A lot can change quickly. Plus, more “straight-gay” stuff.

I realized recently that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  That’s good, I guess.  It means that not much is troubling me to any great degree.  So I’ll take this quiet opportunity afforded by the blowings-over of Tropical Storm Harvey to catch up.

It’s funny:  The things I struggle with the most (eg, gender identity) ebb and flow like the tide.  Right now, for example, I feel about 98.5% happily masculine, and have for weeks.  Summer seems to bring out the male in me, and when I feel the autogynephilic idealization the strongest, it’s always in fall and winter.  I have no idea why.  But I’m not questioning it.  Just enjoying the lack of inner turmoil over it at the moment.

I still have a lot of inner questioning and confusion, however, over my homosexual desires.  What confuses me is that they shouldn’t be there: I’m honestly, legitimately STRAIGHT.  So why is it that women turn me on so much and fulfill me emotionally, but I also want to have sex with men??

(In a recent post I “came out” as bisexual, but that still feels wrong for some reason.)

Answers to this question run a predictable (and unsatisfying) gamut:

“You’re gay and in denial.”  Um, no…if you could feel my raging boner hormones for Mila Kunis or Melissa Fumero, you’d know that’s just not true. (I’ve also been happily married for 17 years.)  Plus, it’s unwarranted and unfair to just dismiss someone’s claims of subjective sexual identity experience merely because they don’t conform to your own worldview.  A lot of gays, for example, will use the “you’re gay and in denial” approach with someone like me.  I’m pretty sure that they would be highly insulted, however, if someone were to tell them, “You’re really straight and just in denial.  This is just a phase.  A kink.  You’re just confused.”  No, they KNOW they’re gay, skin to bone, especially if they’ve already started sleeping with other men.  Likewise, I KNOW I’m straight.  My anxiety and confusion does not arise from such a question as “Am I gay?” but rather from “How does it work that I’m straight AND I want gay sex?”

“You’re bisexual.”  Eh…that label doesn’t fit. Not interested in men romantically. Just want them to fuck me silly.  And I don’t generally get skip-a-beat turned on by goodlooking guys in public, like I do with women.

“It’s just a kink.”  No, that descriptor feels wrong, too.  The idea of gay sex is still appealing even after I orgasm from the fantasy.  It resides.  It’s like a permanent and natural and respectable part of my “sex brain”.  And it’s not just a cheap, nasty, porno thrill: when I fantasize, I care for the man’s enjoyment in the sex, view him as a full person, and not just any man would do: he’s gotta be hot.  (And I definitely have a type.)

“You’re heteroflexible/heteroromantic-homosexual.”  Um…what the fuck is THAT? I mean, I get the idea, but I can find no evidence that such a thing even exists.  Thinking about it, though, I have to be honest:  There are elements of being attracted to women romantically that I hear other people describe that are just kinda…weird to me.  Some guys talk about having a crush on a girl and really wanting to sleep with her.  It’s strange…It’s not that I don’t enjoy sex, but wanting to fuck your love interest has always been a little alien to me.  It’s like…love and sex are different, and even though I would love to be able to have both at the same time, I find myself incapable of truly expressing myself sexually with a woman.  Fuck’s sake, now I don’t even know what I’m saying.  I’m going too deep, maybe overstating things.  Better end this now.

 

 

how?

How do I deal with the psychological disintegration of living a fractured, compartmentalized life?

How do I go on forever–for the absolute rest of my life–living without the physical fulfillment of part of my sexual identity?

I can never, ever, EVER meet this need.  EVER.  It’s been there since my teen years, but I didn’t even know what to call it back then.  But I know who I am now, and society has more openly identified and accepted people like me.  But it’s utterly pointless and harmful for me to come out, and even if I did, I still wouldn’t be able to self-actualize.

I love my wife so deeply.  She really is, when it comes down to it, all I will ever need.  But I ache.

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I. am. bisexual.  It’s not a “fad” or “cool” for me because it seems to be in vogue right now.  I carry this burden–and it is a BURDEN–alone.

