There is some confusion about the nature of Autogynephilia, the formation of the Erotic Target Location Error and its stimulus, the Autogynephilic artefact, and when it actually forms. So let’s address that.
For many years there was a body of opinion suggesting that Autogynephilia itself appeared in middle age, thirty to forty-five and later, but that is not the case. The Autogynephilic artefact, the subject of the ETLE and auto-erotic desire, actually forms in adolescence, when the boy starts to masturbate. It’s when it crystallizes.
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We now know that Autogynephilia always sets on in adolescence but in various ways can be suppressed, such that it doesn’t actually appear to the rest of the world until later. Technically it doesn’t cause clinical gender dysphoria until then and quite often we find that there’s been a trigger, perhaps emotional, relationship-related, or some other kind of thing. But this releases the restraints on the Autogynephilic artefact, it does not create it.
People used to talk about the the male midlife crisis – which doesn’t really happen – but that’s the sort of thing. A man could realize that his dreams were not going to be fulfilled as a man and he already has this Autogynephilic artefact who has basically been putting him down all his adult life, so he thinks ‘Well maybe I could try being a woman see if that works better.’
So this begs another question, which is ‘How many men are there out there with Autogynephilia that we don’t know about?’ And the answer is we simply don’t know. Some of those men will actually become clinically dysphoric, others will just take it to their graves, perhaps being secret cross-dressers or perhaps just fantasizing about it, being what’s called cross-dreamers. They all have Autogynephilia, it’s just not obvious and in fact until it reaches the point at which the person must change their lifestyle drastically in order to accommodate it, this isn’t really too much of a problem. It might be a problem keeping it under control but as long as they do, men can live with it.
Let’s go back to when the Autogynephilic artefact is actually established in the mind. It’s always at that point in puberty where the boy starts to masturbate. This happens in a range of ages depending on ethnicity and a few other things, but it’s basically between eleven and fourteen. Technically it’s called Tanner Stage Four, which is also called the spermarche in boys and it’s the point at which boys start to feel a need to masturbate. This is when the Autogynephilic artefact first appears.
Sex and erotica
Children are sexualised from a very early age; they know that their penises and their vaginas give them pleasure if they play with them, but they don’t require that in the sense of needing release and they certainly don’t associate it with having release with another person; it’s just that they know that it feels good when they rub their dicks. Any parent knows this.
When they reach the spermarche however, they become eroticised. They begin to understand that the sexual pleasure that they enjoy and the sexual release that can come from masturbation, can actually come from contact with another human being. They begin to experience desire for sexual release with someone else. And that’s when erotics and the Autogynephilic artefact come into it.
Once eroticised, a boy’s question becomes ‘What kind of person do I want to enjoy this release with,’ and for most, that’s going to be a woman.
That mental conception of the person one would like to enjoy sexual release with is called the Erotic Target. It’s not necessarily a real woman just yet, but it’s an imagining that you might call your ‘type’. I’ve said before that I come from a generation which was brought up on images of girls like Sophia Loren, and yes I still like sallow skinned, wide cheeked, petite girls with that kind of look. It’s still my Type.
That Type will never change. It was established when I was a teenager and it’s the same for everybody. We moderate it over the years because we have contact and reward with real people, but it’s always still there. We modify it, we don’t get rid of it or replace it.
In Autogynephilia, instead of the erotic target being located on someone outside the self, that is another person – and that’s how it’s meant to work, because this is part of the normal human mating system, without which there would be no humans, because we wouldn’t mate – it is reflected back onto the self, or rather, that part of the self playing the role of the Erotic Target — the Autogynephilic artefact.
The age of the Autogynephilic artefact
One of the problems that we had for many many years, in looking at Autogynephiles who appear in the range thirty-five to sixty or even older, is how on earth could that person become the target of their own erotic desire? This is a mature, maybe an elderly man, certainly middle aged, showing the abuses that life has applied to his body. He’s maybe a little bit overweight, he’s maybe bald, has other characteristics that aren’t exactly gorgeous and he certainly is not feminine. How on earth does that happen?
The answer is that doesn’t happen, because the Autogynephilic artefact, the locus of the ETLE, was actually formed at the spermarche, during adolescence. Understanding this is the key to understanding Autogynephilia.
Even quite masculine boys of that age are still not really manly. They can actually be very feminine. If a boy like that puts on his mum’s or his sister’s make-up, a bra and panties, maybe a pair of stockings and sets himself down in front of a mirror to jerk off, then bingo! He has created a plausible representation of a girl, which appears right at the time that his Erotic Target is being formed; so it becomes that Target — and the Autogynephilic artefact is formed.
