November 23, 2010

On crossdreaming and autogynephilia as a fetish

Is autogynephilia a fetish? And is that why so many would rather not be associated with the term?

Autogynephilia (AGP) means to love oneself as a woman, and the researcher that coined the term, Ray Blanchard, argued that "autogynephiliacs" had internalized their external love object, so instead of loving a flesh and blood woman out there, they love the idea of themselves as a woman. He called it a paraphilia.

In the online debate about autogynephilia (or crossdreaming, which is the term I prefer) the most common used term for the condition is, however, that it is a fetish.

It was Blanchard's mentor Kurt Freund that called this condition for "cross-gender fetishism".

A note on terminology

Since this blog post was written, I have stopped using the term "autogynephiliac" to refer to MTF crossdreamers. The term is simply to closely associated with Ray Blanchard's misleading and transphobic explanation of transgender identities.

WHO on fetishistic transvestites

In modern medicine, crossdreaming is often classified as a fetishism. The World Health Organisation manual ICD-10, fives the following definition of crossdressing as a "disorder of sexual preference":

"Fetishistic transvestism: The wearing of clothes of the opposite sex principally to obtain sexual excitement and to create the appearance of a person of the opposite sex. Fetishistic transvestism is distinguished from transsexual transvestism by its clear association with sexual arousal and the strong desire to remove the clothing once orgasm occurs and sexual arousal declines. It can occur as an earlier phase in the development of transsexualism." (F65.1)

Under the category "gender identity orders" there is another type of crossdressers, unsullied by impure desires (F64.1):

"Dual-role transvestism: The wearing of clothes of the opposite sex for part of the individual's existence in order to enjoy the temporary experience of membership of the opposite sex, but without any desire for a more permanent sex change or associated surgical reassignment, and without sexual excitement accompanying the cross-dressing. Gender identity disorder of adolescence or adulthood, nontranssexual type. Excludes: fetishistic transvestism ( F65.1 ) "

This is an attempt to make sense of the group of crossdressers who do not report sexual arousal, but who nevertheless do not want to transition.

You can see that the authors have had a hard time distinguishing between crossdressers who crossdress for sexual purposes and the rest. To be honest with you: I think this distinction is completely bogus.

In this classification the experts use sexual desire as the most important factor for defining the two groups. This could make sense in a time when sexuality was considered impure and of the Devil. These days sexuality is considered a natural and good part of human existence. Heck, even fetishes are now normally considered an acceptable variation of human sexuality.

To argue that crossdressers who get aroused by crossdressing are fundamentally different from those that do not, must imply that "the fetishistic transvestites" (the crossdreamers) do not share the dreams of the asexual "dual-role transvestites ", i.e. the dream of temporary or permanently being members of the opposite sex. From what I see, many -- if not most of them -- do.

This becomes even more paradoxical when it argues that fetishistic transvestitism can be an earlier phase of transsexualism:

"Transsexualism: A desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one's anatomic sex, and a wish to have surgery and hormonal treatment to make one's body as congruent as possible with one's preferred sex."

(The WHO definitions are clearly based on Harry Benjamin's sex orientation scale. Benjamin solved the paradoxes presented above by arguing that there were no clear boundaries between the different types of fetishists and transsexuals.)

What is a fetish?

There are many definitions of sexual fetishism, but at the core of most of them is the notion that something nonsexual, such as an object or a part of the body, arouses sexual desire or is necessary for one to reach full sexual satisfaction. Since a lot of "autogynephiliacs" crossdress, it is easy to conclude that female clothing is this object.

In modern psychology the main explanation is that sexual fetishism is the result of some kind of psychological imprinting or of a traumatic experience.

