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 false 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. Though I fit the description of autogynephilia peddled by believers, I am happier transitioned.
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.
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, whereupon gender dysphoria ceases.
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, 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 masturbate, and this is a fantasy we have when masturbating; and then we transition, because however hostile and prejudiced society is, it is better than presenting male. That is, we are gender dysphoric. Unfortunately, Ray Blanchard, who coined the term “autogynephilia”, believes that it is an “erotic target location error”, a developmental disorder leading to being aroused by onesself rather than another person.
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. The article linked is for subscribers only, but here is the abstract:
Two cases of gender-dysphoric genetic females who describe a sexual attraction to phenotypic males are reported. After outlining their individual histories, the authors note common clinical features of this subtype of transsexualism. Similar characteristics have also been found in the few cases of heterosexual transsexualism in genetic females reported by others. Familiarity with the distinguishing features of this subgroup could assist clinicians in diagnosing and treating such patients.
Another article compares trans men’s sexual orientation, remembering that the word “homosexual” is used of a trans man who is attracted to women:
Homosexual and nonhomosexual (relative to genetic sex) female-to-male transsexuals (FTMs) were compared on a number of theoretically or empirically derived variables. Compared to nonhomosexual FTMs, homosexual FTMs reported greater childhood gender nonconformity, preferred more feminine partners, experienced greater sexual rather than emotional jealousy, were more sexually assertive, had more sexual partners, had a greater desire for phalloplasty, and had more interest in visual sexual stimuli. Homosexual and nonhomosexual FTMs did not differ in their overall desire for masculinizing body modifications, adult gender identity, or importance of partner social status, attractiveness, or youth. These findings indicate that FTMs are not a homogeneous group and vary in ways that may be useful in understanding the relation between sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The relation between sexual orientation and gender identity”- I would say that the study shows that sexual orientation is not linked to gender identity, and that a trans man may be attracted to either sex and still a “genuine” trans man.
Anne Lawrence in 2009 wrote of a man, attracted to men, who found the thought of making his body more masculine erotic.
Dr Talia Mae Bettcher says her theory of Erotic Structuralism “puts an end to Blanchard’s transphobic theories once and for all”. See what you think. Wxhluyp comments here and on my post Fetishes that autogynephiliac fantasies are primarily of emasculation: feminization is merely a symbol of emasculation. This is a ridiculous way of seeing the femininity of a trans woman: we transition because we are feminine, and that is beautiful and valuable.
In any case, even if it were true that we could have been normally heterosexual, but some accident made us erotically obsessed with women’s clothes to the extent that we had our balls chopped off, etc, it would be no ground for moral condemnation. We are not disgusting, or ridiculous, or to be pitied, but part of the wonderfully diverse human race. If changing sex is what you really want to do, why ever not?
This page is a work in progress: any suggestions gratefully received in the comments.