August 26, 2010

On autogynephilia and the role of shemale fantasies part 1

Are men that feel attraction to transwomen and crossdressers really crossdreamers (autogynephiliacs)? If so: Can this fascination give us insight into their transgender nature?

This is a blog that boldly goes where even the boldest of angels fear to tread, simply because I believe knowledge can set us free. You have to face your dragons and trolls if you are to reach the next level. This is also why I believe we have to go into the fantasy life of crossdreamers to find understand what makes us feel the way we do.

Several of you have asked me in comments and emails to look into the topic of "transfans"or "transsensuals", i.e. men who are attracted to M2F transsexuals, crossdressers or "shemales". In this post I am going to see if that phenomenon can help us get a better understanding of crossdreamers in general.

Fantasy shemales are not real

Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I do not believe that shemales exist in the real world! I am willing to discuss the possibility, but when I write about them it is as fantasy objects of desire.

In this way they are similar to the nymphomaniac blonde and buxom bimbo of some male fantasies, or the handsome knight in shining armor you find in some female fantasies. Even though some may choose to play the role of the Blonde Bimbo or Prince Charming, that does not make them real. Behind the cliché hides a complex human being.

The people playing the roles of shemales

"Shemale" i a derogatory term used by the porn industry to describe persons with a female appearance but with male genitals.

The models playing the roles of shemales are pre-op transwomen or transgenderists in real life. In other words: In real life they are not "shemales", but complete human beings like you and me.

A pre-op transwoman is a biological male who has a female gender identity and who longs to become a woman also in body. In order to play the role of a shemale, this person will normally have had to undergo some hormone treatment, electrolysis and surgery, but for some reason she has not changed her male genitalia. If she is playing the role of a shemale, in porn or as a call girl, this is probably because she has decided to keep it for business purposes. She may be saving money for the final operation, though.

A M2F (male to female) transgenderist (a term not to be confused with the word "transgender") is a person who lives as a member of the opposite sex either fulltime or part time. She may have had hormone treatments or surgery, but she deliberately decides to keep her original genitalia. The transgenderist does not feel that it is the genitalia that define her as a woman. There is a medical term for this which I do not like much: gynemimetics. I believe they are real women, not copy cats, and should be respected as such.

I am also open for the idea that there might exist feminine gay men who transition for practical purposes, without feeling alienated from their male bodies. This is why they decide to keep their penis. They change their bodies to attract straight men.

I know some people find the idea of a feminine gay man transitioning extremely provocative. I do not. Life is short and we all have to make the best out of what we got. In his fascinating novel Bangkok 8, John Burdett tells the tale of a feminine gay man who is turned into a woman by her admirer. Burdett leaves no doubt about the fact that this he has indeed become a real woman. I guess some of these gay male transitioners label themselves trangenderists.

Some transwomen who are acting out the role of shemales avoid the use of hormones. Instead they use every other means available to feminize their bodies. The reason for this is that female hormones will weaken their ability to take the male role during intercourse. This does not necessarily mean that they all are feminine gay men. It could simply be a practical business decision, or you keep it for love. If you are a poor feminine transgirl from Bangkok or Rio, you take care of your assets. This can be a cold and cruel world, indeed.

The fact that there may exist feminine gay men who transition, should not be taken to mean that there are no androphilic transwomen who experience real gender dysphoria. Blanchard and Bailey group them all -- feminine gay men and transwomen - into one category, indicating that they are all but gay men. They call them all "homosexual transsexuals", thus blurring this distinction. I think the distinction is important.

These two groups may have several variables in common as regards the cause for their femininity, but a typical transwoman will have been struggling with her gender dysphoria for most -- if not all -- of her life. She has been a woman the whole time. The gay man transitioning for pragmatic reasons may become a woman, but since she has not identified as such before, her life history will be very different. To ignore this is to show disrespect to the transwomen who have had no real choice when it comes to choosing their gender identity. It is inborn with her.

Fairy tale figures

Let me get back on track: When I use the word "shemale" it is to depict a fantasy figure. Even though trolls and fairies do not exist in the physical world, they do exist in the realm of myths, dreams and fantasies. They have a psychological reality that needs to be understood -- a reality that tells us something about who we are -- and so do the fantasy shemales.

