July 31, 2010

A Crossdreamer's Journey

I am so glad to see that more people have started blogging about crossdreaming and autogynephilia.

By giving your inner woman a voice, you help demystifying this phenomena, which again helps other crossdreamers make sense of their lives.

A Crossdreamer's Journey is a new blog written in the voice of the inner woman of a M2F crossdreamer called Jim. Her name is Sarah Murphy.

Jim likes girls, she writes. According to "common knowledge", that makes him heterosexual. However, during fantasizing, he would sometimes take the female role:

"Following that logic, people who do both hetero and homo things are bisexual. As he used to explain it, his 'bisexuality' is an extension of his heterosexuality. But in his fantasies he was not playing the part of a male 'receiving' another male, e.g. gay. he was playing the part of a female receiving her male lover, e.g. hetero. Paradox again."

The blog looks into that paradox. Take a look!

July 30, 2010

Transgender video blogs on autogynephilia: Lady Vixion

My series on trangender video comments on the autogynephilia theory continues.
Here's Lady Vixion and her very creative and personal take on it all:

[Lady Vixion's YouTube account has been banned. I have not been able to retrace this video.]

July 27, 2010

On Moser's critique of Blanchard's autogynephilia theory Part 2

The presentation of Charles Moser's critique of Ray Blanchard's autogynephilia theory continues.

Ray Blachard argues that there are two types of transwomen: homosexual transsexuals (androphilic transwomen) and autogynephiles (gynephilic men who erotically loves the idea of themselves being a woman). In a recent paper Charles Moser does his best to debunk the theory.

The two groups

Moser denies that the data Blanchard uses can be used to prove that there are two completely separate groups of transwomen: (1) autogynephilic "non-homosexual" MTFs and (2) androphilic "homosexual transsexuals".

"Blanchard (1989a) demonstrates that there is a statistically significant correlation between reported autogynephilic interests and a non-homosexual sexual orientation, suggesting that one can distinguish homosexual from non-homosexual MTFs on this basis. This approach is equivalent to distinguishing men from women by finding a statistically significant correlation between the presence of a Y chromosome and gynephilia (erotic attraction to women), which obscures the very real existence of gay men and lesbians."

The point here is, I believe, that although there is a statistically significant correlation between having autogynephilic fantasies and being a non-homosexual MTF, the dividing line between the two groups is not absolute. There will always be people who fall outside this binary system, in the same way there are men and women who are not heterosexual.

What is lacking in Moser's discussion is a discussion of the positive value of making such a distinction. There is a correlation between sexual orientation and reported autogynephilic fantasies. Why is that and what does it mean?

Furthermore: The fact that only a minority of transwomen are androphilic is interesting and requires an explanation. Among genetic XX women it is the other way round: the majority is androphilic. Why is that?

The love of others

If you have followed this blog, you will know that one of my deepest felt arguments against Blanchard & Co is that he denies me the ability to love another person. Autogynephiliacs are in love with themselves and cannot love others. My long time girlfriend can tell you otherwise and I get a lot of reports from crossdreamers who love their significant other deeply. The fact is that many of them give up on their dream of transitioning, because they do not want to lose the one they love.

Moser makes the same argument:

"Blanchard (...) states, 'autogynephilia is clinically significant because it interferes with normal interpersonal sexual attraction and because it is associated with gender dysphoria' (1993a, p. 301). There are no data to suggest that autogynephilia actually interferes with interpersonal sexual attraction or that homosexual MTFs do not experience problems with interpersonal sexual attraction or gender dysphoria (i.e., 'discontent with one’s biological sex, the desire to possess the body of the opposite sex and to be regarded by others as a member of the opposite sex' [Blanchard, Clemmensen, & Steiner, 1987, pp.139–140]). Most MTFs, autogynephilic or not, report both interpersonal attraction toward the partners of their choice and gender dysphoria."

My point exactly! Note that there is no data that shows that androphilic transwomen or ciswomen and cismen are more capable of developing lasting relationships.

Man as a dildo

I have mentioned the man as a masturbatory prop theory earlier. Given that crossdreamers or autogynephiliacs are considered gynephilic (they love women), the fact that they fantasize about having sex with a man becomes problematic. It threatens to destroy the neat division between heterosexual and homosexual. Blanchard does not allow for true bisexuality in his theory. The bisexuals are grouped together with the gynephiles in the "non-homosexual" category.

