March 30, 2016

The Faceless Man and The Transgender Totem

Felix writes about using active imagination in his new book, 
a tool that can help transgender people connect with
the other self or their truegender as he calls it.
(Photo by Mizina)
Felix Conrad, crossdreamer philosopher and agent provocateur, has published a new ebook: The Science & Art of Transgender Erotica.  

This book contains a mix of philosophical essays and transgender fiction.

Felix Conrad  does not give a damn about the kind of social conditioning that makes people cringe when they see a four letter word or make them squirm when they read some really explicit descriptions of "kinky" sex.

He puts it all out there,  because crossdreamers need to face their sexual fantasies and stop being ashamed of them.

In order to accept yourself, you have to see yourself, and in order to do that, you have to get past sexual and cultural hang-ups regarding gender violations, sexual orientation and cross-gender arousal.

That being said, it could be that including an explicit sissy humiliation short story in a book discussing the origins of crossdreaming and gender dysphoria might confuse both transgender erotica connoisseurs and the ones looking for info on trans. But I do get the point: The story serves as an illustration of one of the topics of the book: (1) Why humiliation can be such a turn-on for some crossdreamers.

The other main topics are: (2) The sexual orientation of male to female crossdreamers and the role of the faceless man in crossdreamer fantasies, and (3) The use of active imagination in transgender psychology.

All these discussions presents some really interesting, but controversial, takes on what it means to be a male to female crossdreaming transgender person. (Like me Felix uses the word transgender as an umbrella term for all types of gender variance, while crossdreamer refers to the fact that some transgender people get aroused by the idea of being their target sex.)

In this post I will look at his discussion of "the faceless man" and the "inner totem" of MTF (male to female) crossdreamers.

The faceless man

In the chapters on the faceless man, Felix discusses the fact that many male to female crossdreamers fantasize about being a woman (or -- in some cases--  a feminized man) having sex with a man.  In particular he discusses some MTF crossdreamer's fascination for the male sex organ.

Why is it, Felix wonders, that MTF crossdreamers who fall in love with women fantasize about having sex with well equipped masculine men?
An important experiment presented in Felix' book
takes place in the bar of the Majestic Hotel in Barcelona.
Felix has to admit that, try as he might, he is not
able to find the men there attractive. The women, on the
other hand.... (Photo: Majestic)

Felix dismisses the idea that they are closeted androphiles (i.e. that they are sexually oriented towards men):
"The superficiality of their attraction to men is revealed the second they go a little further up from the rippling chest and glorious manhood and actually look into the eyes. They get instantly turned off."
As Felix himself points out, this observation may easily lead to the conclusion made by Ray Blanchard in his autogynephilia theory: The men and their penises are fantasy props meant to affirm the crossdreamer's imagined femininity, and nothing more.


Felix even goes one step further:
"Basically, I'm raising the idea that just as we don't like men the way women do, we don't like women the way men do, either. Yes, we can fall in love with them, we can be just as good lovers as other men, and in almost every way be identical to a traditional hetero man, but let's consider a possibility which I will frame the way a fetish proponent would: we don't truly like women. (...) "
And this leads Felix to conclude that he does not have a sexual orientation in the traditional sense of the word.

Felix' evolutionary model

He then puts up a thought experiment aimed at explaining how his sexuality may come about. I am not going to present that experiment in detail here, but it is based on an evolutionary approach to the formation of gender and sexuality.

For Felix gender identity and sexual orientation are interconnected, even if the the diversity of individuals and communities may lead to much variation as regards how we identify and who we are attracted to. The original purpose of sex is procreation, Felix argues, and the two genders are part of that sexual dynamic.

Unlike the fetish enthusiasts, Felix strongly believe there is a biological basis for transgender conditions. There is a "gender core" that leads individuals to orient themselves in the social landscape, and behave in a "correct way". And for Felix, like many evolutionary psychologists, the basic "correct way" of nature is the one leading to having offspring.

In Felix' model, there are "errors" in the evolutionary system's programming that causes gender variance and different sexual orientations.

In the case of male to female crossdreamers, the gender core is female. But that is not all: Felix also proposes that in their case "the dopamine switch" (i.e. the "reward"system  that generates sexual arousal) is connected to the act of executing female behavior and being female, as opposed to the more traditional male/female interaction.

Felix argues that male to female crossdreamers have been hardwired not only to behave and feel like a woman... but to get a sexual reward out of it too.

The difference between Blanchard and Conrad

This sounds very much like Ray Blanchard's idea about "autogynephilia" being a separate sexual orientation to me.

Felix argues, though, that his theory is different from Blanchard's  in several important ways:
"In Blanchard's model -- although not stated explicitly -- it is very clear that he aims to convince the public that while this sexuality is based on the desire to be female, there is absolutely nothing female about the person who has it at all....

"In my hypothesis however, the gender core of the man is female (...) and the gender core is not only the CPU of each gender, but its very soul and driving force."
Felix also points out that another difference is that his theory is based on 21st century thinking, unlike Blanchard's, which is rooted in the 20th century (I would say 19th century).

Within the old belief system sexuality is something you can divorce from the rest of your personality. It is this that makes many MTF crossdreamers believe that if they get aroused by the idea of being their target sex, their dreams of being a woman is nothing but sexual desire. "It is only a fetish!"

Conrad disagrees:
"The fact, is though, that the desire to dress like a woman is never found in isolation but always with other female-oriented desires -- for example, he will posture himself like a woman ready to receive coitus like a woman. It is this wide ranging desire with its multiple permutations that show this is not a fetish and more likely to come from a biological, hardwired trigger."
I believe he is  right about this. Being transgender is as complex as being non-transgender, and sexuality is only one factor among many defining who a transgender person is and what makes him or her tick.

Stop the press! Jack Molay and Felix Conrad finally disagree on something!

I like the fact that Felix does not hesitate to discuss some of the most controversial sides of being transgender and -- for that matter -- transgender orthodoxy. The model he presents is interesting and forces me to rethink some of my own ideas about the causes of crossdreaming.

I am still not convinced MTF gynephilic crossdreamers have a different kind of sexual orientation, though. Blanchard has tried a similar approach, with no great success.

I understand why Felix argues this way, because he is right when he says that MTF crossdreamers do not love women in the same way other men do.

I believe that this is because MTF crossdreamers are not really men. We have, to use Felix's own terminology, some kind of "female gender core" and are therefore, in some fundamental way, women.