Do crossdreamers dream of shemales?

Many -- if not most -- crossdreamers say that they do not dream about shemales. The reason I can say this with some certainty is that I have access to a rich database of crossdreamer fantasies. These fantasies are published on transgender erotica sites like Fictionmania.tv (as short stories), or as so called TG captions in forums and on blogs. TG captions are ultra short stories accompanying a photo or an image. Many of these "caps" are erotic fantasies. (For references, see TFCC).

If you read these stories (and yes, I have read a few), several patterns emerge, and I plan to explore them in some detail in later posts. As regards the topic of transsensualism I can say that although there are quite a few "shemale" fantasies out there, most of the stories found depict transformation into normal women.

In fact, a large number of crossdreamers posting on forums like Rachel's Haven explicitly say that they do not like stories with shemales. This is mostly because they do not picture themselves becoming shemales; they dream about becoming full fledged women. But it is also because they feel no desire to interact with them.

However, some do admit to the fascination, and this is in itself interesting. There are feminization fantasies where the crossdreamer submits to a dominant shemale. This shemale will feminize him by forcing him to act or dress as a woman, or he may be changed into a woman by surgical or magical means. These fantasies are very similar to the sissy and the dominatrix fantasies I have discussed before, the main difference being that the dominatrix in those fantasies is a natural born woman. In both cases, however, the crossdreamer submits sexually to the dominant woman.

What could make a crossdreamer dream about shemales? Is there anything in the life situation of a crossdreamer that would make this happen? Is there any mythological or psychological reasons for this admittedly strange phenomena?

I think there are, and I think that these explanations can throw some light upon the crossdreamer condition in general.

Alice and her admirers

Alice in Genderland is the only crossdresser autobiography I know of that doesn't hesitate to discuss the sexual motives of a crossdreamer. This alone makes it very valuable in a world where transgender fantasies are considered taboo among cisgendered and transgendered people alike.

Alice, AKA psychiatrist Richard J. Novic, has decided to live out her dream of being a woman, including dating and bedding men. She combines this outgoing life with living with a very tolerant wife. (See Alice in Genderland, A Crossdresser Comes of Age, NY 2009, and my interview with her). Note that Alice is not a transsexual. She also presents as a man.

Alice finds these men in clubs frequented by transgendered. The men approaching her are labelled as "admirers" by her. I guess the derogatory term is "tranny chasers". In the book she reports that she has asked them what makes them interested in a girl like her. Most of them end up with phrases like: "I'm turned on by women who've just got that little something extra." That is not much of an explanation, really.

One night she met "Darius", who confessed that although he was not a crossdresser, he did try it out at home once. "I was one big fat mama," he said. Alice soon found out that several of her admirers had tried crossdressing:

"With my illusions shattered, I now saw little difference between my all-man admirers and the ones at the bar dying to try on my stockings, give oral sex, and get fucked -- like I was when I met Prima back in Chicago [when Alice experienced being the bottom]. It all began to make sense. Deep inside every chaser beats the heart of a tranny."

The controversial use of terminology aside, what Alice says here is simply that most transfans are themselves somewhat transgendered.

Shemale prostitution

There is a group of pre-op transwomen and M2F transgenderists that work as call-girls. They often advertise their services as "shemales", "transsexuals" or "lady boys".

I have gotten several emails from crossdreamers who have approached such call girls. I have gotten permission to refer to one of them. Let us call him "GB". He is in his fifties and lives in London, UK.

GB tells med that at any given time there are more than 100 escorts of this kind in the Greater London Metropolitan Area. More than half of them are foreigners, often high class escorts that travel from country to country. According to him, many of them come from South-East Asia (especially from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) and from Latin-America (mainly from Brazil).

I have been unable to confirm these numbers. A cursory Google search confirms that there are quite a few of them advertising online, so he is probably not far off the mark.

