Skip to main content

the question of eroticism

It is very difficult to be transgendered MtF person with male plumbing.

Autogynephilia hinges on the proposal that you suffer from a paraphilia because you as a male have masturbated to the idea of being or becoming a woman. That idea, used to derail my thinking but it no longer does because I have come to possess a more comprehensive and complete portrait of what it means in general and for myself in particular.

I have a past dotted with innocent crossdressing followed by post pubescent erotic episodes which led to my throwing away all of the clothes I possessed in shame and disgust. Here I was doing something I found very innocent and hoping desperately to avoid the spectre of an orgasm but it somehow seemed unavoidable in the end.

As I have aged that connection and need continues to progressively erode while the identity builds, however the erotic closure is still there at the end of each outing. It has become somehow hard wired as part of my sexuality because my gender dysphoria somehow piggy backed itself onto my sexual development. It came along for the ride and fused itself to my being as I was developing.

I view calling this target location error as a misnomer because I am still very much drawn sexually to women. The problem is that I cannot perform normally as a male due to this anomaly.

I personally have no history of fetishist behaviour, have never read erotic fiction, have never dressed provocatively or overtly sexually and my social exploits as Joanna consist of going out shopping or having coffee with a friend. Yet there is a subdued element of sexuality present in the very act of transformation which I am hard pressed to explain.

Some transsexual women, looking to distance themselves from us, revel in calling us perverts while AGP enthusiasts gleefully tell us that our activity is rooted in paraphilia brought on by some sort of childhood trauma. Each of them has their axe to grind and am at a loss to explain their motivation. None of the duelling factions have any proof to speak of however and, for that matter, neither do I.

My only proof lies in the careful examination of my behaviour over a lifetime coupled with delving into the literature of people I respect. Researchers like Harry Benjamin and Anne Vitale have dealt with this difficult topic with intellectual honesty above all and have left its politicisation to those who would use our lack of scientific certainty to unscrupulously discriminate against others.

I like the analogy using Anne Vitale’s term “gender expression deprivation anxiety” in that one needs an outlet which may have a sexual component to it. It may get mingled with other sexual desires, to the point that they seem like one and the same. This is why many of us can love women but also find it arousing to think of ourselves as being them.

It is interesting to note that the early diagnosing of whether a claim of transsexualism by a patient was valid was to ensure that there was no sexual motivation present. It’s almost as if the person had to be asexual to qualify and to admit that one had masturbated in women’s clothes was tantamount to heresy. Many of these early patients simply said what they needed to in order to receive the treatment they so required.

Things have changed considerably since then and a more complete and less monolithic portrait of transsexuals has been pieced together.

For that we can all greatly be thankful because human beings are not caricatures but are instead very complex models of nature.


  1. Hi Joanna. I can see that you and I have a lot in common. We are clearly both struggling to make some sense out of a phenomenon which seems to have no basis in common sense at all. I admire your honesty in putting your thoughts and feelings on your blog like this. I started my blog as a means of putting my own views out there and making contact with others (like you) who see where I am coming from.

    I flatter myself that crossdressing isn't a sexual thing-- yet why does it make me feel sexy? Why does it have this inescapable frisson?

    The autogynephilia theory offers some answers, but not all. I probably haven't read as much of the literature as you have. Nonetheless, I have come across very little of what I would call real science in this field.

    Different groups seem to be quite ready to bicker with each other, without recognising their common points of interest. Worse, they seem very keen to push their particular agendas, sometimes at the expense of other groups, and often at the expense of objectivity. Therefore much of the literature (at least the stuff I have read) is basically opinion and wishful-thinking. (But the fact that some people misuse, or dislike, the autogynephilia theory, doesn't make it wrong. Conversely, the fact that I think it is a reasonable model for my own behaviour does not make it correct).

    The Internet is drenched in websites and images associating transgenderism with sex in some form. Therefore, whether we like it or not, there is a very large body of opinion (and behaviour?) out there which links the two. This makes me think that, one way or another, there is something deep which connects the two things, but the aura of weirdness, shame or distaste around this subject makes good study extremely difficult. Most people are very reluctant to reveal their genuine feelings and motivations, for fear of what it might say about them.


  2. the way I explain all this to myself Vivienne is that this desire to express ourselves in a female fashion was there very early. Before the age of sexualisation it is innocent and natural but as we pass into puberty it gets fused into our sexual identity as well. We have male plumbing but we have female desires and the result can be confusing given that we are drawn to women and we want to be "normal" for them.

    The internalised message is that we need to repair ourselves and the guilt and shame cycle begins in earnest.

    This vicious cycle keeps you trapped and feeling like you cannot repair yourself and so most of us buy and purge repeatedly. I have stopped that cycle because it was going to destroy me. I needed to accept that this forms part of the way I am made and is not a hobby or a past time. It is an important element in the way I was made.

    There are currently no answers in science for either transvestism or transsexualism but amongst the most honest and purest works you will find is the 1966 book "The Transsexual Phenomenon" which I have strongly recommended you read. The book was written after Benjamin had worked with hundreds of patients and he was able to formulate a gender disorientation scale based on his findings.


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…