I cannot count the fantasies, the desperate masturbations and ejaculations, brought about because I have a specific sexual sub-identity and specific needs that my overt, dominant, straight, public, heteronormative and heteroromantic self cannot rationalize exposing.  But more importantly, I cannot EVER break my marriage vows.

I ache.  And I just wonder, how?

 

I am DONE with porn.

And I mean, DONE.  39 days ago was the last time.  I had carried this secret addiction for a decade.  A fucking decade.  My porn compulsion was never super-intense, never all-consuming, never something that I viewed more than 2 or 3 times a week, at my worst.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, I couldn’t stop.  I knew it, and it was slowly destroying my heart.  Worst of all, it was driving a wedge between me and my wife.  I came clean to her 39 days ago, and characteristically, she graciously forgave me and offered her support in whatever way I needed it to heal from this.  More on that in a moment.*
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First, my thoughts on pornography itself.  Besides how simply undeniably ashamed I felt after viewing it, I have real ethical objections to porn.  And they’re not religious in nature, obviously (me being an atheist, and all).  The adult industry, despite what any insider is going to say, is rife with drug use and disease.  And ultimately deception, heartache, and regret.  Young women perform acts that they’re paid well for (who’s to say how willingly), but on the average their careers are short, and those films will remain in the public’s hands forever.  I cannot help but see that as exploitation.  Some consumers have countered that amateur pornography is not exploitative in that it is strictly voluntary and “home grown”, but there are even bigger problems with viewing amateur porn, in my opinion:

1.  You can’t be sure that what you’re watching is even legal (ie, age of the performers);
2.  You can’t be sure that what you’re watching wasn’t uploaded as “revenge porn”;
3.  You can’t be sure that what you’re watching doesn’t involve human trafficking.

Further: Porn keeps pushing you further, deeper, darker.  It takes more and more extreme imagery to titillate you, and the dopamine rush and orgasms those images provide are more intense than natural sex.  You want more and more.  It literally functions in the brain like a drug.  Actual brain research studies have shown this.

And porn is lazy.  It’s selfish.  It’s a form of satisfaction that says, “I don’t care about pleasing another partner; this is ALL about me.”  It’s no wonder it’s easy to get hooked.  Laziness is…well, easy.

Bottom line: I love porn.  And I hate it.  And I hate that I love it.  But I’ll never see it again.

Now, I know that there are always sexual-political shitstorms raging about feminist issues surrounding pornography (is it empowering? is it degrading? does it liberate women into new self-driven industries? does it perpetuate the patriarchy?).

2006-10-14 - United Kingdom - England - London - Trafalgar Square - Pornography
CC BY-SA 2.0, CGPGrey.com

Frankly I don’t give much of a shit about any of that.  If a woman wants to be a porn actor, fine.  But for ME, consuming porn in any way is just wrong.

* My wife didn’t catch me to instantiate this turning over of a new leaf.  I just found myself getting pushed further and further towards lines I didn’t want to cross.  On my own–without ever being caught and without prompting from anyone–I looked up help resources online and contacted a Sexaholics Anonymous group in my city.  I chatted on the phone with a nice guy about my problems, and even went to a meeting.  That recovery method turned out not to be my thing, really, but I have several support resources in place that are working well for me, and I’m very optimistic.  (My wife, incidentally, did catch me about a week later, but by then I was SO happy to be able to tell her and SHOW her that I had already taken steps towards recovery.)

what will my wife think…

…when she finally finds and reads this blog?  (Or when I show it to her?)

Suicide, gay fantasies, autogynephilia…it’s all going to be a lot to process.  Some of it will no doubt hurtful.  Confusing.  Maybe devastating.  (Although in practical terms it shouldn’t be; nothing will ever change between me and her.)

But at some point–next month, next year, 10 years from now, maybe when I die–she’ll read all this.  I mean, there are those for whom writing is probably just a personal, therapeutic, or academic exercise, and this blog does serve those purposes for me.  But it’s also a record of who I am.  A crying out to the world of all the things that I dare not say, but which are also the things that I desperately MUST say, to someone, somewhere, at some point.  The things that I am embarrassed of, terrified of, and afraid would destroy me and my loved ones.

