January 21, 2014

On Crossdreaming and Addiction to Pornography

In this guest blog post  Sam argues that since many crossdreamers find it hard to live out their sexuality in real life, they end up exploring it in fantasies and pornography instead. Ironically, Sam argues, this may lead to an addiction that stops them from establishing the real life relationships they are longing for.

Guest blog post by  Sam
Illustration by Tijana87/photos.com 


I think I have stumbled across something in my experience that could help a lot of people. I can't provide any novel insight into crossdreaming, but I have made some connections in evolving neuroscience and porn addiction that I think are making it harder for many of us.

First of let me say that that I don't believe porn causes crossdreaming, or that crossdreaming can be 'cured'. Nor is this is an apologetic for the 'separatist' viewpoint.

Test questions

That said, have you:
  1. Experienced an unexplainable gradual intensification or even evolution of crossdreaming in your life?
  2. Or are you experiencing other sexual or relationship issues that you may attribute to crossdreaming that did not always exist?
  3. Have you heavily used internet porn/erotic material through your adolescence and have significant relationship sexual issues today?
If any of these ring true and you are a regular user of porn or erotic TG material you need to read this.

Fantasy needed  

Crossdreamers must resort to fantasy to fulfill their sexuality. Many crossdreamers enjoy common pornography and erotic TG art and entertainment to explore crossdreaming. Captions, comics, youtube, stories ect.. and spend time daily doing so.

 Moreover, many crossdreamers combat the depression and anxiety of crossdreaming, and life in general, by immersion and escape in this material.

Many crossdreamers masterbate during crossdream fantasies as the only apparent way to satisfy the crossdream urge. This has been my personal story and experience moreover since my own crossdreaming is expressed through the vehicle of the male libido which is hungry and more vulnerable to addiction.

Porn addiction

All this seems perfectly harmless and healthy until you weigh it against the growing understanding that pornography addiction does exist and is caused by hypersexualizing our brains with endless variety, novelty, and excitement.

 Daily PMO (porn masterbation and orgasm) over erotic material tends to align the limbic system to the material and away from being moved by real relationships with human beings. No real relationship can compete with the flood of novelty and erotic excitement that the internet can now feed us like a firehouse, and this is true regardless of sexuality or orientation.

 Aligning our brains to erotic fantasy destroys our ability to maintain a real relationship and replaces it with pixels.

The result of porn addiction can be the inability to be simulated sexually except through fantasy, erectile dysfunction, growing severity of existing fetish, depression, the inability to focus, confusion over sexual orientation, degradation of willpower, and even the acquisition of new fetishes.

The plastic brain

An understanding of neuroplasticity and the specific plasticity of sexuality needs to be permitted into our lexicon and into our understanding of ourselves.

The evolving science behind this and what to do about it is articulated very well at this site: http://www.yourbrainonporn.com.

The changes to our brains by this process is real and physical, but can be reversed. If anyone reading this can relate to part of what is written here you should go to that site and read up on the science behind porn addiction and what you can do to recover your brain and make it more receptive to a real relationship--assuming that is what you want in your life.

I blamed my sexual problems on crossdreaming for years while I ignored my exploding porn addiction. What I am re-learning is that crossdreaming need not be incompatible with the relationships that I need and want in my life.

 I can't be the only person who's crossdreaming has become a major problem only through hypersexualizing my brain with PMO. I hope this finds it way to others and helps them.

This post was originally posted over at Crossdream Life. You will also find comments over there.

74 comments:

Elsa Delyth said...

Never been a huge fan of live action born. Speculations about their circumstances, senses of their moods, and inclinations, and intentions as people that accept money to do that kind of thing with people they don't care about is usually a buzz killer -- I always preferred complete fiction, with stories, and characters that I know something about, that has some depth to them. Written, or manga. Though, even then I often can't help by speculate, and be interested in the type of person behind the pen, which matters. I do like getting lost in fiction though, suspending disbelief, and imagining that they really are in love, they really do want each other that much. Or they're really enjoying it that much.

For this reason also, even though I explore a wide variety of material, I usually return to the same few things, which I know best. Novelty is nice, but isn't paramount, and takes a lot of work, and development to interest me.

I am also a complete fetishist, and always have been, in that it has always been lesbians that interest me. Exclusively. The first porn I ever saw, I though was gross. I still think that the overwhelming vast majority of porn is just gross.

As for frequency though, sure, when I was a teenager, I'd masturbate frequently, multiple times a day sometimes, but since then my libido isn't as raging, and it is more like three times a week.

I should probably stop though, because it does present a life, and situations that can never be mine, that I can never be involved in. It is an escape, and I do have a hard time becoming intimate, and being liked, because it isn't like all of the fantasy relationships I have always imagined, and seen. Instead, it's gross, and wrong.

I'm fucked up like that. I did try to not read anything like that for awhile, but compounded with many other things, I become very depressed. Although, I did become the most outgoing for that year, but it was also the year that I became obsessed with transsexualism.

I should stop though...

joanna Santos said...

I am almost completely convinced that crossdreaming is rooted in a mis wiring of the brain which makes some of us highly susceptible to it. I do not enjoy nor read or watch porn of any sort and I explore my crissdreaming through my public identity as a woman. However, that also means I need to imagine myself as a female in order to achieve orgasm during sexual relations with a woman. I have tried to eradicate this my entire life with no success and yes I agree that male sexuality is more volatile to fall prey to addiction.

I am starting to be convinced that all forms of crossdreaming are rooted in pre existing conditions within the individual that make a normal sex near impossible. In this way I think all crossdreamers are dysphoric but only in terms of varying degrees. Someone who is mildly dysphoric may dispel the notion that this is so but its interesting to note that they cannot modify their behavior no matter how hard they try.

I would argue that if one is not dysphoric they should, theoretically, be able to stop their behavior and partake in normal male sexuality. The fact that they cannot is for me very telling.

tg_captioner said...

It's really unfortunate that this is probably true for a greater portion including myself. The very idea of living out a fantasy of being a woman in itself opens up for wanting to be many different types of women to explore this fantasy further. Because porn is access to naked female bodies, unfortunately this is typically a path many of us take. One site I frequent a lot because I want to fullfill this fantasy is the "her side of the hills" tumbler page.

Anonymous said...

This competition of fetishism with vanilla sexuality is common to almost any fetish you can find. For Joanna, every fetish that can be strong enough to compete with vanilla sexuality, is a result of mis wiring of the brain. I can understand the morality of trangender people wanting to make this experience a symptom of transgenderism, but you won't understand anything if you don't appreciate that for most of us it has nothing to do with transgenderism and everything to do with a fetish, a fetish that can become all consuming like any other fetish. When my father would drink, he would become abusive and horrifying. He once threatened that if any of his sons became a faggots, he would cut off our dicks. I am now a normal man, stuck with an embarrassing fetish. The recurring fantasy throughout my life has been to come out as a sissy faggot and for daddy to punish as required. I am not dysphoric, because there is no object of dysphoria in my kind of fantasies.

joanna Santos said...

The problem I have with the fetish argument is that the strong desire to dream of being female predates sexualisation. I have been this way since earliest memories and my dressing was innocent and devoid of eroticism.

I am afraid I don't buy into the fetish argument and this my primary reasoning for doing so.