‘Yeah that’s it, that’s me, I’m in the mirror, that’s me. I’m turning myself on.’
Make no mistake, that’s where it starts, that image of the self as the Erotic Target, as the object of sexual desire. But it’s crucial to understand that that is also where it stays. The Autogynephilic artefact, once established, is only modified, not superseded, replaced or discarded. It remains the Erotic Target.
As a result the Autogynephilic artefact remains stuck, permanently the image of sexy boy dressed or behaving as or in some other way representing a girl. It has to represent a girl because this boy is nonhomosexual. (This might explain the well-known tendency of Autogynephiles to prey upon HSTS, who literally are the beautiful girly-boys the Autogynephiles have been drooling over, with themselves as the actor, for years.)
The Autogynephilic artefact is a parody
Autogynephilic men often dress in a weird parody of women’s fashions and one might wonder ‘What on earth is going on here? Does this person dress from thrift shops or charity stores?’ Sometimes they do, but in fact they are recreating what was the fashionable look for a girl at the time that the Autogynephilic artefact established itself.
So a man of fifty now, in 2022, might well be looking at the kind of fashions that were extant in say 1985 or 1984, and when he exercises the Autogynephilic artefact he dresses to look like that. He’s wearing ridiculous short dresses, high boots and the kind of things that perhaps not all women wore, but were certainly being used as a representation of the so-called sexy woman in that era. So he’s actually recreating an image of himself, as a woman, as he was when he was thirteen.
Of course this is a complete disaster because when others look at this person they think ‘Gosh that’s a train wreck!’ Which it is, but the Autogynephile doesn’t see that, because when he looks in the mirror what he sees is himself when he was thirteen or whenever he started jerking off in his mummy’s scanties. That’s what he sees. That is his ETLE, his Autogynephilic artefact and he will never stop pursuing her – unless he can destroy her completely.
He shows not the slightest bit of shame in appearing in public looking like this, while everybody else is laughing up their sleeves, thinking ‘What earth does he think he looks like?’
Learning how to ‘Be a Woman’
Autogynephiles who transition in later life have to learn how to be women and part of that process is to learn modern standards, because ordinarily they would get on their knee-length leg warmers, their striped polos and whatever else was fashionable at the time that they established their artefact.
Others would look at them and think ‘You can’t go out like that, don’t be ridiculous! This is 2022! People don’t wear that kind of stuff any more.’
But the Autogynephile hasn’t a clue what women actually do look like. When he looks at them, he doesn’t really see women, he just sees his Autogynephilic artefact reflected in them. This is a central part of Autogynephilia; the man is absolutely obsessed with his own self-image (as a sexually desirable woman) and he applies it to everything and everyone.
When he looks at a woman now he’s really looking at that woman as she might have been thirty years ago but the same age. This is why Autogynephiles typically have this tendency to dress in manners that suggest, basically, time travel. They’re looking like something that might have been possibly quite fashionable and sexy in 1985, but it really isn’t now; it’s just inappropriate.
Most Autogynephiles, although this is obviously most applicant to those who are transvestic, because there are other ways of expressing Autogynephilia, show these characteristics. Many of the non-transvestites are less affected by fashion, but their Autogynephilic artefact is still based on the person’s self-image at the time that he began to masturbate. So they will imagine themselves having slender feminine bodies, sheer smooth legs and delicate arms, for example, when in fact they are overweight middle aged men with full body hair. They still think they’re cute because the self image is actually more important than the real image. When these men look in the mirror they don’t actually see themselves, they see this succubus that has occupied their bodies. Self-awareness is one of the first casualties of Autogynephilia.
If they transition then this becomes a problem for everybody around them. There’s no way that a person like this can pass as a woman, it just isn’t going to happen. There are Autogynephiles who do manage to to succeed but they transitioned in adolescence, maybe at the age of fourteen or fifteen, soon after the condition appeared.
Suppose one did that in 2005? Well now it’s 2022 so that’s seventeen years later; but she’ll have followed all of the changes in fashion and so on that have happened in the meantime, so her body and her body self-image will have matured in a more normal way. But the ones who just suddenly ‘come out’ – a better word would be ‘succumb’ – don’t have that experience, so they may appear in a way that other people find outlandish.
In addition, Autogynephiles don’t know how to behave like women, for the very obvious reason that they are not actually women. An Autogynephile is a facsimile of a woman. He may be good at it, but more likely he won’t be and he will certainly have to learn how to ‘be a woman.’
