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Background One of the most prominent etiological theories of gender incongruence in trans women proposes a paraphilic erotic target location error (ie, autogynephilia) as a causal factor in gynephilic (ie, exclusively gynephilic and bisexual) trans women. We hypothesized that a paraphilic erotic target location should manifest itself in various aspects of sexual behavior, solitary and dyadic sexual desire, and psychosexual experience. Aim To compare sexual behavior, sexual desire, and psychosexual experience of exclusively gynephilic and bisexual trans women with that of androphilic trans women to explore whether their sexuality differs substantially. Methods Trans women diagnosed with gender dysphoria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–5) were recruited at 4 transgender healthcare centers in Germany. The present study analyzed items on sexual behavior, desire, and experience of a self-report questionnaire, collected as part of a cross-sectional multicenter study. Main Outcomes Multiple aspects of sexuality were examined using self-constructed items. Sexual desire was measured using the Sexual Desire Inventory and psychosexual experience using the Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire. Results Significantly more exclusively gynephilic than androphilic trans women reported a history of sexual arousal in relation to cross-dressing. However, little evidence was found that gynephilic and androphilic sexual desire, behavior, and psychosexual experience differ profoundly. Interestingly, a statistically non-significant trend indicated that gynephilic trans women who had not yet undergone gender affirming surgery showed the highest levels of sexual desire (solitary and dyadic), whereas the opposite was the case for androphilic trans women. Clinical Translation Data of this study indicate that sexual orientation does not appear to be a good predicator for sexual behavior, desire, and psychosexual experience in trans women. Strengths and Limitations We investigated sexual desire and experience using standardized and evaluated measures such as the Sexual Desire Inventory and Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire. Future studies with a larger sample size should investigate how different gender affirming medical intervention might have diverging influences on sexual behavior, desire, and experience. Conclusion Ultimately, this study found little evidence for the hypothesis that sexual behavior, sexual desire, and psychosexual experience differ substantially in gynephilic (exclusively gynephilic and bisexual) and androphilic trans women.
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH & REVIEWS
Sexual Behavior, Desire, and Psychosexual Experience in Gynephilic
and Androphilic Trans Women: A Cross-Sectional Multicenter Study
Jelena S. Laube, MD,
1
Matthias K. Auer, MD,
2,3
Sarah V. Biedermann, MD,
4
Johanna Schröder, PhD,
1
Thomas Hildebrandt, MD,
5
Timo O. Nieder, PhD,
1
Peer Briken, MD,
1
and Johannes Fuss, MD
1
ABSTRACT
Background: One of the most prominent etiological theories of gender incongruence in trans women proposes a
paraphilic erotic target location error (ie, autogynephilia) as a causal factor in gynephilic (ie, exclusively gynephilic
and bisexual) trans women. We hypothesized that a paraphilic erotic target location should manifest itself in
various aspects of sexual behavior, solitary and dyadic sexual desire, and psychosexual experience.
Aim: To compare sexual behavior, sexual desire, and psychosexual experience of exclusively gynephilic and
bisexual trans women with that of androphilic trans women to explore whether their sexuality differs substantially.
Methods: Trans women diagnosed with gender dysphoria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Dis-
orderse5) were recruited at 4 transgender healthcare centers in Germany. The present study analyzed items on
sexual behavior, desire, and experience of a self-report questionnaire, collected as part of a cross-sectional
multicenter study.
Main Outcomes: Multiple aspects of sexuality were examined using self-constructed items. Sexual desire was
measured using the Sexual Desire Inventory and psychosexual experience using the Multidimensional Sexuality
Questionnaire.
Results: Signicantly more exclusively gynephilic than androphilic trans women reported a history of sexual
arousal in relation to cross-dressing. However, little evidence was found that gynephilic and androphilic sexual
desire, behavior, and psychosexual experience differ profoundly. Interestingly, a statistically non-signicant trend
indicated that gynephilic trans women who had not yet undergone gender afrming surgery showed the highest
levels of sexual desire (solitary and dyadic), whereas the opposite was the case for androphilic trans women.
Clinical Translation: Data of this study indicate that sexual orientation does not appear to be a good predicator
for sexual behavior, desire, and psychosexual experience in trans women.
Strengths and Limitations: We investigated sexual desire and experience using standardized and evaluated
measures such as the Sexual Desire Inventory and Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire. Future studies with
a larger sample size should investigate how different gender afrming medical intervention might have diverging
inuences on sexual behavior, desire, and experience.
Conclusion: Ultimately, this study found little evidence for the hypothesis that sexual behavior, sexual desire,
and psychosexual experience differ substantially in gynephilic (exclusively gynephilic and bisexual) and andro-
philic trans women. Laube JS, Auer M, Biedermann SV, et al. Sexual Behavior, Desire, and Psychosexual
Experience in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women: A Cross-Sectional Multicenter Study. J Sex Med
2020;XX:XXXeXXX.
Copyright 2020, International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Key Words:: Autogynephilia; Male To Female; Gender Dysphoria; Transgender; Gender Incongruence; Sexual
Orientation
Received February 19, 2019. Accepted January 30, 2020.
1
Human Behaviour Laboratory and Interdisciplinary Transgender Health Care
Centre, Institute for Sex Research, Sexual Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry,
University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany;
2
Research Group Clinical Neuroendocrinology, Max Planck Institute of
Psychiatry, Munich, Germany;
3
Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Klinikum der Universität München,
Munich, Germany;
4
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Centre for Psychosocial
Medicine, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg,
Germany;
5
Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen,
Erlangen, Germany
Copyright ª2020, International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by
Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.01.030
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13 1
INTRODUCTION
For decades, researchers have been attempting to classify
subgroups of gender incongruent individuals as a means of pre-
dicting the response of different groups to gender-afrming
medical interventions (GAMIs) and to obtain more informa-
tion regarding the etiology, development, and outcome of gender
dysphoria.
1e5
The sexuality of trans women has long been of
interest to clinicians and researchers, and since the beginning of
the 20th century, trans women have often been categorized by
sexual orientation and sexual behavior.
2,4,6e13
Although the
clinical value of a classication based on sexual orientation is
subject to debate,
5,14,15
several authors have proposed that sexual
orientation and sexual behavior are indicative of different etiol-
ogies of gender incongruence,
2,16
and further relevant predictors
for the successful outcome of gender afrmation (GA)
treatment.
17,18
In the 1980s, Blanchard
19
proposed a new typology of gender
incongruence in trans women based on sexual orientation and
introduced the concept of autogynephilia. Blanchard
19
suggested
the existence of 2 fundamentally different typesof gender
incongruence in trans women (p.616). He classied these 2 types
as homosexual(exclusively androphilic), on the one hand, and
non-homosexual(exclusively gynephilic, bisexual, and ana-
loerotic), on the other hand.
2,19,20
In accordance with this the-
ory, trans women of the latter group are more similar to each
otherand to transvestitesthan any of them is to the homo-
sexual (ie, androphilic) type(p.439).
21
Their common feature,
and that of transvestites, would be a history of erotic arousal in
association with the thought or image of themselves as women
(p.439).
21
In contrast to fetishism, the trigger for sexual arousal
would lie not solely in female clothes but in the idea or love of
oneself as a woman(p.439).
21
This he named autogynephilia.
Blanchard
22
theorized that autogynephilia is part of a family of
sexual variations, caused by developmental errors of target
localization(p.71). He speculated that affected individuals
would misdirect their heterosexual desire at other targets, rather
than the female person. In the case of autogynephilia, the erotic
target (characteristics of the female physique, female attire)
would be mislocated on the individual's own body.
