So far on the blog I have not said much about autogynephilia (AGP). AGP is the idea that the root of some MTF transitions is a kind of attraction to oneself as a woman. The desire to actualize this relationship is the root cause of gender transition for those with AGP according to this theory. It is seen as a kind of erotic target location error, where the erotic target is erroneously located in the self rather than the other. It also seen as a kind of sexual orientation towards oneself instead of towards the other. It can co-exist with heterosexuality at the same time and be in competition with it.

AGP is an idea that brings up very strong emotions and is difficult to talk about for that reason. On the one hand people will say that if you talk about AGP you are reducing transsexualism to a sexual fetish, and on the other hand some people will vehemently argue that it does not exist at all. AGP is certainly a topic of great controversy, but there are clearly people who find it personally meaningful. Anne Lawrence has collected many of their narratives in her book It is also clear that not all people on the MTF spectrum experience AGP.

It is clear that this form of transsexualism is not identical to a sexual fetish. It behaves differently than a sexual fetish in several ways. One is that fetishes tend to diminish with age, this form of transsexualism tends to increase in intensity with age. Another is that reducing/eliminating testosterone is one of key treatments for disruptive fetishes. This is something that happens when people transition MTF and it doesn’t usually cause their gender feelings to halt.

In order to help gain insight into this issue it is helpful to look at how sexual attraction and romantic love work in general. It is the product of two distinct brain systems, the lust system and the attachment system. The lust system governs sexual arousal and desire. The attachment system governs the emotional bond that exists with the object of attachment. It is possible to have one system activated and not the other. It is possible to have lust without attachment and attachment without lust. In long-term relationships the attachment may persist even if there aren’t any sexual feelings. Finally it is possible for attachment to exist without there ever being lust involved such as in familial relationships.

This is important because both systems are involved in AGP. This is necessary to explain the phenomena. It is not just a fetish, which would be purely a product of the lust system, but there is an attachment component as well. This is important because the attachment is what explains the ways in which it does not behave like a sexual fetish. The lust component is what I have referred to as erotic imprinting elsewhere. I have not spoken much about the attachment component.

Also, arguing against AGP because it reduces transsexualism to a sexual fetish is arguing against a straw man version of AGP. The proponents of the AGP theory acknowledge the role of a romantic/attachment component as well. Here is an essay from Anne Lawrence that discusses this. Blanchard discusses this in his writing as well.

There are people who just have the lust component with no attachment component. Again, this lives on a spectrum from a mild optional kink to the exclusive way in which someone can get turned on. This is true of all kinks and fetishes. This in and of itself can range from an enjoyable activity to a harmful obsession. In my eyes a kink or fetish is unhealthy if it harms others, prevents healthy relationships, or otherwise interferes with life. It is also important to note that fantasies of becoming a woman are only a subset of the erotic imprinting involved. For example, sissification fantasies are common and people with those fantasies also sometimes develop transgender identities.

One thing that is significant about the attachment system being involved is the attachment system behaves differently than the lust system. Fixed erotic imprinting, particularly in MAAB folks is generally for life, and is triggered by anything that fits its profile. Attachment is to a very small number of specific objects. Most significantly, the attachment system has mechanisms for both creating new attachment relationships and ending attachment relationships. People find new partners and break up with old partners. This means it should be possible to break this attachment to self, even though the erotic imprinting is unchangeable. It is also possible for this attachment to develop over time, which is something we sometimes see when people develop a transgender identity late in life. The problem with attachment to self is that it can interfere with attachment to others and compete with attachment to others. Attachment relationships are among the strongest predictors of health and well-being and are very important. Prioritizing attachment to others over attachment to self is healthy choice, a choice against narcissism.

So, how does this tie into the other concepts I have described. The first is this AGP mechanism only exists in a subset of MTF gender dysphorics and transitioners. It is not required to develop a transgender identity, nor does it automatically lead to a transgender identity. The narrative serves as an explanation for these feelings that avoids shame as sexual motivations are stigmatized. This is part of why some of these erotic imprints lead to a greater possibility of developing a transgender identity, but not a certainty.

Also, if a person develops the kind of attachment to self found in AGP, it is probably serving an important psychological function. That is where other elements such as trauma and gender schemas come into play. It will not be possible to break this attachment relationship as long as the psychological conditions that require it exist. Also genetic or biological factors can come into play as influencing the creation of erotic imprinting, possibly a person’s reaction to sex hormones and ultimately identity as well.

One thing that is clear is that these issues are complex, and go beyond a simple construct of “gender identity”. It is also important to note that the presence or absence of AGP doesn’t make a transgender identity less real Part of the reason that the idea of AGP draws such intense emotional reactions is the idea that transgenderism is somehow fake if AGP is involved, or the false dichotomy that one “has a fetish” or “is really trans”.


  1. I’m about to be a blasphemous trans-heretic, but I’m also finding for myself that the phenomenon is strongly linked with an unresolved oedipal conflict, troubled relationship with my mother (and subsequently other women), and insecure attachment. Now, I think our society’s rigid gender ideologies play a part in the cause of these troubles, and because transsexuals are helping to free us from these rigid gender ideologies, I support transsexuals. But it does seem to me that people who resolve their sexual identity issues with transsexualism want to find a tidy solution rather than unearthing the depths of themselves.

    1. I think there can be a lot of different phenomena that can lead to transgender identity, because identity is ultimately the story that you use to explain and make sense of yourself. That is part of what makes it complex.

      There are common threads, but the particular combination can vary.

      1. I think perhaps I was too vague in my comment. I’m saying that to really understand the phenomenon of autogynephilia at all, one must investigate the attachment relationship with the parents and its effects on the adult’s relationship to the idea of man/woman. I’m sure the combination of causes can vary, but I would bet that disorganized attachment with one’s parents can be found in most if not all AGPs, and that healing the trauma caused by these attachment difficulties is essential work for all of us.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised if attachment issues played a role, they definitely do in my case. I’m not sure if they play a role in all cases though, anecdotally I have seen a lot of parental attachment issues with a lot of the MTF folk I know, so I definitely think it is something that should be looked at.

          One of the most important parts of my own healing was working on these attachment issues, and particularly becoming other focused rather than self-focused in my attachments.

        2. Sorry for the late reply, since it doesn’t bother me that much anymore. I think you’re on to something, though. I never knew my dad and my mom was strict and always controlling me. Also read some stuff on Proust and Freud, related to this.

        3. It would be interesting to do some research to see if there is actually a correlation between both issues — disorganized attachment with one’s parents, and AGP.

          What, exactly, means ‘disorganized attachment’? To the best of my knowledge, I have had the most normal kind of attachment to both of my parents; nevertheless, my self-image as female is extremely attractive to me. So I would probably either be out of that correlation; or the attachment to my parents was not as normal as I always thought it to be; or I’m not autogynephiliac, although I always thought I was 🙂

          1. Here’s some info about disorganized attachment: http://www.psychalive.org/disorganized-attachment/. If you went to a gender therapist who, in typical fashion, “throws general psychological thinking out the window when dealing with gender issues” as discussed by ThirdWayTrans at https://thirdwaytrans.com/2014/06/03/applying-general-psychological-principles-to-gender-issues/ then it’s likely that your attachment to self and others has not been adequately explored.

            1. Ah, thank you, @pasunhomme. That article you quoted is very good. No, there is no disorganized attachment in my childhood, according to the definitions presented in that article. So no wonder my therapist hasn’t explored that. She has my 200-page autobiography as background, so I’m sure that if she detected any unconscious disorganized attachment to my parents, she would have immediately noticed it. If not — assuming the lack of proper training you’ve mentioned — my case would have been probably noticed by her colleagues, since I’m being evaluated by a multidisciplinary team who routinely discuss their patients on regular meetings.

  2. Excellent post. Many of my views on AGP have changed over the course of my transition, especially as I have become more aware of what is occurring internally. One of those views was concerning the inherent nature of harm associated with AGP, and the *belief* that AGP is always, at least in some way or another, harmful – either to others or simply to oneself.

    Yet as you point out and as I am quite aware, it is a defense mechanism of sorts. Or, maybe schema is the better word, since it is more akin to a manner of adaptation to the world. Presumably, this is what makes AGP necessarily harmful. I no longer hold this common belief.

    For me, AGP is a comparatively healthy choice, in a parallel manner to a non-AGP transsexual who chooses to transition as an imperfect way of ameliorating whatever issues they individually have. In many ways, I feel that anatomic AGPs may be ideal candidates for transition, since the process of transition (at least for me) directly relates to my sense of well-being.

    The notion that becoming too focused on oneself, too lost in love of oneself, is a bad thing is somewhat of a culturally-based belief. Most cultures have examples of those individuals who prefer to live alone, who prefer their own company over that of others. To most other people, this would be unhealthy. For me, it is not.

    I will never leave myself. I will always be here for me. I can speak to myself without speaking, and comfort myself at any time this is necessary. I can hold any conversation I desire with myself, for endless periods of time. When I have multiple days off of work in a row, I am often surprised by the hoarseness of my voice when I return to work since I have spoken to no one during this period.

    There is somewhat of a desire to be with an individual who could share intimacy with me. I will admit that my love for myself, which is increasing the further I progress along transition, competes directly with this desire to be in an intimate relationship with another human.

    Sometimes this makes me very sad, though, since a deep part of me does seem to want connection to another human, so possibly that could be considered the ‘unhealthy’ aspect of my AGP? It’s a complex road I am journeying down, certainly.

    Anyways, thanks for bearing with me while I ramble on about my eccentric mental exigencies.

    1. Well defenses are important and exist for a reason, there is no shame in having defenses because we all have them. Maybe there is a time when you can outgrow them because there is usually a cost associated with them, but they are there for a reason and can’t be let go of before their time.

      When I talk about the quality and number of intimate relationship being strongly related to well-being, I am talking about what the research shows (which means for most people) It is certainly possible to have a temperament where that is not true for you. I think it is usually true of most people though.

      Feel free to ramble anytime 🙂

  3. “It is clear that this form of transsexualism is not identical to a sexual fetish. It behaves differently than a sexual fetish in several ways. One is that fetishes tend to diminish with age, this form of transsexualism tends to increase in intensity with age.”

    all sexual drive diminish with age right ? as older people has lower level of testosterone. The intensity you refer to is the attachment.
    Consider normal men-woman relationship, their sexual drives diminish with age but their love/emotional attachment increase in intensity.
    Many people still loves their partner even though their sexual drives is eliminated, as a result of diseases or simply old age.

    1. Yes, that is what I was trying to say. It is possible to have a fetish with no attachment and all, and that is what usually happens. Those fetishes do diminish with age. That is also what people usually mean when they say “fetish” that it is a sex thing.

      I think the attachment is exactly like that with a long-time partner.

  4. I would love to see you go into further detail on the relationship between lust & attachment regarding sexuality in general and notable examples of fetishism. In the MEF reddit group (reddit.com/r/MEFetishism/) I have A few elucidating examples.

    Also I still look for forward to you expounding on the development of attachment in MEFs, where it appears seemingly in the absence of trauma-induced gender schemas you have hitherto to some extent required in the production of dysphoria. Not only that which we see commonly in other fetishes, but for wxample the dysphoric MEFs who claim that in their attachment to the idea of being female, there was no traditional negative feelings towards their maleness.

    1. Well, in typical sexuality, sexuality can exist with or without attachment. The creation of attachment is a mostly unconscious process, and starts with “limerance” which is the infatuation that people have with new partners where they see them in a bright light. Limerance diminishes but the attachment remains.

      I don’t think trauma is necessary for the development of attachment, it is just that whatever event led to the MEF is likely to have caused other psychological effects as well. That is not always true, it could have been resolved later but the MEF will remain if it is imprinted.

      Also, negative feelings towards maleness isn’t the only schema that I can be present. Inadequacy and attempting to live up to some impossible image of maleness is another strong theme. These people may view maleness positively but that it is unattainable.

      Psychological conditions can control who a person tends to attach to, the classic example being someone who has a habit of choosing abusive partners even though they consciously know these people are not good for them, they just find them irresistible on a psychological level. After therapy, they might end up choosing different partners that are more healthy for them.

      Of course neither MEF, nor attachment is required for transgender identity formation, this describes only a (very large) subset of MTF dysphorics.

      1. “Well, in typical sexuality, sexuality can exist with or without attachment.”

        What I meant was the basic level of emotional affiliation that develops in regards to properties in general by virtue of their connection with sexual stimulation. Where for one individual there would be a fondness for all things breasts, for another individual, a fondness for the associating of himself to emasculating symbolism (often representing in terms of homosexuality or “being a woman”). Where for the breast “fetishist”, he will typically recognise his fondness as sexual, where for the other fetishist, he may not so easily recognise his fondness for “being woman” for it’s sexual influences. An example being where one would be in public, say on a bus and one is sitting in front of an attractive lady in a feminine dress. The fetishist often will not recognise his longings where he is associating himself to that which is before him as sexual. Associating oneself to the wearing of her clothes, the idea of being in her role, having her body, being her, will commonly be represented as instances of “dysphoria”. The psychological consequences (or escalation) of this I see as the common development where sexually influenced affinities will be utilized in hoe the individual relates to themselves (self-identifies). Once and a while I see individuals who I would think may have additional schemas resulting around the trauma, such as those which you have stated and Miriam Afloats apparent repulsion regarding maleness.

        “Of course neither MEF, nor attachment is required for transgender identity formation, this describes only a (very large) subset of MTF dysphorics.”

        I agree. When Looking at a reddit thread such as this,

        I can’t help but think that the fetish/trauma generally accounts for the higher number of M2Fs than F2Ms, reflecting seemingly that it is more socially acceptable for girls to be affiliated with maleness than vice versa. It would be interesting to see how the fantasy themes for which the counterpart masochism of F2Ms (there doesn’t appear to be an opposite term for “emasculation” that I am aware of).plays out.

        1. For the first part are you talking about positive association that develop due to the role being associated with the positive feelings of sexuality? That is a natural consequence of how conditioning works. I think there is also quite a bit of meaning-making and shame avoidance in developing of trans identity after having some kind of MEF. The natural desire to have such an intense experience mean something, combined with the desire to avoid the shame of being a “fetishist” when one can be a woman instead contributes. I also think if the self is the object of one’s sexuality that would be more difficult to recognize than external objects, because the self is always present unlike external objects.

          For the second part, I definitely think trauma plays a strong role for some FTM spectrum people as well, there are a couple of studies showing a high rate of abuse for FTM transitioners, and many of the FTM detransitoner accounts I have read cite misogyny and other trauma around being female as key factors.

  5. Thanks for this thoughtful piece. I just want to mention my experience in regard to your statement about erotic imprinting being set for life.

    My transsexual trajectory was not unusual: Childhood trauma, ambivalence & conflict/confusion about my “gender’ since early memories, heterosexual; cross-dressing + some erotic charge since teen years; otherwise seemed to be a normal surfer/cowboy; still conflicted & confused, “transitioned” at age 40. Orchiectomy a few years later. Was “well-integrated” and successful in career. After 13 years, age 53, went off estrogen out of concern for blood clots & stroke. Almost immediately, my dysphoria vanished. It took me a couple of months to detach from the “female” persona I had created, and “her” routines, mannerisms & lifestyle, but then I really made the break and resumed living in ways that feel natural to me, i.e. like the surfer/cowboy I used to be. The difference now is that I have no “gender” dysphoria at all, nor any of the obsessive erotic tingle that characterized my former autogynephilia.

