It’s time to accept it and admit it:


I AM AN AUTOGYNEPHILE.

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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.

I am dying to suck cock.

…and I’ve always been this way.

First of all, I guess, apologies for the content of this post.  But if this blog is going to be an open and honest exploration and expression of myself–including my sexuality–I will hold nothing back.  I NEED to say these things.  Besides, this is why I requested that the WordPress mods mark this blog as “Mature”.

This mad desire to perform fellatio has always confused me, because I’m an otherwise fully straight male.  It started in my teens, and it’s been with me ever since.  I’ve often wondered if it’s “just a kink”, but I don’t think so: I’m genuinely ATTRACTED to penises, the same way I’m attracted to women’s legs or breasts or hair.  Cocks just wildly turn me on.  They’re beautiful.  They’re HOT.

I’m not the only straight guy like this, it seems.  A fair number of men are “into the dick but not the dude”, and are otherwise completely straight.  Gay hookup apps like Grindr and the back pages of any urban community events paper are replete with straight (often happily married) men looking to give quick, anonymous blowjobs.  (Something I’ve never done, btw.  But in my late teens and early twenties I used to breathlessly fantasize about–and was very tempted to actually do–getting in my car, driving along one of the rural highways near my home, finding some guy hitchhiking or otherwise near the road, and offering to suck him senseless.)

If you were to combine this desire with the fact that I love hard receptive anal play (God I love my prostate!!), you’d think I was gay.  And then on top of that, I’ve grown to love the taste and mouth feel of semen.  (My own, of course.)  So I think I’d be pretty good at blowing, and it might seem for all the world that I’m gay.  But no, I really am fiercely, distractedly, unambiguously attracted to women.  There’s no question of that.  It’s all very weird.  Maybe I’m legit bisexual.

Just chalk it up to the weirdness of human sexuality, I guess.  Some researchers (Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam) did write a book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts in which they explored this heterosexual male arousal towards penises, and they found it surprisingly universal.  Well, common, at least.

That’s reassuring in a way, in the sense that I fit into some sensible sexual category, even though that shouldn’t be necessary for my self-acceptance.

p.s.  AGAIN:  I’ve never actually given a blowjob.  I’m happily and faithfully married, so it has always been and always will be just a fantasy.

craving again

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I’ve been clean off benzos and opioids for more than 6 years.

Until last spring, in fact–for almost 5 years exactly–that sobriety was easy…almost ecstatically easy.  Victorious and energetic.

Then something unknown happened last March that just devastated me and made me lose all that sense of independence and hope.  I still don’t know what it was.  Maybe it was turning 40 the summer before, and suddenly hitting some sort of midlife crisis, or something.  Or maybe it was just the end of a very long, 5-year rebound “honeymoon period” of feeling great without drugs.  Or maybe–and this is probably the case, if I had to put money on it–I just hit a big depressive trough.

One way or another, my desire to get high again has been steadily and strongly increasing.  I know what a bullshit hopeless life being a user is, and what a miserably false promise the drugs offer, but for those short hours…  For those short few hours when they’re in effect…  Oh, holy shit…
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One of the things that I used to tell myself in recovery that I found most helpful was the mantra, “…And then what?”  Meaning, you get high, it wears off, and then what?  What happens then?  You have to get high again to keep feeling good.  And soon you’re addicted and in the nightmarish high-withdrawal-high-withdrawal roller coaster ride. And everything else in your life suffers, no matter how precious.  And here’s the other mantra: There will never be enough drugs in the world.  Never.  Even if you were alone on a desert island, by yourself, and a shipping vessel full of millions of Vikes and Percs and Xannies ran aground, it wouldn’t be enough.  Because you’d kill yourself on them without ever feeling fully satisfied.

