December 11, 2012

"Is there a cure for autogynephilia?"

A cure for autogynephilia.
(Photos.com)
My site statistics cannot tell me who my readers are, but the numbers do tell me what search terms they used when finding the site. The most popular search phrase is variations of "Is there a cure for autogynephilia?" (or "Is there a treatment for autoandrophilia?" as might be).

I will,  to the best of my ability, try to answer that question in this blog post.

An important disclaimer

Before I do, however, there are a few points that have to be made:

1. "Autogynephilia" is a term made by the researcher Ray Blanchard meaning "the love of one self as a woman". The idea is that autogynephiles are men sexually attracted to the image of themselves as women (as opposed to "normal" men who are attracted to real women "out there").

This explanation is definitely wrong. Male to female "autogynephiles" do fall in love with real women "out there" all the time, and are often very loyal partners and husbands. Nor can crossdreaming be reduced to a sexual condition only.

I have coined the term "crossdreaming" as a neutral alternative. It simply refers to men and women who get aroused by imagining themselves as the opposite sex. As I understand it crossdreamers is a subcategory of the umbrella term transgender (referring to all people who diverge from the normative gender roles allotted  to their original biological sex).

2. There is in fact no scientific consensus on what causes crossdreaming. I belong to those that believe that it has a biological core that is expressed through culturally determined symbols, but you should not take my word for it. All crossdreamers have to determine for themselves what makes sense to them.

3. I am not a certified doctor, psychologist or sexologist. I probably know more about crossdreaming than most professionals, but you should always seek professional guidance before you do something drastic. If you find a therapist with and open and emphatic heart, that may compensate for their lack of crossdreamer competences.

Is there a cure for crossdreaming?

The short answer to this question is no. Sorry about that.

I have been in touch with a large number of crossdreamers and crossdressers, and I have read most of the literature. I have so far not found one reliable story about a crossdreamer who has been cured of this condition.

But do not despair yet. There are ways of coping.

In the following I will discuss what strategies seem to work and what clearly does not work. I am not going to burden you with a lot of academic references in this post. If you want to explore the literature, explore this blog. Many posts contain extensive discussions of research in the area.


Conditioning

One of the most popular ways of handling crossdreaming is through conditioning. All the way up to the 1980's it was not uncommon for doctors trained in so-called behavior therapy  or aversion therapy to give a crossdresser -- or "transvestite" as they used to be called -- electroshock while he was dressed up as a woman. Some also gave them nausea inducing drugs to eliminate what was considered an undesired behavior. This treatment was also given to children.

This type of treatment is the same  as the so-called conversion therapy or "reparative therapy" given to homosexuals.

The basic idea is that transgender conditions as well as homosexuality are personality traits or obsessions acquired through some kind of conditioning, childhood trauma or bad influences.

In other words: The premise is that these conditions are not inborn --- they are unnatural perversions and can be cured by "reprogramming" the mind of the crossdreamer. This is done by forcing  him (or her) to associate sexual arousal from crossdreaming with pain.

This form of therapy is now generally considered very  harmful and inhumane by health professionals in most civilized countries. It is condemned by, for instance, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

There is also broad agreement among professionals that these therapies do not work, not on homosexuals and not on transgender people.

In fact, they will  make patients suffer more. The ideology that underpins these therapies consider both homosexuals and transgender people mentally ill deviants.They therefore reinforce homophobic and transphobic attitudes found in our cultures, and instill even more guilt and shame in the crossdreamers.

Self-conditioning

The fact that these therapies do not work is a clear indication that these conditions are not caused by  conditioning, and that there is more to them than psychological trauma.

This doesn't stop crossdreamers from trying to condition themselves, though. Again and again crossdreamers try to discipline themselves by burning their alternative wardrobe, by punishing themselves for reading transgender stories and for just thinking about being the opposite sex.

Many male to female crossdreamers try to purge their mind of transgender thoughts by taking part in "manly" activities, including joining the military. Parents and family members also do their best to "toughen them up", while female to male crossdreamers  are force fed Barbie dolls and pink dresses.

Others crossdreamers try to ignore the problem, hoping that it will disappear by itself. This is not a stupid assumption. After all, there are other psychological problems that will go away by themselves as a person's life situation changes. Getting a new job may cure depression.

Some crossdreamers hope that a normal married life will extinguish the crossdreamer longings. For a while this may even seem to work, as busy days taking care of children and life in general keep the thoughts at bay. In the end, however, the feelings will reappear, and if the crossdreamer continue to suppress this side of him- or herself, they will only get stronger.

In other words: These types of "self-conditioning" do not work either, for the same reasons "reparative therapies" do not work.

Psychotherapy

In the early 20th century researchers like Magnus Hirschfeld developed a very open minded and tolerant view of crossdreamers, recommending acceptance and respect. Sigmund Freud's theories should in principle lead to the same kind of tolerance, given that his basic premise was that all men and women are bisexual fetishists.

Instead psychoanalysis became increasingly oppressive. It became, in fact, one of the major tools for cultural discipline, in the US in particular, but also in other parts of the world.

Some of the most extreme psychoanalyst used the same conditioning techniques as the behaviorists. Others went for a slightly more humane talking cure where the patient was to find and accept the childhood trauma that presumably led to their "unnatural" desire to be the other sex.

Even now you will find a lot of psychotherapists who claim they can cure transgender people.

I have found absolutely no proof of such a cure being possible. This means that the same applies here as for behavioral therapy: The "cure"  becomes part of the problem.

That does not mean that psychotherapy cannot be of use to transgender people. Far from it! It might actually be essential in a journey towards self-discovery and self-understanding. Moreover, the very act of finding an emphatic soul that is willing to listen to your problems and help you carry your pain may make an intolerable situation tolerable.

And if you do believe, like I do (and many -- if not most -- modern psychotherapists do as well) that being transgender is a natural inborn phenomenon, talk therapy may bring the reconciliation and self-respect  transgender people need.

Pharmaceuticals

Most scientists within the biological disciplines  now believe that crossdreaming has a biological component that could be caused by pre-natal hormonal influences. As far as I know, however, none of them believe that it is possible to rewire the brain by the use of hormones.

The most popular theory right now is that the wiring is developed in the womb, and that you cannot change the basic sex identity or the sexual orientation at a later stage.

Pumping a male to female crossdreamer full of testosterone will make him sick and aggressive,  but it will not make him more manly.

There are, however, doctors who try to alleviate the pressure of crossdreaming fantasies by giving crossdreamers antiandrogens (AKA "anti-T", a medicine that blocks the reception of androgens in the body).

Androgens like testosterone are hormones that -- among a lot of other things -- leads to development of male sexual characteristics in men. Women have them too, although in smaller quantities.

Given that many crossdreamers find no normal outlet for their dream of having sex as a woman, they can develop what is called obsessive compulsive disorders. The antiandrogens are supposed to diminish the sexual urge that fuels this obsession.

From what I hear in male to female crossdreamer circles, this might work for some, but it does not remove the crossdreamer fantasies completely. In other words: This therapy does not constitute a cure, and the negative effects are many, including possible impotence.

Other therapists believe giving a male to female crossdreamer antiandrogens may lead to a hormonal balance that is more in harmony with his feminized brain. The hormones therefore have a calming effect on the crossdreamer, and many male to female crossdreamers do report that taking antiandrogens give them a sense of peace. Others, though, report that antiandrogens make them depressed and even suicidal.

