November 14, 2010

Childhood crossdreamers

The myth says that crossdressers and crossdreamers (men who get aroused by the idea of being a woman) become what they are when puberty hits. The myth is wrong.

There are to many crossdreamer childhood stories around for this to be true.

Repressing your inner girl

Autogyn tells one harrowing child hood story over at "Living with Autogynephilia".

"I don't remember the exact year or how old I was, but I'm sure it was somewhere before the age of ten. I remember losing a tooth. I remember my mother telling me to write a note to the tooth fairy- to accompany my tooth."

In the not s/he wrote that s/he wanted to be a girl. That was a mistake.

"Shortly after, days, weeks, I'm not sure, I caught my father trying on my mothers one-piece swimsuit. Only, I didn't actually *catch* anything, that is until he raised his index finger to his lips to shush me.

"I stood there watching him, and then something even stranger happened. He ran out of his bedroom, and all over the house and in front of my mother. He kept yelling, 'Look at me, I'm (my name),' repeatedly. My mother was laughing hysterically."

If someone is in doubt why some crossdreamers manage to suppress their inner woman, this should be an example good enough.

Crossdreamers are liers

The fact is that there are a lot of people, researchers as well as transwomen, who deny that M2F crossdressers and crossdreamers experienced gender dysphoria or gender confusion when they are kids. The idea is that since crossdreamers are purely sexually motivated, their fantasies and dreams cannot appear before puberty.

This is one of the reasons Ray Blanchard argued that "autogynephilic" transwomen are lying. Their childhood stories are constructs helping them appear as regular "classic transwomen". The idea is that the earlier your gender dysphoria appears, the more "real" it apparently is.

It is well known that for a long time many doctors and therapist only accepted M2F transgendered who did not report sexual arousal from feminization fantasies as real women ready for hormone treatment and surgery. At the time researchers seemed to believed that only men were perverts, and that women were pure as snow.

I do not doubt for a minute that some crossdreamers wanting to transition told the doctors what the doctors wanted to hear. Why shouldn't they, when the doctors at hand were so hung up in 19th century stereotypes of what it means to be a man or a woman?

But that does not mean that their childhood memories were false. Given the stories told on this site, and all the crossdreamers I have been in contact with, I can say with 100 percent certainty that yes, many crossdreamers dreamed of being girls at a very early age.

The life stories of Anne Lawrence

I went over to Anne Lawrence’s site and reread her narratives about autogynephilia.

She asked readers of her site to provide their life stories. She did not explicitly ask for childhood experiences, I believe, as Lawrence originally seemed to share Blanchard’s belief that autogynephilia (crossdreaming) appears at puberty.

She had to conclude, though, after having gathered these narratives, that “cross-gender feelings frequently preceded overt autogynephilic arousal, often by many years”.

This is no way a scientifically valid sample. Moreover, out of more than 100, she only presents 59 online . In spite of that I believe her survey proves that crossdreaming can be a childhood phenomenon.

Three types of childhood crossdreamers

Some of these narratives point to a childhood that is similar to the ones reported for androphilic transkids and classic transsexuals. That is, there seems to be at least three categories:

(1) Those kids that appear as “normal” boys, taking part in rough and tumble play etc. etc.

(2) Those that “pass” as boys, but display some “girl-like” behavior. They avoid rough and tumble play and do prefer more peaceful activities. I was one of them myself – a kind of “proto-nerd”, I guess. I preferred drawing to soccer and skiing, but also found building model warplanes a good thing.

(3) Those who clearly identify with girls, often cross-dress as kids and prefer playing with girls.
These are not absolute categories, I believe, but more like a gradual continuum.

This means that single cases of crossdreamer kids appearing “boyish” as kids do not prove anything, one way or the other, as regards the possible “femininity” of other crossdreamer kids.

Out of Anne Lawrence’s 58 autogynephilia narratives, the following report childhood transgender issues: 1, 3, 4?, 8, 9, 13?, 19, 23, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 38?, 44, 48, 50?, 54, 55, 56.

That is 21 out of 59. It might be that some of the others would have reported childhood experiences, as well, had they been asked to. We can also speculate about how many crossdreamers suppress childhood dreams about becoming girls. (The question marks mark cases where the narratives may possible be interpreted in such a way that they do not confirm childhood experiences. To me they look genuine.)

