Autogynephilia: The love of one's self as a woman.  As used by psychologist and sexologist Ray Blanchard autogynephilia is a male's sexual attraction to the idea or image of their feminized self. 

Ray Blanchard had conjectured, as quoted by Moser, "Autogynephilia does not occur in women, that is, biological females are not sexually aroused by the simple thought of possessing breasts or vulvas” (Blanchard, 2005)"   Charles Moser in his paper "Autogynephilia in Women" which is in pre-press. 

Slated to appear in Journal of Homosexuality in the coming months.  Reports the findings of a small study he conducted to test this conjectureHe found that natural born straight women do experience autogynephilia.  So Blanchard's conjecture is wrong and the scientific method works, end of story.... 

Things are never that simple in the politicized field of sexology.

Blanchard theorized that male to female transsexuals who are not attracted to men are attracted to this ideal feminine self image, that they are autogynephilic.  One early manifestation of this being erotic cross-dressing beginning at puberty, one of the end points being full transition to a female life , transsexuality.  Trans activist do not like this notion for a number of reasons.    One being that sexual motivation for transsexual transition is seen by them to preclude their preferred explanation.  Which is that a feminine gender identity drives transition. 

A close second is that autogynephilia is interpreted, by the activist, to imply that male to female transsexuals are really men with dirty male sexual motivations.  As opposed to their being true women with a feminine essence, or female gender identity.

Charles Moser's study found that "By the common definition of ever having erotic arousal to the thought or image of oneself as a woman, 93% of the respondents would be classified as autogynephilic.  Using a more rigorous definition of “frequent” arousal to multiple items, 28% would be classified as autogynephilic."

There are some holes in this study.  Moser points out small sample size, and discusses most of the others in an intellectually honest and forthright manner.  Though I think he missed this one.   There is an assumption that administering the same sexual arousal related question to males and females and getting the same answers means the same things.  A straight woman being aroused while getting ready for a date with a man is probably plainly aroused by the man.  A anatomical male being aroused by the thought of knitting in a circle with women and being one of them, as Blanchard describes in one of his papers (Bailey 2003) is something else, I'm sure. 

He asked practically the same questions to the women as Blanchard asked to prospective transsexuals. I am sure that unless a natural born woman has some kind of sexual arousal problem they will answer yes to "have you ever become aroused while wearing women's underwear."  Since presumably most women are always wearing women's underwear.

Never the less Moser's finding is pretty much uncritically embraced by the trans activists without much thought.  After all it proves wrong one of Blanchard's minor conjectures.  My question is...

Will Moser's finding cause a eruption of transsexual women who once found the notion of autogynephilia abhorrent and inherently offensive coming out as autogynephilic? Does this give them the cover to say "real women" do it too?

For a long time now many trans activists ( i.e.  Andrea James, Lynn Conway, Joelle Ruby Ryan and the illustrious professor Dierdre McCloskey) have crusaded against the very notion of autogynephilia, or denied the very existence of autogynephilia.  A few less well known transsexuals claimed, often on Internet bulletin boards, that natal women could experience autogynephilia.  Others have formulated a concept they call being a woman born transsexual who suffers from "Harry Benjamin Syndrome". 

Women in those two groups and their like minded cohorts have at times sought to vilify psychologist, especially sexologist and have the whole field declared a pseudo-science.  A very small group of transwomen have publicly embraced the concept of autogynephilia, such as Anne Lawrence, and Willow Arune.  The transactivist have had a tendency to insult those transwomen who came out as autogynephilic such as Lawrence and Arune.

Look at the websites of these people and consider what I am about to say.  A brief look will be all it takes to get the drift of how each feels about this issue.

The transactivist claim that autogynephilia is based on pseudo science.  That it is automatically offensive and hurtful and stigmatizing to those who are labeled with it.   That autogynephilia is just the work of a transphobic quack named Ray Blanchard.  They call those who come out and talk about experiencing autogynephilia like Anne Lawrence and Willow Arune horrible names, call them men, call them perverts.

They call for the closing down of the research clinic where Blanchard works, and the firing of researchers who use this terminology in their work. Rather than treating this as an academic and scientific dispute, which can be resolved through those channels, it has been turned into an extremely polarized political issue.

Basically Moser's study if  confirmed means the trans-activist are dead wrong.  For any one of them to back down from the extreme positions they have taken on this matter would be the
hugest flip flop of the century! Flip flop is an understatement, Elfi Schlegel would have trouble describing the series of back saltos, twist, and layouts the activist would have to do. They have climbed way out on a limb, and Moser has sawed half way through it behind them.

(Edited after publication to correct the "knitting circle" sentence.)


  • Moser, C Autogynephilia in Women (2009)  Journal of Homosexuality in press.

  • Blanchard, R. (2005).  Early history of the concept of autogynephilia.  Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34(4), 439-446. 

  • Bailey J. M.  (2003)  "The Man Who Would be Queen".  Joseph Henry Press.  Women Who Once Were Boys (pre print text released on web)"