Compared to lesbians

I am perfectly aware of the fact that social upbringing gives MTF crossdreamers a very different framework for interpreting the world. We do not share the same life experience as non-transgender women (to the extent it is even possible to posit a "typical female life experience").

But if we follow Felix' logic -- that there is some kind of biological trigger that causes us to orient ourselves in the world as women would -- then it makes just as much sense to compare us to lesbian women as to heterosexual men.

Lesbians may also feel
a fascination for the penis.
(From an article on  lesbian sex).
Lesbian women have also a very different upbringing from MTF crossdreamers raised as heterosexual men. You cannot expect to find the exact same fantasies and desires among lesbian women.  Still, there are some amazing similarities.

Felix devotes more than a chapter to his fascination for penises. Many lesbians share this fascination. They are not attracted to men, but many of them are drawn to the phallus. They may, for instance,  make use of strapons and dildos. This usage is much more than a matter of mechanics.

Curious as always, I have actually taken the time reading lesbian erotica, and found that for some lesbians the "bulge" down there is arousing in itself.  Sometimes the phallus is associated with butch lesbians and masculinity, but it does not have to.

Some lesbians actually go out in public "packing", using "limp" strapon penises [NSFW] to get that alluring bulge. And the fact that trans men may do the same, does not in any way undermine my point. In this landscape of gender ambiguity the desire for c*ck is not limited to heterosexual women and gay cis men,

In other words: As soon as we open our minds to the insane number of combinations and constellations of personality traits, sexual desires and gender identities, the fact that a sexual fascination for the penis may be decoupled from procreation -- or for that matter: from men --- should come as no surprise.

Those who have seen the movie The Kids Are All Right, will also know that some lesbian women watch gay male porn, Again: This is not because they are attracted to men, but because they find the man on man dynamic alluring, including -- I would guess -- the act of penetration.

Clip from The Kids Are All RightA lesbian couple, played by Julianne Moore and Anette Benning, has to explain to their son why his mothers are watching gay male porn. Their explanation reminds me of the MTF crossdreamer experience.

Diversity rocks!

If we on top of this adds the bisexual/polysexual dimension -- the fact that many people are attracted to both gender to a varying degree  -- there is ample room for the ambiguity of MTF crossdreamer sexual orientation.

Indeed, recent research on the sexual orientations of young people who have been raised in a more tolerant society as regards sexual orientation, tells us that among  the youngest Americans and Brits, between 40 and 50% now identify as some kind of bisexual. What this actually means, is not clear, but I suspect some of them may experience different types of attraction to the two (or more) genders, as do many MTF crossdreamers.

Many trans women report that they come to realize that they are bisexual post transitioning, There is a lot of internalized homophobia among MTF transgender people, which may have made them suppress this side of themselves when they have felt forced to present as men.

My point here is not that Felix is wrong when he says that he is not sexually attracted to men. I am sure he is right about this. I feel the same way myself. My point is simply that there is so much variation here that we do not have to propose the existence of some completely different kind of sexual orientation driven by an eroticized gender identity to explain these feelings.

More than trigger/response

I would also argue that the traditional evolutionary approach brings with it some premises that are probably false -- the main one being that sexual arousal is the effect of a simplistic trigger/response system, where it is visual clues given by a sexy person that triggers arousal.

There is much more to arousal that this. How we feel about ourselves also plays an important role. "Feeling sexy" makes us comfortable in our own skins, which leads to a positive feedback loop of reciprocal affirmation. I get horny because you find me attractive and vise versa.

These are the kind of feedback loops non-transitioning crossdreamers rarely experience, and that must have an effect on the sex they have with  their partner. Sure, MTF crossdreamers may be affirmed by their partner, but they are normally affirmed as men, not as women. This may make them conclude that they do not love women as heterosexual men (and lesbians?) do, but I would argue that this is mostly a matter of lack of opportunity.  Their lives do not allow for this kind of experience.  (More about this here!)

Maybe the difference between Felix and my position here is that I am less enthused about  these types of evolutionary models. Not that I do not believe in evolution, mind you, or that sexuality and gender are -- in some ways -- relevant for evolutionary selection. They clearly are.

But sex and gender have functions that go far beyond procreation. Felix himself documents this in his discussion of different sexualities and gender roles among other animals. Among many animals, humans and bonobos included, sex has a strong social function, which means that insemination is not the only way sex and gender leads to "evolutionary fitness". 

The average human being has sex more than 100 times a year, far more often than is needed to produced the required 2.4 kids during a life time. Sex is a tool for social bonding, comfort and health. That is why I am reluctant to think of gender variance or homosexuality as evolutionary "errors" of any kind. The MTF crossdreamers "lesbian" approach to sex, may lead to a strong "evolutionary fitness". It is not wrong, just different from the traditional cishet relationship.

If I read the book correctly, this is also Felix' fundamental belief, but he uses a language that can easily lead readers to think of crossdreamer sexuality as an error.

The Real Self: Stephanie

Transgender persons may explore
their other self by imagining their
totem. Stephanie is Felix'
totem.
(Photo of Allssandra Ambrosio).
My favorite part of the book is the short story about Stephanie. It is a body swap story of sorts. A man wakes up inexplicably in the body of a woman, and have to cope with the fact that everyone now believes that he -- now she -- is Stephanie.

This is the part of the book were Felix really shows us who he truly is, much more so than when he writes about c*cks and sexual humiliation.

The story about Stephanie is his story, a touching story about his inner woman, and it must have taken a lot of courage for him to write it down and share it.

Stephanie is everything he never was, and everything he never had.

He writes:
"...every transgender person has a Stephanie. In a way, it's kind of like the definition of being transgender. And today I'm hoping to convince you that your relationship with Stephanie is extremely important. Far from being the product of idle fantasy, she holds the key to who you are and where you need to go. That's why Stephanie is not just a fantasy, she is a totem."
Felix uses the term totem in the way I have used the term ponyo, as a term for the "inner woman" (in the case of MTF transgender persons), a kind of symbolic representation of the part of you that has been lost.

Felix puts it this way:
"In this case, the totem is an imagined self -- a spirit being -- who has deep personal significance and who shows you the way. A totem, as defined by Native American scholar, Basil H. Johnston, is .. 'that from which I draw my purpose, meaning, and being.'"
The autogynephilia and fetish approaches to crossdreaming are  destructive mainly because they dismiss this fundamental part of our personalities as an unreal product of a sexual kink or a perversion. It is, in fact, it is, the most important part of who transgender people truly are.

Regardless of how this side of us came to be, it demands to be heard and accepted.

