Autogynephilia: Sex as a woman

Autogynephilia is a self-reinforcing, sexualised self-reward system. It is stimulated by a man’s desire to be, or appear to be, a woman. It is satisfied by achieving this. Although there are other rewards, the most powerful one is by having sex as a woman. That is to say, by being penetrated.

Because it is self-reinforcing, the more often the satisfaction is achieved, the stronger it gets. It is narcissistic because it is focussed on the male self as a woman. Because sexualised reward is so strong, autogynephilia is extremely powerful and compelling. Sex as a woman turbo-charges it.

This reward is not always dependent on orgasm. It acts through other psychological reward systems too. So a person with it may receive sexualised reward from dressing as a woman, from going to the hairdresser, from being complimented by men, from being courted by men and having sex with them as a woman and so on.

Autogynephilic (R) and HSTS (L) transwomen in Thailand. Which do you think is more convincing?

Gender-typical norms.

A Western HSTS. She’ll pass.

When a woman puts on lacy lingerie or conforms to other gender-typical norms, she might feel sexy. She is receiving, through this culturally-contextualised idea of gender, affirmation that she is sexy and feminine. (This is absolutely not to suggest that all women take pleasure from satisfying cultural gender stereotypes, but most do, at least to some extent.)  When an autogynephile does the same thing, that person is receiving affirmation that she is a woman.

This explains why Moser and others have observed what they suggested was autogynephilia in women. But it’s not the same. A woman knows she is a woman. Her reward is to be affirmed as a sexy and desirable one, in the context of the culture and its gender roles.

For an autogynephile it is much more complex. His first need, and as the condition progresses, this need becomes increasingly intense, is to ‘be a woman’. The reward of being a sexy one is dependent on that initial one. First you must ‘be a woman’ in order to be affirmed as a desirable one.

Men do not normally find sexualised reward in wearing frilly panties or stockings and make-up. If they do, then they are expressing autogynephilia.

Now this presents an interesting conundrum: what in the first place makes the autogynephile desire to be a woman? Well, this again has to do with sex, and here Western ‘queer theory’ hits the buffers with a bang.

Sex as a woman: what binds all MtF transsexuals together

Transsexuals are divided into ‘homosexual’ and ‘non-homosexual’ variants. In Blanchard Theory, these are ‘HSTS’ and ‘AGP‘ (for autogynephilic transvestite.)

(Addendum 19/09/2018: I now use the term ‘transsexual’ to mean, exclusively, homosexual transsexuals aka HSTS, former transkids, True Transsexuals etc. The non-homosexual form of male gender dysphoria is rooted in Autogynephilia and I call these ‘autogynephilic transvestites’. RF)

HSTS tend to be, on average, light in build, small, have more feminine features and feminised speech patterns. All of these they have in common with feminine homosexual men and the link is easy to make. What makes them transsexual is their understanding that their desire for male sexual partners makes them women.

Remember, this is not about sex; it’s about gender. That’s primarily a social interface that communicates our sexuality to others. So HSTS naturally allow their femininity to become dominant over any vestige of masculinity they may have in order to be more affirmed as women, by appearing sexy and desirable to men.

So, like natal women, HSTS have a solid, realised understanding of their gender, although it is slightly different. Male-to-feminine HSTS are women because their sexuality demands it: they desire men. (And it is well known that by and large, women who desire women become more like men.)


This holes ‘queer theory’ and particularly its ridiculous assertion that ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’ are separate, beneath the waterline. Intrisic to an HSTS’ sense of self is that she is a women who wants to be penetrated by men. She would consider thh whole idea of sex with a natal woman — or even another transsexual — as repulsive. She would see it as ‘lesbian sex’ and she is a heterosexual girl. Sexual orientation — who you want to have sex with— and ‘gender identity’ — who you want to have sex as — are two sides of the same coin, that together male up sexuality. Simple as that. There is no separation between the two.

This makes HSTS really easy to identify and that is what Ray Blanchard did, along with virtually every other serious researcher before and since.

But what about non-homosexual transsexuals?

sex as a woman western AGP
What about her? You think she’ll pass? A fairly typical Western AGP. Admittedly some look better — and some a whole lot worse.

We know that these tend not to look anything like as feminine as HSTS. They are, on average, taller, bigger, more heavily built, have more masculine voices, do not move in a feminine manner and so on.

