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More comments on controversial trans-theory

I wanted to revisit the subject of Autogynophelia, because it seems to me that, the way it’s described, it seems to fit me as well as anything else that I’ve read.  I actually went to the link provided in an earlier post and read the information given there, and as I read the article, I started to see a lot of myself in the description.  It was actually quite depressing to realize that I fit the profile pretty well.  It took me several days to come to terms with that realization, but having previously come to terms with the fact that I wanted to be a girl and that it’s not some horrible disease, but rather, a condition shared by a lot of people, made it easier to come to terms with this description.  I must add that I don’t think that it applies to all of us, but I think it applies to some of us.

I don’t think AutoG has anything to do with early onset gender confusion, I think that would be more properly termed ” a prenatal intersex developmental abnormality”.  AutoG just doesn’t fit the conditions, in my opinion.  Neither does “homosexual transsexual”, because many early onset gender variant people are attracted to people of the opposite physical sex.

I’m still trying to figure this thing out myself, but some things I know about myself are:  I don’t remember any gender confusion as a young child, I was a sensitive little boy, but I don’t remember any confusion about my gender before the onset of puberty.  If my memory is somewhere near correct, my gender confusion started with puberty, but it took me a while to even realize what was going on in my head, probably several years.  By the time I was 15 or 16, I knew what it was, I just didn’t know what to do about it.

There’s always been a sexual connection to my cross-dressing, it did seem to get less over the years, but that may have been because I was trying to supress that part of it, I really didn’t want it to be about sex.  I have always felt more comfortable in “girl” mode, I still would rather be a girl than a boy, it makes me happy.

However, what got me to thinking about this whole AutoG thing is that I still get an “arousal charge” when I first change from the “old me” to the “new me”, especially if I’m excited about how I’m going to look when I’m done transforming into Amber.   It’s interesting that I made 2 discoveries at about the same time.  My body is no longer devoid of basic sex drive due to HRT, it seems to have adjusted somewhat to the current balance of hormones and and I now have a slight bit of sex drive.  That “thing” between my legs is still mostly dead, but not entirely now.  Of course, that’s what led to the discovery that I’m still capable of being turned on by getting dressed.  It doesn’t react very much, it’s just the nerve twinge, but that’s enough to know what’s going on.  I’d like to think that it’s just a residual artifact, but, at this point in my life, I need to be honest with myself.

So, I come to the 20 dollar question, does this mean that I shouldn’t transition?  I’m not really sure about that one yet.  I’m continuing to stay on course while I think about all this heavy stuff, in fact, I was just prescribed Provera by my Endocronologist yesterday, which made me a happy camper all day.  It’s interesting that this point, I haven’t found any reason to stop transition other then this latest injection of illogical doubt.  I realize, logically, that this latest “label” doesn’t really mean much, I still want to be a woman, I still feel like I should be a woman, and I suspect that I already think like a woman.  I’m not a mind reader so I’ll never know for sure, however, I relate more easily to women then men.

I’d be happy to read any thoughts or comments that the rest of you might have on this, some input on this might be helpful to me.

12 Responses

  1. Amber,

    I’m not ready for a discussion about trans theory at this time of the morning, but I do want to comment on your visit to your endocrinologist.

    While I agree that the addition of a progestin (a compound with progesterone-like properties) to our HRT regimens can be useful, especially in the development of fuller, rounder breasts, Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) is probably the worst possible choice since Provera can be androgenic (i.e, induce masculinization) and can also cause severe depression in some people. Also, Provera was the progestin used, along with Premarin (another hormone to avoid), in the Women’s Health Initiative study that received so much publicity a few years ago because of its finding of increase risk of heart attacks and strokes among natal women using PremPro (combination Premarin and Provera).

    A better choice is micronized progesterone, which is chemically identical to the progesterone naturally produced in the human body. Progesterone has none of the adverse effects of Provera. You can buy it by prescription in the U.S. under the brandname Prometrium, from compounding pharmacies like Women’s International (www.womensinternational.com), or from online pharmacies (without a prescription) like InHouse Pharmacy (http://www.inhousepharmacy.com/) under names like Microgest and Ultrogestan. Prometrium is very expensive, progesterone from compounding pharmacies somewhat less so, and Microgest from InHouse the least expensive that I have found.

    Other acceptable alternatives to Provera are Duphaston (dydrogesterone) or hydroxyprogesterone caproate, if you prefer an injectible.

    Feel free to contact me off list if you’d like additional information.


  2. thanks for the info, Abby! I understand what you’re saying about Provera, but the reason he prescribed that for me is that the V.A. medical system has certain limitations on what varieties of drugs are available through them. In this case, all he had to choose from was the Provera. My problem is that I have the choice of using what he prescribes for an 8 dollar per month, per prescription co-pay, or try to figure out how I’m going to pay for it through some place like InHouse. That doesn’t really leave me much choice as I need all the extra cash I can scrape up for electrolysis.
    The Endo Doc started me off with 5mg per day to see how I’ll react to it. He said that it’s pretty potent stuff and he’d be more comfortable with me at 5mg than 10mg. I can live with that. He told me that it wasn’t necessary to take a divided dose, that I could take it all at once. He also told me that I might experience some weight gain and some possible depression. I had heard about the androgenizing effect that it could have, but that it was less likely after you’ve been on spiro and estrogen for at least 6 months, I’ve been on both for a year plus now. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens, I guess. The meds should be waiting for me when I get home from work on Sunday, they come by mail.
    I would also be interested in your opinion on the primary topic, if you feel inclined to give it, I’m really hoping to get some feedback on this.