    Before I went off estrogen, I never thought in a million years that I would live “as a man” again. Now, 18 months later, I can’t re-imagine or re-construct the feelings that made me want to be a woman, much less any erotic component. Feels good now!

    1. I’m glad you have avoided any further problems with AGP feelings. You mentioned having orchiectomy, if you aren’t on T it is possible they might come back if you were on T. Other people have also reported detransitioning and having some of the feelings return after going on T (or resuming natural T production).

      I had some of these fantasies return when on T, but don’t have any desire to present or live as a woman anymore. I wrote about that piece here.. They didn’t come back until I was on T for about 3 months or so either.

      1. Really interesting post from November, thanks! You are doing excellent and extremely useful work in analyzing your process (and “gender identity” in general) through the lens of clinical psychology. I’m an epidemiology researcher, and while for years I carefully refrained from examining the evidence base for why people are (or become) transgender, I’m really going to town on it now.

        Yes, I didn’t get on T until about 10 months after I stopped E. Have been on T for about 8 months now. No confusion, no conflict, no “feminine” fantasies. It is good.

        For me, re-connecting with my own self and actual life has been a joyful homecoming. “The old me” wasn’t a bad guy at all, but in my autogynephilic madness I had killed him off, crammed him down a gopher hole and covered it with a cow pie. I had intensely cultivated a feminine clone persona, a very similar “personality” in many respects but much more shallow. In that shallowness, I can see now how deep was the hopeless denial about my total self-rejection, how emotionally broken I was, how lonesome. I am still working my way through the changes of the past couple years (and of my whole life) but it’s going really well. I’m very lucky.

        Thank you again. Take care.

        1. That is great that you have been on T for so long and have not had any issues with fantasies returning. It is important to hear the experiences of others, and it also important to do research into the experiences of detransitioners. I do a lot of analysis of my own experience due to the lack of research in this area, and of course it becomes difficult to separate what is my own personal stuff from that which generalizes more to others.

          I feel the same way that my feminine persona was more shallow as well, it was an affectation is someways but also the best attempt I could make to be true to myself at the time.

        2. I am glad thing are working out for you on Testosterone. I have been off estrogen for 6 months and hope to give T a try in the future. I have heard good things and bad things about it, hopefully my fantasies to live again as a woman won’t return.

          1. It can be a mixed bag. There is the possibility of those fantasies returning, but even if they do you can just remember that they are fantasies and work on not feeling shame around them. It is also possible to just stop taking T / change the dose if it causes too many problems, I suppose the one advantage of being in this state.

  6. It’s worth noting that when cis women were tested using equivalent criteria, most of them were found to have autogynephilic tendencies as well.

    As someone aptly put it: “Autogynephilia – or as cis women are allowed to call it: feeling sexy.”

    In other words, this is just a facet of human sexuality. It doesn’t need pathologizing for trans women.

    1. I don’t see the idea of autogynephilia as inherently pathologizing when applied to trans women. It’s only considered pathological precisely because most people in society erroneously believe most of human sexuality is pathological. Saying the word “autogynephilia” is pathologizing is like saying the word “homosexuality” is pathologizing.

      Also Moser’s “equivalent” AGP scale for “cis” women is hardly equivalent to Blanchard’s original scale. Moser’s study was extremeley flawed.

      Incidentally the best take on AGP I’ve read comes from Jamie Veale:


      She argues (with a multifactorial systems approach) that the identification with females becomes sexualized and turns into AGP because it is ego-dystonic and suppressed during youth.

      1. Thanks for reminding me that I’ve been meaning to get around to writing about some of Jamie Veale’s work on the blog. I feel like she almost gets things right, but it is just a bit off. I like her identity-defense model, but I think it is actually a schema-defense dynamic rather than an identity-defense dynamic.

        Also, she is a fan of Bem’s “exotic becomes erotic” theory which I don’t agree with.

        Overall, I like her writing though and feel that she adds some important research to the discussion.

        1. Yeah, her ideas are not perfect. But on the specific topic of AGP she’s a rare voice of reason in comparison to the horde which either says that trans is just a fetish or screaming that AGP doesn’t exist. My anxiety about being a freak was so relieved when I found her.

          I agree her writing is too legitimizing of “gender identity” but if you read her work while injecting your own understanding that identities being defended (both assigned and adopted) are in some ways false then hers is probably the most defensible, comprehensive etiological framework out there.

          Bem’s theory is really just an arbitrary conjecture, but the observed data showing that childhood gender-non-conformity tends to precede homosexuality are pretty solid. I haven’t seen an alternative theory to explain the phenomenon.

          1. I do really like her work in many ways. It is mostly because I continuously find myself almost agreeing with her that I get frustrated. Her last study was interesting because one of the things it found was that tg people didn’t divide in terms of AGP, but instead clustered around whether they were attracted to “themes found in transgender fiction” Which makes a lot of sense to me, because I think of AGP themes as just a subset of the fantasy themes.

    2. Both autogynephilia theory and the test on cis women are grounded in a false presupposition, in the representation of the fantasies as “the idea of being a woman”, or the notion of “feeling sexy” which is propagated mainly by those (“crossdreamers”) who desire to conflate the fantasies with what is thought to be normal fantasies of cis women. Then there are those who recognise the prevalence of masochism in the fantasies and either compartmentalize it from the rest of the fantasies, or like to think of it as being a masochistic psychosexual expression of repressed femaleness.

      The fantasies are constituted in sexual arousal by the anxiety of oneself being associated to symbols of emasculation, which is itself the imprinted masochistic sexualization of emasculation trauma.

      1. I agree that the masochistic part of the fantasies are not sufficiently recognized by many, but to posit the masochism as the cause of the fantasies rather than part of the system is absurd. Why would someone experience emasculation trauma in the first place? Surely there would have to be some “feminine” characteristics within them that they were shamed for, or they never would have experienced the trauma. Either that or every male experiences emasculation trauma and eroticization of the trauma is simply one response of many to the phenomenon. Of course, both of these are true in that the trauma and the fantasies occur on a continuum. The answers to these questions are never going to be either/or. They’re always going to be both/and.

        1. “Surely there would have to be some “feminine” characteristics within them that they were shamed for, or they never would have experienced the trauma.”

          It is the anxiety itself, regardless of whether in reality one has legitimate reason to hold such anxieties regarding their masculinity (or lack thereof)


          “Either that or every male experiences emasculation trauma and eroticization of the trauma is simply one response of many to the phenomenon.”

          Many children are still spanked, yet few of them are statistically subject to it’s masochistic sexualization.

          “Of course, both of these are true in that the trauma and the fantasies occur on a continuum.”

          I see that masochistic emasculation fetishism is itself the imprinted sexualization of emasculation trauma, for which every other affiliated facet in this discourse is adjunctly related.

    3. I agree with pasunhomme that Moser’s study was flawed and doesn’t measure the same thing as Blanchard’s autogynephilia scale. Moser’s critique of AGP is worth reading though.

      Also, if AGP is different than typical female sexuality that doesn’t make it pathological. I think it is different mostly because people on the AGP spectrum are drawn to different erotica than natal females. I haven’t seen any cis women into feminization / transformation fiction, and very few trans women interested in romance novels or slash for instance.

      I don’t think sexuality is pathological because it is unusual or different, I only think it is pathological if it impedes your quality of life, or harms others.

    4. Jonathan, the Moser (2009) study in “cis” (sic) women was deeply flawed. The quality of its evidence is about nil.

      Moser worked at a major hospital in San Francisco. He thought it would be a good idea to approach various women at the hospital to see what got them off: “A convenience sample of female professional employees of an urban hospital was obtained. On two successive days in June, 2005, the questionnaire was distributed by the author, female staff members were approached in either the nurse’s station or staff lounge on several different floors during either day or evening shifts (weekdays).”

      He creepily handed out 51 questionnaires and got 29 back. “Convenience sampling” is a methodology considered to be at extremely high risk of bias, and it would be absurd to generalize the responses of 29 female hospital employees in San Francisco to the general population. Also, the high 43% non-response rate makes it unlikely the responses even reflected the hospital’s female population. (Moser also admits: “Many individuals entered and left during the discussion of the project, so the exact number of individuals who heard the announcement of the study cannot be determined.”) I could go on in pointing out this study’s problems.

      Anne Lawrence wrote a letter to critique Moser’s study. Her key points were as follows: “Moser claimed to have documented at least occasional autogynephilic sexual arousal in 27 (93%) of 29 female hospital employees he surveyed, and frequent autogynephilic arousal in 8 (28%). However, many of the items in Moser’s scale bear little resemblance to the items Blanchard used to assess autogynephilia, and even those items that do bear some resemblance to Blanchard’s do not adequately assess the essential element of autogynephilia—sexual arousal simply to the thought of being a female — because they do not emphasize that element. Consequently, although Moser may have found something superficially resembling autogynephilia in women, there is little reason to think that he documented genuine autogynephilic arousal in women.”

      Moser C. Autogynephilia in women. J Homosex. 2009;56(5):539-47.
      Lawrence AA. Something resembling autogynephilia in women: comment on Moser (2009). J Homosex. 2010;57(1):1-4.

    5. I realize this is a year old but I just wanted to comment on this, I read Anne Lawrence’s attack on that article and felt that some good points were made.

      The modifications made to the questions in that study really did seem intended to result in the answers you refer to.

      I don’t believe that natal women aren’t terribly inclined to feel an erotic charge about the fantasy of joining a sewing circle or some other feminine thing of that nature.

      But men with autogynephilic tendencies do so on occasion. Women may exult in feeling ‘sexy’ but autogynephilia is about exultation over femininity, which is far broader and can include things which no woman or conventional man would find even remotely sexy.

  7. Hi TWT,
    Thanks for the interesting blog—offers some thought provoking posts.

    I’m going to ask a question that probably sounds ridiculous (and have to overshare massively to make comprehensible—hence why I don’t ask these things in real life). Apologies in advance! I’m not usually this dumb.

    Basically, how does AGP actually work, from a psychological & physical perspective?

    For reference, I’m in my early 20s and have never masturbated, experienced sexual pleasure or had any sexual fantasies, and as such don’t yet know whether I’m into guys, girls, or some combination thereof. (Or something else!) So you might need to explain this in littler words than usual. I can understand androphilia and gynephilia (sp?) in that the person wants to have sex with a man/woman and therefore gets physical pleasure from imagining that kind of sexual encounter (or participating in one, etc). I can sort of understand some other paraphilias—the person is turned on by the thought of sexytimes with another kind of person, animal, plant, object, etc (even if I don’t always understand how such sexytimes might occur or how the person even gets pleasure from X thing). But AGP is one of the ones that makes no sense: how does a man derive sexual pleasure—presumably expressed as an erection, unless men also get aroused in other parts of their bodies?—from the thought of what’s basically all the systems of his body that can give him sexual pleasure, not existing anymore? That seems completely self-contradictory. Unless AGP is more like wanting to have sex with your female clone, but it seems like it’s literally fetishization of having your body turned into a different kind of body that can’t experience sexual pleasure in the same way, which just makes no sense. It’s like a man having a fetish for his own flaccid penis, which of course makes it… er… non-flaccid. Or am I getting this totally wrong?

    1. Add to that the issue with sex dysphorics that having an erect penis is itself a source of either extreme displeasure or dissociation. Self-contradictory is right! I look forward to ThirdWay’s analysis of your question.

    2. Subjectively for me, it’s like two different people screaming at you in your head, telling you to do two completely different things simultaneously. For me personally, I’d rather just eliminate the organs and be done with it.

    3. I don’t think your question is ridiculous at all.

      People get turned on by imagining things all the time, from playing fantasies in their head. Also just witness the very large porn industry, people get turned on by watching others have sex and maybe imagining themselves as one of the people. Also, by reading erotica, and using their imagination. There is huge genre of erotic fiction that is transformation stories, and MTF transformation specifically, it is a common theme.

      So, a person can be turned on by having a fantasy of having a different kind of body than they have, although if your fantasies differ from your anatomy a certain amount of dissonance might happen causing distress. Especially in more severe cases where it is the only way one can be turned on.

      There also can be issues with dissociation, as Miriam mentions below adding to the mix.

      1. Thanks for humoring me!

        Re porn and erotica—I haven’t watched porn, only read descriptions, and have only read limited amounts of erotica. As far as I understand it though, porn presents ritualised/fetishized images of sexual encounters which center the observer—the fourth wall as it were—whereas written erotica mainly focuses on depicting the actual sexual pleasure, centering the actors. It’s the difference between watching somebody have sex, and (coming as close as possible to) *feeling* somebody else’s sexual pleasure—and obviously I have an easier time understanding why the latter would be arousing, vs the former which takes the perspective of a disembodied voyeur (the camera). I’m using “understand” in the sense of “grok”.

        Re dissociation—that makes sense in the context of a number of mental health issues actually. So that helps.

        I still didn’t feel I had a good understanding of AGP so I went up and read your posts about erotic imprinting. And I noticed that you never explain what erotic imprinting actually is, only how it works. So my follow up question is a two parter: (a) What is erotic imprinting? (b) What might cause a person to imprint on AGP as opposed to, say, men, women or the Eiffel Tower?

        1. Some links on Imprinting.


          To understand AGP, you have to understand where the AGP discourse comes from. That there seems to be a distinct fetish which in the past would have been represented simply as “transvestic fetishism”, or in terms of the popular theme in it’s erotic fiction as “forced feminization fetish”. With the creation of “autogynephilia” was the recognition of these fantasies correlating with many male to female transsexuals. The creator of the term Ray Blanchard, also subject to the same fantasies, represented it as sexual arousal by the idea of being a woman and then went on to suppose it is an inversion of innate sexual desire (an “erotic target location error”). Where the normal straight male is attracted to females, the AGP is attracted to oneself as the female. Blanchard correlated that the psychological drive for straight masculine males to become females, is sexually driven by AGP and develops like a love (for oneself as a woman) where the normal male would love a woman. The other side of this correlation is that the psychological drive for (non AGP) effeminate homosexual males to become female, is because they actually are female at some biological level. The big contradiction within the AGP discourse, is with it’s prediction that effeminate homosexual males should be by far the most likely to also be subject to the erotic target location error (AGP), they are actually statistically rare. This is because it has never been an erotic target location error, and the experience has never been “sexual arousal by the idea of being a woman”.


          The experience is rather the masochistic imprinted sexualization of childhood emasculation trauma, where one is sexually aroused by anxiety of oneself being associated to emasculation, for which symbolism of womanness will always tend to be among the most prevalent.

          1. From your article (p3): “it is not only possible but probably quite common for high levels of childhood femininity to be the reason for autogynephilia.”

            I’m curious wxhluyp, given the story you tell yourself about this phenomenon, how do you deal with the issue in your life? Just revel in the fetish? How do you know you’re not going to reinforce it to the point where you desire transition?

