February 16, 2010

How many autogynephiliacs are there?

In the post How many male to female transsexuals are there? I pointed to Professor Lynn Conway's calculations on the number of M2F's transsexuals in the US.

Conway made an estimate of at least 40,000 postoperative trans women in the U.S. in 2005. These women had transitioned out of a population of roughly 100,000,000 adult males. She therefore concluded that the inherent condition occurs in at least one in every 500 children born as males.

Gynephiliac vs. autogynephiliac

But if you accept the idea that there are two distinct types of transsexuals, some of them predominantly androphilic (man-loving) and the other predominantly gynephilic (woman-loving), you are left with some interesting questions: How many woman-loving transsexuals are there? And: how many of these are autogynephiliacs (AGP) crossdreamers?

Caveats

Before we try to answer that question, there are a few points to keep in mind:

1. Blanchard and his followers believe all gynephilic, bisexual and asexual transsexuals are crossdreamers ("autogynephilics" i.e. they get sexually turned on by the thought of being a woman).

Not all non-androphilic transsexuals agree that they are "autogynephilic". They could be in denial, of course. If being autogynephilic stops you from getting the much coveted surgery, it would make sense to shut up about it. Still, this is an uncertainty, for sure.

Personally I see no reason to believe that all gynephilic [woman-loving] male to female transwomen who ask for surgery lie when they say they have not had such fantasies.

2. If you do manage to establish how large percentage of the transsexuals are gynephilic, you do not necessarily find the same proportion in the non-op transsexual population, i.e. in the number of transsexuals who have not applied for surgery.

Given that androphilic transsexuals in general apply for SRS at an earlier age than gynephilic transsexuals, it could be that the proportion of gynephilic transsexuals is larger in the non-op population. But it could also be that a larger percentage of androphilic transsexuals decide not to transition. As Cloudy points out, very few of them chose to do so after the age of 25. They decide to live on as a feminine, gay, men instead.

The fact is that we do not know, because the research only includes respondents who have applied for SRS.

Counting noses

Cloudy has put up some very interesting calculations over at her blog On the Science of Changing Sex. Using recent research, she argues that the percentage of autogynephilic transsexuals is 45 percent at the very least. Personally she believes it could be up to 80%.

In order to get to the higher figure, she does include respondents that  she believes may may lie about their condition. She includes those that report to be bisexual and asexual, and those who say they are androphilic but who have not had sex with men. She also includes people like me, autogynephiliacs who do not crossdress and who's sexuality has not been included in the questionnaires. In short: In the end the only transsexuals that are not considered to be autogynephiliacs are androphilic transsexuals who have had sex with men.

She argues well for why it is sensible to do so,  but I am not convinced that all of her methods are completely kosher. It is fair to correct for the fact that "crossdreamers" like me are not asked about their fantasies. But it is a problematic to assume that all the non-androphilic respondents are mistaken when they say that they have not experienced arousal of this kind. Some of them  may be lying to themselves and the observer. But if you let your theory decide what response is the correct one, you can prove anything.

Cloudy's response to this criticism is based on personal experience:

"You do bring up an important point, how do we know that there are isn’t a special type… a type that is as obviously feminine as the feminine androphilic type (the same kind of femininity) yet still potentially gynephilic? One that doesn’t have any autogynephilia? We can’t 'prove' that from the published data. But I have personally been on the quest to find one… just one… to offer a proof of existence. I’ve failed. Again, in 35 years of meeting literally hundreds (it may be over a thousand now) I have never met one that fills that criteria. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack… yet, the chances of one existing are statistically vanishingly small. So, clinically, we can ignore such possibility until it is found."

Note that there are probably a significant number of gynephilic M2F transsexuals who would say that they have found a large number of transsexuals that fills that niche, so it all boils down to whom you believe.

How many AGPs are there?

In the end, however, this probably doesn't make much of a difference. As a minimum some two thirds of the woman-loving transsexuals report autogynephilic arousal. That alone means that a significant proportion of the people applying for sex reassignment surgery are autogynephiliacs.

Following the calculations of Conway, that would mean that at least one in a thousand Americans is an "AGP transsexual".

Note that the large majority of autogynephiliacs do not transition. The survey of crossdresser I referred to earlier indicates that only 17 percent would even consider a sex change operation. 9 percent were using or had been using hormones. At the most this would mean that 1 out of 10 crossdressers are doing something actively to change their sex.