The thing is, in a lot of respects, I am alone in the world.  I’ve shared a LOT with my wife–burdens so deep and so heavy that others would never believe–and I’m sure she would weep to think that I’m keeping things from her out of fear, and she would implore me, “Baby!  You can tell me anything!”  But put yourself in my shoes.  How do you explain to your WIFE of 17 years and the mother of your daughter, for example, that there is such a thing as being a straight man who also wants to suck and fuck other men?  And how do you make her believe that you WON’T do it?  That you honestly HAVEN’T already done it?  Best to let that sleeping dog lie.  How do you even BEGIN a conversation about autogynephilia??

I have a shrink, but I can only afford to see her a half-hour per month.  No time to get into all this with her.

In a lot of important areas in my heart, I’m alone.  Hence this blog.

If and when the time ever comes for suicide, the URL here is going to be in the note.

Icarus had a sister

These works are just beautiful. Delicate, colorful, tender, strong.

Dioniso Punk

What you see here is the tip of the iceberg of what Andre Masters and CJ Munn are capable of making, and right now they are like two genies trapped in a very small bottle, just waiting for the right person to come along, see them and pull the cork out so all this magic they have inside can be expressed and made into more work. So they keep asking to share their art with friends and encourage them to spread the word about their work.

Award winning artists specialising in sculpture, lifecasting and now 3d printed art, André and CJ create their beautiful bespoke artworks from their studio Masters & Munn, in Kent, England. Working in copper, bronze, stainless steel, leather, gypsum and more, they can make literally anything to any scale. With one of their sculpture, they made up an interesting mythological news: Icarus had a sister.

www.mastersandmunn.co.uk

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What this is all for

Well, lessee…

So far on this blog I have relived the nightmares of addiction and withdrawal, recounted the tale of how I brought eternal shame upon myself by quitting the Army, expressed my occasional suicidal tendencies, fantasized in lavish and panting detail about how much I love men’s cocks, and finally confessed that I am an autogynephile.  Am I missing anything?

I suppose the reason that any writer ever writes is ultimately to be heard.  I’m no exception.  No one in my life knows about this blog–NO ONE–but one day I want them to.  One day I want them to have a complete, raw, uncensored portrait of who I am.  Because they most certainly don’t have it now, and that makes me feel terribly alone.

One day–maybe next year, maybe in 30 years–my loved ones will have hundreds and hundreds of posts to read through.

And that’s what this is all for.

It’s time to accept it and admit it:


I AM AN AUTOGYNEPHILE.

leandrodecarvalhophoto cc0 pixabay

Maybe not in the fullest “clinical” sense as many others who fall into that category, but I’ve come to realize over the past few years–through a lot of painful introspection yet ironically exhilarating self-discovery–that the label is both a legitimate descriptor for a certain kind of human experience, and that it does apply to me in a real way.

Before I continue, I should probably define for the casual reader what an autogynephile is.  The condition–autogynephilia, it’s referred to–is essentially when a heterosexual male comes to “map” an idealized erotic female target onto himself, becoming thus a kind of “self-lover”.  That’s what the word literally means, in fact, rendered from the Greek: auto- (self), gyne- (woman), phil- (love).  A lover of one’s self as a woman.

(Does it make sense now why all the illustrations on my blog are women? LOL)

Autogynephilia seems most often to manifest itself with sexual arousal at the thoughts of being a woman, dressing as a woman or engaging in female gender expressions, or especially, engaging in sex as a woman.  The textbook case of this is the habitual “fetishistic cross-dresser”: someone for whom masturbatory experience is enhanced or even incomplete without male-to-female crossdressing.  The American Psychological Association, following Ray Blanchard et al’s autogynephilia typology, distinguishes (in fact, pathologizes as a paraphilia, a “transvestic disorder”!) the autogynephilic transsexual from the more “classic” transgendered individual.  It’s beyond the scope of this paragraph and in fact this entire blog post to deal with the heated and ever-raging debate over the validity of Blanchard’s typology, except to say that despite his and others’ solid research data, there are indeed a few problematic aspects to the theory.  Trans activist Julia Serano has offered a strong critique of the typology in her paper, “The Case Against Autogynephilia” (Int J of Transgenderism, (3): 176-187).  Nevertheless, I’m finally prepared to accept Blanchard et al as being largely correct.