Crossdreaming before puberty

Lawrence admits that these narratives are in conflict with Ray Blanchard’s theory of crossdreaming (autgynephilia) being a sexually driven paraphilia:

“There was one way in which some of my respondents’ stories were less consistent with Blanchard’s ideas about autogynephilia. If the desire for sex reassignment is indeed an outgrowth of these persons’ autogynephilia, then we would expect autogynephilia to appear first, with cross-gender wishes appearing only later. But some of my respondents who freely acknowledged autogynephilic arousal reported that they had experienced cross-gender wishes long before their autogynephilia became evident. (…) It is hard to know whether accounts like these are accurate, or are simply retrospective re-writings of early memories to agree with accepted notions about transsexualism. I believe that we must at least consider the possibility that autogynephilia can, in different individuals, be either the cause or the effect of a desire for sex reassignment.”

Even childhood crossdreaming may have a sexual component (see On the Science of Changing Sex for a very interesting case). Children are sexual beings. But it becomes harder to explain why a M2F crossdreamer kid dressing up as a girl is more fetishistic or paraphilic than an androphilic transgirl trying out mama’s shoes.

Some quotes

I have copied the paragraphs from these narratives that are relevant to the childhood AGP question.

No 1: ” I have no doubt, as I look back on my past, that when I was five and wearing perfume, or making pretty necklaces out of colored beads, or arranging flowers, or when I was seven and volunteering to play ‘Mother Goose’ in the school play, that sexual motivation was a part of what I was experiencing.”

No. 3: “I began crossdressing at three or four. My absolute earliest lifetime memory is, in fact, of standing in a closet happily wearing my sister’s dress, knowing somehow that it was “wrong” and that I should never be caught. I fantasized a lot during my childhood about being a girl, or transforming into one, but I had friends of both sexes, and was feminine in appearance but not necessarily in action. I would have been a tomboy, if I [had been] a girl. My sister was my best friend, and we played with dolls and girlish fantasy games, but I also played cowboys and softball and ran around the badlands with my boy friends.”

No 4: “I do not believe myself to BE a woman, nor did I ever believe myself to BE a girl while growing up. I certainly wasn’t masculine — I played almost exclusively with girls and did not act at all macho, but I never thought I WAS a girl.”

No 6: “I really can’t trace autogynephilia back too much beyond adolescence — I never fit in and really didn’t do boy things, but I didn’t do much girlish stuff either (although I remember some interest, but avoided it because of fear of repercussions of peers).”

No 8: “I did dress in some of my mother’s underthings as I was growing up, but never did fully dress until around 10 years ago.”

No 9: “I had begun cross-dressing as a child and had fantasizing about being female. From puberty onwards, I was sexually aroused by the idea of being a women, wearing women’s clothes, fetish items, and being made love to as a women by a man. ”

No 13: “I did not engage in much crossdressing at an early age. I did sneak occasionally into my Mother’s room and try on a slip, panties, or a bra, but that was the extent of it.”

No 19: ” Following the classic definition of transsexuality, my feelings started at an early age, at least as early as five, years before puberty. I didn’t fit in with boys. I loathed sports and fighting, and war-related role-playing. I was quite drawn to trying on my mother’s and sister’s things, including clothes, makeup, perfume, and jewelry, both real and toy versions. My favorite toys were all my sisters, the dolls and the easy bake oven.”

No 23: “When I was six or seven, I used to masturbate with a piece of clothing — it did not need to be gendered clothing, I just did not want to touch my penis — and fantasize about not having a penis, [and] having a vagina.”

No 25: ” I am almost 100% sure that my desire to be a woman is more established than [my] autogynephilia, which I also recognize [in] myself. The former has been rather stable since the age of six, whereas I don’t recall any remotely autogynephilic fantasies before the age of 20.”
No 26: “I have distinct memories of having wanted to be a girl beginning at age four to five years old, and when I saw a rerun newsreel of Christine Jorgensen at 9 years old, I blurted out to my parents I wanted to do that (not smart). ”

No 28: “As an aside, I do not conform to the portrayal of standard physical characteristics of autogynephiles, as I was feminine as a child, transitioned at an early age, and have generally “passed” without effort.”