            It seems your article, which I like and mostly agree with, on page 8 presents several potentially satisfying resolutions:

            “So there are a number of lifestyle choices available to gender transgressors in these comparatively liberated times, the choice being dependent on both the above-mentioned factors and fear of taboo:

            * Covert crossdressing
            * Overt crossdressing
            * Transgenderism (part-time cross-living)
            * Androgyny / ‘genderfuck’
            * Non-surgical transsexualism
            * Surgical transsexualism”

            I propose that, of those, androgyny represents the most healed state, perhaps even more psychologically integrated than those who still blindly follow the dictates of gender. But, in any case, I don’t see reveling in the fetish without examining it and making use of its meaning in one’s life more generally as one of the satisfying options.

            1. How do I deal with the issue in my life? How this all figures for me in quite similar to that of any other strong fetish, where I am content in so far that it doesn’t come to impede on my “normal” sex life. As far as I am aware, I am not subject to any related psychological issues. I was an extremely shy and sensitive kid, and even though my fetishistic fantasies began as early as four years of age, they never happened to permeate my being in the way I expect it would (does) with many others.

              A fault with the article is that in talking of the “level of emasculation trauma” (like people are often guilty of doing in regards to gender in general) as if it is some essence, for which where it is at a high level, one will magically desire “transition” and be subject to all of the usual trans tropes. It takes for granted the nature of the individual’s preference for fantasy themes, the terms for which they come to represent their experience, the terms for which they can possibly rationalize their experience, the terms for which emotional & ideological attachments can develop. Where for example, those that have a more explicit preference for masochistic themes, will be more likely to understand & experience their fetish as fetish and thus will be less likely for sexually influenced affiliations to be emotionally & ideologically internalized in the way as those who prefer anatomic themes. Then there are those with explicit masochistic fantasies, who none the less believe and are emotionally attached to the idea of an inner woman, who take the masochism as a result of repression.

              Also in a similar way it takes for granted what it represents as “levels of masculinity & femininity”, repeating the commonsense fallacy that everyone is of a gender essence somewhere on a continuum between male & female, that must be expressed. Rather, when one “feels” masculine, one is affiliated with that which is associated as male-like.

        2. Imprinting in general is a type of learning where there is a “critical period” where there is flexibility in learning during the critical period but then things become fixed. An example is with languages, where if you learn a language after the critical period for learning languages you will always speak with an accent because you can’t learn to hear and say certain sounds that are not part of your native language.

          Some theorists believe that there is an imprint window for sexuality during childhood but it doesn’t become activated until puberty. Also a related idea is that trauma or other intense experiences can influence this imprinting. I don’t think people imprint on AGP itself, but rather on some fantasy theme compatible with AGP. I think a lot of it has to do with male hierarchy or inadequacy trauma of various kinds looking at the themes involved. A person who is regularly submissive in the male hierarchy might develop submissive erotic themes also.

          For me the primary thing that distinguishes AGP from just having fantasies is additional attachment to the self as an erotic object.

  8. hey TWT – i don’t know if this is a sensitive issue or anything, and i hope you don’t mind me asking this…
    you mention elsewhere that you had a long-term, loving relationship with a man, but that this went away once you detransitioned, and that you are really attracted to women, so you are the sort of AGP who would be described as “pseudobisexual.”
    for Blanchard/Lawrence, pseudobisexual AGPs’ male partners basically exist to validate their femininity. however, i think it can be more complex than that, and i doubt you were using your bf as a prop that whole time.
    am i correct in guessing that in your case there were romantic feelings involved? that essentially by *being* his girlfriend, you experienced similar feelings as you would feel *towards* a girlfriend, but not exactly towards yourself?
    my way of thinking is that this kind of pseudobisexuality produces such a convincing illusion because it IS interpersonal sexuality, just reversed heterosexuality, and thus can reproduce a wider gamut of the feelings one would experience towards/with a (female) partner… by BEING the female partner.
    is there anything to that, or am i way off?
    anyway, sorry if that’s a sore subject. you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. thanks!

    1. I would say that my sexuality with men was not the same as either that of a straight woman or a gay man, but it was not “pseudo”. There was definitely initial limerance in that relationship as well as caring and attraction and all that good stuff. The only thing that was missing was the attachment piece. It was a poly relationship and he was married and I was okay with that, by contrast I also dated a woman around that time who had another relationship and that trigger a lot more jealous feelings, even though my relationship with him was a lot better.

      Also there definitely seems to be something biological with hormones involved as well. I actually started T while dating him, and after being on T his smell was no longer appealing. I stopped T and went on E to make sure I was doing the right thing and then again he was appealing. A lot of trans women that go on E report similar things. I’m not sure if males in general might react to E in this way, or if it something specific to whatever generates trans feelings.

  9. AGP is an invented term and I chuckle about it now because Blanchard’s invention of the term does in no way give it more weight because it has a scientific sounding name. Simply put, observing arousal to the idea of thinking of oneself is nothing new. Hirschfeld and Benjamin noted it bit it was only Blanchard who proposed it was THE motivator for transition.

    There are several problems with this idea: one is that most transsexuals can date these feelings to very young adolescents and, no matter how adamantly Blanchard’s acolyte Anne Lawrence argues the case for the penile stimulation of three year olds, its very much treading on thin ice. For the record Lawrence has a well documented history of being a body modification fetishist and therefore has bought into the Blanchard narrative to explain her own motivations.

    Another is that most fetishists are happy to remain male bodied and simply masturbate to their heart’s content. The fact that some supposed AGP sufferers transition happily and live out their lives as females waters down the idea of fetish as exclusive motivator.

    1. “Simply put, observing arousal to the idea of thinking of oneself is nothing new.”

      Yeah it goes without saying that that has never been representative of the fetish. We are dealing with the imprinted masochistic imprinted sexualization of emasculation trauma, which are explicitly observable in their tens of thousands on tumblr, reddit & imagefap with a simple search of “sissy”.

      “There are several problems with this idea: one is that most transsexuals can date these feelings to very young adolescents and, no matter how adamantly Blanchard’s acolyte Anne Lawrence argues the case for the penile stimulation of three year olds, its very much treading on thin ice.”

      Why do you come here and continue to pretend (lie) that is supposition still holds any weight? That not only even Jack Molay has shown you to the contrary, but I have told you of my fetishistic fantasies were present from as early as 4-6 years of age? Watch the following clip from 8:30

      “Another is that most fetishists are happy to remain male bodied and simply masturbate to their heart’s content. The fact that some supposed AGP sufferers transition happily and live out their lives as females waters down the idea of fetish as exclusive motivator.”

      And you have come on here not bothering to actually read the article which you are commenting on. Your presuppositions are missing one crucial aspect, being that of psychology. So are you going to address the dynamics of lust & emotional attachment presented in this very post, or are you going to ignore & compartmentalize as you have continued to do of thus far?

    2. Here, Joanna is doing EXACTLY what this blog post pointed out.. that of attempting to knock down a strawman, a thin, light, sarcastically generated shadow of the real phenomena and the researchers exploring it.

      Strangely, pointing out that Blanchard was NOT the first to recognize and explore the phenomena seems to be used as an argument against it? Passing strange. However, saying that Blanchard’s coining of the term (“invention” was a clever usage, as it implies that nothing existed before) does not give it “weight” is a clever polemic device, because it attempts to leave the reader with the false impression that Blanchard had no data to back its use. First, though Blanchard did coin the term, it was to clarify the language. Blanchard used it to replace the multitude of vague terms that were being used in prior papers. Second, Blanchard’s work was a continuation of Kurt Fruend’s work, in which Fruend made and tested the hypothesis that MTF transsexuals always presented for treatment with one of two sexual interests, “homosexuality” (exclusive androphilia) or “femmiphilic fetishism”, which included erotic arousal to cross-dressing, but encompassed other erotic interests, for which Blanchard later coined and defined the term “autogynephilia”. Blanchard recognized that “fetish” was not a valid description of the phenomena and sought a better descriptor.

      As to “weight” behind the term, we need look at the actual published data from decades of research by Bulrich, Doorn, Doctor, Prince, Smith, Fruend, Blanchard, Lawrence, and most recently but Nuttbrock. All showing the amazingly high correlation (high for psychology studies) which clearly show that Fruend’s hyopthesis is supported. The “weight” of the scientific evidence clearly points to autogynephilia being universally present in a clinically recognizable MTF syndrome, given various labels over the years and not present in another clinically recognizable MTF population.

      Lawrence, though clearly respecting Blanchard, is also her own person, doing independent research that both confirms earlier work (Blanchard’s was well as others) and breaks new ground. Calling her an “acolyte” is again a clever linguistic usage, but does not truly capture her unique contributions to the field.

      Finally, we have Joanna’s last blow to her falsely construed strawman, that “most fetishists are happy to remain male bodied and simply masturbate to their heart’s content. The fact that some supposed AGP sufferers transition happily and live out their lives as females waters down the idea of fetish as exclusive motivator.” Again, by insisting that autogynephilia is a “fetish”… must mean that it can’t have lead to gender dysphoria and ultimately MTF transition is a weak strawman. The evidence suggests otherwise… autogynephilia, a complex, multifaceted, phenomena, most akin to being a sexual orientation in which the desired sexual object, femaleness / femininity is sought after on oneself, IS INDEED the root cause, the root motivator, for progressive gender dysphoria in this clinical population.

      If my reader here hasn’t educated themselves on the scientific literature, you may do well to start by reading my blog and following the links to the original papers: https://sillyolme.wordpress.com/

      1. Blanchard and Lawrence failed to take into account internalized homophobia and coercive heterosexuality when attempting to delineate the sexuality of transsexuals, and they also based their theories on the assumption that sexuality is immutable. These flaws are unsurprising since both Blanchard and Lawrence are conservative heterosexual men who are limited by their traditional beliefs regarding sexuality.

        1. Wrong on several counts… but that’s not important. The data is what’s important and does not support an internalized homophia… but does talk about the tendency of AGP transwomen to overstate interest in men and understate interest in women.

          1. One can criticize Bailey, Blanchard and Lawrence on multiple accounts. For me, the major reason of disagreement relies exactly on the presented data. I’m afraid I haven’t evaluated Blanchard’s own work extensively, but both Bailey and Lawrence commit some serious flaws in their interpretation of the data that even a layperson like myself can easily figure out on their own.

            Bailey, for instance, is very fond of doing informal surveys on his own students — he has no qualms presenting them as ‘evidence’ to support his (and Blanchard’s) theories. Now, as a preliminary approach to test a theory, such a methodology is not necessarily ‘bad’. But it is hardly an unbiased methodology. Blanchard’s students are keenly aware of gender and sexual issues, and they are being presented questionnaires by their own teacher, who will evaluate them at the end of the semester. While such questionnaires are anonymous, there is clearly this bias that students will feel, having been subjected to Bailey’s theories and the desire to please their own teacher. Even if it just happens at a subconscious level, the bias will be there. Also, not unsurprisingly, a few questionnaires done by Bailey contradict blatantly his theory. He’s intellectually honest to publish those results as well; but, consistent with the BBL mindset, he discards the results he doesn’t like. And why? Because he considers that his own students were biased when answering those questionnaires!

            So when the students answer in a way that confirms Bailey’s theories, he considers them not be biased; while when they contradict his theories, they are discarded for being biased! Not a good way to do science…

            Lawrence has a similar issue with her data as well. I haven’t counted, but I believe that about half of the quoted self-reports made by transgendered individuals speaking about their condition start with: ‘after having read your article and your theories, I identify with AGP’ or words to that effect. So what happened in all these cases was that Lawrence started the questionnaires by handing out definitions of what AGP is, and had the interviewees read those definitions quite clearly before asking them if that was what they actually felt. This is a very effective way of conditioning the answers! AGP is, indeed, a compelling narrative, and it’s not clear for a layperson exposed to AGP for the very first time to understand its flaws. I also plead guilty; the first time I read AGP, I found that it also described my own condition rather well.

            And, of course, Lawrence is again intellectually honest enough to admit that the people she interviewed were made aware of her own theories about AGP; and every time she presents examples of people clearly contradicting her theories, what does she do? She disregards them and doesn’t consider the answers to have been made with honesty and sincerity.

            When considering a teacher/student or psychologist/patient relationship, the effects of those relationships and how easily the teacher/psychologist can actually influence the replies of the interviewees cannot be simply dismissed as unimportant. Students will reply to please a teacher; patients who trust their therapists will allow themselves to be guided by them, as they struggle to make sense of their own mental condition. It’s normal — even expected — that they will assume that a compelling narrative by their therapist is the therapist’s way to help them to ease their suffering. So they will naturally adopt the therapist’s view. I believe these to be the two major problems that I have with Bailey’s and Lawrence’s methodology — for me, they are ‘bad science’, since they elaborate a theory based on surveys and questionnaires where they influence the results (and discard everything from people that dared to think for themselves and therefore contradict the theory).

            About Blanchard himself, I’m not in a position to discuss his methodology, since, as stated, I haven’t read enough of his work to formulate an opinion. I might seriously suspect, however, that there will be similar flaws in his methodology.

            Or, if you wish, in other words, I cannot disagree with the narrative that introduces AGP, nor with the argumentation around AGP — in general, it is relatively consistent. What I disagree with is that AGP actually reflects what transgendered people really feel. I’m not convinced by the ‘data’ produced by Bailey and Lawrence. Both can make thousand interviews, or even ten thousand interviews, but if they persist in using the same methodology, more data, in this case, doesn’t advance or promote their theories. It just shows how you can draw flawed conclusions when all you have to work with is flawed data.

            1. I think the operative statement here is “I haven’t read enough”. So… go to my site and do that. And please note, I don’t use such data as “informal surveys”… as such. I use carefully conducted studies, many of which have been fully replicated by other researchers. The data is quite solid and fully supports the Freund/Blanchard two type taxonomy. Oh… and Bailey WROTE about that taxonomy… he did NOT do the studies, so can we all please just stop trying to use the Genetic Fallacy arguement of dissing him?


            2. Oh… and re Lawrence, you are misconstruing her efforts in providing clinical insight to practitioners and others, by providing AGP transwomen’s own voices to be heard, and conflating that with the science that she herself has conducted using data gathered from years of post-op transwomen from Dr. Melzer’s practice:


              Again, BAILEY has NOT conducted such studies… which again underscores the fact that you already admit, that you have NOT looked at these studies and their data.

              But others have conducted studies to replicaticate (and actually try to disprove the two type taxonomy, and failing to disprove, and end up supporting instead), most notably the Nuttbrock study of 2009:


          2. All we need to take from the AGP discourse, is the data regarding otherwise “normal” males, who are motivated by sexual conditioning.

            But AGP is wrong, in whilst the general correlation is correct, but the proposed cause is false. The psychology is of childhood emasculation trauma and the fetish is not “autogynephilia”, but masochistic emasculation (fetishism).

            1. OH PLEASE DO STOP…. this hypothisis does NOT fit the data. Only you seem have this as a personal rationale. I’m sorry you were not treated well as a child… but tens of thousands of AGP individuals have said very explicitely that they never experienced any child abuse or emotional trauma of this sort.

              Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Please cite any and all peer reviewed papers supporting your hypothesis, as I, in my decades of reading the literature, have NEVER found any. Oh… I’ve found accounts of abuse, but never any causation, nor even correlation.

              1. “but tens of thousands of AGP individuals have said very explicitely that they never experienced any child abuse or emotional trauma of this sort.”