Crossdreaming is nothing, or nothing but a fetish

One of the the persons taking part in the Mr. Autogynephiliac discussion I referred to in an earlier post put it this way in an email to me:

"I simply don't believe the term AGP [autogynephilia] needs to exist in any capacity. It can be described as a fetish, as the term fetish makes no statement as to the distress experienced as a result. I certainly would never relate it in any way to Gender Dysphoria. I simply don't understand why they are grouped together in any way, in the same way that I do not understand the grouping of transvestic fetishism is part of the LGBT."

The people criticizing Mr. A presented this as a given fact. I got the following response when I questioned this:

"You are attempting to use other qualities associated with 'AGP' [autogynephilia] to elevate it to something it is not. A virus for example (used to illustrate categorization only) is a virus irregardless of what complications it is often associated with. No matter what happens to the individual or what pain it causes, it's category does not change. The anxiety or similarities to other things does not change what it is at its root."

In other words: I am trying to turn crossdreaming (autogynephilia) into something that it is not, thus making it more palatable for both the crossdreamers themselves and society at large. This attempt does not change the fact, though: Crossdreamers have nothing in common with true transsexual women (or whatever you choose to call them); they are -- at best -- fetishists.

What causes crossdreaming, really?

When I started this blog, I was actually pretty much convinced that autogynephilia (or crossdreaming, as I call it) was caused by psychological trauma. Now I am pretty sure that this is not the case. The crossdreamer life stories vary too much. There is so much pain and confusion in the emails and comments I get, so much that point in the direction of a deeper cause, a cause that is at least partly biological in nature.

In the debate on autogynephilia there is a tendency to say that the observed symptom is the cause. "Autoynephilia" is nothing but a fetish. "Autogynephiliacs" are nothing but fetishists. There is no explanation for how this condition comes about.

In all fairness, Ray Blanchard -- the one who coined the term -- has never said that autogynephilia equals its symptoms. He actually believe AGP is inborn. But since he has no real explanation for why autogynephilia exists and he has worked so hard to get it into the American DSM manual of mental disorders, most people are probably satisfied with the conclusion that autogynephilia is what it appears to be. A perversion. End of story.

In the DSM-V proposal crossdressing is still called a fetish, while autogynephilia without crossdressing is called autogynephilia. This is probably due to some compromise in the relevant committee. Blanchard has gotten the term autogynephilia into the manual, but his more conservative colleagues are reluctant to give up the fetish terminology.

Beyond the fetish

The people who criticized Mr. A. argued that the fact that "autogynephiliacs" and transsexuals both feel pain does not mean that they are the same. I agree. But there is more to it than that. The distress felt by "autogynephiliacs" is not primarily caused by the fact that most people find crossdressing strange or that they feel guilty for being "fetishists".

One important cause seems to be that the crossdreamers or "autogynephiliacs" have a deep longing to take the traditional female position in a sexual relationship. They want to be the bottom and not the top. It is very hard to explain this urge as a result of a fetish for female attire.

Based on my own experience and from what I hear from others, I have come to believe that this longing is biological and instinctual. Many, if not most, crossdreamers have -- fully or partly -- a female copulation or mating instinct, and that can only be explained as biological in origin.

The inner body image

The M2F crossdreamers and the trans women also share another deeply ingrained "instinct". Their body image is out of skew with their male bodies.

The crossdreamers define this in positive terms: They long for a female body. The trans women often define it in negative terms: They hate their male parts. But basically they are both experiencing the dissonance between having a female body image and a male body.

I suspect the different use of language partly reflects the trans woman's wish to present her condition as non-sexual, and partly the fact that some trangender people are more gender dysphoric than others.

How this inner female body image appears is a mystery. As I have noted earlier, the variation in trangender upbringings and the fact that our cultures do not encourage the development of transgender dreams, leads me to believe it is biological.

There is another possible explanation: That the body image is a psychological response to a psychic trauma, in the way anorexia is a cry for help. In this case it could be that these "men" are suffering because of the pressure to behave in a manly, insensitive and aggressive way. The body image is their subconscious telling them that they would like to behave in a more feminine way.

