I am just bit a fan of any stereotype that tells you who you are and how you feel or think. Thank you for the replies, I do feel much better :)! I plan to stop treating this side of myself like there is anything wrong with me. If it ever brings me difficulty from the behaviors or thoughts themselves I may address it again, but for me it has been he fear of it all more than my actual feelings that bug me. It never impacted my life in any way but a positive one until I became afraid of it. I think sometimes fearing and labeling things can help guide people into certain behaviors that meet the agenda of those trying to label and judge.

Sam Z said...

Hey Jacob,

I can relate to your story very much. I too suffer from OCD and have been like that since a child, however, i never had any gender or sexuality issues before my OCD forcusing on transgenderism started.. I know exactly how you feel..
If you feel the need to talk please email me. OCD is very real and you should treat it before you can feel more natural about urself. I'm aroused by this too and i feared it meant im trans but i love being a man for many reasons.. would try being a woman..maybe.. for a while but definately would like to go back! U dont need to be trans if you have these fantasies just like youre not necessarily a fetishist if you feel gender dysphoria accompanied with the erotic component of being a woman.. u know yourself, your just panicing!

Anonymous said...

My best friend and the love of my life has AGP. He hid it at first, but I knew there was an underlying anxiety and asked him to talk to me about it.. he asked me to wait he needed to show me. Something........yes he came out in woman's dress, nylons, silk panties, bra and...heels!!! At first I was like...what's going on here?.. he then explained it all to me. Since he came out he is so much happier as am I...the sex is more amazing then ever, now that he can wear his silk panties. Its amazing how I can come home from work see him in his yoga pants. Skirt, and keds, and still as a women be able to say...that's my man!!

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

Thank you for some really uplifting input!

I actually hear many stories like yours, and hopefully they will make MTF crossdreamers more courageous and take the chance, coming out of the closet.

Jen Bellanti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Molay said...

Jen!

I saw the message. Send me an email! (to jack.molay@gmail.com )

Heather Roslyn said...

Post1:
I have been thinking that perhaps I should come back and post a follow-up here as it has been some time since I originally posted my story on this thread July 3rd 2012. A great deal has happened in my life since then.
The AGP/Crossdreamer descriptions were something of a stepping stone for me, a language of self-discovery that helped me come to terms with who I am and have always been. After a lifetime of hiding, I finally came to terms with the truth that I had been transgender all my life, repressing it for years with what can only be described as unbearable guilt and self-loathing. In the months following my original posts here I began gender therapy for the first time in my late fifties. Despite the fear and resignation I expressed in my earlier posts, it gradually became clear that I could not go on repressing my true feelings. After once again nearly taking my life one day, I finally concluded that I would have to transition to female to survive.
In the beginning, I was terrified of transition. I expected I would lose my career, my home, everything I held dear, end up on the street, and probably still die. But despite that pessimistic expectation, I could simply see no other choice but to go forward with transition. I am delighted to report that transition has not been anything like that; I am thrilled with my life now that I am living authentically as the female I have always been inside. I only wish I had been able to find my way here years ago.
In the final months of 2012 I began HRT, began losing weight, began electrolysis, began collecting a wardrobe (once again), came out to my family, began working on voice training, and began to learn makeup. I started living openly female everywhere but work early in 2013. In mid-2013 I began the long complex process of legally changing my identity to a new name and gender, and came out at work full time in the fall. I chose a new name and left Heather as a pre-transition pseudonym which I will probably still use for some of my writing.
I lost a great deal of weight with a much healthier diet, and began more regular exercise habits. I suddenly had a profound desire to live my life. My health is now better than it has been in decades. I was able to get rhinoplasty, and after nearly a year and a half of hormones I am now actually able to see a female-self emerging from the fa├žade I’ve hidden in, and been trapped by, all my life. I am also now working on raising the funds to get SRS and breast implants, hopefully late in 2014 or early 2015. Transition has also been like a second puberty for me, arousing profound heterosexual feelings of attraction to men. (continued)

Heather Roslyn said...

I am posting this comment, a very brief summary of a much longer and much more complex story (which I’ve written more about elsewhere), in order to explain to those like myself who begin discovering themselves here, that I now realize I have always been a transsexual in denial. I’ve now begun to think of my childhood in terms of “when I was a little girl,” despite that I was deeply in denial and hiding for all those years. I can look back now with hindsight and acknowledge the countless times I knew in my heart that I felt female but couldn’t find a language to express it, or even admit it to myself.