A more radical step for male to female crossdreamers is to take estrogen and so-called female sex hormones. Both men and women produce estrogen naturally, but men has much less of it than women.

Some doctors give estrogen to male bodied persons who do not plan to transition, as it may give them a sense of emotional calm. Again the effect is that a possible obsessive part of erotic crossdreaming becomes less prominent, even if the general dream of becoming a woman does not disappear.

Indeed, the male to crossdreamer may feel that taking estrogen represents an affirmation of an inborn femininity, and the fact that someone -- i.e. the doctor -- accepts this femininity is helpful in itself. It is therefore  hard to know to what extent the hormones really change the psyche of the crossdreamer or whether we are facing some kind of placebo-effect.

The side effects may be dramatic. The hormones may change the body of the crossdreamer and make it more feminine. Male to female crossdreamers may enjoy growing breasts, but their female partners may find it disconcerting. Some of these changes will be irreversible.

My impression is that many (but not all) of the MTF crossdreamers who accept -- or ask for -- estrogen pills are truly transsexual.

My knowledge of female to male crossdreamers ("girfags" and "transfags") is more rudimentary, but I know that some of them may experiment with testosterone to realign their psyche with their inner self. To what extent doctors help them with this if they are not going to transition is unclear to me.

I would strongly urge any crossdreamer who contemplate taking hormones to contact a doctor.The negative health effects may be severe if you do this the wrong way. Given the emotional roller coaster effect such hormones may have, crossdreamers would also benefit greatly from having a therapist to consult while using them.

I would love to have some input from crossdreamers who have tried hormones regarding their effects. Please add a comment to this post!

Creative crossdreaming

Uli Meyer came up with the term "creative transvestism" in her study of female to male crossdreamers or girlfags. I have adopted the term as "creative crossdreaming".

Regardless of whether you consider  crossdreaming a biological or psychological phenomenon, it is clear that it nearly always lead to some kind of psychological repression. Crossdreaming is considered a taboo in most communities, and the social stigma attached to it is significant..

The tolerance of homosexuals is increasing. Transsexuals are more accepted than ever before, at least in "industrialized" countries. Unfortunately non-transsexual transgender people  fall between the cracks. This especially applies to male to female crossdressers and crossdreamers. While our societies may sometimes forgive a woman who behaves like a man, the opposite remains unacceptable in most circles (including many gay communities).

Crossdreamers must therefore find other ways of expressing their "inner man" or "inner woman"  to let off steam and in order to explore their own psyche and identity. Many do this through creative crossdreaming.

Uli Meyer tells the story of female to male crossdreamers writing slash and yaoi comics and stories, where they can explore the possibility of being a gay man. Male to female crossdreamers may write and read so-called "TG fiction", short stories and novels about men being transformed into women. There is also a thriving captioning culture, where crossdreamers create "TG caps" consisting of photos accompanied by short texts.

These stories, captions and comics may be erotic or non-erotic, but they all help the crossdreamer stay sane. This is in many ways another variation of the corollary that emotional suffering may lead to artistic creativity. It certainly does in transgender circles.

Crossdressing

I know that most of the people finding this post via Google are looking for a way to stop crossdressing. The fact is, however, that crossdressing is one of the most efficient way of coping with crossdreaming, and to stay mentally healthy.

Through crossdressing both male and female bodied crossdreamers get a release from an oppressive society that does not normally allow for such  violations of gender roles. Through crossdressing crossdreamers may explore the dream of being of the opposite sex (or -- as a transsexual will tell you -- his or her real sex).

The problem with crossdressing as well as creative crossdreaming is that these activities may become compulsive and obsessive. This is why some therapists recommend controlled crossdressing.

These therapists argue that the transgender condition is real and normal. Acceptance  removes much of the guilt and shame associated with crossdressing. But for some crossdreamers this tolerance comes too late, and the person has already established behavioral patterns that can diminish his or her life quality severely and which can cause him or her to neglect the needs of loved ones. Establishing a kind of well defined, fixed, and accepted space for crossdressing may therefore be of help.

Crossliving

I have been in touch with many crossdreamers who live out their dreams without transitioning. They go beyond crossdreaming and crossdressing. Alice Novic is one such male to female crossdreamer. She dresses up as her female sex and explore her sexuality with men.

If you have the body and the looks to get away with it, this may work. I also know of female to male crossdreamers who put on their strap-on and dominate their male lover, in the same way a lesbian may enjoy the company of a female "femme" lover.

Crossdreamers with a non-transgender partners may also include crossdreaming in their sexual games.  It is amazing what you can do as soon as you get the idea that crossdreaming is something sinful out of your mind. Through compromises, love and understanding a lot of couples make this work.

Transitioning

But if you define having dreams about being the opposite sex a problem, moral failure or a sexual perversion, there is actually only one way of "curing" it, and that is transitioning. It seems that for most post-op transsexuals the crossdreaming disappear or  is transformed into the "normal" sexual desires of a regular heterosexual or homosexual men or women..

That will come as no surprise to those of us who believe that crossdreaming is caused by some kind of misalignment between the brain and the body. The sexual arousal that follows from crossdreamer fantasies is just an expression of a desire that it is hard to express in a "normal" relationship. As soon as you can express this sexuality  as your target sex, the very idea of becoming the other sex stops being erotic.

Or, at least, this applies to most post-op transsexuals. There are those to continue to enjoy creative crossdreaming, and as regards fetishes, these are as common among crossdreamers and transsexuals as among non-transgender house wives reading "Fifty Shades of Grey".

This does not mean that hormone therapy and sex realignment surgery is the solution for all crossdreamers. I believe -- in fact -- that it is only the solution for a few. There are at least two reasons for this:

The first is that the transgender condition is not a simple binary where all transgender people are women or men trapped in the wrong body.

For some this metaphor makes sense. These are the gender dysphoric, i.e. the ones that are completely alienated from their own birth bodies and who suffer daily from the discrepancy between their inner and outer selves.

But many crossdreamers do not suffer from gender dysphoria. Some of them identify fully with their birth sex and crossdream only for the thrill of it. Others belong in the twilight zone between the sexes and find it impossible to identify fully with one sex or the other. For these people transitioning makes little sense.

It is not given that all gender dysphoric crossdreamers can or should transition either. There may be health reasons, professional reasons, family reasons for not going down that road. No one can truly know the life situation of another human being, so who are we to judge? I am gender dysphoric myself and I am not going to transition.

But for some transitioning is the only way of staying sane or staying alive. They need all the support we can give them.

Click here for essential blog posts on crossdreaming, autogynephilia and autoandrophilia

The American Medical Network has an extensive article on the treatment of transvestism

59 comments:

  1. Good article, Jack. I agree that there is no cure. Many gay people feel insulted by the idea of a cure for homosexuality, and I think crossdreamers might feel the same.

    With regard to your comment:

    '"Autogynephilia" is a term made by the researcher Ray Blanchard meaning "the love of one self as a woman". The idea is that autogynephiles are men sexually attracted to the image of themselves as women (as opposed to "normal" men who are attracted to real women "out there").