The reason I doubt that this explanation is the correct one -- or the only one -- is that we have too many life stories of intersexed people being reassigned the wrong sex after birth because of ambiguous genitalia. Most often these kids end up longing for the body of their genetic sex when growing up. This means that their body image is inborn, and not the result of their upbringing. In other words: there is such a thing as an inner body image that is independent of the actual physical body.

Besides, even if the psychological explanation was true, it would mean that these trans persons have psychological profiles or personalities that fit better with the stereotypical opposite gender role, which confirms that their gender dysphoria is inborn.

Crossdreamers that do not crossdress

Then there is the fact that many of us -- me included -- are not crossdressers. I do not get turned out by wearing panties and a bra. I would look ridiculous in lingerie! My fantasy is to have a female body. I guess you could argue that this is a fetish as well, in the same way as some men get turned on by rubber suits, but I find the comparison lacking, to say the least.

The reason Blanchard decided to abandon the term "cross-gender fetishism" was actually this. He says:

"Freund’s term cross-gender fetishism came closer to describing this phenomenon than the familiar term transvestism, in that the definition of cross-gender fetishism explicitly included the element of cross-gender ideation. Freund’s concept of cross-gender fetishism still, however, implied the presence of a fetish-object, even if it allowed that object to be some symbol of femininity other than clothing."

Blanchard does not consider autogynephilia/crossdreaming a fetish, because for some
"autogynephiliacs" there is no external object to get aroused by. There are no feminine garments that turn them on!

And if you believe that crossdressers and people like me are in the same category, you cannot call us fetishists. Remember that a fetish is normally understood to be the use of inanimate objects as a stimulus to achieve sexual arousal and satisfaction.

But if my condition is basically the same as the ones of crossdressers, that would mean that the crossdressing is a symptom of something deeper, and not a fetish.

A gender mix

There is, of course, much more to my condition than my sexual fantasies. My personality seems to be crossing the traditional gender lines on many levels, not only on the sexual one. Many crossdreamers report that they found it hard to adapt to the traditional role of boys when they were kids. They were less assertive, more timid, more nerdy maybe.

This applied to me as well. I did not think of myself as a girl as a kid, and I shared many of the typical boy interests (World War II and dinosaurs come to mind), but I was considered shy and non-aggressive. I hated most of the rough and tumble play. You could say that some of us were more feminine in that respect -- also before puberty and the appearance of any fetish-like behavior. This makes me suspect that the male/female divide is much more complex than both Blanchard and some TS activists want us to believe.

Many who have feminization fantasies also dream about being women full time. That is: Their dreams are not only erotic. They encompass many sides of of what it entails to be a woman. I think this is also what Roughgarden is hinting at in her rebuttal of Bailey's book on transsexuals. These "autogynephiliacs" may be the ones that are most likely to transition. But we don't know, because we are not asking the right questions.

Why do the CT activists want to label AGPs as fetishists?

In the autogynephilia debate several of the transsexual participants uphold the idea that "autogynephiliacs" /crossdreamers are fetishists. It is paramount for them to keep the distance to anyone that has admitted to having erotic fantasies about becoming a woman.

Of all people, they should know how hard it can be to have your identity reduced to a perversion. So why do they do this?

It is a paradox, also because the scientific world view that gave birth to the AGP-as-a-fetish-concept is the same as the one that underpins the theories of Blanchard and Bailey, the arch enemies of these activists.

Both the activists and the scientists seem to operate within a binary world where there are men and women, and nothing in between. For Blanchard and Bailey this binary system is based on biological "body sex", for the activists it is based on "brain sex", but both of them reaffirm the Western ideal of clear and distinct identitites for men and women.

Too much at stake

I can actually understand why these activists feel so strongly about this, and why the liberal scientist and transwoman Joan Roughgarden finds it hard to explain why "autogynephiliacs" should be included in the Pride Parade.