  3. My opinion about Autogynophelia is that it is more of a symptom than a cause. I believe that testosterone can create the sexual aspects of cross dressing and the excitement of “being or dressing as a girl”. If you ask anyone who has taken testosterone blockers or estrogen to reduce the testosterone, they will tell you that most, if not all, of the excitement goes away. So the real question is if the desire or need to be a girl/woman occurred when the testosterone was not running rampant in our bodies.

    First, we need to try to remember any situations in our past, before puberty, when there was any inclination of being a girl. Was there any cross dressing at a young age? Any dreams of being a girl? Drawn to more girl toys and games, perhaps being more comfortable being around and playing with girls rather than boys?

    Another “test” is to remove the testosterone from our adult bodies. That could be done by taking testosterone blockers or estrogen to greatly reduce the testosterone. Many will tell you, including myself, that any sort of excitement about dressing in female clothing goes away. Without that testosterone, it becomes easier to reflect on the affects and if it that desire to be woman is still there. I have read of a few who found that just taking hormones is enough for them, where the testosterone was the true culprit to their desires. But many find that the underlying cause is still there.

    Each of us are unique in our own way. Perhaps you have a good evaluation of yourself, and Autogynophelia may truly be an appropriate diagnosis for you. However, I strongly feel that Autogynophelia should not be the only diagnosis for all of us (which I know you may also agree).

    So, that is my two cents worth 🙂

  4. You know, I’ve talked to my therapist about this autogynephilia thing. Now granted, I possessed recognizable gender dysphoria at a young age, but apart from that, much of what you describe, and much of what has been written about autogynephilia, rings true for me. And like you, it bothered me.

    So I talked to my therapist about it. And the way he explained it was this: There is a measurable erotic response that often goes hand-in-hand with gender dysphoria, but the reasons for that are far from certain. Proponents of the autogynephilia theory have offered one explanation, but the interaction of the mind and body is complicated, and other people have other theories. What we know for sure is that testosterone is a powerful force when it comes to erotic response, that gender is heavily tied into sexuality in our culture, and that adolescence is a poor time for a person to have to sort it all out. Maybe this erotic response you describe is a mess of misunderstood signals ingrained in you Pavolov-style from the time you were very young; maybe it’ll go away, and maybe they won’t. Ultimately it’s harmless, so do what makes you happy and ignore the naysayers.

  5. Amber,

    I know others who have to deal with the limits on what the VA will and won’t do, and I certainly understand that money is always an issue with all the competing needs we have. I just wanted to make sure that you and others are aware of these concerns when deciding which, if any, progestin to add to their HRT regimen.


  6. Thanks Abby, I do appreciate the info!

  7. I agree with Tiana. I think the autogynephilia theory confuses cause and effect.

    The fact that I reacted erotically to crossdressing in the past, and told myself that was the only reason I wanted to crossdress, doesn’t necessarily mean that is or was the ultimate cause for that desire. In fact, I think my erotic response was merely the way I found to make dressing in women’s clothes acceptable to me during a time when the thought of living as a woman was unacceptable to me because of the way transgender people are viewed by society (and by me at the time), and when I saw no possible or practical way to do what I really wanted — be a woman. The few times I was able to be honest with myself while crossdressing during my marriage, I recognized very clearly how much more comfortable I felt dressed as a woman than I ever did as a man. But that feeling scared the hell out of me because I couldn’t imagine ever being able to face the humiliation, harassment and discrimination I believed I would face if I ever tried something that I told myself was simply “bizarre.” I reacted by dismissing those feelings as unimportant and trying to ignore them. (We all know how successful that is — not!)

    As I said, at that time, I saw no practical way to do what I’ve now done, no roadmap to how one transitions from living as a man to living as a woman. I responded to my fear of how I would be (mis)treated and the frustration I felt at the thought that there was just no way I could ever do what I wanted, by fetishizing my desire to be a woman, by turning it into a “turn on”. That way I could justify my crossdressing to myself and my wife at the time and ensure that neither one of us thought I was “one of those,” i.e., a transsexual.

    It was only when I began to find and read the stories of other trans women who had transitioned and began to see that it really was possible and that, most importantly, that it was possible to be happy and not just a community pariah after transition, that I began to allow myself to admit that that’s what I really wanted, what I’ve always wanted.

    The spiritual/emotional/inner work that I’ve done over the last 13 years since coming to Arizona was also important in this process, since it taught me how to distinguish what I really wanted from what I told myself I wanted or was all that I could ever get, and instead learn to trust the universe to guide me on my true path. In other words, it taught me how to begin to accept who I am without preconceptions or limits. So, many years ago, I began to pray to Spirit to remove from me all that is not true, all that is not truly who I am. The result is Abby — happy, confident, comfortable and at peace.