Had I begun at or after puberty, the fetsish argument would carry weight.

Also I no longer suffer guilt or shame so my reasoning is based strictly on my extensive reading and personal experience.

joanna Santos said...

Although perhaps I am wrong when I say that all crossdreaming is rooted in biology. For some like anonymous it may be indeed be pure fetish...

Jack Molay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The problem you have with what you call the fetish argument is ill conceived, (1) in that you suppose that sexuality begins in puberty, or that something can only become sexual after puberty. The same situation with countless other fetishes, please read

http://www.balloonland.com/Fet/Preattractors.htm


Also, (2) it is realistic not to expect a pre teen to recognise sexually rooted feelings as sexual, let alone for a pre teen to have reliable concept of sexuality.

(3) What you say is dysphoria, will for most people be the feelings that accompany any sexually stimulating object.

(4) It would be fair to say that biology only factors for the very few who speculate to have had pre existing feminine or trans feelings, those who are simply less manly than other boys, or those who have the sensitive disposition for fetishization.

(5) In this we have reconciled both of our positions, is this not correct and nice?

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

You are certainly right in children being sexual beings. They may not consider their feelings such, but everything from nursing to rough and tumble play may have erotic overtones.

I remember one 6 year old friend of the family, who enthusiastically told my girl friend that riding the carousel made his willy tingle.

The same applies to animals. Lab rats develop a preference for the room in which they had sex the first time. I have know cats who have developed fetishes for shoes, suitcases, wolly sweaters, house plants... anything really.

It is also clear that transgender people, like all other people, develop sexual preferences, many of them grounded in early "imprints", as the article you refer to states.

I remember reading about one crossdresser who had developed an enthusiasm for American civil war ball gowns. That particular garment preferene was most certainly a fetish.

But note also that in most of these cases, there is a biological driver that "fuels" the fetish.

Physical rough and tumble play among children is clearly driven by an instinct that encourages them to learn and bond ("hide and seek" is a game played by many mammals.)

My cat biting the wolly sweater and pushing at it with her paws was regressing to her life as a kitten at her mother's nipple. The sexual baby talk among human has a similar origin.

In the same way you can say that our "Southern Belle" was driven by an inborn need to express herself as a woman (and not as a man), because there is some kind of biological imperative that tells her to do so.

So far no one has been able to prove anything scientifically as to whether the various transgender conditions are more than a fetish, but I can assure you that those that experience gender dysphoria know.

This is nothing like the feeling "that accompany any sexually stimulating object". For them this is not about an object, but about a subject. Their identity.

Anonymous said...

Is it that my fetish for coming out to my daddy, would be biological if my childhood fear of being a sissy faggot, was based on me being in some way, biologically feminine and gay? Won't most people have my fetish simply because of the fear of being a sissy faggot? Is this the correct context to place biology here? So who and who will not have a biological component? It is difficult to gather from childhood memories whether I had any homosexual or feminine feelings, I do not remember any, and I do not have any in adult life. For someone like Joanna, it is too difficult to gather whether her early dressing implies either way.

When I talk of that feeling which accompanies any sexual object, I do not mean identity. I mean the same potential feelings like these people?

http://vimeo.com/19783541

Even when I am not aroused, I have a deep longing or wish that I could go back in time to when I was a young boy, so I could plan the scenario of being caught by my father. I know I like the idea of doing it because it is my fetish, but why is it that I like the idea of doing it any way? You know what I mean?

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

First feminine and gay are two independent variables. Gay men are no more feminine than straigth men.

Some MTF crossdressers may fear that they are gay, if they have fantasies of being a woman, but that is their upbringing talking.

"Won't most people have my fetish simply because of the fear of being a sissy faggot? Is this the correct context to place biology here?"

I am not sure what you mean here. It seems to me that in many, if not most contemporary cultures, boys and men are conditioned to fear the "sissy" label or its equivalents. The worst thing you can be called is a girl. (This is truly depressing, I know).

This causes a lot of sexism, a lot of repression and a lot of fear, but only a small minority of men develops sissyfication fantasies, that is the desire to be "sissyfied" and humiliated.

Indeed, even though such fantasies are more common among male to female crossdressers and crossdreamers, I have no reason to believe that they are in majority there either.

I also hear of many crossdreamers who may have had such fantasies, but who leave them behind when they have gotten a better grasp of their own psyche and identity. Their dream of becoming the other sex, does not disappear, though.

In other words: There is as much diversity among crossdreamers as there is in the larger transgender population and among people in general. All develop different deires, fantasies and fetishes based on their own particular life history. This is also why there are so many sub-genres of TG fiction and erotica, sissyfication being only one of many.

This is why I doubt crossdreaming can be expained as a fetish, although it may express iteself through fetishes.

As I have said before, it is possible to imagine two completely different causes for crossdreaming, one being fetishistic and another a more complex set of causes with some biological components.

I do not have the evidence needed to dimiss such an explanation out of hand, but I doubt it as I see to many similarities between what would have been the "fetishistic crossdreamers" and the "trans crossdreamers."

Jack Molay said...

Allow me to look at this from another angle.

As noted some MTF crossdreamers and crossdressers are gender dysphoric, and suffer intensely from what they percieve as a misalignment between a female mind and a male body.

The reason I finally concluded that this is much more than a fetish or something caused by a psychological trauma or imprining is found in the intersex population.

For a long time it was (and is) a common practice for doctors to turn XY boys with ambigious genitalia into girls as it is easier to make a vagina than to build a penis. Boys with underdevloped penises had them removed and was turned into girls.

A significant proportion of these intersexed boys develop a severe type of gender dysphoria that is indistinguishable from the one develope by trans women (and trans men for that matter). You can read about one such story here.

Again we face a diversity of life histories and life experiences, and there is no reason to believe that their dysphoria is caused by fetishes. There are simply too many of them in this particular population.

Moreover, in these cases we have clear evidence that they have been exposed to the same androgens as other boys when in the womb.

(See this paper for more details.)

But this is not the whole story, either. Some of the interesexed boys raised as girls do not develop gender dysphoria (or at least, they do not report intense suffering of this kind).

This tells me at least that there is more than biology to sex identity development and that the number of biological as well as personal and cultural factors contributing is very large indeed. Which probably means that we will never find a simple explanation for why some people become transgender, and others not.

joannaS said...

This has turned into a very interesting discussion and I agree with Jack that the psychological trauma or early imprinting argument holds no water when it comes to gender dysphoria. The fact that some people who were transformed into girls from botched circumcisions and then grew up to identify as men shows that there is basic biological brain identity as one gender or another.

Gender dysphoric people, I believe, have a faulty wiring (if you will) in that there is a misalignment in their self perception as their birth sex and this is not caused by socialization.

Orientation and gender identity are not the same thing and we all know people who are very feminine or masculine (in both genders) and their orientation does not necessarily line up along these lines.

But I do note that for Anonymous there may be no gender dysphoria at play here but simply a kind of sexual anxiety brought on through his childhood trauma regarding his father. This anxiety has taken the form of a sexual deviation or kink which has fortified itself into adulthood.

The human mind is complex and we are complex creatures with so many variables at play.

fmitsui said...

Jack,

At risk of sounding separatist, I have to wonder if the broadest spectrum includes people that have the same behaviors/inclinations from different causes.

