Autogynephilia does not exist. Female embodiment fantasies are perfectly normal fantasies, caused by the gender dysphoria of many pre-transition trans women. Crossdreaming men also fantasise in this way, and cis women often fantasise about their bodies being sexy. Autogynephilia is the refuted theory that some trans women transition because of a sexual perversion, rather than because of gender dysphoria.
If the concept of gender dysphoria has any value at all, then it would be impossible for a man to bear living as a woman for years, especially if he were not aroused by it: and many so called autogynephiliacs no longer are.
The theory also completely ignores our efforts to make men of ourselves, running away from our female selves. So many of us join the army or police or stereotypically “manly” professions. It is not the arousal that causes our femininity, but the other way about. I am feminine, and this is beautiful and valuable.
“Autogynephilia” is not the trite observation that some AMAB people, while still presenting male, get aroused by wearing women’s clothes, but the wholly unjustified hypothesis that this causes them to want to transition. A moment’s thought shows the theory is worthless. Compare
the theory: Being turned on by women’s clothes, with no apparent cause, just spontaneously arising
causes a desire to present female all the time
causes transition, with the female role causing no gender dysphoria at all
or Reality. Innate femininity and gender dysphoria
causes arousal by the thought of expressing oneself female
causes transition, so that we present in our true gender.
Unfortunately, you will read otherwise in many places on the internet. The theory is that autogynephilia is a paraphilia: the helpless man gets so turned on by imagining himself as a woman that he wants to spend all his time dressed as one. He does not look particularly feminine, and is generally seen as a transsexual rather than as a woman. Eventually he reverts to presenting male because it is all too painful. But we don’t revert so often; and arousal is a symptom, and not a cause, of transsexuality. Though even if the arousal caused transition as the theory states, if you want to transition you should.
In reality, trans women who are attracted to other women, rather than to men, may find the thought of ourselves as women sexually arousing: but this is a symptom, rather than a cause, of gender dysphoria. Whether a person is attracted to men or to women is independent of whether they are male or female- as any gay person will tell you. We transition, because however hostile and prejudiced society is, it is better than presenting male. That is, we are gender dysphoric.
I have held a lot of shame caused by belief in autogynephilia theory. I have even suppressed my sexuality because I have found it too traumatic. Now I have dealt with that shame, and I want no-one to suffer it.
Julia Serano does not use the term “autogynephilia” to refer to our fantasies, because it is linked to the theory that the fantasy causes transition. Instead she uses the term female/feminine embodiment fantasies.
There are suggestions of the existence of Autoandrophilia: people born with ovaries, attracted to men, and being aroused by the thought of themselves as men. However the suggestion suffers from the same flaw as autogynephilia, namely, that there is no evidence that the arousal causes transition.
Christians may attempt a moral hierarchy of sex. Sex in the missionary position between a married couple for the purposes of reproduction is OK. Other sex is somehow dirty. But humans are marvellously sexually diverse. There is no ground for one sexual being to look down on another, because of what they desire, or how they go about getting it, unless someone is involved who does not consent.
This page is a work in progress: any suggestions gratefully received in the comments.