    Today, there is no eroticism attached to being Abby or my desire to have SRS. (Like many others, my sex drive almost completely disappeared after starting HRT.) I want a vagina not so I can have sex. I want a vagina because women have vaginas, not penises, and having SRS will help me confirm and be even more comfortable living as Abby. Before transitioning, I didn’t feel uncomfortable having a penis (although during my teens and 20’s I had recurring dreams/nightmares/fantasies of cutting off my own penis — yuck!). Since transitioning, however, the discomfort that I feel between who I know myself to be and my body is growing to the extent that SRS is becoming much more of a priority for me than it was before.

    The bottom line for me is that, while sexual desire was one way that I allowed myself in the past to express my desire to be a woman, it played no part in my decision to transition. (In fact, I gave up an intimate relationship to transition.) I am neither an autogynephiliac nor a “homosexual transsexual,” which, , according to Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence, is the only other possible reason to transition. I transitioned because I am and always have been a woman, not because I’m turned on at the thought of being a woman or want to have sex with men.

  8. i think there’s a lot of valid opinion written here in the responses by Tiana, Renee, and Abby, and I thank each of you for your contribution!
    I have to agree that the erotic response is more a symptom than a cause. It doesn’t exist before puberty, but for some reason, usually becomes an issue after puberty starts.

    Personally, my first erotic episodes had nothing to do with anything related to trans issues, they involved simple bondage, but that’s a different story. When I examine my early erotic response to cross-dressing, that didn’t happen at first, the dressing seems to have worked it’s way into my primary erotic trigger. You see, when I was a young teen, I used to have these erotic fantasies about being a girl and being tied up, I won’t get in to it, but I think it’s important to examine the entire erotic experience to have some idea where the response comes from. All through my life after puberty, my erotic response has always been a combination of the two, with the bondage being the primary trigger and the cross-dressing being secondary. It is possible that the response to dressing is simply a symptom of the “being a girl and being in a helpless position” erotic fantasy. I know that the clothes represent the girl part of the fantasy.

    That fantasy is something I’m still not entirely free of guilt and low self-esteem from, but it is what it is.
    So, having said all that, it’s likely that the gender confusion came before the erotic response. It’s interesting how we sometimes examine and sort this stuff out while writing about it.

    Anyway, one of the things that I know for sure is that after I started taking spiro and then estrogen, my sex drive went basicly to zero. I lost my desire to wear the fancy and frilly stuff, but I never lost the desire to live as a woman. Losing my sex drive was a lot like walking out of the fog into the sunlight. Almost all of my female dressing has been casual sense I lost my sex drive, a lot of times, I just didn’t want to go through all that work to get fancy just to sit around the house and take it all off again when getting ready for bed. Yes, I am a bit lazy.

    What has recently triggered all this discussion for me is that my sex drive has, over the last month or so, started to make itself visible again. I’m still waiting on the results of my blood tests to know if my testosterone level has started to creep upward again, or if my body is just adjusted to the new hormone balance and allowing a bit of sex drive out again. After all, natal women have powerful sex drives with low testosterone levels.
    I find that it’s easy to be confused about all this mix of symptoms and where they come from, it’s really hard to sort it out. So, I fit the list of symptoms of Autogynophilia, but the basic causes of those symptoms is more complicated than what is described by the Zuckerites. Like my friend Teresa said about this, “These Doctors are still stuck in the Freudian way of viewing things, and simply can’t see anything beyond the physical drives that we have here on earth. For them, everything is rooted in the basic sex drive, because what else could there be? It’s sad that the outmoded and disproven Freudian theory of human behavior is still taught in Phycology classes. It does, however, make for a good platform for feelings of guilt.

  9. I am kinda messed up aren’t I?

  10. No more messed up than the rest of us 🙂

  11. One thing one should be clear about as to autogynephilia. Ignoring the issue as to whether or not it is a valid theory, it would be illegal to bring such a theory into a clinic in which medical services are being provided in Canada.

    The 2006 laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or even perceived sexual orientation certainly prohibit doctors from even inquiring into a patient”s sexual orientation for any purpose. It’s OK to inquire about sexual activity (coitus) in an appropriate medical setting but not sexual orientation. The jury is out as to whether so-called perceived gender-identity is the same as sexual orientation for purposes of the law. It very well may be, a test case is needed, so someone should bring a complaint so we can clear this up.

  12. Great discussion. I’m glad I found it! I have the same issue with identifying. I do get excited when I dress or become en femme. It seems that I would be autoG. Does the excitement from dressing stem from a desire to be a woman. Is it because I feel I am a woman, that the excitement is just because I feel that’s the way I should feel sexually (as a woman) ? Did I even make any sense right there?

    I think it would be easier for me to be AutoG, but I also feel more than that. I do get the excitement, but I also feel more comfortable as a woman.

    I read that some of you have lost your sexual drive by taking hormones. Do you get your libido back? I would think myself, personally, that a loss of my sex drive could be a major issue. Especially for my gf! 🙂

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