When we finally get detailed enough equipment and brain scans I expect we will find a double bell curve that is something like the 2d4d spread. Some males and females will have gender opposite brain structures while only a portion will crossdream and a smaller portion with dysphoria... I am not sure that will be any help even if you knew your own structure. However it might show if cross dreaming requires the physical female brain structures.

joannaS said...

@fmitsui

I suspect that your hypothesis that that we will one day find slight abnormalities in the brain chemistry of dysphorics indicating a predisposition towards crossdreaming will be proven correct.

Elsa Delyth said...

Brain scans, and other such things must begin with a prejudice about what counts, and doesn't count as the preconceived result. "This is a female brain" is decided before any scan is done, so that discrepancies further expand the category, and knowledge about what counts as a "female" or "male" brain. This decision is always made before any type of scan is made, and is the determination of the scan. Any discrepancies in the transgendered brain can be used to discredit them, or as proof against their being their identified gender, when if it were a cisgender, their differences would be integrated, and used to expand ideas about what counted as a female brain.

Forgive me if I find such a methodology question begging, ridiculous, and proof of nothing other than our own prejudices.

Anonymous said...

My sissy fetishism comes from the fear of being a sissy instilled by my father, but it is correct to say that biology can only factor here, if being biologically feminine was a factor in the fear?

So one boy may have my fetish because of the fear itself of being a sissy, where another boy may be a sissy fetishist because of fears having some basis in a repressed feminine nature? Is this not the correct context to place biology in my fetish?

Would you say that for me to explain my fetish, my childhood fear of being a sissy, has been expressed through a fetish?

When you are talking of people enjoying sissy fantasies less after they understand their identity more, this is strange, because whether or not my sissy fetishism has any basis in a feminine nature, I am stuck for the rest of my life, with a fetish deriving from the fear of being a sissy. So if you say I am a crossdreamer, my crossdreaming is explained as a fetish? But what is it if not a fetish? If a fetish means that you are sexually excited by something, then that means I have an fetish and nothing else, but if I am a woman like Joanna, does that not mean I have an extra property of being a transgender? Does crossdreamer mean I am sexually excited by something, or does it mean that I am sexually excited by something and also am a transgender, or does it mean I just am transgender? So if crossdreaming is just a fetish, then there are transgender crossdreamers, but if crossdreaming is just transgender, then crossdreaming is another word for the same property?

Did you watch the documentary I linked? Do you know any more like this? I think there is nothing wrong with most of the people, simply they are stimulated by an unusual thing. What was interesting in that documentary was how much the people come to love and have dysphporia for the strange objects that they are sexually excited by. Do you think that I could come to love my fetish as much as they love theirs, or maybe if the circumstances were different I would do?

fmitsui said...

@Elsa Delyth,

You would profile what a women's brain looks like by scanning a lot of women's brains to the right resolution and recording their reported sexuality. Do that 5000 times and you will have something useful as a profile of the female brain to compare to other samples. Any science can be corrupted by bad methods.

Elsa Delyth said...

@fmitsui

You don't understand my objection. The one million scan no more tells you what a women's brain looks like than the first. That they are looking at a woman's brain is concluded before any scans are made. It wouldn't matter how different each woman's brain was from one and other, it would never disqualify them as being women for showing variance. It is only supposed to demonstrate something with the transgendered. A double standard is erected there. Any differences now, from other women's brains, and they must not be women. This would never be concluded if they obviously were a woman just by looking at them -- even if some women had identical features to a typically male brain, they would just call that "overlap" -- and supposing after the ten billionth scan, they found a very different brain than any other woman they have scanned, they would say "oh, I guess women's brains can be like that too". No amount of variance would lead them to say that a ciswoman wasn't a woman, no matter how many scans have been done.

Categories are arbitrary prejudices. No brain scan is going to convince anyone that you have a "female brain".

Similarly, no matter how similar a male brain is to 99.99% of all female brains (supposing the inverse that they are all quite similar), as long as they were stereotypically male, clearly, obviously male in look a behavior, then they would conclude "I guess male brains can be like that too!" overlap...

It is a double standard from either direction. Because with the comfortable, cisgender, behaviorally, and aesthetically comfortable in their gender, the brain scan in no way demonstrates what gender they are. They set the state for attempting to place the transgendered.

fmitsui said...

I understand your objection, I just don't see how its relevant. To biology, sex is a matter of fact not supposition thus profiling the common female brain and comparing the statistical mean to their reported behavioral patters would add something to what we know. I guess I just have more faith in the statistical ability to profile biological facts and learn something from them than you do.

joanna Santos said...

I understand the problem here and it would likely be difficult to eliminate bias and preconceived results but the idea is a good one.

I don't believe that this whole issue is ONLY about biology but feel that an inherent predisposition is present which encourages the crossdreaming. After that our individual sociological circumstances come into play and those influences make their mark.

Cispeople with no such predisposition would presumably not become crossdreamers.

My brother was made up and dressed like a girl and he has not the slightest interest in crossdressing today. I believe he represents the typical cisgender normal case where no amount of prodding or encouragement will change that.

You could cut off his penis at birth and he would grow up certain that he was a male and a mistake had been made just like the case of David Reimer.

Elsa Delyth said...

@fmitsui

I don't think that you do... you faith is unreasonable if you cannot overcome my objection.

Brain scans won't, and can't demonstrate what gender or sex you are.

The gender/sex categories are a priori, and the evidence is interpreted through them, they are not determined by the evidence.

My objection is not that some people, or some methods are prejudiced, but that we all are, in an insurmountable way.

This is no different than the idea that we can give people brain scans to predetermine whether they will be serial killers, rapists, or psychopaths and euthanize them, or arrest them before they've done anything, based on a brain profile. Profiling has had such a fantastic history of success, that I'm sure it will be unprejudiced this time! Unlike all of the other times, and situations in which it is a travesty, I'm sure it will work out this time.

Or at least, we can say that perhaps this kind of profiling will not be as consequential as others, and we all need something to have faith in...

fmitsui said...

@Elsa Delyth

I don't even think we are talking about the same thing. If a human has a vagina (was born a women), we know by empirical observation that 99%+ of those with a vagina also have ovaries. if we can correlate a vagina uniquely to particular brain structures we would then be able to theorize that this brain structure is particularly female just as we know ovaries to be. If that relationship does not exist uniquely (statistically) to females, we also learn something.

I think you are attributing a metaphysical quality gender while I, for the purpose of speculating on a brain scan study, view it as an empirical fact of birth.

Once you had that statistical profile of a female/male brain you could then analyze reported and observed behaviors and start asking the questions as to how and where the relevant changes took place in development.

The profiling I am talking about does have a fantastic history of success and is basically the basis for most science.

Elsa Delyth said...

@fmitsui

So we start with a stipulated definition, "all those born with a vagina are women", in the process, excluding the transgendered, right off the bat, and then proceed to correlate related features -- but, as I have been saying, you started with a definition. You question begged your conclusion.

This is what I mean by beginning with a prejudice.

There is no need to go through all of those supposedly objective, sciency motions. Just stipulate a more inclusive definition. Question beg a more accepting conclusion.

