The theme of this post reminds me of that old Divinyls song, “I Touch Myself”, except a bit yuckier. For those of you who for some reason don’t have the whole panoply of sexual paraphilia memorized, autogynephilia is the alleged condition of being sexually attracted to oneself as a woman with underlying assumption that one did not begin life that way. A recent commenter, NYK (not ‘Nick’, it’s Nobody You Know, you know), brought this up in one of her recent responses, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to go ahead and address the topic head on. Seriously, what else did you think I would do?
The term was coined by a sexologist named Ray Blanchard who in my opinion, decided to address the “the transsexual question” with the one tool he has in his belt, namely making it about sex. Blanchard and pals came up with a rough hewn theory that postulates that there are two kinds of transsexual: ‘homosexual transsexuals’ who want to transition because they are attracted to men, and autogynephilic transsexuals who want to transition because they get their oysters rubbed by the idea of being a woman. Dear lord, where to even begin with this!
Now, for the record, I have no doubt that true blue autogynephilic individuals exist out there. Let’s be honest, there is such a long list of fetishes (the sweeter, kinkier term for paraphilia) that anything you can think of is probably on there. Even as we speak, someone is opening their pre-moistened copy of ‘Wet Cardboard Quarterly’ while fumbling about for the Vaseline and chili powder and looking forward to a nice afternoon. Even if they do exist mathematically, I think they are few and far between.
Let’s knock his other one out of the park first as a warm up, or just for giggles. “Homosexual transsexual”… ugh. In simple terms, someone who is so super-duper gay that they pursue a course of action that leaves them completely unattractive to gay men, who as I understand it, like men. I know one of you is arching your eyebrow right now, thinking, “But aren’t the straight men the real catch to homosexuals?” So basically they are saying someone who wishes to attain attractiveness as a woman, with the accompanying parts and such, to the point where they are living as and mentally identify as female, with the purpose of meeting a guy. That’s a convoluted tangle of questionable motivation right there. Or we can just the common vernacular and refer to them as straight women. Gay guys like people with penises, and (key point) like to use their own as well in sexual activities. I could go on, but this is the most salient point.
Moving on to the whole autogynephilia notion. First point. Yes, people will go through great lengths to satisfy sexual urges. Generally speaking, however, they don’t go the route that will lead to a complete lack of sexual desire for a period of time mid progress and still continue forward. This simply doesn’t make much sense. “Well, I’m pretty much dead from the waist down, and the little feller is no longer standing proud, but I think I’ll go ahead with a year and a half of super painful beard removal, come out to everyone I know, risk my job, marriage, family, friendships and everything, because maybe, just maybe, the old urges will come back.” I’m going to channel a friend of my spouse and simply state, in her language, “You ain’t buying no porn if you ain’t even horney.” Same thing.
Second, there are far easier ways to support this kind of paraphilia than undergoing full gender transition. It’s pretty well understood that for many cross-dressers there is a sexual element attached. Sometimes it’s the clothes, sometimes it’s someone else in the clothes, sometimes it’s themselves in the clothes taking a little spin on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride while gazing lasciviously at themselves in the mirror. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, but it’s a big long leap to think they would take it to the steps outlined in the last paragraph. It doesn’t pass the smell test. Release is easily obtained leaving the person free to go about their life, as opposed to setting on a course where release is bloody difficult to achieve, plus they are stuck with the equivalent of walking around every minute with suspiciously sticky Penthouse centerfolds all over them. Ew! Sorry for that, but it makes the point.
I find the whole concept to be yet another example of people desiring an easy answer to a very complex issue. We all want a smoking gun. They are transsexual because their parents really wanted a girl. They are transsexual because they are super gay. They are transsexual because the idea of it gets them so sexually excited that they do it, even though they don’t really get sexually excited as a feature of the process. Easy buttons so we don’t have to think about it too hard, the world makes perfect sense, the ‘Just World Hypothesis’ holds true, and they can make damn sure this doesn’t happen to their kids. The true ‘why’ is yet to be found, but I’m reasonably sure it’s not going to be a convenient ‘tranny gene’ or one’s particular flavor of erotica.
Our detractors like to point to the fact that a clear and overwhelming theory hasn’t been advanced, proven, and peer reviewed, and so fall back on lurid concepts like this one. Where we are right now is analogous to looking for the Higgs boson using a car battery, some speaker wire, magnets and a Playskool microscope. Until a comparable level of effort has been expended, which is likely to be no time soon (because honestly, who is going to allocate a lot of funding to this?), all we really have is that we exist and act accordingly. In any case, the Higgs boson was there all along well before it was proven, and so are we.