                The very same situation regarding any & every masochistic fetish. The problem being commonsensical suppositions of what people expect trauma to look like, such as the depiction of Lenny’s in The Butterfly Effect.

                as opposed to

                The situation being that the only starting point in this discourse is based in the analysis of the very fantasies themselves, or rather the fetishism itself. For example, a google search comprised of the terms “sissy” & “tumblr”, for perhaps the largest community of fetishists (tens of thousands), which Blanchard would characterise as autogynephiliacs. This fetishism is rather constituted in the anxiety of oneself being associated to symbols of emasculation, furthermore this is ITSELF the masochistic sexualization of emasculation trauma.

                “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Please cite any and all peer reviewed papers supporting your hypothesis”

                Such an appeal to authority is of no help here. Other than pockets of psychiatry, the only recognisable theory within the establishment of thus far is autogynephilia. AGP’s crude phenomenology of the fantasies (arousal by the idea of being a woman), makes the model fundamentally flawed from the outset.

                1. I beg to disagree; asking for peer-reviewed articles to support a hypothesis is not an appeal to authority, but exactly its opposite.

                  I have no problem with a new hypothesis, and, as I’ve written on my own blog, I actually find some of your ideas rather interesting.

                  The trouble is that ideas, by themselves, are not enough, no matter how well they are argued. There has to be data to support those ideas.

                  I could also claim that transgenderity is caused by inhalation of nitrous oxide during child birth. I would give myself and my younger brother as examples: during my birth, my mother did inhale nitrous oxide, but when giving birth to my brother, she refused to do so, since she felt it was a much worse experience that way. Thus, I exhibit some gender dysphoria and my brother doesn’t. Now I would only need to look up a bit on the effects of nitrous oxide during birth and postulate a theory where the probability of transgenderity increases when the mother is subject to nitrous oxide during the birth.

                  Furthermore, researchers have shown that nitrous oxide may be a cure for depression because it produces, and I’m quoting, ‘ “profound changes” to the brain’s chemistry’. Such changes, I might argue, when experienced during birth, might induce transgenderity.

                  Such a theory, if well-written, would look quite logical and reasonable. But because the only example I could give is my own case, it would not be scientific. There is absolutely no evidence and no research to sustain that theory. Arguing well, and writing well, using a rational and logical way to explain how things are connected, is not enough to be ‘science’.

                  Also, I’m afraid that your claim of ‘the only recognisable theory within the establishment of thus far is autogynephilia’ is not quite right. In fact, AGP is only marginally recognised as a valid theory by the establishment — namely, by Blanchard, Bailey, Lawrence and their followers, who have published on peer-reviewed journals, and, as a consequence, their theory, while being strongly criticized, is recognised as an alternative to the mainstream theory: gender identity.

                  Where I agree with you is with AGP not having a good phenomenology, i.e. BBL don’t establish the causes of AGP very clearly. The mainstream, however, simply claims that ‘gender identity’ is simply an emergent property of our minds or the way the brain works and do not go deeper than that. By contrast, your own theory proposes a much more clearer ’cause’ for transgenderity. But that doesn’t mean that it is correct 🙂 Remember my own pseudo-theory about nitrous oxide: nitrous oxide, in my pseudo-theory, would be the cause of transgenderity because of its known effects in altering the way the brain works. The link with depression would also be well established using my pseudo-theory; also, a Swedish study showed that children who have been born while their mothers were inhaling nitrous oxide were five times more likely to develop an addiction to amphetamines. I would therefore explain that nitrous oxide not only produces transgenderity, it also might produce the basis of addiction, and compulsive-obsessive behaviour towards that addiction, which would explain why so many transgendered individuals become obsessed with themselves as the opposite gender (it would also explain why I’m a nicotine addict while my brother is not).

                  You can see how my pseudo-theory is complete nonsense. So just by establishing a cause and reasoning logically around it is not enough to validate a theory.

                  Nevertheless, I’m not saying that your theory has no merits whatsoever; rather the contrary, there are some good ideas there. The mainstream also recognizes traumatic experiences — mostly those that lead to repressing emotions and feelings — are possible triggers for gender dysphoria (as opposed to others who might question their gender, or even identify with a different gender from the one assigned at birth, but do not suffer from clinical dysphoria).

                  1. “I beg to disagree; asking for peer-reviewed articles to support a hypothesis is not an appeal to authority, but exactly its opposite.”

                    In this case, it is an appeal to authority, where (regarding this fetish) the only recognised theory in the establishment is autogynephilia, which we know is fundamentally flawed at the level of interpreting the very fantasies which everything else hangs on. We are at the position where we judge ideas based on their logic, but more importantly, whether any proposal adequately represents the fantasies. Any discussion of trans issues is adjunctly related to this discourse and must be be recognised as such.

                    “I have no problem with a new hypothesis, and, as I’ve written on my own blog, I actually find some of your ideas rather interesting. The trouble is that ideas, by themselves, are not enough, no matter how well they are argued. There has to be data to support those ideas.”

                    Regarding the phenomena in question, we should not be under any illusion that we are not at the stage of ideas, nor is there any other credible existing theory which we can appeal to (however people like to act as if we can when they dislike certain ideas). That is to say this fetish has never been adequately formulated until now, as a masochistic emasculation fetish. And as for data, such an undertaking would consist of the interpretive analysis of masochistic emasculation fetish content.

                    “I could also claim that transgenderity is caused by inhalation of nitrous oxide during child birth.”

                    We are not talking of transgenderism, we are talking of a fetish, for which trans issues are adjunctly related.

                    “Furthermore, researchers have shown that nitrous oxide may be a cure for depression because it produces, and I’m quoting, ‘ “profound changes” to the brain’s chemistry’. Such changes, I might argue, when experienced during birth, might induce transgenderity.”

                    Identity isn’t an essence that can be induced. One can speculate for example, whether a higher level of aggression influenced oneself to become more affiliated with “male” affiliations.

                    “In fact, AGP is only marginally recognised as a valid theory by the establishment — namely, by Blanchard, Bailey, Lawrence and their followers, who have published on peer-reviewed journals”

                    Which is what I am saying. Regarding this fetish, if one is to make an appeal to authority, for all. it’s faults, there is nothing other than AGP.

                    “while being strongly criticized, is recognised as an alternative to the mainstream theory: gender identity.”

                    Again, we are talking about a fetish, for which trans issues are adjunctly affiliated. Gender identity theory as it is represented by the following link, is commensensical essentialist nonsense.

                    “BBL don’t establish the causes of AGP very clearly. The mainstream, however, simply claims that ‘gender identity’ is simply an emergent property of our minds or the way the brain works and do not go deeper than that.”

                    Yes, from AGP’s premises, it is not in the position to grasp the etiology. Theorists have grasped the construction of not only gender, but identity. But what the common people tend to hear about, is the discourse through the scientific communities effort to what will ultimately be the discovery of arbitrarily related biological influences in the psychological construction of identity.

                    “You can see how my pseudo-theory is complete nonsense. So just by establishing a cause and reasoning logically around it is not enough to validate a theory.”

                    Our starting point is whether a proposed phenomenological interpretation , adequately represents the fantasies it sets out to do.

          3. Certainly you are welcome to disagree based upon your own interpretation of the data as you have made abundantly clear, Candice. Internalized homophobia is glossed over quite easily when one bases their theories upon simplistic assumptions regarding human sexuality, assumptions which are divorced from the messy reality of being same-sex attracted in a heteronormative world. Those who are same-sex attracted understand this and empathize – those who are not, do not, because they are unable to understand. I choose to give credence to the lived experiences of the untold thousands of homosexuals who find themselves succumbing to societal pressure, rather than the musings of a few heterosexual men who gloss over these experiences in order to fit them into their conservative viewpoints.

  10. I find it hard to relate to a person who continues to post on a site that deals with gender issues and who’s presence on the internet consists of pictures of ejaculating penises. The fact is that you are clearly a fetishist, hold very firmly to your male identity and yet keep coming here to denigrate other people’s point of view which I find very bizarre.

    Your experience is your own and I do not relate to it in the least. The fact that you were masturbating as a prepubescent seems highly suspect. But clearly we all need our own narratives to make us comfortable.

    1. “I find it hard to relate to a person who continues to post on a site that deals with gender issues and who’s presence on the internet consists of pictures of ejaculating penises.”

      Not quite. Rather gender issues in the context of the fetish, which you already know. You also are well acquainted with the fetishism. Why are you lying?


      “The fact is that you are clearly a fetishist, hold very firmly to your male identity and yet keep coming here to denigrate other people’s point of view which I find very bizarre.”

      Regardless of whether one is subject to the development of a transgender/gender-dysphoric psychology in addition to their feminization (masochistic emasculation) fetish, their fetish is still a fetish. You have come here to denigrate ThirdWayTran’s point of view and I have dismantled your arguments.

      “The fact that you were masturbating as a prepubescent seems highly suspect.”

      I see as well as choosing to ignore many of our recollections, you have ignored the youtube clip linked (watch from 9:16)

      And extracts from a study.


      ”I have no doubt, as I look back on my past, that when I was five and wearing perfume, or making pretty necklaces out of colored beads, or arranging flowers, or when I was seven and volunteering to play ‘Mother Goose’ in the school play, that sexual motivation was a part of what I was experiencing.”

      “When I was six or seven, I used to masturbate with a piece of clothing — it did not need to be gendered clothing, I just did not want to touch my penis — and fantasize about not having a penis, [and] having a vagina.”

      “I have vivid memories starting from about age six or seven of wanting to be a girl, and of sexual desires which accompanied it. I also remember feeling ashamed of those feelings, though I do not remember any particular incident that instilled such feelings. Fantasies of intentionally becoming a girl began around age 10.”

      “My first understanding that I desired to be a woman, and its accompanying excitement, came when I was around five years old. This occurred watching a Doris Day movie, and at first it involved the wonderful clothes she wore.”

      But what of the bizarre supposition regarding the idea of sexuality being non-existent before puberty? Puberty includes an increase in sexual capacity, not the creation of sexuality. To key point to understand is that the increase in capacity and the correlation with the discovery of erogenous stimulation (masturbation), will generally be the condition for the individual to conceptualize “sexuality” as such. I wonder whether you are going to again ignore all this information like you have done in the past?

      “But clearly we all need our own narratives to make us comfortable.”

      So you come here and lie because it makes you comfortable? I am here because this subject interests me and I care about what makes sense.

  11. Please bear with me since I’m a new visitor to this interesting (but polemic!) blog. No, I haven’t read everything on it since the dawn of time. No, I can’t quote Blanchard & Lawrence by heart, but I have certainly read them, but definitely not thoroughly enough to be familiar with their argumentation. No, I’m not an activist, nor a psychologist, but merely an amateur essay-writer on the subject of gender identity and transgenderity. And no, I’m not even ‘officially’ transgender (in the sense of having a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria); not yet, at least, but I’m working on it with my doctors 🙂

    So I found the issues about lust and attachment a rather good explanation for the mechanisms that are behind all kinds of human relationships, and I think it was clever to link those mechanisms with AGP. So far, so good, and I think I can relate to the overall model as presented here. If it’s correct or not, well, it’s beyond my power to say. I’m sure there is scientific research on the subject that can substantiate such argumentation; and if there isn’t, I believe it’s a valid hypothesis that can be put to the test.

    Where things start to get a bit harder to understand for me is the Freudian belief that pretty much everything related to sexuality has to have some kind of origin in traumatic experiences — in this case, as far as I understand the explanation, some trauma coming from parental attachments. It seems that you don’t consider it to be the only explanation, but most definitely one explanation — unlike other commenters, who seem to be deeply rooted in the Freudian explanations.

    Well, as I said on my previous comment: in my case, I have no conscious recollection of any traumatic experience related to the attachment with my parents, which, in my case, I consider to be absolutely normal and average. I still am very much attracted to my own self-image as a woman. That attraction involves mostly attachment, but definitely it also has an element of lust — the first time I masturbated was around 10 years of age, and that happened while I was imagining my body to be female. It has been like that ever since. In fact, although I’ve tried often enough — I like experimentation! — it’s rather hard for me to masturbate imagining my male self. It simply doesn’t work — or, if it does, it’s a rarity. Nevertheless, my preference for sexual and emotional partners is always for (genetic) females; I’m slightly homophobic, to be honest, because I have a natural disgust/repulsion towards anything which is male. Obviously I have learned to cope with it over my decades of playing the male role: so I can definitely overcome my disgust of maleness, and I do count a few very good male friends as part of my closest friends; and when interacting with other people, few would barely notice any difference between the way I address members of the two genders. Nevertheless, the whole idea of having sex with a male is utterly and profoundly disgusting for me. And, again, there is nothing in my childhood which might have caused a traumatic experience that produced such profound repulsiveness towards the male body. In fact, in my childhood, practically all my close friends were male — I actually was desperate to get a girlfriend, especially in my teens, but for some reason I never got one. This lead me to believe that I was profoundly repulsive to women, and, with time, I lowered my anxiety regarding getting a girlfriend at all costs. By the late 20s, of course, I had already got a girlfriend; I lost my virginity at a much later age than most people; and I’m happily married for the past 17 years — to a genetic woman — and cannot imagine any other kind of fulfilling partner.

    In spite of all that, I still have this strong self-image of myself as a woman, and that can certainly be erotic at some times. Although for several reasons both my wife’s and my own libido are virtually non-existent (clinical conditions and medication play a role), when it was at more higher levels, I had to mentally create an image of myself as a woman when having sex with my wife to be able to ejaculate. To be honest, I felt that as being a bit shameful, so I used to enjoy foreplay much more than sex; since my wife responds very well to foreplay, that would be usually fine enough for her. Nowadays it’s so much easier; no more anxiety thanks to a zero libido! We just reinforce the mutual bonds — attachment — based on what actually draws us together, and let ‘lust’ remain on the shelf gathering dust; it simply lost all its appeal for us.

    So… under this proposed model, I would probably not be a ‘true autogynecophiliac’, since I lack the required trauma during childhood to have ‘produced’ that condition. However, I identify with many of the points that describe AGP. I might be an edge case, and, as such, be slightly outside the scope of the theoretical framework surrounding AGP. An alternative explanation, of course, is that Blanchard’s model of AGP does not provide sufficiently explanatory power, and it is grounded on hypothesis that might be valid for some cases but not for most. I tend to regard the latter view as being more correct.

    There is also a problem when discussing if AGP is a ‘kink’ or ‘fetish’ or something quite different; and I also have some issues in understanding MtF transgenderity where some sort of AGP is not present (unless it’s not transgenderity at all).

    Let me try to explain myself a bit better. A classical view of transgenderity — or, more precisely, of gender dysphoria — posits that there is a dissociation between the gender identity — the narrative created by the brain — and the biological body. That might not be the only way of describing gender dysphoria, but let’s start with that as a working hypothesis.

    It’s hard for me to understand how someone can feel this dissociation if the mind isn’t creating a gendered image and labeling it as the ‘self’, which is the opposite of the body’s gender. To make things easier, let’s talk about MtF transgenderity: a MtF transgendered person will identify with the female gender, and that identification, at some level, has to trigger somewhere a mental self-image as female. If not, where does this identification take place? Certainly not on the body, since the body is male!