It is also fair to point out that reducing women to vaginas isn't very flattering to women in general. Muliebrity is a character one matures into. No animals, nor are the immature women, regardless of anatomy.

You imagining your stipulated definitions to be empirical facts of birth is just a reification, and worse yet, redefines common words, arbitrarily reducing them to anatomical structures in order to attempt to demonstrate their correlation to anatomical structures!

Ironically also, this flies in the face of true empiricism, and is a form of rationalism. Empiricism is the view that knowledge comes from experience, is mainly a posterori, so you should look up the words, and use accepted definitions. It is rationalism that thinks that knowledge is largely a priori, and one can just willy nilly stipulate new "rational definitions" on the spot without significant experiential precursors.

In downplaying the legitimacy of prejudice, preconceptions, a priori stipulations, I am the one in line with empiricism here.

Elsa Delyth said...

These ideas about the true true of the matter is the metaphysical fetishism. Truth for the sake of the truth, amirite? Are that matters are the facts, regardless of consequences!

There would be a contradiction in saying that I thought that all models, definitions, and rational constructs were fictions... but in good dialectical fashion, the truth is arrived at by reconciling a duality, antinomy, or contradiction -- but I will say that I think they are conventions, and that they're truth rests in their use, and consequences. Not in correspondence, or explanatory power.

So, my truth measuring stick is always a moral evaluation. Would allowing this be detrimental to health and well being of individuals, or society at large? If yes, then allowing it would be immoral, if no, then allowing it wouldn't be immoral. One also must ask if disallowing something causes harm, and if so, disallowing it is immoral.

Whether it is true or false isn't the question we should be asking, but whether it is good or bad. Too much evil is done in the name of truth.

I object to the gender brain profiling, for the same reason I object to the racial, and criminal profiling. They are immoral, and harmful. Gender profiling to a lesser extent, but I also see how it can be utilized to discriminate as much as, if not more than emancipate, and is to focus on the wrong things.

fmitsui said...

@Elsa Delyth

I read that you are essentially making two arguments.

One, that the speculative study in question could not truthfully profile brain structures as they relate to the sexual spectrum. This is done through a such a general philosophical position that it is essentially a repudiation of the scientific method and science itself. While I find that position to be bold it does not sound like a discussion with legs. My use of the word "empirical" was meant in the practical sense and did not invite a epistemology debate. We are just going to have to agree to disagree on this.

Also, I feel like I should point out that "begging the question" is not science, but can be a a misuse of it.

Second, you follow with the argument that such a study should not be done for the immoral 'harm' that it would do. This raises some big questions:

Who gets to decide what "harms" a person, or society?

What about when "allowing" this thing helps some people but hurts most? Hurts some and helps some? Helps most but hurts some? Who do we look to adjudicate other than freedom for the individual to choose and truth?

If morality cannot cohabitant with the truth is it really moral or sustainable?

While evil can be done in the name of the truth, that evil has betray the truth for it to manifest and persist.

It is not truth that we need fear it is what we might do with it. But fear of that is no reason to stop asking and answering questions that grow our understanding of us as human beings or let people make choices for themselves with as much truth/knowledge as possible.

Elsa Delyth said...

@fmitsui

Aristotle was wrong about science, it isn't about finding the general features that "adhere" in objects of science. Building unities is a form of rationalism, and not empiricism (and your vacuous attempts to distinguish between practical and empirical ignores that I was also the one talking about usefulness and well being, and not some reifying fictitious correspondence) -- the science is in the details. The brain scans will tell us a lot, about every individual brain. The concept, identity, or generality with which one attempts to unify the features will not be science, will not be something observed, will not be empirical, or material, but will be a prejudice. An act of rationalism, of idealism. Nothing that itself can possible be observed in any of the brain scans. Won't itself be a feature of any brains.

This isn't a repudiation of science, or the scientific method, just a demarcation.

Those involved, the people being harmed, and the societies they belong to, based on individual and community goals ethics usually isn't plagued with the same correspondence delusions, but is understood to be relative to our aims, goals, and evaluations.

Hume's guillotine, the "is ought fallacy" or the idea that you cannot derive an ought from an is is massively quoted, while very uncommonly misunderstood. Hume didn't present an impossible barrier, or unsolvable problem like people seem to think, but only said that is and ought are of a different kind of thing, that require different kinds of justifications. He believed that when you make a moral claim, that you need to put your values on the table, support it which your character, which would immediately make apparent the difference between vulgar and noble systems of morality.

Justifying something because of what is, is both irrational, but more importantly shifts the focus from oneself, to objective affairs, and is dishonest about why we think things ought to be some ways, and not others. This is a product of our values.

So, we decide by wearing our values on our sleeves, and appealing honestly to our fellows.

So, it is a deflection, a distraction, a lie that truth has anything to do with it. What we value is the root of our conclusions. Or as Nietzsche put it: “It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of – namely, the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography; and moreover that the moral (or immoral) purpose in every philosophy has constituted the true vital germ out of which the entire plant has always grown.”

The worst of it, is not that it is an intentional lie, as Nietzsche alludes to, put a self-deception as well, a self-blindness. A delusion of objectivity.

Sam Z said...

You know what, there is still no clear BRAINSCAN study confirming a biological root to transgenderism.. the studies proving its existence can be debunked with other studies (the most recent one done by a research team at Stockholm Uni. if i recall correctly).. but it isnt the only way to prove smth.. i believe in empirical evidence but its worth approaching any study method with a neutral standpoint and even with a bit suspicious attitude.. i love your philosophical debate tho !

fmitsui said...

@Sam Z,

Yes this whole silly discussion started with the speculation that we would have resolution in brain scans sometime soon..

@Elsa,

"vacuous"? now your getting nasty.

Clearly you have considerable rhetorical skills and a good deal of background in philosophy. I am impressed, but none of this is particularly relevant or interesting.

So I get it, you want to redefine what is considered scientific discovery and you think that truth can contribute nothing to morality. (Though I think you are abusing Hume to get there.)

All of this is well and good, but it really is such a abstraction from reality it is utterly useless--at least to me. If we scientist racked ourselves with such existential debates on knowledge prior to starting every study, we would just light up a joint, stay in bed, and never get anything done.

I won't be responding to the philosophical discussion further, but I am happy to keep commenting on the original topic.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, the only biological factor that was required for me to develop sissy fantasies, was for the fear that my dad instilled in me to become sexual.

Elsa Delyth said...

Sorry if "vacuous" came off as inflammatory. Poor choice of words, I meant only that no distinction existed between the empiricism I was suggesting, and pragmatism.

Again, accusing me of being abstract shows a profound misunderstanding of what I have been saying thus far.

I understand that you don't want to think about the assumptions, and prejudices that you bring to the table, and just proceed, but I think it is important to be aware of this.

Things should be as simple as they can be, but no simpler.

Elsa Delyth said...

As for the stoner talk... well I don't even drink coffee. I've been a vegan for over a decade, and do yoga and cartio for an hour a day. Couldn't be much cleaner.

Gotta keep your body healthy, and your mind sharp. Sustain good homeostasis. Good balance.

fmitsui said...

@Elsa,

Thx.

The stoner comments where not directed at you, just some color/sarcasm the image of a research scientist coping with such a crisis.

Jack Molay said...