Use your imagination!

Human beings are, as Felix points out, wired for using our imagination for self-discovery and individuation. Children explore their sense of self and their relationship with society around them in play. Adults do the same, through play, games and art, if they are allowed to do so. This kind of play gives their lives meaning and joy.
Children explore their potential and their
identity through role playing. So should
transgender people, Felix argues.
(Photo: kiankhoon)

Crossdreamers are often driven to do the same, through cross-gender fantasies, role playing, crossdressing and through writing down fantasies of the kind presented in the book.

Felix writes:
"In my opinion, imagination is the key to truegender. It is a psychological time-travel machine that permits you to see what you have suffered and lost in the past, how you truly feel in the present, and where you want to go in the future."

The fantasy girl that lies at the center of a crossdreamer's fantasy is -- in one sense -- the real person, and not the mask that person shows to the world:
"The following may not sound very flattering but as a trangender being ... you are uniquely broken. When I look at you I think of one of those beautiful golden hearts with a crack down the center. You have a body, a social identity and a history, but girls like Stephanie are the way the universe tells you that it's all a lie. So yes, you are uniquely broken, and that's why phrases like 'the real you' have real meaning for people like us."
Those who have read books and blog posts by Felix will know that this does not mean he believes that all transgender people should transition. But it does meant that we should gather the courage to look our own Stephanie in the eye. And one way of doing that is to learn to know your totem.

The ebook is available over at Amazon.



See also:
Felix Conrad's site: Transcendmovement.com
Must Read Transgender and Crossdreamer Reflections by Felix Conrad
Felix Conrad Talks about Transgender Research, Crossdreaming and Beach Clubbing
Felix Conrad Unmasks the Autogynephilia Theory in New Book on Transgender

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your posts. They help me keep on going, they really do. The totem, "inner spirit," my twin (my feeling about this person) is my everything, I am so glad I am not the only one. When I feel terrible as a person, I have often wondered if I just dreamed up this identity, pretending that became real. A part of me though knows I'd feel like a part of me would die if my twin went away. She is just as much as me as I am her and I have always known we were the same person. I know everything about how I would like to be perceived by this world, how I would sound, how I would look and dress, what kind of a person I would be. This person is so real to me that I cry because I swear I see them in the mirror sometimes. I sometimes hear her voice, and I feel her, she wants out sometimes so badly. The existence of my twin, grants me the freedom to be me, within the safety of my own mind. Allows me to cope with my dysphoria and still present as a guy, because this part of me is also real and needs to be, for safety, financial, family, and mental reasons. If I could do it all over again though.

I haven't read Felix's book yet, so I haven't much to say about it, yet. I tend to agree with your assessments, but I will keep an open mind.

Jack Molay said...

Thank you for your kind words!

I have learned a lot from Jung in this respect. His idea is that the subconscious (which is an enormous reservoir of instincts, drives, desires and creativity) is an essential part of your complete personality (which he calls the Self). The ego -- of which we are consciously aware -- is only a small part of this.

If we are stopped from developing our unique personality and suppress important sides of us, we suffer, and the Self will try to compensate for this by expressing that side through dreams and fantasies. That also includes developing separate voices or personalities that express that side of you. And it seems to me that one way our psyche expresses the other side of us, is through what Felix calls the totem.

Like you, I have benefited tremendously from taking "her" seriously.

PS: Although this is not necessarily always the same phenomenon, it is interesting that some hunter/gatherer societies call of "twin spirits", men or women who are born with the spirit of the other gender or who have both.

Sandra Lopes said...

There you go, you have persuaded me to shell out another six dollars or so to buy this new book from Felix :-)

In your review, it seems that Felix is somehow reinterpreting Blanchard using new terminology and a completely different, non-stigmatizing, non-pathologizing approach. This should be curious to read. I'm also quite interested in knowing what exactly is meant for MTF crossdreamers 'not to love a women like a cisgender male'. Now that truly made my eyes open wide!

What?!

My point here is that there are gazillions of ways for men to love women, and even if we can try to categorize them differently, I would still be baffled by the idea that one can notice a remarkable difference between a transgender (non-op) male and a cisgender male making love to a woman. More interestingly would be asking if the woman herself would notice any difference. My wife certainly didn't, and other women I had sex before my wife never told me that I was 'different' in any way — they should have known, as none of them were virgins. Then again, I guess that I didn't have enough sexual experiences, compared to the average (a problem of having a low libido is that there is no drive for 'experimentation')... so I cannot say.

I'm really curious to see how Felix argues. I'll be back after reading his book :)

Jack Molay said...

For those interested, there is also a discussion of this blog post and Felix' book over at Crossdream Life!

Jack Molay said...

@Sandra

I am really looking forward to hearing your take on this book!

Cindy Richards said...

Sandra,

This idea that a crossdreamer doesn't love women like other men do, really caught my attention too. But for me, I feel I can relate to that, and its something I have been thinking about lately. I can only speak to how I perceive it within myself, so I don't claim anyone else experiences this like I do.

I feel that as a crossdreamer my attraction to women is essentially different that the attraction other men feel. Its not about the physical act of love making - there is no difference there, although I may perhaps be a little more gentle and caring. And its not about the (non sexual) true love I feel for another person. But it is about my internal attraction mechanism or arousal mechanism. When I am with a woman, or see an attractive woman, or fantasize about a woman, what I feel is some combination of 2 things:

a) I want to be with her (as any man would)

b) I want to BE her (or be dressed like her).

Other men feel only (a). But I feel a very strong component of (b). I wonder if perhaps my experience of being with a woman is fundamentally different than other men. I am experiencing her on a different level, in which I am enjoying her femininity as if I myself possess it within myself.

It all reminds me of a comic I have seen. It shows a sexy woman walking down the street, and 2 men observing her with admiring and lustful looks in their eyes. In the next frame it shows a cloud above each man to show what he is thinking. One is picturing himself having sex with her. The other is picturing himself wearing her clothes. Yet they both have the same lustful look on their faces.

Anonymous said...

http://genderanalysis.net/2016/04/alice-dreger-autogynephilia-and-the-misrepresentation-of-trans-sexualities-book-review-galileos-middle-finger/

-J

Jack Molay said...