I am delighted to report to you that there is life after transition! I have never been happier with myself or my life. To tell you the truth, passing at my age isn’t perfect, strangers often know I am transgender, but I am largely accepted as a woman, or at least a trans woman, without any issues. I have truly not had one bad experience with people mistreating me in the ways I imagined I would experience. I’ve transitioned very publicly to hundreds of people -- friends, family, customers, and co-workers -- and have received hundreds of heart-warming expressions of encouragement and congratulations from many of these people. I have lost some “friends,” and gained many new true friends.

The hardest experience has been the difficulty my adult children are still having with all of this. I believe they will ultimately come to accept me, and get to know me all over again. I know that the alternative wouldn’t have been any easier on them.

Please understand, I am not saying that everyone who identifies with the AGP/Crossdreamer profile is a transsexual who has been in denial all their life like I have been. What I am saying is that for many of us in my generation, denial and repression became a survival skill. Fortunately young transgender people today are finding it much easier to begin living authentically at a much younger age as our society gradually learns to accept transgender people. It is my fond hope that future generations will never have to suffer as so many of us have for so long. I would hope that if others come to the crossroads in their life that I did, they would not be as terrified of transition as I was. I am also not saying that transition is simple, but if it is the authentic path for your life, as it clearly is for mine, transition is more than possible, your new life can be WONDERFUL!

Finally, I want to emphatically encourage everyone with any interest in these issues to read Janet Mock’s new book “Redefining Realness,” released February 4th, 2014, and reaching 19 on the NY Times Best Seller list in the first week. She is a heroic figure that should encourage transgender people everywhere to live authentic lives, and challenge society to finally begin to understand us, accept us, and welcome us into the human family.

Transgender people are EXACTLY who they say they are!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

it is really amazing to see that this blog started in 2009 and is still active.

i think it is very useful and i found a lot of myself in the blog but now i am really confused, especially because of the last posts of Heather. First of all congratulations that you decided to go this way.

Now to me and what i'm thinking about.

i think it was 15 or 16 years ago that i found out that something is strange and i realized that i feel well when i wear female clothes. Over the years i bought a lot of clothes, high heels, learned how to use make up but i just to feel good when i was wearing my favorite clothes. So i agree absolutely which the term cross dreaming. Actually i was very happy with my life and there was no need to change anything about it. When i am alone at home i changed my clothes and felt cry good. But in the last couple of month something changed again. I know that online tests about gender identify are silly, but the result show a tendency. i did two tests and the result of both tests were that i am transsexual. Usually i do not take it to seriously but then i thought about it and questioned what i really want. Do be a male or to be a female or maybe both? When i wake up in the morning or i just walking around i quite often think about that i really like to be a woman, wearing the clothes, treated like woman, behave like a woman and it annoys me to be a man and not having a female body. But then my male body says hey you have such a good life as a male, why do you want to change it?

so i am really confused about what i should think and what should i do?

Maybe somebody of you is in the same situation as i am.

I appreciate any comments.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous CC @Heather

There is one part of the crossdreamer phenomena that makes it very hard to interpret, and that is exactly what Heather is referring to above: repression.

Crossdreaming is taboo in our societies and kids sense this. They therefore often suppress this part of themselves, deny it, and try to forget it. It is still there, though, buried deep underground, and will eventually demand to be heard.

If your suppressed crossdreamer side is intense and clear, the symptoms are often the ones of gender dysphoria. The person is basically a transsexual, but won't admit it to him/herself.

Because of this even our intellect fails us. Indeed, the fear of ostracism often harnesses your intellect in its own service, and entices you to make up theories that explains why you are not transsexual, why you are normal, why everything is going to be all right.

This works well because many crossdreamers are, in fact, not transsexual. Some are securely anchored in their birth sex. Others are genderqueer twilighters, living in-between the genders. In other words: Even i you are transsexual, the "I am just a crossdresser" or "I am just a fetishist" narrative will work.

In the end you are the only one who can find the correct answer to this riddle and that may take time.