Note that these crossdressers were members of crossdresser clubs. Most crossdreamers do not get organized. Many of do not even crossdress. Among the unorganized crossdreamers the propensity to change sex is probably even lower. That would mean that the crossdreamer percentage of the total population is much, much higher that 1/1000 or 1/500. It is probably as high as 1/100. If Cloudy is right about her 80% the number may even be higher than that.

This means that there could be between 1 and 2 million autogynephiliacs in the US alone. On a global scale 1 percent would equal 25 million men (2,5 billion adult men/100), and that is a conservative estimate. If this really is the case, autogynephilia becomes one of the largest cover-ups in human history!



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.

27 comments:

  1. I have come here straight from Laura's Playground, a meeting ground of TGs from many places across US and Europe. I did ask a lot many people there about whether fantasizing being femininity or sissifying oneself is something normal. Almost all said that they had heard many guys within their own neighborhood who loved femininity a lot and had revealed such fantasies. They specifically told me that this was something too normal for "men", so, there was no reason to worry about it. And they didn't consider this issue to be a transgender one. They said it was more of fantasy than any gender identity.
    So, at the end, it boils down to one thing for the TS in such forums- Lots of men might be having these fantasies, to a greater or lesser degree, and that is not being TG, it's a rich nourishing fantasy life.

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  2. I myself asked this over there because I too have some fantasies of being something close to female. And I have it whenever the thought of being glam comes into my mind. i really can't make out anything of male beauty and the only thing my mind goes into fantasizing when I feel like being glam, is a beautiful woman. But I must say I am not too gynephilic. I do love female aesthetics a lot though.

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  3. Bravo great work,Jack.
    But why don't you also consider those males who have AGP as a part of their rich fanatsy life but don't have GID? As you yourself mentioned in some previous thread,the O'Keefe Model states AGP exists among general population too and also considers it healthy and normal!!

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  4. I have always wondered why so many men are so turned on by seeing lesbian sex, yet most women are completely turned off by seeing male homosexual sex.

    Could autogynephilia being more commonplace than is suspected be part of the answer?

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  5. astonishing.
    -Colin

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  6. To Jogols and Sexy_dude:

    I guess the answer to the question of whether autogynephilia is a gender identity disorder is a matter of how you handle it. If you are able to integrate your fantasies into your normal life as a man without any serious suffering it is not a GID. If, on the other hand, it lead to a serious and continuous dysphoria it is. There are AGPs that combine their feminine and masculine sides without any apparent problems, while there are others that are so alienated from their masculine body that they hate their own sexual organ. They may become transsexuals.

    I have to be more careful about making this distinction. I see that.

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  7. As for the lesbian sex part, autogynephilia could definitely be part of the answer. But this acceptance of lesbian porn could also be that caused by the fact that it is heterosexual men who decide what's OK and what's not i our culture, and since most of them are gynephilic, they find gay male sex incomprehensible. Two women making love, on the other hand, is a double dose of goodness :-) It should be noted, though, that a lot of straight men do not believe that there are any true lesbian women. These women just haven't met the right man (i.e. them) yet. This is male chauvinist crap!

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  8. All Cloudy has to do is go to youtube to see that TG's have different sexual preferences and that just because a TS is gynephilic doesnt maker her an AGP. I dont take this paper as having much credibility.

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  9. Jack,
    I am bisexual bio male but I don't really know where I am across the gender spectrum....
    I have been too embarrassed of my strange kink to speak of it anywhere else. But, looks like you the best one to ask....
    Is it ever possible to be somewhat both an autogynephile and autoandrophile? I guess I get aroused thinking of myself sometimes as woman being penetrated and sometimes also as a huge man doing the penetrating to someone. It keeps changing depending on my mood. Jack, have you ever heard of such a case? Please do give me some reference if you find someone exactly like me.

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  10. Why does autogynephilia occur? I'm ashamed that I feel this way, and that it's so embarassing to know I was born with male anatomy. I date only women to protect myself socially, but I'm not aroused with having sex with them. All relationships I've had end the same way about the lack of sex because of my lack of interest in it with them. I lie to people saying I'm not attracted to men. I'm very depressed all the time and try to distract myself from being isolated but it never stops bothering me. These thoughts, the deep longing for a child hood I never had. The chance to live a life I only dream of.

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  11. Anom,
    If you are attracted to men but feel like woman, you are homosexual transsexual, not autogynephile.
    As for why it occurs, or for that matter any gender-variance occurs, the answer is that it is normal part of nature to produce diversity. It is actually society's fault that it has created such a strict division of gender-roles when actually people should be let to choose their gender roles based on what they prefer.