Blanchard suggests the male partner of a non-homosexual MTF “is usually a vague, anonymous figure rather than a real person and probably has little excitatory function beyond that of completing the fantasy of vaginal intercourse in the female role” (1989a, 1991).

Anne Lawrence suggests that the androphilic interests of “nonhomosexual” MTFs are focused upon an imagined partner who, “ is faceless or quite abstract, and seems to be present primarily to validate the femininity of the person having the fantasy, rather than as a desirable partner in his own right” (2004, 79–80).

I must admit this is one of the most puzzling parts of being a crossdreamer, and also the strongest argument for the target location error theory.

I think Blanchard's and Lawrence's observations are close to the mark. The male partners in feminization fantasies among crossdreamers are very often faceless, unlike the fantasy partners found in women and gay men's fantasies. I find this in TG erotica, I find it in the conversations I have had with fellow crossdreamers and you can see it in some of the comments made on this blog.

But you might also argue that a man masturbating to the picture of a sexy model is as far removed from real life as the fantasy of a MTF crossdreamer. Cis women also report fantasies of being taken by generic, faceless, men. Sexual fantasies are fantasies. They do not necessarily reflect what people do in real life.

Stable relationships

Moser does not go into the fantasies themselves, but puts up the following hypothesis: If M2F "non-homosexual" MTFs uses males as props in fantasies, you would see them use men in the same way after transitioning.

The Blanchard theory would imply that non-homosexual MTFs attracted to men would have multiple male partners and no stable male partnered relationships. The data given by Anne Lawrence, a strong Blanchard supporter, says otherwise, according to Moser:

Ray Blanchard

"Of the MTFs who had exclusively female partners before SRS and exclusively male partners after SRS, 71% reported at least one stable partnered relationship post-SRS in comparison to the 64% of MTFs who had exclusively male partners before and after SRS (Lawrence, 2005). The MTFs with female partners before and male partners after SRS reported a mean of 2.8 male partners after SRS, in comparison to the 8.4 male partners for MTFs with exclusively male partners before and after SRS (Lawrence, 2005). "

Moser argues that androphilic MTFs are less likely to form stable relationships than the "non-homosexual" ones -- not that this in any way implies that they are more "autoerotic" than the autogynephiliacs.

Are we wrong about sexual orientation?

The fact that "autogynephiliacs" are as likely to form stable relationships as others is a good point. But it does not answer the puzzle of seemingly gynephilic M2Fs getting male partners.

I wonder if we are barking up the wrong tree here. The word "non-homosexual"makes sense in this context, but not for the reasons Blanchard intended. The phenomenon we are describing is a journey from one form of heterosexuality to another. The biological male starts out as gynephilic (heterosexual) and ends up as an androphilic woman (heterosexual).

Given Blanchard's starting point (that there are only two types of normal sexual orientation), some explanations cannot be considered by him. The following three are, for instance, out of the question:
  1. The gynephilic crossdreamers who become androphilic were bisexual all along, but given the fact that they have tried to live as men, they have suppressed their desire for men. As women it makes much more sense for them to approach men. The gynephilic crossdreamers who were truly gynephilic only, remain gynephilic after the transition.
  2. Some gynephilic crossdreamers do indeed change their orientation from loving women to loving men, as sexual orientation is not unalterable, but is the end result of a complex set of natural and psychological factors, some of which may be changed when transitioning (for instance due to hormones or psychological realignments).
  3. Sigmund Freud was right all along: All men and women are basically bisexual. However, the surrounding culture and their basic copulation instinct (catcher/pitcher) lead them to preferring one sex and suppress the longing for the other. When they change sex, they are allowed to -- yes, even encouraged to -- turn to the other sex, which allows them to do what their natural instincts asked for all the time.
During my exploration of my own crossdreamer psyche, I have slowly come to the point where I can see that it actually might be possible for a crossdreamer to switch allegiance in this way, i.e. the point where the male body actually becomes physically attractive, but I must admit that I do not understand how this happens. I suspect there may something inherently wrong about the way we look at sexual orientation. We oversimplify a complex phenomenon. This is definitely a topic for further study.