23
As a result,
the individual would develop an erotic self-image that includes
features of the desired target.
24
Blanchard
23
has suggested that autogynephilia can be char-
acterized both as a sexual orientation and as a paraphilia.Since
the third, revised version of the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), paraphilias have been
dened as intenseand recurrentor persistentatypical
arousal patterns, which cause signicant distress or impairment
to the individual. This denition is congruent with the current
denition of a paraphilic disorderin the DSM-5.
Several studies have shown that paraphilias tend to co-
occur
25,26
and are often associated with heightened sexual desire
and dysregulated sexuality.
27,28
Although Blanchard
23
has
emphasized that, in his opinion, the concept of autogynephilia
[. . .] refers (merely) to a potential for sexual excitation(p.238),
some researchers have implied that heightened sexual desire may
indeed be characteristic of (auto)gynephilic trans women.
Bailey,
29
for example, stated that autogynephilic trans women are
erotically obsessed with the image of themselves as women
(p.146). Moreover, Lawrence
30
published several narratives of
autogynephilicgender incongruence and claimed that auto-
gynephilic feelings are frequently experienced to be unwanted,
intrusive, painful, and disabling.
Although sexual orientation, desire, and behavior have often
been addressed in the context of gender incongruence in trans
women and play a key role in the theory of autogynephilia, only
a few studies have systematically compared gynephilic and
androphilic trans women with regard to sexual desire or the
quality of sexual experience.
31,32
These studies have reported that
androphilic trans women in the later stages of GA show higher
levels of sexual desire and better sexual functioning than gyne-
philic trans women.
AIMS
In this present study, we aimed to explore trans women's sexual
behavior, desire, and psychosexual experience to scrutinize
whether these differ substantially in gynephilic (exclusively gyne-
philic and bisexual) compared with androphilic trans women.
In light of Blanchard's typology and the theory of autogyne-
philia, we hypothesized the following:
- Signicantly more gynephilic trans women would report sexual
arousal in association with cross-dressing than androphilic
trans women
- Gynephilic trans women would show signicantly higher sol-
itary sexual desire and less dyadic sexual desire and behavior
than androphilic trans women
- Sexuality and sexual fantasies would play a central role in the
lives and the transitioning process of gynephilic trans women,
and signicantly more gynephilic than androphilic trans
women would claim to have been motivated to transition by
sexual desire and the desire to realize sexual fantasies
Furthermore, because it has been suggested that autogyne-
philia can be considered a paraphilia,
30,33e35
we hypothesized
that:
- gynephilic trans women may show evidence of heightened
sexual desire
- gynephilic trans women may have a particularly negative
psychological experience of sexuality
In light of Blanchard's theorythat exclusively gynephilic and
bisexual trans women are 2 forms of autogynephilic gender
incongruencewe further hypothesized that these 2 groups
would not differ substantially with regard to all of the afore-
mentioned aspects.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
2Laube et al
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Participants
Participants were recruited as part of an observational multicenter
study
36,37
to explore psychological and metabolic aspects of gender
dysphoria and assess the effects of GAMIs on mental, physical, and
sexual health in gender dysphoric individuals. Recruitment took
place between November 2013 and July 2016, at 4 transgender
healthcare centers in the Department of Endocrinology at the Max
Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, in conjunction with the
Hormon- und Stoffwechselzentrum München,Munich; the
Gynecological Department at the University Hospital of Erlangen;
and the Interdisciplinary Transgender Health Care Center with the
Institute for Sex Research, Sexual Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry
at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Eligible participants were all patients diagnosed with gender
dysphoria (DSM-5, 302.85) or trans-sexualism (ICD-10: F64.0)
and treated as per the World Professional Association for
Transgender Health standards of care, no.7.
38
A total of 221 participants were initially approached. In total,
189 trans women and men agreed to participate in the cross-
sectional multicentre study. They provided self-report measures
on mental, physical, and sexual health during the course of a
routine visit at the transgender healthcare facility. Patients treated
at the transgender healthcare centre in Hamburg were included
directly after referral for hormone therapy (HT), whereas those
from other centers were included before and after initiation of
HT. All participants gave written informed consent.
The inclusion criteria for this present study were birth-
assigned male gender and age between 20 and 49 years. This
encompassed a total of 64 trans women. 6 participants could not
be classied based on sexual orientation, resulting in the nal
study sample of 58 trans women.
Procedure
Participants completed an extensive questionnaire consisting of
a self-constructed section and several validated questionnaires. The
self-constructed section included questions regarding socioeco-
nomic, social, psychological, and medical background, sexual and
gender identity development, family structure, desire for chil-
dren,
39
solitary and dyadic sexual behavior, desire, fantasies, and
experience. Validated questionnaires encompassed the Sexual
Desire Inventory (SDI), Multidimensional Sexuality Question-
naire (MSQ), and further questionnaires reported elsewhere.
40
The study was approved by the local ethics committees
(München, Erlangen, and Hamburg) and was conducted in
accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964
Declaration of Helsinki. This study is registered at clinicaltrials.
gov (identier: NCT02185274).
Measures
6 items (self-constructed questions) concerning general char-
acteristics, 17 items relating to sexuality, the SDI, and the MSQ
were selected from the aforementioned questionnaire. Selection
of items was based on the relevance of the item to the research
question.
Self-Constructed Items
General Characteristics
Relationship status, employment status, net income, and
religion were addressed. Answers were presented in a multiple
choice format. Participants were further asked to specify which
GAMIs they had undergone. If they had received HT, they
were asked to specify the duration of their HT. Information
was veried with the data available in the individual's clinical
records.
Cross-Dressing
Participants were asked if they had ever felt the desire to wear
or had actually worn female clothes between the ages of 12 and
18 years. They were asked to specify whether this aroused them
sexually at the time. Furthermore, participants were asked to
report if they engaged in cross-dressing after the age of 18 years
and whether this was associated with sexual arousal. For each
question, answers were presented in the form of a 4-point scale
ranging from neverto always.
Solitary and Dyadic Sexuality
Participants were asked to specify at what age they had rst
masturbated, and at what age they had had their rst ejaculation
(free answer format). Furthermore, they were asked at what age
they had had their rst sexual encounter (free answer format),
the number of sexual partners they had had so far
(None, 1e5, 5e10, more than 10), and the sex of their rst sex
partner (female/male). Participants were further questioned with
regard to current sexual behavior: whom they currently feel most
attracted to sexually (7-point Kinsey scale), whether they
masturbate (yes/no); whether they integrate their genitals into
intercourse (yes/no), and, if so, how (actively/passively/both). They
were also asked whether they enjoy sensations involving their
genitalia during intercourse (yes/no/sometimes).
Attributed Importance to Sexuality
Participants were further asked to assess the importance of
sexuality (3-point scale from unimportant to important) and to
determine how bad it would be if they were to lose the ability
to experience sexual arousal in the course of GA (very bad/not so
bad/unimportant).
Sexuality as a Motive to Transition
Participants were asked to state whether sexual desire or the
desire to realize certain sexual fantasies played a role in making
the decision to undergo GAMI (yes/no). They were also ques-
tioned as to whether they had ever felt that their sexual desires
and fantasies made them less truly transsexual(yes/no).