No 31: “I was used to wear my Mom’s clothing and shoes from the age of five years. I liked this very much, especially because I had the feeling that I was a woman. I was jealous of many school girls, especially the beautiful ones. I wore my mother’s clothes and shoes, and even had my own small wardrobe.”

No 34: “I have known since very early childhood that I was transsexual, though I had no term for it then. However, the standard or classic transsexual definitions did not seem to apply. ”

No 35: “But I don’t think that autogynephilic sexuality is the reason I am transsexual. Rather, I think it is a symptom of my transsexualism. I had my first feelings of wanting to be female around the age of 3-1/2. All through childhood, I prayed that I could become a girl. I started crossdressing around the age of seven. However, since I was an extremely shy child, I was also an extremely compliant child. I was told I was a boy and would always be a boy no matter what. And so, I tried as best I could to get on with life as a male.”

No 38: “I am a transsexual woman who has a sexual attraction towards women. I first knew of my lesbianism at age 10 or 11 when I was told the word and its meaning. (…) Since my pre-teens, I have behaved in a way that is quite consist with being a woman. While I may never have felt as if I “were” a woman (I still don’t — I feel like me and I’m a woman), my presentation, social attitudes, sexual behavior, etc. are all quite consistent with a life-long internal identity as a woman.”

No 44: “I have vivid memories starting from about age six or seven of wanting to be a girl, and of sexual desires which accompanied it. I also remember feeling ashamed of those feelings, though I do not remember any particular incident that instilled such feelings. Fantasies of intentionally becoming a girl began around age 10.”

No 48: “My first understanding that I desired to be a woman, and its accompanying excitement, came when I was around five years old. This occurred watching a Doris Day movie, and at first it involved the wonderful clothes she wore.”

No 50:” When I was younger, maybe eight years old, I always wanted to wear diapers and pee in them. Around this same age, I would often pull my penis and testes down, and cross my legs to hide them and see how I’d look with female genitalia. ”

No 54: “I started crossdressing as a child, probably about age five or six, and continued to do this most of my life.”

No 55: “I grew up wanting to be a girl. At age six or earlier, I can remember praying to God to let me be a girl.”

No 56: “I began having feelings of wanting to be female at a young age, and started crossdressing in my sister’s clothes at age five.”

By the way, many of the respondents confirm that they have been lying about their autogynephilia to health personnel: “I didn’t bring it up because I wanted SRS. I figured out early on that I had to present what they wanted to see, not what I really was. I had no belief at all that I could get approval without lying, so I lied.”

But I doubt that they lied about their childhood.


  1. It occurred to me reading this post Jack, that the construct of autogynephilia hinges entirely on an assumed normality. Becoming aroused by masculine activities which expresses embracing (loving) your maleness is considered healthy and "normal". The characterization of embracing oneself as a female (if male) is only a philia because it is considered to be falling outside of normal.

    It would seem that it is not science but a human construct. By not expressly declaring that whatever findings he has are based on an assumption of normal to define the not-normal the whole thing collapses at it's origin.

  2. I think this second category represents me as well, a typical feminine male from India. I am a proto nerd type guy and I used to always love painting, writing stories and playing video games rather than soccer. I once remember that in my games class, my teacher forcefully took me and another nelly type boy out of the male group as I was behaving rather laggardly in soccer, and asked me to play with the girls. As I played with the girls, I found that the nelly boy identified more easily as being one of the girls, while I felt more masculine than the girls. But equally, with the boys, I remember feeling too girly. It then became clear to me that I was somewhat androgynous, while the nelly was more effeminate. I was so amazed at how we boys were all so different despite having the same outer sex.
    I think that rather than categorizing transgenderism into distinct aspects like classic TS and autogynephilia, we can look at the whole aspect btroadly as that the male gender (as well as female gender) is divided into the masculine and feminine categories.Hence it is a aprt of natural variation that some males will be having more feminine nergy and some females with more than average masculine energy while many more with a mix of two. It has always been a natural variation. How the feminine and masculine energies express themselves can vary across individuals in both the symptoms as well as the degree but I guess the roots are somewhat similar, say, due to some factor X.But I also find that sometimes the two categories of transgenderism overlap in some aspects, which indicates that there are similar roots more often than not.
    For instance,one cannot avoid the fact that feminine males with a metrosexual gender orientation are as much averse to sports and macho culture as the more masculine looking heterosexual crossdreamers. They differ in their sexuality but I can sense they have similar roots of crossgenderism in them which just express differently due to their sexuality.
    Of course now, the big question is why some femme males will exclusively like men and some exclusively women while some both.
    I guess that depends on what they perceive of people belonging to the two genders.
    I for one, like sex with men because they can make love to me (dominate). But I am not slightest attracted to their bodies!
    But I don't like to have too much hot sex with women though I am attarcted to everything of them,