The transsexual community has struggled for years to get people to understand that there is such a thing as gender dysphoria or gender incongruence, i.e. that it is possible for a biological male to be a woman inside.

They have also managed to develop an understanding of this gender identity as biological. They are born with it. This is not something caused by psychological trauma, cultural imprinting or social constructions. They cannot escape from their female identity. They cannot "pull themselves together" and live as men, simply because they are not men. And I believe them. "Classic transsexuals" are women, no "buts" involved.

However, one of the reasons for their success is probably that their narrative is not challenging the basic premise: that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. By arguing that there is a second type of transpeople that do not fit with this narrative, the crossdreamers may undermine this consensus.

The very existence of crossdreaming and crossdressing may seem to raise doubts about the validity of the claims made by many transsexuals. How do you know that a transsexual is the real deal, and not an "autogynephiliac"?

People may believe that these classic transsexual women are not women after all. Maybe they are just male fetishist or some strange unholy mix of the masculine and the feminine? This very doubt may rip up wounds that barely have had time to heal, and it may undermine the legitimacy of the life choices of transwomen.

There is such a risk. I can see that. As Roughgarden puts it:

"Today we transgendered people may enjoy the best prospect we've had since the time of Jesus to enter mainstream Western society and live productive, normal lives. We don't want this prospect to be undermined by bizarre sexualities. "

But the fact that these classical transsexual women exists, doesn't mean that there cannot be other types of gender dysphoria. And it cannot be right to sacrifice crossdreamers on the altar of convenient silence in order to to spare the feelings of other transpeople.

Besides, as I see it the very existence of crossdreaming does not undermine the understanding of classic transsexual women being real women. There is research that points to a biological basis for the gender identity of "classical transsexuals". The fact that crossdreamers/crossdressers may share this biological basis does not change this.

Insurance and politics

There are other reasons for the controversy, as well.

In Scandinavia we have public health systems that do not care about the distinctions between AGP/TG/TS or whatever. The state will normally pay for your sex reassignment surgery if your distress is acute and the operation will not endanger your health. In the US you need to get your insurance company to pay for it, and I am pretty sure these companies will be reluctant to pay for you indulging your fetish.

And in spite of the strong arguments for giving transsexuals SRS made by people like Blanchard and Lawrence, I guess there are even hospitals that would refuse to do surgery on an autogynephiliac.

The legitimacy of crossdreaming transwomen

So, if anyone has the right to be pissed at me, it is the transsexual women who had erotic fantasies about having a woman's body before transitioning - in other words trans women who risk being classified as "autogynephiliacs."

After all, I accept that there may be two types of transsexuals, in the same way as do these TS activists. Since many of them argue that these transwomen are not women at all, my line of argument could be used to stigmatize transwomen who were crossdreamers before transitioning, and who even considered themselves to be men at one time.

By labeling all crossdreamers as fetishists, you force a large number of post-op transsexuals to keep quiet about their life history. Crossdreamers who want to transition must also keep quiet about their true condition. If they admit that they have had sexual fantasies about becoming women, they risk ending up on the south side of the border, and they will not be admitted into the hospital. Nor will they be accepted as women by some other trans women. They are unclean.

Many of the classical transsexuals desperately want the autogynephilia problem to go away, because they believe that a wide, public, debate about this may undermine any hope they have of a normal life as normal woman. There will always be this suspicion of them being nothing but fetishists, even if they are nothing of the kind.

I think they are wrong. Most cisgendered people do not care about the nuances of transgender typologies. Moreover, most people have sexual kinks. That transgender people also have some, should come as no surprise.

Fetish, the Other F Word

For a second opinion, see Fetish, the Other F Word by Dented Blue Mecedes. She makes some very interesting point about the use of the fetish category and transgender issues.