Further, we know from their narratives that they are not initially attracted to men. Instead they are attracted, often from childhood, to the idea of being women. They only become attracted to men as their gendered identities as a women develop. In other words, they are attracted to the idea of being women, but have no obvious means of affirmation.

Let’s make a generalisation:

HSTS become women because they are attracted to men and AGPs become attracted to men because they want to be women. Both understand that having sex as women is the strongest and most rewarding affirmation of femininity that they can aspire to.

In the West and especially in Anglo-Saxon cultures, gender non-conformity has historically been suppressed with extreme violence both by the broader culture and the political authorities.

Further, homosexuality — which is understood badly in the West — is profoundly suppressed. On top of that, if it were not enough, anal sex is condemned such that in many jurisdictions it was illegal for a man to penetrate even his own wife anally.

So, appearing to be a woman — dressing in public as one — is banned. Being attracted to men, if you are male, is banned. Behaving like a woman sexually — having recipient sex with men — is banned.

What affirmation can the Western autogynephile have other than sexual fantasy and release through masturbation? None. Thus is born the idea that ‘fetishistic masturbation’ is a core reward in autogynephilia. It’s not. It only becomes one if the other reward systems, like going out shopping with women, discussing crushes on boys, canoodling with boys and so on, are outlawed. It is a function therefore, of social intolerance.

It’s easy for an AGP to play a male role in public. And this is what they do in the West: they live as men and satisfy themselves in private.

It’s almost impossible for an HSTS to do this. She’s just too feminine and her sexual desire is not to become a woman, but to have sex as a woman. She doesn’t need to become anything: she’s a woman. Her sexual need to be penetrated makes her that. She just needs some sex like any other woman.

Social intolerance.

Fetishistic masturbation may be useful, in the West particularly, as a diagnostic aid; but far too few who discuss this — and that includes the vast majority of Western autogynephiles — understand that this part of the condition is a consequence of social intolerance.

This doesn’t mean that autogynephilia does not exist in Asia: it does. For many years I and others believed that if autogynephilia did exist there, it was very rare indeed. And it is true that the Western profile, with associated cross-dressed masturbation, wearing women’s underwear under male clothes and so on, is rare. But that is not because autogynephilia is rare: it’s because social intolerance is lower in Asia. There are plenty of AGPs in Asia.

Emerson Pascua, a typical AGP from southeast Asia, (Philippines) with her longterm partner, a woman (L). There are plenty of AGPs in the region, you just need to know where to look for them.

Although gender non-conforming behaviour is often discriminated against in Asia, the level of social intolerance is much lower than in the West. It’s largely OK to be homosexual; Boy Abunda, a major star in Philippines television, has stated on air, ‘I am gay’, several times to my personal knowledge. It doesn’t damage his ratings at all. The highly gender non-conforming Vice Ganda (Vice means what you think, ‘ganda’ means beautiful) is one of the biggest stars in the country.

No big deal.

In the Philippines and Thailand homosexuality is a big ‘so what?’ It’s OK to grow your hair long and wear hot pants to show off your legs — which, if you’re 5’11” are probably pretty amazing. Across south-east Asia, finding yourself standing next to a tall transsexual with big feet is not even remarkable. It happens every day. The insertion of penis into rectum is not considered a criminal offence and never has been.

What this means is that while the Western autogynephile is desperately trying to make sure nobody finds out and is reduced to masturbating in panty-hose, the Asian one is out and proud, dressed as a woman, socialising as a woman, and probably having sex as a woman — with men. She doesn’t ‘transition’ at age 65. She transitions perhaps at 13.

Western autogynephiles are fond of saying that the differences between them and HSTS are to do with age of transition. This is partly true. The effects of testosterone on appearance are drastic and may make it impossible for an AGP in the West ever to be convincing as a woman. Her Asian counterpart is scoffing birth-control pills from puberty. Yes, it makes a difference.


Not all Asian AGPs are convincing, though. Pic: Rod Fleming

Add to this that Asian men are markedly less masculine in appearance than Western males. They tend to be smaller, have finer features and so on, even if they are completely straight men. You take one of these guys, do a feminising make-over and he could walk down the street in Paris or New York, as a woman, and nobody would have a clue. That means that for a person so inclined, dressing as a woman and behaving socially as one, is much easier. Even autogynephilic transvestites — who don’t take hormones or desire sex change and wear women’s clothes only part time — pass easily in Asia, which they rarely do in the West.

