March 23, 2010

The sissy and the dominatrix


I got the following comment on one of my posts from a dominatrix who calls herself Eva Bliss:

"I found your blog after I googled the word autogynephilac to find the correct spelling before I placed the word in my blog. I am one of the only dominatrices who to my knowledge has had a long term fascination in understanding how autogynephilia affects her crossdressing clients . I have also made a few comments about the phenomena in my most recent post. I would value your comments and insight Jack/Jackie. I will look forward to your response here there or anywhere."

This is a blog that boldly goes where even angels fear to thread, so here is my response:

Although there is no one to one relationship between crossdreaming (getting turned on by feminization fantasies, ref. autogynephilia) and the desire of sexual submission, there are clearly quite a few crossdreamers who fantasize about submitting to a strong willed woman.

The idea of sissyfication, men being forcefully turned into women and made to submit to sex, is a recurrent theme in transgender erotica.

Some researchers have argued that the fact that many autogynephiliacs harbor what they consider a masochistic kind of "paraphilia", proves that crossdreaming or autogynephilia is nothing but a perversion as well.

I doubt that this argument holds water. There are other explanations that make much more sense to me.

Imagine the following:

The crossdreamer has a strong "feminine" side. He may not thrive in the traditional aggressive and assertive male role. This role goes against his inner nature.

He strongly believes, however, that society expects him to be a tough, assertive, sport loving and beer drinking womanizer, and he does his best to fulfill that role. He overcompensates. Indeed, many crossdreamers appear in public life as successful alpha males having leading positions in companies and organisations.

Underneath that alpha male facade lives an "inner woman" who hates the whole game. The better he succeeds male wise, the more she suffers. This gives him a deep sense of insecurity.

He has no way of expressing his feminine side in his role as a citizen, husband, father or lover. This frustration leads to a build up of both emotional and sexual energies that seek another outlet, and that outlet is normally secret feminization fantasies and/or cross-dressing.

So why would he seek out a dominatrix? Well, this is another secret space where he can live out his fantasies without being caught by colleagues, friends and family.

In this setting he can put aside his mask of masculinity, and let go. In this space he does not have to perform, succeed or live up to the expectations of him being an alpha male. In this room he can forget himself, which gives him a huge emotional relief.

I do not think that this is about pain. But it is about humiliation. He feels, after all, a tremendous amount of guilt for having this feminine side, a guilt that is reinforced by the fact that he has to keep it secret from his friends and family.

In this role playing he is "punished" for his "sins" at the same time as he can give in to his longings. The punishment also gives emotional relief: In this fantasy he is forced into becoming a sissy. The game portrays him as a victim, not as a guilty perpetrator.

The fact that this is role playing is important. I do not think most crossdreamers actually believe that the two types of women this game presents are "real" in any sense of the word: the submissive slut versus the dominatrix. He would never treat his wife or girl-friend as a slave or a slaver. The crossdreamers who do transition, never live up this role in real life.

So this is an erotic fantasy and must be understood as a fantasy. Somehow his subconscious drives him to engage in this activity, because it satisfies a part of him that has been suppressed.

The role of the dominatrix may appear to be somewhat of a paradox. The stereotype of the sissy slut seems to indicate that the crossdreamers believe in a misogynistic view of women as weak and submissive. The dominatrix, however, represents the exact opposite: a woman in total control.

I do not think this is a paradox at all. Again: this is a fantasy, not real life, and in fantasies we simplify the complexity of life to get a grip on what is happening to us. In this fantasy the crossdreamer tries to leave room for one part of the complex human psyche that he believes is out of bounds for a "real man": the submissive, passive or reactive side.

This does not mean that he believes that all women are like this in real life, or that women ought to behave like this.

Secondly: The crossdreamer may have grown up with strong and dominant women near him (mothers, siters, aunts, grannies and nannies), women who have reinforced his fear of femininity in men. It is amazing to see how many women despise what they perceive as weakness in men. This especially applies to some of the strong willed women out there. The gender stereotypes are upheld by women, just as much as by men.

Thirdly: Crossdreamers are mostly gynephilic. They love women. They want to submit as a woman and they want to have sex with a woman. But the idea of having sex as a woman often entails the idea of being mounted and the desire for penetration. In this role playing the dominatrix takes the role of the dominant man. She may even let the client submit to anal sex, sealing his role as a submissive woman. But the dominatrix remains a feminine woman, and the crossdreamer desire her as such.

