August 3, 2014

Crossdreaming Described

This is crossdreaming
Crossdreamers violate gender expectations.
Photo: kvkirillov

The term crossdreaming was coined to describe the phenomenon that some people get aroused by the idea of being the "other sex" (relative to their assigned sex at birth).

I found that although such fantasies are quite common in transgender circles (I use the word "transgender" in its broad umbrella sense here, covering all types of gender variance). However, very few talk about them.

This is mainly caused by the fact that crossdreaming is taboo in most contemporary cultures. This especially applies to so-called Western societies, and to male bodied crossdreamers more than to those assigned female at birth. People have a tendency of looking down at men who feel an affiliation with anything female. Add sexual feelings to the mix, and you are immediately facing a lot of prejudices. This negative view of male to female transgender feelings and expressions is also reflected in some of the relevant research.

This silence is causing a lot of unnecessary confusion, repression and shame. In my experience, anything that becomes such an important part of people's lives reflects a side of their personality that needs to be understood and integrated, regardless of what causes the phenomenon. 

We need to talk about this. That's why I made this blog.

The diversity of crossdreamers

In my discussions with crossdreamers and transgender people I have found that there are both male bodied and female bodied crossdreamers. Some identify with their assigned sex, others with their target sex, and some identify with both genders or neither. 


For some the crossdreaming seems to be an isolated "gender violation" -- sometimes  purely sexual. For others crossdreaming is just one of many ways of expressing the "other gender".

Some crossdreamers are attracted to men, some to women and some to both, although in online crossdreamer forums you will find that a majority is sexually oriented towards people of their target sex. That is: If they identify with their assigned sex they will consider themselves heterosexual. This applies to both female bodied and male bodied crossdreamers.

There is a huge overlap between crossdressers and crossdreamers, in the sense that many -- if not most -- crossdressers also crossdream. There also crossdreamers who do not crossdress, however. I am one of them.

There is also a significant overlap between crossdreamers and women and men who call themselves girlfags and guydykes. A girlfag is a woman who feels a strong affinity with male gay culture and who may imagine herself as a man having a relationship with another man. Guydykes often think of themselves as "male lesbians".

Note also that many crossdreamers change their understanding of who they are as they discuss their crossdreaming with others and learn more about themselves. Some crossdreamers ultimately find that they are transsexual. Some transition. Others don't.

A majority of crossdreamers do not transition, but some do, and a lot of trans women and trans men report that they have had such fantasies before transitioning -- some also after.

In other words: There is a lot of diversity among crossdreamers, in the same way that there is a lot of diversity in transgender circles in general.

On using the terms

Please note that anyone can use the term crossdreamer to describe this phenomenon, regardless of what they believe causes it. Unlike related terms like "autogynephilia" or "transvestic fetishism", this term does not point to one particular explanation.

I should also add that I have never personally considered crossdreamer a new identity, in the way that transgender, gay or lesbian are used as identities. For me crossdreaming is primarily a term used to describe one of many facets of transgender lives.

Note also that there are crossdreamers, girlfags and guydykes who do not identify as "transgender", even if they formally fit under the transgender umbrella. It must be up to them to decide what words to use to describe themselves.

More information about crossdreaming.

14 comments:

Sam Z said...

Great post!

I think there should be a shortcut link to this post in the future, when this post is not on the front-page so people can access it more easily. It summarizes well the main definition side of crossdreaming!

Jack Molay said...

Good idea, and yes, I will do that. I have already linked to it on the resource page.

Jack

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Jack. Trust you had a nice break.
:)
--T

joanna Santos said...

welcome back fro vacation Jack! of course you have put the finger on the nutshell issue at hand. What you call crossdreaming exists and has always existed and is experienced by a great many people including pre-transition transsexuals. We are beginning to demystify this phenomena and remove the taboos surrounding it.

My girlfriend is keenly aware I experience it and we are able to talk about it openly and how it impacts our relationship.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
First, let me tell you, that I'm glad, I have found your page. There are so few resources related to this topic.

I have however a little problem with your definition of crossdreaming. Or maybe I don't understand it correctly. You see, I don't exist according to it.
What am I? I am a person with female body, identifying myself as an intergender person. I live my life as a female with some unisex characteristic and don't want to go through transition.

Back to my crossdreaming(?). I do not get aroused by the idea or image of myself as a man. Quite opposite, I get turned on by my female body. But I do get also aroused by fantasies about having sex with women as male or "something" between male and female. (I also have female/female fantasies)

There is a second thing that bothers me a little. You seems to use FtM crossdreamer and girlfag as synonyms, but they are not. There are people like me and I do have this suspicions that some of them are hiding in lesbian communities (not necessary butch)
And sorry for my English, I am not native.
Alex

Jack Molay said...

English is not my first language, either.

As for the definition of crossdreaming. You a right: Strictly speaking what you describe is not crossdreaming -- at least not in its narrow sense, but it is most certainly related to crossdreaming.

Many of my crossdreamer friends use the word in a way that would also include your fantasy, however: Having sex as a man, while still being a woman. Maybe I should change the way I describe crossdreaming.

I have been careful not to define crossdreamer as a separate identity. It is, rather, one of many ways gender variance can express itself.

You are also right in saying that crossdreamer and girlfag are not synonyms. They are overlapping circles of gender variance. Some girlfags are truly crossdreamers, others are not.

I also agree that the concept of female masculinity requires careful reflection, independently of sexual orientation.

The masculinity of a girlfag or a butch is not necessarily the same as the extreme masculinity of the archetypal diesel dyke. There are many ways of expressing such feelings and such identities.

This also means that we have to look at the MTF crossdreamer in a new light. Not all MTF crossdreamers dream of becoming a hyper-feminine woman. I suspect only a minority does.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Molay said...

@micha,

Thank you for sharing this!

Yes, isn't it amazing to be accepted by the one you love! My wife and I have grown closer since she learned to know about my "secret identity".

Take also a look at Crossdream Life, if you want to meet more crossdreamers!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to see that this has a name.

I'm a cis-male who never understood this huge part of my sexual life and even had problems within a current relationship with a girl. Hope I can learn more about it.

Jack Molay said...

If you want to discuss this side of you with other crossdreamers, I suggest you join http://crossdreamlife.lefora.com . There are many others like us over there.

Jhon David said...

What you said is so true, there is more things to explore about dreams but I'm not sure what are dreams that comes in the minds of people while living in this world.

Márcia S. Visconti said...

Hi Jack Molay

Estou postando seu texto no meu blog
a fim de esclarecimento pras crossdresser do Brasil
e estudo
coloquei o link do seu site
e não tenho nenhum interesse em ganhar dinheiro com esse meu blog
voce ve algum problema nisso ??
caso haja problema por favor me contate por email
marciasvisconti@gmail.com
que eu rapidamente excluirei a postagem
seu site eh maravilhoso e eh um terreno riquissimo no assunto
acho que vai ajudar muitas amigas crossdresser no Brasil

muito grata


Jack Molay said...

The previous content is in Portuguese. Here is a rough Google translation:

I'm posting your text on my blog
to clarify pras crossdresser in Brazil
And study
I put the link on your website
and I have no interest in making money with this my blog
you see a problem with that ??
if any problem please contact me by email
marciasvisconti@gmail.com
I quickly excluirei posting
your site eh eh wonderful and one very rich ground in the subject
I think it will help a lot of friends crossdresser in Brazil

very grateful

And yes, Marcia, that is OK!

Join the Crossdream Life Forum!