    Where there can be a difference is in the kind of ‘attachment’/’lust’ mechanisms are developed towards this mental self-image, and here is, I believe, where Blanchard falls short in his predictions. I consider that the production of that mental self-image as a female in MtF transgendered people is a necessary condition; but there is no ‘need’ for such mental self-image to be tied to anything sexual in nature. Using your words, it doesn’t require any ‘lust’ component. But there is certainly an ‘attachment’ component which necessarily is present in almost everybody towards their inner self-image (I write ‘almost’ because highly advanced Buddhist practitioners have broken that attachment with the inner self-image 🙂 Most of us, however, have never gone that far).

    Assuming a healthy sexual life, I would consider that the majority of people would also have a ‘lust’ component triggered by their self-image; however, I also agree that this ‘lust’ component is almost always drawn towards the exterior; in the vast majority of cases, towards other human beings; in the case of object fetishists, towards physical objects. When the ‘lust’ component is drawn towards inner, mental objects — more precisely, towards one’s self-image — then we have a form of narcissism.

    This is why, some years ago, I was keen to read about a three-tiered approach to classifying crossdressing. Let me quote from one of my own essays:

    — quote starts —

    Another familiar concept, although [Richard] Ekins uses different words to describe it, are the three major kinds of crossdressers. One way of labeling them is as fetishist, libidinous, and narcissistic. The first group gets excited with the notion of wearing women’s clothes; clothing is the object of desire. Ekins calls them ‘body femalers’ (‘femalers’ is Ekins’ terminology to describe MtF crossdreamers) and extends the notion of ‘clothing’ to the entire body, i.e. the fetish can also include things like wearing wigs, breast forms, padding, etc., going through hair removal, grooming the eyebrows, manicuring the fingers, and finally going all the way with surgery and hormones. In this case, the focus is to derive arousement from one’s feminised appearance.

    The second group is by far the largest. For the libidinous crossdresser (Ekins calls them ‘erotic femalers’), the whole point of dressing as a woman is to get intercourse with a partner (or to make it more intense/pleasant). This doesn’t mean that the libidinous crossdresser doesn’t worry about her appearance or dress; it just means that the care put into a feminine image has a strong motivation, which is to have sex with a partner. This group is so large and widespread that it gets easily taken as the stereotypical crossdresser; it is also the group which shows a tendency towards hypersexuality. And because of its size, the libidinous crossdresser tends to look down on the other two groups, considering them ‘inferior’ to a degree — as said, ‘not wishing to become complete women’, something which is, for them, only possible by having sex (usually to a male).

    The third group is probably the smallest. Some call it narcissistic crossdressers; Ekins prefers ‘gender femalers’. In this case, the crossdresser is less interested in the sexual aspect of crossdressing (either as a masturbation aid, like the fetishists, or as a way to get sexual partners for intercourse, as the libidinous). Rather, the excitement and arousal comes from adopting the female gender role. Physical sex is secondary; becoming a woman socially is what turns them on.

    — quote ends —

    As you can see, Richard Ekins’ classification (and the ‘older’ model of narcissistic/libidinous/fetishist) are rooted in behavourist, not Freudian, assumptions. There is little consideration in describing what causes such behaviour; behaviour is just described and the classifications are based on observation from an external point of view. Individual motivations are absent from the classifications, since such classifications are mostly sociological and not psychological in essence.

    AGP would be transversal to all three kinds, but be moderately present in the fetishist kind (little or no interest in partners; it’s an object fetish mostly, with some possible behaviour fetish associated with it); relatively strongly present in the libidinous type (the purpose of crossdressing is oriented towards having ‘sex as a woman’); and probably moderate to high on the last kind, but without the ‘lust’ component as strong as on the other two (since the excitement from adopting a female gender role is not always sexual in nature). In all kinds there is a self-image as female (in the MtF case), but the relation with it varies quite a bit.

    This is one of the reasons why I’m not fond as using AGP as an explanation for all kinds of crossdressers. It seems to be more adequate to separate the ‘lust’ and ‘attachment’ components in AGP; in that case, I would agree it provides sufficient explanatory power, as in so many cases the ‘lust’ component is totally absent, while certainly the ‘attachment’ component is not.

    Perhaps the issue with AGP according to Blanchard/Lawrence earlier work is that it tends to interpret the ‘P’ component — ‘love’ — mostly as ‘lust’, but that is not necessarily true in all cases, although it is certainly in most. Attraction, or more precisely, attachment is a far better interpretation of the ‘P’ component. Such attachment can optionally also have a ‘lust’ component, which then produces the spectrum of variety that goes from pure narcissism (the MtF crossdresser has no [sexual] interest in anything else but their own self-image as female) to desiring a sexual partner that appreciates their own self-image as female.

    So possibly we would need a slightly different word than ‘autogynephilia’ (to keep mixing it up with Blanchard’s theories) to describe what goes on better. Jack Molay proposes ‘crossdreaming’ since that simply describes the self-image as a different gender without suggesting the relationship with it — which can be merely an attachment, something exciting, mildly arousing/erotic, or fully sexual (‘lust’). In that case, instead of having a single linear classification, we would be better served with a Cartesian description with two parameters — internal self-image and degree of lust/attachment.

    And enough ranting for now. Thanks for keeping up with such thought-provoking articles.

    1. I don’t think it necessarily has to be traumatic experience that leads to the development of cross-gender erotic fantasy, but I do subscribe to the theory of childhood sexual imprinting. Really any experiences can lead to this imprinting, but strong experiences or trauma are particularly implicated. There might be genetic or epigenetic factors involved as well, I think like most things it is the combination of genetic and environmental factors that lead to the imprinting. However, at least in biological males, once this happens it seems to become fixed and unchangable.

      One thing Blanchard noticed in many cases is a kind of dual sex drive where feminization fantasies compete with heterosexual male fantasies, so it seems like a partial imprinting can occur also.

    2. “Where things start to get a bit harder to understand for me is the Freudian belief that pretty much everything related to sexuality has to have some kind of origin in traumatic experiences”

      The starting point regarding an understanding of a fetish and it’s common affiliations, is the interpretive analysis of how fantasies function in order to be sexually stimulating, thus the underlying constitutive structure of fantasies is the basis for what possibly can be etiologically disclosed. In the case of this fetish, it is a masochistic emasculation fetish, being itself the imprinted sexualization of emasculation anxiety/trauma.

      “Well, as I said on my previous comment: in my case, I have no conscious recollection of any traumatic experience related to the attachment with my parents”

      The problematization of a “traumatic experience”. People experience horrific things and are not subject to trauma, and then people are severely affected by the most inconspicuous of experiences. The question is, what do you expect a traumatic experience to look like? And why do you expect that it is necessarily to be traumatic? The determinative structure of the fantasies in question, is itself disclosed as the sexualization of emasculation anxiety, such as the homophobia you talk of. I see emasculation anxiety (and thus this fetish) as a by-product of malehood.

      “That attraction involves mostly attachment, but definitely it also has an element of lust”

      The imprinted fetish is either there is it is not. To understand this phenomenon is to appreciate the routine relationship between the object of sexual desire and it’s emotionally internalized attachment.

      “it’s rather hard for me to masturbate imagining my male self. It simply doesn’t work — or, if it does, it’s a rarity.”

      When it comes to this fetish, there is a common supposition that a normal male supposed to imagine himself as a male in his sexual fantasies. Rather in sexual fantasies, what is present is the object of his desire, where there is no requirement or relevance for oneself to imagine oneself encountering the object of desire at all, let alone oneself as anything, whether it be a “male”, “female”, or even giraffe.

      “Although for several reasons both my wife’s and my own libido are virtually non-existent (clinical conditions and medication play a role), when it was at more higher levels, I had to mentally create an image of myself as a woman when having sex with my wife to be able to ejaculate.”

      Generally with the loss of libido, due to age or hormones, deeply engrained emotional attachments remain, like attachments of any other kind. Not just in the autogynephilia discourse where it is understood that the fetishism often competes with other sexual desires, in the age of widespread porn addiction, this is becoming a widespread problem regardless of sexual interest.

      “So… under this proposed model, I would probably not be a ‘true autogynecophiliac’, since I lack the required trauma during childhood to have ‘produced’ that condition.”

      The autogynephilia model isn’t grounded in sexualized trauma, but in the idea of an erotic target location error, where one is attracted to oneself as the woman. As stated beforehand, if you are subject to the fantasies, then the sexualization of anxiety is prerequisite.

      “A classical view of transgenderity — or, more precisely, of gender dysphoria — posits that there is a dissociation between the gender identity — the narrative created by the brain — and the biological body. That might not be the only way of describing gender dysphoria, but let’s start with that as a working hypothesis.”

      That is the very quaint narrative which is to be rejected beforehand.



      “Jack Molay proposes ‘crossdreaming’ since that simply describes the self-image as a different gender without suggesting the relationship with it — which can be merely an attachment, something exciting, mildly arousing/erotic, or fully sexual (‘lust’). ”

      In Molay’s creation of “crossdreaming”, he states he wanted a term that was distant from the toxicity of autogynephilia, a “softer” term. That the term includes the word “dreaming”, already discloses the desire to obfuscate what AGP denoted, blurring sexual arousal (by the idea of being a woman) with the longing or even “dysphoria” of “dreaming”. Further stating a desire to broaden the meaning of crossdreaming, effectively to become interchangeable (thus superfluous) in relation to transgenderism. In the end, there will simply be transgenderism.

      Central to this discourse (a fetish and it’s common potential psychological affiliations), terminology is needed to grasp it’s only possible grounding, that what the fantasies actually are, that of a masochistic emasculation fetish.

  12. Ms. Lopez, I was surprised that you stated that you wouldn’t be considered a true autogynephile, since you have not experienced any trauma. Actually, to me, your description of your self, your history, and your sexuality exactly matches the textbook description of an autogynephile. This notion of autogynephilia arising from trauma, etc. is belied by the well documented phenomena of its consaguinity. That is to say, that AGP runs in families, yet is fairly rare otherwise.

    People naturally search for explainations for their behavior, and latching onto early life events is a common, if eroneous, theme.

    Ekins isn’t proposing different types of autogynephilia, only differing “careers” that they take. They are all simply different accomidations / expressions of the same underlying phenomena. This was shown to be the case in the recently published Hsu paper:


    Jack Molay’s “crossdreamer” is just a euphemism for autogynephilia, not a new conception of it. We need not invent new terms to explore how it operates.

      1. As the lawyers say, “assumes facts not in evidence”. There is NO evidence that one can make someone be autogynephilic. Many have looked for such evidence in family histories, etc. So far, never been found. Further, there is a theoretical reason for why that should not be the case, given that MOST abused children do NOT become autogynephilic, while MOST autogynephiles do NOT report a history of abuse. No, no correlation, no causation.

      2. @Kay, maybe you’re right. I came across Blanchard several years ago and definitely identified with the description of AGP; that was a bit before I read Jack Molay’s alternative proposal. So maybe you’re right on that.

        As for the study you quoted on your blog, I found it fascinating. I definitely would label myself as an ‘interpersonal’ AGP (even though that’s a fairly recent ‘discovery’ in my case), however, without the sexual component. Or, more precisely, I have absolutely zero interest in having sex with men, although I certainly enjoy being admired by them and flirt with them. Besides that, I would certainly agree on the proposed fifth type of AGP, and I found the correlations with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria very interesting.

        I agree that Ekins is more concerned about a career, a path taken in life, than on actually labeling what the person ‘is’ — therefore, it makes sense that Ekins relabels practically every concept to avoid confusion.

        As for Molay’s proposed definition, ‘crossdreamer’ is not merely an euphemism. Firstly, AGP only applies to MtF, and ‘crossdreamer’ includes all possible genders. But more importantly, ‘crossdreamer’ avoids the assumption that AGP is some sort of paraphilia, which is implied by Blanchard and stated much more clearly by Bailey and other followers of Blanchard. While there are certainly many cases of ‘crossdreamers’ which can be labeled as paraphilic, most are not.

    1. As pasunhomme said, running in families is not proof of a non-environmental origin, people with the same genetics also tend to grow up in the same environments.

      I don’t think the sexual component of AGP is much different than other erotic fantasies / fetishes and the idea that strong childhood experiences, including trauma lead to erotic fixations is well understood. Some fetishes don’t make sense at all as being genetic, for example balloon fetishes.

      I do think we need new terms, unfortunately the term autogynephilia has become so emotionally charged that it becomes impossible to have a conversation about it in many cases, and even though as we know Blanchard had a more nuanced conception of the dynamics involved than it being a fetish, he chose a fetish term to describe it, which implies that it is a fetish. Although it was really Bailey’s book that led the term to become so charged that people can’t talk about it. I remember back in the 90s you could mention autogynephilia without the entire trans community being offended by it.

    1. Hehe yes, but as you know, assuming a false statement means that you can deduce practically everything from it (F->T is always T). Your challenge is now to prove without a shadow of doubt that ‘assigning a child to a gender caste is inherently abusive’. Because the argument presented on your article implies that all kinds of education (starting with learning a language!) are abuse, since they ‘stunt’ development by ‘conditioning’ education along a certain path…

      That’s a very bold claim! Stepping outside the gender discussion, you would need to go to extreme measures to test your hypothesis, that ‘all education is abuse’. In fact, such experiments were made in the past. Take a look at http://dmc122011.delmar.edu/socsci/rlong/intro/social.htm (on the section of Social Survival, several experiments are explained). Clearly humans require some contact with their parents which includes education in order to survive; education, by itself, cannot be a source of ‘abuse’.

      1. I’m an existentialist, not an empiricist, so I don’t require induction to show that gender assignment is abuse.

        Gender is coercive and mendacious. Not all education is so. Children can be taught the multiplication tables or the rules of grammar or how to kick a soccer ball without manipulating their identities and worldview, without dividing them into castes, and without pressuring them to fabricate or suppress behaviors that are considered by the ruling class to be appropriate or inappropriate for their caste.

        One only need look at “intersexuals” to see that gender assignment is obviously abuse. The mistreatment they receive is some of the more extreme, but the grief given them by gender assignment differs from the grief given people whose genital tubercle at birth is slightly longer or shorter only by degree.

        1. In the very same manner, all identity can wrongly be thought to be inherently abusive, by seeing just reinforcement. Even the very narrative of one’s selfhood.

  13. First of I am solely basing my comprehension of the AGP theory as it applies/does not apply to myself. I can not reference the theory to heart nor am I in the medical field. Just proposing an opinion which of course could be way off the mark or perhaps a factor that is actually important.

    I realize this comment is way past the last post and has little to do with the previous arguments above but anyway here goes.

    From what I do understand that the big difference according to Blanchard is that early/homosexual do not have AGP and late/non homosexual do have AGP. From that I do wonder one thing and a factor that I think was overlooked when the study was done.

    Firstly the idea that if the early/homosexual variant did not have any form of AGP why would they then wish to be female. Any of AGP I mean not necessarily sexual but even identifying female in some way. The logical conclusion to me If they did not feel feminine in any way they would then identify as a gay male.

    As for the late/non homosexual (and other sexual bi asexual, etc) I think that due to mostly the hormone influx and socialization at puberty then shapes what the person will be. I don’t mean to say that you can not be younger and experience gender just that at puberty it becomes a lot more obvious there is a difference between genders (physically/socially/mentaly). Just saying that at puberty is when the gender becomes more concrete and separate. Of course sexual drive is also sparked more so at this time. Hence more sexualisation of gender dysohoria from puberty onward as compared to early/homosexual. Another thing that comes to mind is early may outgrow the crossgender feelings which to me points to logically saying that puberty is the time when this begins to solidify but caveat that gender may be known prior to puberty too.

