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Tiresias comments on Changing Emotions - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 January 2009 12:05AM

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Comment author: Tiresias 09 January 2009 08:15:23AM 4 points [-]

Hi folks,

I'm an occasional contributor dropping in under another name to talk a bit about autogynephilia and what it might have to do with Eliezer's original post.

Z.M Davis said:

Abigail, I don't think we actually disagree. I certainly wouldn't defend the strong Bailey/Blanchard thesis that transwomen can be neatly sorted into autogynephiles and gay men. However, I am confident that autogynephilia is a real phenomenon in at least some people, and that's all I was trying to refer to in my earlier comment--sorry I wasn't clearer.

Well said, Z.M. In my case, I am autogynephilic, so I know that it's real. But I am not transsexual, and I don't think the truth of the existence autogynephilia depends on the truth of certain theories of transsexualism involving autogynephilia. I have male nerd psychology, and I more often feel like an android than I feel either masculine or feminine (many people reading this blog will relate to this). I only feel feminine sexually, and this only occurs sometimes by myself in a certain mood or with certain people.

I am, however, bisexual. I like the idea of having sex with a man with a woman's body, taking the feminine role (would I actually want to have sex with a man [i]as a woman[/i]? Maybe, but that gets into the questions Eliezer raises, because that person wouldn't really be me anymore). I wonder how common it is for autogynephiles to be bisexual? I think it's possible to argue that autogynephiles are bisexual by definition.

In my view, it makes sense that there is a link between the autogynephilia and bisexuality. Bisexuals are more likely than typical straight men and typical gay men to be interested in sexual relations with individuals presenting both male and female stimuli, or in men dressed up as women (which would include oneself dressed up as a woman). I'm still figuring out whether my bisexuality and autogynephilia are different sides of the same phenomenon, or whether they are separable.

Hope_WA said:

Any evidence that the brain is inherently sexed, hardwired from birth with both a sexual identity and male or female body map contradicts the theory of autogynephilia.

I also believe the brain is inherently sexed, and that sexual identity and orientation are biologically hardwired or heavily predisposed, but I don't think this contradicts the notion of autogynephilia. If you are talking about people with typical development, then it's hard to see how autogynephilia would exist, but autogynephilia could well be a developmental atypicality like homosexuality.

Typical straight males are visually attracted by presentation of female stimuli, as long as these stimuli (a) aren't being presented by other people who they know are male, and (b) aren't being presented by their own body. But if you take a male with an atypical development, especially if he is bisexual, then either (a) or (b) or both might no longer be true due to some combination of biological and perhaps other factors.

We also know that bisexual men exist who like taking a feminine role sexually, so it's not much of a stretch to imagine that some of these men might also like to have a highly feminine or even female appearance or even female body as part of their sexuality.

As for Eliezer's original question, I'll have to get to that more in a future post, but it's something I've thought a lot about for obvious reasons.