I want to pause here to describe and emphasize a few things about myself.  In his typology, Blanchard described different subtypes of autogynephiles: transvestic, behavioral, physiologic, and anatomic: those who become sexually aroused by thoughts of dressing, behaving, having the body functions of, and the body of a woman, respectively.  I fit in very few of those categories.  I’m only very very slightly physically aroused by cross-dressing (and when I do it, I do so for comfort, not out of any erotic impulse), nor by cross-gender expression like painting my nails, and rarely by fantasies of a womanly body or bodily function, even in sex.  (Although to be honest, when I’m experiencing the sublime sexual pleasure of prostate stimulation through anal penetration, my mind can’t help but go there.  Plus there’s my strong attraction to and desire to suck cocks, but that’s a different issue I think.)  Rather, I find myself in this odd and seemingly scientifically undocumented autogynephilic subtype of a man who is sexually and romantically aroused by simply fantasizing of transsexual “metamorphosis”, and who desperately wants to be seen by others as legitimately feminine in some aspects.  It’s as if I really do have a “feminine self”, and there’s some sense of sexual fulfillment to be had in that being recognized.  Long story short, I don’t have a secret drawer of bras and thigh-highs.  This is mental and emotional.  But still very erotic, and very autogynephilic.  I just want to be a beautiful woman, and be seen as a beautiful woman.
(cont’d)…
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One last thing I want to talk about:

The stereotype.  Well, maybe that’s not the best word, because I think the most anybody really might think about autogynephilia per se–assuming they even knew the word–is some fat middle-aged guy wearing red thigh-highs and heels (which to be honest, is a pretty gross image, no matter who you are).  So instead, let me talk about the unfair and needless pathologizing of the condition.

I’ll start by acknowledging that a lot of married men who realize their autogynephilia late in life behave very selfishly and ultimately deeply wound many people in pursuit of their erotic self-realization.  They become fully transgender, and follow that with tens of thousands of dollars of hormone therapy, cosmetic surgeries, gender therapy, sex reassignment surgery, etc.  This is to say nothing of the emotional and psychological toll that this phenomenon can take on a partner and the family, if the man puts his erotic needs above those needs of his wife and home.  I have chatted with “trans widows” who have been abandoned by (autogynephilic) men/trans-women that pursued their dreams of transition at the expense of their families.  It’s heartbreaking, and these women are grief-stricken and furious.  So my point in saying this is that whatever ill will there is out there towards autogynephilic men, some of it is justified by the behavior of a few.  (Who knows, how many.)

But this poor behavior of a few does not warrant–nor does the research of Blanchard warrant–the pathologizing, alienating, delegitimizing, and antagonizing of a group of men who have developed a type of sexual affect that is beyond their control.  Blanchard and others refer to autogynephilia as having arisen from a “target location error”, ie, in which the erotic target is misplaced onto one’s self or something else.  An “error” it may be, but I fail to see how it can be an erotic error any more than homosexuality is an erotic “error” (which the DSM-V no longer categorizes as such).  Further: in classifying autogynephilia as being subtyped under “transvestic disorder”, the DSM-V necessarily categorizes it as “[causing] distress or impairment to the individual or … entail[ing] personal harm, or risk of harm, to others.”  I’m here to tell you–and I’m sure millions of men would back me up on this–this just ain’t necessarily the case.  One last weird thing:  When Blanchard was criticized along the lines that autogynephilic transsexuals tended to experience less autogynephilia after transition, he suggested that the condition is both a paraphilia and a sexual orientation [!].  This seems pretty odd to me, as I’m very happily married to my wife, and I think she would say so too.  I don’t need a phantom “mirror” woman-self to be in love with and married to.

I think it very unfair that autogynephilia is pathologized the way it is.  Maybe it’s psychologically unhealthy.  Maybe therapy would be appropriate.  Certainly it sometimes causes problems in relationships.  But I do not personally feel that there’s a “cure” for it any more than there’s a “cure” for homosexuality.  Nor does there need to be.

I’ve accepted it, and I’m not ashamed to be erotically drawn to my feminine ideal.

Which sing the open truth of my heart