05 January 2016

What's the difference between autogynephilia and trans women?

I saw that question on Yahoo, and thought readers here might also be interested in the answer:

First the politics: There are extremists among trans activists who oppose the very idea of autogynephilia, despite all the scientific evidence for it. They believe that it makes their desire to live as female less genuine, and they attack (sometimes quite viciously) anyone who endorses the idea. 

Now, for the actual distinction between autogynephilia and being a transwoman: Autogynephilia is when someone born male experiences sexual arousal to the image of being female. Some people express their autogynephilia through cross-dressing, and some people express it only during sexual arousal and masturbation. Some people express it through clothes and relatively visible means, and some people want to express it permanently and opt for genital surgery in addition to whatever cosmetic changes help them be perceived as female.

Autogynephilia is not the only thing that can motivate a bio male to want to live as female. The other can be thought of as extreme homosexuality...sort of like gay men who are so gay, they are actually happier living as female. These are the folks who were very obviously feminine boys during childhood, unlike the autogynephiles, who were unremarkably masculine boys in childhood.

So, that's the difference: Autogynephilia is a desire that can motivate (some) bio males to want to live as female, and trans women are those who are living as female (regardless of what motivated them). 

Unfortunately, the internalized autogynephobia in the trans community has made it nearly impossible for people to come out as autogynephilic, even within their own communities and to other autogynephiles. As a political movement, activists do not want to be recognized as living as women; they will accept only those ideas that validate that they actually were women all along. It's understandable politically, but not accurate, scientifically.

19 comments:

  1. Also it is worth emphasizing the existence of the fetish in it's own right, apart from the small minority that develop the emotional attachments, the otherwise "normal" males. The contention over the very representation of the fantasies as being "autogynephilic" ("love of oneself as a woman"), as opposed to "masochistic emasculation" (sexual arousal by the masochistic association of oneself to symbols of emasculation, disclosing an etiology in childhood emasculation trauma). Also there is the issue of what we consider womanhood to be in the first place, and whether deep seated emotional attachments derived in sexual conditioning, can lead to authentic forms of female self-identification?

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  2. Current HRT regmes for trans women include a testosterone blocker, which reduces libido considerably as does SRS of course). This is bascially chemical caastration used in some countres for sex offenders (such as paedophiles).

    For example:http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/cut-sex-drive-or-go-back-to-jail/story-e6frg13u-1226453301922

    So wouldn't an autogynephilac then stop their female desires when on HRT, since there was no sexual pleasure being gained and desires and fantasies greatly reduced? if not eliminated

    If they didn't would that imply that there was some difference between autgynephilia and other paraphilias such as paedophilia (which it seems to work for).

    "More potent options include anti-androgen medications, which lower the level of testosterone. The most widely studied agent in sexual offenders is cyproterone. Studies have reported reductions in deviant sexual arousal in 300 men (L, 1975). Studies have shown that anti-androgens can be effective in reducing re-offending post treatment (Thibaut F, 2010). Further, a large study of 22,181 sexual offenders found that biologicaltreatments, including hormonal medication showed larger effects in reducing sexual offender recidivism than psycho-social interventions alone "

    "..studies show that anti-androgens reduce reduce recidivism in paedophiles"
    https://www.ranzcp.org/Files/Resources/Submissions/RANZCP-Sentencing-of-Child-Sexual-Assault-Offender.aspx

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    1. "So wouldn't an autogynephilac then stop their female desires when on HRT, since there was no sexual pleasure being gained and desires and fantasies greatly reduced? if not eliminated"

      This is the commonsensical supposition of those seeking to differentiate between feelings they see as either "just a fetish" or "more than a fetish"(transgenderism). What is routinely failed to be understood, is the extent to which sexuality produces emotional attachments, that are so engrained, as to persist and become structurally embedded in the individual's psychology, beyond the reduction of sexual capacity.

      I see in this context, the general difference between paedophilia and autogynephilia, is that the prerequisite for emotional internalization, is the belief in the legitimacy of their desires. The AGP commonly believes it is possible that they may really be women, that they are experiencing is either female sexuality, or a result of the repression of their underlying womanhood. Where the paedophile will more likely see their feelings as illegitimate, a fetish, an illness more so, something that repulses them.