@-J

There is a discussion on Zinnia Jones' review of Alice Dreger's book over at Crossdream Life.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but you're misleading people. I've been following the website for a long time and it seems that both the author of the book and the creator of the website are very eager to label people as transgender and encourage them to transition. As a woman who was an autoandrophile I cured it with therapy sessions, I had absent father issues I got off by watching men degrading women, I created a male gaze inside that looked at females like shit and wanted to hurt them sexually, humiliated them. I thought I was trans. I was looking from this imagined hairy, strong and loveless man's pov which representeded power and general picture of manhood the way man looked at sex with a woman. It turned out that it was just my imagination, I realized I was dissociationg during masturbation, his enjoyment and sexuality was more important than mine and I truly believe that was what females deserved. but I dissociated myself from that femininty. In fact, it turned out that I was not getting off being this hairy man but just being powerful,I was having control over the thing I couldn't in real life. I associated power with manhood no other way was possible women couldn't be powerful.
Now according to you, this means I am trans and I am at core a hairy man, loveless, raw man who wants to treat people like shit? I am the very opposite actually very petite, girly and emotional. I tried to gain what I couldn't in real life.

From my point of view as woman, what you guys feel "my feminine side" is the feeling of being fragile, passive, being forced to sex by a strong male figure, being humiliated and feeling sexy and dirty. I am pretty sure that MOST OF YOU don't dream about being A WOMAN and POWERFUL, DOMINATING a man do you? This is very misogynistic and I believe that most of the heterosexual men here are influenced by the porn and it becomes even more apparent by having a male figure who has "no face" just like in porn. The humiliation factor is always but always present in these fantasies why do you think? As for the cross"dressers" why do you think they're all men, why aren't there women who get off by cross"dressing", isn't it because only women's clothing are sexualized? Would a woman get off by a thought of boxers? Women don't get off by wearing their own sexy clothes let me tell you as a woman myself and have many female friends. Most of these heterosexual men are conditioned and probably have some unresolved issues from chilhood. These what you call femininty is an "emotion" you repress, you can't have or express in real life. You believe you know how women fantasize, you show proofs that you're women by giving examples from it that's why I want to clarify what is true what is not. I am very offended by the fact that you represent femininity as how you percieve in your own minds, let me tell you how a woman fantasises.
1. Most of the women don't fantasize about humiliation as you do, they imagine their boyfriend or a total stranger and focus on the act instead of any of the bodies, focus on emotions.
2.Women don't think of their own bodies,they don't imagine to be a sexy woman.
3. Women don't have this faceless man in their dreams as you do, it's the opposite actually.

This my experience please remember.I just tried to help some people who may be having issues or feel depressed and confused who try to get rid of it. During my therapy this site just gave me more confusion and anxiety I became more and more dissociated that's why I wanted to inform you.

Jack Molay said...

//I've been following the website for a long time and it seems that both the author of the book and the creator of the website are very eager to label people as transgender and encourage them to transition.//

No. That is not correct.

Felix' is actually mainly writing about how to live as a crossdreamer without transitioning. This was the main topic of his previous book.

I have argued over and over again that I believe being transgender is to find yourself in a complex multidimensional continuum of sexuality and gender, and that for the majority of crossdreamers transitioning will not be an option.

However, I have also argued that some crossdreamers do suffer from severe gender dysphoria and that they therefore at least should reflect on the possibility of transitioning. Being a crossdreamer should not, in itself, stop you from transitioning. Crossdreaming does not invalidate your identity.

//I am pretty sure that MOST OF YOU don't dream about being A WOMAN and POWERFUL, DOMINATING a man do you?//

If you through your own psychotherapy has found a solution to your problem by concluding that this is a matter of some kind of power-dynamics, that's fine.

However, you are wrong if you think this is the case for all - or even most - crossdreamers, FTM or MTF. I do not dream about being a submissive woman dominated by a man. My inner woman knows how to kick ass (as what I have done here with this blog and in the trans community clearly reflects).

And even if Felix explores humiliation fantasies in this book, you will see which you can see from his description of his own "totem," Stephanie, that his "other side" is not on any way a one-dimensional, weak and submissive woman.

Sure, some crossdreamers have such fantasies, which should come as no surprise given the misogyny of our culture and the stigma attached to men and trans women dreaming of living as women. But no, this is not something you find among all MTF crossdreamers, in the same way that not all FTM crossdreamers share your fascination for being the dominant male.

And, as Julia Serano so often has explained, for many trans women humiliation fantasies are just a phase on a journey to a more balanced sense of self. Their cross-gender identity remains, though.

I would strongly urge you to read what both Felix and I write before you start telling the world what we truly believe and argue for. It would probably also have helped if you actually read this blog post before you started criticizing me for misrepresenting cis women's sexuality. All of your bullet points are actually addressed in this very post.

You will find more arguments about cis and trans women "feeling sexy" in this post.
I also suggest you read Felix' wonderful deconstruction of the "trans is a fetish" argument.



Anonymous said...

I finally wrote a proper review of Felix's book at the Crossdream Life. I hope that it might add something to the discussion.

Jack Molay said...

Thank you very much! The review is available here.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Felix's book, and I discovered it from reading this article. I couldn't quite jump over the lefora question on gender which seemed curious - to sign up and post there, though I am an ordinary MTF crossdresser I would post as the woman-form Linda ;)

I was glad to come across Felix's last part about using active imagination - I have used that since retiring early which is part of the process of individuation (I think I read somewhere else on your wide ranging site the midlife re-evaluation as an explanation for late-transitioning MTFs). And I found the totem rewarding, though curiously split - one is the me dressed up, the other is closer to Felix's totem description, she had not had the quarterlife crisis I had at university, and in the active imagination she stayed working in London in the upscale district, she was poised and elegant but age-appropriate. IRL I failed that quarterlife crisis and buried it for years, it was a surprise to find not all of me failed it, particularly after 30 years. Felix's narrative of the totam matched well, I didn't need his warning notes on the mirror to get to a similar destination, and independently because I did that before reading this article. It's nice to read notes from a fellow traveller in innerspace and recognise the odd waystation. Each of our journeys is unique but as Jung's archetypes and Campbell's the hero of a thousand faces tell us the threads that weave the picture have similarities.

I've used active imagination on and off in other areas, perhaps a note of warning from Jung himself would be in order - in Collected Works he says

"A danger is the subliminal contents already possess such a high energy charge that, when afforded an outlet by active imagination, they may overpower the conscious mind and take possession of the personality"

maybe a health warning to try active imagination with other things first ;) I had trepidation when I first tried it with Linda - after all this subliminal content clearly does possess a high energy charge, it makes me wear a dress at times which is virtually taboo for a man in wider society so it has clout. But it was okay. I came back and still have no desire to transition (while respecting the wide spectrum of transgenderism and differences etc)

Jack Molay said...