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
Sexuality in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women 3
Sexual Desire Inventorye2
The SDI-2 developed by Spector, Carey, and Steinberg (1996)
was used to measure both dyadic and solitary aspects of sexual
desire. This was a questionnaire consisting of 11 items. 8 of these
depicted a variety of sexual situations and required the partici-
pants to assess the strength of their sexual desire with regard to
these situations. 3 items addressed the participantsfrequency of
sexual thoughts and sexual desire over the last month. Dyadic
sexual desire was computed by 2 items addressing the frequency
(0e7 points) and 6 addressing the strength of dyadic sexual
desire (0e8 points). Missing items were replaced by the mean of
the other 7 items. Solitary sexual desire was calculated by one
item addressing the frequency (0e7 points) and 2 items
addressing the strength of solitary sexual desire (0e8 points).
The maximum score for dyadic sexual desire was 62; the
maximum score for solitary desire was 23.
For reliability analysis, Cronbach's alpha was calculated to
assess the internal consistency of the subscale for solitary, dyadic,
and total sexual desire. The internal consistency of the ques-
tionnaire was satisfying, with Cronbach's alpha for solitary sexual
desire ¼0.83, for dyadic sexual desire ¼0.83, and for total
sexual desire ¼0.87.
Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire
The MSQ consisted of 60 items, evaluating different psy-
chological aspects of sexuality based on 12 subscales.
39
Each item
was measured on a 5-point scale, scoring from 0 to 4: not at all
Table 1. Demographics
Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
P
(n¼15) (n¼26) (n¼17)
M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Age 39.13 (8.29) 34.77 (8.54) 33.94 (8.67) NS
Time since HT
initiation (months)*
15.93 (19.9) 35.82 (39.4) 47.46 (55.6) NS
n (%) n (%) n (%)
Hormone therapy 12 (80) 23 (88.5) 14 (82.4) NS
Gender afrming surgery 3 (20) 11 (42.3) 5 (29.4) NS
Neovagina 1 (6.7) 7 (26.9) 4 (23.5) NS
Breast construction 0 (0) 6 (23.1) 5 (29.4) NS
Others
2 (13.3) 2 (7.7) 1 (5.9) NS
Relationship status NS
Single 9 (60) 14 (53.8) 13 (76.5)
Cohabiting 2 (13.3) 4 (15.4) 2 (11.8)
Married 3 (20) 4 (15.4) 1 (5.9)
Separated 1 (6.7) 4 (15.4) 1 (5.9)
Employment status NS
Full-time employment 12 (80) 16 (61.5) 8 (47.1)
Part-time employment 2 (13.3) 3 (11.5) 3 (17.6)
Unemployed 1 (6.7) 2 (7.7) 4 (23.5)
In training/student 0 (0) 5 (19.2) 2 (11.8)
Net income (Euro) NS
0e1,500 3 (20) 9 (34.6) 8 (47.1)
1,500e3,000 6 (40) 8 (30.8) 8 (47.1)
3,000e6,000 6 (40) 7 (26.9) 1 (5.9)
>6,000 0 (0) 2 (7.7) 0 (0)
Religion NS
Protestant 6 (40) 10 (38.5) 6 (35.3)
Catholic 2 (13.3) 4 (15.4) 1 (5.9)
Muslim 6 (40) 9 (34.6) 7 (41.2)
Jewish 0 (0) 0 (0) 1 (5.9)
None 1 (6.7) 3 (11.5) 1 (5.9)
Other 0(0) 0 (0) 1 (5.9)
Ex. ¼exclusively; HT ¼hormone therapy; NS ¼not signicant.
*Of those participants receiving a HT.
Operation of vocal cords, face or other.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
4Laube et al
characteristic of me (0), slightly characteristic of me (1), some-
what characteristic of me (2), moderately characteristic of me (3),
and very characteristic of me (4). 7 subscales were selected from
the questionnaire to characterize the psychological experience of
sexuality among the patient collective: sexual satisfaction, sexual
assertiveness, sexual motivation, sexual esteem (subscales of
positive sexual experience) and sexual depression, sexual anxiety,
as well as fear of sex (subscales of negative sexual experience).
These subscales were selected based on their thematic relevance
for the trans population. All scales displayed a satisfactory to very
good internal consistency in the present data, with Cronbach's
alphas ranging from 0.72 to 0.93. For denitions of the sub-
scales, refer to the study by Snell et al.
39
Grouping and Subgrouping
Before data analysis, the participants were divided into 3
groups as per their sexual orientation. This was determined by
their responses to the item as to which gender they currently felt
most attracted to. Participants who stated to be exclusively
attracted to men were categorized as androphilic,and those
who stated to feel attracted to both sexesat least occasio-
nallywere classied as bisexual.Participants who expressed
exclusive attraction to women were classied as exclusively
gynephilic.In the course of this study, the term gynephilicis
used as a collective term for bisexual and exclusively gynephilic
trans women. General characteristics of exclusively gynephilic,
bisexual, and androphilic trans women are displayed in Table 1.
Although no signicant differences based on gender afrma-
tion status could be found among the 3 groups, a subgroup of
unoperated participantswas formed to further consider gender
afrming surgery (GAS) as a factor for selected non-parametric
items (ie, items relating to present sexuality). This sub-group
included only participants who had not yet undergone GAS.
Among this subgroup, no signicant differences in reception of
HT or mean time since HT initiation could be found. 75
percent of gynephilic, 73% bisexual, and 79% androphilic trans
women within this subgroup had undergone HT at the time they
were issued the questionnaire. The mean time since HT initia-
tion was 13.6 (SD 21.7) months for the gynephilic, 14.0 (SD
20.4) months for the bisexual, and 29.2 (SD 34.4) months for
the androphilic trans women.
Statistical Analysis
Data analysis and comparison of the 3 differently sexually
orientated groups was conducted using SPSS, version 22.0 (SPSS
Inc, Chicago, IL). Statistical signicance was set at P<.05, and
all tests were 2 tailed. The trend level for non-signicant statis-
tical trends was set at P<.1. Missing values were excluded, and
percentages were based on the number of non-missing values.
Statistical signicance was tested using the Fisher's exact test for
nominal data (demographics, items of the multiple-choice
questionnaire) and the Kruskal-Wallis test for ordinally scaled
variables. For statistically signicant results, a post-hoc
comparison of the 3 groups' results was conducted using adjusted
standardized residuals and the Z-test. The Pvalue for multiple
comparisons was adjusted as per the Scheffe method. For
continuous data, normal distribution was tested using the
Kolmogorov-Smirnov and the Shapiro-Wilk tests. A one-way
analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare normally
distributed continuous variables, and the Kruskal-Wallis test was
used for skewed continuous variables. Regarding the SDI and the
MSQ, a 2-way ANOVA was conducted to compare the results of
the exclusively gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic group. The
main effects were sexual orientation,”“GAS,and their inter-
action (sexual orientation* GAS). The latter 2 effects were
included to consider potential effects of HT and GAS on sexual
desire and experience.
RESULTS
Sexual Behavior
Cross-Dressing
Signicantly more exclusively gynephilic than androphilic
trans women reported a history of arousal in association with
cross-dressing. This was not the case when comparing bisexual
with androphilic trans women (Table 2).