She says:

"I’ll start by saying that I believe that we all have fetishes, which are usually approximately defined as images or ideas that cause sexual arousal. It can be something as innocent as candlelight dinner, men or women in uniform, or ripped shirts and bared chests, as long as those things consistently put one in that 'romantic mood.' The primary difference between breast fetish and foot fetish is that one is considered socially acceptable… the other is driven underground, where it stews and brews and sometimes bubbles over in 'creepy' ways, to thus generate support for the stigma via the repression principle. (...)"

She argues, like me, that medical terms like "fetish" is used to label all too human prejudices:

"By learning what 'fetish' is, I’ve come to seriously believe that modern psychiatry does not adequately understand it, and that there is a serious difference between that and paraphilia. It’s become a convenient dumping ground for anything in the sexual realm that runs afoul of moral standards. And there are a LOT of things in the sexual realm that we’re taught are socially unacceptable."

As for crossdreaming -- or autogynephilia -- she argues that what appears to be a fetish, may perfectly well be a symptom pointing to a deeper gender dysphoria:

"For this reason, I believe that many (though certainly not all — there are plenty for whom the appeal is tactile, role play or context) people we consider transvestitic fetishists are in a pre-transsexual situation, their identity issues often submerged to the point that they only surface in a sexual context. It does not mean that they are not 'real, or not 'serious enough,' it simply means that they are still heavily repressed by fear, confusion, perhaps self-loathing, fears of the possible implications on their families, jobs, relationships…. These people may need the support and wisdom of the trans community, and may add future strength in numbers and participation, provided we don’t actively alienate them."

Amen to that!

Trannystar Galactica is a collaborative YouTube channel looking at transgender issues.They have a video comment on fetishism that can serve as a comment to this blog post.

A version of this post was originally published over at Sex Gender Body.


  1. The concept of men are from mars and women from Venus, is not enough to justify the causes of gender dysphoria. Masculinity-femininity exists in a continuous spectrum and so someone can be at the extremes, and someone can also be in the middle. Just because the transsexual is at the extreme does not rule out cases of bigenders and androgynous persons.
    In my case, I can say I was totally like you. I never felt I was a girl, but I was highly shy, reserved and also nerdy. Some people think my nerdy nature is a characteristic of being highly manly, because I love to read so much like an intellectual.
    But I do know that I burn with femininity inside.
    As for the case of feeling of body dissonance, I think it also depends on many factors. When I don't have body hair, I feel cool and comfortable. But the moment I grow facial hair,I feel icky.Sometimes I think if I were not pretty and feminine looking already enough, I would have started crossdressing. Or tried hormones to reduce my manliness.
    I mean, it depends on to what extent your body hormones are rebelling against your inner feelings.

  2. I agree with Dented Blue Mercedes assessment. I think for many of us, cross-gender expression is impossible given the social milieus of our youth. So our desires find expression in the one of few private places kids have; their sexuality.

  3. I have been having bisexual feelings from a young age and most of my femininity comes out during the sexual urges. But,one thing I have noticed is that I always want to be treated in a feminine way during romantic or sexual activity. I want to be seen as a passive, cold and pretty, totally like a woman. The last thing I would want is to join a group of masculine gay men who would want to see and like my masculine parts and my machoness. This is the reason I have kept away from the gay community.

  4. Jack, I think that autogynephilia and transsexualsim are related as Blanchard suggests. The difference is that by definition autogynephilia is limted to sexual arousal or as you put it "dreams". Transsexualism is not limited to just sexual arousal but to all aspects of one's life. A man with autogynephilia is probably just like other non-autogynephiliac men except for the sexual arousal. Since this is not a "normal" sexual arousal, it is different. Because it is different, science (and scientists) wants to put a label on it, study it, write research papers on it, and maybe even write books on it...

    Is it a fetish, a paraphilia, a disorder, weird, or just different?

    Whatever it is, it isn't normal... Personally, I would say "just different" but I am not a scientist...

    Even though there might be a relationship between autogynephilia and transsexualism, there is no "path" between them meaning that one proceeds from or is going to another.

