May 1, 2019

On women who have sexual fantasies about being men

It turns out there are a lot of people assigned female at birth who have sexual fantasies about being a man.

Illustration by francescoch.
Last year I wrote a post about what the sexual fantasies of non-transgender people can tell us about crossdreamers and those who are some shade of transgender.

I documented that a lot of the fantasies that are used to invalidate the identity of trans women (and that are also found among many male to female crossdreamers) are actually quite common among non-transgender women.

And if these fantasies are found among cis women, they cannot be explained as a misdirected form of male sexuality when reported by  MTF crossdreamers and trans persons.

Do female to male crossdreamers exist?

Another myth of this kind is the one saying that there are no female to male crossdreamers. Women do not get turned on by the idea of being a man or having a man's body, the argument goes.

Post from a female to male crossdreamer from the reddit crossdreaming forum.
Republished with permission.
A relatively new collection of female sexual fantasies tells another story. The book, Garden of Desires, is a follow up to Nancy Friday's influential collections of such fantasies. Emily Dubberley, the editor, is the creator of Cliterati, a British fantasy website for women.

"Women do not have sexual fantasies"

In the introduction she points out that when the first of Nancy Friday's collections, My Secret Garden, came out in 1973, the mainstream thinking of sex therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists was that women didn’t have sexual fantasies.

This sounds insane, I know, and I must add that people like Freud and Jung, Kinsey,  and Masters & Johnson knew better. But for some reason their insight was suppressed by many "experts", mainly, I think, because the most of them where men who found the sexual fantasies of women threatening.

The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey
made it abundantly clear that even
"normal" women had fantasies
far outside the narrow limits of vanilla sex.
Nancy Friday documented that this female "non-sexuality" is nonsense, and that women have  fantasy lives as rich and diverse as men (and maybe even more so.)

This caused the same male "experts" to use science sounding terms to sort the "sluts" from "madonnas", presenting therapies, pills and surgery to cure "the problems."

I am glad to say that the feminist revolution did stop them from succeeding, although they still do a lot of harm.

By the way: The arguments used to invalidate the sexuality of women were very similar to the arguments used to ridicule the sexualities of trans people. The concepts of "nymphomania" and "hysteria" are born out of the same toxic soil as "tranvestic disorder", "rapid onset gender dysphoria"  and "autogynephilia".

Fifty Shades of Grey

It looks to me as if Fifty Shades of Grey was the final nail in the traditionalist coffin. Neither the book nor the movie was very good, but their success proved that  a lot of "normal women" had secret BDSM fantasies of the kinky type. They wouldn't buy millions of copies of these fantasies of sexual submission if they did not.

So either the great majority of people are sexual perverts, or kinky sexual fantasies is a normal and natural phenomenon.

Dubberly quotes Stanley Siegel, who says that:
Among the mind’s most inventive weapons in the battle for recovery and reconciliation are our fantasies. We create them to counteract anxiety and pain, substituting pleasure where conflict exists.
As I see it, fantasies are fantasies. They tell you something about your subconscious, something you should be aware of, and which can give you a lot of joy and pleasure. But we cannot judge someone's moral character on the basis of the content of their fantasies. These fantasies just are.

We can, however, judge someone on the basis of what they do to people in real life.
Go to this page for some examples
of FTM crossdreaming fantasies
from the book.

Gender bending

As I noted in my previous article on sexual fantasies,  there are quite a few examples of  female to male  (FTM) gender crossing fantasies found in the research literature and fantasy collections.

I referred to Lehmiller's survey, which documented that about one-quarter of the male and female respondents had fantasized about cross-dressing, and nearly a third had fantasized about trading bodies with someone of the other sex.

The Garden of Desires presents many female to male fantasies of this sort.

Dubberly writes:
As more people share their desires, a wider range of activities are becoming normalised. This has certainly been the case with BDSM recently: as a result of Fifty Shades, people are more open about their sadomasochistic desires. Increased acceptance of the queer community has seen heteronormativity (finally) challenged. 
Many fantasies submitted to Garden of Desires showed gender and sexual fluidity, perhaps supporting the idea that many people need permission from society to admit their desires; as gender and sexual fluidity are increasingly accepted, more people are willing to put their hands up and say, ‘me too’. The idea of ‘normal’ is being increasingly challenged as more people talk openly about their innermost desires.
Gender is becoming increasingly fluid, Dubberly observes.  Women are fantasizing about being gay men; about growing a penis with which to penetrate a partner; or simply wearing a strap-on and assuming assuming a penetrative role in sex.