Solitary and Dyadic (Partnered) Sexual Behavior
Dyadic Sexual Behavior
Signicantly more exclusively gynephilic and bisexual par-
ticipants reported that their rst sexual encounter was with a
female partner (Table 3). Furthermore, among the unoperated
subgroup, signicantly more gynephilic than androphilic trans
women reported integrating their genitals actively into inter-
course (Table 4). No further signicant differences could be
Table 2. Sexual arousal in association with cross-dressing
Ex.
gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
P
(n¼15) (n¼26) (n¼17)
n (%) n (%) n (%)
Experience of sexual
arousal while
cross-dressing
Ages 12-18 years 10 (71.4) 13 (54.2) 4 (25) .035*
Sometimes 7 (70) 9 (69.2) 0 (0) .024
Often 3 (30) 2 (15.4) 2 (50)
Every time 0 (0) 2 (15.4) 2 (50)
Age 18þyears 12 (85.7) 14 (53.8) 7 (41.2) .037
Sometimes 10 (83.3) 11 (78.6) 3 (42.9) .132
Often 1 (8.3) 2 (14.3) 2 (28.6)
Every time 1 (8.3) 1 (7.1) 2 (28.6)
Ex. ¼exclusively.
*Post hoc: P<.05 for the comparison ex. gynephilic vs androphilic.
Post hoc: P<.05 for the comparison ex. gynephilic vs androphilic.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
Sexuality in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women 5
found with regard to dyadic sexual behavior. There was,
however, a non-signicant statistical trend regarding the
number of sex partners among the sample. This indicated that
androphilic and bisexual trans women reported higher
numbers of sex partners than exclusively gynephilic trans
women (Table 3).
Solitary Sexual Behavior
No signicant differences could be found with respect to
solitary sexual behavior. However, there was a non-signicant
statistical trend concerning reports of masturbation for the
unoperated sample of trans women. Most unoperated bisexual
Table 3. Overview of past solitary and dyadic sexual activity
Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
P
(n¼15*)(n¼26
)(n¼17)
M (SD)
Age of rst masturbation 13.4 (1.65) 13.0 (2.68) 12.17 (3.01) .489
Age of rst ejaculation 13.45 (1.97) 12.75 (2.22) 13.8 (2.08) .446
Age of rst sexual
encounter (with a partner)
20.75 (7.89) 17.80 (5.91) 18.40 (3.98) .651
n (%) n (%) n (%)
Total number of sex partners .098
0 3 (20) 2 (8.3) 2 (11.8)
1e5 10 (66.7) 12 (50) 8 (47.1)
5e10 2 (13.3) 5 (20.8) 2 (11.8)
>10 0 (0) 5 (20.8) 5 (29.4)
Sex of rst sexpartner .002
Female 12 (100) 17 (73.9) 6 (40)
Male 0 (0) 6 (26.1) 9 (60)
Ex. ¼exclusively.
*3 responses missing for the item "Sex of rst sexpartner."
2 responses missing for the item Total number of sex-partners(n ¼24), one response missing for Sex of rst sex-partner.
Post hoc: P <.05 for the comparison of ex. gynephilic vs androphilic & bisexual vs androphilic.
Table 4. Current sexual activity and genital experience
Total collective
P
Unoperated collective
P
Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
(n¼15) (n¼26) (n¼17) (n¼12) (n¼14) (n¼11)
n (%) n (%)
In a sexual relationship 6 (46.2) 13 (59.1) 6 (35.3) .340 4 (40) 5 (45.5) 2 (18.2) 0.420
Practice masturbation 12 (80) 23 (88.5) 11 (64.7) .170 10 (83.3) 12 (85.7) 5 (45.5) 0.073
Integrate genitals into intercourse
Yes 10 (71.4) 18 (78.3) 12 (85.7) .630 8 (72.7) 9 (75) 7 (87.5) 0.755
Actively 2 (25) 1 (7.1) 1 (10) .061 1 (14.3) 1 (14.3) 0 (0) 0.045*
Passively 0 (0) 5 (35.7) 6 (60) 0 (0) 4 (57.1) 4 (66.7)
Both 6 (75) 8 (57.1) 3 (30) 6 (85.7) 2 (28.6) 2 (33.3)
Enjoy genital stimulation
Yes 3 (30) 10 (47.6) 9 (60) .688 2 (25) 3 (25) 4 (44.4) 0.642
Sometimes 5 (50) 5 (23.8) 2 (13.3) 5 (62.5) 4 (33.3) 2 (22.2)
No 2 (20) 6 (28.6) 4 (26.7) 1 (12.5) 5 (41.7) 3 (33.3)
Enjoy orgasm
Not applicable 1 (6.7) 0 (0) 2 (11.8) 1 0 (0) 2 (18.2)
Always 6 (40) 18 (69.2) 11 (64.7) .325 4 (8.3) 8 (57.1) 5 (45.5) 0.780
Sometimes 7 (46.7) 6 (23.1) 1 (5.9) 6 (50) 4 (28.6) 1 (9.1)
Never 1 (6.7) 2 (7.7) 3 (17.6) 1 (8.3) 2 (14.3) 3 (27.3)
Ex. ¼exclusively.
*Post hoc: P<.05 for the comparison of ex. gynephilic with androphilic regarding the passive integration of genitals.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
6Laube et al
and exclusively gynephilic trans women reported masturbating,
whereas only a minority of unoperated androphilic trans women
claimed to do so (Table 4).
Sexual Desire
Solitary and Dyadic Sexual Desire
Bisexual trans women scored highest on solitary sexual desire,
whereas androphilic trans women scored highest on dyadic sexual
desire of the SDI (Table 5). Overall, however, no signicant
difference in solitary, dyadic, and total sexual desire could be
found with regard to the main effect of sexual orientation.
However, the 2-way ANOVA did show a non-signicant sta-
tistical trend regarding the interaction of sexual orientation and
GAS for solitary (P¼.088, DF: 4, Eta
2
: 0.165, F: 2.173), dyadic
(P¼.056, DF: 4, Eta
2
: 0.193, F: 2.513), and total (P¼.029a,
DF: 4, Eta
2
: 0.222, F: 3.002) sexual desire. This indicated that
the highest dyadic and solitary sexual desire among the andro-
philic trans women was presented by those in later stages of the
process of GA, whereas this was not the case for exclusively
gynephilic and bisexual trans women (Figure 1).
GAS had no signicant inuence on solitary, dyadic, or total
sexual desire.
Attributed Importance to Sexuality
Overall, no signicant differences in the attributed importance
to sexuality could be found between exclusively gynephilic,
bisexual, and androphilic trans women (Table 6).
Sexual Desire as a Motive for Gender Afrmation
The percentage of trans women who acknowledged a sexual
motivation for GA did not differ signicantly between the 3
groups (Table 7). However, while 26.9% of the bisexual trans
women reported that they had occasionally questioned whether
they were truly transsexualbecause of their sexual fantasies,
only one exclusively gynephilic trans woman and no androphilic
trans women claimed to have had these doubts (P¼.028).
Nevertheless, none of the post hoc tests were signicant.
Psychosexual Experience
Average scores of gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic trans
women for the different subscales of the MSQ are presented in
Figure 2.
Overall, results among the collective did not differ signicantly
with regard to the main effect of sexual orientation.
Table 5. Solitary and dyadic sexual desire
Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
/Total Ph2
(n¼15) (n¼26) (n¼17)
M (SD)
SDI-solitary 8.6 (5.7) 10.4 (5.7) 7.8 (6.5) /23 .236 0.064
SDI-dyadic
a
30.1 (11.5) 33.1 (14.5) 37.3 (8.0) /62 .351 0.049
SDI-total
b
38.7 (15.6) 43.2 (18.6) 45.1 (10.7) /85 .366 0.047
SDI ¼sexual desire inventory.
a,b
Levene test <0,05.
