Skip to main content

Excerpt from Madeline Wyndzen's site on Autogynephilia

I wanted to paste a section from Madeline Wyndzen’s great site and how she treats autogynephilia and many fallacies engrained in it as a theory. In particular I like how she describes arousal as a symptom of the disphoria (which has always been my own personal feeling about my own arousal) which then causes one to transition or to seriously consider it. In other words Autogynephilia (or arousal to dressing or crossdreaming) does not cause the transition but is instead a symptom of something much deeper. Here is the full excerpt:

“Part of the problem with distinguishing autogynephilia-as-phenomenon and autogynephilia-as-theoretical-construct has been the word "autogynephilia" itself. This is because the word has the theory embedded into it. Consider how the Greek suffix "philia", meaning "affectionate regard for", has been used in the past within the fields of Psychology and Psychiatry: as a direction of sexual arousal. A "paraphilia" is a direction of sexual arousal to an "other" target. Consider how paraphilia are named. "Necrophilia" uses the Greek prefix "nekro" which means "dead"; consequently necrophilia means a sexual arousal directed at death. Now take the term "autogynephilia": "auto" means "self" and the root "gune" means "female." From its very structure, "autogynephilia" means a sexual arousal directed toward the self as a woman. If transsexuality is not a paraphilia and, for example, those fantasies are a compensation-mechanism for dealing with gender dysphoria, then the term "autogynephilia" is misleading. The word's structure makes it more than a phenomenon. The term is theoretical because it conveys Ray Blanchard's theoretical claim that "autogynephilia" is a mis-directed sex-drive.
Most often, J. Michael Bailey emphasizes autogynephilia as a theoretical construct. He endorses the theoretical meaning when he, for example: (a) discusses types of transsexuals, (b) treats transsexuality as a sexual deviance, and (c) characterizes autogynephilia as underlying transsexuality rather than as a consequence of gender dysphoria. There is one notable occasion when Bailey emphasizes autogynephilia as a phenomenon: when asked for evidence. Consider the following example from his web page about the controversy:
Even if autogynephilic transsexuals exist, aren't they rare?
No. Every indication is that autogynephilia is a common motivation for male-to-female transsexualism.
In a recent review by Anne Lawrence of 11 studies with requisite data, the median percentage of transsexuals who acknowledged a history of sexual arousal to cross-dressing (a hallmark sign of autogynephilia) was 37%. In her large survey of SRS patients of Dr. Toby Meltzer, Lawrence found that 86% of respondents had had at least occasional autogynephilic arousal ...
The question in Bailey's FAQ is about a type of transsexual rather than a type of fantasy, so he is answering a question about autogynephilia-as-theoretical-construct. He begins his answer by discussing autogynephilia as a motivator of transexuality. That is, he summarizes his answer while using the theoretical construct, but also note how he simplifies Blanchard's model. More importantly, look at what evidence he gives as "every indication" for the truth of his belief. It's all about the occurrence of a type of fantasy, it's autogynephilia-as-phenomenon. In short, though Bailey cites extensive evidence that transsexual women have fantasies about the women they hope to become, he does not provide any evidence for the existence of autogynephilic transsexuals.

Scientific writing can be very dull. One reason for this is that we always try to be as precise as we can in our use of words. There are two reason for this. First, the way we define our terms can often have consequences for the results of our studies. Second, making good scientific theories requires solid logical thinking. Ambiguous definitions are an easy way to make logical fallacies. One of the more common informal logical fallacies of ambiguity is called, "equivocation." It's when you flip back-and-forth between different meanings of a word using whichever happens to be best for your overarching argument at the time (e.g., Copi, 1972). Michael Bailey equivocates on his definition of autogynephilia. It's unlikely that he is purposely trying to mislead you. Logical fallacies are, by their nature, things we can very easily find ourselves making. It takes effort not to make fallacious arguments. This is precisely why good science requires we precisely use language. Most scientists write precisely because we feel advancing our understanding is more important than writing in a provocative way".

Bravo I say!


  1. OK....All I read is more pseudo-scientific gobbly-gook from the usual suspects +1. Would you care to translate?

  2. I dont follow you since this was a site YOU pointed me to in the first place. But essentially what she is saying is that what we call Autogynephilia is not a cause for transsexualism and that arousal is a normal experience for many if not most. The problem is that Blanchard says that target error is the main cause of transition in so called non homosexual transsexuals and this is not true at all. As stated, many studies show that there is also arousal present in homosexual transsexuals but that is not acknowledged as important or is marginalised which is just bad science.

