Skip to main content

Autogynephilia revisited

I have not written about Autogynephilia for a while because it no longer represents a topic of great concern for me but I wanted to add some clarifying notes about some of the problems I see with the theory in light of my current state of mind.

The work of Ray Blanchard studied the sexual excitation experienced by some transvestites and transsexuals and coined a term meant to describe the love of one’s own image as a woman but that is just an observed symptom and not an explanation of what is actually going on. In other words, experiencing an orgasm does not explain the desire to dress up in the first place.

He ended up classifying transsexuals into two main groups; namely autogynephilic and androphilic. The first group being woman loving and the latter being man loving.

For Blanchard it was all about sex and not necessarily about innate gender identity. You were either in love with your own image as a woman and turned on by that or conversely turned on by men and compelled to transition in order to increase your chances of finding a male partner.

Firstly, gender identity and sexual orientation are not necessarily linked. Anyone who has ever known a very masculine gay man or a very feminine lesbian can understand this. However these people are not interested in transitioning or being the other sex so there must be something else going on here.

Why are some people interested in emulating or being the sex they were not born as?

We have no answer.

But my main objection with AGP theory is that it is rooted in the observation of a desire to transition and then simply classifying according to type. That is not an explanation of why the desire exists and how it originates.

Harry Benjamin wisely did not focus on sexual drivers because he wanted to understand the origins of the transvestism and transsexuality. For him it seemed to be a symptom of the condition. Men had penises and had erections so it seemed logical to have an orgasm if you were drawn to the idea of being or imitating the opposite sex. Besides, some androphilic transsexuals were also experiencing eroticism prior to their own transitions so this was not the right line to be following.

Benjamin never succeeded in explaining the origins of transsexuality or true transvestism but he instead developed a classification system for his patients depending on their level of disconnect with their birth gender; ostensibly a gender disorientation scale.

He never understood whether the basic transsexuality created the true transvestite or whether the true transvestism developed into a desire for transition and I quoted him here recently on this very thing.

One thing is for sure in that some autogynephilic transsexuals do very well after transition and others do not. We do not know why. Anne Lawrence (Blanchard’s main disciple) is an example of an autogynephilic who has gone on to successfully transition without reservation or regret.

But many decades later, Blanchard’s work has shed no more light on the origins of gender dysphoria than Benjamin did. The main difference has been that he has focused exclusively on what he felt were sexual drivers for transitions; you were either an autogynephile attracted to your own image as a woman or a gay male desiring to attract same sex partners by becoming a woman.

Nothing mentioned about a core gender identity.

But what about the people I mentioned before whose orientation and even gender demeanour do not line up with their birth sex? Why are many of them not dysphoric? Why is a flamboyantly gay male not interested in being a woman?

There is more than meets the eye here.

Blanchard’s drafting everything in terms of sex is very simplistic and it does not resonate with my own personal experience as well as with the experiences of many others I have read about and discussed with personally over the years.

Eventually all of his work will be debunked and the work of people such as Jamie Veale, Julia Serano and others seems to be resonating with many people.

I believe it’s only a matter of time.


  1. Hi Joanna,

    It's good to see you posting again!

    I think that some people who crossdream are truly AGP per Blanchard's definition, but there are some who aren't. I have no idea what the percentages are. I was originally drawn to AGP because I thought it applied to me but it didn't take long to realize that it didn't apply to me at all. I soon realized that I was just having normal fantasies for someone of my gender.

    I don't think I'm even a cross dreamer. It's seems to be redundant (actually a double negative?) for someone who's transsexual, and probably a lot of other transgendered, to think of themselves in this way. They are just having healthy fantasies for their gender.


  2. I have a lot of problems with the theory all around Lindsay. Sexual fantasies are different for everyone and we all masturbate over different things. Human sexuality is so utterly complex that is far too simplistic to draw up an all encompassing theory to explain late transitioning heterosexual people. Blanchard's work is junk science.


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…

Being transgender isn't exclusively a problem of aberrant sexuality

If being transgender were exclusively a problem of aberrant sexuality, then I would seem to be an exception to the rule.

To date I have lived my life like a choir boy and have had low libido throughout. I have yet to ever see a porn film and both my ex-wife and ex-girlfriend complained about my lack of sex drive. I also knew I was different from a very young age.

This is why the accusation that male to female transgender persons attracted to women are perverts doesn’t hold much water with me. I was mortified when I hit puberty and realized that my desire to be female had taken on sexual overtones and I ended up, like most of you, repeatedly throwing things in the bin as a repudiation. In fact, accepting that my sexuality has been permanently impacted was the hardest pill to swallow in my journey to become a fully realized transgender person.

That is why I say to those who are still concerned about what outsiders who haven’t lived your personal experience have to say about you should l…