The attraction

GB tells me that it was a deep and desperate emotional need that led him to approaching some of these call girls. And yes, that need was partly the desire to be the receiving part when having sexual intercourse, to allow himself to be the receiver instead of the manly male. He tells me that he feels no sexual attraction to the male body, although he wish he had, as being gay would have made his life so much easier. He loves women, though, and has even been married two times, but he find traditional love making unsatisfying. He tells me he feels forced to take an active role that is not his by nature.

He says that a majority of the "shemale" call girls in London actively advertise that they can take the passive as well as the active role. This clearly proves that they consider "submissive" men to be a market.

GB tells me that he learned a lot from meeting these girls, as many of them were outgoing, independent, talkative and with strong personalities. Many of them are also stunningly beautiful. I quote: "There is no way you can guess that these are not natural girls just by looking at them!"

In spite of this he stopped seeing them. This was partly a result of guilt:

"These women are in no way the drug addicted prostitutes you read about in the papers," he writes. "They are strong and independent business women. But they are prostitutes and I am not comfortable with supporting that kind of activity."

From what he tells me, however, there is another reason for him stopping seeing them as well, and that is that these women are not really into crossdreamers. They are attracted to active manly men, and only accommodate "bottoms" because of the money.

One of them told him that she loved straight men, and not gay men who wanted to take the passive role. She clearly mistook him for the active type. It is interesting to note that this transwoman classified crossdreamers as gay, in spite of the fact that they go to her -- a woman. This again confirms how language shapes the way we see the world.

The reason GB did not meet any gynephilic escorts of this kind, is probably not a coincidence. It could simply be that woman-loving (gynephilic) transgendered women, pre-op or post-op, transsexual or transgenderist, find the idea of having sex with men unattractive.

But even if Mr. GB had found one, this would not be a match made in heaven. Gynephilic transwomen love women, not men. Moreover, they prefer to be the catcher, not the pitcher. If we are to believe Alice Novic GB is himself -- at least partly -- a gynephilic transwoman.

A better match for GB would be a female to male androphilic dominant transsexual or a F2M crossdreamer (the complexity of all this makes my head hurt!). They do exist but are relatively hard to track down. Besides, they want to look and act as men, and that is not necessarily what GB is looking for.

Crossdreamer vs. crossdreamer

GB said that the reason he went to shemale call-girls was to resolve the horrible dilemma of being attracted to girls, but at the same time longing to take the girl's role during intercourse. The shemale is a woman, but she has also the equipment needed to fulfill his desire for being the catcher.

Cloudy, herself an androphilic transwoman, made the following comment to my post Beyond the perversion:

"You [i.e. Jack] posed this question:

'Other autogynephilias "solve" this problem by imagining themselves penetrated by a woman with a strap-on or by a "shemale". There are a lot of "shemale" (pre-op transwomen) prostitutes out there that advertise the fact that they are "active". Maybe their customers are autogynephiliacs?'

I can tell you from personal experience that yes, their customers are nearly all AGP [autogynephiliacs]. I've had friends who were 'working girls'... and I should point out, that in their personal love lives, they were not "active", but bottoms. But gynandromorphophilic [transfans] men will pay more than straight men, because of the relative rareness of an HSTS [man-loving transwoman] who will be "active". (I sure as heckfire wouldn't!)

(...) On the other hand, AGPs are so commonly into 'she-males', that two reasonable passing AGPs meet, they often become lovers, both pre- and post-... BTW... many of these relationships get counted by the researcers as evidence of being attracted to men ! Note, that such is not the same as being attracted to non-AGP, straight, masculine men. Rather, it is the ability to map the process of AGP mediated desire for feminization of themselves onto their partner, to essentially map the internal AGP to the external AGP !!! To outsiders, this may sound strange, but it is actually quite common in the AGP trans-community."

I don't buy Cloudy's explanation for why some crossdreamers end up in relationships with other crossdreamers. But it certainly makes sense for them to do so. Not only do they get a soul mate who understands what they have been through and accepts their desires. They also get a female partner who is willing to play the active part when needed. If they are both post-op I guess they can make use of one of the many sex toys available.

In this sense they would not be too different from a gay or lesbian couple where both are bottoms. With love and understanding they should be able to develop a sex life where they take turns playing the active and the passive role.