Still, if you feel no gender dysphoria, and you feel OK in your male body, and you truly trust these feelings, I would be very cautious if I were you.

But maybe the reason you have written this comment is that your feelings have changed?

Simone said...

Hi Jack, hi Heather, hi all you out here,

thank you very much for your answer. When i've first read your explanation of crossdreamers and read the comments of other people in this blog it was clear for me that i finally fond a explanation of what i felt. But you know sometimes the first thought is not the right one, it is just a normal human reaction to think yes this sounds logical to me and yeah, i am a cross dreamer. But when i take a look behind the first reaction and thinking of how i love to live my female side i'm not sure about it is really only cross dreaming or is it really true that maybe i live in the wrong body and that i am transsexual? I am a very rational person actually and try to explain everything in a scientific way, but i think gender issues are much more than a scientific issue, it is more about feelings and about the never-ending story about who i really am. Am i a male, am i a female, am i a male and a female? And this is what you just wrote in the last sentence maybe my feelings changed. or maybe it is better to express it like i thought more about me. You're right, it is much easier to say oh everything fine, you are normal but it only works for a couple of hours or days and then the same questions come back and then i think what should i do with myself if i really feel and convinced that i live in a wrong body, that actually i want to be who i really am? Then all this nice little thoughts appears like what will my family say, what about my friends, what about my profession, what about my current live? and furthermore is it something like a periodical mood, which comes and goes?

I know that i have to answer these questions for myself, but i the last month the feelings that something happened to me or changed came stronger and so i decided to do some research on it. That's the reason why i found your blog and i got aware of that i am not alone with this issue and I really admire Heather, that she went this way and is happy again with her new life as a woman. Do i really want to go the same way?

And now i have the option to go on like everything is fine and live my current live which will be harder maybe because my female side has a strong power and so maybe both sides of me just do a fight or discussion about what will be the best for me and get used of it or the other option is to be honest to myself and accept me the way it is and get a clear picture of who i really am.

When you ask me right now what i really want is just to be happy and content and i know that i cannot escape from the question if i am transexual or not and if i am, do i really want to go the next steps and go over my fears what my family, friends, customer etc will think and how they react. And this is actually the challenge.

@Heather: maybe we can get in contact via email, i like to know more about how you get over your fears and just be yourself.

Thank you very much
Simone

TakiNoxy said...

Hello!

Do remember that there are NOT only 2 sexes. Please, keep in mind that every single individual in our specie has a masculine and a femenine side that should equilibrate. A Yin/Yan if you will. So, individually, it is normal to have both parts, separated, fused, mixed, or on extremes. Technically, there are as many sexes as inidividuals in a specie.
And careful with tests.

Simone said...

Hi,

thank you very much for your comment on this. Yes indeed, everybody has it is Yin and yan side, which means female and male traits more or less. I just wonder if this is an answer which is a little bit to simple to explain my current situation.

Thank you for the remark on tests, yes i totally agree, some of them are really silly because they are based on stereotypes and it is quite easy to manipulate the result. But if you have a feeling about something and then you get a confirmation it is just one piece of a puzzle, not more not less. But the big picture is to answer for myself is who i really am and who i really want to be. Am i only a cross dreamer or am i really transsexual and having a Gender Dysphoria? And this is the riddle to solve.

Oh by the way, it is already a few years ago when i was out as a woman, who h was really fun, i decided my female name would be Simone, at that time i just thought it is something which comes and goes. But i like the name.

Simone

Jack Molay said...

@Simone,

I am so glad you are finding a way of understanding yourself and accepting yourself. That's ultimately what this is all about, it seems to me.

I do not think of crossdreamer and transsexual as two categories that exclude each other. Some crossdreamers are transsexual "on the inside". Others are not. For some crossdreaming fantasies are just exciting fantasies that spice up their sex life. They feel safely anchored in the identity of their assigned sex.

For others they are one of many signs of a more profound sense of gender variance, often followed by gender dysphoria.

@TakiNoxi

The diversity of gender expressions, temperaments, abilities, interests is mind boggling, and like you I do not believe you cannot base your definition of man and woman on the basis of some kind of stereotype personality profile.

Indeed, many transgender people -- crossdreamers included -- refuse to be reduced to male or female.

