a possible explanation

Here is a possible explanation for the cause of arousal to being feminized (or female embodiment fantasies if you will) in gynephilic male to female transgender persons.

The male dysphoric child is already aware of a gender incongruity before entering puberty (in my day you just shut your mouth) when suddenly there is a conflict present. Feelings towards females are now in direct competition with a desire to be one themselves which has an impact on the development of the burgeoning sexuality. However, this is not so much a misdirected sex drive (or target location error as it has also been called) as the overlapping of two distinct and opposing realities. We are perfectly aware of what is going on which is why many trans people choose to suppress their dysphoric feelings in favor of partnering with a woman.

Before puberty with no sexual drive present, there is no conflict just as with increasing age the arousal tends to go away with the depletion of sexual energy. Regardless of the phase of life, the transgender person's feelings are not diminished in the slightest and remain wholly intact.

Consider that if the entire process were driven exclusively by sexual motives, transition would not make much sense since the process lowers libido starting with the administering of cross sex hormones. You would be best off enjoying your fetish just as many non transsexuals do. However, the Blanchardians tie themselves up in knots using convoluted arguments to fit their hypothesis and end up looking comical in the process.

So, the arousal is a distraction in the sense that it is the result of an overlay of two distinct and opposing goals; in essence the conflict between gender identity and orientation.

Why don't androphilics experience the same thing? simple: their identity and orientation are in alignment instead of conflict. The same applies for the great majority of female to male transsexuals who tend to be attracted to their own birth sex.

I believe that all transsexuals regardless of pre-transition orientation or degree of asexuality experience a dysphoria which is genetic and pre-existing and, unless I see some compelling evidence to the contrary, my mind will not be changed. Harry Benjamin you were entirely correct back in 1966.

But here is the fun part in all this: none of it matters compared to the happiness of the individual and hence the mechanisms that caused their dysphoria become secondary. If the transition solves the problem then this is what matters most. Consider how a non transsexual would realize pretty quickly that they had made a mistake and ask for a refund (hello Walt Heyer). The science only matters in the arena of fighting back against the agents of prejudice who are hell bent on delegitimizing trans people and, in that case, information is power.

But I am an open minded person and even if I have spent years pondering and reading on this subject I might be wrong. So, if you have a compelling and, most importantly, conclusive argument to the contrary please send it along.


  1. Who knows why this happens to some of us? I don't even know if it's limited to those of us who are sexually attracted to women. My personal experience is as follows:

    Between ages 2 and 3, I knew I was trans. I didn't have this vocabulary, but I knew. But hey, it was the early 1970s, and my parents were liberals. Clueless, but they didn’t shame me for befriending girls or behaving like one. As I grew, there were social pressures from other kids to stop and do "boy things," but I didn't always mind. (I loved Little League Baseball.)

    Thing is, I wasn't just gender dysphoric; I was profoundly sex dysphoric. It wasn't just about my social role. In a sense, I felt disembodied. The idea of having sex was attractive; using my body was not. When puberty hit, it was in the 1980s, and my family moved to a very socially conservative area. So, I pretended to be a heterosexual guy in school, mostly to avoid bullies.

    What was my sexual orientation at that point? Toward women? Toward men? Misdirected toward myself? None of that resonates. It was more that it couldn't be directed toward anyone. Before I could even fantasize about being sexual with someone else, I had to be female-embodied in the fantasy. That had to feel real first. So, whenever I delved into my sexual feelings, the first thing I delved into was feeling physically female. Sometimes, that was enough for an entire masturbatory session. Sometimes it was the preface to being with a fantasy-based other. Sometimes the other was male. Other times, female.

    In my early 20s, I began to transition. Now it was the 1990s. Things weren't great, but they were way better than the 80s. (Want a sense of what it was like? Watch Friends. The Friends gang wants to be open minded, but about a third of the jokes entail gender policing. They simultaneously do their best to accept Chandler's trans father and tease Chandler mercilessly whenever he himself exhibits feminine behavior. The 90s in a nutshell.)

    As I began the process of altering my body, I could finally experiment sexually with other people without pretending to be someone I wasn't. I was, quite literally, becoming my self. (I'm sure there's an inappropriate AGP pun in there.) Feminine embodiment fantasies persisted, but not quite with the same sense of compulsion and necessity.

    I'm now in the second half of my 40s. In the very near future, I will have been living as a female longer than I lived as a male. Can I still have an entire masturbatory session just by happily noting the contours of my own body? Actually, yes. But it’s not necessary. Over the decades, I experimented, learned and grew. I matured. I have had sexual relationships with men and women, and legitimately find myself attracted to both physiques. (I aspired to be pansexual for some reason, but orientation has nothing to do with aspiration. I'm bi.)

    Personally, I have come to understand my embodiment fantasies as an immature sexuality, the only one available to me while feeling sex dysphoric. It was, at least for me, a phase in my sexual development as a trans woman. I was a trans child. Then a trans adolescent. Puberty was spent managing feelings of disembodiment while my body produced hormones that made me feel sexual anyway. That got translated into fantasies in which I was female-embodied. Sometimes female embodied and having sex; sometimes just being female-embodied. Now, I'm a mature middle-aged, bisexual trans woman. My most recent sexual relationship (this past summer) was with a man, and it was myself as a mature trans woman sharing myself with an open, cis man.

    I don't have any definitive explanations. But if being trans is just part of the natural diversity of human sexuality, maybe those who study the matter should consider embodiment fantasies as but one of the possible phases of trans ontology and biological development. Something some trans people go through as they mature.

    1. Caryn I can always count on you for a deeply philosophical and personal take on this; thank you. It is a deeply confusing process growing up with dysphoria and sorting through the sexual feelings makes it only more so. Each individual is unique to be sure but if we were to compare notes we would undoubtedly find much commonality as well at each stage in our development:)

    2. "Before I could even fantasize about being sexual with someone else, I had to be female-embodied in the fantasy" -

      I had to be female bodied as well in my fantasies which greatly distressed me for the longest time until I accepted that I was trans.


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