Figure 1. Solitary, dyadic, and total sexual desire of exclusively gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic trans women in different stages of the
gender afrmation process. GAS ¼gender afrmation surgery; HT ¼hormonal therapy.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
Sexuality in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women 7
Regarding the interaction of sexual orientation and GAS, a
non-signicant statistical trend could be seen for the subscale
sexual motivation(P¼.093, DF ¼4, F¼2.138,
Eta
2
¼0.169) and sexual depression(P¼.090, DF ¼4,
F¼2.153, Eta
2
¼0.164) (Figure 3).
DISCUSSION
The Aspect of Cross-Dressing
Considering Blanchard's typology and his theory of autogy-
nephilia, we hypothesized that signicantly more bisexual and
exclusively gynephilic trans women would report sexual arousal
in association with cross-dressing than androphilic trans women.
The results of this study conrmed this hypothesis only
partially. Although signicantly more exclusively gynephilic trans
women than androphilic trans women reported having experi-
enced sexual arousal in association with cross-dressing at least
occasionally, this was not the case when comparing bisexual to
androphilic trans women. In this case, the number of reports of
sexual arousal with cross-dressing differed by less than 10%.
Several other studies have also found that reports of sexual
arousal in association with cross-dressing were less frequent
among bisexual trans women than among exclusively gynephilic
trans women.
2,20,41
Blanchard's concept
19
of autogynephilia
could provide a possible explanation for this observation. He
theorizes that autogynephilia can manifest itself in different ways
and that for bisexual trans women, the fantasy of being female is
validated and intensied by the autogynephilic interpersonal
fantasy(p.619) (ie, the interaction with a man), which would
serve the same function as cross-dressing.
19,20
In contrast to Blanchard's theory, however, stands the sub-
stantial number of androphilic trans women who also report
sexual arousal in association with cross-dressing. In a study
conducted in 1985, Blanchard
2
himself reported that 15% of
androphilic trans women acknowledged a history of cross-
dressing with sexual arousal. Several other studiesincluding
Table 7. Sexual desire as a motive for gender afrmation
Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
P
(n¼15*)(n¼26) (n¼17
)
n (%) n (%) n (%)
Sexual desire played a role in
making the decision to transition
2 (14.3) 9 (34.6) 5 (29.4) .422
Concrete sexual fantasies played a role
in making the decision to transition
4 (26.7) 10 (38.5) 8 (47.1) .479
Have questioned whether they were truly transsexual
because of their sexual fantasies
1 (6.7) 7 (26.9) 0 (0) .028
Ex. ¼exclusively.
*one response missing for the item Sexual desire played a role in making the decision to transition(n ¼14).
one response missing for the item Have questioned whether they were truly transsexual (.)(n ¼16).
Post hoc: not signicant for all comparisons.
Table 6. Attributed importance to sexuality
Total collective
P
Unoperated collective
p
Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic Ex. gynephilic Bisexual Androphilic
(n¼15) (n¼26) (n¼17) (n¼12) (n¼14) (n¼11)
n (%) n (%) n (%) n (%) n (%) n (%)
Sexuality is
Important 4 (26.7) 11 (42.3) 10 (58.8) 0.316 3 (25) 6 (42.9) 5 (45.5) 0.830
Not so important 11 (73.3) 13 (50) 6 (35.3) 9 (75) 6 (42.9) 5 (45.5)
Unimportant 0 (0) 2 (7.7) 1 (5.9) 0 (0) 2 (14.3) 1 (9.1)
Loss of ability to experience sexual
arousal in the process of gender
afrmation would be
Terrible 6 (40) 12 (46.2) 7 (41.2) 0.946 5 (41.7) 5 (35.7) 5 (45.5) 0.809
Not so bad 8 (53.3) 12 (46.2) 10 (58.8) 6 (50.0) 8 (57.1) 6 (54.5)
Of no consequence 1 (6.7) 2 (7.7) 0 (0) 1 (8.3) 1 (7.1) 0 (0)
Ex. ¼exclusively.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
8Laube et al
the present studyhave reported far larger numbers. For
example, in a study by Leavitt and Berger,
42
36% of the
androphilic trans women reported a history of erotic arousal to
cross-dressing. A study by Bentler
1
put forth that almost a
quarter of all androphilic trans women reported having experi-
enced arousal in association with cross-dressing. Blanchard
2
ex-
plains this substantial number by assuming that these androphilic
trans women are, in fact, gynephilic. He states that the less than
perfect correlation between sexual orientation and cross-gender
fetishism might be caused at least partly by unreliability in
gender patients' verbal self-reports(p.255).
It is not possible to rule out that a fraction of trans women in the
present study may have misrepresented themselves as androphilic
for reasons such as social desirability or fear of not receiving the
desired gender afrming treatment. However, it seems unlikely
that half the number of androphilic trans women are in fact
gynephilic. Criteria for the integration of a participant into the
androphilic group were rather strict. Only individuals who stated
to be exclusively attracted to males were included in the andro-
philic group. Furthermore, this study was conducted in Ger-
many, where GAMI is granted irrespective of sexual orientation.
Our results hereby seem inconsistent with Blanchard's suggestion
Figure 2. Average scores on subscales of the MSQ for gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic trans women. Differences between the groups
did not reach the level of statistical signicance. Ex. ¼exclusively; MSQ ¼Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire.
Figure 3. Sexual motivation and depression of exclusively gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic trans women in different stages of the
gender afrmation process. GAS ¼gender afrmation surgery; HT ¼hormonal therapy.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
Sexuality in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women 9
that sexual arousal in association with cross-dressing is just a non-
androphilic phenomenon.
Solitary Versus Dyadic Sexuality
Blanchard
21,23,33,43
theorized thatas a result of an erotic
target location errorgynephilic trans women misdirecttheir
sexual desire (or gynephilia) at the own self. Autogynephilia
may coexist but also compete with heterosexual attraction to-
wards others.
In light of this theory, we hypothesized that exclusively
gynephilic and bisexual trans women would show signicantly
higher solitary sexual desire and less dyadic sexual desire than
androphilic trans women. We further hypothesized that this
would also become evident through their sexual behavior.
Interestingly, the results of this study could not conrm our
hypotheses. Although androphilic trans women scored lowest on
solitary and highest on dyadic sexual desire in the SDI, differ-
ences among the 3 groups were marginal. Only 2 tendencies
appeared to be consistent with the aforementioned theory: these
being higher self-report of masturbation among unoperated
gynephilic trans women and fewer sex partners among exclusively
gynephilic trans women, as opposed to androphilic trans women.
In line with the hypothesized theory, some authors
23,34
have
suggested that gynephilic trans women may show diminished
capacities for heterosexual [. . .] pair-bond formation(p.249).
23
Our study does not support this notion, showing comparable
engagement in relationships in gynephilic and androphilic trans
women. This observation is in line with other empirical studies,
which indicate that gynephilic trans women are just as likely to
be involved in a relationship as androphilic trans women.
13,32
A limitation of our studywith regard to dyadic sexual
desireis that the SDI cannot distinguish between a primary
erotic and secondary erotic interest in another person. As stated
earlier, Blanchard
20
suggested that in some gynephilic trans
women, a new secondary erotic interest in men(p.323) may
arise to validate their own femininity. This implies that sexual
interest in other (male) persons may merely be a result of sexual
desire towards the own (female) self. We cannot determine the
etiology of dyadic sexual desire; however, the question remains as
to whether this information is clinically useful.
Ultimately, our study provides little evidence for the assump-
tion that gynephilic trans women should show less sexual interest
in other persons or have problems with pair-bond formation.