  3. This is a very telling phrase: "In short, though Bailey cites extensive evidence that transsexual women have fantasies about the women they hope to become, he does not provide any evidence for the existence of autogynephilic transsexuals"

  4. or in other terms: fantasizing about being the woman you want to be does not automatically invalidate your claim to transition and does not necessarily qualify you as a man with a target error.

    Madeline agrees with Anne Vitale on this which I am happy to see.

    Of course, the fact that we see arousal in both disphoric and non disphoric individuals does muddy the waters a bit admittedly.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I am afraid that you must be 'cross-dreaming' as I do not recall ever seeing this person's name before, much less referring you to that web site. In any case, I still see this as just another example of trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

    "Ambiguous definitions are an easy way to make logical fallacies. One of the more common informal logical fallacies of ambiguity is called, "equivocation." It's when you flip back-and-forth between different meanings of a word using whichever happens to be best for your overarching argument at the time (e.g., Copi, 1972)."

    "Muddying the waters", is an extreme euphemism.

  7. Oh really AQV?? I think you're the one crossdreaming. Go and see my my previous post called "Let's Get something clear". Your response to my post included a link to Madeline's website ( Your response reads as follows:

    "Again your logic is seriously flawed, distorted to satisfy a biased understanding that serves to mollify your guilt and shame.

    "Girls wear dresses. Therefore, anyone who wears a dress is a girl."

    Again by accepting the seriously flawed and biased "research" of Blanchard and Lawrence, you have lost and limited your thinking to their closed and distorted model.

    The following link will provide an initial starting point if you are so inclined to examine this faulty model.

  8. I am not accepting Blanchard and Lawrence I am debunking them and so is Madeline on her website.

  9. I think you had better be more consistent in your reasoning rather than just trying to be contradictory for its own sake.

  10. unnecessary irony in your comments will have me respond in kind I'm afraid....

  11. If I am trying to debunk Autogynephilia and you agree that's its not a good theory why now disagree with the very same website which you pointed me to in the first place? I am afraid I am confused...

  12. You are right. I stand corrected. I did send you to that web-site. So....
    "If I am trying to debunk Autogynephilia and you agree that's its not a good theory why now disagree with the very same website which you pointed me to in the first place?"

    It is the incomprehensible gobbly-gook that is being used to debunk the theory . You have a young grad student, seeking answers to the same questions that you are, trying to struggle through the monumental logical fallacy that is AGP theory. I am not talking about the term. I am talking about all the loosey-goosey "interpretations' of the term and what it means, what it implies and how it "explains" certain behaviors or phenomenon.

    It has to do with what I said earlier about the language controlling the message. If you control the language, or...are controlled by that very language, you remain stuck in that endless, useless morass of logical fallacies that is AGP theory.

    The main problem with this young woman's critique is that she is drawn into that same conflation of terminology that has forever bedeviled this debate.

    Trans-SEXUALISM is NOT the same as trans-GENDERISM. Therein lies the logical fallacy, the "equivocation" of which she takes note.

    I guess I should have read the whole diatribe before I referred you to it.....Sorr-yyyy

    She warns us, the reader, about such pitfalls just as she proceeds willy-nilly directly into that fatal conflation.

  13. I am not intrrested in equating transexualism to transgenderism so you're missing the point. I know there is validity to my gender disphoria and its not rooted in target error or in sexual paraphilia. So I have a different issue with Blanchard than you do. But regardless of what term you use some transgender respond well to transition because their disphoria is so intense. I will do everything in my power to manage it without tampering with my body and I think I'm slowly getting there...

  14. Again, if we can work around all the jargon, we seem to be on the same page.

    "... fantasizing about being the woman you want to be does not automatically invalidate your claim to transition and does not necessarily qualify you as a man with a target error"

    Nevertheless your thinking or thought processes continue to exhibit a need for validation or to meet some level of qualification. It is almost as though you are seeking permission or approval. I see that in your use of language and how you formulate your arguments. They seem to be constantly attempting to justify or rationalize your ever evolving position.

    Most likely that is why you seek professional counsel as I have suggested, and why you seem to at least tolerate my sometimes difficult questioning.

    All in all, I see this as a good thing, (except for the validation need). Only you can/will figure out what will work for you. Nobody else can or should. After all, it is you who will live with the consequences, (good or bad), of your actions

  15. I am not seeking validation from you or anyone else but only from myself. I've had to remove many many more layers than you AQV because I was saddled with orthodox Catholicism as a weight. This blog is an exercise in healing for me and the fact that you can all read it does not mean that I am asking for a rubber stamp concencus. In the end its my life and mine only. Things would have been easier for me had I realized all this decades ago and I am now dealing with the reality of my life as it is now...