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    2. The problem with that argument (raised by Michael Bailey too) is that this extends the Blanchard theory and topology far further that originally stated. In fact it is a totally new theory entirely.

      As Blanchard stated it, both 'homosexual transsexuals' and 'heterosexual/bisexual/asexual transsexuals' were ONLY driven by sexual desire, fantasies and drives.
      With the 'heterosexual/bisexual/asexual transsexuals' being sexually aroused by women’s clothes, being aroused by the thoughts of having women’s ‘body parts’…etc.
      That this was a sexual paraphilia and a ‘misdirected sex drive’.

      There was no mention of such things as 'emotional attachments'.

      So where are the theoretical and research underpinnings to this new 'emotional attachment' concept? What new (and far more encompassing) theory does this lead to? Who is developing such a theory and when will it be published?

      I see none of this in the literature to date.

      The other thing is that if this is true for autogynephilia then it must also be true for other sexual paraphilias as well. Again the question is, where is the evidence of that?

      From the DSM 5, these paraphilias would have to exhibit the same characteristics of 'emotional attachment' too:
      Voyeuristic Disorder® (686)
      Exhibitionistic Disorder® (689)
      Frotteuristic Disorder® (691)
      Sexual Masochism Disorder® (694)
      Sexual Sadism Disorder® (695)
      Pedophilic Disorder (697)
      Fetishistic Disorder® (700)
      Transvestic Disorder® (702)
      Other Specified Paraphilic Disorder (705)
      Unspecified Paraphilic Disorder (705)


      I should add that though (naturally) not as great as for pedophilia there is still incredible societal and legal discrimination against transgender people, with many people and organisations (and politicians) regarding it as illegitimate and many seeing it as a 'fetish'.
      For example, the US 'bathroom' debate and even legislation paints transgender people as dangerous sexual predators. The Houston human rights law campaign had many TV adverts showing such things.

      In fact they are endlessly told that they are experiencing a 'fetish' or an 'illness' by many academics, therapists and commentators, including in the mainstream media.

      So there are considerable negative connotations, pressures and outcomes surrounding being transgender.

      Thus you would expect, when the sexual drive is removed that virtually all would stop at that point, rather than risk loss of jobs, relationships, assets, family, friends and all the rest, face significant discrimination as well as considerably increased physical danger.

      Give all that, if there is no factual research backing this whole new theory, then it looks like an ad-hoc explanation to cover an 'uncomfortable truth'.

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    3. "The problem with that argument (raised by Michael Bailey too) is that this extends the Blanchard theory and topology far further that originally stated. In fact it is a totally new theory entirely."

      I have no problem with this. I do not adhere to AGP theory. Historically it will be known as the theory which raised consciousness about perhaps the most notable example of where a fetish becomes more than a fetish, regardless of the simplistic details how proponents went about in rationalizing this phenomenon.

      "So where are the theoretical and research underpinnings to this new 'emotional attachment' concept? What new (and far more encompassing) theory does this lead to? Who is developing such a theory and when will it be published?"

      Conditioning and attachment aren't new theories in psychology, but the problem has been, that for quite a while now that there has been a double standard in the application of these theories to gender issues, due to politics. It must be emphasized, that regarding the phenomenon in question (a common fetish and adjunct commonly affiliated psychologies), an appeal to authority in existing studies are misguided, as there is very little beyond those carried out by AGP advocates/detractors. For me, even the very grounding presupposition of the phenomenon has been taken for granted, in the very idea that the fetish is constituted in sexual arousal in the idea of "being a woman". Those who are intimately familiar with the fetishism (I am one of such fetishists), would know that "being a woman" is merely a common theme abstracted from a general masochistic emasculation fetish.

      "The other thing is that if this is true for autogynephilia then it must also be true for other sexual paraphilias as well. Again the question is, where is the evidence of that?"

      It can be said that the opposite requires evidence, in that for example, we already know about sexuality and the reward system, so regarding the proposition that any sexual desire is completely free from any basic level of accompanying emotional & conditioned attachment?

      "In fact they are endlessly told that they are experiencing a 'fetish' or an 'illness' by many academics, therapists and commentators, including in the mainstream media."

      It helps no one pretending that the fetish doesn't exist, and the extent the fetishism may factor in the production of trans psychology & identification. Furthermore it must be understood how sexuality can profoundly influence people, and that it doesn't necessarily invalidate identity.