Further, in all Asian cultures, it is bad form, to put it mildly, to offend another person. So people are inclined to go along. It is unusual to hear anyone misgender a transperson, even in the highly religious Philippines. You want to present as a woman, it’s fine. Nearly everyone you meet will call you ‘maam’ and treat you as one, even if you’re six foot with size 10 feet. This extends to social courtesies; men will give up their seats for a transsexual, just as they would for a woman, even if they know that she’s TS. (Of course, often they don’t.) This is because, even if the person does not really approve of your behaviour, in Asia, it is deeply impolite — and may result in violence — to compromise anyone’s assertions about themselves. To do so would cause loss of face, and there is no greater insult.

Academic lie.

This, by the way, gives the lie to Western academics’ attempt to explain the differences between the West and Asia on the ground that the West has more ‘respect for the individual’. It doesn’t. Yes, Asian culture is in many ways more conservative, but attacking someone’s identity is one of the biggest taboos that exist. It’s simply not allowed. If you disapprove of transsexuals, culture, in Asia, tells you to just play bonny anyway.

So we have sympathy here for the Western non-homosexual transsexual.

If you got it, flaunt it: Crissy might be AGP, but she still knows how to turn heads. Pic: Rod Fleming

They frequently assert that they have, all their lives, struggled to hide their condition — whereas their Asian sisters were busy flaunting it, mama.

Once you know what you are looking for, it’s quite easy to distinguish HSTS and AGP transsexuals in Asia. The former tend to be smaller, lighter and cuter, to have more naturally feminine voices and to be more like women in their comportment. Further, HSTS are more sexually motivated than AGPs.

In essence, an Asian HSTS is motivated by sex and a powerful desire for men. She knows that her need to be penetrated makes her a woman. The AGP desires to be a woman and she knows that being penetrated by men will make her so. It’s really very simple.


There is no compelling reason for an AGP to have sex with women. Remember, her passionate desire is to be a woman.

My ex, who is AGP. She is very attractive, despite transitioning late (for an Asian). But at 5’10” she’s clocked instantly. Pic: Rod Fleming

Sex is a powerful reward: you can learn to like sex with just about anything, if you’re a man. That is the foundation of ‘situational homosexuality’ as found in prisons, navies and all-male boarding schools. Asian AGPs are conditioned by their childhood support network — the other gender non-conforming children they grow up with — to see sex with men as affirmative. While it is be possible that primary homosexuality in men — with its concomitant physical attributes — may be innate, it is a simple fact that any man can learn to like anal sex. If such sex makes you what your dream says you are, then of course it’s attractive. Asian AGPs like sex with men because of its affirmative power.

Attraction to women.

Why then, in the West, are so many AGPs attracted to women? Well to begin with, that is how they start off in life: they are attracted to the whole idea ‘woman’, especially as a role they can invest themselves in.

AGPs do enjoy sex with women although such sex may not be affirmative. In addition, all AGPs, everywhere, prefer the company of women to that of men.

This explains the almost Platonic relationships evident between Western AGPs and their wives: they have actually become sisters. In many cases the relationship will lose its sexual component, or it will have been of low importance ever since the beginning. The AGP would be penetrating her best friend and in a culture where to be penetrated incurs a reduction of status, this causes problems.


Unfortunately however, the main reason appears to be simple homophobia. Western autogynephiles often, like Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner, express a level that is truly shocking. Of course, this represents a conflict that could hardly do other than cause neurosis. The AGP wants to have sex with men, because she knows it will affirm her as a woman, but she knows she is actually a man. So to be penetrated would be a homosexual act, which she has been conditioned to think is something completely unforgivable.

For a man to become a woman is the greatest contumely possible in any patriarchy. It destroys, entirely, a man’s being. What makes men so special? They can penetrate. A man can penetrate and be penetrated, a woman cannot. Just as giving birth is unique to women, penetration is unique to men. Men are conditioned to reject the fact that they can indeed be penetrated and enjoy it, because to do so destroys their status as men; they become, instead, ‘not-men’.