  3. I have a whole bunch of my childhood drawings and toys and was definitely a kid who like GI Joe and spaceships that shot missiles that shot guns.

    I also remember a drawing I did in first or second grade of a werewolf holding a woman limp in his arms, blood streaming out of the corners of his mouth, saying...

    "I like to scare the girls..."

    Not very feminine of me.

    Yet I was the "sissy" of my male peer group. I wasn't good at object-oriented games and didn't do well with rough-and-tumble. But I was still accepted by the group and not an outcast and more importantly, I wanted to fit in with the boys.

    I remember talking about how it would be cool if there were a "war" between the boys and girls (this was 4th grade mind you). I also wished that I were better at object-oriented games; not so much out of enjoyment for the games but because it would allow me to fit in.

    In early puberty I enjoyed video games and playing dungeons and dragons and there was at least one female character I role-played. But she was always married to a male character I also role-played so I think she expressed my hopes and wishes for a girlfriend with those qualities more so than an expression of my feminine side.

    My desires for cross-gender expression were buried deep. The only place they were expressed was in my erotic life, which I also believe starts when we are very young. I recall getting erections as a child, but had no idea what it meant or what to do with it. That didn't come until puberty.

    Yet I had reactions to stimuli as a young child. In particular I remember getting erections while watching the damsel-in-distress trope played out in movies and tv. I can say almost for certain that I wanted to be the woman tied up.

    Later in adolescence, I wanted to be the "catcher"; not in a penetration sense but as having my female partner be the aggressive one; to have my legs around her instead of the other way. I also started seeing myself as female in my minds-eye during sex. This was of course the time period when I had my first real cross-gender expressions in the form of dressing as well.

    I had the pleasure of talking with Andrea James about this very thing and she feels that many of us, cross-gender expression is *impossible* due to variety of variables. So it shows up in our erotic life, she feels, because this is one of the few truly-private places we have as kids.

  4. One of the flaws with all of the studies of cross gendered issues is the lack of taking into account a persons ability see a duality of who they are in their head and who they are physically.

    A friend of mine and I have discussed this at length over the last two years. It's almost as if you have to be somewhat delusional to be considered TG. If you acknowledge your male anatomy as being yours, your not TG. If you acknowledge that you desire to be female should be questioned, to make sure your otherwise sane, your not TG. If you acknowledge that you need to do a cost benefit analysis of living as male vs living as female, your not TG.

    You screen out anyone who approaches this emotional issue and draw your samples only from folks who have already jumped off the cliff and started action. We have little or no data on those who thought about trans issues but did not pursue them in ANY way. If a person is willing to lie to advance/protect a status that will stigmatize them, how far would they be willing to go to defend their higher status normal position. How much would they lie to themselves, say about being 'just' gay, or just sensitive, or flat out deny feminine interests if they are androgynous.

    Why would anyone who CAN be straight and normative in gender (as an androgynous person could) not do everything possible to remain in their family, tribe, apparent gender. Especially as a child, when a simple raised eyebrow by a friend or authority figure or peer is often enough to dramatically change behavior?

  5. Jack-

    I would appreciate it if you read my blog, The blog is a virtual compendium of articles from newspapers, newsweeklies, and magazines, both popular and scholarly. The articles have a viewpoint toward transgender / transsexual news. If you like it, please put
    "Emily's virtual rocket "under the title commonly called
    "Blogroll". Thank you so much!



  6. I've seen in other places arguments that crossdreaming is sometimes manifested well before puberty and that this indicates that it is not a "paraphilia," but there has been something that troubled me about this argument: among people with fetishes, there is often a strong attachment to the kind of object/material well before puberty, and then sexual interest in it develops along with sexual desire. (There too, the situation seems to be that sometimes the interest well-precedes sexual desire, and sometimes it doesn't.)