      "Thus you would expect, when the sexual drive is removed that virtually all would stop at that point, rather than risk loss of jobs, relationships, assets, family, friends and all the rest, face significant discrimination as well as considerably increased physical danger."

      The removal of a source of conditioning, will only address explicitly sexual, surface affiliations & habits. Not affiliations which have become so ingrained as to become meaningful & self-sustaining apart from sexuality.

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    4. "Those who are intimately familiar with the fetishism (I am one of such fetishists), would know that "being a woman" is merely a common theme abstracted from a general masochistic emasculation fetish."

      I must admit to never even have heard of such a thing as a 'masochistic emasculation fetish'.

      Is this what you have been formally diagnosed with by your psychiatrist?

      Are you proposing this as a general alternative to AGP, if so what is the research and data backing this (very new to me) concept? There has to have been some research on this somewhere?
      Can you flesh this idea out a bit more for a neophyte to this concept, what it is, who it applies to (all trans women, some, a few, children)?

      How does this then relate to trans men, who are now at 1:1 ratio to trans women?

      This issue is another point about Blanchard's thoery, it only applies to trans women, not trans men and does not explain them.

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    5. "I must admit to never even have heard of such a thing as a 'masochistic emasculation fetish'."

      Masochistic emasculation fetishism is the term I have coined to represent sexual by the masochistic anxiety of oneself being associated to symbols of emasculation.

      "Is this what you have been formally diagnosed with by your psychiatrist?"

      As is currently the case, emasculation trauma is recognised in psychiatry. It is also the case that the phenomenological representation of fantasies described by Blanchard has been taken at face value. An individual who isn't oneself subject to the fetish, would likely never come to think that there is any issue with Blanchard's phenomenology of fantasies.

      "Are you proposing this as a general alternative to AGP, if so what is the research and data backing this (very new to me) concept?"

      Google search tumblr+sissy, for a least 100,000 tumblr accounts presenting evidence to the proposed phenomenology. The fetish's community is absolutely huge.

      "Can you flesh this idea out a bit more for a neophyte to this concept, what it is, who it applies to (all trans women, some, a few, children)?"

      The following pages are helpful

      http://www.oocities.org/transsexual_analysis/transsexual4.html
      http://www.oocities.org/transsexual_analysis/transsexual5.html
      http://www.oocities.org/transsexual_analysis/transsexual6.html
      http://www.oocities.org/transsexual_analysis/transsexual11.html
      http://thirdwaytrans.com/2015/03/10/on-agp/

      (NSFW!!!) http://40.media.tumblr.com/c40f013c1d5bf6e93db19ed08f04e22b/tumblr_ne4ggdC5bo1rqy755o1_1280.jpg

      I have linked up with the anonymous psychiatrist's etiology of childhood emasculation trauma, with the representation of fantasies being that of masochistic emasculation fetishism.

      "How does this then relate to trans men, who are now at 1:1 ratio to trans women?"

      That presupposes the existence of a mirror equivalent fetish & etiology. If there was such an equivalent, it would mean the existence of an equivalent culture, where girls feel anxiety by the idea of being perceived to be less feminine than is acceptable, or even the anxiety of being actively associated as boy-like. I think the relatively more violent associations within masculinity, makes the social fulfilment of masculine identity, much more of an issue (the potential for trauma) for boys, than feminine identity for girls. Saying that, whilst it is possible that sexuality may be just as influential in the production of both M2F & F2M psychologies, I don't think an equivalent to MEF (masochistic "efemulation" fetishism) would be anywhere near as common.

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    6. My first reaction to this is that it takes 'Occam's Razor' and twists it into a pretzel. Complication on complication with some poorly thought out implications.

      The simplest current explanation is a difference in physical and brain gender development, since they happen in the womb at different times.

      This meets Occam's Razor as the simplest explanation and the root cause of many symptoms.

      Naturally a hard scientist, such as physicist (lile my background) would pick this one as the most probably right over the others, because of the underlying simplicity.

      There is no need to split people into all sorts of 'fuzzy' and pretty ill defined sexuality types*, no need to add complexities such as 'emotional attachment' to explain such things as the impacts of T blockers..... etc. And how can an asexual have a sexual paraphilia, that seems like an oxymoron to me?