Those mantras–“…And then what?” and “There will never be enough drugs in the world”–are helpful to refocus me and help me remember the value in fighting.  They really are.  But I’m tired.  Over the past 14 months, I haven’t exercised worth a damn more than a handful of times.  I’m lazy and exhausted and unproductive at home.  I’ve sobbed and sobbed and SOBBED more times than I can count.  (“Crying spells” are what my therapist somewhat euphemistically calls them.)  I ruminate on suicide, even working out plan specifics in my head when I can’t sleep at night and the anxiety and pain gets to be too much.  I’ve spent spent so much time on porn–just as a way to up my dopamine pleasure release–that I’ve now found myself going to Sexaholics Anonymous meetings to try to deal with THAT addiction, too.  I’m dejected and humiliated.

And for fuck’s sake, it all finally got so bad I had to start this blog.  I want to be a good person again.  I want to be a happy person again, too.

I just want to get high.  But that runs counter to both of those goals.

my dad died in December, and now my mom has cancer

A 6mm invasive carcinoma tumor in her right breast, to be exact.  She goes in for a lumpectomy in a couple of weeks.  Radiation treatment to follow thereafter.  She tells us the prognosis is very good because it was caught so early and the tumor is so small.  I dunno.  She always hides her health issues from us or downplays their severity.  I don’t have the time or money to travel 1,000 miles to go care for her, post-op.  The future is uncertain.

I’ve had it with testosterone

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I’m done with testosterone supplementation.  Just can’t deal with it.  I began it about 3 months ago to try to address long-standing depression and lethargy, and to that end it’s been rather successful.

Too successful, however.  The needle is now tipping over into mixed-state manic territory, including some emotionally self-destructive sexual impulses and behaviors.

All this on top of how testosterone just makes me feel wrong.  It robs me of patience, tenderness, and a rather indescribable sense of “love” that stays in my chest, despite the anxiety and anger and fear and insomnia and self-doubt and depression.

 

to all porn performers, I’m sorry

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Let me begin by saying that I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices to view or purchase pornography. What follows are my viewpoints on my own behavior alone, and I do not extend them to anyone.

Thing is, I’ve had a mild porn addiction for about a decade now. (Is viewing 2 – 3x a week “mild”? I don’t know.)

But no matter how I try to rationalize it, no matter how normalized it becomes in society, in my heart, for me, I just know porn is wrong. Not in any religious “sinful” sense, but just in a way that sets off alarms in my own basic sense of human decency. And there are ethical problems within the industry, of course (which I won’t even go into at the moment) which make me very uncomfortable about watching porn.

Yet still I do it. It’s just so appealing at a physical level.

I’m especially sorry to all the women actors in porn. I’ve lusted after you and objectified you, and so many of you have been victimized in ways that so many of us will never know or understand. Yes yes, I know, there’s a long standing debate that rages over the sexual politics of pornography (“empowerment or objectification?”), and some might accuse me of “white knighting” or benevolent sexism, but the fact of the matter is, I know what’s right and wrong, and I know when I’m not viewing a woman in the appropriate context. I have a wife and a daughter, and I just can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance any longer of loving and respecting them while indulging the fantasy of a woman as a casual sex object. Some women porn performers might genuinely enjoy their work. If so, fantastic. More power to them. But for my part, I FEEL that I’ve done wrong by viewing it.

I don’t subscribe to r/nofap. I’m not a teetotaler about masturbation or erotica in general. That’s not what this is about. This is about me publicly declaring that I just don’t want this anymore, and to each and every performer in the industry–especially those who have been victimized in any way–I’m sorry. I’m sorry that men like me made it possible for the industry to exist in the first place. I should be better than this.

image credit: harrison.anthony25, flickr.com. (CC-BY SA 2.0)

a friend

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An old friend had me to her house yesterday and made me chai.  A friend.  I can’t even remember what YEAR it was that I had a social visit with someone who wasn’t family or from work.  My soul needed this more than I imagined.  When you’re early middle-aged and your time is consumed by work, family, suburban stupidity, and just surviving in the face of chronic mental illness, friends become a luxury that you just don’t have anymore.

image credit: Bobbi Newman, flickr.  (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Which sing the open truth of my heart