    Of course, this isn't to say that I think that cross-dreaming is a "paraphilia." (I am sympathetic to the view that paraphilia is a pre-scientific concept.)

  7. I was about 3/4 years old when I first started to have crossdreaming thoughts, which did at the time involve masturbation. I remember thinking that I was the only one in the world who had found this pleasure. When I hit puberty I found out what the word 'wanker' meant and I was shocked that I had been such a wanker all my life.

  8. Anonymous,
    " If you acknowledge your male anatomy as being yours, your not TG. If you acknowledge that you desire to be female should be questioned, to make sure your otherwise sane, your not TG. If you acknowledge that you need to do a cost benefit analysis of living as male vs living as female, your not TG."

    You are 100% right if you just replace the term "TG" in the above para with "transsexual". For sure, a transsexual MTF seldom would doubt her inner gender identity because she knows her place in the scheme of things.
    On the contrary,TG is a much broader umbrella term that refers to not just the transsexuals who are at the most extreme end, but to those who for various reasons exhibit an interest in cross-gender expressions. Feminine males (whether straight/gay/bi),butch women, crossdressers and even drag queens/kings are also TG and in my opinion,ignoring the basic biology of their inner psychotic mechanisms which make them deviate so strongly from their gender norms despite not identifying as the opposite gender totally,is incomplete science.
    Afterall,I would like you to know that it is not only transsexuals who are discriminated against in society. The point of discrimination starts right from the position of the gender spectrum where a male exhibits femininity more than the average male, and a woman exhibits manliness more than average female. That is why the term TG has been so expanded by the LGBT community and to just confine it to transsexuals presents a totally incomplete picture of the whole scenario.
    I have never identified gender wise as female but I am sissy in more ways than one, so much so, that I can easily see there is a strong difference between me and a manly man. I have also seen a lot of bisexual men and I am also bisexual. Yet, just looking at their persona, I perceive I am somehow different from them. So sexuality is not really the whole thing. It is gender orientation which predominates your whole lifestyle.

  9. James

    Your comments illustrate to me the issue in getting the data. We have taken 'transsexual' and made it the exclusive property of those who never question their feelings or the difficulties of the life of medical intervention. Just delaying transition until you can do it in a way that preserves your financial well being is a sign that your not 'true'. An unquestioning belief in something foreign to the physical evidence and devotion to changing yourself without regard for consequences or quality of solution is worth studying, but that is not the same as studying gender variant behavior/identity.

    So what we get is folks answering studies trying to prove they are part of selected smaller camps rather than just giving accurate life stories. Are they a sexually normal male who just like to dress, are they a sexually normal woman who just has a birth defect, etc. Go look at the Harry Benjamin table, transsexual doesn't start with folks desperately in need of surgery. Changing transsexual into the exclusive term and creating TG for the rest is a large part of the internal strife in the community. It's an attempt to stigmatize another group so your group doesn't look so bad to the general public. Even though a lot of folks travel through both communities on their journey.

    If the research is focused on finding a way to find the real women and men in the TG community and separate them from the sexually deviant, we will never get to a better understanding of what makes up gender. We won't ever be able to separate cultural and self protective behaviors from what a person really prefers.

  10. Anonymous,

    I totally agree with you on this. I do know that transsexualism is not limited to only those who need surgery instantly.
    But I do also know that many of us are not really identifying internally as opposite gender but still we want to feel like a opposite gender person sometimes. It is confusing but it is really the gist of the whole TG vs.TS conflict.
    Surgery for a non TS person can be disastrous as much as no surgery for a TS can be.
    There seems to be some factor X working in various degrees across different individuals in the TG spectrum that leads to manifestation of cross sex desires in diverse degrees.
    There are many effeminate males who are more feminine than many females yet do not intend to transition.
    Yet, at the same time there are lots of TS who started out as not so feminine but yet transition even before reaching adult age.

  11. The point of discrimination starts right from the position of the gender spectrum where a male exhibits femininity more than the average male, and a woman exhibits manliness more than average female

    Ritch Savin-Williams, professor of developmental psychology and director of Cornell University's Sex and Gender Lab feels gender expression is the determining factor in school bullying:

    "First, middle schools can be tough places for youth who are 'different.' Bullies, however, seldom limit their attacks to gay youth. Research at Cornell's Sex and Gender Lab concludes that the life satisfaction of both straight and gay youth suffers if they behave in a gender 'inappropriate' manner (feminine boys, masculine girls). It is gender expression, not sexual orientation per se, that is linked with decreased psychological wellbeing, and this is likely the result of bullying."