    This explanation is definitely wrong. Male to female do fall in love with real women "out there" all the time, and are often very loyal partners and husbands. Nor can crossdreaming be reduced to a sexual condition only.
    '

    I understand the term 'crossdreaming' to refer exclusively to the sexual - otherwise isn't it indistinguishable from 'transgender'? I find Blanchard's description - as summarised by you above - accurate and not insulting. It is quite compatible with also feeling desire for women, it is not merely an inadequate substitute, just as masturbation is not merely an inadequate substitute for sexual intercourse. It gives great license to the imagination, to expression of inner self. Nor do I find it reductive, as the sexual realm is vast in itself, not a reduced realm at all.

    I see autogynephilia/crossdreaming as potentially positive parts of sexual and gender liberation. This isn't to say that it can't be related to other transgender feelings, some of which may well cause much distress, and which may or may not be biological in origin.

    D xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. You make a lot of good points, and your research is scholarly. However, you should avoid the tendancy to make statements afterwards that are not supported by any of the facts that you present, such as,

    "The fact that these therapies do not work is a clear indication that these conditions are not caused by conditioning, and that there is more to them than psychological trauma."

    Just because a particular therapy does not work, does not eliminate a possible cause. That's true not just in psychology, but in general medicine as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a blatent example of psuedo-science and double talk.

    Under the guise of "disclaimer", this self serving fraud lays out his entire "thesis" which serves only as a vehicle for self-justification.

    These so called theories do much more than just further confuse the issues. It also causes great harm by provide a false recourse to those who would otherwise be forced to confront their own perverted reality.

    ReplyDelete
  4. All I know is my own story. I accept myself, and love myself, as a cross dresser. Before I learned to accept myself and be okay with cross dressing I thought I was a freak, but now I know I am just me.

    My cure has been to accept who I am and stop thinking that there is something wrong with me.

    The more I have learned to love and accept myself, the more that everyone I encounter accepts me, regardless of how I choose to dress.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this is the most interesting article you've made. And i'm not here to judge your viewpoints, you clearly stated how there is no scientifical studies to AGP, rather you state your opinions on logic, your own and other peoples experiences.

    Anyways, there are people for whom these fantasies remain after transitioning and even some start to doubt it very much what they did. So it is not only a sex & gender based misalignment in question. In this day an age, not only because this is an uncommon, non-researched sexuality / condition, it is hard coming to terms with this. On the other hand, sexuality is clearly a part of ones identity so the subjective experience of sexuality is hardwired in ones brain and plays out in a subjective way of how one identify him or herself.

    This is why it would be very interesting and important to research the sexual experience of both cis and transidentified hetero-, bi-, a-, pan- and homosexual crossdreamers further.
    One might be interested in having sex as the opposite sex, like a transsexual naturally would, but the experience, viewpoint, emotions, feelings etc might be very different.. like a fetishtic transvestite who also likes to crossdress like a TS but for different reasons and the type and reason for arousal is different.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Additionally i could go so far as to claim that there might be a cure, if there is a cause. But so far as transgenderism goes as something natural, it sounds more unlikely.

    I have read about homosexuals picturing themselves as women whilist having sex with men. And there are quite many of us who experience AGP as something trauma-caused. Maybe it is true, but i would say it is the misalignment the trauma causes between ones self-identity or -image and his sexuality, which becomes erotic. I am still one of those who believes my AGP is of such form.
    But transgenderism is a different phenomenon and eveything comes naturally, like dysphoria.

    I have many times thought about whether fixing the root of dysphoria, whether it be transsexualism, self-identity or trauma, might kill the AGP. At least you state how you believe transitioning will fix this. And that sexual euphoria is the way our body tries to fight these misalignments or issus.. and once we ejaculate, the dopamin kills the dysphoria temporarily.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Personally, if someone is attracted to the same sex, that's homosexuality, which often is biologically induced, so as of now, that would make some sense there is strong possibility a homosexual transgender person is biologically based? I'm just putting that out there. As for human rights issues, if someone seriously attempts to commit suicide because of in-congruency with one's desired gender and one's sex should that not be cause for intervention that "improves" quality of living for that individual and not coercive therapy that historically more-often makes their life worse?

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Deborah

    "[Crossdreaming] is quite compatible with also feeling desire for women, it is not merely an inadequate substitute, just as masturbation is not merely an inadequate substitute for sexual intercourse."

    You are right, and Blanchard is not. You see, Blanchard and Bailey and Lawrence argue that autogynephilia replaces the attraction to real women out there; it does not supplement it as in your example of masturbation. This is one of the main reason autogynephilia is classified as a perversion.

    I am preparing a post on autogynephilia among regular XX non-transgender women. It turns out it is very common.

    @Jamiegottagun

    "Just because a particular therapy does not work, does not eliminate a possible cause."

    You are right about that, and this is why I used the phrase "clear indication" rather than "clear proof".

    Electroshock aside, behavioral and cognitive therapies actually work in many instances: phobias, extreme shyness, and so on. Psychotherapy may also change the way you handle the world and help you get rid of compulsive behaviors.

    But for crossdreaming and homosexual desire it does not work. So the question is: Is it possible to "cure" fetishes? If not, does that strengthen the idea that crossdreaming is a fetish or cause by some kind of trauma?

    I will have to come back to that one.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Izziel

    "Personally, if someone is attracted to the same sex, that's homosexuality, which often is biologically induced, so as of now, that would make some sense there is strong possibility a homosexual transgender person is biologically based?"

    I am not 100 percent sure if I understand what you mean here. Using the word "homosexual" in a transgender setting is always confusing as it is hard to see if you define homosexual on the basis of the birth sex or the target sex.

    Anyway, if you are referring to androphilic male to female transsexuals (who are actually women who love men, and therefore heterosexual) your argument makes sense. It is likely that both the sexual orientation and the sex identity have some kind of biological basis.

    In the gynephilic (woman-loving) crossdreamers the sex identity slider has been turned to some degree of female, while the sexual orientation slider is positioned at the "attracted to women" end of the scale.

    Unfortunately some researchers (like Blanchard) interprets this to mean that androphilic transwomen are nothing but extremely effeminate men, and gynephilic (woman-loving) autogynephiliacs nothing but masculine perverted men. In this way Blanchard becomes part of the problem instead of the solution.

    "As for human rights issues, if someone seriously attempts to commit suicide because of in-congruency with one's desired gender and one's sex should that not be cause for intervention that 'improves' quality of living for that individual and not coercive therapy that historically more-often makes their life worse?"

    I agree completely! By the way, no one truly knows the suicide rate among crossdreamers, as so many crossdreamers keep their dreams secret, but the suicide rate among transgender in general is very high.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Jack:

    "'I have read about homosexuals picturing themselves as women whilist having sex with men.'

    Do you have a reference to this find?"

    Well what it comes to AGP.. if you have read about the studies by Tracie O'Keefe you'll see an example of a homosexual, who did this because of his generally low self-esteem as a gay male.
    And when you look at the web, there are a lot of gay males identifying with this.. it made me think if the same thing could apply to some love-shy men with a tendency towards AGP, who do this because they have a low esteem as a heterosexual. At least many people has described this here and at crossdreamlife.

    Sorry.. what i ACTUALLY meant with the sentence was a reference to homosexual "drag queens". I don't know if it's more common amongst straight males or homosexuals to crossdress during sex. But one common goal is to be the submissive
    one, and there is different why's and experiences to this. I think heterosexuals are more about the body and looks while homosexuals are to attract men generally(?). I don't know but there are similarities to that and AGP.