      * Where does (eg) bi-sexuality end and hetero or homosexuality begin? If a person say 40 years old has only had 5 heterosexual experiences early in their life and are now exclusively gay then what are they? Does the very common boy (and girls) fooling around with same sex friends at 11-15 make them bi-sexual or homosexual, or because they become exclusively heterosexual after that then does it not matter one little bit.

      So change your definition a little bit and you can categorise people into different boxes quite easily.

      Some people even deny the existence of bi-sexuality which amazes me since there are so many that are and admit it.

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    7. "My first reaction to this is that it takes 'Occam's Razor' and twists it into a pretzel. Complication on complication with some poorly thought out implications."

      Regarding what? A common fetish, and the commonly affiliated potential for an emotional attachment to develop? It is very simple. Here are some examples of the same phenomenon, a fetish and it's emotional internalization.

      https://youtu.be/xInWMRzEan8
      https://youtu.be/C9ST2NgjfYU
      https://youtu.be/rCgJZFlxtUU
      https://youtu.be/EqMxEBFfIHI
      https://youtu.be/Ba9L6n8zj1U

      "And how can an asexual have a sexual paraphilia, that seems like an oxymoron to me?"

      I haven't proposed anything to do with asexuality.

      "Where does (eg) bi-sexuality end and hetero or homosexuality begin?"

      To be sexually aroused by something, requires that it symbolically corresponds with a sexual imprint. If you are sexually aroused by cues of maleness, then it could be the case (if you are male) that you are androphilic or bisexual. Even it could be the case that you have an erotic imprint, for which both cues of maleness & femaleness are compatible.

      "So change your definition a little bit and you can categorise people into different boxes quite easily."

      Regarding what?

      "Some people even deny the existence of bi-sexuality which amazes me since there are so many that are and admit it."

      I agree. I don't see what relevance this has to this discussion.

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    8. This notion that taking HRT + blockers stops sexual desire (or even arousal) is neither universal nor inevitable. In fact, most transwomen continue to experience both desire and arousal on HRT. There is some data that suggests that SOME autogynephiles may lose their intense desire for transition when they begin HRT, but it appears to be a small minority. There is also very good reason to believe that this effect is more likely to happen when taking medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), which is one of the most effective "chemical castration" protocols. But typical HRT of estradiol + micronized progesterone may actually INCREASE libido in some individuals, anecdotally, in "homosexual transsexuals", over other HRT protocols. Your milage may vary.

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    9. This is a very interesting article which looks at people with the desire to have a limb removed. They feel very strongly that it does not belong to them. It is hypothesised that it may be a neurological defect of the body map in the brain. However other aetiologies include a sexual fetish. Some with the fetish have just as strong desire for amputation. Many can trace back the trigger to an event in childhood where they saw an amputee and in were some way aroused. From there it grows and becomes all encompasing.

      This is similar to the theories of trans genderism - that there may be different reasons for the same condition. I can see that it would be possible for a fetish to take on a life of its own to the point that even if ones sex drive was diminished, the desire remained having become such a central part of ones personality.

      Regarding trans men the vast majority seem to start as gay women and the increase looks in part to be social contagion and pressure. It is now in some ways more acceptable in society to be trans rather than a lesbian. Other reasons women have for transitioning may be sexual trauma in childhood, internalised misogyny or an identification with maleness from the desire to have the benefits conferred on men.

      As a child I desperately wanted to be a boy and attempted as best as possible to act and resemble one. This was entirely due to the realisation of the inequality between the sexes. However I kept it up for so long that eventually and still occaissionally I came to think of myself as being more male and having a mans brain. This despite the fact that I dont agree with those concepts and that I knew the aetiology of my condition came through conscious decision rather than overwhelming sensation. It just proves how easily the brain can be molded. I also experienced mild autoandrophillia - what I imagine the opposite of AGM would be called. I was somewhat turned on by the thought and reality of myself in mens clothing. This was secondry to my original decision to be a boy and affected in part by seeing a woman dressed as a man on a TV period drama. It was in hindsight a depiction of a rich aristocratic lesbian woman. I found this most thrilling as a child (who went on to be bisexual). Being a woman and not having the testosterone that seems to make men more prone to strong fetishes whatever Autoandrophillia there might be is probably far milder in women.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/12/a-new-way-to-be-mad/304671/

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    10. It could be argued, that the modern "lesbian" form of female gynephilia is the distortion of the "natural" form... where-in gender atypical (i.e. masculine / butch) gynephilic female individuals are suppressed and required to tone down their natural masculinity to allow survival in a patriarchal and 'phobic society. "Social Contagion" would NOT explain such individuals who lived as men pre-internet days (e.g. Dr. Alan Hart).