Not Men: bekis in the Philippines

In many cultures, ‘not-men’ have a social space, accepted by the community of women, but this does not exist in the West. This is the case across Asia.

‘Nok’ Yollada Suanyot with her partner, who is a transman. Nok is AGP but transitioned at 13 and has been on hormones ever since.
As you can see, AGPs in Asia are in plain sight.

Nearly all AGPs in Asia are either attracted to men or analloerotic (asexual). The latter derive their sexual reward from such things as winning beauty pageants, becoming models or entertainers and so on. This is a specific substitute for affirmative sex. Others may take jobs as women — result the same. Only a vanishing minority seek relationships with women. When they do, they often form them with other transsexuals — usually transmen. Of course,they desire the underlying femininity, wrapped up in an affirming appearance.

Something  unexpected.

Finally, for now, the Asian example shows something that might be unexpected in the West: once we take out of the equation the ‘fetishistic cross-dressing’ masturbatory element, there is practically no difference in the rewards sought by homosexual and non-homosexual transsexuals. In other words, they are both motivated by autogynephilia, if we define that as ‘a male’s propensity to be attracted to the idea of himself as a woman’.

It begins to look as if autogynephilia is the stimulus for all male-to-female transsexualism. The difference between the profiles appears to be about sexual orientation rather than underlying cause. HSTS are the way they are because underneath, they are classic homosexual males; AGPs are heterosexual males. But they both desire sex as a woman, though in the case of AGPs, this may be overlaid with a form of pseudo-lesbianism.

In other words, all transsexuals are to some extent autogynephilic (using my definition) and the differences between the types is a result of orientation, which itself has been shown to be associated with different physical profiles, and of cultural pressures.

This article was updated on 19/09/2018

8 Replies to “Autogynephilia: Sex as a woman”

  1. Rod, I know that you are trying to understand and explain this phenomena… but in this case, you are just plain wrong. While there have always been AGPs that transition young, the natural progression for them is to do so at a far later age. Further, not all folks who are in relationships with an FtM are AGP (though it is more likely, especially here in the US, because they often find an Autoandrophilic partner)… some HSTS fall in love with the very masculinity that transkid FtMs exhibit before dealing with the fact that they have no penis… that is to say, that the penis is NOT the key issue of attraction for them.

    I have met a few Asian AGPs… and they are EXACTLY the same as Western AGPs… and while there are fewer of them as a percentage, as has been shown in study after study, it is NOT correlated with tolerance, as the data clearly shows that the cultural property that is key is that of individuality vs. collectivism (at the family level), as shown by two separate studies (and thus we have replication, the hallmark of good science).

    This essay is disturbing and wrong… in that it fails to note that at least 50% of HSTS make strong statements of experiencing extreme gender dysporia at BEFORE puberty. And Yes, like gay men, they were extremely feminine BEFORE puberty, but remained so after age 10 or so, the age when gay men start to defemininize. Thus, their gender issues are not directly mediated by a desire to have sex with men… which is a secondary issue related to their core issue that gender and sexual orientation are indeed corralated.

    Finally, back to AGPs… you talk about the masturbatory aspects of AGP… and you have in a previous essay made the erroneous statement that AGP sexuality and masturbation is because of Western (actually you focused on the US) making such to be shameful. And this that is, along with intolerance of cross-dressing, is what causes the delay in AGP transitions making the inference (largely based on your own anecdotal observation, not data) that AGPs in Asia transition at the same age as HSTS. This is not supported by any data.

    1. No. I’m sorry but I have met significantly more than ‘a few’ Asian AGPs and their profile is as I stated. While late-transitioning AGPs do exist, they are rare. A good recent example would be Ian King This individual, I agree, fits the Western profile of AGP exactly.

      However, most AGP transwomen in Asia do not share this profile. Most of them transition very much younger. I give you a quote: ‘I transferred to a public school for my high school days. When I was in my sophomore year, however, something strange happened regarding my personality which I could not comprehend. It’s not just that my voice changed, new hair started to grow, and inevitable pimples began to appear. I loved to mingle with my girl classmates, rather than the boys. I loved to be with them most of the time.’

      And another: ‘I’m an Asian transsexual living in USA and I have mad respect for (ladyboys)…in fact, I’m also attracted to them.’