Sorry about the Lefora gender question over at Crossdream Life. I have asked them to add a third option, and they tell me that they are considering it. We will see.

Jung's warning about the risks involved in active imagining is worth repeating. But I must admit I am a bit at loss at what transgender people can do, if not imagining themselves as their target gender. In other words: Many trans people will make use of various kind of imagining, even if they have never heard about Jung. I mean, crossdressing is one way of expressing that other side and making her tangible.

And if they are gender dysphoric, and does their best to avoid thinking about this side of their soul, that may actually make things worse.

When crossdreamers ask me about this, I normally suggest that they should get some kind of help, i.e a place to vent and talk about their feelings, and especially of the feel overwhelmed by all the feelings released by this part of them.

Anonymous said...

> But I must admit I am a bit at loss at what transgender people can do, if not imagining themselves as their target gender.

I didn't mean that quite so negatively ;) We are all more than just the duality of our selves and our contrasexual selves, we are dreamers of all sorts of things as well as crossdreamers. I used Robert Johnson's book Inner Work to start with, on other aspects of life, so I had reasonable experience of using active imagination. I have encountered other psychopomps and figures of both genders using active imagination, and most of the time my active imagination 'dreamer' is male.

> I mean, crossdressing is one way of expressing that other side and making her tangible.

True, and it shows the power of the subliminal content of the totem for the transgendered, which active imagination can amplify. I guess not starting with 'her' but something less polarised is sort of like the way you learn to ride a bike in the park, rather than on a busy dual carriageway. I'm totally with Felix that there are rewards to be had with active imagination though.



Transgender Philosophy said...

Thankyou all - you have given me much to think about. Especial thanks to Carah (lovely name) for such a detailed analysis. I wish you all lived here in my town and we could all have a study group to discuss these things (however, with my involvement it would soon no doubt degenerate into a booze-fest).

1.

I'm currently writing a book that is great fun to create. I will keep the title a mystery. I mention it because as a direct result of your comments I have had to add a chapter on the importance of animal behaviour and evolutionary biology for understanding gender and sexuality. I am flabergasted at some of the comments on evolution and procreation. To say sex wasn't designed for procreation is like saying a fish's gills weren't designed to let him breathe. What I think you mean is that like many things, homo sapiens has been liberated from strict functional sex and now sex can exist for any number of reasons - pleasure, an expresion of love or proceation. We certainly can asign purpose to nature and evolution; however, it is not prupose as we think of it. I firmly firmly recommend that you read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins and River out of Eden and The Selfish Gene (read it again now you're older and wiser). The purpose of life is not to pass on DNA but if we examine life in an engineering sense it is very clear that all functions and all behaviours ultimately derive from the desire to pass on DNA. Now - in today's world - this is changing in humans as it seems nature wants us to pass on units of cultural information (no time to explain but please read Dawkins).

When we use evoltion to study sexuality or behavior we do so - not because it shows its almighty 'purpose' but because it usually reveals some important insights into the design or pattern of an organ or behavior or process. Yes, we live in the twenty first century and can choose to have or not have sex and many thngs are different, but the machinery and process with which sexuality was created does not come from today... it stretches back millions of years.

Furthermore, just because we establish the 'purpose' of an organ or sexual behavioir that doesn't mean it is its existential purpose.

I already can imagine how you will formulate your objections, but let's not bother with this topc more until i can write about it at length. It is something I feel very passionate about.



2.

Yes, I can understand the frustration a crossdeamer would have with the stephanie's not wanting to be in that body but I made a cocious decision to not write erotica. If he was like us...it would have been the fulfillment of a fantasy and I didn't wanna get side tracked with the erotic complications - delicious as they would be. I also wanted to explore if a hetero cisgender guy would get turned on by having a female body. I think he would.

3.

I decided to add the erotica sections primarily to shock Jack. Sorry, only joking (though that was part of it). I feel like I've portrayed myself as a bit of a vanilla crossdreamer. I wanted to demonstrate that I'm just as chocolate chip as the next crossdremer and I read a lot of erotica and have found some real literary merit in certain works.

In general, though, I wanted to offer a more sexual explanation for crossdreaming and gender variance. That way, Ive provided my community with three distinct options and let the individual choose.

Transgender Philosophy said...

4.

My totem has a car crash and loses her looks because as long as she's beautiful she ends up as a source of dysphoria. The main objective of good mental health for a gender variant person is to accept their body. Thus, Stephanie loses her beauty but is still Stephanie the powerful, cool, intelligent woman. I am at peace because I know that I am male and male bodied and will always be male and male bodied but I have Stephanie's spirit and charm and wit and soul. I also found very useful (I will publish another day) the inverse story where Stephanie wakes up in his body with his shitty life and his shitty prospects. In fact, this part of the story is much more interesting because the real Stephanie is irrevocably stuck in a male body. She chooses not to transition and just make do with what she has.

5.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not regard crossdreamer sexuality as an error. My choice of a drunken minion may have been a mistake in this respect. So called 'errors' are known as 'variance.' Variance is of absolute fundamental importance in the development of organisms. Therefore, although the majority of humans are cisgender and hetero that is not what nature 'intended'... it is just that they dominate statistically. I believe that homosexuality and gender variance exist in order to ensure variance of all kinds in human society and culture. I would also point out that just as worker bees are sterile (thus the whole DNA passing thing on seems not relevant) the whole community depends on them and noone could pass on DNA without them.

6.

I don't go for a Banchard style 'crosdreaming is like an orientation.' A sexuality is either an orientation or isn't. I believe we don't have an orientation because orientation leads to a specific direction. We radiate in all directions. We get turned on by others, by ourself as imagined others, by men, by women... we are awesome. I hope to better communicate in the future why I think we are privileged to have the sexuality we do.

Conclusion.

I'm so sorry, I can't write more...but with children, bills etc... I have to get back to work. I will publish my new book soon. Now that I've shocked Jack sufficiently I am going back to more traditional, transgender directions.

Sandra Lopes said...

Heh. It's not often that I happen to stumble upon a conversation about a book where its author also participates, so hopefully I'm not going to say anything incredibly stupid and make a fool of myself...

So I've finished reading Felix's book a while ago. Twice. Perhaps, like Carah Maisie said on the Crossdreamlife forum, I may need to read it a few times to make sure I got it completely...