Cohabitation and erotic-romantic identification

As for Moser dismissing the man as a prop theory using cohabitation statistics: Well, the data are interesting, but these data say nothing about how these trans women experience their sexual relationship with men. There may be friendship, there may be love, but if this is anything like the attraction a cisgendered ("normal") woman feels for a man, or a gay man feels for another is unknown.

Anne Lawrence has a highly speculative theory about the MTF crossdreamers ("autogynephiliacs") being romantically in love with the image of themselves as women. She says:

"Moreover, it seems obvious that erotic-romantic orientations involving erotic target location errors would contribute especially strongly to personal identity, because they define one’s ideal self: the person whom one wants to become or wants to change one’s body to resemble. It is easy, then, to understand why becoming what one loves would feel like an identity-driven process. It is also easy to understand how the erotic feelings that putatively contribute to the creation of identity in nonhomosexual MtF transsexuals could seem relatively unimportant, especially if they had diminished with time or were never strong to begin with." (Lawrence 2004)

The reason why autogynephiliacs imagine faceless men, according to Lawrence, is that they are not attracted to men, but to the idea of being a beautiful woman lusted for by men.

Moser's argument quite efficiently destroys Lawrence's idea that autogynephilia represents some alternative kind of erotic-romantic orientation - an alternative to heterosexual and homosexual love. Moser demonstrates that crossdreamers are perfectly capable of having long lasting relationships with real people. However, the fact that they do so, does not in itself prove that their condition cannot be caused by some kind of erotic-romantic identification with the other sex.

Personally I think there may be such a erotic-romantic identification. However, that does not in itself prove Lawrence right. If crossdreaming or autogynephilia is inborn -- i.e. these biological men have strong "inner women" -- it would only be natural for them to identify romantically with the idea of being a woman. They love women, they are partly or fully wired as women, and many of them therefore identify as women. If this is the case it would be close to impossible for them to differentiate between these types of love in their subconscious. A erotic-romantic identification with "womanhood" does not therefore stop gynephilic trans women from being "real women".

Maybe it does not matter. Maybe this is all part of the wonderful variety of life.

Androphilic with autogynephilic fantasies

Moser says that he cannot find reports of any substantial differences between the gender dysphoria (psychological discomfort) of homosexual and non-homosexual (autogynephilic) transsexuals. Nor does he find any differences in their post-op life experiences.

He also dismisses the idea that androphilic transwomen cannot have autogynephilic fantasies. Since Blanchard argues that 90 percent of the autogynephiliacs have also been aroused by the idea of wearing women's clothes, Moser makes use of research on crossdressing among androphilic MTFs:

"Blanchard (1985b) found approximately 15% of his homosexual MTFs reported a history of cross-gender fetishism. Bentler (1976) found 23% of his sample of homosexual transsexuals admitted sexual arousal by cross-dressing. Leavitt and Berger (1990) reported almost 36% of their androphilic transsexuals had a history of sexual arousal by crossdressing (using an item from Blanchard’s [1985b] inventory to measure this cross-dressing fetishism). It is hard to dismiss all these studies as systematic distortions and misrepresentations."

We know that there are androphilic crossdressers. Some of them use their crossdressing on stage, exploring their femininity as drag queens. The arguments is that a drag queen differs from autogynephiliacs in that she is (1) androphilic and (2) she "is dressing like a woman, not because it turns them on, but because it is a fun character and a form of entertainment."

But why? If we use Blanchard's methodology and allow ourselves to suspect a cover up, this might be one of them. I for one find it strange that no drag queen will get a tingling of erotic excitement performing as a sexy woman in a bar, even if her spectators are all gay men. We are definitely missing something important here. Maybe I will have to look into the sexuality of gay men as well.

Blanchard and his followers will of course argue that if a drag queen admits to getting turned on by performing as a woman, she cannot be androphilic at all. She must be a "non-homosexual" autogynephiliac, which brings us back to square one: If you don't like what they tell you, they are liars.

No feminization fantasies

A significant proportion of the non-homosexual group does not follow the rules laid down by Blanchard & Co. They do not report autogynephilic arousal, Moser says:

"There are non-homosexual MTFs who do not report any history of autogynephilic arousal. Lawrence (2005) found approximately 10% of her non-homosexual MTF sample reported that they never experienced autogynephilic arousal prior to SRS. Blanchard (1985b) reported that almost 27% of his sample of non-homosexual transsexuals did not acknowledge a history of
sexual arousal while cross-dressing.