In part 2 I will look at the growing shemale porn industry. The amount of such material may indicate that the number of transgender people has been seriously underestimated!

10 comments:

Cheryl Sussex said...

Very good addition to the blog Jack.

"What could make a crossdreamer dream about shemales? "

For me it was about being able to have the fantasy by proxy through someone else. A beautiful shemale is enacting out the fantasy so desired by the crossdreamer. The crossdreamer desires the physical feminisation that the shemale is going through. The intact male member on the shemale serves as a reminder that the shemale was born male but can appear in society as an attractive woman. Something the crossdreamer would love to experience themselves.

I was personally very attracted to pre-op photos in TS porn, although now I'm not. I'm more attracted by the sight of post-op transsexuals. I can only presume that this is because the feminisation has been taken to its logical conclusion.

Jamiegottagun said...

You are missing one common element. Many in-the-closet gay men begin with transvestites and pre-op transsexuals.

They often then move on, eventually, to other gay males.

I have always that that they do this because in the beginning they are not comfortable with the fact that they like men/penises, so the penis being attached to a "woman" allows them to feel less guilt about their desires.

There probably are a lot of autogynephiliacs in there, too, but unresolved homosexuality plays a big role in it too, since for many of these guys the fascination is the penis.

Jack Molay said...

@Jamiegottagun

That makes sense, but would this lead to an interest for shemale porn, as well? If they truly are gay men, would that kind of material really excite them?

Jack

Jamiegottagun said...

I think it might, at first. I'm not talking about full-blown gay men, but guys that are still rebelling against the idea that they might be gay. Remember, they're trying to get to penises, WITHOUT admitting to themselves they like men.

Seems to me shemales would be perfect for that.

Plus a lot of transsexuals will tell you, that a lot of men that date them while they are pre-op, dump them after the op, and later just hook up with guys.

Sultana said...

Jamiegotten,
Some of these men you are referring to are also bisexual. They might like very feminine looking guys for example
but at the same time love penises. The pre-op shemale presents a good combination of this and they like that.
Some straight men might also be into this because they just love to be penetrated.

Anonymous said...

I think your buying into the common mistake about men who like to be penetrated or like penises. The mistake is that they must just be gay men who are too afraid/unaware to come out of the closet. We don't say this about women (that there are only straight and gay women) in large part because the cost of being interested in the same sex is so much lower for them. A man who comes out to liking both, who starts up with men, might as well just lead a gay life at that point, as that is what he'll be treated as anyway.

It is easy to lie to oneself, and many gay folks do for a period of their lives. But if you are a male and you are bi, or even just like a penis or to be penetrated, why would you ever come out? No one will believe you, you have just managed to alienate the whole dating pool. Look at what happens to a man who like anal sex (from the top mind you), they are often accused of acting gay.

Overlooking the cost of what even a hint of 'gayness' can do to a man, and how that effects their behavior and beliefs and desires is a mistake. Man react to even a hint of being accused of being gay with violence in part because the cost is so high. A woman who has some same sex attractions or who likes activities associated with men has altered her market, but in general loses little or no stock in the eyes of the public.

Just saying a person will convince themselves of what they need to, to get the satisfaction they need in a way that threatens them least. This will effect how trans women view men, how gay men view bi men and whether as a man who likes a penis (easy to work with genitalia and/or likes to be penetrated) will come view himself. Especially if that same man also likes more traditional women.

Sorry this is not well written, but I want to get it out there before we move too far on.

Bullet points -
don't assume closeted gay

the cost of being (or rumored to be) gay is high enough that a man either jumps fully into gay life or tries very hard to be 100% straight.

The rate of reported alternative sexual orientations to gay or straight is likely under reported because of the lack of a successful template for male attractions outside of the binary.

Trans women have to deal with the same issues as a male before they grow into their identity, meaning in part they will have many of the same prejudices toward their own (and others) desires behaviors that a man would in relation to maintaining stock in society.

Sean

Jack Molay said...

Somehow a post from "Anonymous" has disappeared. If this was not deleted on purpose, please let me know, and I'll put it up for you.