This also applies to transfans or transsensuals, i.e. men who seek out pre-op M2F transwomen for domination games. They desire a woman who can make them feel like a woman. Hence: the common idea that the crossdreamer is a closeted gay man is wrong, as he feels no attraction to the male body.

I must admit I have often wondered what would have happened if our cultures were more accepting towards men being emotional, nurturing, reactive, sensual and all the other traits we attribute to women.

I am amazed to see how male chauvinists, many radical feminists and the Pope seem to agree that there is one feminine essence that men do not take part in, in spite of the fact that all men and women clearly display different mixes of male and female traits. There are emotional and artistic men and there are assertive and politically powerful women, but we are led to believe that there exists a kind of blueprint for the perfect manly man that men should try to live up to.

That being said, I suspect that crossdreamers are as much caught up in their own prejudices as the culture surrounding them. In other words: they might find that their friends and girl friends may be more tolerant towards their feminine side than they imagine. When that happens, and they find other outlets for their feminine side, their desire for sissyfication and forced submission may subside.



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.

20 comments:

Samix said...

Yep --- you’ve pretty much nailed it Jack. I am enormously grateful to you, Susanne and Eva for your blogs, which collectively have provided a great deal of insight to me in a very short time. I’m still trying to sort it all out, but it very strange to see a lifetime of confused feelings and urges become straightened out. I’m not sure what, if anything, I can do with this insight, but I sense that it will be very helpful in some way.

Kaseido said...

I totally agree with Samix!

Thankfully, there's a lot of great scholarship that rejects the gender binary - the first section of Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" is a great source.

Unfortunately, so many people, men and women, including those who think of themselves as modern, progressive, open-minded, still enforce the binary on themselves and those around them.

The more we recognize and speak out for our own lived truth, though, the more I think that can change. Thank you for doing so!

Christy Martins said...

I've given some thought to this myself and wrote a note about it called Tie Up Games & My Gender Dysphoria I am reposting it here because I feel it is relevant to the discussion:

Ever since I was small, I've gotten a thrill out of Tie and Gag Games. I always longed to be the "Damsel-in-Distress" (e.g. Daphne from Scooby Doo) or a "Bound Superheroine" (e.g. Batgirl). I remember watching those women struggle and “mmmpphh”on the TV screen and I would get an erection and tremble inside, wanting so much to be in their predicament. I remember becoming embarrassed if my parents or other kids were watching the shows with me. I would try to act calm, hoping no one saw or sensed what I was feeling.

When I hit puberty and discovered masturbation, I would gag myself and then fantasize about being tied and gagged by a the babysitter or an older girl from school. The girls in my fantasies were always "tough girls" like Jo from Facts of Life or Joan Jett -- larger older women who would overpower me and do mean things. When I got older and started using bondage pornography, I would look at pictures of women bound and fantasize *I* was the woman in the pic. The fantasies of being tied and gagged as a female were so potent, they became a main theme in my sex life.

I also discovered my fantasies of being a female transcended the bondage games I liked so much. Not too long after I became sexually active, I began experiencing episodes during sex with girls where I would see myself in my minds eye as a girl having sex with them.

Seeing oneself as a girl having sex would be strange enough, but the bondage fantasies mixed in with it created something altogether bizarre -- I literally could not cum inside a girl without gagging her first. It was weird, I knew it was weird but I did not realize WHY until very recently. I was transferring -- I gagged the girl and imagine it was me -- *then* I could get release.

None of this made sense to me until I started looking at it through the lens of Gender and it became obvious: I had eroticized my inner lady. I was raised to believe I was boy and was blind to my female component until my sexuality in puberty *showed me*. But I *liked girls* and learned early on that I if were to succeed as a women-loving male, I couldn't behave like a female. So this suppressed piece of my personality found expression through my sexual fantasies.

Now that the fog of youth has lifted and I acknowledge and embrace my female side. If I had been born a woman, I would be a femme lesbian -- a beautiful woman who lives with *and gets tied up and gagged by* another beautiful woman.

AliceB said...

I am shocked by others' descriptions of their fantasies and experiences and how much it matches mine. Of course, once I had discovered fictionmania, I realised I wasn't alone, but I still didn't identify with the authors and recognised the writing as a fantasy... (and my fantasy)

But what people describe here on this board are me, just the same as me. I wonder how common this is - are there just a few thousand of us or many, many more?

I am married with kids, 36, a successful technical professional, but in the last couple of months I have become overwhelmed by TG feelings, to the point that last month I felt I had to transition, or die. Happily this feeling has subsided, but I now recognise that this is a part of me and I cannot simply cast it aside, since it will come back, and hurt more than ever.