"Blanchard et al. (1987) classified 82.2% of their heterosexual male transsexuals to be fetishistic (autogynephilic), suggesting that 17.8% were not. Bentler (1976) noted only 18% of his 'Asexual' MTF group and 50% of his 'Heterosexual' MTF group indicated that crossdressing was sexually arousing presurgery, suggesting a majority did not find it sexually arousing. Again, it is difficult to dismiss all these findings as systematic distortion and misrepresentation."

Moser makes the same point I have been making. Moreover, if this is all caused by mistaken or deceiving respondents, all the data must be disregarded. That would mean that the methodologies used are useless and will have to be abandoned. This would mean that all of Blanchard's research is bogus. It is not!

Moser does not have any good explanation for why there is a significant difference in the proportion of people having autogynephilic fantasies in the two groups, though, and he really needs such an explanation to kill the Blanchard theory once and for all. Why are gynephilic trans women more likely than the androphilic to have had feminization fantasies?

I suspect it has something to do that the androphilic  trans women may use gay male culture as a place for exploring their sexuality while the gynephilic ones cannot. But that discussion requires a separate post.

Autogynephilia as a paraphilia

Moser's paper is clearly an intervention in the DSM-V debate, which I have covered elsewhere. Moser argues that autogynephilia does not belong in the Fifth Edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, not because autogynephilic fantasies do not exist, but because they cannot be the main cause for the desire to transition.

Moser says:

"If the impetus for gender transition is a paraphilia (autogynephilia), then reduction of the sex interest should decrease the desire for the transition. Low testosterone, either due to anti-androgens or other causes, is associated with decreased sexual interest in individuals with or without a paraphilia. Estrogen acts to decrease testosterone levels, but most transsexuals are prescribed anti-androgens to reduce further their testosterone level, often to the undetectable range. The result is often decreased sexual interest, as expected, but this rarely causes any discomfort or regret. Most MTFs report their drive for gender transition is unabated; Blanchard (1991) also observed this same phenomenon."

In other words: the hormone treatment given to them to feminize their body should cure them of their autogynephilia and stop them from transitioning. It does not.

He also points out that many individuals diagnosed with a paraphilia [like pedophilia, I guess] and treated with anti-androgens [which is a form for chemical castration] report a significant decrease in their desire to act on their paraphilic interests. This is not seen with MTF transwomen. This is a strong indication for autogynephilia being a symptom of a deeper gender dysphoria and not its root cause.

A very useful contribution to the debate

Moser does not say anything new in this paper, but he makes a coherent and convincing argument for why Blanchard's theory is too simplistic and too weak to be the foundation for a classification in the DSM.

He also undermines the idea of all "non-homosexual" transgendered being motivated by sexual desire only. Instead he opens the door to an explanation where the sexual fantasies as well as other expressions of femininity among crossdreamers, is caused by an unknown underlying factor.

He does not give an alternative explanation for crossdreaming (autogynephilia), but then again, that was not the objective of his paper. What we really need now is for some researchers outside the Blanchard tradition to take a look at crossdreaming and what it means. Maybe Moser can take a shot at it?


Moser's paper is not available for free online. I had to pay 30 USD for it, and they printed my name on every page to stop me from sharing it with you. I do understand that the publishers need to secure some revenue, but this kind of policy is stifling debate outside the scientific circles. I'll see if can be possible to find a way of making the article accessible to you. Fortunately there is a process in both the US and other countries towards open access, where publicly supported research is made available to all.

July 24, 2010

Vloggers on autogynephilia: TransInsight

I have already presented a few YouTube vloggers discussing transgender issues. I am going to present a few, not because I necessarily agree with everything they say, but because they discuss autogynephilia and crossdreaming in an interesting way.

I'll start out with TransInsight:

The question is: How should transsexuals who have crossdressed cope with having feminization fantasies?

July 21, 2010

Two new blogs on crossdreaming and crossdressing

I would like to draw your attention to two new blogs on crossdreaming and autogynephilia.

Imitations of Reality contains very interesting reflections on what it means to be a crossdresser, and how you can integrate this into your life as a man.

The author says:

"I am a crossdresser, sometimes known as a transvestite, who has come late in life to acknowledging my inner dreams and ego and at the age of 64 and how all of these aspects remain dazzling and uncomprehending to me! This blog is about my struggles, my denials, my confusions my joys and pleasures in clothing my male body in female apparel."