    He also added:

    "It is important to point out in these moments of grief that there is absolutely no scientific evidence of an 'epidemic of gay youth suicide,' or even that gay youth kill themselves more frequently than do straight youth."

    I know it is non-PC to come out with this observation but it is believable from my perspective as a kid whose gender expression deviated from mean.

    I was bullied and called a faggot and even considered suicide because of the bullying and name calling. But I am not gay, I'm Trans.


  12. Christy,
    Actually here in east Asia, you will find that the word "faggot" here refers not to men who have sex with men,
    but to the effeminate males. Similarly, dykes and in either case their sexual preferences hardly matter. There
    used to be a very lean effeminate nelly boy here who used to be teased all along as gay. He was totally
    heterosexual though. However the ones who teased him as gay themselves had sex with other guys but they did not consider
    themselves faggots as they were masculine. :)

  13. It was pretty hard for me to re-read that. My parents personalities haven't changed at all from what I remember as a child- and so we don't speak very often.

    Sorry I'm late to respond, but I want to say thanks for looking into childhood GID/AGP.

    Over the last couple of months, I have come come to terms with the fact that I am a transexual. It wasn't until I started digging into my childhood memories that I realized that I wanted to be female for a very long time- and well before puberty.

    Crossdreaming (sexual crossdreaming)/AGP has mostly clouded this ever since I've been sexually mature, but now I realize that without all of the lusty, erotic ideas- I'd still rather be a female more than a male.

    God I wish I could just make this all go away.

    But it seems like I'm just on step 2 or 3 of a long journey from here. It started out feeling bad because I got off on the idea of being female, since then I've figured out that theres a few names for this condition that I never knew about. Now I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm a transexual. And now I don't know what the hell is next.

    But, I'll keep you updated on my blog.

  14. Autogyn

    You hit on one of the things that has most concerned me with some of the current understanding of TG behavior as a sexual thing.

    Sex is such a powerful drug, that anything that becomes entangled with it can overwhelm the original reasons for indulging. It's no different from any other high. If you can get a high, especially given the pain being TG creates, why wouldn't you want to feel better doing what you do? Add in the number of genetic women who get a thrill dressing up nice... it's like they are fixated on the fact that it is sex rather than why sex has a value.

    Sorry, names Sean, I need a google account

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  16. My theory is that autogynephiles are nerdy people, so they like solo activities such as drawing and video games rather than group activities such as sports and hanging out.

    Autogynephiles appear feminine, but in reality, they are just nerds. Nerds, in general, do more "feminine" activities than regular people, so they are often misconceived as "feminine" when they're just nerds.

    I don't think the term "autogynephile" is a good term. Autogynephiles aren't necessarily attracted to wearing women's clothing. Rather, they're attracted to restrictive and submissive clothing, as not all women's clothing are equally restrictive and submissive. For instance, I bet most autogynephiles will be turned on by the wearing elbow pads and knee pads that you wear when you rollerskate. I also bet that they well also be turned on if they wear bracelets and tight clothing, because they are restrictive to your body's freedom. So it's not necessarily female clothing that turns them on, but protective and restrictive clothing which is common in female fashion.

    I used to have autogynephilia, but as I realized that women aren't attracted to submissive, helpless, and weak men, my autogynephilic desires diminished greatly. I guess that nerds are prone to autogynephilia because of their misconceptions of a women's mating preferences. Learning more social skills may "cure" autogynephilia to some extent.

    I have so many ideas that I might seriously start a blog about the anatomy of sexual fetishisms including pantyhose fetish, the misconception that men like high-status women, the evolution of mating preferences, and the etiology of behavioral differences between men vs. women and high-status men vs. low-status men.