    Why I stated the above is more a reference as to where my thinking is coming from. The one factor that makes me wonder if the real difference between the 2 types is introverted/extroverted. Extroverted I feel would most likely assert their identity early as introverted would most likely hide their identity.

    Ok another factor that has not been looked at is a bit of close wording that to me means a big difference. To love yourself as a woman as compared to you feel you are a woman and wished to be in a relationship as one. Basically AGP to self or AGP relating to another. It is a very subtle difference but feel it is a big one.

    I will openly admit this may be just conjecture on my part and totally not part of the phenomenon or maybe they are factors that are over looked. I am also open to being told I am totally wrong. Just trying to learn about self and figuring out where I land:) I guess what I am essentially saying is Blanchard’s theory was a start but feel it has missed to many factors and a new more complex study needs to be happen to find the answer to a complex issue.

    Yes I am late onset however feel I am not gay male nor hetro male rather female identity attracted to male but with the wonky part in a male body. I will not say that for sure as I am really exploring this with no definite answer. Also hypogonadal so that is another factor into the mix for me at least. Just a layperson that I feel can comprehend this fairly well just I don’t have any facts to back me up either.

    Thank you btw for this blog TWT you have brought and open honest approach that is least biased one way or the other:)

    1. I think the early/late distinction isn’t really valid anymore as the rise of the Internet communities has led to many people who are more on the erotic fantasy side of things to transition young. I used to believe I was a “true transsexual” because I transitioned when I was 19, but I had more in common with the men that are hetero or bi as male that transition, than those that were gay when they transition. This was pretty rare during my time, but now is pretty common. I would guess the majority of posters on reddit fall into this category despite being in their teens / 20s.

      As to why people who fit into the gay as natal male category would wish to transition and identify as female, many cultures actually think of what we call gay men as being female-like or having some kind of cross-gender spirit or something like that. A person who would end up identifying as gay in one cultural context might end up identifying as some kind of trans in a different cultural context. The identity is cultural construction which is based on the underlying needs or impulses. So, not purely constructed, but partially constructed. Blanchard suggested I think that those who would be more successful in that role would be more likely to transition. We see many more trans people of this type among minority populations in the USA, I think for cultural reasons.

      I’m not sure if extraversion / introversion plays a role but maybe.

      I agree that Blanchard’s theory is incomplete. In particular, what you talk about AGP towards self vs AGP towards others relates to that. AGP fantasies are a subset of larger set of feminization fantasies, many of which don’t have anything to do with being a woman, and they all aren’t necessarily self-absorbed/narcissistic. Being in a relationship with men, or sissification fantasies, which don’t have to do with becoming a woman but rather losing masculinity are common themes.

      You might want to look at Jamie Veale’s work for a different perspective, she rejects AGP, but talks to some extent about the role of erotic fantasy in these issues.

  14. Firstly thanks for the reply:)

    As to early/later transition aspect in regards to the current knowledge from the internet being around that does make sense. Actually in a way it kind of messes with the AGP theory for the factor of age of onset. I guess another factor that is in my eyes debunks the theory. I will admit as any hypothesis you have to start somewhere and I think that is what the AGP theory is a start. 9/10th’s any hypothesis has elements that are way out to lunch but it does at least set a ground work to find the truth or hopefully.

    As for the gay male – feminine persona idea admit I did not think of that angle but you are definitely right but there might be a factor that changes that too. I would bet any gay male would not want to lose their jewels while a transsexual either hates it or not sure on this doesn’t care about them. My point was that the early type (just for classification under AGP theory) must have some female inclination otherwise it does not make sense. While I agree a male who is gay and effeminate may think they are a transsexual but wouldn’t it cross their mind that hey I will lose my thingy. I think that’s where there is a line drawn and why the early and late categories is not asdistinct as the theory suggests. The one thing that I think the theory does get is yes the two categories are different but my guess the reasons are well duh age and with that sexual drive as well as life time experience which colors the thoughts. Sorry I thought this would help clarify what I am thinking.

    I will most definitely agree that the theory is incomplete which drives me nuts that it is considered as valid until otherwise disproven. It would be like the analogy of the sun to earth. Early was the sun revolved around the earth and present day its the earth around the sun. Of course my thought is actually a bit more complicated in that in this case the earth revolves around the sun but to a degree the sun also rotates around the earth as the system traverses the galaxy. Why I mentioned this analogy is at least in my opinion the AGP theory is basically at the sun around the earth phase of the theory. Yet saying there is truth to it much like my idea in saying actually the sun does rotate around the earth sort of.

    Ok ok I admit some days I wonder if I have lost it:) Or maybe I am on the right track time will tell and the truth shall prevail even if it hurts I will accept whatever happens. Apparently being open to both sides of this whole transsexual thing is an odd thing. Having read some of your posts I think you happen to be on the odd side of looking at the picture with as little bias as possible. Of course we all have biases but to admit the other side that to me shows wisdom. Why I mentioned all this is when I see posts about AGP is all fetish, perverted and mental illness side a lot of it comes out as I am right and you are sick therefor get help. The rigid stances on both sides are wrong and there must be some balance at least that is my opinion other wise the truth gets ha ha perverted into not really the truth much like my sun/earth analogy.

    Apologies for the ramble its hard to get idea across in this complex problem with language at times either that or my grasp of language isn’t that great:)

  15. Sorry about the addition after my long ramble. I

    have read some of Veale’s work. My only conclusion from reading both sides at this rate is there is no consensus on where the truth is. Sure there is some biologic studies (brain mapping among others) that seem to provide proof but small samples do not necessarily mean the truth. Maybe I am seeing this in the eyes of neutrality that is making me at times not believing either side so to speak. Maybe the hehe female force is not strong in me and don’t need transition. All I know for sure is my sexuality is I am a woman yet with the body of a man but that does not make me a female either. Its only a factor or maybe I am in denial. There is one common thing I have experienced and well why I am here really is the drive to find the reason why am I like this. Like seeking validation. However I am open to see both sides or even rather many sides to the equation.

    I would bet those that are like me still in the questioning type phase would be like this and pardon me if I come of incoherent and long winded.

  16. Interesting article. I think the consensus in favour of AGP as a cause for transsexualism is now unassailable. The review paper by Guillamon et al published this month really does put an end to the ‘brain sex’ notion’s credibility as a cause of non-homosexual transsexualism.

    However, there is, in my view, an excessively narrow reading of the term ‘autogynephilia’. It’s very broad and covers many different presentations (Blanchard ‘types’.) I think some AGP campaigners are guilty of setting up a straw man version of AGP so they can demolish it. Not very helpful, really.

    I certainly know AGP transwomen who are extremely feminine and beautiful, though this is somewhat rare (as yet) n the West. The last thing they would ever do is secretly cross-dress. They have been out and proud since they were teenagers. But they are still autogynephilic.

    The thing is, with there being simply no evidence for ‘brain sex’ in non-homosexual transsexuals (though there is in homosexual transsexuals, and those are the scientific terms), you have to find another cause — autogynephilia is the only show in town. And in any case, we are a long way from being sure that the differences in brain morphology in HSTS are causative. They are actually more likely to be the result.

    Note also that Nuttbrock et al. 2009 found evidence that a significant number of HSTS also exhibit AGP.

    What is really interesting is that AGP is found worldwide and if there were a cultural cause then that would seem odd. If it’s innate, then it should be roughly consistent across human populations. I used to think that AGP was negligible in occurrence in Asia and this was somewhat supported by Sam Winter’s surveys in Thailand which found a very low prevalence. That would have indicated that it had a major cultural component.

    Since my last trip there, in which I was specifically looking to find out more about this, I have come to think that many of the people I previously would have categorised as HSTS are in fact autogynephilic. The underlying cause of their transsexualism is the same, but their manifestation is remarkably different from what we find in the West. So it does begin to look as if AGP is found consistently across human populations. It feels a lot more like an orientation than a fetish to me.

    It will be interesting to see how things evolve as the tolerance levels in the West improve. If they become comparable to Asia, then I think we will see radical changes in the social visibility and age of presentation of transsex people. I think that this in turn will lead to a re-assessment of transvestic fetishism as a component.

    1. The fetish is the imprinted sexualization of trauma, and for it to be “innate”, means for the imprint to be passed on through children. This seems likely to be the case for much archetypal human sexual desire for men and women.

      An “orientation”? For me a fetish represents every singular thing that sexually stimulates an individual, and a sexuality is the totality of things which sexually arouses an individual. With fetishes like this, it is common for them to “compete” or even eclipse all other sexual desires.

      Regarding this fetish, it is essential to be acquainted with it’s very content. At this time, the biggest sample appears to be on tumblr (perhaps over 100,000+ accounts). Saying that, this means to reassess fundamentally what you take this fetish to be. It isn’t as AGP proposes, (“sexual arousal by the idea of being a woman”), but rather sexual arousal by the masochistic anxiety of oneself being associated to symbols of emasculation (a “masochistic emasculation fetish”), being itself the imprinted sexualization of childhood emasculation trauma.

      For me, Thailand differs in that whilst much of the same conditions of childhood emasculation anxiety exist, there is also a culture of little resistance to feminine psychology being affirmed.

      1. Well, to start with the simple first, your comment about Thailand is blatantly racist and typical of the arrogant assumptions that ill-informed USicans make about those others on the planet that they have not already bombed into submission. Like most Southeast Asian countries, Thailand is at root a matriarchy.

        I have no idea what Tumblr has to do with it; my research is amongst real people.

        There is evidence that the fetishistic crossdressing element of autogynephilia may be a reaction to Western social intolerance and homophobia. This would especially be the case in the USA, known for its profound conservatism, conformism, violent social intolerance and resistance to new ideas. (I believe a majority there still reject Evolution; enough said.)

        Given that fetishistic (masturbatory) crossdressing is not generally associated with autogynephilia in Asia, this would tend to suggest that those elements of it found elsewhere are indeed a reaction to local culture.

        Both Bailey and Lawrence suggest that autogynephilia is an orientation rather than a fetish. Other fetishes tend to diminish with age but there is no evidence that this is the case in autogynephilia (see Moser 2009). That tends to back this view up.

        Nevertheless, whether it is an orientation or a fetish, it is a function of male sex drive. So-called ‘brain sex’ does exist, but not in AGPs, only in HSTS. (Rammetti et al and Savic and Arver 2011, also Guillamon 2016.)

        Your suggestion that AGP is a form of sadomasochism is conjecture. It is true that the two are often associated, in the West, but that does not make one contingent on the other.

        I am not aware of any compelling evidence associating autogynephilia with sexualised childhood trauma. Where did you get that from? The leading researchers today tend to the view that it might be innate, which is to say it may have a genetic or in-utero cause rather than a post-partum environmental one. (You may be using the word ‘innate’ in an unconventional manner.) Any such innate cause would be a predisposition rather than an absolute precursor, so again culture plays a part. However, this is somewhat countered by the discovery that AGP brains are no different from men’s, unlike HSTS. The cause of AGP remains to be definitively pinpointed. (It might never be.)

        Contrary to previously-held beliefs in the West, autogynephilia does indeed occur all over Asia, and probably the rest of the world too. While the relative prevalence of AGP vs HSTS remain unknown, or indeed the absolute prevalences of either, its occurrence in so many human populations, in disparate cultures, tends to support the thesis that there is some genetic predisposition. The relative visibility, as well as specific characteristics, may be a function of cultural influence.

        If that were true, then we should expect to see significantly more incidence of new cases of AGP where social intolerance levels are being reduced and, in common with the Asian model, increasing numbers of young AGPs transitioning. This is exactly what we do see in the West today.

        Finally, your statement that AGP is ‘sexual arousal by the idea of being a woman’, while consistent with Blanchard, seems narrow. More recent writers would put it as ‘an overwhelming desire on the part of a person born male to be a woman.’ I accept this is somewhat semantic, but many AGPs are offended by your way of putting it, because it seems to imply that masturbatory fantasy is an essential reward component. It isn’t, the Asian example proves that.

        1. Regarding Thailand, whether or not it is a matriarchy, the fetish in question is itself the imprinted sexualization of emasculation anxiety. The most basic condition for one to feel anxiety regarding social expectations, is just that, that they are expectations. As long as male & female social roles exist, there will be the propensity for anxiety in fulfilling them.

          Tumblr is important, in so far that the content of fetishism, is the very condition for understanding that specific fetish. Tumblr appears to be the greatest sample source available to us.

          Autogynephilia denotes sexual arousal by X. In other words denotes a particular fetish. A particular sexual imprint. Everything else is adjunct psychology affiliations. If sexual stimulus is absent from the psychology, then it is not “AGP”. I reject AGP, for the reason that it’s foundational presupposition of the fantasy phenomenology is false (arousal by the “idea of being a woman”, being an inversion of a supposed “erotic target location”). No, a familiarity with the actual content of fetishism, leaves us with an underlying phenomenology of sexual arousal by the masochism in oneself being associated to symbols of emasculation, for which symbols of femaleness function within this context, as well as many popular themes not being of femaleness, but rather explicit emasculation (loss of maleness).

          “Other fetishes tend to diminish with age but there is no evidence that this is the case in autogynephilia (see Moser 2009). That tends to back this view up.”

          Rather sexual capacity tends to diminish with age, but emotional attachments become stronger.


          “So-called ‘brain sex’ does exist, but not in AGPs, only in HSTS.”

          Whilst I am aware of this research, technically there is no such thing as “brain sex”. Sex in a collection of variables, for which there is no given way in which they will figure in one’s gender socialization.In other words, if you are biologically predisposed to aggression, you sill simply be more likely to become affiliated with masculine associations, and in turn self identify as masculine through such.

          “Your suggestion that AGP is a form of sadomasochism is conjecture. It is true that the two are often associated, in the West, but that does not make one contingent on the other.”

          All analysis of fantasy is conjecture, and prerequisite to any understanding of this phenomenon, starts with what you take the underlying fetish to be. As far as I see, most “AGP” fantasies are explicitly masochistic. The reason why I am sure that it is intrinsically a masochistic fetish, is based in what it actually is for a masochistic fetish to be masochistic. In other words, the conditions for which masochism thematically recognisable within a masochistic fetish. For me, there likely has never been any such “feminization fetish” per se, beyond masochistic emasculation fetishism.


          “I am not aware of any compelling evidence associating autogynephilia with sexualised childhood trauma.”

          Common psychiatry.

          1. Sorry, your ‘response’ is just Foucauldian nonsense that bears no relationship to science and therefore, to reality. While you be ‘sure’ that it is ‘intrinsically a masochistic fetish’ there is absolutely zero evidence to support that. The whole of your rant appears to be about what you ‘think’, and you appear to ‘think’ that it’s acceptable to attempt to counter peer-reviewed science with philosophical baloney and opinion. No, it isn’t. It doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is what science can explain. Narrative is irrelevant; facts count.

            We know that there are two types of MtF transsexual, homosexual (HSTS) and non-homosexual. We know that only HSTS have brains similar to women’s. While that does not confirm that their transsexualism is innate, ie caused by their brain differences, what we can say is that the other type, non-homosexual TS, do not have any such indicator.

            Failing that and an absence of desire to be a woman to attract men, then we have to explain how non-homosexual MtF transsexualism comes about. The only explanation, with scientific basis, is autogynephilia, or AGP. Like it or not, this is the science. QED. You want to prove the science wrong, publish the peer-reviewed papers that would do so.