Note the creative way of using art for illustrations! The image to the right is taken from the blog.

Lost in Transgender is a new blog made by Cheryl, who will write about sexual motivations associated with transgenderism.

She says:

"I know autogynephilia is a ‘theory’, but it is a word which does describe the condition I have. I may not agree with every element of it but it is the best way of describing my motivations. To an outsider it may seem that I have a simple fetish. But it goes far deeper than that, I have all the symptoms of gender dysphoria that many many non AGP transsexuals have."

Update: I have now included feeds from some of the blogs written by crossdreamers in the left hand margin of my Channel 2 blog.

July 19, 2010

On Moser's critique of Blanchard's autogynephilia theory Part 1

Sexologist Charles Moser attacks the autogynephilia theory of Ray Blanchard in a new paper.

For new readers: the sexologist Ray Blanchard has developed a theory of what he calls autogynephilia (and what I call crossdreaming), which is about men who get aroused by the idea of imagining themselves with a woman's body. Crossdressers are a subcategory of autogynephiliacs in his model.

Blanchard explains this condition as a result of misdirected sexual desire. (See Autogynephilia on a Napkin for a popular introduction.)

Although the theory has led to a wide and painful debate in the transgender community, it has not been met with much interest among other researchers. However, in the latest issue of Journal of Homosexuality (57: 6, 790 — 809, June 2010) Charles Moser sets out to do just that.

Moser is a Dean of Professional Studies at the Department of Sexual Medicine, Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, San Francisco. My regular readers may know Moser as the one that showed that autogynephilic fantasies were common among genetic XX women.

Moser on Blanchard

Moser sums up Blanchard's theory in this way:

"Proponents of Blanchard’s Autogynephilia Theory (BAT) suggest that male-to-female transsexuals (MTFs) who are not primarily sexually attracted to men also manifest a specific sexual interest (i.e., autogynephilia, or arousal by the thought or image of “himself” as a woman). Conversely, in those MTFs who are primarily sexually attracted to men, autogynephilia is absent. Thus, autogynephilia, sexual orientation, and gender identity are interrelated and interdependent in MTFs."

Moser's point is that with Blanchard there is a one-to-one relationship between sexual orientation and the explanation for the transgender condition. In Blanchard's world all transgender phenomena can be explained along two dimensions: biological male vs. biological female and heterosexual vs. homosexual. This is a long way from the "mixing table" narrative I have presented here at this blog, where gender is caused by a combination of a large number of variables.

In fact, what Blanchard is saying is that androphilic (man-loving) M2F transwomen (who he calls "homosexual transsexuals") are feminine men who transition to get access to straight men. While all other transexual women (as well as other biological men with autogynephilic fantasies) are suffering from a target location error. They are attracted to the idea of they themselves having a female body. Some of them are also driven by this sexual desire towards transitioning.

This means that androphilic and gynephilic (woman-loving) transwomen basically have nothing in common as regards the cause of their condition. They belong to separate worlds, if we are to believe Blanchard.

Picture: Charles Moser ->

The negative consequences of Blanchard's theory

Moser points out that critics -- professionals as well as MTFs -- focus on the implications of the theory. If Blanchard is right this would imply, they say, that: (Moser's list; my comments in brackets)
  • Autogynephilia is always present in non-homosexual MTFs and always absent in homosexual MTFs.
    [Meaning that all gynephilic, bisexual and asexual transwomen must have or have had autogynephilic fantasies, while man-loving transwomen have none].
  • Those non-homosexual MTFs who deny autogynephilia and those homosexual MTFs who report autogynephilia are mistaken or in denial.
    [The numbers given by Blanchard do seem to confirm that most autogynephiliacs -- or crossdreamers, as I call us -- are gynephilic, but not all. Moreover, some of his "homosexual transsexuals" report autogynephilic fantasies. ]
  • Autogynephilia is a paraphilia.
    [Paraphilia means a sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her. As paraphilias are included in psychiatric manuals, they are more often than not understood as mental illnesses or perversions.]
  • Autogynephilia is an orientation.
    [i.e. a sexual orientation that comes in addition to heterosexual or homosexual. This is actually one of two different hypotheses presented by Blanchard. The other one is the target location error theory, where the autogynephiliac internalizes the natural love object, woman, and gets the hots for himself as a woman.]
  • Autogynephilia is the motivation of non-homosexual MTFs to seek sex reassignment surgery (SRS)
    [As opposed to having a strong female gender identity]
  • Autogynephilia is clinically important.
    [It deserves a place in the psychiatric manuals as a separate condition, as opposed to being a symptom of another underlying cause].
  • Non-homosexual MTFs have difficulty with pair bonding due to their autogynephilic interests.
    [Their attraction to the image of themselves as a woman makes it impossible for them to form lasting relationships to other women or men].