  16. Approval for me is about my creator and my children and that's it...but I understand that your questioning is meant in good faith...

  17. Gender issues are adjunct in relation to AGP.

  18. AGP no longer holds any water for me as a theory. If blanchard makes you happy then go for it....

  19. What I mean by "AGP" is sexual arousal by what is commonly referred to as "forced feminization fantasies" or "tranvestic fetishism" (the propensity to be aroused by the thought of oneself as female). The relation of any trans psychology to this is adjunct, otherwise you are claiming that people who happen to find themselves sexually aroused by this, are repressed transsexuals.

    So what is it? Are you compartmentalizing for your own comfort, ignorantly cheering the ideologue Jack Molay? Do you acknowledge that it is something that the vast majority of people simply find sexually arousing, or do you want to label them all as repressed transsexuals for your own sake?

  20. Just because its only about arousal for you does not mean you can generalize and say its that way about everyone. I am disphoric and you are not. That has already been established so there is no argument. Many posters over at crossdreamers readily admit that its only about kink for them. I have no forced feminization fantasies to speak of but apparently I never made that sufficiently clear.

    1. Because it is intrinsically about "a male's propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as female". The point of "autogynephilia" was in attempting to address the overlap of dysphoric identified persons within the fetishism.

      You are of a dysphoric mindset, which is an additional and nonessential phenomenon in relation to existing fetishism.

      a) Dysphoria existing exclusively.
      b) Fetishism existing exclusively.
      c) Dysphoria as an adjunct condition in the production of fetishism.
      d) Dysphoria as an adjunct psychological investment mediated by fetishism.

  21. Oh and the vast majority of males do not find dressing up in women's clothes the least bit sexually arousing. I am surprised that you are not surprised that even if you are not a suppressed transsexual that you only represent less than 5% of males on this planet. Transsexuals are far fewer than that statistic. So its not like people are lining up to do this.

  22. This article is only dealing with arousal in transsexuals and not in the general population. Men who get excited wearing their wife's panties are not the subject of the discussoion..


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

another coming out

Recently I had lunch with one of the young estimators who occasionally works with me here in Toronto. We were chatting about work and our respective lives when she queried about my love life:

“So how is it going on that front. Meet anyone interesting lately?”

I reflected for a moment and then said:

“My situation is a little particular and if you don’t mind I can share something about myself”

She leaned in a bit and told me to please go ahead.

“I am trans” I said matter of factly.

She looked at me and smiled and said:

“Really? That’s so neat”

She is 35 years old and a lovely person which is why I knew I could confide in her. I then added that I had been reflecting on whether I would switch companies and begin working as Joanna and although she is totally open she also knows how conservative our business can be. So I told her that if I did decide to it would definitely be under a different umbrella.

Then yesterday I was coming back to my place and the lady who rents it to me, who is abo…

feeling sexy

Here are the results of a recent survey of genetic women:

“A new hairdo, walking in heels and a glowing tan are among the things that make a woman feel sexy. Freshly applied lipstick, newly-shaved legs and a little black dress also have a positive effect on the psyche”

Are you surprised? I’m not because it is exactly the same list that makes transgender women feel sexy.

For a long time the idea was pandered about that transsexualism was rooted exclusively in aberrant sexuality. But of course you cannot separate the sexuality from the individual because that forms part of their overall makeup and the fact that genetic and transsexual women overlap here surprises no one.

We should also add here that women aren't always thinking about sex and neither are transgender women.

Pre transition transsexuals would not readily admit they found these things sexy because they were afraid to be seen as perverted men in front of gatekeepers who understood nothing about their condition.

Today we kn…

the risks of downplaying dysphoria

Kati’s comment on my post called “Doubting you are trans” got me thinking about the validity of our feelings and the importance of not downplaying them.

Make no mistake: gender dysphoria is real and you are not delusional and by trying to downplay our emotional need to express ourselves we are making a mistake.

At the same time, I am very realistic about what I am doing to treat my dysphoria and understand that I was not born physically female. However, the idea that gender identity is established exclusively through birth genitalia has been pretty convincingly debunked which means that gender and its expression should be left up to the individual and not to society. But unfortunately, we live in a world where disobeying the rules leads to suffering through persecution.

Transition is one way to treat your “gender expression deprivation anxiety” (thank you Anne Vitale for that wonderful term) but it is not the sole method. However, denying that the feelings are real is a recipe for dep…