    -Betty

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  12. Mr. Autogynephile...

    First, my estimates are from two sources... one from the published data, as I carefully went through... the second is my own experience. I don't need to go and visit blogs nor read comments to know that there are many different narritives... I've been listening to them patiently for 35 years, in person, from literally hundreds of TS folk... trust me, this much is true. This experience lead me to estimate that the number was somewhere between one to three and one to six. For example, a good sampling point would be at the hospital where folks get SRS, because normally, the AGP and HSTS folks don't hang out together... so... when I had SRS I met three clearly AGP types (one of whom, my first roommate, said, "I hate transsexuals", because back then, there were 'transsexuals' and 'non-transsexuals', in some peoples minds) and on clearly HSTS. Last summer I accompanied a youngster that I have known since she was 15... to have SRS... she and I met four clearly AGP and one clearly HSTS. This gives a very rough estimate.

    How can I tell when someone is AGP or not... after this many years, having had *many* very intimate discusions, including with roommates (some of whom tried to get me to be their lovers, a common experience for HSTS folk who hang out with AGPs), every time we have a good relationship and I gently ask about their sexual experiences and about their cross-dressing, I hear very clear stories of erotic cross-dressing or of erotic cross-dreaming... and I can now tell by their "feel", how they move, how they walk, how they talk... and how they look at me in a certain way (sexually). I can tell. One to four is probably very close to the right number.

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  13. Shepa writes:

    "Is it ever possible to be somewhat both an autogynephile and autoandrophile?"

    You know what, it seems to me that anything is possible in human sexuality and that the people that tell you there are only two options are wrong.

    There are many autogynephiliacs who feel rather comfortable in their male role, and who therefore can dream of being the male top as well as the female bottom. In one way the unite the male and the female in a pretty balanced way. Maybe you are one of them.

    Other autogynephiliacs are more feminine in their erotic fantasies and do not get much pleasure of being the active part. They are nearly always women in their dreams. You are apparently not one of them.

    The word autoandrophilia is normally used in two ways: (1) gay men who imagine having the body of their ideal lover or (2) women who dream about having a male body.

    If you feel sexually attracted to men -- and you say you are bisexual-- I guess you could say that you could be a autoandrophiliac in the first sense of the word.

    But then again, words only get you so far. The most important thing is: Do your dreams hinder you from developing a good love relationship to another person, being that a man or a woman?

    If that is the case, it might be sensible to get some professional help.

    But if you are able to find a lover that can help you explore your two sides, I wouldn't care a bit about what "people" think. It is none of their business!

    You have nothing to be ashamed of. But I realize that shame may ruin our lives, so it is important to take the feeling seriously.

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  14. "Other autogynephiliacs are more feminine in their erotic fantasies and do not get much pleasure of being the active part. They are nearly always women in their dreams...."

    I know a lot of gay men also pretty much feel the same way. They want to be the bottom (take female role) in a relationship. Some of them are not even too feminine in other ways.
    So,doesn't there seem to be a similarity in this aspect between these gay men and the submissive AGPs?

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  15. Jack,
    Don't many effeminate males(fop, dandies, as well as feminine gay men) have a bit of autogynephilia too? That should be quite obvious....
    They might not be having the typial anatomic AGP, but, what about behavioral AGP? Would you exclude them from the AGP category because they are homosexual or because they are not gender dysphoric to a great extent?

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  16. To James and Jogols,

    About the effeminate gay men. Yes, I believe the effeminate gay men and many autogynephiliacs have much in common. They both want to be the bottom when having sex.

    The reason Blanchard and Bailey refuse to see this connection is that they do not believe the femininity of autogynephiliacs is innate. If you allow me to oversimplify, at least Bailey believes that ALL gay men are feminine, but that some of them play the butch game to attract other gay men. But Bailey also believes that all gynephilic men are masculine, which is why he believes autogynephilia is a paraphilia and not something innate.

    If you allow yourself to decouple sexual orientation from what I have called the copulatory instinct (the urge to mount or be mounted), it is possible to explain the similarities between feminine gay men and autogynephiliacs. Their sexual orientation is different, but their copulatory instincts are the same.

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  17. yes Jack, that's so true. Besides, another thing. In addition to AGPs and femme gay men, there are also many "normal" straight men who love to be submissive to their partners rather than mount them. This shows that the submissive copulatory instinct of men is not something like a paraphilia at all. It is innate. And that reminds me of the common femininity issue which someone named Natalie brilliantly wrote in some other topic here.