    "The reason I doubt this is the fact that all these crossdreamers share the fascination for the very same fantasies, the same literature and they frequent the same discussion forums, this one included."

    I doubt there is much other kind of litterature than trangender studies when you google the term "autogynephilia".. Which complicated the whole thing for those who generally feel comfortable with themselves.. That is why many (mostly or wholely) male-identified think they are becoming transsexual.

    Yes the term "fetish" might be wrong, i would say it is rather a sexual fantasy or orientation, whatever the cause is.

    And like i said earlier, fantasies might be similar but i believe they vary in experience, emotion, intensity, reason etc..
    Straight women like strap-ons and to be in the male role.. and this is more known and accepted than straight men who like to picture themselves as submissive or in the female role.


    ReplyDelete
  12. I happen to believe in the term autogynophelia, and I look at it as your own kink in what turns you on sexually. People have many different things that turn them on sexally from bondage to skat to clowns, to (unfortunately) children. We "crossdreamers" are fortunate enough to not have a less desirable sexual turn on...can't say I would want some of them. Hormone therapy helps because it lowers the sex drive and thus lowers the drive for the kink and so it provides relief. Human sexuality is a strong desire, it is hardwired into who we are, what turns us on is environmental and seems to be the luck of the draw, that is drawn from early experiences. The best thing one can do is become more knowledgeable about human sexuality and see a therapist if your crossdreaming starts to interfere with your life time activities. Lastly accept who and what you are, don't shame yourself for who you are, and know that it could be worse...

    ReplyDelete
  13. For nice safe and satisfying outlets, I will plug Second Life and other online spaces (but especially SL!) again; it is easy and fun and surprisingly, what, evocative to be whatever sex and gender you want to be there, and everyone who matters is very accepting that the real life and online ones might be different.

    I'm a non-dysphoric (euphoric?) crossdreamer, so I have it easier than otherwise, but I've found it very rewarding to explore both / all sides of the whole gender thing there.

    And I'd really anyone who is looking for a 'cure' for their own autogynephilia to realize that it's not something that needs to be cured. (And anyone who's looking for a cure for someone else's to most definitely realize that!)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am with daleinnis on this. If it works don't fix it. Especially if you have tunnel vision.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for your blog, Jack. As a MtF with AGP, I enjoy reading your essays, as well as the comments.

    Two critiques:

    (1) you criticize Blanchard as wrong because his taxonomy, in your view, precludes the possibility of an AGP MtF in a stable relationship with a GG. I don't think Blanchard goes that far. Just because an AGP MtF is in love with himself as a woman does not preclude his also being attracted to, and loving, a GG. You often take issue with Blanchard, in my view, simply because you are uncomfortable with his terminology and the implications of the taxonomy, without ever really challenging his hypotheses. In fact, the substance of your essays about AGP (even merely acknowledging AGP) is, generally, quite consistent with Blanchard's taxonomy.

    (2) I agree that HRT/SRS are not appropriate for many AGP MtFs. However, IMHO, whether HRT/SRS is appropriate is not a function of what gender "identity" a person has. "Identity" is a very nebulous concept. As a MtF AGPer, I don't think I'll ever think of myself as a normal male or female, regardless of whether I ever transition. I'll always be someone with one foot on one side and one foot on the other. And TGs lie to others, and lie to themselves, about their supposed identities. Some TGs call themselves "male" because they don't want to deal with the GID they are experiencing. Others overstate their "female" identity to get on the fast track to SRS or to to enhance their status in tgirl social circles. IMHO, us AGPers really don't fit well into either "identity." Whether one transitions should be solely a function of whether one will be happier transitioning, or not transitioning, not whether one "identifies" at some level as female or male, whatever that means.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great article jack. As you know I am opting for controlled crossdressing as my way to cope although I am admittedly having trouble with the control part. I agree there is more to this than conditioning to be sure and that ultimately self acceptance is mandatory in order to remain mentally healthy. Aversion therapy or other such quackery does not work and only makes the trans person feel worse about their condition. Bravo again!

    Joanna

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good article Jack!
    One additional thought from me about the section "creative crossdreaming". I have done some fiction writing in which the chief patroganist was a female. That helped my creativity flow because I was able to identify myself with the chief character. To me, that had a healing effect. May be other crossdreamers who have a taste for writing might find it a helpful way to express their inner woman to general public (Without letting anyone know about that he is a crossdreamer...LOL!). Likewise, if someone is a painter, may be they could try painting their own feminine images, which would be another way of healing.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @monica

    You argue that whether one should transition or not must be based on ehether it will make you happy or not and not a sex identity. I think I agree with this, although I find it hard to understand that someone who wants to live as a woman does not have a female identity. But then agsin, I follow a very broad definition of sex identity.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Jaya

    I wonder if not Ernest Hemingway, the macho writer was engaging in creative crossdreaming. See The Garden of Eden. http://www.newcriterion.com/m/articles.cfm/The-androgynous-Papa-Hemingway-5909

    ReplyDelete
  20. The problem I have with autogynephelia theory is that it addresses only the sexual aspect and defines us only as an alternate form of orientation. I am still attracted to females and desire to engage in intercourse with them (albeit in an abnormal fashion due to the disphoria). There is more to our identification to the female than just sexually based attraction. I hold firmly to this belief based on my own experience.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Is there a cure for crossdreaming?

    The short answer to this question is no. Sorry about that."

    Well, so much for that, right back to killing myself.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous said...

    "Well, so much for that, right back to killing myself."

    I wouldn't give up yet. I have read about some cases of AGP being a nurture kind of issue.. it really depends on how you feel or identify. If you feel transgendered, it might be something to start feeling good about but if you are generally happy being male, things might be different.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @anonymous

    Do not forget that many crossdreamers live meaningful and fulfilling lives. Many also find love and establish a good relationship with a woman they love and who love them back. I have, so why not you? Is it easy to be a crossdreamer? In this day and age, most often no. But then again, life will be hard for most at one time or the other. Find someone to talk to. If there are no one you can trust, go to a professional or discuss your pain with other crossdreamers online. Crossdreamlife.com is a good place to start.

    ReplyDelete
  24. All of my life I have been ashamed of my curiosity about sexuality, because I was curious about what it was like to be the other. Gradually, I became aware of trans sexuality, and realized that I was not unique. That has never helped me with my feeling of shame, however, because of my desire to see myself in the form of the other.

    More and more, I have come to believe that gender identity is an imposed condition, the result of society being unwilling to deal with ambiguous people. The male-dominated culture that arose after the development of agriculture demanded a complete schism between the sexes, so as to ease the repression of women. Displaying traits associated with the oppressed confuses the simple minded, making them less inclined to treat women as animals.

    But the basic human design is female, with the male being a minor modification. All human embryos are female, and the female and male genitalia are created from the same tissues. Male and female brains have some differences, but they are minor and only account for a few percent of the organ's mass.