The current batch of brainscan and brain autopsy studies is suffering from many methodological weaknesses including small samples, lack of replication and much disagreement on what is to be considered a "difference".

I am sure Elsa is right about scientists projecting their own prejudices regarding sex and gender onto the data, finding what they want to find.

They scan the brain in order to find areas where the two sexes differ. As soon as they find such an area, they conclude that this is the seat of gendered behavior or sex identity.

But there is, at the moment, no way they can prove this. For all we know, the differences may be caused by something else completely.

Using brain autopies is even harder, given the flexibility of the brain. Living like a woman or a man may change the brain, as you are conditioned culturally to solve problems in one way or the other.

The main problem with the brain scan studies, as I see it, is that they only make sense on an aggregate level. As soon as you go into the micro data, you will that many of the non-transgender men included have "feminine brains", while many women have "masculine" brains.

This reminds me of Baron-Cohen's research on what he calls "masculine" and "feminine" brains: Less than 50 percent of the women covered in his studies have "feminine" brains, according to his own definition. This does not mean that he denies the other half the right to call themselves women.

But none of this disproves the notion that biological differences may have an effect on gender formation. Nature is a laboratory in its own cruel way, and studies of peope involved in accidents causing brain damage clearly proves that the structure of the brain has effects on our personalities and our behavior.

In other words: I am not dismissing the possibility of neurophysiology giving interesting and useful input to this debate. But at the moment we must read their findings with a very critical mind.

joanna Santos said...

There will likely never be a clear resolution to any of this because we are some a complex combination of nurture and nature. The opportunity for bias in the results would be there and for some to see the results that they desire.

This does not take away my strong suspicion that there is nevertheless a predisposition towards gender identity much like we saw with the case of people like David Reimer who refused to identify as a girl despite completely socialization as one.

What this suggests to me is that people who strongly associate as the opposite gender are suffering from the same thing, ie. a predisposition or pre wiring towards the other gender.

For some that disconnect is solved with transition but for others who are between genders and whose dysphoria is not as intense, the issue becomes one of life management.

Anonymous your case may be nothing more than a fetish brought on by childhood anxiety but you also don't know to what degree you were predisposed to this such that another child suffering the same circumstances might not develop the same penchant for sissification. You or I will never know the answer but neither your insistence nor mine will be provable or resolvable.

Elsa Delyth said...

Proof is one of three things, either mathematical, logical, or a form of persuasion. Both the math, and logic are a priori, are rely on form alone, regardless of content.

When talking about content, the world, our lives, we're always talking about persuasion. We're talking about belief, about the faith people have in you, and your credibility. Prove it with your seriousness, your honesty, your character. Not fiat, be it religious or scientific.

Abandon the notion that you can force belief with the right amount of authority.

Your character, from what I've gleaned of it from this distance, and thus far persuades me (in that I think you're genuine, and honest, and that is truth enough for me).

joanna Santos said...

Elsa,

Thank you for your vote of confidence...

Elsa Delyth said...

Sorry if that seems unsatisfactory.

I know that we all want explanations, and explanations that confirm our hopes, that are real and true. We want to experience what it is like to know and believe, as reality our hopes, without doubt -- what we're after is not the truth, but an experience, a feeling.

The over concern with the truth, the suspicion of what you wish to be true, the fact that you doubt is the proof of your integrity, your credibility.

The search for proof is the wish to do away with doubt -- but the only thing that will ever do away with doubt is a sacrifice on the alter of our desires.

Reminds me of a TED talk about what it feels like to be wrong -- to the question our first impulse is to describe what it feels like to realize that we're wrong, but of course being wrong feels the exact same way as being right. In both cases we think we're right, but in one case we happen not to be right, while in the other we do.

Doubt keeps us honest, keeps us reasonable -- but faith is necessary to proceed in any direction, to do anything at all. We have to have faith to act, and doubt to think. Similarly, faith makes us not think, and doubt makes us not act.

My faith in you is my support for you to act, not to not think.

Okay, I'm done blabbing. :)

Lindsay said...

I know that the "brain scan" issue has already been over analyzed here. But here's my engineers take on any study like this:

1. Doing brain scans (or any study like it) will build up a statistical database.

2. Researchers will start to break the data into categories, in this case sex: male or female.

3. Once they have done this they will have 2 bell curves one for females and one for males.

4. If you lay the two sets of curves on top of each other they will have a certain amount of overlap.

5. You'll find that a fair number of males fall into the the typical female category and vice versa.

6. The vast majority of people in the overlap areas will be "normal" cis-gendered people.

7. You can not draw any conclusions for any given individual. Only for the whole group.

The problem is that it is easy for a researcher to use statistics on the data to come to any conclusion. They do this both consciously and subconsciously.

Most people just want an explanation for why they feel the way they do. I think they want to know the cause of their condition is out of their control. It will make them feel better.

Lindsay

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I should be predisposed to my fetish as much as a balloon fetishist was to theirs, so in that sense it is nurture. If a person with my fetish also has trans feelings, they can speculate that the trans feelings may have been a factor in the childhood fear of being a sissy which became sexual. Trans feelings or any particular predisposition don't need to be present in order to have the fetish. I think most of us on fictionmania who enjoy the sissy fetish, don't have any trans factors in their childhood sissy fears, nor to they have any trans feelings now.

If I was David David Reimer, I may happen to see differences from my medically created vagina from other girls vaginas, why I had to constantly take drugs (hormones), why I had to have medical check ups, why everyone may be overbearingly insistent on me acting a certain way that I may become resentful to it. If I hadn't been taking hormones I may wonder why my body was going through a male puberty. I think this is far from a controlled experiment.

joannaS said...

Anonymous

Your own explanation is as good as mine and I don't doubt that you believe what you say and that is that your fetish is based in nurture. You also clearly do not feel you have trans feelings in any way.

I myself do and we are likely different in that way.

As far as David Reimer goes we cannot speculate on what he found disturbing but since he was given a vagina and no longer produced testosterone from his testes he may have no longer needed to take female hormones necessarily or perhaps only a small dosage.

That is our own speculation.

I nevertheless believe that our gender identity is mostly rooted in biology and only when there is a biological misfire in this regard will the person feel like they are somehow miscast in the wrong body.

You clearly identify as a male with a fetish but others (including many here) are more ambiguous in their identity as either male or female.

Its a complicated mixture of nature and nurture that forms us so there will be every variation under the sun even if variations wont be huge as a percentage of the general population.

joannaS said...

....a balloon fetish has nothing to do with personal identity by the way.

I don't consider a shoe fetish or someone wanting to dress up as a child and get spanked by their partner to be rooted in biology. These are strictly sexual fetishes that have origins during our sexual development.

Identifying as a female as a very young prepubescent is another matter entirely however.

This is clearly where we differ.

Jack Molay said...

Neither David Reimer or Viktor/Viktoria were originally told about their original sex.

The doctors actually made a big deal about keeping the real story secret, as they feared it would cause distress. The kids still developed gender dysphoria.

Her Norwegian doctor Diseth asked the young "Viktoria" to make a drawing of herself.

The kid did so, and the drawing made Diseth reconsider everything he had learned about sex and gender.

