more thoughts on autogynephilia

In my opinion, what confuses an autogynephilic male the most is experiencing the emotional joy of his “femaleness” while having a sexual release as a male. This is a reflex which, while being in tune with our biological nature, runs counter to the wiring of our brains.

How many times do we hear the stereotype of a man, upon finishing intercourse, wanting to get up quickly and say “ok what’s for breakfast?”. The woman still wants to cuddle and prolong the emotional connection with her mate while the man’s brain is already somewhere else.

This is also what happens in a sense during the orgasmic excitement of presenting as our female selves. It can be a very odd mix of emotions and I can almost understand why people like Anne Lawrence might want to equate it with a kind of alternate sexual orientation - thereby making it easier to include it with a host of paraphilias. She even authored a paper called “Becoming What We Love” in which she argues for a more subdued and less stigmatizing explanation of autogynephilia that does seem at first glance to be persuasive. She goes on to say that there is more to the condition than pure sex and there are aspects of traditional love for the female etc in an effort to explain why late transitioning non homosexual transsexuals still maintain their desire for GRS after no longer exhibiting sexual excitation when dressing as women. This for me is the “Gotcha!” moment where the paraphilia argument really falls apart. I have dismissed this type of thinking altogether.

I believe that the alternate brain patterns of the transgender brain confuses us because our male component (if you will) has moved on after orgasm and the guilt and shame of our upbringing is now allowed to kick in with full force. This keeps us in that vicious purge cycle which most of us experience in our early years before the female component of our nature has really begun to kick in.

As the body begins to reduce production of testosterone after age 40, we are (in this way at least) less male and thus less likely to be driven by sexual instinct. Our female side can now play a larger role and indeed most transgender people find that their cross gender behaviour is more about being who they are with increasing age. Not surprisingly, we start to see more transitions at this later stage of life when we know ourselves more intimately and can see that it was not sex after all driving our connection to the feminine.

At age 50, I now find it less jarring to orgasm while dressed as a female. I no longer throw clothes away knowing that I will be right back in them the very next day. Guilt is a red herring here because there is nothing to feel guilty about. We are male bodied and having an orgasm during masturbation is perfectly normal. The difference is that we are doing something that has been engrained in us as being taboo from our earliest memories. I am still attracted to females and don’t consider myself asexual. Even if my performance is affected by my gender disphoria, I don’t picture myself in the role of the woman during intercourse nor is my main motivation for dressing to masturbate to my own image as a female. I do however, at times, experience the joy of being Joanna in a way that is sexual in nature. This is not the same thing as an alternate orientation as proposed by Lawrence and Bailey and why I disagree with their conclusion. It is not the driving reason for my cross gender behaviour but only a small part of it. However it was the part that confused me for the longest time.

As human beings we yearn to love and be loved and that applies to GID sufferers as well. The difference is only to what degree we are plagued by the disorder and to what extent it controls our daily experience. I don’t believe that gender reassignment will work for a person like me because I am too much stuck in the middle; I have one foot firmly in both camps. However, I have most of a life already lived in one so this is where the rest will be lived but with a respect and cherishing of the other side of my being that was never permitted to flourish.

I am more convinced than ever that (couple with sociological factors) there is something biological to the way I am. If you tried to reproduce it in a laboratory you might fail but here I am nonetheless and so are a myriad of others like me. We are just part of the human mosaic and should not be stigmatized for it.


  1. This seems to be an account conflating a presupposed transgender psychology with what is usually experienced solely as something "merely" sexual. Where a psychology of dysphoria takes ideological privilege, and the sexual is problematized in terms of a "symptom". Omitted is how the sexual can work historically within one's greater psychological construction.

  2. I think I know where you're going with this. I had the darndest time trying to bridge the connection between my disphoria and my sexual behavior. I used to think the fetishism was driving everything but now understand that even as the sexuality wanes considerably what remains are the pure transgender feelings.

    Thanks for posting!

  3. I think what is not appreciated is rather than behaviour mediated directly by sexual stimulation (which is obvious), is the capacity for sexuality to provide the conditions for the very psychological investments which you view as being beyond sexuality?

  4. Yes that is correct. What we experience are true cross gender feelings most likely fueled (at least in part) by brain chemistry. The fact that I am attracted to females and simultaneously want to be one caused me to be confused about my intent. Now that I am older and my disphoria grows while the sexual excitement diminishes provides me with more evidence that my feelings are genuine.

  5. I agree that if one's desire/need to transition remains after sexual excitement diminishes, they would meet the definition of a "true" transsexual, but what if the need disappears?

    What if, after aging or chemical castration (e.g., several months of spironolactone and HRT), the sexual fantasy of transitioning and all desire to transition disappears?

    Are you then not a true transsexual? What are you? Autogynephilic with no more "philia" or a formerly hyper-motivated crossdresser now with no arousal?

    And if the feelings return after stopping HRT, does your label change again?

  6. Very interesting question to which I do not know the answer....


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