    Therefore, it seems natural to me that humans come pre-programmed with the full range of behaviors humans are able to express. Where our preferences lie among that range is completely arbitrary and unimportant, until somebody gets insecure about their own sexuality. Then we see the violent behavior come out.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The cure... I think most people with AG look for such a thing early and often, but I certainly have never found it -- except during an artificially created asexual period. Years ago I transitioned mtf, but stopped short of SRS due to money issues. I'd "cured" the issues of being "remote" during sex, but walking the tightrope of society's acceptance -- and my own devastating realization that I'd never become a GG -- made transition unbearable. I'd been lucky. I was considered quite attractive in "normal society" and didn't have issues interacting with people -- just my own inability to accept that I would never become what I most wanted. I de-transitioned and went back to life as a male. I had/have a girlfriend who identifies as primarily lesbian, but she accepted my going back to male. Years passed and while my old hormones tried to figure out what had happened for the last decade, I felt somewhat at peace. I had no need for the feminine in myself... and then 5 years after de-transitioning, everything started flooding back. I was back to envying women on the street and desperately wishing I looked "like that" again... but there was always more... wishing I could have children, been a mother, and simply been born female. Now I'm circling hormones again. I'm not old, but I'm no longer young. This is the last age at which I (personally) will allow myself to contemplate transition. I look at the economy think "What am I doing?" I look at my bank account and think "But wasn't this retirement money?" I wonder if when I'm old and grey this "compulsion" will end and I'll regret the shock to the system, friends, and family? I look in the mirror and feel like throwing up. I've been through years and years of therapy, met hundreds of TS's and TG's, and had every letter needed. There's little more I can learn... and I do feel I've learned there is no palatable cure. I'm angry that I can't be a woman, that to become a close facsimile to a GG costs so very much, and also that there is no cure. It's a strange life.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You're wrong about autogynephilia not being a valid explanation. I'm an autogynephile myself, and I know for a fact that my feelings are real, even if I have no chance of ever becoming a real woman. It constantly astounds me how un-self-aware some non-homosexual MtF transsexuals are when it comes to this. I can sort of understand the reluctance on the part of some who fear that clinicians and the general public would be less accepting of transsexualism if it became widely known that the basis for it is sexual, but personally I think the truth is more important than a pretty lie. You should check out Anne Lawrence's new book "Men Trapped in Men's Bodies," which gives hundreds of examples of narratives written by autogynephilic transsexuals and transvestites.

    On the question of whether there's a cure, the evidence is that sexual orientation in males is hard-wired and permanent, and doesn't change in adulthood. What can be done is to contain it to a sexual fantasy, but that may be easier for me than others because my gender dysphoria has never been that strong. I know that in actual reality I am NOT a "woman trapped in a man's body" (though the homosexual type of MtF transsexuals maybe could be described that way, I suppose), I'm just a guy who likes the idea of being magically transformed into a woman. There is currently no surgery available, though, that would really make me female - I could only become a fake female with fake boobs and a fake vagina - it couldn't reverse all of the effects of the testosterone that flooded my body at puberty, nor could it alter my brain - and let's face it, male and female brains are different, too, not just their genitalia.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @steve

    I am not saying that "autogynephiles" do not exist or that you are lying about your own life experience. Far from it: I know your feelings are real and that we -- the crossdreamers --exist, and this whole blog is devoted to people like you and me.

    What I am contesting is Blanchard and Lawrence's explanation for crossdreaming, especially the idea that this is some kind of perverted sexuality where we are attracted to our imagined female self.

    it should be obvious why the love life of MTF crossdreamers become autoerotic, but Lawrence doesn't even consider the obvious. For MTF gynephilic (woman-loving) crossdreamers it is very hard to find compatible sex partners. It is easier for the androphlic ones, as they may play the role of the gay man. In short: Androphilic MTF crossdreamers get laid. Gynephilic ones does not, or not in the way they want.

    I am reading Lawrence's book right now. The Kindle version cost me 131 US$, and the price alone ensures that it will not be widely read. I will write a review of it, though.

    Still, the title itself should tell you why I find her thinking toxic. MTF gynephilic transwomen are not men; they are women. And androphilic transwomen are not "homosexual" men, they are heterosexual women. And what is truly bizarre is that Lawrence, who according to her own theory is a perverted man, is actually a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  28. @scootwhoman

    "Therefore, it seems natural to me that humans come pre-programmed with the full range of behaviors humans are able to express. "

    I believe you are right about this. But the riddle is: Why seem some people to accept the limitations of gendered culture without much pain, while others -- like gender dysphoric crossdreamers -- do not?

    @Lori

    As I get older, the questions you pose become more and more important. These are existential questions. We have only one life (or so i believe), so the choices we make about this become extremely important. When we are younger it is easier to push this dilemma in front of us, believing or hoping that some sort of solution will present itself.

    ReplyDelete
  29. hi

    I like this site because it speaks slightly outside the usual jargon even as it confronts the language which has arisen to try and make sense of our phenomenon. I'm one of those over sixty and have been grappling with who i am ever since I was a little kid. Knowledge about gender variation has grown a lot since the days of Christine Jorgenson. When i was a teen and read about her it gave me a handle on who I am and this helped a lot. I spent too much time in the libraries of my education looking for books about transsexualism and transvestism. The ones that existed dealt with gender variation as a dysphoria, a problem to be cured. I never wanted a cure, I wanted to be a girl. A college class on sexuality actually had us buy a book by Virginia Prince and I learned that one can speak from the inside and not as diagnostician. She used the term "femiphilia"-- the love of femininity. This seemed much closer to how I felt. It is a term that isn't used much these days but perhaps describes the sensations better. All of us suffer not from our variation but from the stigma attached to it. The problem is that it is a problem in society. The delight I discovered going to conventions was being in the company of hundreds of others expressing their spirit the same as mine. The breaking of isolation is extremely important. The internet has proven another incredible breakthrough in being able to communicate with kindred spirits. I have gone through much inner torment and the inevitable purges and the inevitable returns to what is inescapable. I also went through an intense period of gender euphoria and came close to transitioning. If I was twelve and knew what I know now maybe I would have, but the trials and tribulations of doing so are too daunting now. I did begin taking estrogen twenty years ago and have continued in a low dose regimen. I also had over a hundred hours of electrolysis. I guess I paid my dues. My body has changed and I am definitely feminized. I love being who I am. Nevertheless the stigma still exists and I am acutely aware of social disapproval. No matter what we try and do politically that will still exist until it somehow organically changes through the generations. My daughter is eighteen and has no problem with it, which is a big relief. I pass as an old hippie and live in a progressive environment. If I could prophesize about a solution it will be when girls are attracted to boys who like being girls. Won't femiphilia become a positive energy and something entirely pleasurable grow up from the sexual play that really hasn't fully been explored?

    thank you
    jessa

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think that it's important to point out that Dr. Lawrence doesn't seem to use AG as a disqualification for gender transition -- unlike much of the older medical establishment. So, why bring that up? In lieu of a traditional cure to AG, I see complete gender transition, transgenderism, or "doing nothing" (often with therapy) as the only avenues of treatment. That said, it all comes down to understanding that AG will never fully leave... and that all choices in dealing with it have consequences. In the end, it's all about whether you (the person with AG) can live with those choices for the rest of your life? If you don't really enjoy the female role in society and/or cannot stand the post-sexual life of an elderly woman, don't transition; once your sex life is done you'll have nothing else. If you cannot stand the mixed-up "middle ground" of transgenderism, either transition fully or "go back." If you can't accept the losses that will occur in even the best case of transition or transgenderism, by all means find some "safety valves" and stay in your current gender/state. In the end, all have drawbacks and all will come with a certain level of regret. It's up to the AG person to decide what they will commit to even with the understanding that they will have regrets.