"Viktoria" explained the drawing to Diseth:

"This is a boy, but the boy is now dead. He had a big penis; it started to grow and came up into the mouth so that the boy could not eat. The boy had to be operated. The penis were cut off, but the boy died. The penis and the boy were buried separately. All the people came to the funeral for the penis, but none came to the funeral of the boy."

What really hits me with this narrative is the very last sentence: "None cam to the funeral of the boy."

Viktor was not even allowed to grieve over the loss of his male self, because the "experts" insisted there was no male self.

I guess this is why I sometimes get too worked up when people deny the existence of an inner gendered self. The suffering felt by Viktor, Daniel and others like them is very real, and far too intense for this to be some kind of fetish.

joannaS said...

I see the inner gendered self as a sort of mosaic which is neither rigidly male nor rigidly female and which possesses a range of masculinity and femininity which varies from individual to individual.

Some males will tip over far more into a feminine identity than conventional males which will induce an attraction towards crossdreaming or crossdressing as a form of expressing their nature.

This identity I believe to be innate and predetermined at birth.

The degree of tolerance that a society has for that individual's expression of these desires will determine the amount of prejudice and suffering that they will be subjected to. Therefore, the more tolerant the culture and/or the parenting style, the more well adjusted the individual will become around this issue.

My own journey to self acceptance became far more difficult due to the societal and religious constraints I was exposed to from an early age.

Anonymous said...

What is it to feel like a gender?

joannaS said...

I see the strong association with the interests, behaviour patterns and demeanor of a particular sex (whether it be your birth sex or not) is to experience gender.

The degree to which you subscribe to the norms and expectations for your birth sex is how you will be judged by society, friends and family. If you fail to play the scripted role then you are considered to be outside of your gender and either ostracized or punished for your non conformance.

This varies from culture to culture and also from age to age depending on what is deemed acceptable or not.

Much of what we consider appropriate or not is strictly social construct depending on the culture.

If you live in Thailand you are likely to experience less rigid rules than if you live in Bible belt United States for example.

The dissonance for some is so strong that only transition will allow them to live a normal life; while for others the solution is to somehow live in between and cope as best as you can.

Anonymous said...

I like monster trucks and UFC training, does this mean I supposed to feel a masculine feeling?

So is it like, everyone in the world has some degree of nationality in them. Those that like curry, have an Indian feeling, and those that like sausages have a German feeling?

fmitsui said...

I will take a stab at this question.

Since gender is sexually driven I think it is fair to look at it from that perspective.

Being Male feels aggressive, seeking, taking, focused, hungry, insistent, and desire. Consuming.

Being female feels submissive, retreating, being taken, uncertain, the desire to be desired. Being consumed.

While these interpretations are charged with sexism it represents my experience with both poles.

Jack Molay said...

@fmitsui

"Being Male feels aggressive, seeking, taking, focused, hungry, insistent, and desire. Consuming.

Being female feels submissive, retreating, being taken, uncertain, the desire to be desired. Being consumed."

If you look at real men and real women, this is clearly not the case.

Women can be as aggressive, focused, hungry and consuming as men. Belive me! I have worked for a few of them. As soon as they are allowed to express such feelings, they will do so.

Still, I believe you are onto something, but I do not think this is about the difference between male and female.

It seems to me that you, in some way, are describing the difference between "masculine" and "feminine", and in particluar masculine and feminine sexualities.

Unfortunately these terms refer to the biological sex in English, which means that people immediately concludes that men are to be masculine and women are to be feminine. Hence the enornous social pressure used to make them behave in the correct way.

My point is that it is not uncommon for men to feminine and women to be masculine, and they will express thesse complex of traits, if they are allowed to do so.

To make this even more complex: I suspect there is also a difference between social masculinity and a sexual one. That is: A man or a woman can be socially masculine and "dominant", but receptive in bed.

This would explain why so many dominatixes report having aggressive business executives as clients.

....

Jack Molay said...

cont...


I have noted this before, but growing up in a small community on the coast of Norway, I was used to "masculine" women and "feminine" men.

The reason for this was that many men worked at sea, as fisher men or sailors, leaving the women behind to take care of everything else.

This made the women independent and self confident, allowing them to express their masculine side.

And they did, to the extent that they dominated all conversations -- which was, of course -- unacceptible among the city bourgeoisie.

In spite of this, I still believe there is such a thing as a masculine sexuality and feminine one, even if these terms cannot be clearly defined.

I am reading up on lesbian, and in particluar butch, sexualities now, and it is pretty clear that most butch lesbiand have a masculine sexuality. Indeed, their sex identity is often strongly connected to this sexuality.

They are not imitating men, though, this is not a "performance".

If I am to believe their own stories (and I do), they are expressing some kind of female masculinity and female masculine identity. This masculinity in some ways echoes the list of terms you presented. In other ways it is different.

The stone butch will, for instance, not look at herself as "consuming". She will rather focus on the romantic ideal of masculine being loving and protecting.

She takes pride in protecting her femme, guiding her femme, and -- above all -- pleasing her girl friend.

Take a look at this post on the differences between men and women.

Anonymous said...

So there is no feeling of being a gender beyond things that are associated with masculine or feminine?

And there is nothing that necessarily makes a masculine thing masculine, or a feminine thing feminine?

Anonymous said...

So things like level of testosterone and empathy, means that most boys and girls will like what they are cultured for?

And at the same time a boy can have the same levels as other boys, but just think or culture differently, or even like the same things as a girl?

Is it right that I am a male sex, but when I say I am a gender, I am really saying that I like UFC and monster trucks? This feels right

joannaS said...

I think it is true that testosterone and estrogen do play a part here and contribute towards the feminine and masculine traits that make up women and men respectively.

However, nature being what it is; it demands that there be exceptions and anomalies. This is where for some boys the desire to be feminine will exceed the norm and display itself early on; usually to be discouraged by a well meaning parent.

The ensuing suppression can lead to a kind of schizophrenic type behaviour such as dressing in binges and then purging which is commonly experienced by the majority of crossdressers for example.

That desire to be more feminine than expectation for a male is not understood but it makes sense that it occur just as much as the two headed fish or the five legged toad.

The myriad of variations in nature should be predict every type of sexual behaviour and gender elasticity.

How each person deals with it is the key with the urgency being dictated by the degree to which their dysphoria debilitates their existence.

Jack Molay said...

@Anonymous

"So there is no feeling of being a gender beyond things that are associated with masculine or feminine?"

That is not what I am saying, at least, although transgender and transsexual men and women may often use the masculine or feminine symbols and expressions of their target sex, as do the butch.

But not all trans men have started out as butch. Male to female transsexuals do not always feel feminine, but they do feel that they are women.

The women of coastal Norway may have been "mannish" in some respects, but I suspect you would find no more transsexuals among them than the population at large.

I love the blog of Lucian Clark, who calls himself a crossdressing man. He was born with a female body.

To make sense out of all this divesity, I believe we have to distinguish between masculine/feminine and your sex identity.

At the moment I find myself drawn to the following line of reasoning:

1. Yes, on an aggregated level there may be a correlation between a male sex identity, a masculine temperament, and a masculine sexuality (I am not so sure about interests like monster trucks, though).

2. Yes, transsexual men and women are often drawn to the symbols and stereotypical interests of their target sex when they try to express their inner self.