Offending language

Moser points out that even if Blanchard's use of language may appear to be scientifically neutral, it can hardly be read that way:

"Although possibly descriptive, the notion of autogynephilia has particularly negative connotations within segments of the transsexual community. In the same way that it may be accurate to state that men, on average, have more upper body strength than women, it is inappropriate and inflammatory to say that women are the weaker sex. It is also inappropriate to say that MTFs, who have struggled to be considered women, are just generic men with an unusual sexual interest."

I agree, but describing the negative consequences of a theory does not prove it wrong. The truth may hurt, and it is the role of science to get to the truth. I really don't understand why Blanchard and his supporters insist on using this kind of language. Even if they do feel that "homosexual transsexuals" are men, a more neutral terminology ("androphilic MTF transsexuals") may have led to a more fruitful debate.

The fact that they are using politically incorrect language does not in itself meant that the underlying theory is wrong, however. Blanchard is one of the very few that has had the courage to walk into this minefield (or "mindfield") . I for one is glad he did, because it meant that my condition was at least recognized by someone. This means that if we are to criticize Blanchard we need more than complaints about language and politically incorrect opinions.

Does Moser have any good arguments against Blanchard's theory? He does.

Weak methodology

First Moser attacks the methodology of Blanchard. Moser is arguing that Blanchard is making shortcuts that are not acceptable.

Blanchard is basing most of his research on questionnaires given to patients at the Clarke Institute of Toronto. Moser points out that the questions themselves are leading the researcher towards an affirmation of Blanchard's theory:

A sample item is, “Have you ever felt sexually aroused when putting on women’s underwear, stockings or a nightgown?” All the items in this scale use the term “ever,” emphasizing that even one episode in the distant past factored into the score on this scale.

In other words: Blanchard leaves no room for the ambiguity and messiness of life. He wants to sort all men into his four field table of sex and sexual orientation, and the way the questions are posed helps him do so.

Moser again:

"The consistent use of “ever” in these scales is analogous to classifying someone as homosexual on the basis of a few episodes of arousal from same sex contact during a brief period, despite years of satisfying heterosexual experience, interest, and denial of subsequent homosexual experience or interest. Although some MTFs acknowledge ongoing autogynephilic arousal, many others deny this (Lawrence, 2004, 2005). Blanchard (1985b; Blanchard, Clemmensen, & Steiner, 1985) and Lawrence (2004, 2005, 2006) dismiss their denials and insist that they are still autogynephilic."

The problem of falsification

Then there is the problem om autogynephiliacs lying. Moser puts it this way:

"Blanchard suggests that non-homosexual MTFs who deny autogynephilia are seeking to present themselves as “socially desirable,” that they want to emphasize the traits and behaviors that will win them a favorable SRS recommendation, and that some admit to falsifying their presurgical evaluation (Blanchard, Clemmensen, & Steiner, 1985). "

I for one is pretty certain that many MTF transwomen have lied to their therapists about their sex fantasies. If the only way to get SRS (sex reassignment surgery) is to tell the therapist that you are not autogynephilic, that is what you do. You may be telling your doctor a white lie, but you are not lying to yourself.

But Blanchard and his supporters are using this to undermine the validity of the responses given by the "non-homosexual" MTF in the Blanchard studies. They not only lie when necessary. They are liars. This makes it possible for them to explain away the fact that some "non-homosexual" transwomen do not report autogynephilic arousal.

I find this part of Blanchard's argument bewildering. You see, the patients at his clinic have no reason to lie about their autogynephilic fantasies, as "the Clarke" clinic of Blanchard allow "autogynephiliacs" to transition. Indeed, as we see from the responses, most of the autogynephilic transwomen understand this, which is why they are so open about their feminization dreams. You can see from the papers written by Blanchard, that his patients tell him close to everything about their fantasies, which is why he was able to develop the theory in the first place.