      Can you explain to these statements, both from Asian transwomen, in terms other than those I have outlined? In fact, the rewards discussed in Blanchard, leaving aside crossdessed masturbation, are very much alike for both types of MtF TS/TG, as I detailed. The fact is that the Asian model is current throughout most of the world, with only certain parts of the West, notably the Anglo-Saxon and particularly USican ones, being different. Do I detect a sense of white cultural entitlement? That would be disappointing.

      Regarding the masturbation and AGP sexuality, you may have misread. AGP sexuality is just that; its expression through clandestine masturbatory cross-dressing, however, is a function, at least in part, of social intolerance. I think it is quite obvious that, as social intolerance reduces somewhat and the support network afford by the Internet and social media becomes more effective, we are seeing and will increasingly see, AGPs transitioning at a much younger age.

      AS to ‘defeminisation’ of gay men, I am interested to see how you explain this in a social milieu where young TS/TG of both types are taking hormones from the age of 13 or 14. This is replicated in Latin America, where, as in Asia, contraceptive pills are available, over he counter, very cheaply, without prescription. The fact is that if an MtF trans person wishes to feminise, or not to masculinise, in any of these territories, they can, and do, achieve this very cheaply using birth control pills.

      On the other hand, while many Asian transwomen are indeed incredibly feminine, many are not. They can be as big as I am — and bigger — and not even remotely feminine. Yet they transition at a similar age, in their teens. How do you explain that except in the terms that I outlined? Yes they do appear later, but it is a matter of three to five years later, not two decades or more.

      This supports the suggestion that AGPs in the West are remaining hidden for far longer. What do you think could cause that, other than social intolerance? And further, how do you account for the fact that, as social intolerance reduces, we are seeing a rapid increase in young TS/TG? Are you saying they are ALL HSTS? If you are, you just torpedoed your argument about gay men ‘defeminising’.

      Regarding the studies you mention, you should post links. Otherwise, we cannot assess them. If they check out I will add them to my links page.
      Regarding the ‘individuality’, well the only people in the USA whose individuality is respected are the rich white ones.

      I would also point out that direct observation is data collection, and has been used consistently in research in this area. I would point you to Professor Don Kulick’s book ‘Travesti’ for a fine example, alongside Richard Totman’s ‘Kathoey’ and Aldous and Sereemongkonpol ‘Ladyboys’. Indeed, if one discounts direct observation as a source of data, then one completely destroys the basis of the natural sciences. After all, what was Charles Darwin, the most important figure in the natural sciences, bar none, doing in the Galapagos? Or later in the breeding of pigeons?

      That being the case,and it also being the case that I am sure you know that, then your comment about my ‘anecdotal observation’ resolves to a thinly-veiled ad-hominem attack on me, both as a journalist and an academic. I think that reflects rather poorly on you, and the quality of your argument.

      1. what does it mean if I am 6 ft tall but fit every other criteria for hsts? my build is small and without hormones i have never had muscles at all. i’ve only ever been attracted to men, i started transition at 20, people always told me i look baby faced. but i am tall. a lot of guys like it too, my legs are super long even for my height.

        1. Michelle, there are different profiles for different ethnicities. There’s a post on here by Noomi Herran that discusses this.

          It is generally true that Caucasian HSTS tend to be petite but in other groups, this does not necessarily follow. Noomi is HSTS and she is also 6′. Most of my research has been done in SE Asia and here again there is a pretty clear divide between short (HSTS) and tall (AGP). Noomi’s contribution has changed my perspective a bit re other ethnic types. These are also, statistical tendencies, not absolute. So it’s like a clustering, but there are always outliers. The gold standard test for HSTS is this — have you always been attracted to men? And that you have already answered. Also what you’ve said about your behaviour is classic HSTS, you’re neotenous (baby-faced), the role you like to play in sex etc etc. Not knowing your ethnicity I can’t say more but I would suspect you come from a group where HSTS are tall and leggy! I can very well imagine guys liking it haha

          All the evidence points towards HSTS being innate and associated with other innate factors — but these factors are not universally the same across all ethnic groups and subtypes. Nevertheless, the fact that there is such very clear clustering makes it pretty much certain that HSTS is innate — and you are one.

          By the way I am always looking for guest posts from HSTS on any topic relevant to being HSTS, so if you would like, please consider writing one. Good luck!

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