    ReplyDelete
  31. As weird and far fetched as it sounds, some people cure AGP with heterosexual relations or improving ones mental state or self-esteem.
    Although, this is most likely the minority of cases.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Personally, I don't believe that relationships or improved mental states cure AG. I do think that AG can lessen in the short-term with relationships and/or an improved environment, but in my experience, AG always returns over the long-term. Same way problems in a relationship can be "fixed" short-term with marriage... only to re-emerge "after the honeymoon."

    ReplyDelete
  33. Is there a cure for crossdreaming?

    The short answer to this question is YES. Sorry about that))

    I was a crossdreamer from the age of five, I took estrogens and antiandrogen, even tried to believe that I was a transexual.

    To deal with personal problems I went to a therapist. I thought I would never get rid of crossdreaming and I was wrong!) And my therapist was right, who told me that fantasizing about being a woman while masturbate is a result of suppression of natural sexual desire. I don't have a girlfriend, but now i'am fantasizing about male active role in sex, and crossdreaming just fade away

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hello everyone,

    Good to have discovered this site. I can 'identify' with the term 'crossdreamer' because it's literally been my main sexual fantasy since I was 12 years old. If I go back to that age I didn't even rationalize it, it was pure instinct to grab women's clothing of mother and sister and dress up when I was alone. After a while you begin to notice it is odd and rare, yet I never had much of a mental 'fight' about it until late teens. I'm now in my 20s.
    I don't know what other man fantasize about sexually, but for me it's always one of the following fantasies: (1)Me as a female, (2) Me as a feminine man with a female..

    Whenever I see a beautiful female I also have two thoughts on my mind. First one is ''wow you're beautiful, I lust to have you as my partner'' and my second thought after that is usually ''What would it be like to be you?''. I see plenty of confident, feminine woman at my university and sometimes I really think they have it perfect. They can be feminine, beautiful, and yet confident and intelligent. It's almost the perfect human being.. I know I'm exaggerating a bit but I think others would understand what I'm saying. I could drown myself in femininity, it's a sexual fetish but it's also more than that.

    It's all puzzling because at the same time I don't dislike being a man. I like watching sports and playing video games.

    I disagree with the poster above. I don't believe it's a simple matter of lacking a girlfriend/wife. I've read many stories about men having these fantasies even when they are happy with their partner. And I had these thoughts when I was only 12 (possibly before that but I don't remember) and you can't tell me I should have gotten a girlfriend right at the age of 12, as if that would have prevented it. No I don't think it's all that simple, perhaps for some males who have these fantasies but not everyone be can be put in the same box.

    And we are not weird or crazy, it's only society that tells us we are and that we should stick to strict norms. Years ago I took yoga lessons and I was the only man! Many man would consider it perhaps a feminine silly thing, but if you go to Asia you will see that both sexes can do these 'feminine' activities. I think Western society is too locked up in the Warrior and Damsel-in-Distress archetypes. But the old ways seem to disappearing slowly (Christianity) and maybe that's a good thing when it comes to gender roles. Some gender stereotyping is biologically sound but so much of it is also largely cultural.


    ReplyDelete
  35. And to my long post I'd like to add one more thing; it's not the odd people or sexualities that are a problem, it's society and its strict norms. An enlightened society would welcome heterosexuals, homosexuals, transsexuals, feminine man, masculine man.

    My personal morale is: do as you please as long as you don't harm someone else. And there is no harm in man trying to express femininity, longing for it, or wanting to dress like a woman, and similarly the same goes for women who want to express masculinity or dress like a man. For some reason it's okay in our society for a woman to do so, but a man is ridiculed. There's some double standard there that has to be purged from society.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Writing about cure for crossdreaming, it wasn't just my opinion. I writed about my own experience, and I didn't tell that autogynephilia is a matter of lacking a wife, it's a childhood trauma that causes all problems with sexuality and realations with opposite sex even if you have a wife. The problem is in the unconscious, serious research of personality can solve this problem.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm another one of those who believes AGP can be a result of sexual suppression and / or trauma. I've always had girlfriends and good heterosexual relationships and wanted to sleep with plenty of women during my teens but was just shy and didn't believe i could. And yes, i was happy being me and had no gender issues.
    My AG started directly after a trauma in bed with a woman and before that i loved sex with women. So yes, "target location error" as a result of something can be fixed. But I'm not talking about transgender identities, which go further than just sexual exploring.

    ReplyDelete
  38. @ The "cured anonymous".

    This is interesting. You say that the crossdreaming just fade away as soon as the underpinning unconscious factor has been faced.

    Does this mean that all crossdreamer fantasies have disappeared?

    @Sam Z

    "I've always had girlfriends and good heterosexual relationships and wanted to sleep with plenty of women during my teens but was just shy and didn't believe i could."

    Does this mean that you had girl friends, but that you did not have sex with them? I am asking, because i was also a very love shy teenager, but in hindsight I think that shyness was caused by the crossdreaming condition and not the other way around.

    "And yes, i was happy being me and had no gender issues."

    There is no doubt about it. A lot of crossdreamers do not suffer from gender dysphoria.

    ReplyDelete
  39. @Jackmolay

    Yes i did have a lot of sex in the dominant role and enjoyed it! My love shyness decreased as i got more experience with women and i was not as shy to pursue them.

    I think the AG feelings might subside if a male(ish)-identified finds peace with his "manhood" so the feminine feelings don't matter as much, if at all anymore. To me the amount of AG is something innate but not a cause of transgenderism. But then again transgender identified individuals might have a higher tendency to AG if it's a part female / feminine aspect of ones female identity.

    I would claim that there might be a majority of homosexual transsexuals but that doesn't mean a homosexual oriented individual is trans even if he is very feminine, if you get what i mean?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jack, I want to give you my respect for creating a blog. I began to watch for updates in the last year. My attitude to the phenomenon of autogynephilia has changed a lot for the last time, not only because of sharing your experience, but also due the study of mine experience. My crossdreaming fantasies has completely disappeared, but it was a gradual process. Many of the details I described in this topic http://www.crossdreamlife.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=398 My my nickname Night Rain

    ReplyDelete
  41. What i have noticed is that my crossdreaming, which is sexual in nature, fades away when i'm able to enjoy heterosexual porn or action. When anything in my life comes in the way, be it stress, anxiety, lack of esteem and so on, my crossdreaming fantasies are dominant. When all is good, i can easily fantisize about sex with girls. I think i might be an overall sensitive boy but if i could choose, i would take only the straight mans role anyday.
    Is there a cure? Possibly, as far as i recall it. There might be an underlying issue, which causes me to react like i do with crossdreaming fantasies. But as long as i can live my life as it is, i don't care that much.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Crossdreaming is a normal homosexual and bisexual behavior. Many gay men and women crossdream regularly when they imagine in their minds eye that they have a more attractive body than they actually have.

    All crossdreaming means is you are sexaully attracted to women. If you are a transsexual M2F and you are sexually attracted to women why wouldn't you get sexually turned on by an attractive naked female body even if you are imagining it is your body?

    Don't tell anybody but many gay men and women who do have beautiful bodies often turn themselves on when they look into a mirror naked.

    I am a M2F transsexual. I can tell you now that I have a female body sex feels a whole lot better. Why because my gender identity and body now match. So even if I didn't find women sexually attractive my body feels better and is more sexually responsive. Again why wouldn't one want to imagine having a female body when masturbating when one gender identity is female?