That being said, the intense sense of alienation some feel from the body they have been given, and the clear and present sense of being the other sex tells me that sex identity can be more than the sum of traits and abilities.

In transsexuals you find a strong voice that tells them that yes, they are a woman (or a man, as may be) and not a third or fourth or fifth sex. They do not find peace before some kind of balance has been reestablished through transitioning. If you meet these women, however, you will find that they are as diverse as everyone else, personality wise.

Simone said...

Hi Jack,

thank you for your comment and your support. I don't know what i will do next, but i know that i will enjoy having my female side in me because i ti s a very important part of myself and my identity. I'm prett sure that is absolutely normal and has biological reasons. I always wonder why so many people insist on their gender role. it is something limiting. Why can't i wear my favorite woman clothes, my breasts and my high heels and any nice makeup in public and live my female side the way i like to do? yes it is repression and it is silly. But maybe a lot of people do not understand the variety of people, the variety of characteristics and souls. They are themselves unsure about everything which is not common for them and they react with repression instead of asking what are the reasons, why should i limit other people. I do have to accept other people as i accept that some of my friends drink to much or wear something i would never wear. But the funny thing is i saw a lot of pretty woman in totally man clothes and nobody cares about it. As we already discussed here it shows the man side of woman without anybody thinks hey you're wearing mans clothes you should be abnormal. But as soon as man wears woman clothes it is like he/she is abnormal. Really silly.

I know that i am very liberal and i just want to have the freedom to do and to wear what i want to feel comfortable as the same i accept anybody to do and wear what he/she wants to wear as long as somebody feels good.

I know this is all about convention. A man hs to wear mans clothes and as soon as he wears pink or something "unnormal" it is like hey he is gay, he is a transvestit or something silly more. They do not understand that in anybody we have from a biological point of view both genders in us and the born sex is just something visible but the soul and the hormone balance can show something very different. As it is for me, i learned a lot in the last days about cross dreaming, about biological gender and causes of feeling uncomfortable with the current gender assignment. I did the first step just to accept that this is nothing strange and i accept myself as i am. But i know that inside of me there is just now a very intensive discussion going on if i am just a cross dreamer or transsexual or whatever. And this is a new situation for me because i never allowed me to look into me and ask myself do i really feel good in my gender assignment or not. I just know that i am a little bit nervous about this. And Jake again you're right this is only my issue to find out what the solution of this riddle is. But to make it easier for me i will contact a group of transexuals and cross dressers to find out more about it and share the experience. And maybe then i know more about what i will do. But tip then i enjoy wearing my favorite clothes as often as i can and feel as a woman and i am happy with it.

Good night
Simone

Jack Molay said...

My friend Natalie (a sexologist from Thailand) suggested the following entry in my Crossdreamer Vocabulary:

"The definition [of an androphilic or gynephilic sexual orientation] should ideally pertain to the inner gender the person is attracted to rather than the outer physical sex. In case of transgendered people, it refers to their inner gender as much as for non-transgendered people. For transsexual people, this inner gender does not change but it is the outer sex that is changed to match this inner gender. So it is the inner gender that should always assume a greater significance.

"This makes it also significant in non-transgender attractions because a masculine-man<->effeminate male sexuality is not same as masculine-male<->masculine-male sexuality. In various cultures including traditional Thai society, while the former is referred to as 'gay', the latter is accommodated silently within the mainstream 'straight' category without giving it any social marker or identification at all!"

Heather Roslyn said...

Simone, Anonymous, or others,
I'd be happy to correspond with anyone who finds themselves asking questions like those we've been discussing. I am not a licensed therapist, and I emphatically recommend that you find a qualified gender therapist.

I do know enough not to tell anyone what the right answer is for them. No one can tell you the right answer for you, you have to figure that out, but maybe others can help you ask some of the right questions? I can only tell you with confidence about my experience, and how I came to understand what the right answer was for me.

I can be reached at: http://hthrrsln.blogspot.com/2014/03/transition-update.html

Just be patient if my responses are delayed sometimes, but I will try to respond to anyone who would like to correspond privately about this.

Jack Molay said...

@Simone

Could you possibly contact me via email? jack.molay@gmail.com

Simone said...

Hi Jack,

email is on the way :-)

@Heather: thank you very much, i will contact you later today