March 12, 2010

Confessions of an Autogynephiliac

Thank you for all your suggestions for a new name for this blog!

"Confession of an Autogynephiliac" has now become "Crossdreamers". This name was suggested by tg_captioner and others.

If I am to untangle myself from all the negative connotations following the autogynephilia term, I need to make sure that the alternative term is clearly communicated.

I have also had emails arguing that the "crossdreamer" term is useful. It covers all men who have erotic fantasies of feminisation and having a woman's body.

I will follow up on Chris' proposal with posts on "the Anima". I think the Jungian concept is very useful for our purposes.

Several of you, including Isobelle, have argued that I should keep the "Confession" bit, as it makes the blog more intimate and personal.

Others, however, have pointed out that the word "confessions" indicate that I have a sin to confess, and since crossdreaming is a natural phenomenon that is giving the world the wrong message. That is a good point!


  1. Oh, I'm too late. Never posted here before, but I've reed your blog for a while.

    I just decided it was time to say something about the name and I see you changed it.

    What I wanted to say is that, in the blog's subtitle, you should still have autogynpehilia or autogynephile.

    Crossdreamers is a great term. I hope it takes off. But it hasn't yet. For all the problems with the word autogynephilia, the community knows it. It's an insult. It's a controversy. But right now someone who feels there's something there there even if they reject the BBL system and its pathologizing is more likely to google autogynephile or autogynephilia than crossdresmer.

    You could call it "Crossdreamers: Don't call us sutogynephiles" or "Crossdreamers: Don't call it autogynephilia." or something else that mentions the word but makes it clear there's a disagreement.

    I wouldn't want someone to miss this blog because they don't recognize what it is.

  2. I just noticed that the URL still has autogynephiliac in it. That might be enough.

  3. One of the reasons I used the word autogynephiliac in the title was that I wanted people to find the blog using Google.

    There are quite a few posts with autogynephilia in the title now, so I guess it will still rank well for at least some relevant queries.

    The problem is the one you point out: For now no one will associate anything with the word crossdreamer.

    I have put up a new subtitle that may help old readers recognize the blog, and I will change this to a new byline including relevant keywords in a little while.

    If I change the URL all links to this blog dies, so that one will have to stay. I am not planning to buy a domain for the foreseeable future.

    Thanks for helpful comments!

  4. I found your blog after I googled the word autogynephilac to find the correct spelling before I placed the word in my blog. I am one of the only domiantrices who to my knpowledge has had a long term fascination in understanding how autogynephilia affects her crossdressing clients . I have also made a few comments about the phenomena in my most recent post. I would value your comments and insight Jack/Jackie. I will look forward to your response here there or anywhere.

  5. Eva, your post is quite interesting and insightful. I can only speak with certainty about myself, but I’d be surprised if a high percentage of your cross dressing clients were not autogynephilic (although many probably have never heard the word). I’m not certain why, but, for me, feelings of submissiveness toward a subset of women (i.e., “strong women,” came naturally). I was turned on by dominatices before I knew what a dominatrix was. On reflection, it’s easy to see why feminization has been my favorite dominatrix fantasy – but I’m not sure why a dominatrix was in the picture. If others are like me, I expect it would be easy for you to get an autogynephilic to submit – but for more difficult to maintain control. Sadly it seems that the autogynephilic is inherently selfish and has a tendency to serve himself first. Something to work on . . .

  6. @eva @samix

    I have put up a separate post on the topic here:

  7. Hmm, please correct me if I'm wrong, but there is inherently nothing wrong with the term "autogynephiliac" except that's it ugly (I would prefer "autogynephile" personally).

    The truth of the matter is that most of us ARE turned by the thought of our own transformation, and none of the lurid details of such fantasies should be up for debate. By contrast, I find cisporn to be laughably vulgar, but I try not to hold all cispeople in distain for it.

    Another thought occurred to me recently, about forced feminization. I can almost imagine a mathematical equation, starting from the outset of gender dyshoria, expressing our increasing desperation to express our true gender. As such possibities grow more and more remote, so too our fantasies grow more and more extreme.

    Autogynephile... yeah, I like that ;)

  8. The reason I so strongly argue against using the term "autogynephilia" is its context.

    Within psychiatry and psychology the term is understood to refer to Ray Blanchard's definition of it, which is an "erotic target location error" (the quasi-greek term means love of oneself as a woman) and a "paraphilia" (sexual perversion).

    If you use this word, your usage will be taken as support for this extremely transphobic way of explaining identities of gynephilic transgender women. That is: They are sexually perverted men.

    In Blanchard's world there isn't room for a model where non-transgender and transgender women can "love their inner woman" or where they get turned on by "feeling sexy", attractive or desired. In Blanchard's word the only proper way for a woman to get turned on is to be aroused by the sight of a sexy man.

    No serious trans activist denies the existence of crossdreaming, or -- as Julia Serano calls it: female/male embodiment fantasies. This blog was created with the specific purpose of discussion such fantasies and what causes them.

    But we do not use them to reduce the identities of trans people to paraphilias or fetishes. They are rather natural expressions of those identities. How is a pre- or non-transitioning trans woman to imagine herself having sex, if it is not as a woman? And if she is denied the possibility to explore her sexuality as a woman, how can the idea of being herself not be arousing? That transformation is, after, all, the door to a life where she can be who she is, also sexually. Or as you put it: "expressing our increasing desperation to express our true gender. "

    We cannot escape the negative connotations of the word "autogynephilia", which is why we should stop using it when referring to such fantasies.

  9. Please accept my apologizes. I was trying to dance cutely around an issue which remains rather and rightly sensitive. To be clear, I completely agree with your arguments and my simple if banal point was that "autogynephilia" by itself is a neutral scientific term.

    I have a long personal history with autogynephilia, ever since learning the term nearly twenty years ago. I shall spare you the gruesome details of how it warped my thinking until very recently, having encountered the writings of the same Ms Serano.

    Anyway, I suppose my ancillary point was that we might reclaim the term (see: neutral and scientific) and free it from its false connotations and misguided ideologies... but I suppose this point is likewise banal.

    I remember you and your blog from way back, and it's so nice to see you again, even better than before. Perhaps I should have been more attentive... I may have had fewer "lost years" thinking my problems sexual in nature.

    Yeah, maybe just throw out the term entirely... but I find it difficult to shake for some reason. Perhaps, like gender dysphoria, it may describe a particular psychological condition/fixation, but it should not be confused with a fundamental identity?

    Is it worth even talking about? Am I barking up the wrong tree here?

  10. Serano is great, isn't she. She has done so much to destigmatize crossdreaming in the transgender community. I understand why many trans women tried to avoid this topic in the past, given the stigma attached to it, but I think Serano's stragegy has proven to be the right one: Discuss the phenomenon directly and explain it within the socio-cultural framework of transgender lives.

    I agree that we can look at erotic crossdreaming as a particular psychological expression of some kind of gender variance (that may or may not be part of a wider gender dysphoria). But as I said, if we use the term autogynephilia to describe this phenomena, we drag the whole Blanchard package into the discussion.

    I actually did use the term "autogynephilia" at the very beginning of this blog's life. That is why the headline of this blog post is (and the name of this blog originally was "Confessions of an Autogynephiliac". But as one trans activist told me, not only is the term autogynephiliac "ugly", the term confession even signals guilt. She was right, and I changed the name to Crossdreamers.


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