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more thoughts on cross gender arousal

I have been reflecting for many years on how cross gender arousal originates.

Firstly, the transgender child has already exhibited (or hidden) some gender variance for several years before they arrive at puberty (I wasn't older than 4 when scolded for wearing my mother's shoes). But when they hit puberty a dilemma occurs: the object of the sexual attraction is also someone whose gender they identify with either fully or partly. This contradiction affects the imprinting of the sexual identity but it is not well described as target location error but rather as a pull in two separate directions which leaves the gynephilic adolescent facing two distinct paths. I was keenly aware of this problem but wanted to be normal so I suppressed the dysphoric feelings as hard as I could. I wasn't attracted to my own image as a woman but rather to the idea of being a desirable woman as well as being with one. That juxtaposition fused to my gender core and I was left with a riddle to solve: choose one or the other but not both.

The sexuality is in a sense left in a kind of limbo where one is neither complete man or woman. You are like a blossoming woman only with male equipment and nothing feels quite right. You also learn you cannot please a woman properly without imagining yourself as one during intercourse which brought me much frustration and shame. Some gynephilics are virtually asexual before transition and the process sometimes sees them reverse orientation and solve their problem. They can now be the object of affection of a man and become that desirable woman that they fantasized being. This is a best case scenario.

Today gynephilics who don't reverse orientation post transition can find love by pairing with bisexual women who accept them as they are. The years of hiding and suppression we went through are avoided. We should remember that there is no such thing as perfectly normal sexuality as evidenced by the Kinsey studies of the late 1940's. There is instead a scale which means that transgender people whose sexual identity has been impacted by dysphoria have a greater chance at happiness than my generation did. They can fully accept themselves first and then find the right partner if that is what they desire.

We also note that this arousal greatly dissipates with age leaving the original transgender identity completely intact if not stronger.

But even if my fascination with the mechanisms that created me continues, something has changed. My primary concern is more how I feel. We should all ask ourselves: Am I happy on my current path? If so then we should stay on it.


  1. I experienced cross gender arousal long before puberty, early elementary school. Every night as I lay in bed waiting for sleep, dreaming and wishing for being a girl, experiencing girl clothing and activities, and coming up with elaborate fantasies that would lead up to my being treated and cared for as a girl. So, no surprise how these fantasies emerged after puberty.

    About a year ago I confessed to my therapist that I was concerned that I experienced arousal feelings "down there"... maybe that was bad or wrong, perhaps I was a fetishist and was deceiving myself by rationalizing my desires/behavior as being trans? Not to worry, she advised. In fact, she suggested that I follow those feelings and use them as a barometer.

    Yesterday afternoon while selecting my clothes for a somewhat ritzy dinner meeting my feelings were like a divining rod, drawing me to a pretty blue dress, tights, black booties, and this awesome new black jacket I recently acquired! I had a terrific time among old friends and making new ones.

  2. However one experiences cross sex arousal, I think the most important part is to recognize it as a "property" of being "trans," not the other way around. It is not the beginning of a sexul dysfunction that then leads to being trans. You're trans first, and for some trans people, cross sex arousal will be part of the experience.

    I'm not even entirely convinced it's necessarily an androphilic / gynephilic thing, even if it is experienced far more often by those sexually oriented toward women one way or another. I'm bisexual, and my attraction to men is very real, sometimes far stronger than my attraction to women. (It can ebb and flow, like all things fluid.) I've had longer relationships with women than with men, but have been with more men than women sexually.

    In any case, as the blog is ending, for anyone who might benefit, I'll reiterate that for me, a trans girl who knew since coming consciously "online" around 2 years old, when I was not at all a sexual being, cross sex arousal just showed up in pre-teenhood. For me, it was an "immature sexuality," a mere part of my ontogeny as a trans person. If I wanted to have any sexual fantasy, I had to be physically female in it. And first that had to be real to me within the fantasy. Sometimes, just getting there was enough to climax. Other times, it was a precursor to other fantasies where I was with other people. And I had to accept that this was a part of my being trans to enable me to change my anatomy, and then feel comfortable truly sharing my body and self with others. Prior to altering my anatomy, sometimes "autosexuality," wherein I was just fantasizing about the first steps I needed to take (like a caterpillar aroused at the thought of inevitably becoming a butterfly) was the only sexuality available to me, as I didn't want to be with anyone in my body configured ostensibly reproductively male. And I'm an early transitioner. :)

    This is not a "target location error" that then leads to the build up of a female identity. If anything, it's the other way around. Most importantly, people can experience arousal in all sorts of ways - cis, trans and non-binary alike. We can be aroused by ourselves, by fetishes, by how we feel inside, by the bodies of others, etc. Human sexuality is diverse. We are just part of that diversity, and cross sex arousal is nothing to be ashamed of. It is but a part of some trans people's ontogeny. Period.


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