This has been the center of my sexual fantasy since I started having sexual fantasies - when I used to go to the lido in new brighton and see 14 year old girls, when I was a similar age, I didn't want them, unlike other males of a simliar age, I wanted to be them, and have their bodies, and this was intensely erotic for me.

Since then I have been confused about my sexuality and life, feeling different from boys and men who evinced a strong male heterosexual image, but perhaps not so different from boys at school who didn't feel the need or desire to be sexual, masculine men.

For the last 3 years I have been experimenting with hormones, and while delighted with the effect they have on my physique and psyche, dismayed at the how this forced me to confront how I really felt.

Right now I'm extremely concerned that my life is about to self-destruct; I'm worried for my job and my marriage, and all because of something that seems like it's always been part of my identity, but has forced its way onto center stage, to the detriment of everything else.

Wish me luck!x

Jack Molay said...

I wish you the best of luck!

Sometimes these feelings can be totally overwhelming, especially at that point when you start looking at them in earnest. I am totally convinced, though, that we have to look at them, feel them consciously and integrate them into our adult personality.

For some that means transitioning, for others -- like me -- it does not, but in any case this is a part of our psyche and personality that has to get a voice.

Jack

Christy Martins said...

Wow, I posted my essay over at Pink Essence and they deleted it.

Your blog, "Tie Up Games" has been removed. We are striving to make Pink Essence a safe and pleasant place to be for everyone. Blogs and writings with such a violent nature are not edifying to the site. We do not allow photos depicting such acts, so it follows that we should not allow blogs of similar content.

I didn't think anything I said there was violent...

Carl said...

Alice B,

I am in my 30s and married also. I too grappled with these problems and they progressed to a similar point. Our stories are very, very similar. I know that the wait of this shit can be too oppressive for words. That out-of-control feeling is something that hurts perhaps most of all. I have been to the brink too. It sounds like your a reflective person. Perhaps you should consider the possibility that these problems are more subject to mastery than it may seem. I have gained mastery over my autogynephilia through extensive and open-minded study, and extreme scrutiny of my own beliefs and personal history. I found that I was telling myself a story that wasn't 100% accurate. Much like I had deluded myself in the past about how masculine I was, I was now as an adult deluding myself about how I wanted to be a woman all my life. Not saying this is the case with you. Just saying that as I began to hold my reasoning up to the light I began to notice extreme cognitive flaws, logical fallacies, rationalizations, confabulations, etc. It's my oppinion that this modus operandi is rampant amongst AGs who progress towards TG/TS. Just saying, the AG's narrative is mixed up with the indominable motivational force of his sex drive. I started gaining mastery over my AG/TG/TS the first time I noticed a whole in my narrative when I was telling my wife about my AG. A little voice said "doesn't that mean when you say you have to do it, you really mean that you really, really, want to do it?" It occured to me that we as a society ask pedophiles not to act on their sexual desires, and if I was a pedophile I would have to stop (I only say this because a man grappling with throwing AG/TG/TS onto the backs of his loved ones is grappling with the most serious of problems). Then I came across a case study about a doctor who helped a 16 year old boy stop masturbating in shit-filled diapers (the kid's behavior had progressed to the point of stealing diapers off of babies in playgrounds). He educated the boy on how he was inadequately parented. And that he had very little chance of developing a normal sexuality because his mother raised him without any realy awareness of her responsibility to guide his emotional/psychological development; and his dad raised him to never be a threat the father's tenuous and insecure since of masculinity. But, most importantly, he told the boy that he should feel free to masturbate in shitty-diapers as much as he likes. In fact, the doctor told him that he should feel free to explore this behavior to it's fullest extent. Because so long as he was forbidden, he would be consumed by the urge. Much like when someone tells you don't think of a white bear, it's all you can think of. Long story short, the kid is now a normal adult. No more shittery. This story prompted me to tell my wife that if she wanted this AG stuff to go away she should allow me to do whatever I wanted. All the way. She agreed. I researched my ass off about development, psychology, etc (just like the doctor taught the kid about how he came to be a diaper-spanker because of his personal history). My point is that it worked. Once I was free to go ALL the way. I had no desire to do it. I have since learned about my own ridiculous parents and how they are basically two adult infants. I called my relatives and they just gushed with info. My aunt told me she caught my mom showing me the pictorial of a Penthouse Magazine (not once, but twice). I recently found out that my dad, who talks shit relentlessly about any male he works with, only hangs out with the women at his office. My parents seemed normal to me, but I had been fooled by them. Maybe yours are fine. Who knows. Just saying. I think you may have more power in this situation than you are aware of. Here's a list of tips in case you want to try to quit:

Carl said...

