October 9, 2016

Female to male crossdreaming - the Max Wolf Valerio story

Crossdreaming is often considered something that male to female crossdressers engage in only.
Dreaming of becoming Thor.
Drawn by Jack Kirby.
It is the sexual arousal that gives them away. Apparently regular straight women or trans men do not get those kind of feelings. It has been described as a kind of misdirected straight male sexuality.

I believe I have documented quite thoroughly on this blog this that crossdreaming -- i.e. getting excited by imagining yourself as "the other sex" or your target sex -- is quite common among a lot of transgender and queer people, including female to male transgender people, lesbians,  gay men and homosexual trans men (i.e. trans men who love men).

I am currently reading the fascinating book The Testosterone Files, by Max Wolf Valerio, a female to male heterosexual transsexual. Max started out presenting as a lesbian woman, and loves women.

The book gives a fascinating glance into his exploration of his male identity and how he has to handle both stereotypical and not so stereotypical male behavior.

He also discusses the way testosterone therapy affected his psyche. Most of the life stories from FTM trans men point in the same direction: The testosterone does not change their identity, but it does affect the way they experience the world. As Max sees it, biology definitely plays a role in gender identity development.

Max Wolf Valerio, photo by Valentino Vecchietti.
Max also tells a story about crossdreaming (even if he does not use this word).

As for many male to female crossdreamers, his sexual fantasies of being his target sex is colored by popular culture, in his case comic books.

He was the only "girl" around trading Thor, Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk.
"I want to look like these superheroes -- muscular, svelte, great in tights and a synthetic bodysuit! I spend hours drawing their perfect, well-muscled forms, contemplating with awe what it would be like to possess their agility, speed, fantastic legs, and great biceps. It's the same excitement that I'll feel overtake me when I run across ads in magazines where a confident, brawny muscleman tells all the ninety-nine-pound weaklings of the world that they can get great bodies and wow the chicks. How could I have that? There must be a way. I want it so much I could burst. 
"And I look and dream, counting up my allowance to that I can send away for one of those muscle-building manuals. I'm not completely aware that I'm in actuality -- a little girl. A girl with long, thin legs and cat's eye glasses, transforming herself into a muscleman in her imagination. The possibility feels so real, I barely realize I'm imagining it."
This is the perfect mirror fantasy of a male to female crossdreamer. (I remember vividly dreaming about being Supergirl!) These fantasies represent the awakening of Max' male identity.

In other words: Crossdreaming is found in all trans and queer subgroups. It is not an effect of a misdirected "straight male sexuality." It is, rather, and expression of a real  and strong cross-gender identification.

That does not mean that all of them are transsexual (in the sense of wanting or needing to transition), but they have this in common, which tells me that we are not talking about distinct categories here, but continuums.

By the way: Max did get the body he longed for.

See Alchetron for more about Valerio.

 Max Valerio reads his poem Nocturnal Pump.


  1. The more we delve into the details of the personal lives of transgender people the more interesting they become. This is just more proof that longing to be your target sex can become part and parcel of your psychosexual development. It shouldn't make sense that only male to female trans people experience this although the intensity should be stronger due to the higher concentration of testosterone in the male body. I haven't read the book but with the administration of testosterone his fantasies should theoretically become more potent.

  2. That would have been an interesting study: Comparing FTM and MTF fantasies before and after hormone therapy.

    The fantasies referred to here are obviously from when he was young, before he added testosterone.

    The main methodological problem for such a study would that post-HRT fantasies are normally not longer crossdreamer fantasies per se. Valerio now presents as a man, a sexually active man. He writes a lot about desire and his love for women, but he does so as a man. This is as it should be, but it means that the crossdreaming side of FTM sexuality becomes less visible.

    This also applies to Lou Sullivan, the founder of the American FTM movement, who was a gay trans man:

    Before transitioning he writes:

    "I dream of being a man since I can remember. I always felt aroused by the thought of me having a male body. I always wanted to have a penis. I always considered men are lucky for having that powerful and strong body, that ability to penetrate (with the amazing pleasure it implies) and be dominant."

    But again, post-HRT these are no longer crossdreaming fantasies.

    By the way, Valerio writes about meeting Sullivan, with deep gratitude. There are videos online where Valerio reads from the letters of Sullivan.

  3. "I dream of being a man since I can remember. I always felt aroused by the thought of me having a male body. I always wanted to have a penis. I always considered men are lucky for having that powerful and strong body, that ability to penetrate (with the amazing pleasure it implies) and be dominant."

    This comes off like the kind of fantasy language that you would get from a male to female transgender person but in reverse. Instead of wanting to be dominant they would want to be submissive and desired, etc.

    As regards the testosterone it is the sexual fuel for the body and since men have more it would be interesting to see how its introduction changed Valerio's perspective. Just as we wonder ourselves whether estrogen would help quell our dysphoria.

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  5. Cristan has done som great work in this area. These days, she is more focused on limiting the damage caused by the TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), who, interestingly, use more or less the same arguments to dismiss all trans people, as the trans separatists use to invalidate "unworthy" trans people. It is fascinating to see how the old ideas of the patriarchy find new ways of suppressing gender variance, now in communities that should know better.

    The reason Williams is no longer writing about the trans separatists is mainly because they have become few and far between. The latest resurgence, on tumblr back in 2014 (truscum/transmedicalists) collapsed under the weight of its own bigotry. A few years ago HBS separatists trolled the pages of this blog on a regular basis. This year I believe there have only been two such attempts. Things are getting better, much better!


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