On the Extent of Sexual Desire
Because it was repeatedly suggested that autogynephilia can be
considered a paraphilia,
30,33e35
we hypothesized that gynephilic
trans women may show evidence of heightened sexual desire.
The results of the present study, however, show no evidence of
heightened sexual desire among the exclusively gynephilic and
the bisexual sample. On the contrary, sexual desire appeared to
be low across all groups. This becomes especially clear when
comparing the level of sexual desire of this patient collective with
sexual desire of a large collective from a study conducted by
Winters.
44
Winters
44
used the SDI-2 to compare sexual desire
among a large sample of men and women (non-treatment group)
with that of patients in treatment for dysregulated sexuality
c
(treatment group). Descriptively, both the treatment and non-
treatment group scored higher on solitary and dyadic sexual
desire than the exclusively gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic
trans women of this study's collective. Concerning solitary sexual
desire, this was the case, irrespective of GAS. Concerning dyadic
sexual desire, there were merely 2 exceptions: (i) bisexual trans
women before GAMI and (ii) androphilic trans women who had
received both HT and GAS achieved lower scores than the cis-
gendered men but slightly higher scores than the cisgendered
women of the non-treatment group in the study by Winters.
44
The results of this study are hereby in line with previous
studies indicating that trans women, in general, and gynephilic
trans women, in particular, show low levels of sexual desire.
31
Sexual Desire as a Motive for Gender Afrmation
Blanchard's
20,23
theory of autogynephilia implies that erotic
desire is the driving force(p.7)
34
behind the desire for GA in
gynephilic trans women. Accordingly, we hypothesized that
sexuality would play a central role in the lives and the tran-
sitioning process of gynephilic trans women. Furthermore, we
hypothesized that signicantly more gynephilic than androphilic
trans women would acknowledge a sexual motive for GA.
Our data, however, provided no grounds for the assumption
that gynephilic trans women attribute a particularly great
importance to sexuality. Only a minority of exclusively gyne-
philic and bisexual trans women claimed to view sexuality to be
an importantaspect of their life. Furthermore, the majority
stated that it would be of little or no importance if they were to
lose the ability to experience sexual arousal in the course of GA.
Though noteworthy, these ndings do not necessarily stand in
contrast to Blanchard's theory.
Blanchard
23
hypothesized that autogynephilic arousal can
decline over the course of time, whereas an emotional attachment
to the self-image as female may develop and persist indepen-
dently of erotic desire. Our study included trans women who had
already lived in the female role for several years and erotic desire
might have once played a greater part in the desire to transition.
Indeed, gynephilic trans women in our study showed higher
levels of sexual desire in the earlier stages of the GA process. A
non-signicant statistical trend indicated that the opposite was
the case for the androphilic trans women.
However, in contrast to Blanchard's theory, most gynephilic
trans women claimed that sexual desire had had little inuence
on their decision to undergo GAMI. In this regard, no signicant
differences could be found between the gynephilic and the
androphilic trans women.
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
10 Laube et al
It is, of course, possible that responses given in the questionnaire
regarding the motives for GA might have been inuenced by social
desirability. A transition on the grounds of erotic desire might be
considered by trans women to be less valid than on the grounds of
gender identity alone, as previously stated by Lawrence.
34
In our
study, it was androphilic trans women, in particular, who stated
that the desire to realize concrete sexual fantasies motivated them
for GA. Hypothetically, they might have been less afraid of social
stigma and have less problems perceiving their erotic desire as a
legitimate entitlement. Underlining this hypothesis, none of the
androphilic trans women of this study claimed that they had felt
less truly transsexualbecause of their sexual fantasies. In contrast,
a 4th of all bisexual trans women felt less truly transsexual
because of their sexual fantasies.
Overall, the results of this study show that sexual motives for
GA are not exclusively found in gynephilic trans women. Instead,
such motives were reported by some trans women irrespective of
sexual orientation.
Psychosexual Experience in Gynephilic and
Androphilic Trans Women
Because it has been suggested that autogynephilia can be
characterized as a paraphilia,
30,33e35
and is often experienced as
ego dystonic,”“unwanted, intrusive, painful, and disabling
(p.75),
30
and complicates heterosexual expression(p.116),
34
we
theorized that autogynephilia may have a particularly negative
effect on the psychological experience of sexuality in trans women.
Consequently, we hypothesized that gynephilic trans women may
score signicantly higher on subscales of negative and lower on
subscales of positive psychosexual experience of the MSQ.
Although it is noteworthy thatwith 2 excep-
tionsexclusively gynephilic trans women did score highest on
subscales of negative and lowest on subscales of positive psy-
chosexual experience, the mean scores differed only marginally
among the 3 groups. The aforementioned hypothesis could,
thus, not be conrmed.
Overall, trans women of this study appeared to have a rather
negative psychological experience of their sexuality. This be-
comes evident when comparing the results of this study with
those of 216 cisgender men and women from a study evaluating
the German version of the MSQ.
45
The comparison shows that
androphilic and gynephilic trans women descriptively score lower
on all subscales of positive and higher on all subscales of negative
psychosexual experience.
This second observation is not too surprising, as Doorduin
et al
46
stated, body experience and social perceptions of gender
are interwoven with experiences of sexuality(p.659). As a
consequence, gender dysphoria and feelings of incongruence will
most likely affect the quality of sexual experience. Several studies
have conrmed the negative impact of gender dysphoria on
sexual experience, although only a few have investigated sexual
experience among trans women in detail.
46e48
Ultimately, the results of this study imply that sexual orien-
tation, and consequently autogynephilia, has no signicant effect
on psychosexual experience.
LIMITATIONS
Collective Size and Heterogeneity
The collective of this study was heterogenous and included trans
women at different stages in the process of GA. Gender afrming
medical interventions are likely to have an effect on sexuality.
Although no signicant differences concerning reception of GAS,
HT, and time since HT initiation could be found between
exclusively gynephilic, bisexual, and androphilic trans women and
several methods were applied to consider GAS as a factor (see
methods), it would have been preferable if only participants at
exactly the same stage in the process of GA had been compared.
This was not possible owing to the limited sample size.
Sexual Orientation
Grouping
The continuous scale of sexual orientation used in the ques-
tionnaire had to be adjusted to allow for comparison among the
groups. The fact that only individuals who stated to be exclu-
sively attracted to men were included in the androphilic group
may have led to some androphilic participants being mis-
represented as bisexual. However, misrepresentation would have
been possible in any case when dividing the continuous scale of
sexual orientation into merely 3 groups. We decided to embrace
the possibility that some androphilic trans women may be mis-
represented as bisexual, in favour of less misrepresentations of
bisexual trans women as androphilic.
Sexual Orientation
Change
The questionnaire was issued during one of the rst routine
visits at the 4 transgender healthcare centers. However, at this
point in time, participants were already at different stages in the
process of GA. Studies have shown that sexual orientation can
change over time and progress within the process of GA.
5
Some
participants representing themselves as bisexual or androphilic
may have originally represented themselves as exclusively gyne-
philic and vice versa. Potential changes in sexual orientation
could not be considered in this study.
Social Desirability
Although data were collected anonymously, it is possible that
social desirability may have inuenced the responses of partici-
pants regarding some aspects of sexuality.
CONCLUSION
Overall, the results of this study could provide no evidence for
the hypothesis that sexual behavior, desire, and psychosexual
J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
Sexuality in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women 11
experience differ substantially in gynephilic and androphilic trans
women. Although there were differences among the groups
(especially between exclusively gynephilic and androphilic trans
women), of which some could be interpreted to be in line with
Blanchard's theory of autogynephilia, the overall impression
gained from the data of this study is that sexuality among the
collective was very diverse.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank all the participants who contributed to this study by
providing important personal data on many levels. We are
grateful to all the clinicians for their contribution to the data
collection in the transgender care units.