            Till then, AGP remains the explanation for non-homosexual MtF transsexualism. If you can find a peer reviewed scientific paper that links AGP to masochism in a causative, rather than an associative manner (and I do not mean more Foucauldian obscurantism) then I will read it.

            Now I think we will find that AGP also affects HSTS more widely than Blanchard suggests. This was found by Nuttbrock, who established that at least 30% of the HSTS he surveyed were also AGP. That is consistent with observation in Asia, where both forms are much more visible. But at the moment that is not the science; it’s a conjecture which I am researching.

            You see the difference now?

            1. “While you be ‘sure’ that it is ‘intrinsically a masochistic fetish’ there is absolutely zero evidence to support that.”

              For content of 100,000+ masochistic emasculation fetishist accounts on tumblr, google search terms: sissy+tumblr.

              “What matters is what science can explain. Narrative is irrelevant; facts count.”

              Ok, then present a “scientific” approach to grasping the semiotic composition on part of a specific fetish.

              “If you can find a peer reviewed scientific paper that links AGP to masochism in a causative, rather than an associative manner”

              If you accept the existence of masochism among this fetishism at all, you will have to challenge the presuppositions for what you take masochism to be, and the terms for which a masochistic fetish, can be seen as being masochistic.The question of masochism can be put as follows,

              In a fetish which is intrinsically of anxiety, what are the conditions for which it can be understood as being masochistic?

              1. Address the issue, don’t try to divert into a straw man of philosophical gobbledygook. Where is the paper? And if there is no such scientific paper then I refer you to my previous replies in this thread. Keep the Foucauldian claptrap for those impressed by it, I certainly am not.

              2. It has now dawned on me why exactly you stick to this position — i.e. that ‘erotic dreams of oneself as a different gender’ are a masochistic emasculation fetish: it’s because that’s what you see represented on Google searches! 🙂

                On a recent Quora discussion, someone said that they were a bit confused about establishing relationships with transgender people, since the ones they met were rather ‘normal’ (in terms of behaviour), but all this person saw on YouTube and similar video sites was hard core porn about the different sexual fetishes that can be done (only) with shemales. This person wondered therefore about the ability of MtF transexuals going through hormone replacement therapy (effectively cutting down testosterone) being nevertheless fully able to sustain hard erections for a long time.

                As someone replied, quite to the point: porn is not real life. And they went on to describe that although some MtF transexuals might still be able to have normal erections, most don’t; and, in any case, what he was watching was just a fantasy, nothing more.

                I actually suffer from the same issue. A long, long time ago I started a YouTube channel for smoking fetishists (one of the few ‘safe’ fetishes to display on YouTube without fear of having your videos removed). This attracted a small crowd of fellow smokers, who enjoy those kinds of videos, and share them among themselves. We all know they are fantasies — they are not ‘reality’, but, well, just ‘acting’ or ‘pretending’ or ‘fantasizing’. This is known, accepted, and enjoyed among the community — just like a community of fans of Star Trek know that the actors in the series are, well, acting. That doesn’t mean they cannot enjoy the acting for what it is, and ‘pretend’ it’s real (what is called ‘suspension of disbelief’).

                Now this led to a problem. My videos and images were public. Smoking fetishism is really something out of fashion and which just has a tiny number of followers. The rest of the YouTube crowd believed those videos, i.e. they really, truly thought that they were ‘real’, in the sense that someone who posts those kinds of videos is, indeed, willing to engage in casual sex with the viewers (how exactly they jump to that conclusion is beyond me, since those videos do not even show enough bare skin to be flagged by YouTube, but that’s ok, people will believe what they want). I was rather confused at the beginning because some people talked to me ‘believing’ that what they saw was ‘true’, and not a fantasy, and, therefore, reacted accordingly. It took me a lot of time to explain to the the difference between ‘fantasy’ and ‘reality’. Most are still skeptic about it. It felt as strange as, say, people emailing Hugh Laurie asking for medical advice, because they were fans of the Dr. House series, and utterly believe Laurie to be a qualified MD. I’m sure he gets some of those emails. I’m also sure he has a hard time to explain to these people that he is not a medical doctor, but merely an actor, and that the series on TV was not ‘reality TV’, but merely a fiction — a fantasy — even though based in (some) real facts.

                I’m still hesitating between shutting down my YouTube channel or not (or at least keep it private somehow, for just those who understand that it’s just a fantasy, just acting or pretending for fun). Because the number of viewers has fortunately been dramatically reduced, I have left the videos around. However, I can imagine that people like you, @wxhluyp, might come across my videos and think: ‘aha! I was right after all! This Sandra person claims to be some sort of pseudo-intellectual when she writes things, BUT, in reality, when she “shows off” on YouTube, she’s just another fetishist, exactly as I have always considered her to be’.

                So… don’t take ‘fiction’ for ‘reality’. Don’t make assumptions and theories based on porn or erotic movies. Don’t assume that just because people enjoy fantasies (depicted on video or elsewhere) that means that they live those fantasies, or even believe in them. Fantasies are just that: imagination. Creativity. Making up things. They’re not ‘real’. You cannot extrapolate from them to justify your theories. As @Rod Fleming says, where is the evidence?

                Or perhaps I should just invoke Electra on you instead? http://transcendmovement.com/the-new-transphobia-masochistic-emasculation-fetish-theory/

                Look, I have no problem discussing whatever new theories are floating around to explain transgenderism, especially if the aim of those theories is to help people to deal with the symptoms of their gender dysphoria. On the other hand, theories that do not bring anything new to the conversation and are simply just plain offensive to transgender people, calling them what they are not (as Blanchard was so fond of doing…), is really not helping them at all.

                Can you at least explain how ‘diagnosing’ transgenderity as ‘masochistic emasculation fetish’ is helpful to deal with the symptoms of gender dysphoria? And, of course, a few pointers of long-term studies where such methods have been put to practice and delivered good results are very welcome.

                Last but not least, ‘masochistic emasculation fetish’ only applies to MtF transgender people. What about FtM transgender people?

                1. “BUT, in reality, when she “shows off” on YouTube, she’s just another fetishist, exactly as I have always considered her to be”

                  If you have the erotic imprint, you have the fetish. Simple. You clearly show your profound emotional attachment to the affiliations reflected in the fetishism, but the problem with this whole discourse is emotional/political. The denial to accept what is clear, that such emotional attachments routinely derive from the common conditioning built into sexuality, and important to emphasize, that the origin of these attachments, aren’t necessarily to demean or invalidate them.

                  “Or perhaps I should just invoke Electra on you instead?”

                  “Electra” (actually “Felix”) is a “crossdreamer” who has admitted to running a propaganda space. In his own words, “Attempting to theorise is a waste of time. We are activists … not psychologists… we are only interested in theories which bring harmony. As you say… we are political”

                  “On the other hand, theories that do not bring anything new to the conversation and are simply just plain offensive to transgender people, calling them what they are not….. Can you at least explain how ‘diagnosing’ transgenderity as ‘masochistic emasculation fetish’ is helpful to deal with the symptoms of gender dysphoria?”

                  Sorry the fetish isn’t inherently about transgenderism. Trans/dysphoric psychologies are adjunctly related. There is an importance in understanding the fetish for it’s own sake, and for people subject to it (the vast majority don’t develop dysphoric psychologies). There is also an importance in understanding the fetish, when potentially profound, life altering psychologies can emerge from it.

                  “Can you at least explain how ‘diagnosing’ transgenderity as ‘masochistic emasculation fetish”

                  No one is “diagnosing transgenderism as MEF”.

                  “Last but not least, ‘masochistic emasculation fetish’ only applies to MtF transgender people. What about FtM transgender people?”

                  Where MEF is itself the imprinted sexualization of emasculation anxiety (trauma), for the equivalent to occur in females, would require the imprinted sexualization of “efemulation” trauma. While over the years, there have been a handful of women claiming to be aroused by fantasies perhaps on those lines, I think that if they do exist, they would be so few, as to reflect how less violent it is for girls, socially to transgress gender norms.

    2. Most things in psychology have multiple causes, and I suspect transgender identity is no exception, combining potentially genetic causes, with childhood imprinting and environmental causes as well as the cultural meaning of the person’s feelings.

      From what I remember there is evidence of some brain differences with AGP transsexualism but they don’t particularly relate to sexed differences. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see brain changes and it isn’t that meaningful as nearly every psychological condition shows up in the brain, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia etc.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the various feminization/emasculation sexual imprints of which I see AGP as a subset occured worldwide, it is the cultural meaning that is attributed to them that makes it different. One finding of Anne Lawrence was that that gynephillic MTF transexualism with these erotic fantasies was much more common in individualist than collectivist cultures.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they all had instances of this kind of sexuality (The Japanese for example have plenty of futanari porn) but only in an individualistic culture would it become important to construct an identity around it. Western culture has a strong idea of “being yourself” whereas the East has more of a distinction between public and private selves, so keeping these feelings part of ones private life would feel inauthentic to a Westerner but not necessarily to an Easterner.

      I am not really sure if there is any distinction between orientations and fetishes, I go back and forth on that. What is different about them?

      Also homosexuals are seen as being cross-gender in many cultures, but in the West, homosexuality and cross-gender behavior are seen as separate. In some cultures cross-gender roles are essentially how one enacts homosexuality.

      1. Hi and thank you for a considered and well-informed response.

        The first thing I would say is that while I do think autogynephilia is the root cause of transsex in MtF, I am not convinced about the exclusivity applied to it. Blanchard himself found 15% of HSTS show what he calls ‘autogynephilic behaviour’, Nuttbrock (2010) found 30% and my research in Asia suggests an even higher figure.

        Why was it low for Blanchard? Possibly because it was the case at the time that any admission of fetishistic crossdressing would prevent one from being referred for confirming therapy, hormones and surgery.This was universally known and understood amongst transsexuals.

        My personal view is that the fetishistic crossdressing in AGP may be a consequence of social intolerance. If a person is unable to get sexualised reward by interacting socially as a woman, it seems likely that he might dress as a woman in private and masturbate. I study in Asia and amongst the transsexuals I have discussed this with, none do or have done it. Yet many otherwise conform to the AGP profile. Why? Perhaps because they are free to be women in public and to socially interact as women.

        (There are late-transition AGPs in Asia but they are uncommon; frankly a negligible part. Both AGPs and HSTS transition much younger, often in early teens for both. Amongst the late-transitioner AGPs I know about, some at least do admit to fetishistic cross-dressing, wearing women’s underwear etc.)

        Further, consider a person born male, who dresses and lives as a woman all the time and is taking hormones. She has done this since her teens. In all her social interactions, every day, with everyone, she is a woman. All the people around her accept her as a woman.

        Now suppose she masturbates. Is that person a man indulging a fetish or a woman pleasuring herself? If such a person fantasises about being made love to by Brad Pitt, is that fetishistic or just a woman getting off?

        Further, anybody who thinks HSTS don’t masturbate doesn’t know any. So if an HSTS in a frock — which she wears every day — rucks it up to have some fun, while imagining being done by some huge fellow or looking at pictures of men, is that a fetish? If it is, it torpedoes the ‘fetishistic masturbation only happens in AGPs’ proposition, and if it’s not, then the logic is false: it’s only a fetish if some people do it. That’s like saying it’s only alcoholism if poor people get drunk all the time.

        So I am inclined to discount fetishistic crossdressing. That does not mean it’s not useful diagnostically, but I personally do not think it can be a core reward in autogynephilia. _Being a woman_ is the reward in autogynephilia.

        Blanchard also has a problem in that his theory doesn’t address why some androphilic natal males become homosexual men and some transwomen. Clearly there is a cultural input, but we see a similar dichotomy in Asia, despite the much lower social intolerance. That suggests that something other than underlying homosexuality might be causing some homosexual birth-males to become transwomen. The only suspect is autogynephilia.

        So perhaps autogynephilia is the root cause of both types of transsexualism, and the clear behavioural differences in the two main profiles are the result of primary sexual attraction — in other words HSTS may the way they are because they are primarily sexually attracted to men, and AGPs because they are primarily attracted to women, but both share a common desire to _be_ women.

        If the ratio HSTS:AGP were found, in a climate of tolerance, to approximate to the ratio homosexual:heterosexual amongst men, then that would tend to support the above and, at present, my research suggests it might. (A serious statistical study is required.)

        Regarding the root trigger: my research suggests that transsexualism of both forms has always existed. The Vedas, the basis of Hinduism, discuss gender non-conformism in detail and the descriptions could have been written today. There are many other such sources. Now it may be that transsexualism is indeed psychological; but if it is, then it is still an innate, natural part of being human. It is too widely spread (it occurs everywhere) and has too long and too consistent a history, to be anything other than innate.

        I think it would be a very good thing if people just dropped the ‘brain sex’ theory altogether. It is not supportable by evidence, and that results in the familiar sight of AGP activists sticking their metaphorical fingers in their ears and shouting ‘lalalala I can’t hear you.’ We cannot impute causation to the brain studies and those morphological differences we see do not apply to the probable majority of transwomen, AGPs, anyway. Better to move on.

        You are quite right about the cultural factors in Asia. However, they don’t work in the way that many in the West think they do. In Asia, homosexuality and transsexualism are far more widely accepted than in the West, even in Muslim nations (though sadly this is changing in those). People are far more free to express their sexual identities and preferences there.

        That makes Asia a hugely important lab to research in. As social intolerance levels in the West decline towards Asian levels (and that’s a long way from being the case today) I think we will see a shift in the profiles of GNC people, in the West, to become more like Asia .

      2. ‘Western culture has a strong idea of “being yourself” whereas the East has more of a distinction between public and private selves, so keeping these feelings part of ones private life would feel inauthentic to a Westerner but not necessarily to an Easterner.’

        No. Anglo-Saxon and particularly USican culture is far more sexually and gender conformist than South-east Asia. That is why so many AGP transwomen in the US are secret fetishistic cross-dressers, while in South-east Asia they are transitioning in their early teens. The notion that the West is a ‘free’ society in this regard does not fit with observation.

        In Japan, on the other hand, where sexual and gender conformism is much more strict, what do we find? Larger numbers of fetishistic cross-dressers. This tends to support the idea that the fetishistic elements of AGP are a reaction to social intolerance, in which the subject becomes reclusive, defensive and isolated. In South-east Asia they’re joining pageants and putting on cabarets.

        ‘in the West, homosexuality and cross-gender behavior are seen as separate.’

        Only since the late 1960s and the rise of the ‘accommodationist’ socio-political movement. Prior to this, the Western model was much closer to the current Asian one. This is well documented in the literature.

        It is culturally imperialist to suggest that the Western model is somehow qualitatively ‘better’ than the Asian one; it is just an adaptation to different social circumstances. In this case the principal one is the horrific level of homophobic violence, particularly in the US.

        A quick survey of sites like ‘Ask Men’ will yield a rich crop of questioners stating that they are ‘terrified they might be gay’. You see the same on right-wing religious sites, anti-porn sites and so on. Why would anyone be ‘afraid to be gay’ unless they were actually afraid of the social consequences of being so?