Some of this may be caused by an inborn "masculine" personality profile, but it might just as well be about using the symbols at hand in order to make sense of your own identity.

3. Yes, a majority of men may have a "masculine" sexuality, but there is a laaaaarge minority that feels otherwise.

3. The sex identity in itself, however, does not contain all these masculine or feminine interests, sexual preferences or traits.

If there is an inborn sex identity it is more like a trigger that pushes you in a certain direction.

It is as if Nature says: "You are a man (or a woman). Now, go out and find out what all that is about in your setting!"

A meaningful parallell would be a child's ability to learn languages. It is not wired for English. It is able to learn any language.

A girl (non-trans or trans) is not wired for pink ponies, but she is wired for finding a place in the community as a woman.

Jack Molay said...

Kelli has published a relevant article on purging on her blog today. She also looks into Internet addiction.

joannaS said...

Thanks for that link Jack. I myself purged many many times and it did absolutely nothing for me.

As Kelli says in her blog: the best thing is to put a positive spin on your condition which is what I finally concluded I must to in order to feel whole.

Nevertheless there can be an addictive component to everything we do and that includes my own expression of Joanna. I have had to box her in more carefully so that her demands do not control my life entirely.

As everything else in life, its all about balance.

Anonymous said...

So in my culture, if I have more aggression, I am more likely to like UFC and because UFC are association of manliness, this make me feel and identify as a man?

So there maybe there are two anomalies. One of a normal biological boy liking a girly things, and because they are girly, he feels and identifies as girl. And another anomalie of a boy with a lots of empathy, so he likes to gossip with the girls and have tea parties, which are association of girliness, so he feels and identifies as girl.

So nature is things like aggression and empathy, and nurture is where we create identity like gender

fmitsui said...

@Jack,

I agree which is why I tried to qualify my comments in that regard.

But how do we describe gender outside of terms that are masculine and feminine? If gender is not a collection of behaviors and feelings what is it? I have observed many people embrace the idea of gender in terms of a metaphysical quality/state, but I don't think that is useful or well grounded.

I thought anons question "what does being a women feel like" is a good one and extremely relevant, but seems left unanswered by anyone but me.

Are we, the human race, not assigned a random set of biologically based behaviors and tendencies and then hurled into the world for the purpose of spreading our genes? Evolutionary biology toward the whole does not care if we feel male. female, dysphoric, or whatever. It fires all of us into the biosphere like 7 billion arrows knowing that with variety, enough arrows will hit the mark to reproduce. In this context there are no natural gender identities only behaviors that are intended to flexibly support procreation.

It is then not hard to see why the archetypal male personality may in fact not be most effective strategy for procreation in many circumstances. Then It follows that flexible gender aspects, such as crossdreaming, submissive males, and fetish provide for a greater variety of procreation strategies and thus more flexibility and likelihood of success for a species.

Anonymous said...

fmitsui,

It feels correct that there is no inborn gender or identity of any kind, simply that the variances created by the levels of testosterone (aggression-empathy etc) will support socialization into gender/procreation at the functional statistical scale.

Jack Molay said...

@ fmitsui

"If gender is not a collection of behaviors and feelings what is it?"

I believe you are talking about gender identity here, right?

No one knows for sure the answer to this question, but I have seen and felt too much to dismiss it as a social construct only.

The instense feeling of being -- in one way or another -- "born this way", is hard to dismiss for the gender dysphoric.

One possible solution to the enigma is to understand sex identity as a trigger. Jung talked about archetypes that were not defined by their content, but by the effects they have on our behavior.

Hunger is instinctual, but our preferences for specific types of food are not. Our ability to learn languages is instinctual, but the languages themselves are not.

In the same way we may have a driver that compels most people to orient themselves as men or women when they grow up. This could be why gender doesn't die, even after women get equal political power (as in Norway). Most women still want to be affirmed as women, seen as women, loved as women.

I would guess that this has indeed very much to do with sex, as in sexuality.

fmitsui said...

@Jack,

I am not sure what to make of this in terms of understanding myself.

I know what being a man feels like, thats how I have lived and enjoyed 95% of my life. If I describe it to you It would be in terms of stereotyped sexists feelings and emotions. But if, as you say, thats not really what gender identity is, do I really know what "being a man" feels like? I don't see that as the case. Is not enjoying that identity enough to make it yours?

Considering my experience with the escalation of AGN/Crossdreaming with porn use and PMO, the fact that my life works perfectly well, even great, as a man, and my rationalist exploration of the experiences, it is becoming more difficult for me to view it in any kind of positive terms. The paraphilia shoe is fitting better and better on me with Crossdreaming as something I need starve out as much possible and minimize in my life.

I think part of that next step for me is to stop obsessing about trying to understand this thing and just get on with living life without an answer for why this is a part of me. That sounds pretty good right now.

Anonymous said...

@fmitsui

Yeah I'm very much like you.
Nobody cant rly describe what "being a man" feels like except saying "i like guy stuff" or smth similar..
Its more like "i dont feel like a woman" or "i dont have any issues with my life" what makes this valid.

Also what u said about AG as a sexuality.. well, for me since its not smth overwhelming and doesnt define me, it somehow makes more sense to classify it as a "fetish" or even "paraphilia", not bcause it is necessarily that, but bcause thats how i view it in contrast to my personality.. It slows me down even, drags me into a direction i dont see myself as in real life.. but i understand how it fits very well and naturally towards those who have also a female personality (it clicks for them)..

fmitsui said...

@anon,

Yes, we are definitely in the same place. Regardless if it is identity variant or fetish in reality the best shot I have for a whole and happy life is manage it like a fetish. Which if I stop spending so much time "studying" should not be too hard.

Anonymous said...

"No one knows for sure the answer to this question, but I have seen and felt too much to dismiss it as a social construct only. The instense feeling of being -- in one way or another -- "born this way", is hard to dismiss for the gender dysphoric."

Jack, you seem to imply that constructs can't be the "intense feelings". I get the feeling that as I am not a trans person, that you do not welcome me here. I think when fmitsui makes good points, you are vaguely avoiding it so you can talk about innate preconditions.

@fmitsui

"Nobody cant rly describe what "being a man" feels like except saying "i like guy stuff" or smth similar."

I can't imagine how it could be otherwise.

"Regardless if it is identity variant or fetish in reality the best shot I have for a whole and happy life is manage it like a fetish."

How do you distinguish between them?

fmitsui said...

@anon,

Here is what I mean.

If it is an identity, it is a part of what you are in a fundamental way. To deny it is to cut a piece of your being out and to deny part of yourself. Doing so only leads to other problems.

If it is a fetish or paraphilia then it is, to put it crudely, an appendage or vestigial artifact I won't really miss if I can manage to starve it or cut it off completely.

Perhaps to your point, there may be no (or few) absolutes and living at the crossroads of sexuality give you options to shape your life. The wolf you feed wins.

It occurs to me that people that successfully walk away from AGN/crossdreaming as a major factor in their life don't have a lot of reason to hang out on these boards and forums to post their success and even if they did, it seems there would be always be skepticism toward it.

fmitsui said...

@anon,

Here is what I mean.

If it is an identity, it is a part of what you are in a fundamental way. To deny it is to cut a piece of your being out and to deny part of yourself. Doing so only leads to other problems.