    There is probably less of a connection between autogynephilia and crossdressing because the focus of autogynephilia is the body and possibly clothes only by logical extension. (There can be overlap if clothing is used to enhance the body image for example).

    Even though everyone's life story is different, what really matters is how one deals with the reality of their own situation.

  5. When did autogynephilia become limited by definition to sexual arousal, at least in any context where transsexualism is not similarly limited to an expression of sexual desire? Try to remember that those proposing the AGP are also the ones saying that transsexual identity is just an overachieving feminine gay male. You can't claim only have the theory.

    Sean, still needs a google account

  6. "In other words: there is such a thing as an inner body image that is independent of the actual physical body."

    Maybe their "soul?"

    I have always personally felt that the answers to our dilemma lie not in science, but in metaphysics and theology.

  7. Robyn,
    On the contrary I feel feminine males, crossdressers,transsexuals and also AGPs are all related in more ways than one. All of these males had some gender issues in childhood, including but not limited to avoidance of rough and tumble activities of masculine males and also expressing girly wishes. Many from all the categories crossdressed,or atleast had some crossdreaming fantasies in less or more degrees.
    It is just the outer manifestation of this inner femininity which varies among these different groups of MTF transgenders.
    Science actually is not looking at this inner feminine essence but is only trying to study these outer manifestations. Needlessly, some males will have less outer manifestations and will not be considered TG enough. In that respect, the AGP will always be sidelined and downplayed as a "fetish" because he is a masculine looking straight man, and has no external signs of being womanly, as much as the feminine male and the MTF transwoman. But doing that would undermine the basic cause of this "fetish", which is what this article says.
    Similar is the case for butch women, transmen and the autoandrophiles.

  8. Jack

    The hypothalamus–pituitary–gonad (HPG) axis coordinates displays of sexual behavior with reproductive physiology. Sexual brain development therefore defines the ability of brain areas,including the neural part of the HPG axis, to respond to particular physiological signals in adulthood.

    I think what crossdressers, transsexuals and AGPs have in common is a "hybrid" HPG axis formed by the merging of brain primordia from a male & female embryo in the womb during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy.

    This is known to embryologists as a spontaneous human chimera or brain chimera. While we do not know for certain what the consequences of such merging is for humans, we do know that brain chimeras in other species such as a Japanese Quails -- whose fore-brains are female and physiology wholly male -- do not exhibit typical male behaviors (such as crowing).

    I personally believe at least two of the types expression in humans are homosexuality or gender confusion.

  9. whups my comment was directed to James...sorry

  10. I should also add:

    While the traditional view has been that Chimeras of all kinds are extremely rare, new evidence suggests that chimeras -- especially brain chimeras -- are far more common than previously thought perhaps upwards of 1 in 8 pregnancies.

    While your "classic" chimera can be detected with tissue sampling or blood tests. Brain chimeras can only be detected by via autopsy because you have to dissect the brain.

  11. I know in my case, my crossdreaming is completely sexual in nature. When I'm aroused is when I most want to have a woman's body...and once I climax, the urge for that goes away nearly completely.

    I have a bit of a crossdressing fetish as well, but interestingly enough, only for things like ballgowns. I have no desire to wear panties or bras though. But corsets? Yes. Long satin gloves? Yes. A hoopskirt? Yes.

    Second Life has become a great outlet for really are just treated as what you look like. If you want to act and look like a slut, you can do so. It's very addictive in that way.

  12. Christy,
    Actually the very people who are born with the "chimera" you describe are what we call as third gender or the transgender.

  13. Sean, Blanchard defines autogynephilia as sexual arousal at the thought of having a woman's anatomy... All we are talking about here is sex. This is not about the transsexual identity.

    James, you mention that science doesn't look at the "inner feminine essence" but only the outward expressions of it. This is because we all have zillions of dreams and fantasies, some of them sexual, but only a few are ever actualized.