There were a few first impressions, though. I was a bit confused about its structure: it jumps from theories to thoughts experiments to... a few examples of transgender erotica. But the last examples are actually meant to introduce the notion that crossdreamers have an 'internal totem' — the 'inner female', or Jack's 'ponyo' — and thoroughly explain it. And the book also has a very abrupt finish. Or so I felt. In a sense, I guess that Felix got me baffled and confused by the book's structure :) but perhaps that was his intention from the very start. Or perhaps he's introducing post-modern writing styles into philosophical, academic books :) Whatever, I love his witticisms and humour, and I'm sure I'll get used to his style of writing and not get distracted by it to capture the essential of his ideas.

I see that the main issues that some commenters (both here and at the forums) have are about Felix's usage of 'binary sex' (and its connection to 'gender') as a way to progress along the explanations — since many crossdreamers and other transgender people would claim that neither sex, nor gender, are binary (but I don't know if they are in the majority!). However, I also believe that this is not really important. The interesting bit is about the drunken Irish minion hypothesis, i.e. that crossdreamers have the dopamine cable miswired, and actually get sexual/erotic pleasure when thinking/acting/manifesting themselves as a different gender from the one assigned at birth.

Now this made quite a lot of sense to me, and, while unproven, it somehow points the way to explain a (possible) biological origin for crossdreaming, but in a quite different way than what current research is trying to find. In other words, Felix moves away from what researchers are currently trying to find — that there are different structures in the brain that potentially will make a brain think in a 'more masculine' or 'more feminine' way — and proposes a much simpler mechanism, relying on a 'broken' connection in the dopamine pleasure-inducing mechanisms.

This is actually a very intriguing hypothesis, and I think that Felix is pretty close to truth (even though, of course, we still don't know how exactly certain images in the brain activate the dopamine circuits — we just know they do — and it's still early to postulate any mechanism in the brain that might work as Felix describes it).

Sandra Lopes said...

A few things always bothered me in the contemporary descriptions of biological origins of gender, and that's mostly because somehow, gender is 'supposed' to be mostly hardwired somewhere in the brain. Thus, small boys will play boy games, while girls will prefer girl games, and we have lots of reports suggesting that this happens independently of the actual culture or society. In other words, all societies tend to have binary gender roles. It's obvious that those roles are not identical across epochs and cultures, but we have little evidence from societies that do not have two main (binary) gender roles (even if some societies allow for other genders, and some of those 'third genders' have special religious significance and therefore social impact, these societies nevertheless still acknowledge two 'main' genders). It's also obvious that we cannot be 'born' knowing that cars and weapons are for boys, and dolls are for girls, because such information cannot be encoded in the brain and passed to future generations through genes :) so obviously small boys and girls, after experimentation, will gravitate towards the social stereotypes according to their assigned gender. How is that explained?

Felix is clever. He suggests merely that such 'attraction to one's assigned gender' is connected, somehow, to the dopamine circuits. In other words: we are rewarded if we are somehow 'fitting in' the 'right' gender role for our assigned gender. And how does that happen? Through interaction, education, visual stimulation, we 'learn' what gender role is appropriate for us, and once we replicate that gender role and express it ourselves, we get the dopamine circuits rewarding that choice. In effect, boys will feel 'pleasure' if they do what boys are supposed to do, and they feel 'awkward' if they start doing girls' stuff. In other words: while obviously behaviours and appearance are socially conditioned, the rewarding mechanism is not. We somehow need to learn what our society gives us as role models for each gender, but once we learn that, the rewarding mechanism kicks into place, and that means that we have successfully 'learned' to act our gender role, because doing so is pleasurable.

I have no idea if this is a truly original idea of Felix's, but I find it absolutely fascinating, and, yes, it explains quite a lot.

Sandra Lopes said...

For instance, and although Felix starts from the assumption of binary sex and gender, it is also clear that if 'behaving according to one's gender' triggers the dopamine circuits to induce pleasure, such triggering will be different for different people, due to a huge variety of possible causes. That, in turn, would explain why some people act and behave with varying degrees of 'maleness' and 'femaleness' — because the dopamine circuits are triggered differently. For asexual or agender people, the circuits might not work at all. And, of course, if they're incorrectly wired — as Felix suggests — it would explain why crossdreamers get pleasure from imagining themselves as the opposite gender. It does make a lot of sense, and, yes, it allows for a wide variety of possibilities — not merely 'binary' ones — as well as explaining how education/socialization also plays a role: we need to know a bit about gender roles in our society in order for the dopamine circuits to be triggered. In fact, this very same mechanism would also explain a lot of childhood traumas, where 'wrong' social roles were 'forced' upon the child, as well as 'wrong' sexuality (child abuse), and this would make the dopamine circuits in this case be triggered by different imaging than what the average person (i.e. the ones without such traumas) would experience. But we could extend Felix's proposal even further, and explain, for instance, why daughters of single mothers are much more likely to be single mothers as well — in this case, even with heteronormal cisgenderity, the mother would present her daughter a slightly different female social role than what the average mother would present, and it would be that social role — not the society's stereotypical role — that would trigger the dopamine pleasure circuits.

This is truly clever, and I think it will deserve a blog post to explore further :)

Sandra Lopes said...

Last but not least, the issue about the totem, as a means for crossdreamers to somehow 'find a balance' in their lives — by getting in touch with their totem — is very interesting, mostly because it uses the imagination in order to secure that balance. Now, I have no idea what contemporary psychologists would think of that, all I can say is what my own psychologist told me to do. It did surprise me, and it might surprise a few of you as well, so let me share it briefly.

I started seeing doctors because my depression stopped me from working, and sadly I cannot afford to spend my life without working :P so I needed to do something about that. Because it was closely linked to my gender dysphoria, I went to specialists in that field.

I told them that transition was not really an option — not because I didn't desire it, but because I was keenly aware how hard it would be to get a job and survive as a transexual in my country. While active transphobia (violence, aggression, ostracism, etc.) might not be prevalent in my country, we definitely have passive transphobia (not getting a job, not being able to rent a flat in certain neighbourhoods, etc.). With transition not being an option, I had to somehow 'fix myself' so that I could work normally again, get rid of the depression, and get rid of the gender dysphoria as well.

My psychologist's solution was: 'Work from home dressed as Sandra'.

Now, I was baffled. I was expecting rather the opposite, i.e. some kind of mild aversion therapy to let me realize that 'becoming Sandra' is not realistic, that 'Sandra' is just a mental construct (as well as 'gender') and as such I should slowly let it go, and so forth. Instead, rather drastically, what I was instructed to do was to spend as much time as possible, every day, as Sandra, and do my work.