If it is a fetish or paraphilia then it is, to put it crudely, an appendage or vestigial artifact I won't really miss if I can manage to starve it or cut it off completely.

Perhaps to your point, there may be no (or few) absolutes and living at the crossroads of sexuality give you options to shape your life. The wolf you feed wins.

It occurs to me that people that successfully walk away from AGN/crossdreaming as a major factor in their life don't have a lot of reason to hang out on these boards and forums to post their success and even if they did, it seems there would be always be skepticism toward it.

Anonymous said...

@fmitsui

So when you say identity, you mean like I "feel male" in so much as I like the monster trucks and UFC?

Or the feelings that accompany any sexually stimulating things, like potentially as much as these people?

http://vimeo.com/19783541

http://youtu.be/rCgJZFlxtUU

http://www.crossdreamlife.com/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=492

fmitsui said...

There different things and not comparable - if an intrinsic identity exists-.

The identity view is that gender is hard wired into what we are and variations on that wiring is behavioral nurture adaptations that will always compete with that underlying tendency. I still think you would describe it in sexists terms. Feeling those sexists stereotypes and experience being content with it, or at very least the absence of dyshporia. This is not my view, but seems to be a way of describing how many approach it.

I think sexuality is ala cart and most people wind up with a mix of male and female urges and aspects and there is no real identity except to the extent that we humans interpret and respond to the consequences of the natural world. The more I read on forums that more suspect that mentally stability affects the ability to be decisive over gender identity one way or the other.

YMMV

Anonymous said...

@fmitsui

We have already shown why an intrinsic identity/behaviour can not exist, as I can only identify through UFC/monstertrucks and them being associated with masculinity, and at most I can say that I like UFC and trucks because I have more biological aggression, or because I was socialized to like them. For intrinsic identity/behaviour to exist, means that a liking of UFC/monstertrucks will be innate, and there is nothing otherwise that you can allude to.

The people in the links are the same in the sense that they are turned on by things, but also that many of them have come to love what turns them on. This looks the same as many people who have the same sissy fetish as me, who come to love the idea of transition, like interbingung on crossdreamlife

fmitsui said...

Anon,

I have to acknowledge that there is some part of m/f sexuality that is instinct and hard wired. If we raised a hypothetical boy and girl on a deserted island with no social contact I think we would all expect to see children if we came back 20 years later.

At very least the copulation preference (pitcher/catcher) seems likely to be a matter of biology even if its not understood in terms of penetration. This may be the same thing as the 'biological aggression' you refer to.

Perhaps that is all there is to sexuality, aside from hormones and plumbing, and everything is, more ancillary to sexuality wither nature or nurture.

prakash m said...

this thread really went off topic and every thing fmitsui posted is 100 % true no mater what others think and believe .

If there is any one else facing the similar problem and had success rebooting please contact me at raisephenix gmail

Sam Z said...

Hey Jack, this article got me thinking.. and i decided i wanted to give you my perspecive of how male-identified with TG / AG fantasies might much be caused by biology + the psyche and sexual behaviour. I dont know much about microbiology but it kindof struck me, since i've been researching porn addiction and its effect on our brains..

Studies show that when a male develops an addiction for porn or erotic material (unlike healthy boundaries), the androgen receptor-activity decrease in amount and prolactin levels arise in the long run. The testosterone drop happens too but its very temporary along with the dopamine shot we get from when we get off.. maybe the sex-genes and receptors actually can switch during the addiction to this material causing some "normal" males to develop more unusual tastes resembling some aspects of the female copulative instincts. Or maybe even some particular images turn these genes on and off.. or even the psyche can affect them (anxiety, emasculation, traumas etc.)
It is very possible a sexual addiction can lead a male-identified person to question their gender too even if off porn they would feel more like the next guy.

Off porn, people abstraining from it report a spike in testosterone around the 7th day and the androgen receptors become more active again.
While these male-identified people report feeling empowered, masculine and happy, some dysphorics might actually feel worse..

Maybe for many dysphoric crossdreamers, feeling temporarily like men when masturbating compulsively happens because it decreases the androgen receptor activity similarly like androgen-blockers.. and on HRT, this addiction not only stops but they notice this sexual addiction was only a coping mechanism for dysphoria?

Do you know about any studies confirming what wirings and genes are there by default for trans vs. cis-people?

Jack Molay said...

You raise some very interesting questions. They serve to illustrate how the interaction between body and mind goes both ways, which again makes it hard to identify what comes first: some kind of inborn identity or the lived life of a transgender person.

My main problem with the "TG erotica made me transgender" hypothesis is that it does not explain why someone would be turned on by the idea of being the opposite sex in the first place.

Given the strong taboos associated with feminization in men, we should expect heterosexual men to avoid such erotica at all cost, in the same way most of them avoid gay porn. This is why I (like you) take the interest in TG captions and fiction as a symptom of something else, something deeper.

If you are right the hormone levels change this way for all men looking at porn. Why are some -- but not all -- "feminized" in this way? And as you point out, why do the dysphoric feel worse after abstaining from porn?

I have looked into a lot of research on brain structures and trangender identities, and none of them answer your questions, I am afraid. No one has identified a gene or set of genes causing transgender conditions.

Moreover, most of the researchers take the "female brain" vs. "male brain" dichotomy for granted, and look for VISIBLE regions in the brain were men and women differ ON AVERAGE. Methodologically speaking, this is in itself questionable.

They then look at the brains of transsexuals and try to see whether their brains follow the same patterns.

None of the researchers really know what the identified parts of the brains are for. Nor do they normally correct for the lived life of the transgender persons (for instance: that living the testosterone filled life of a biological male may change these parts of the brain of a trans woman).

Moreover, the concept of male and female brains is in itself problematic, as stereotypical "male" and "female" traits and abilities overlap significantly in both men and women. Even Baron-Cohen's research shows that less than 50 percent of his female subjects have a "female brain", which makes the concept meaningless in my mind.

More about this here, here and here.

Sam Z said...

Jack,

Actually i wasn't saying it causes it, it's very unlikely... but i was saying sexual behavior, like addiction, easily could morph / intervene or affect these wirings / genes, activating or disabling them..
That also could go for any other type of porn tastes. The tendency to fall for a certain kink or fantasy is there but only in certain circumstances.

Seems like the more i talk with recovering addicts, it seems like most of them have escalated to stuff they never would fantasize about outside porn (some even AG "fetishists" whom are otherwise typical males)..
Actually, this stuff being taboo in our society makes it all the more exciting ("Exotic becomes erotic").. that goes for both extremes of crossdreamers. Porn addiction becomes more about going into forbidden stuff so anxiety is kindof a necessary spark for many including me.
The differentiation could be useful to be made between being addicted to TG / AG porn or similar types of tastes simply to get off or it being a sexuality one identifies with, which usually never is not a symptom of porn addiction. Many here never have had this problem.

I don't really think it has to be an identity in the background but there might be a similar gene or wiring common with both sides of the spectrum - this seems like the most probable thing since most don't develop dysphoria. We'll have to wait and see what they find out, too bad the biology side of this is not that conclusive yet.
I dont remember if it was a Baron-Cohen study but they found a gene they believe is linked to sex-identity, which seems to morph all the time. Don't know if you know what it's called or if that's important to know.