1) Have a selfish reason to quit (In my case, I am an artist and hormones would change the way I think about my art).
2) Have an unselfish reason to quit (In my case, I new my wife would stay with me no matter what in spite of how absolutely stricken with desolate sadness she was by the news of my secret behavior... AG was the only obstacle to my total devotion to a person whose response to my AG proved their devotion to me).
3) Have a rebelious reason to quit (My mother has raised me to be her reflection and my father spent my whole life beating me into submission. Wishing to be or actually becoming a woman means that they win).
4) Have a narcissistic (heroic) narrative in place to reward your progress. This one's easy because overcoming one's personal problems is very, very rare. Creating real change in one's personality is deserving of great praise (I told myself, for instance, that I was like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind... that beating my own mind in a winner-takes-all chess game was illustrative of extreme mental powers... who knows if it's true... it worked, though).
5) Be extremely supicious of your beliefs about AG.
6) In fact, practice this mantra: "Not how am I right, but how am I wrong."
6b) Be extremely suspicious of other AGs beliefs about AG (I guess this includes me)
7) Ravenously (and with an open mind... see #6) read anything you can get your hands on about gender, sexuality, psychology, physiology, development, personality, self-states, attachment, cognition, the non-linear self-forming mind, etc
8) Accept the mounting evidence (as psychosocial-neurobiological science rapidly dispells myth after myth about genes and their impact on personality, gender, sexuality, etc.) that your day-to-day childhood experience with your parents were the petry dish within which your self-forming brain (and thusly your personality) developed.

Anonymous said...

9) Accept the that the plasticity of the human brain means that you can choose to be a non-AG with about the same aount of dedication and practice that it would take to learn the piano or a new language.
10) Have someone who will listen for hours even if you have to pay a therapist (my wife listened, and listened, and listened... it was only recently that it occured to me that I was relatively new to listening to her).
11) Tell your inner-circle what you're going through. Tell them you are trying to quit and that in order to succeed, you must be allowed to dress or behave in a feminine manner at will. THIS IS CRUCIAL AND TRUE! From this point forward, dress or not dress whenever you want. You're allowed.
12) More reading. Read science, blogs, posts where people bitch and moan, read literature meant for the wives and family of CDs, TVs, TSs, and AGs. Then read some more.
13) If your father is the infallible Pope of the religion of his own superiority, then it's time to change religions. Start asking him to elaborate on the bullshit oppinions that treats as universal fact. Point being, you should begin to see your father as the HIGHLY imperfect (if not drastically non-masculine) boy that he is.
14) Cut off all contact with your mother for six months to one year. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
15) Progressively increase the amount of non-AG erotic material. Start with the least threatening material and slowly ramp it up. Any time you "succeed" with non-AG material, tell yourself out-loud "good job" and that "I am very proud of you". Sounds silly but it works.
16) When you walk past the mirror and see yourself as a woman, think of all the times you've looked in the mirror and thought you looked really fat, or really skinny, or really muscular, or really weak, or really handsome, or really atrocious. Think of all the people who chop their faces up because they think they look ugly and end up looking 100 worse.
17) Realize that the AG has a loud voice and no conscience. It wants to cram all that you are into a tiny little overly-simple box because it hurts to be an adult whose parents inhibited or failed to encourage your normal gender development. Your non-AG self is in danger of being silenced. Listen when it cries out.

Carl said...

9) Accept the that the plasticity of the human brain means that you can choose to be a non-AG with about the same aount of dedication and practice that it would take to learn the piano or a new language.
10) Have someone who will listen for hours even if you have to pay a therapist (my wife listened, and listened, and listened... it was only recently that it occured to me that I was relatively new to listening to her).
11) Tell your inner-circle what you're going through. Tell them you are trying to quit and that in order to succeed, you must be allowed to dress or behave in a feminine manner at will. THIS IS CRUCIAL AND TRUE! From this point forward, dress or not dress whenever you want. You're allowed.
12) More reading. Read science, blogs, posts where people bitch and moan, read literature meant for the wives and family of CDs, TVs, TSs, and AGs. Then read some more.
13) If your father is the infallible Pope of the religion of his own superiority, then it's time to change religions. Start asking him to elaborate on the bullshit oppinions that treats as universal fact. Point being, you should begin to see your father as the HIGHLY imperfect (if not drastically non-masculine) boy that he is.
14) Cut off all contact with your mother for six months to one year. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
15) Progressively increase the amount of non-AG erotic material. Start with the least threatening material and slowly ramp it up. Any time you "succeed" with non-AG material, tell yourself out-loud "good job" and that "I am very proud of you". Sounds silly but it works.
16) When you walk past the mirror and see yourself as a woman, think of all the times you've looked in the mirror and thought you looked really fat, or really skinny, or really muscular, or really weak, or really handsome, or really atrocious. Think of all the people who chop their faces up because they think they look ugly and end up looking 100 worse.
17) Realize that the AG has a loud voice and no conscience. It wants to cram all that you are into a tiny little overly-simple box because it hurts to be an adult whose parents inhibited or failed to encourage your normal gender development. Your non-AG self is in danger of being silenced. Listen when it cries out.