It started with the following sentence.

"I think your buying into the common mistake about men who like to be penetrated or like penises. The mistake is that they must just be gay men who are too afraid/unaware to come out of the closet. "

Jack Molay said...

THIS COMMENT WAS ACCIDENTALY NOT PUBLISHED BY BLOGGER

I take the chance of publishing this anonymous comment directly:


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "On autogynephilia and the role of shemale fantasie...":

I think your buying into the common mistake about men who like to be penetrated or like penises. The mistake is that they must just be gay men who are too afraid/unaware to come out of the closet. We don't say this about women (that there are only straight and gay women) in large part because the cost of being interested in the same sex is so much lower for them. A man who comes out to liking both, who starts up with men, might as well just lead a gay life at that point, as that is what he'll be treated as anyway.

It is easy to lie to oneself, and many gay folks do for a period of their lives. But if you are a male and you are bi, or even just like a penis or to be penetrated, why would you ever come out? No one will believe you, you have just managed to alienate the whole dating pool. Look at what happens to a man who like anal sex (from the top mind you), they are often accused of acting gay.

Overlooking the cost of what even a hint of 'gayness' can do to a man, and how that effects their behavior and beliefs and desires is a mistake. Man react to even a hint of being accused of being gay with violence in part because the cost is so high. A woman who has some same sex attractions or who likes activities associated with men has altered her market, but in general loses little or no stock in the eyes of the public.

Just saying a person will convince themselves of what they need to, to get the satisfaction they need in a way that threatens them least. This will effect how trans women view men, how gay men view bi men and whether as a man who likes a penis (easy to work with genitalia and/or likes to be penetrated) will come view himself. Especially if that same man also likes more traditional women.

Sorry this is not well written, but I want to get it out there before we move too far on.

Bullet points -
don't assume closeted gay

the cost of being (or rumored to be) gay is high enough that a man either jumps fully into gay life or tries very hard to be 100% straight.

The rate of reported alternative sexual orientations to gay or straight is likely under reported because of the lack of a successful template for male attractions outside of the binary.

Trans women have to deal with the same issues as a male before they grow into their identity, meaning in part they will have many of the same prejudices toward their own (and others) desires behaviors that a man would in relation to maintaining stock in society.

S...

Jack Molay said...

To the previous comment:

I do not think all men who fantasize about anal penetration are gay. My point is that the M2F crossdreamers with feminization fantasies may have a female copulation institinct -- they want to be the catcher istead of the pitcher -- while at the same time being attracted to women.

They are not gay, and sexual orientation wise they are gynephilic (heterosexual).

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's just a penis..push it outta the way :)

Seriously but..each to their own I say. I do not believe a man IS gay 'cos he likes females with male parts or whatever. I do not buy into the idea that we are all confined to one sexual identity, why not leap outside of it once in awhile. t the end of every day we are all human beings..the problem is how we have been shaped and led to believe in by differant influences i.e the religions and good ole wholesome uncle sam.

I say DREAM ON all you weird n wonderful cross dreamers!

My own personal feelings - dont like a big hairy dude who looks like me kissin me n gropin my bits..not my cup of tea. Have been there,tried it. Did not much like it at all. Horrible experience. I am very sure I am not a homosexual, although I did think I may have been..Im cured :)

Pehaps not..I 2 am guilty of being very turned on by the more feminine of people who didnt start out that way. I mean whats that all about?

It's all about taboo if you ask me..
your not suppose to put your little man in that..thats what we were all told when we were kids..thats disgusting.
God said you only can use it on a woman in the hole at the front. Ya cant look at it unless your makin a baby!
The rest of the time your suppose to take cold showers and rub yourself against a chair. I think not. I think if it has hair on it then a man, being a man will just try put his penis in it.
It's not really that complex an issue if you ask me. It's just the way men are put together. We are deviants made in the image of our father,

Id say he probably aint even real, so lets all just have a good time.
And if that means you give/receive (consensual) sodomy or lie with a man cos ya took 2 much drugs or you just felt like it then hey!

Just be safe and responsible about your health and your family.

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