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  18. Being an asexual person with low sexual libido,I find it easier to deal with my inner femininity. But, I wouldn't say it's any different from what AGPs experience. I also get fantasies of being a good looking woman, adopting female mannerisms etc. But it's that I don't get aroused by it as I am asexual, though I would say I love the fantasy feeling and get excited. I am not gynepiliac, neither has gynephilia got to do anything with AGP I believe. It's just that gynephilia makes the person get more sexually horny on imagining such things.
    My asexuality and yet my physiological (rather than sexual) excitement on fantasizing myself as woman proves that AGP is due to some strong inner feminine component of a man, not something so trivial to be disregarded as a fetish!!

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  19. To Kass,

    This is interesting. But allow me a naive question: How do you differentiate between excitement and arousal, between sexual and what you call physiological excitement? In other words: What makes you asexual?

    Jack

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  20. I am mainly asexual because I don't get the sexual feelings or fantasies of sex etc. on seeing women or the woman inside me. But there are pleasures other than sexual pleasure, senses other than sexual fantasies. I am aesthetically and romantically attracted to women and find the thought of the woman in me pleasing to the inner physiology. In other words, I find everything exciting which other people find, minus the sexual component, and I really don't have attraction to women bodies hence. I don't like nudity,or porn.
    Yet,I love the woman in me for all its other appeals!!

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  21. I found a Yahoo Answers query which seems to validate that there are many straight men watching lesbian porns and are also trans.
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100226111344AA8oPFT

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  22. To Kass,

    Thank you for you reply. Again I am reminded of the variety of human life. I have to keep that in mind when writing this stuff.

    To Larry,

    Yes there are, and it gets even more complex. If you look at autogynephilic fantasies as expressed in transgender erotica, some of them focus on lesbian relationships and other on heterosexual "affairs".

    Jack

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  23. A little confused here. The more I read about autogynephilia, the more confused I get. My initial impression was that autogynephilia described me perfectly for the following reasons: my earliest sexual fantasies involved me as a woman – especially me have large breasts and dressing as a woman; until my early to mid-20’s my sexual experience consisted solely of masturbation while “dressed” as a woman (dressing as used here was nothing elaborate – at most wearing a miniskirt or spandex and using a pillow to simulate breasts). Then, more than 25 years ago, I began to experience more “normal” sexuality with a variety of women and eventually married and became a parent. I no longer cross dress, but my sexuality has reverted to 95% masturbation principally focused on my feminization. I have never had the least bit of sexual interest in other men, but in the past few years, I have been increasingly fascinated by the idea of anal or oral penetration with a dildo. This all seemed consistent with autogynephilia, but as I read on, I get the impression that autogynephilics have a compulsion to transition to females through SRS. That’s just not me – all things being equal, I think I would enjoy being female, but I do not have an overwhelming desire and the disruption to my “vanilla” life would be so enormous I wouldn’t consider SRS. So can I be autogynephilic and content in a male body? Or am I just a pretender?

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  24. To Samix: It sounds to me as though you are a fairly typical AGP. There are some who choose to transition, but I suspect there are many more who do not. My own husband is one who is happy being a man most of the time. He just likes being female in bed.

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  25. Thanks Susanne. I do feel that I am AGP, but, like your husband, I'm able to separate that aspect of me from other aspects of my life. I find it comforting to understand that AGP is the explanation of my "strange" aspects of my sexual identity.

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  26. There are many people in the teen age life experience identity crises. As much as possible, you need to go on a date with an opposite sex to know what really is your likes. If you think that you are not jiving with opposite sex, then probably you are a homosexual. Don't afraid to try dating so you will discover the real you.
    alt com

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  27. Jennifer,
    That is totally illogical.
    You are conflating two separate issues- gender identity versus sexual-orienation.
    A male or female, whether homosexual or not, so long has a deep gender identity confluict inside him, will never be able to 'jive' well with the opposite sex in dating arenas because of his internal image issues.
    For example, a heterosexual male will see himself as a lesbian if he dates a girl, and this will cause enormous stress and conflict inside the person, deep enough to either have suidicual tendencies or otherwise seek outright transition .

    Trust me, such a feeling is worse than simply a gay man dating a woman due to sical pressures.
    Atleast, the gay man still stays as a man and has no problem with that. Gender conflict is a far more serious issue than sexual orientation.

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