    Now for the bad news. Don't take on blind faith what the GRS/SRS surgen tells you is their success rates for orgasm. They want to sell you the surgery and what former patient wants to tell their doctor that they have failed and not had an orgasm so the numbers are bound to be inflated.

    I known a lot of post op transsexual women. If you are over 40 when GRS/SRS there is probably a 20 to 30% chance you will never have another orgasm. The rest all seem to have a much much harder time getting to orgasm than before surgery. Only a handful seem to be equally orgasmic or more than they where before. The orgasms will be different but very pleasurable and satisfactory. Younger women seem to have a much higher success rate.

    Tip: Don't stop masturbating. A lot of girls lose total interest in sex after they are hormone replacement therapy and stop masturbating all together. It is easier to relearn how to have an orgasm after GRS/SRS if it hasn't been so long since your last orgasm. Orgasm becomes harder on HRT so it is a good training before surgery. Also what ever fantasy turned you on before the surgery say like crossdreaming try using it even after surgery if you are having a hard time getting to orgasm. Your brain is still wired to orgasm to the fantasy even if it seems silly to fantasize about having a vagina or female body when you really have one.

    I have personally known some horrific outcomes of GRS/SRS. Out of the 40 or so post op women I have met in person, and some who are good friends of mine, two ended up with completely numb vaginas, another's vagina, labia and clitoris tissue died, and worst one died the day after surgery. She was in her early 60s. We are still trying to find out exactly what happened. She had surgery in the USA. Ask your surge if they have lost any patients during or shortly after surgery.

    Of all those who survived the surgery they said despite it all they are happy with the outcome.

    I hope that helps someone out there.

    H. M.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "Crossdreaming is a normal homosexual and bisexual behavior. Many gay men and women crossdream regularly when they imagine in their minds eye that they have a more attractive body than they actually have. "

    This is true, i know bi- / gay people who crossdream. And i'm not completely straight either so it would make sense.
    I definately don't hate my body but it is easy to orgasm when imagining a body i find sexually attractive, not the body i would want to really have.

    I think gay-/bisexuals have some aspects of the brain in common (hormonal or biological) that includes submissivity but also feminity (wanting to look sexy) and the role with it. The difference is usually about sex- and gender identity overall. This is what i think!

    ReplyDelete
  44. As a pretty self aware person, I've been tracking the instance of this fetish developing within myself over the past two years and I definitely know all the root causes, for me anyway. I've always identified as a comfortable hetero male, loved girls and had plenty of sexual relations with them. However the combination of a close relationship with my dominant mother and drug use that fractured my well-built ego brought back a few very small but buried childhood fears of looking feminine. All because I was a skater and used to wear tight jeans plus I have what could be termed a pretty face.

    The past two years have been hell for me. OCD has run rampant and I've been convinced I'm homosexual even though I'm not. My arousal pattern has completely gone haywire... I feel aroused when being submissive around other males, but no actual urge to have sex with them. I sucked some dick and didn't enjoy it, but in my fantasies I love it - with me in part of the woman.

    If I have a drink or two I'm back to horny girl ravaging dude that goes home and jacks off to hetero porn (one of the things that has severely fucked up my plastic brain) or takes a girl home and physically enjoys the sex immensely.

    I'm considering getting into a relationship with a guy even though I don't really have sexual feelings for them (unless I was a girl of course) just to fix my own head. I feel a sense of peace around a good male friend of mine but thats just the OCD waning as he's the guy I built up my feelings of inadequacy around. Hopefully being in the moment a little more will allow my true feelings for girls to flourish at a later stage.

    Seems like this is less intense for me than a lot of you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  45. @Anonymous

    Sometimes I wonder if all our attempts at making sense of words like heterosexual and homosexual hurts us more than helps us.

    There are -- and have been -- cultures where same sex relationships between men have been considered OK, even when the men involved are mostly oriented towards women. Actually, this was the norm in much of the world until the late 19th century/early 20th century.

    In such societies your ambiguous attraction to men would not be much of a big deal.

    I must admit I am also starting to wonder if not our crossdreamer obsession with homosexuality vs. heterosexuality is caused by some serious repression, and that some of us actually are -- in fact -- bisexual.

    ReplyDelete
  46. You asked for comments from sufferers (my term) who used hormones to help. My AGP got so bad that 1.5 years ago I realised that (a) I had been suffering from low-level depression (dysthmia) and was getting worse (b) I was in a permanently anxious state, catastrophising over the future (c) I suffered from various minor ocd habits.

    I found out about pueraria mirifica (PM) on the Breast Nexus forum. I had always been fascinated with the idea of growing breasts, so decided to give it a try. I had not expected such amazing side-effects! Apart from breast growth, I achieved mental calm. All the symptoms mentioned about diminished to normal levels. My desire to cross-dress has gone. I no longer have an interest in TG porn or erotica.
    My libido has diminished to female levels. My breasts are erogenous and stimulation gives me what I can only describe as a dry female-type orgasm. Though I still wish I could look like a female, the desire has become more of a poignant "I wish I looked like that but I know I never can or will" when I see a beautiful woman, but it is no longer a constant obsession. It works rather like a pain killer on a headache. You know it is still there, but it is bearable.
    The good thing about PM is that it is a traditional herb from N Thailand. People have been using it for a long time - it's safe. Research has shown that it is similar to the weakest and safest form of estrogen, estriol, and actually has a protective effect against breast cancer. No worries about DVT either.

    ReplyDelete
  47. 1. I wouldn't take a cure if there were one. I like my autogynephilia.
    2. I am not gay. Autogynephiliacs are very focused on the opposite sex.
    3. My way of relating to women is to surrender to being absorbed by them and transformed into one of them.
    4. I use hormone cream and intend to purchase female pheromones, because the idea of smelling like a woman, sexually, is very exciting.
    5. I will probably start cross-dressing at some point.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm a gender-fluid/androgyne person and I encountered my gender issues in the form of crossdreaming (finding a fantasy of watching myself be a tranny highly arousing). At first it was really unsettling. Then after a few weeks of thinking I must be a transsexual, I read about non-binary identities.

    I experienced some sort of a rebirth then, and nowadays interpret these types of fantasies as symptoms of not giving enough attention to my feminine parts. Integrating femininity into everyday life seems to balance these needs for me, denying them or shutting them out of my person always backfires. Also obsessing, being compulsive, or forbidding yourself doesn't help, but sensation-seeking fetishizing (that is maybe fueled partly by the forbidden-aspect of it) also seems to have a bad effect (as at least my mind tends to easily center itself around these kinds of experiences).

    I have made the following conclusions: At least my femininity is something that must come out in some form, be it crossdressing or whatever. If I don't do this, I get generally unhappy. Fantasies of becoming something feminine seem to be rooted in a desire to be free of this male form that blocks femininity from flowing. This I think is because I myself cannot easily even imagine any kind of real femininity coming from a male apart from some effeminacy. Thus I cannot see (and don't trust others to see)real femininity come from myself, and it is blocked. If I was gay, I would maybe have more exposure to these kinds of "models", and would accordingly have developed in that way, but as I have been used to live as a heterosexual man it comes naturally for me to act (and to feel) as I perceive to be accordingly. This way the feminine can't come out in any way, but under the surface they accumulate (aren't repressed or denied feelings the strongest always in the end?).