  17. I am 60 years old, retired surgeon, artist and transgendered. I am autogynophilic. Some of my earliest memories are of wanting to be feminine and of crossdressing. I exhibited both very masculine and very feminine sides as a prepubertal child. I was very excited by the idea of being feminine and in puberty that excitement was inevitably and inextricably linked to my sexuality. I believe this is a common path to crossdreaming. Childhood transexual desire become sexualized with the onset off the hormonal storms of puberty. I am not attracted to males. I have come to a peacefull acceptance of myself and live half my life as a female. I have been married for 30 years and have 2 sons who feel blessed to have a strong role model.

  18. @Anonymous: "I have come to a peacefull acceptance of myself and live half my life as a female. I have been married for 30 years and have 2 sons who feel blessed to have a strong role model."

    It would be very interesting to know how you managed to reach this point in your journey.


  19. Why is it OK for little girls to have penis envy, but it's not OK for little boys to have vagina envy? If a girl says that she wants to be a boy, nobody bats an eyelid, penis envy is considered to be normal and expected for girls. But vagina envy is different. It's like they won't even admit that vagina envy even exists. How could a boy possibly be envious of a vagina?

    Instead of just admitting that vagina envy exists, they'll come up with all sorts of other terms like "paraphilias", "autogynephillia", "Crossdreaming" etc. At the end of the day, it comes down to having vagina envy as a little boy and not growing out of it.

  20. "How could a boy possibly be envious of a vagina?"

    Ironically, the same culture will also demand men liking vagina or else be relegated as gay?:D

  21. "Why is it OK for little girls to have penis envy, but it's not OK for little boys to have vagina envy?"

    This is a very interesting point. Freud definitely felt that girls had to get beyond their penis envy (going from clitoral to vaginal orgasms!), but nevertheless believed that penis envy was an obligatory and natural part of a woman's psychological development.

    We are talking about some deep cultural prejudices here. In pre-modern Europe, men were signified by having an excess of fire or heat. Women were defined by having a lack of heat.

    Apart from this the two sexes were considered to be the same. Add heat to a woman and she may get a penis. But you cannot substract heat from a man to get a woman. You cannot go from being to non-being.

    The reason for this -- i believe -- is that both in renaissance Europe, as in much of modern biological science -- being a man is defines as something being present (heat, aggressiveness, intellect, hunting skills), while women are defined by absence of the same (lack of heat, passiveness, non-intellect - i.e. emotional --, being the passive prey of man).

    This presence and absence is symbolized by the penis (which is visible) and the vagina (which is hidden).

    To feel penis envy is to be envious of being something, which makes sense in this narrative. For a man get a vagina is to become less than what he already is, and that does not make sense in this context.

    There are cultural and religious settings where the penis (lingam) and the vagina (yoni) are considered equal. In these settings the hidden room of the vagina is considered the sacred space of becoming and birth, i.e. the vagina is creation, not the absence of being.

  22. Autogynephilia is not some kind of 'alternate sexuality'.
    In any case, sexuality of any type, unless explicitly about lust, is much more than simply craving the body or wanting to have wild sex.
    When psychosexual thories are dealt with, we come to know that sexuality is also about very powerful emotions,it is about libido and libidinal energy and power.
    This libidinal energy,as formulated by Freud,comes right from inside the human psyche and is an emblem of the rich inner emotional feelings underneath. Libidinal high actually occurs due to a complex interaction of various hormones such as dopamine, ocytocin, prolactin etc and these hormones are fired by the underlying neurology of our system at certain moments such as being on some emotional high.Needless to say then that our libidinal energy arises from our rich and complex emotions and produce a heightened version of our natural being or temperament.
    Which is also the reason why romantic love and sexuality are often intertwined in our cultures.
    If emotions were separate from sex,romantic love and emotions wouldn't have been considered aligned with sexuality.
    I recalled a gay boy saying to me recently that before adolescence,long before he got sexually drawn to men,he had heightened emotional sensitivities to male affections. He used to feel an emotional high when a male gave him attention or was very close to him emotionally. He had felt this way ever since age 7 or so even if he was asexual then. However, after puberty, this same emotional high feeling also culminated into sexual high,an enlarged penis and a resulting gay oriented sexuality.
    In a similar way, if the inner psyche already was female, the libidinal force that produces sexual high in adolescence would enhance the feminine flamboyance and it would then appear as if the sexuality is causing the person to become effeminate rather than vice-versa.
    On careful analysis however, it would become certain that sexuality cannot produce anything new. Sexuality being a product of libidinal energy, can only lead to flamboyance/intensity and energy highs,but cannot control the direction of our gender traits as well as other characteristics like sexuality.
    If a heightened sense of sexual arousal leads to enhanced effeminacy, it is only likely that the natural state of the person was already wired feminine, either fully or partially.
    Which is why AGP reflects an underlying female psyche wired in a male physique,and as a transwoman who had 'AGP' fantasies in early adolescence, I reject the Anne Lawrence concept of AGP being a misdirected sexuality.I have come to believe through my own experiences that AGP is not causing any misdirection of emotional needs,it enhances an already present emotional characteristic,much like it does for gay boys.
    I always had a love of things that are feminine, even in early childhood.I loved long hair, feminine beauty and also gorgeous dresses. A high libidinal force occurred after puberty,which eventually enhanced these already present natural longings.

