October 28, 2009

The Hero and the Princess (Should Autogynephilia be Treated?)

I need your help again!

One of my readers have added an interesting comment to one of my previous post. The comment is about an hormone treatment aimed at reducing his libido (sex drive) and through that his feminization fantasies.

Have any of you been offered such a treatment or any other treatment for autogynephilia, and would you care to share your experience? Moreover, do you think autogynephilia should be treated as disorder or disease?


The comment


"What would be interesting is some research into treatment options for sufferers of autogynephilia. A treatment option I use is to take low dose female hormones via my doctor. 25mg patches. This does seem to to keep my GID [Gender Identity Disorder] under control. The low dose hormone works well and keeps my head clear.

I have fully confessed my autogynephilia to both my care givers who seem to feel this is a good treatment option for me.

I guess I'm allergic to my own testosterone or its own natural levels are to high for me. My autogynephilia demands that I feminise myself, whilst doing so I'm also damping the nasty nagging of autogynephilia.

The desire does not go completly but it's easier to deal with. I have had a six month break from hormones (after 2 years) , and the autogynephilic desires are back stronger than ever.

I'm fighting with myself as to what to do, either go back on the patches and accept a more feminine lifestyle or battle with myself as a male.

The autogynephilic demon is offering me the ability to obtain my life long desire of feminisation. But at the same time something which is so desirable for me is also so very frightening."

A disease or something natural?

Here is my comment:

Actually, there isn't much online regarding treatment for autogynephilia, nor is there any agreement on whether this is a disorder that actually requires treatment.

Although I am not completely sure, I have become more and more convinced that autogynephilia is an expression of a natural phenomena, not a disease.

Some men have some kind of mix of female and male traits, and their feminine side expresses itself through cross-dressing and/or erotic fantasies of having a woman's body.

I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice. As a fellow autogynephiliac, though, I find it strange that you seem to think that your autogynephilia is caused by some kind of testosterone overdose.

You have clearly a strong sex drive (which is not unnatural) , and being an autogynephiliac it is quite natural that this libido is channeled into fantasies of this kind. This is the case for me as well. Had I been a "normal" man I would have fantasized about "normal" sex, and no doctor would have found that strange or worrying.

Overwhelming feelings

Still, I do understand that these feelings can at times get so overwhelming, dominating and frightening, that it may seem that the only way to get a normal life is to go for a mild form of hormone or drug treatment (e.g by using female hormones to reduce the sex drive, but not to generate a transition to womanhood).

I wonder if it would be better to go to some kind of open-minded psychologist instead, not to get cured of your autogynephilia, but to get a sound outlet for your anxiety and fears. This might help you get a better understanding of yourself and help you find peace with your feminine side.

Personally I have found that I have learned more from facing my demons, and from integrating the seemingly "nasty" side of my own psyche into my own personality. I have also learned that by facing my shadow side -- i.e. the parts of my own personality that may seem negative and frightening --- I have become a more complete person and, I believe, a better person.

The Hero's Journey

I believe thinkers like Carl Gustav Jung and Joseph Campbell are right when they say that the stories, myths and fairy tales about heros battling trolls and dragons, are really about our own struggle with repressed desires.

The hero has to confront these desires and come to terms with them (kill the dragon).
When he does so, the psychic energies are let loose. The wasteland again becomes fertile and the hero gets his princess.

That is: What seemed to be something dangerous and negative, turned out to be something good - the life force itself. We have to change our attitude towards that life force in order to get access to it.

You are the hero of your own life, but it seems to me that your helpers are actually stopping you from coming to terms with your feminine side, and that might be a mistake.

Giving your desires form

Two years ago I was completely overwhelmed with the desire for feminization. I had suppressed this side of me for so long, that I was no longer able to keep the flood back. Hadn't it been for the fact that I knew quite a lot about psychic processes, I would probably have feared for my own sanity.

I did understand what was going on, though, so instead of repressing these desires, I let them find their expression by writing down the fantasies. I guess other art forms or talk therapy could have worked equally well.

Then I started this blog, in order to talk with other autogynephiliacs like you and in order to develop a language that might make what was happening make more sense.

Now, two years later, the feelings are no longer overwhelming. The fantasies are still there (and probably always will be), but they no longer stop me from having a "normal" life. I am determined to continue working with my autogynephilia, not to kill my "inner princess" but to accept her as a natural part of myself.

Whether this means that I will go for sex reassignment, I don't know. And whether you should seriously consider a sex change is not for me to say either, as that would depend on your unique life situation, which I do not know.

I seriously think that you should take the hero's journey, though, battle your dragon and get to know your princess. It is best to have someone around to help you on that journey, because it can be very hard indeed. Find an understanding loved one, an open-minded therapist or a non-condemning spiritual adviser to talk to!



UPDATE ON TERMINOLOGY

Since this blog post was written I have stopped using the terms "autogynephilia" and "autoandrophilia" to describe people. The reason for this is that the terms implicitly communicates an explanation for why some people get aroused by imagining themselves as the opposite sex . This explanation, that this is some kind of autoerotic paraphilia,  is both wrong and stigmatizing. Instead I use the neutral term "crossdreamers".

Click here for a discussion of the dark side of the autogynephilia theory.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!