Sexuality is also becoming increasingly fluid, Dubberly argues:
A woman’s ‘real’ sexuality gives no indication as to the gender of her fantasy lovers – if, indeed, those lovers are human at all, as animals, plants and inanimate objects all featured in fantasies submitted to this book.
Niki Smith's comic Crossplay is a story about many genderqueer youth attending a cosplay
convention, exploring their identities and sexualities in the process. This is Jillian, trying
chest binding for the first time, dressing up as a boy and (later) having sex as one.
If this isn't FTM crossdreaming, I do not know what is. 

Dubberly's collection proves a point I have made many times: Erotic crossdreaming is not only found among transgender women (and men). It is also common among those who present as their assigned gender, many of which also identify as their assigned gender.  Whether we should call them cisgender or not, depends on your definition of transgender.

Dubberly adds:
Most of the women fantasising about having a penis expressed no desire to be a man – excluding two transmen who filled in surveys (I include them not because they are female fantasies, but because the transmen submitted their surveys for the book and offer an interesting contrast with women’s phallic fantasies). Instead, the penis offers them the opportunity to try a different sexual role. 
Strap-on dildos and vibrators are becoming increasingly popular, and not just in the queer community. More heterosexual couples than ever before are experimenting with strap-on sex, with industry experts reporting that a third of strap-ons sold in the UK go to straight couples.
The crossdream of having a penis, and the sense of masculinity that is associated with the penis,  is found among both straight, bisexual and lesbian women. Dubberly reports, for instance, that several lesbians imagined themselves being gay men penetrating a lover anally and feeling the sensation on their shaft. That being said, there are also those who use the strap-on as a sex toy, without imagining that it is a penis. Others fantasize about becoming a man, without focusing on the penis.
She may be a version of herself in male form, or a man who is very different from herself. She may imagine assuming multiple gender, age and societal roles or simply imagine being one constant ‘man’ in her fantasies. 
A woman may also imagine herself as intersex – with elements of both ‘male’ and ‘female’ genitalia; or simply focus on sensation without picturing specific body parts at all, instead taking pleasure from a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ energy. After all, as Mia More, Editor of Cliterati, notes, ‘Since many fantasies specify details such as location, situation or set-up, it’s surprising how often the participants are described as “faceless”, or not even physically described at all.
(As my regular readers will know, the inclusion of "the faceless man" in fantasies of trans women are taken as proof of them being "autogynephiliacs". It turns out dreaming of faceless men is quite common among women.)

The kind of variation found among the crossdreaming fantasies found in the book, are also found among male to female crossdreamers. The subgenre of "TG fiction", for instance, contains stories about men being fully or partly transformed into women and having sex as such, about crossdressing, about role play, about submission and dominance and the contrast between "femininity" and "masculinity" (regardless of how  these concepts are defined.)

The Japanese comic book genre "boy's love", also referred to as yaoi, presents erotic stories about gay male relationships for women (often made by women). The anime series Wotaku presents the lives of two FTM crossdreamers, one of whom also use Cosplay conventions to crossdress as a man. In the West such FTM crossdreamers have been referred to as "girlfags". Note that the fact that they have fantasies about being gay men, does not necessarily mean that they identify as male. Some do. Some don't. Gender identity is clearly some kind of  continuum.

Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl

Andrea Lawlor's novel Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl,  can  serve as an example of how complex such fantasies can be. The book is written by a genderqueer transmasculine person assigned female at birth who used to think of themselves as  a butch lesbian.  

This crossdreaming fantasy is about Paul, a man who has the shapeshifting ability to make his body female, and who therefore has a very diverse and versatile sex life (to put it that way).  

If I were to use the traditional terminology: This is a crossdreaming fantasy about a man who can transform himself into a woman in order to have sex with men and women as a woman, written by a woman who explores the masculinity of both men and women. I can assure you: This is the land were all the simplistic models made up by sexist sexologists go to die.

I have included a few of the crossdreaming fantasies from Garden of Desires  in this sidebar.  Please note that these texts are sexually explicit.

Dubberley, Emily: Garden of Desires The Evolution of Women’s Sexual Fantasies (Black Lace) . Ebury Publishing.

See also:

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