    I think the issue that Blanchard is trying to bring forward is that there are men who fantasize sexually about having a woman's body and that this "dream" is so strong, so powerful, that some of these men are doing whatever they need to do to make their fantasy a reality. This is different than a transsexual who changes their body in order for it to align with their identity.

    Jack seems to blur the lines between AGP and TS by stating that AGPs dream of having a woman's body in contrast to TSs who hate their male body. The distinction is blurred even more by stating that there is more to his "condition" than the sexual fantasies.

    For some reason, many CD/TG/TS people hate the linkage of anything sexual to who they are or what they do. Crossdressing was considered a fetish and only a fetish for many, many years. One of the reasons why autogynephilia has been so controversial is because it drags back into the discussion the idea that there just might be a sexual purpose for transsexualism.

    There are probably some ethical concerns for doctors about providing gender reassignment for autogynephiliacs. Should a man be able to change his body in order to fulfill his sexual fantasy?

    There may also be issues if a man is in a relationship and his only means of sexual arousal is autogynephilia. This has been discussed here earlier.

    Our sexual dreams, fantasies, and fetishes only become issues when we cannot control them but they control us and escape out of our brain and our skin...

  14. Robyn,
    "Should a man be able to change his body in order to fulfill his sexual fantasy?"

    The reduction of AGP to a sexual fetish undermines the innate femininity of the male concerned. It does not highlight the inner gender essence of the male which leads to the sexual fantasies in first place. Hence, if the fantasies are strong enough for a person to desire transition, it reflects the person indeed is strongly TG. In such cases, it even becomes invalid to call this male as a "man".

  15. Ok here’s my latest theory
    I’m starting to think that at least my, what I’ve been calling AGP is not inborn. Like jack I was also shy and non aggressive as a kid and still have those feelings. I also had thoughts of turning into a girl during arousal since I was about 10. And I think I’ve been confused about my feelings in general my whole life. The issue was feeling like a woman so I looked at my feelings. I think my logic was ‘guys aren’t meant to have feelings, not quirky pulling in feelings like this, so these feelings must be feminine, I must be behaving/feeling like a girl, girl mmm... arousing. I think the fault is assuming that my feelings are owned by the female gender when in fact I’m evidence and I know a couple of guys like me that it’s not exclusively owned by them. The type of feelings I have pull inwards and if someone angers me (as long as they don’t go too far) they don’t see it. It goes in. If I look to male artists I see some with the same traits.
    So the basis of the theory is I believe that your personality is inborn but my ‘behaving like a girl all the time’ is an incorrect association that feeds itself. I’m trying to legitimize personality here.
    On attraction
    I like the distinction I’ve seen others use of physical and sexual attraction.
    Because most cross dreamers seem to be physically attracted to woman. aka straight
    But I’m thinking sexual attraction doesn’t care for gender it goes off on anybody perceived to take the dominant role. I’ve read that it’s normal for most heterosexual men to have occasional same se attraction. But when you are on the passive side of the spectrum I can see why you sexual attraction may go off more often on men than women. But I still think that it’s these few woman that it does go of on who are a bit insecure about there femineity for they like a bit of the top. I’ve had a few of these girls approach me with curiosity as if I lowered their anxiety or something.
    Still working on it, but that’s where I’m at. Cross dreaming as not a philia.


  16. Robyn

    Blanchard said all transsexual identity (AGP or otherwise) is based on an expression of sexual attraction. Bailey went so far as to claim there is no such thing a feminine identity, just specific behaviors. In their philosophy you can not have a discussion of 'just sex' or 'just transsexual identity.'


  17. I am like anonymous :

    I like to have the female role in bed.

    I also absolutetly need to wear nylon stockings, see my legs and feet to be able to have sex with a man.

    After I masturbate, I don't want to be a woman anymore.

    In the past I was putting off my clothes but now I can stay dressed for a while with no urge to go back in the male role.