Corresponding Author: Johannes Fuss, MD, Human Behav-
iour Laboratory, Institute for Sex Research, Sexual Medicine and
Forensic Psychiatry, Centre of Psychosocial Medicine, University
Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistraße 52, 20246
Hamburg, Germany. Tel: þ49-40-7410-54232; Fax: þ49-40-
7410-56406; E-mail: jo.fuss@uke.de
Conicts of Interest: The authors report no conicts of interest
Funding: This research did not receive any specic grant from
funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-prot
sectors.
STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP
Category 1
(a) Conception and Design
Jelena S. Laube, Matthias K. Auer, Johannes Fuss
(b) Acquisition of Data
Jelena S. Laube, Matthias K. Auer, Sarah V. Biedermann,
Johanna Schröder, Thomas Hildebrandt, Timo O. Nieder, Peer
Briken, Johannes Fuss
(c) Analysis and Interpretation of Data
Jelena S. Laube, Johannes Fuss
Category 2
(a) Drafting the Article
Jelena S. Laube, Johannes Fuss
(b) Revising It for Intellectual Content
Jelena S. Laube, Matthias K. Auer, Sarah V. Biedermann,
Johanna Schröder, Thomas Hildebrandt, Timo O. Nieder, Peer
Briken, Johannes Fuss
Category 3
(a) Final Approval of the Completed Article
Jelena Laube, Matthias K. Auer, Sarah V. Biedermann, Johanna
Schröder, Thomas Hildebrandt, Timo O. Nieder, Peer Briken,
Johannes Fuss
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J Sex Med 2020;-:1e13
Sexuality in Gynephilic and Androphilic Trans Women 13
... Recently, there has been greater academic attention given to feminine trans individuals. This work has benefitted our understanding of feminine trans individuals' gender expression and sexuality, including, for example, their sexual orientation and gender identities (e.g., Galupo et al., 2016Galupo et al., , 2014Kuper et al., 2012;Nanda, 2014), sexual behavior (e.g., Bauer & Hammond, 2015;Laube et al., 2020;Poteat et al., 2017;Tsoi, 1990), sexual arousal patterns (Chivers et al., 2004;Lawrence et al., 2005), sexual partner preferences (e.g., Fein et al., 2018), feelings of sexual objectification (e.g., Sevelius, 2013), and sexual health (e.g., Baral et al., 2013;MacCarthy et al., 2017;Van Gerwen et al., 2020). Additionally, research on feminine trans individuals' sexuality has been conducted in numerous cultural settings. ...
Article
Feminine trans individuals (i.e., individuals who were assigned male at birth but who have a feminine gender presentation and identity) are present in many cultures. In some cultures, these individuals identify as (trans) women. Many of these individuals undergo medical treatments to feminize their bodies (e.g., breast augmentation), but most do not undergo vaginoplasties and therefore have penises. In many non-Western cultures, feminine trans individuals identify as a non-binary gender (i.e., neither man, nor woman). Many of these individuals do not surgically augment their bodies. Across cultures, some men express sexual interest in feminine trans individuals. Are manifestations of sexual interest in feminine trans individuals consistent across Western and non-Western cultural settings? Our review suggests that, across cultures, most of these men are also sexually attracted to cisgender individuals. Many are sexually attracted to cisgender women or to cisgender members of both sexes. A small subset is sexually attracted to cisgender men. Men who are sexually interested in feminine trans individuals commonly report being primarily insertive during anal sex. Additionally, they tend to report that their sexual interest in these individuals is motivated by attraction to femininity or to the combination female- and male-typical characteristics.
... This duality comes along with interrelations manifesting as sexual orientations as well as biological and social selfperceptions. The categorical concepts of hetero-, bi-and homosexuality are relatively clear for cisgender (CX) but much less so when considering transgender (TX) persons (Auer et al., 2014;Cerwenka et al., 2014;Laube et al., 2020;Schrock & Reid, 2006). Although the terms "androphilia", "gynephilia" and "ambiphilia" are less ambiguous, they do not reflect the fluidity of sexual orientation. ...
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While the concept of sexual orientation is more clearly defined in cisgender, this is less so in transgender individuals. Both experienced gender and sex hormones have a relation to sexual preferences, arousal in response to erotic stimuli, and thus sexual orientation. In transgender individuals sexual orientation occasionally changes before or during transition, which may involve gender-affirming hormone therapy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated whether the neuronal and behavioral patterns of sexual arousal in transgender individuals moved from the given (before) to their chosen gender after 4.5 months of hormone therapy. To this aim, trans women and men as well as age-matched cisgender controls rated visual stimuli showing heterosexual, lesbian or gay intercourse for subjective sexual arousal. Utilizing a Bayesian framework allowed us to incorporate behavioral findings in cisgender individuals of different sexual orientations. The hypothesized changes in response patterns could indeed be observed in the behavioral responses to the single but not the differentiation between stimulus categories with the strongest results for trans men and lesbian scenes. Activation of the ventral striatum supported our hypothesis only for lesbian scenes in trans women. This prominent role of lesbian stimuli might be explained by their differential responses in cis women and men. We show that correlates of sexual arousal in transgender individuals might change in direction of the chosen gender. Future investigations longer into transition might resolve the discrepancy on behavioral and neuronal levels.
... Participants were recruited as part of an observational multicenter study to explore psychological (Auer et al., 2017;Laube et al., 2020), and metabolic aspects (Fuss, Claro, et al., 2019) A total of 214 trans women and trans men agreed to participate in the cross-sectional multicenter study. They provided self-report measures on mental, physical, and sexual health during the course of a routine visit at their transgender health-care facility. ...
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Trans people suffer from increased rates of depression and suicidality even after gender-affirming medical interventions. The present study aims to examine the prevalence of childhood adversities in patients with gender dysphoria and to analyze its impact on adult depression and suicidality. Participants meeting diagnostic criteria of Gender Dysphoria were recruited in a cross-sectional multicenter study at four German health-care centers. Childhood adversities were assessed with the childhood trauma questionnaire (CTQ) and additional single items for other childhood adversities. Associations between childhood adversities and adult depression and suicidality were calculated using regression analyses. A large majority of participants reported childhood adversities, and only 7% endorsed no adversities in the CTQ. Over 30% reported severe to extreme childhood adversities. One-fourth reported parents exhibiting violent behavior while bullying by peers was experienced by 70%. These adversities were associated with an increased risk for adult depression and suicidality. Time since beginning of hormonal therapy did not show a significant influence neither on depression nor on suicidality. Childhood adversities are common and associated with adult depression and suicidality in trans people. Adequately addressing these childhood adversities and providing trauma-informed mental health care might ameliorate the mental health burden in trans people.