Carl said...

P.S. I've had some relapses. It would be disengenuous of me not to mention that. I should have said that I now have the choice in my own mind to engage in this behavior, so every second I choose not to. Much like a recovered addict, I suppose.

Jack Molay said...

@Christy @Carl

One of the reason it is so hard to get to grips with crossdreaming and AGP is that the sexual fantasy part of it is outside the norms of middle-class America/Europe.

That is: People understand that this world of fantasy exists, but they will rather not talk about it, as they are conditioned not to.

And this is probably more of a problem in the US than in many European countries. I find a culture that has to use the word "restroom" instead of "toilet" (as such words reminds them of another forbidden word: "shit") totally fascinating. And you are, of course, talking about phenomena that go far beyond mundane manure.

But we have to talk about fantasies to get to grips with this. I believe Carl is right when he says that we have to face our problems and try to understand what we are going through. We have to question everything, including the preconceptions of our culture, our own understanding of our own personal past and our own dreams. But for that to happen, we have to talk and write about it all. Nothing can be forbidden!

By the way, Carl brings up a very interesting question: to what extent is the goal to overcome such fantasies and yearnings and to what extent is it possible to integrate it in ones own life. I'll come back to that one. Any comments from other reader's regarding strategies for how to cope with crossdreaming would be most welcome!

PS: I understand now that the word "restroom" has become contaminated. It is now lavatory.

tg_captioner said...

I totally don't follow this idea (feeling of guilt and shame, and then needing to be punished to relieve it). Not judging those that do, I just don't have those feelings.

Samix said...

@Carl - thanks for your lengthy and helpful post. Your post reminds me that the feeling of helplessness and inevitability that I sometimes feel in connection with AG is not necessarily "real." I likely have more control over things such as AG than I want to acknowledge.

Christy Martins said...

Thx Carl, I've thought about the possibility of being *revisionist* when writing about my past. Did I have the fantasies I spoke of when I was a kid? Sure. But did I see myself as a woman in those fantasies? Not so sure.

I didn't start to experience seeing myself as woman during sex until after I had started dressing, so who is say which *really* came first?

Christy Martins said...

Did anyone else interpret my post as violent? I want to clarify anything I did with those girls/women was *consensual*. I would never harm anyone. The worst thing I did was *not call* afterward which is an entirely different matter.

Christy Martins said...

Come to think of it Carl, that is something else that doesn't fit...my promiscuity. I had over 63 sex partners from 16-23, all women.

I was never shy of girls, I couldn't wait to lost my virginity. In that way I am very stereotypically male.

Of course I was really into Prince as a youth and he was kind of personal savior in some ways...he taught me it was OK to wear eyeliner and g-strings AND still be into girls

Leyla Mistress said...

Thank you.
I have just discovered your blog. What a ray of sunshine to my day it was to discover your blog.
So much must change in society. I attended a therapists lecture as a guest speaker - I am a dominatrix - They were studying 'kink therapy' and was shocked at how little they understand and accept. I needed at least 6 months to make them understand the difficulties faced by many.

Jack Molay said...

@Leyla Mistress

Welcome to Crossdreamers!

I am reading Fifty Shades of Gray at the moment, as part of my study of women's erotica. The fact that a "romance novel" focusing on BDSM can become an international bestseller tells me that the Western world (at least) is becoming more tolerant. Fifty Shades, for instance, tells me that the world is finally coming to terms with the fact that women are sexual beings with "kinks" of their own.

That being said, I think it will take a long time before society accepts male to female crossdreamer fantasies as normal. Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In" is a crossdreamer fantasy, but no one seems to notice. They simply cannot imagine what this is about.

Vince Stead said...
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