  18. Anonymous, are you aroused by footless stockings? If so, how does this arousal compared with footed stockings?

    For me, I'm not aroused by either footless pantyhose or footless stockings. Women's feet are very arousing, and any article of clothing which binds or tightly covers the feet heightens my arousal.

  19. autogynephilia is becoming a philosophy for the brave and independent women. It takes their self esteem and confidence to new heights when dealing with the intimate.

  20. I'm not sure this will help, but my personal experience started very early. I remember seeing my parents naked. I was so young I couldn't remember which one of them had the penis. Was it my mom or my dad? A couple of days later I saw them again and realized my dad had the penis. I wasn't shocked or traumatised from seeing it but I was curious about putting on girls clothes. How come they got to wear them and I didn't? It wasn't fair. My sister had a Cowgirl outfit. I went to my mom and told her don't come in the room. I went into my sisters room closed the door and put on my sisters outfit. I got a huge erection (the first time I was ever conscious of having one). I didn't want anyone to see me dressed like that and since I was too small to reach the lock on the door I leaned against it. Well, as you've probably guessed, my mother came and pushed the door open and said "Oh look at the Cowgirl!" I wasn't ashamed about crossdressing I just knew that boys shouldn't do it. From that moment on I was jealous of my sister. When ever she and her friends played dress-up I wanted to play. I wanted to wear the beautiful clothes and spin and twirl in the skirts and slips like them.

  21. @Anonymous

    Your Cowgirl story looks suspiciously much like a text book pseudo-Freudian explanation of a transvestic fetish to me. In other words: I suspect this is something you have made up in order to smear crossdreamers and crossdressers. Still, I will treat it as a real story, anyway, on the off chance that you are telling the truth:

    The finding out that your mum does not have a penis trauma is central to the Freudian approach to crossdreaming. The young boy gets castration anxiety seeing the penis-less mother and decides to rectify the situation by becoming a woman with a penis. The childhood erection is supposed to be proof of this.

    Here's the problem: Most boys realize that their mum has no penis, and only a tiny minority becomes crossdreamers. If this was such a big deal, they all would have started crossdressing. In other words: There must be something else, beyond the castration anxiety, that turns a boy into a crossdreamer.

    Here is another one: Freud's approach requires crossdreaming to be a male phenomena. There is no room for female to male crossdreamers. However, there are a lot of FTM crossdreamers and crossdressers who get aroused by imagening themselves as men with a penis.

    Is that yet another example of castration anxiety? Hm, well, if that is the case, all women would be crossdressers, because according to this theory all women have been castrated. If anyone should feel the burden of castration it is women, as they have no penis. But again: Only a minority of women become crossdreamers.

    As for the erection: I am the godfather of a young boy. After riding the carousel at the tender age of six he enthusiastically told my girl friend that this was so much fun that it made his willy tingle. Maybe he has developed a fetish for fun fairs, or maybe kids get sexually aroused by a lot of funny things that has nothing to do with paraphilias.

    The fact is that your story fits the transsexual narrative just as well as the Freudian fetish one. Young girls get aroused by being perceived as pretty girls. Watch them squirm in their chairs as they flirt uninhibited with the boys and men around them. Why should transsexual girls be any different?

  22. How do nonbinary people fit into this discussion?

  23. //How do nonbinary people fit into this discussion?//

    I cannot recall any direct references to non-binary identities in the "autogynephilia" litterature.

    The basis for Ray Blanchard's view of the world is extremely binary, both as regards sex and gender. This also applies to sexual orientation, as bisexual trans women are dismissed as "pseudo-bisexual".

    I guess "fetish researchers" are aware of there being variations in to what extent trans people identify with their target sex, but I doubt that they think of this as being "non-binary".

    Modern sexologists and researchers of transgender lives are, however, very much aware of non-binary people. Most researchers these days think of both gender identity and sexual orientation as continuums, which leaves room for non-binary and gender fluid people.


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