Early History of the Concept of Autogynephilia

Law and Mental Health Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health-College Street Site, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1R8, Canada.
Archives of Sexual Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.53). 09/2005; 34(4):439-46. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-005-4343-8
Source: PubMed


Since the beginning of the last century, clinical observers have described the propensity of certain males to be erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women. Because there was no specific term to denote this phenomenon, clinicians' references to it were generally oblique or periphrastic. The closest available word was transvestism. The definition of transvestism accepted by the end of the twentieth century, however, did not just fail to capture the wide range of erotically arousing cross-gender behaviors and fantasies in which women's garments per seplay a small role or none at all; it actually directed attention away from them. The absence of an adequate terminology became acute in the writer's research on the taxonomy of gender identity disorders in biological males. This had suggested that heterosexual, asexual, and bisexual transsexuals are more similar to each other-and to transvestites-than any of them is to the homosexual type, and that the common feature in transvestites and the three types of non-homosexual transsexuals is a history of erotic arousal in association with the thought or image of themselves as women. At the same time, the writer was becoming aware of male patients who are sexually aroused only by the idea of having a woman's body and not at all by the idea of wearing women's clothes. To fill this terminological and conceptual gap, the writer introduced the term autogynephilia(love of oneself as a woman).

Download full-text


Available from: Ray Blanchard,
  • Source
    • "These individuals also experience autogynephilia—a term which Blanchard used to refer to " a male's propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female " (1989, p. 616). Blanchard's homosexual transsexuals are exclusively sexually attracted to males (androphilic), do not experience autogynephilia, are markedly feminine in their childhood, have less success with attempts to live in the male role, and generally present for treatment of their gender dysphoria at a younger age (see also Blanchard, 2005). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ray Blanchard presented a theory of male-to-female (MtF) transsexualism based on a typology, classifying MtF transsexuals as autogynephilic or homosexual. This theory has produced much debate, and many transsexuals have disagreed with it. In this research, comments about Blanchard's theory were collected through an anonymous questionnaire from a convenience sample of 170 mostly White/European Internet-using MtF transsexuals. Positive responses to the theory were given by 15.9% of participants, 31.9% gave neutral responses, and 52.2% gave negative responses. The most common theme of the responses was that the theory was too narrow and restrictive. Other common themes were that the theory was simply wrong, did not apply to the participant's experience, was not acceptable, was not important, only applied to cross-dressers, and suggested underlying motives of the researcher. Some participants reported that they had experienced autogynephilia, and some reported changes of their sexual orientation. Given the anonymity of the participants, transsexual participants were unlikely to consciously distort their responses. Although there were sampling limitations, this study lends insight into the proportion of MtF transsexuals who are supportive of/opposed to Blanchard's typology and the reasons why some are opposed to it. The findings are of interest as transsexuals' reactions to the theory can be and have been used to theorize about the nature of autogynephilia.
    International Journal of Transgenderism 05/2012; 13(3):131-139. DOI:10.1080/15532739.2011.669659
  • Source
    • "Although both studies reported the nearly identical difference in mean height, both studies also reported heights that were substantially shorter, in absolute terms, than the studies that compared non-transsexual homosexual males with nontranssexual heterosexual males. This may reflect sampling error, but it might also reflect (to some extent) a self-selection bias: The participants in the Blanchard et al. (1995) and in Smith et al. (2005) studies were all applying for surgical sex reassignment. It is conceivable that taller persons are less likely to pursue permanent sex reassignment, in the anticipation that their greater height would hinder their ability to be perceived as female. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Whether homosexuality should be described as one among many paraphilic sexual interests or an altogether different dimension of sexual interest has long been discussed in terms of its political and social implications. The present article examined the question instead by comparing the major correlates and other features of homosexuality and of the paraphilias, including prevalence, sex ratio, onset and course, fraternal birth order, physical height, handedness, IQ and cognitive neuropsychological profile, and neuroanatomy. Although those literatures remain underdeveloped, the existing findings thus far suggest that homosexuality has a pattern of correlates largely, but not entirely, distinct from that identified among the paraphilias. At least, if homosexuality were deemed a paraphilia, it would be relatively unique among them, taxonometrically speaking.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 01/2012; 41(1):237-47. DOI:10.1007/s10508-012-9900-3 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "11 . The term autogynephila describes a man ' s tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman ( Blanchard , 1989 , 2005 ) . For critiques , see Moser ( 2010 ) and Serano ( 2010a ) . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: According to the principle of the excluded third (tertium non datur) the gender binary divides our social life into two options only: male or female. Similarly, either/or reactions also seem to be applied by people dealing professionally with issues of transsexualism, transgenderism or related statuses. For instance, the history of transsexualism is characterised by attempts to classify transsexual people hierarchically and descriptively. The primary intention was to discriminate between different types of transsexualism to prescribe hormonal and surgical treatment for ‘real’ transsexual people and to recommend psychotherapy aiming at relieving gender dysphoria for all the others. In this regard, from the early beginnings sexologists have argued about the origins of transsexualism, because the type of origin – the professionals assumed – legitimises a specific kind of treatment, for example psychotherapy for psychological issues and somatic cross-sex treatment for biological issues. Consequently, psychoanalysts and biologically orientated professionals have debated at great lengths about state-of-the-art treatment for transsexual people. Furthermore, to pass as a ‘real’ transsexual, most of the people concerned presented themselves in a very schematic way.The main focus of this article is the long-standing history of either/or reactions in health care professionals dealing with issues of transsexualism and related states. In addition, it elaborates on the iatrogenic influence on the behaviour of transsexual people of the biases of health care professionals. Finally, in highlighting perspectives of recent trans theory, conclusions important for the debate of current issues are drawn and ideas for the future of care are developed.
    09/2011; 2(3-3):224-243. DOI:10.1080/19419899.2010.545955
Show more