Again, for the early transitioning Autogynephile this is easier, because that person will observe the women around him as he’s a teenager and learn to act as they do. That’s why many such people who did actually become aware of their Autogynephilia in adolescence and acted on it, thought they were gay. They didn’t understand their feelings because they didn’t know what Autogynephilia was.
It’s as if they think ‘Gay men behave in a feminine manner and I want to to appear in a feminine manner so therefore I must be gay.’ But these are not homosexuals, they are non-homosexual. Most don’t like being touched by men and are actually both androphobic and homophobic.
About twenty per cent of Autogynephiles, according to Blanchard, are able to suppress their natural repulsion towards masculine bodies and allow themselves to actually have sex with men. I think it’s probably more than one in five, in Asia, for cultural reasons. But even amongst those, unless they’re involved in sex work – which quite a few are here – they’re not really interested in having physical contact with men. Encouraging men to pursue them, however, is rewarding for them.
When you see them around, again here in Asia, they’re always with other women. They’re not with boyfriends, unless the boyfriend is a Westerner and he hasn’t realized what’s going on. He’s being soaked for money, basically, just to be blunt. They use their pseudo-feminine wiles and their appearances, which can be quite striking, to do this.
Many will begin taking hormones at sixteen, which is the typical age for an Autogynephile to realize themselves here. By the time that person is twenty-four, she’s probably a pretty good looking woman, to be honest. She will have suppressed her masculinisation with hormones and any that she has will not be too obvious, because she has more gracile Asian bone structure. She will have learned how to make herself look sexy as a woman and while her model of what being a woman is might be a little bit strange to other women, to randy men it’s fine. In fact she’s perfect; that’s what they want, a gratuitously sexy, over the top woman – who happens to be six foot tall.
This explains why we see such weird fashion sense in middle-aged Autogynephiles, such that they seem to be flashing back to a period in their youth or to fashions that they saw around them when they were that age. It’s because that’s when their Autogynephilic artefact was actually formed, when the ETLE was created and so it naturally tries to reproduce itself in those terms. Since it hasn’t been out out in public, in the way that someone who transitioned at the age of sixteen might have been, this has been suppressed. It was kept in a closet for years and when it does come out it looks absolutely ridiculous.
Online, there are many resources and therapists charging enormous amounts of money for training these men how to behave and appear like women. Now the fact is if you were actually feminine in the way that an HSTS, that is a completed congenital sexual invert is, why would you need to learn this? Why would you need to go to a course in how to sit down like a woman, how to modulate your voice like a woman, how to walk like a woman?
Yet that is exactly what Autogynephiles do. They have to because they have no clue. They’re men, they’ve always been men. If they transitioned at sixteen, they probably have learned, by the time they’re twenty-four, how to do it, although I can promise you that the mask will slip from time to time.
Still, they’re able to act a role, but a forty or sixty year old has no chance of being convincing as a woman. It’s typical of them that they do not really look like women and their behaviour is bizarre, to put it mildly.
It doesn’t feel right, as if there’s something wrong about it and of course there is something wrong. It’s that the person we’re talking about here isn’t a woman at all. He’s a man playing the role of a woman and unfortunately has not been trained to do it.
Suppression and repression
To repeat: Autogynephilia doesn’t appear in middle age; it’s been there for decades. It actually appeared when the boy started masturbating. The the first time he jerked off in his sister’s underpants, that’s when it started. He’s been suppressing it all these years.
i don’t think suppression and repression are good. I think they are bad things that can lead to potentially very serious is psychological issues and I don’t think you should do it. Now that doesn’t mean that I think that everybody who has Autogynephilia should be flouncing around in girly clothes. However, they do need to learn how to manage it, to learn how to cope and deal with it such that such a man can actually have the kind of life that he wants – and not the one that the artefact wants, that’s something else altogether – while still remaining somewhat sane, which is not easy..
Anyone with Autogynephilia has a real personality and a pseudo personality inside their heads and these are in conflict all the time. The artefact’s personality is deeply hostile towards the host, always, but the host absolutely adores her. This is not a good relationship, it is a caustic one, not good for anybody, so some level of management is necessary. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.
Some Autogynephiles who transition in adolescence may detransition when they’re in middle age, contrary to the standard pattern, because they no longer have their looks and think ‘I can’t fight this any longer.’ However, others will continue. If they’ve been lucky, they have a naturally good bone structure and they’ve been consistent with their hormones, then they can keep going.
There are well-known examples of Autogynephiles who claim to be ‘true transsexuals’ and even some who claim to be HSTS, when they are obviously not sexual inverts. They might have managed to get away with it when they were twenty-five, but at sixty it’s much harder for them to fly under the radar. The effects of age can be pretty drastic on women but on Autogynephiles they are devastating.