Sandra Lopes said...

Guess what — it works wonderfully. While dressed as Sandra, the depression cannot affect me. Why, I have no idea. So I got a second opinion — this time from someone more experienced in dealing with depression than with gender issues. Before I even started to explain what my other psychologist had said, this psychologist interrupted me and said: 'Work from home dressed as Sandra'. When I was baffled that I had gotten the same opinion twice, he explained why — apparently, my case is classic textbook, there are some activities that I love, some that I am unable to perform (work), so the trick is to combine both.

I went back to my original psychologist, confused. I humbly admitted that her therapy certainly worked (it's just my wife that doesn't allow me to do that — not yet), but I was worried: what if I could never work again, unless I dressed as Sandra? How would that help me in the future? Even though my current job doesn't involve physical presence, and I can do it from home, I cannot be sure that the next job is like that. My psychologist: 'You worry too much. Stop worrying about the future. It doesn't exist yet. Once we're there, we'll think about your options. For now, stick to the therapy that allows you to work.'

My point here is that Felix also recommends for crossdreamers to embrace their inner totem, and use the imagination to get in touch with her, as much as possible, and, through the experience of understanding our inner totem better, somehow achieve 'fusion' (his word, not mine) — a balance. Because, among crossdreamers, I require a physical manifestation of my inner totem — which I achieve through crossdressing — the balance is achieved not by repressing my urges, but to embrace my inner totem by dressing as she would dress (i.e. like a woman). I guess you see the analogy: both Felix and the psychologists seem to be saying exactly the same thing, namely, do not refuse/reject your inner self, but let it shine through and embrace it. If you are the kind of crossdreamer that doesn't need any physical manifestation of that totem, then all you need is imagination. If you need to crossdress to manifest physically your totem, then your solution to achieve a balance is to dress more.

Hm. As you can see, this particular point has left me thinking quite a lot. To be honest, there is still something in me that rejects the idea. But I have to admit that the principle is solid, I might just have a lot of inner barriers — from decades of repression — that need to be broken until I embrace the Truth...

Cindy Richards said...

Sandra,

I enjoyed your comments on Felix's book. I can relate to a lot of them. I would like to comment on a few of them:

"I require a physical manifestation of my inner totem — which I achieve through crossdressing — the balance is achieved not by repressing my urges, but to embrace my inner totem by dressing as she would dress (i.e. like a woman)."

Yes me too. I can relate to this so much. Although with me, I am able to go to work and carry on all my other activities in male mode just fine…. as long as I get a few hours each day as Cindy. So even though I have implemented it a little differently, I think it is basically the same sort of solution you have. If I had a job where I could work from home, I too would like to do as you are doing. But in my case, I need to be in the office. But knowing that I will soon have some "Cindy time", I have something to always look forward to.

"You worry too much. Stop worrying about the future. It doesn't exist yet. Once we're there, we'll think about your options. For now, stick to the therapy that allows you to work"

This is great advise from your Dr. Unfortunately I think so many people spend a lot of time and energy worrying about the future, and forget to enjoy the present. What will happen in the future is unknown to us, so why worry about it. (Also we should avoid worrying about the past, which is even less useful.) If we can master these, we can live in the present and enjoy each moment as it comes.

"The interesting bit is about the drunken Irish minion hypothesis, i.e. that crossdreamers have the dopamine cable miswired, and actually get sexual/erotic pleasure when thinking/acting/manifesting themselves as a different gender from the one assigned at birth."

I too found this an interesting theory that makes some sense to me. Although pure speculation, it is at least one way to try to explain and comprehend this condition. When I read it, it seemed to me to be rather similar to what is called erotic target location error (ETLE) by Ray Blanchard. I say this because both theories say that the object of our arousal is somehow wired differently to be within ourselves rather than (or in addition to) an external source. Of course ETLE is also speculation and unproven. I do know that many people very much dislike ETLE, and have read many posts arguing against it. So I was curious if those who dislike ETLE have similar problems with Felix's miswired explanation.

As for the notion that crossdreamers' love for, or attraction to, women is different than other men (that you mentioned in an earlier post), I posted a comment to you about this on April 2 (above in this thread). I was interested if you had any thoughts on that explanation.

Thanks, Cindy

Sacha Traviata said...

For me the modele is like this :

You gave a gender, man or woman. People who tell they are between are probably people confused and not ready. But a 3de gender may exist, time will tell.

Your gender is WHO you are in the sexual fantasy : if you have a body with a dick and are top, then your are not a woman.

We could go further and see in WHAT ROLE you feel that you are at YOUR PLACE in bed once in REAL WORLD with your real body (in addition of the fantasy question) : if you love to be BOTTOM and do not care about your dick, then you are a woman gender.

And we could also look at WHO you would choose to be if you coud change all BUT keep your mind. If you choose to be a female, then you think you have a woman's mind because nobody wants a woman's mind in a male body (many people kill themselves to not live this situation).

I think attraction come from TOP or BOTTOM preference. We are attracted by the person that brings us what we need in bed (once we have the right body and feel at the right place).

I am not attracted to men because I have male body that makes their body the body I do not want to have/see, so their body makes me feel odd, but with a pussy and a female body : I would probably toady drop woman and chase men !!!!


Jack Molay said...

A long time ago, back in 2010, I wrote a blog post on the female and male copulation instincst, hoping that would throw some light upon my own crossdreaming. What you write here make much sense to me, in my position.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that scales like "mounting" vs. "receptive" makes some sense on an aggregate level. It helps us understand some of the interplay between sexuality and gender identity among many, but not all.

And that is the problem with saying that your copulation instinct determines your gender. There is much variation within single individuals, both trans and cis. They may want to be the top one day and the bottom the next.

Furthermore, there are many cis men and women who identify completely with their assigned gender, but who nevertheless prefer to "play the opposite role", as defined by this schema. In other words, even if there is some significant correlation, there are too many exceptions to the rule to use it to define gender.

Sexuality and gender is messy. They constantly refuse to be captured by the many models we develop.

Lisa Mullin said...

The comments:

“1. Most of the women don't fantasize about humiliation as you do, they imagine their boyfriend or a total stranger and focus on the act instead of any of the bodies, focus on emotions.
2.Women don't think of their own bodies,they don't imagine to be a sexy woman.
3. Women don't have this faceless man in their dreams as you do, it's the opposite actually. “

Well I have personally had relationships with cis women who have had all those fantasies and if not actually enacted them all out physically, certainly did verbally as part of foreplay and sex. And some did enact them out physically.