    I thought I'd write this, because a crossdreamer could be thought to be genderfluid in a sense, and maybe some crossdreamers could benefit of "redefining" themselves. An androgynous or non-binary gender identity has helped me integrate my femininity and masculinity more into a whole, and helped balance my needs. I have seen many non-binary persons to recommend to gradually make small adjustments and see if the dysphoria diminishes at some point. I have also read stories of persons who say that in the end they forgot about being a man or a woman, because they could be themselves. That is at least what I myself am striving to be.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Anonymous,

    I like what you are saying here. For many crossdreamers finding alternatives to the traditional narratives might be of great help. Following the discussions over at tumblr, I see that "Generation Z" (today's young) find terms like genderfluid and nonbinary very meaningful.

    Two of the most recent books on crossdressing and crossdreaming, by Felix Conrad and Alex Drummond respectively, explore alternative ways of expressing this kind of femininity, without transitioning. (See this page for more)

    That being said, transitioning may be a perfectly sensible solution for some crossdreamers.

    Could you say something about how you express this side of yourself publicly?

    ReplyDelete
  50. Some have had symptoms diminish by being treated for another unrelated issue such as bipolar. Some claim medications for epilepsy have helped as well.

    I think other treatments should be explored because not everyone can afford to transition and not everyone wants to. To completely shut the door on exploring other options seems unfair to those in those situations.

    I know people compare this to homosexuality and that there are no cures for that (and I am by no means suggesting there should be), but for one thing homosexuality doesn't require any sort of drastic treatment in order for one to live as a homosexual. So, yes, while they may wish they weren't, again, they don't need to undergo costly or risky treatments to live authentically.

    ReplyDelete
  51. "So, yes, while they may wish they weren't, again, they don't need to undergo costly or risky treatments to live authentically."

    Yes, I get reports from MTF crossdreamers who find ways of integrating crossdreaming into their lives as men. But the more intense the gender dysphoria, the harder this gets, and for some of them transitioning seems to be the only solution.

    I must admit, that for someone who has decided not to transition, but who suffer from dysphoria, to live "authenitcally" is not possible.

    ReplyDelete
  52. So if someone offered you a medication that would make those feelings go away, would you try it? Assuming it doesn't have a laundry list of side affects of course.

    That's another thing. Some people can't tolerate the side affects of hormones. Some people just take hormones if they can't afford to or don't want to undergo SRS and often report that that helps. But, again, some can't tolerate the side affects.

    I just wish there were more options.

    ReplyDelete
  53. "So if someone offered you a medication that would make those feelings go away, would you try it?"

    If you by that mean that I could live a life soul were in alignment with my body, sure. But we both know that is not going to happen.

    "Some people can't tolerate the side affects of hormones. Some people just take hormones if they can't afford to or don't want to undergo SRS and often report that that helps."

    Yes, maybe I should try that. Do I take it that you have tried and found that the hormones do not agree with you?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Are you still here, bryony? Any reports on how you fell now?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Very good article.

    I am definitely in love with the idea of being a woman. When I imagine other people seeing me as female (without me having to pretend or change my personality) it feels good. Sometimes, I have a very soft way of speaking and treating people that comes naturally. I like the way I think of it being wrapped in a female body.

    I want to be a woman, and I think that desire has its roots in my sexuality. I enjoy the erotic fantasies. If I were to take hormones and the fantasies went away, I think I would really enjoy the new type of sexuality that aligned more with a natal female's sexuality. I'm attracted to women, but I would give that up if I could be a woman who is attracted to men. Being a woman would be even better than being in a relationship with a woman for me.

    However, when I'm not experiencing the euphoric side of crossdreaming, I think about transitioning, compulsively. I can try to focus on other things, but doing that feels like I'm shutting out a colorful part of myself. I can shut it out to an extent, but then I just feel like I'm going through the motions of life. Crossdreaming really adds energy and motivation even though it's annoying that I'm thinking about it so much.

    I don't know if I would qualify for 'needing' medical treatment. I feel like a spoiled woman (MtF) who wants something extravagant, but really doesn't deserve hormone therapy. There's that part of me that's worried that this is all just a whim. By the way, I feel like I'm a man, but it feels better to consider myself a woman. Maybe if I wait long enough I won't be so fixated on this. My focus on thinking about transition has increased recently, only because I found out that it was possible for me, 3 months ago. Before that, my crossdreaming was a sexual expression, only alone. I wouldn't plan on crossdreaming, it just sort of happened whenever I felt really compelled. But now, thinking about it so much has removed some of the sexual potency while increasing the longing feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi Alia,

    I can relate to a lot of what you said. I don't have good answers or advise, but I just wanted to offer some support and understanding.

    In my case, I was quite obsessed over these things at one point. I wanted so much to be able to transition, or at least as I called it "live full time". I was quite distressed because I could not without causing hurt to my wife and family, and significantly disrupt my life as I knew it. For me, things did calm down and I was finally able to accept myself as I am, and stopped wanting to be something I could not be. So I have settled into a comfortable and peaceful life expressing this side of myself part time.

    Of course, just because that works for me doesn't mean it would be right for anyone else. We each need to follow our own paths. For some, transition is the right path, and that is for each of us to determine for ourselves.

    In any case, I wish for you success and happiness in whatever path you follow.

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  57. @Alia

    //I don't know if I would qualify for 'needing' medical treatment. I feel like a spoiled woman (MtF) who wants something extravagant, but really doesn't deserve hormone therapy. There's that part of me that's worried that this is all just a whim. //

    We should keep in mind that one of the most efficient ways the "system" keeps transgender in people is by making them blame themselves for their own suffering. We tell ourselves that we do not deserve happiness. After 30 to 40 years we still tell ourselves that our gender dysphoria is just a passing whim and that we will be normal as soon as we get this or that sorted out. Deep down we know that we are fooling ourselves, but we continue to do so, all the same.

    I am not saying that transitioning is necessarily the right thing to do for all. In my own case I have come to the same conclusion as Emma. But I am saying that we should not give those who want to harm us the right to define who is a "real" woman or a "real" man.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hi I'm a 50yr old transsexual woman who started taking Hormones to quiet my gender disphoria.I cant change full time due to family and my employment. I started with low dose chimera which seems to give my brain peace and calm ,but even low dose estrogen ,25mg patch seems to be feminizing my body.I've been doing this for 4 years now. Whatever part of my brain that was male seemed to shift to all female now.My interest's have changed to where I like to shop a lot with my wife who says I'm more like a sister now. My world seems softer and more gentle. The cross-dressing has slowed down during the day but Im all fem in bed at night and once I thought Id never ever have sex with a man now doesn't seems so terrible anymore ,infact I think about it a lot anymore.So was there ever any escape from being transsexual? It shur looks to me like that's a big no. This cant be stopped ,It will always win.Once you try hormones you wont be able to stop if your truly transsexual. Your letting the Genie out of the bottle.Be carefull out there and try to be happy with who you really are.GOD BLESS ALL.Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  59. Thank you for sharing this, Sarah. I have heard many transgender people say the same, including female to male ones, who feel more at peace with themselves after taking testosterone.

    Could you say a bit about this has affected your gender dysphoria?

    ReplyDelete

Click here for this blog's Code of Conduct!

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!