        In the climate of violent abuse, up to and including the murder of homosexual men and HSTS transwomen which we see in the USA in particular, is it any wonder that ‘gay men’ have adopted a defensive disguise? The whole point of gay acommodationism is to _appear to be_ ‘straight’ in order to better integrate into a profoundly homophobic culture. Or at least, if not to integrate, to minimise risk of attack.

        The fact is that a significant proportion of accommodationist ‘gay men’ suffer severe gender dysphoria. They endure this because they are afraid of the consequences of publicly asserting their femininity.

        The above begs the question, ‘If social intolerance in the West declines far enough, will we see an increase in the numbers of transitioned TG/TS?’ The answer must be ‘yes’, as we are already seeing this.

        Quite what this might mean for the accommodationist ‘gay man’ movement remains to be seen, but I would be fairly confident that the numbers of late-transitioning AGPs would fall as more transition in their teens.

      3. I agree with TWT on this. Human experience is incredibly complex and diverse and we are just starting to unravel different genetic, developmental, cultural and environmental aspects and dependencies of it. Variance in sexuality and gender is no exception.

        Much has been said and obviously will be said in the name of science in this discussion. I would like to emphasise that scientific studies have always their limitations. Science is about searching for the truth but results and proposed hypothesis are not necessarily representative of the truth. It was recently found that 61% of psychology studies failed a fundamental test called the reproducibility test. Even simple theories such as the ‘blocking effect’ of learning has failed many replication attempts. It is striking how small (small N) and carelessly selected samples these studies may have, and data based often totally on self-reporting! Scientists may try to overemphasise generality and scope of their results hoping sometimes for more citations, more funding and fame. Simple conclusions in scientific literature may look great. However, they are often oversimplified conclusions failing to account for diversity of phenomena. Scientists who did the studies should always try to defend their conclusions but the results should be open to scrutiny and criticism. Criticism and open discussion is an equally important part of the scientific process that may ultimately lead to better understanding of the versatile nature of reality.

        So much for the scientific part of it, and I agree with many others that we should listen more to those who suffer from any form of gender dysphoria, be compassionate and focus more on reducing their suffering.

  17. This is of course just opinion but from all the reading I have done on this subject I think I understand why its as complex as it is. From my view at least there are factors that contribute to this that may be overlooked. What I mean in my case having hypogonadism has a bearing.

    I have read a few things on androgen deprivation therapy and it can give some limited insight to this. On top of one thing that I believe is another factor which may be a difference between HSTS and Non HSTS is the amount of being introverted as compared to extroverted. Why would that be important is if of extroverted type personality that person is more likely to assert themselves younger whilst introverted later. That being said introverted being later will have hit puberty and sexual drive influencing thoughts.

    As for the brain sex theory I admit it may be part of the puzzle then again what about testosterone levels and the effect of receptors of estrogen and androgen? This maybe strange analogy but if a vehicle runs on gas with a certain mix does that mean it will run better or worse adding some additive? What i mean is in that case the engine is the same yet the fuel is altered so indeed it is most likely to run different. At the same time humans are not that fixed in structure yet at the same time in a way they do have some parts that are relatively just that in the same structure. Really that’s why this is so complicated is it is the mix of all these factors that make the person who they are added with yes socialization also plays a role to a degree.

    What I am trying to get at is all the studies even Blanchard et al are looking for that one smoking gun as to why this happens. Yet in reality it maybe multiple factors the influence whether someone is AGP or HSTS or your average male/female. I realise that this is just opinion but it sure seems that sometimes you have to look at the broader picture instead of looking at the parts to find the answer.

    Wxhulyp you may be right for say the majority but that’s the problem not all. I would also bet you may not be in contact with the knowledge of some that are less inclined to the fetishes that you see as being AGP. What I mean by that is some do indeed hide in a closet and it is possible you do not hear of these people. It is also possible that some do not partake in sissy, forced fem, etc. type fetish. If true then what do you know of these people and that’s the problem you don’t. In time knowledge will grow but as the old saying bad news travels fast and you don’t hear the good news.

    In short its a complex puzzle that can evolve as you study it to find the answer. Does that help in a way no and in a way yes. It sure doesn’t help to conflate it as too complex to figure out yet at the same time to realize that not every single case is the same to a certain criteria. It is possible that due to humanities complexity that all we can do is try to find some general guidelines but also realize that there may be multiple ways to have reached an outcome. As simple as this is I will use a math example.
    The sum must equal 45.
    That could be 30+15 or it could be 22+23. Well think get the idea many factors that could give the same result not just one.

    Not being racist but studies in Thailand can also have factors that would not be present in western world either. Of course culture is a obvious one and another that may have an influence as well is diet or even the environment. Yet it is good to look everywhere for information to find a commonality with the premise if it works in one place it may be different elsewhere.

    Lastly I do also believe that yes for some it is purely a mental issue yet for some it is purely a physical issue and to complicate things it can be a physical issue that influences the mental state. How to differentiate and find a solution that is the hard part.

    1. I think it worth remembering that Blanchard’s Taxonomy is just that: It is a method of classification to be used in diagnosis. It depends on statistical interpretation of interview responses. He says that male individuals with non-homosexual gender dysphoria exhibit autogynephilia. He then goes on to list and examine a number of recurrent symptoms which might aid in identification.

      In all my reading of Blanchard, I have found him to be very cautious and to avoid making unwarranted causative links. What he does is to relate both homosexual and non-homosexual gender dysphoria in MtT to male sex drive.

      The problem appears to be that a number of non-homosexual transsexuals resent this. In part this is because they are deeply disturbed about sex anyway. They are exposed to levels of homophobia and homophobic conditioning that permanently distort or even disable their ability to relate to or understand themselves, in sexual terms. This also causes them to reject Blanchard’s explicit understanding that the sex drive involved is male.

      Yet if the root is in sex drive, then it can only be in male sex drive.

      1. Thanks Rod for your thoughts. How do you define ‘male sex drive’ and ‘female sex drive’? AGP is often associated with submissive, expressive, receptive and affectional sexuality and personality traits. Gender and sexuality are not unrelated but I think these traits are more fundamental than AGP (“arousal to the thought of being a female”) or gender dysphoria. I would say it is not a typical ‘male’-like sex drive.

    2. “I would also bet you may not be in contact with the knowledge of some that are less inclined to the fetishes that you see as being AGP.”

      My thrust isn’t regarding transgender/dysphoric psychology in itself, but rather the psychology in the context of the fetish. Being if one has the fetish and develops these psychologies, they will routinely be emotionally derived from the fetish.

      My experience being such a fetishist and of absolutely huge amounts of other fetishists, including the overlapping of the fetishism with transgenderism (see “crossdreamers”), gives me a privileged position here. Simply if you don’t see the fetish as being intrinsically of masochistic emasculation, you don’t have adequate familiarity of the fetishism and don’t understand it.

      1. Simple appeal to authority and may be disregarded as such. Basically you are saying ‘It is as I say because I say it is.’ You need other evidence.

        Now amongst the many TS/TG whom I have interviewed, I have come across a sample who suffered direct sexual abuse. They are most unusual, certainly under 5%. So much depends on the nature of the ‘trauma’ you are referring to. Being called a ‘sissy’? Being beaten up for being girly?

        Again I could see that this could have a causative effect, but to suggest that all transgenderism is the result of MEF — as you have — is going way beyond the evidence.

        In this, one of the things that most interests me is the ‘question ‘Is autogynephilia innate or a response to culture?’ That is why I research in Asia. Most of the comments here are relevant to conditions in the US and refer to studies done in the US — which, as Dr Sam Winter has pointed out, is bizarre given that the place where TS/TG is most evident and easiest to study is actually Asia.

        It’s quite clear from observation that AGP exists in Asia at a roughly equivalent rate to the US, once we take into account the large number of non-transsexual AGP. That is, secret cross-dressers, cross-dreamers, men in suits who ‘identify’ as women, keyboard warriors pretending to be women online, a proportion of gynandromorphophilic men and others (There is clear overlap between these groups.)

        These representations are rare in Asia because there, AGPs present and transition much younger. There is no doubt that the cause of this difference is cultural, and specifically, homophobia.

        However, the fact that the prevalences, once all of this is accounted for, are similar, does suggest an innate cause. That rules out culturally-induced fetishism. That is not to say that some TS/TG may experience MEF, but it makes the claim that MEF is the blanket cause at best a stretch of the evidence. At best. And in any case, this would not impact on HSTS at all.

        The fact that women do not demonstrate autogynephilia (and please, Moser has been well debunked as opportunistic and not serious) is likely because AGP is actually a function of male narcissism. All men are sexually narcissistic. After all, that is what we do when we masturbate: we envision ourselves as powerful, sexual male beings, in sexual situations.

        AGPs envision themselves in such positions but not as men, instead as women. So AGP itself, as experienced by born males, doesn’t exist in women — although something very similar almost certainly does — because it is a function of male sex drive.

        If you are suggesting that the traumatic stimulus for MEF could be such things as I have suggested above, eg being called ‘sissy’, being ridiculed for not being ass masculine as other boys, failing to compete well with boys etc then, I think we might not be that far apart. Of course the actual cause of what we see in the West, then, would be the effect of homophobia on the characters of young males who were in some way already gender non-conforming. So the traumatic MEF cause would still not be the cause of the underlying GNC though it might shape the individual’s response to it.

        Again this is richly borne out by observation in Asia. Here, GNC boys join a group I (and many others) call the ‘not-men’ group and within this they are supported in their GNC identity. They are given a safe social space, peers, and a life model.

        Quite honestly, you just have to walk past any school in Thailand at break-time and see all the cute young boys, in shorts three years too small, practising their Beyoncé moves, to understand that this is a very different culture.

        In the West, such a thing would be unthinkable. Even mainstream gay culture would shut down such extreme expressions of effeminacy. And when we talk to and read the narratives of Western TS/TG, especially AGP, we do not hear of being brought up in a loving and supportive group surrounded by like characters: we hear of loneliness, fear, isolation, self-doubt, self-loathing, parental and peer opprobrium, violence and much more — a fraction of which, acting on the mind of a confused child, would be guaranteed to cause damage.

        What appears to be happening is that a support network — in the Phils it’s beki culture, in Thailand kathoey, in Indonesia waria, there are equivalents all over the region — turn an underlying, innate tendency towards GNC into a positive experience, whereas in the West, homophobia and social intolerance do the opposite. (Asian TS/TG are amongst the most pleasant and well-adjusted people I have ever met, by the way.) And yes, MEF trauma might well be one of the results of these cultural factors, in the West.

        So while I am somewhat persuaded that MEF might have an influence in the West, I can’t see it as a primary cause but rather the consequence of GNC individuals growing up in a viciously homophobic, sexually repressive and dysfunctional culture.

        I am doing some YouTube vids on this. I will let you all know when they’re done as they may be of interest.

        1. “but to suggest that all transgenderism is the result of MEF”

          I didn’t claim that all transgenderism is the result of MEF. Simply that the dysphoria (emotional attachments) on part of MEFs, routinely derive from the basic psychological conditioning on part of sexuality.

          “Simple appeal to authority and may be disregarded as such. Basically you are saying ‘It is as I say because I say it is.’ You need other evidence.”

          It all ultimately comes down to which phenomenology of fantasies, adequately represents the fetish in question (you can also present evidence how your phenomenological suppositions represent the fetishism). If TWT’s would allow it on this space, I could present to you a huge quantity of fetishistic content that is evidence of the fantasies being constituted not as sexual arousal by the idea of being a women, but rather sexual arousal by the masochistic anxiety of oneself being associated to symbols of emasculation. The structure of this erotic imprint, will itself be the very psychological structure of the etiology. (The anxiety/trauma of oneself being perceived to be inadequately masculine, plus sexual imprinting, is constitutive of the fetishism).

          Whilst the masochistic emasculation fetish can be seen as a symptom of this culture,

          there remains the potential for real feminine/homosexual psychologies to adjunctly figure within the etiological emasculation anxieties, expounded in detail in these pages


          “Now amongst the many TS/TG whom I have interviewed”

          Wrong starting point. We are fundamentally dealing with a fetish, whereby all commonly affiliated psychologies are adjunctly related. So you start with the fetish itself, and based on what you take the fetish to be, will determine what a possible etiology could be. The vast majority of fetishists don’t develop trans/dysphoric psychologies (emotional attachments), so it is these people you should spend more time talking to. My MEF reddit group is quite active, and would provide quite some revealing info to you.

          Sexual assault is too simplistic to grasp trauma. Start by familiarizing yourself with various masochistic fetishes and how often inconspicuous experiences, perceived subtle anxieties, even completely inconspicuous, unmemorable events, can result in erotic imprinting.


  18. Romantic AGP plays an important role also in non-transsexuals with milder or non-anatomical forms of gender dysphoria, especially in men who have an important submissive component in their sexuality. Gender dysphoria and inability to behave according to stereotypical masculine expectations may severely damage or destroy self-esteem and therefore quality of life. Romantic autogynephilic mechanism can be employed to restore and heal it. It is like learning to love yourself again. Therefore it may be healing, not harming. It is a pity that it is widely viewed as a threat to women and competing (instead of collaborating) with their sexuality.

    1. @non-tran agp

      I think you make cogent points, which I have read with great interest. They appear to explain the phenomenon of non-TS/TG/TV men who nevertheless claim to ‘identify’ as women.

      I see a big problem with non-trans autogynephilia when it comes to women’s safe spaces. I’ve said before and I’ll repeat, the decision as to who gets to use these spaces can only be taken by women themselves and the way that many men today – I mean non-trans, non-agp men — are taking that right away from women is just an extension of the patriarchy.

      Gender is indeed a construct of behaviours but that doesn’t mean it can be done away with or that it has no consequences. In all human cultures that I am aware of (and that’s a few), gender is the primary system by which we know each other. Indeed there is an argument that it may even have been instrumental in the development of language itself.

      That means that gender has consequences, and since gender cues are primarily visual, if you look like a man, you need to accept that you will be taken as a man and treated as such.

      Now, maybe the answer is to do away with all gendered spaces — but again, that is a decision that women should make. However, as long as we do have gendered spaces, it is not reasonable for a person who is identifiably a man — in a beard and suit and tie, for example — to use these spaces just because he claims to ‘identify as a woman’.

      I repeat, I should, as a man, have no say in who gets to use women’s gender-protected spaces. My _opinion_ is that transwomen should be able to use them, and transmen are of course welcome to use mine. I do not, however, agree that someone who is identifiable as a man, presents as a man and has a penis should be in women’s spaces, no matter how hard he ‘identifies’.

      Having said that, non-transsexual, non-transvestite autogynephilia is a fascinating subject which we have only just scratched the surface of. I am coming to believe that there is a significant percentage of men who fall into this category. We know from studies done by Hsu et al. that a significant number of gynandromorphophilic men (those attracted to transwomen) are themselves autogynephilic, but may not present in any way as TS/TG/TV. (Although some do.) This is consistent with observation, through discussions with such men and with TS/TG sex workers who supply them, and with other literature.

      Given that this appears to be a biological, rather than cultural, phenomenon, then I should expect there to be a scale of variation in which the majority remains hidden and only those with the most severe dysphoria will be visible. The level of visible trans would inevitably be dependent on social pressure and, again, this does seem to be consistent with observation.

      If you would like to discuss this further, and I assure you of both my good intentions and of anonymity, please contact me through http://rodfleming.com or I think you can do it through WordPress.

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