Being seen and aroused as a 'sexy woman' and 'looking hot' is very common for many women, not all of course and more so when they are younger.
Fantasies amount being submissive in bondage (etc) are again very common.
Fantasies about sex with multiple partners (or being a prostitute) are also common.

The difference is women, being more cautious less commonly enact them out and if they do, they tend to be discreet about them. Though a surprising number do. It is not very hard to find all sorts of sex parties with lots of men and women in every major city. A little digging and they can easily be found.
Went to quite a few myself over the years.

Are their dominant women as well? Yes of course. A surprising number will 'switch' as well.

So those statements 'women never ..." are wrong.

It is all part of the myth that women ‘are not really sexual, it is all emotional’ stuff. Even in this day and age women suffer from criticism if they openly discuss or enact their sexual desires, so they suppress and hide it. But hiding (or just being quiet and discreet) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist by any means.

Jack Molay said...

@Lisa

If you have not seen it already: Noah Berlatsky has written an excellent article on crossdreaming in cis and trans people over at The Etstablishment, making arguments very similar to the ones you present here.

Why Are Trans Women Penalized For Body Fantasies Everyone Has?

Anonymous said...

I was a male child, 5 or 6 years old, who was sexually 'used' by a man. In the way it was done and I remember it precisely, I was an object of desire. My role was passive. I let the man do what he wanted with me because I was only 6 years old. I had my eyes closed during the sex most of the time. After he used me, the man would then bring me off orally. I have always wonder it those orgasm's did not cause some form of brain damage. As I grew up to adulthood you can imagine I had some difficulty. In my teens there were many homosexual encounters with much older men. My role was always the passive, and I played the feminine partner who would please a real man because I felt I was not a real man. In reality, aside from all the psycho damage I was enduring, I was a heterosexual very aroused and attracted to females. In fact I was a man. But my utter feelings of inadequacy made it impossible to ever have a normal relationship and I never married. Since I am not gay either it left me a celibate. Over time thanks to invention of the computer and internet I became an autogynephilia. I became the woman that would never be. Over the years I have gone through just about every fetish known in science and then some. But there is one that I have never had any interest in and that is pedophilia which is unusual since most pedophiles were abused themselves. In this way I may have gotten lucky, thank God.

Jack Molay said...

I am so sorry to hear about your childhood abuse. I feel for you. This is one of the worst things an adult can do to a child -- if not the worst. I can understand why you are still stuggling with what happened to you. I have heard from other crossdreamers who report sexual childhood abuse, so you are not alone in that respect.

I wonder: Have you ever reached out to others and talked about this? A good friend, maybe, a health professional, a therapist? It is always hard to have to cope with such trauma all on your own (and being transgender or a crossdreamer can be hard under the best of circumstances.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jack for responding to my comment. I am glad that there is a least one person in this world who now knows what happened to me. This is the first time I have ever admitted or stated out loud in any form that I was indeed molested as a child. I do however have the safety of being anonymous yes?

These things that happen to you never end, they only fade away into a box and the the lid of the box is always slightly ajar and sometimes the things inside crawl out, sit there on the floor and stare at you and I cannot help but stare back. Not sure how many days in a row have gone by that I have not thought of my fate. I have done some extreme things but thankfully nothing illegal at least not felony and the only damage I have done other than to myself is to women who probably had some feelings for me when I was young but I was not capable of commitment. to commit you need self esteem I suppose.

No I have never sought out professional counseling but performed my own self-help using books and now the internet. Forums like this one are very helpful and so is being able to write it out here. Maybe if someone reads this it will help them. I have already lived through four decades of adulthood and what I have learned is trama gets easier with time. I never gave up even at the lowest times and I have learned how to fight my demons, but the memories can be very vivid if I want them to be. When I was 18 years old I tracked down the molester, the man that did this to me and I fantasized about killing him with a shot to the back of the head. I had the gun. But my self-preservation kicked in so I left town instead, best choice I ever made.

I have felt very guilty and ashamed about some of the homosexual encounters I have had over the years. they had nothing to do with romance I'll put it that way. It was more a sense of being a slut or a prostitute. In my mind I was a prostitute when I was prowling the streets at night looking for men, trying to satisfy an appetite of a wolf or a vampire. It is very dark stuff. You live with the cards you're dealt and there are millions of people in a much worse way than I.

I went through the crossdressing stage and it lasted about 10 years but lately I feel as though it has run it's course. All of my sexual deviations which started at age 10 with a spanking relationship with a neighbor boy, seem to run their course and then the intensity dims. This leaves me feeling very unstable. Then another one appears such as female domination and off I go to find a mistress. I have spent a small fortune on doms, whores, booze and drugs. Sometimes, I have a lot of shame involved with loose sex but I contribute this to Western values. But again, as I get older the less intense all of these feelings.

The ultimate negative result of being a victim of child sex abuse is a sense of loss. Without a doubt it held me back. I missed out on having one of the best things in life and that is love, true love. I am just not capable of loving another person with total abandonment. However, I do not think I would have traveled the world endlessly searching for fulfillment if this had not happened to me either and that at least is something.

Jack Molay said...

Not killing your molester is a good thing, there is no doubt about that. As for hating him: That is only natural. Suppressing that anger gets you nowhere.

But as for doing "extreme things", and especially in the realms of love and sexuality, I am not sure that is always a bad thing -- if they help you gain a better understanding of yourself and others.

I am not sure there is such a thing as "normal people". It seems every time I learn to know someone better, there is always something that makes them unique and often in very surprising manners. Society pretends there is such a thing as "normal", however, inducing shame and embarrassment into fantasies and behaviours that are quite harmless in and for themselves, and it is most often the induced shame that causes the suffering, not the urges.

There should be nothing shameful about being a crossdresser, nothing embarrassing about enjoying a bit of BDSM (among consenting adults) and nothing stigmatizing about having same-sex encounters. Nothing of this makes you a bad person, or a person that cannot be loved. It is the fear of being ridiculed that holds us back. It is the fear that stops us from living our lives to the full. And yes, I feel that fear myself, every day.

But I now think of our fantasies as sexual variation, not deviation.

I have been working on this blog for many years now, and I have come to love many male to female AND female to male crossdreamers. They have compatible dreams and desires. There is the potential for a lot of acceptance, validation and true love if they could only find each other.

What I am saying is: There are a lot of people out there would love the love of a crossdreamer and who would thrive as your partner.

Join the Crossdream Life Forum!