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Background: A transgender person has a gender identity opposite to the sex assigned at birth. Transgender individuals may have altered sexual function (SF) due to psychosocial factors related to body image distortion, shame, and dissatisfaction with genital appearance, and these conditions can increase the risk of sexual dysfunction. This study aimed to characterize the SF of trans-women after gender affirming surgery. Methods: We reviewed the Pubmed database for studies published between January 2008 to December 2021. Results: 17 studies were included, 4 were cross-sectional studies, 1 prospective study, 4 prospective cohort studies, five retrospective studies. The instruments used to evaluate the SF were Female Sexual Index (FSFI), semi-structured questionnaires, patients' opinion, Sexual Desire Inventory (SDI), Maudsley Marital Questionnaire-S, WHOQOL-100. The results of our review indicate there is weak evidence that gender affirming surgery improves the SF of trans-women. Conclusion: We thus recommend that future studies use questionnaires that are validated for the assessment of the SF of trans-women to better determine the impact of genital surgery in this population. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Introduction Studies in the general population suggest that determinants of QoL are often sex-dependent. Sex-dependent analyses of QoL in transgender populations have not been performed so far. Aim To identify sex-specific and potentially modifiable determinants of QoL in transgender patients Methods In this cross-sectional multicentre study including 82 transwomen (TW) and 72 transmen (TM) at different treatment stages, we investigated potential determinants for QoL focusing on the impact of mood (BDI, STAI-X), sleep quality (PSQI), chronic pain (GPQ), body image (FBeK) and social support (SSS). Main outcome measure Health-related quality of life measured with the Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36). Results The age-adjusted SF-36 total score and its subscales did not significantly differ between TM and TW. Using a multivariate regression analysis approach, we identified common but also sex-dependent determinants for QoL (Adjusted R2 = 0.228; 0.650 respectively). Accounting for general characteristics such as age, BMI and treatment status, sleep quality according to the PSQI was an independent and strong determinant of QoL in both sexes (β = -0.451, p =0.003 TM; β = -0.320; p = 0.0029 TW). Chronic pain was a significant independent predictor of QoL in TM (β = -0.298; p = 0.042) but not in TW. In contrast, anxiety (β = -0.451; p< 0.001) being unemployed (β = -0.206; p = 0.020) and insecurity about the own appearance (FBeK) (β = -0.261; p = 0.01) were independent predictors of QoL in TW. The rate of those reporting high sleep disturbances (PSQI �5) was high with 79.2% in TW and 81.2% in TM. Accordingly, age-adjusted QoL was also significantly lower in those reporting poor sleep in both sexes. Conclusions Sleep strongly affected QoL in both genders, while other factors, like pain and body image, seem to be gender specific in transgender individuals.
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Background Many trans individuals undergo medical interventions that result in irreversible loss of fertility. Little is known about their desire to have children and attitudes toward fertility preservation options. Aim To study how the desire for children and the use of fertility preservation options varies among trans women and trans men in different transitioning stages in Germany. Methods In this cross-sectional multi-center study, N = 99 trans women and N = 90 trans men were included. Of these, 26 of each sex were just about to start medical treatment. Outcomes Outcome parameter were the prevalence and determinants of a desire to have children in trans persons. Results Before treatment, a desire for children was significantly higher in trans men compared to trans women (P = .016). In contrast, in those who had already started treatment, a current desire to have children was equally present in about one fourth of participants of both genders while the interest in having children in the future was significantly higher in trans women (69.9%) than in trans men (46.9%; P = .034). Although 76.1% of trans women and 76.6% of trans men indicated that they had at least thought about preserving germ cells before starting medical transition, only 9.6% of trans women and 3.1% of trans men had put this idea into practice. Most trans men in both groups indicated that insemination of a female partner with sperm from an unrelated donor was a suitable option to fulfill their child wish, potentially explaining their low interest in preserving their own germ cells. Finally, a logistic regression analysis accounting for potential confounders revealed that overall trans women were more than twice as likely to have a current desire to have children (odds ratio 2.58), and this wish was on average 5.3% lower with each year of increasing age. Clinical Translation A low level of fertility preservation among trans persons is contrasted by a high level of desire for children. This highlights the importance of counseling trans individuals regarding fertility preservation options. Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first study that addresses desire to have children in a clinical sample of trans women. It is also the first that investigates this issue among trans men who have not started medical treatment, and the first comparison of both genders. A limitation for the generalization of our results is the special legal context in Germany that forbids oocyte donation for reciprocal in vitro fertilization. Reproductive desire is high among trans individuals, but the use of reproductive options is surprisingly low.
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The purpose of the present investigation was to develop and validate an objective self-report instrument, the Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire (MSQ), designed to measure psychological tendencies associated with sexual relationships. Results indicated that the MSQ subscales had high internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and were largely independent of social desirability tendencies. Other results indicated that women and men responded in unique ways to the MSQ, with women reporting greater sexual-fear and men reporting greater sexual-esteem, sexual-preoccupation, sexual-motivation, sexual-assertiveness, and external-sexual-control. Additional evidence for the concurrent, discriminant, and convergent validity of the MSQ was found: the MSQ was associated not only with women's and men's sexual attitudes and their exchange and communal approaches to sexual relations, but also with their scores on other instruments conceptually similar to the MSQ. Men's and women's sexual behaviors were also predictably related to their scores on the MSQ subscales. The discussion focuses on research and applied uses of the Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire.
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Introduction Studies in the general population suggest that determinants of QoL are often sex-dependent. Sex-dependent analyses of QoL in transgender populations have not been performed so far. Aim To identify sex-specific and potentially modifiable determinants of QoL in transgender patients Methods In this cross-sectional multicentre study including 82 transwomen (TW) and 72 transmen (TM) at different treatment stages, we investigated potential determinants for QoL focusing on the impact of mood (BDI, STAI-X), sleep quality (PSQI), chronic pain (GPQ), body image (FBeK) and social support (SSS). Main outcome measure Health-related quality of life measured with the Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36). Results The age-adjusted SF-36 total score and its subscales did not significantly differ between TM and TW. Using a multivariate regression analysis approach, we identified common but also sex-dependent determinants for QoL (Adjusted R2 = 0.228; 0.650 respectively). Accounting for general characteristics such as age, BMI and treatment status, sleep quality according to the PSQI was an independent and strong determinant of QoL in both sexes (β= -0.451, p =0.003 TM;β= -0.320; p = 0.0029 TW). Chronic pain was a significant independent predictor of QoL in TM (β= -0.298; p = 0.042) but not in TW. In contrast, anxiety (β= -0.451; p<0.001) being unemployed (β= -0.206; p = 0.020) and insecurity about the own appearance (FBeK) (β= -0.261; p = 0.01) were independent predictors of QoL in TW. The rate of those reporting high sleep disturbances (PSQI�5) was high with 79.2% in TW and 81.2% in TM. Accordingly, age-adjusted QoL was also significantly lower in those reporting poor sleep in both sexes. Conclusions Sleep strongly affected QoL in both genders, while other factors, like pain and body image, seem to be gender specific in transgender individuals.
Chapter
Male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals are often described as “women trapped in men’s bodies,” but there are two different types of MtF transsexuals, and this description is more applicable to one type than the other. One MtF transsexual type consists of extremely feminine men who are exclusively sexually attracted to men; they are usually referred to as homosexual MtF transsexuals. The second MtF transsexual type consists of men who are not conspicuously feminine, who are primarily sexually attracted to women, and who have a history of sexual arousal in association with cross-dressing. Transsexuals of the latter type, who are usually referred to as nonhomosexual MtF transsexuals, nevertheless feel an intense desire to have female bodies and live as women. They are perhaps better described as “men trapped in men’s bodies.” In 1989, psychologist Ray Blanchard proposed that MtF transsexuals of this second type exhibit a paraphilic sexual interest called autogynephilia: the propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of oneself as a female. This book contains first-person narratives by 249 MtF transsexuals who acknowledged having experienced autogynephilia. This introductory chapter describes the research that led to the development of the concept of autogynephilia and to an understanding of its clinical manifestations.