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  4. This dichotomy exists in the homosexual population as well.

    There are true homosexuals who are more feminine/masculine from normal at early ages. This is observed with the useof "gaydar"

    But there are also men who develop homosexual behavior through a fetish. This explains the males who are married with kids and never acted "gay" but are caught with a male prostitute. hey aren't true homosexuals. They have a fetish for something male or for submissiveness during sexual interactions.

    Gender identity disorder is just these two groups with added depression and personality disorders manifesting in a rejecting of their body and desire to change.

    As far as causes...
    I'm a believer in the "imprinting" theories on male fetishes and for chemical imbalances in the womb as the causes for true homosexuality

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    1. Occum's razor applies very well here... and there is a FAR simpler explanation for married men with kids who are caught with a male rent boy... that they are in fact, gay men. IT is very well known that homophobia and heteronormative social values drive many homosexual men to live 'in the closet', including marrying women and having kids. No need to posit a putative "fetish" for things "male" or "submissiveness".

      As an asside, "submissiveness" as in BD/SM sexuality is a paraphilia, but is NOT a "fetish". A "fetish" is defined as an erotic focus on objects as a substitute for people (e.g. shoes).

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  5. AG or not, what does it change ? People should be free to change their body and gender role if they wish !

    All people organize their life around sex ! Why do men get married and have kids ? Because they want to have sex ! And when they have kids they stay because they get used to their fetish : the women !

    The theory of AG is far from being the truth and not very scientific.

    A few examples of why :

    – Blanchard ignore that MANY women would be seen a AG if they gad the same test as they are excited by the idea of being women and feeling sexy, look at how women dress to understand that ! MOSER shows that very well in a study on women.

    – Blanchard tells that trans men (women who become men) do no exist and do not feel excited by the idea of having a male body but they DO

    – When you have a woman gender it seems logical to think that having a woman’s body is a turn on particularly when you do not have this body as then you can have sex as a woman

    – Every time a result doesn’t match his theory, he says that the trans lied !

    – Some gay trans feel AG

    – Some non gay trans have NO AG

    So as you understand the theory is far from a reference to understand trans people !!!

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  6. Someone with a paraphilia is completely different than someone with a genetic disorder that results indetermimate biological sex so it changes things a whole lot.

    No, perhaps your life is organized around sex, mine isn't and most people organize their life around something greater than their base instincts.

    No, a woman cannot be autogynephilic, are you unclear on what the term means?

    I agree that Blanchard has doubts on the existence of females motivated by solely by a paraphilia and they probably do exist. That doesn't change that substantially all people who have a gender disorder are males and substantially of them have a a paraphilia of some sort.

    No idea what you are trying to say with your point "When you have a woman gender it seems logical to think that having a woman’s body is a turn on particularly when you do not have this body as then you can have sex as a woman". Being coherent is a virtue. Something is either logical or it isn't.

    Citation required.

    And?

    And?

    When someone proposes a decription of a disorder, even in biological medicine, it's accepted that there will be outliers that don't cleanly fit. That doesn't change that the disagnosis works in substantially all cases.

    It's a very well developed theory that has few opponents except among transactivists and the liberal left. None of whom are unbiased in their opposition.


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  7. i and many other 'trans widows' and others who have endured many years of intimacy with men who declare in middle age their intent to transition, can assure you that autogynephilia most certainly exists. on the wives forums, i have over the years read countless anecdotes from hundreds of women that reflect with uncanny similarities my own traumatic experience with an autogynephilic partner and suggest that a great many of these men are pathologically narcissistic, capable of seriously abusive behaviour and cause great harm to those around them. id like someone properly research the psychological impact of trans ideology on wives and family.

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  8. I think the true narcissistic people are those who go after autogynephiles for something they cannot control.

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