Moreover, if the autogynephiliacs are lying, the androphilic transwomen could be so too. Maybe they have better understood that admitting to feminization fantasies is a big no no, so they keep quiet about them. Or maybe they interpret the questions differently. Blanchard never follows that avenue, because it does not suit his purposes.

What we are facing here is the problem of falsification. If there is no way you can test a theory and prove it wrong, it does not follow the proper rules of science.

The theory determines the facts that proves the theory

There will always be respondents who are lying to the researcher (or themselves) in any "poll" like the one Blanchard is basing his conclusions on. My problem with all this is that Blanchard, and particularly his supporters, use this "autogynephiliacs are lying" argument to reclassify all the respondents who do not fit the theory.

An androphilic transwoman ("homosexual transsexual" in the Blanchard lingo) who admits to such fantasies, cannot be telling the truth, they say, because androphilic transsexuals do not have such fantasies. Why? Because the theory requires that they have none. They therefore look closer at the data and find that this person has reported one or two heterosexual experiences, which "proves" that this person is not homosexual at all, but has been "non-homosexual" all the time.

I have known quite a few homosexual men in my life. Most of them have had sexual encounters with women. Some have been married. Some have kids. It was expected of them. That does not make them less gay. You cannot reclassify respondents in this way based on such weak data.

So: The questionnaire and the methodology are designed in such a way that the respondents confirm the theory. If the respondents give the "wrong" reply, they are reclassified according to the theory. This means that the methodology is more likely than not to lead to the type of results Blanchard is looking for. These results are then used to confirm the theory. Please note that this is common practice in science. But it is not good science.

Non-homosexuals MTFs without autogynephilia

As for the role of autogynephilia (crossdreaming) among "non-homosexual" MTF transwomen Moser notes the following:

"Non-homosexual MTFs who report never or infrequently experiencing autogynephilic arousal are not rare. Prior to SRS, almost 35% of nonhomosexual MTFs reported a history of 12 or fewer lifetime episodes of autogynephilic arousal (Lawrence, 2005). Lumping individuals with minor,
often time-limited, histories of autogynephilic arousal with individuals who have extensive histories for most of their adult lives appears problematic. It would seem more appropriate to consider consistently versus rarely autogynephilic groups separately."

This blog is about crossdreamers, people who do get aroused by the idea of being the opposite sex. But this does not mean that there cannot be other gynephilic transgendered people out there who do not feel such urges. Some may be asexual. Others may express their inner woman by other means.

But Blanchard is not interested in discussing the exceptions, because he believes that the autogynephilic fantasy is the engine that drives non-homosexual transwomen towards transitioning.

The physiological data

Blanchard and his colleagues have tried to control for the possibility of autogynephiliacs lying about their fantasy life by testing some of them with a penile plethysmograph (phallometry). You run a tape with a sexual fantasy for the subjects and measure any response in the form of penile erections. How they can get erections with a device attached to their penis, is beyond me, but they do!

It is a very controversial tool, and the efficiency of its use has been contested.

Moser explains:

"Blanchard, Racansky, & Steiner (1986) attempted to show that heterosexual cross-dressers who did not report sexual arousal from cross-dressing were actually sexually aroused by cross-dressing narrative audio tapes. This would suggest that their denial (either intentional misrepresentation or their own misperception) of sexual arousal from cross-dressing stimuli was erroneous."

One problem with the study was that the fantasies presented to subjects did not include a woman on woman fantasy.

There is no room for a thorough discussion of this research here (this is one of the Blanchard papers I have not dissected), but Moser's conclusion is clear:

"Contrary to their conclusion, there was no discrepancy between, 'verbal self-reports and their more directly observed physiological responses' (Blanchard, Racansky, & Steiner, 1986, p. 460). The phallometric data and the self-report data were consistent; the response to the cross-dressing tape was directly related to the subjects’ stated report of arousal by cross-dressing."

These non-homosexuals (how do you like that for a word!) did not lie to the researchers. This indicates that the responses given in the other studies can be trusted. The grey zone of autogynephilic man-loving transwomen and non-autogynephilic woman-loving transwomen cannot be ignored.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!