  23. I also believe that sometimes the intensity of these feminine arousals can be controlled through either administration of female hormones or even SRS.
    The end result might be a plain-jane rather than a sexually charged being the pre-op stage dealt with.
    This is because male hormones can be a sore in the neck quite often, whether in a masculine male or an effeminate male,or a transwoman.

  24. @Juanita

    Yes, this rhymes with my own impression. There is something fundamental and basic that directs the sexual energy (or life force if you follow Jung) in a specific direction.

    That basic factor is probably biologically speaking very primitive. It is then shaped by the cultural and social context into effeminate expressions, crossdressing, crossdreaming or whatever. In other words: How to carry a handbag is cultural, sexual orientation and sex identity are more likely to be biological.

    Our main challenge is that no trait exists in a purely cultural or biological form. Even our brains are plastic, as it grown neurons according to what is needed for work and social activities!

  25. I have interviewed a lot of effeminate gay and bi males, who have had the same symptoms of 'autogynephilia'.Some sexualized it to express their homosexuality, some totally suppressed it to become bears and leather chaps, while few other live as part-time fairies.
    This shatters the myth that AGP exists only in heterosexual crossdreamers and gynephilic trassexual women.
    Autogynephilia is about love of the self as a female, which is only possible if one is atleast partially feminine inside.

  26. @Mainak

    "I have interviewed a lot of effeminate gay and bi males, who have had the same symptoms of 'autogynephilia'"

    I would love to hear more about this. Did you do this interviews as a researcher or a journalist, and is this material that is publicly available?

    If you cannot comment upon this here, please send me an email:

  27. I'm late to the party here, but here goes.

    I too first ran into this around 6-7 years of age. I was in a play and part of the costume was a pair of girl's tights. I liked that and made me long to wear girl's clothes -- after all they can wear "boy's clothes" so what gives? This led to laundry and dresser raids trying on stockings, bras, panties, slips, and heels. I got caught once by my brother and he never (afaik) spoke of it. I found a book in parent's library that discussed sexuality and paging through it I found passages on transgenderism and sex change procedures. That piqued my interest.

    I played with dolls (both GI Joe and Raggedy Ann) but otherwise was "normal" playing pickup (American) football games in the neighborhood, baseball, etc. This first pre-pubescent phase I don't believe was sexual as I had little clue to any of that back then.

    The interest and fantasies around TS/TG went away until puberty when they came out of dormancy. Eventually I discovered how to "release the tension" and my mode almost from the start was to tuck and fantasize being a woman -- the idea of being in feminine garb was all I needed. I would rarely masturbate in the "normal" way. Normal catalogs and advertising were quite sufficient to help me out. Eventually sexual fantasies entered into the mix. Even now, I don't always need explicitness in my fantasies.

    Dressing would occur when circumstances permitted and my fist "acquisitions" were made in my college days rummaging through the lost and found at the laundromat and by purchasing nylons in far off grocery stores.

    That was a long time ago and it is all with me. I've learned not to purge as the urge to dress cycles and I may not touch my wardrobe for months at a time and then multiple times in a given month. When the urge comes back I'm glad the wardrobe is there and is usually a time of wardrobe expansion.

    Maybe that pair of tights was just a bulldozer that cleared away the topsoil off of these impulses or maybe it was the seed? I can't say. However, I'm fairly well convinced that the whole thing that started it off was the costuming for that cub scout play I was in and that was definitely non-sexual.


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