This question is annoyingly persistent in the crossdreaming community, and it is a morbid, obsessive question which lingers in the transgender mentality, causing doubt and shame. It is so important we resolve this question that I am going to deal with it in detail and write down the different ways in which it is formulated. It goes like this…
1) Is the cross gender identity I’m developing now, motivated – deep down – by my sex drive?
2) While my female identity may be extremely nuanced, and based around a whole set of aesthetic and personal tastes that aren’t sexual – is it really just a sophisticated form of being horny – an outgrowth of my sexual urge to be a woman?
3) To put it bluntly, in a way which all of us would consider crude, offensive and wrong, but one that occurs to me in moments of doubt: am I just a pervert?
4) Is the deeper cross gender identity experienced by some femephiliacs just the result of their femephiliac sexuality?
5) Is the new me just some bizarre creation of my sexuality?
6) Is my sexual taste just a manifestation of my deeper female self, or is my deeper female self a derivative of my sexual taste.
This question is of existential importance to some crossdreamers because it seems to be the key to whether their cross gender identity is valid or not. They believe that if, deep down, it all has a sexual root, that would somehow invalidate their cross gender aspirations. It would be ‘just sex’ and therefore not real. If their cross gender identity and aspirations are not sexual, however, then that would make them valid and real.
Personally, I would dispute the validity of the question. It is prudish – old school – like sex is dirty and something to be ashamed of; and it is also simplistic in its understanding of sexuality and its relationship to the wider self. However, as the question is important to many in the community I will answer it.
First, let’s place the two – apparently irreconcilable – dimensions of crossdreaming, side by side. We have
1. The sexual: when the individual is engaging in sexual behaviour based on cross gender fantasies.
2. The deeper female self: all female behaviours, ideas, tastes, which are not sexual.
And now I want you to choose the correct answer to the million dollar question. Whether his deeper female self is…
a) The prime cause of his female identity with the sexual part just being one manifestation of that deeper self.
b) A derivative of the dominant psychological force at work here: his sexual desire to be a female.
Did you answer A or B? Well, it doesn’t matter because you’re wrong either way. I tricked you. The answer is…
C) Neither of the above.
Really, how the fuck would you prove A or B? The question is absurd because we know so little about the interplay of genetics, neuroscience and social conditioning at work. The real options would have to have be a,b,c,d,e and go on for several alphabets because there are many unknown variables involved. So, unless you work in some secret laboratory in Serne where a team of crack geneticists, neuroscientists and developmental psychologists are working on the problem, don’t start telling me, or more importantly – yourself, that you know the answer.
Therefore, because we don’t know, you cannot…
…Separate the sexual from the deeper female self, or vice versa.
…Create a convenient causal relationship between the two.
…Grant one a priori status. Sex drive says, “I got there first so I must be the boss.”
So, let’s try to escape the narrow polarisation of A versus B, and let me ask you a question: Who built the pyramids… the replaceable and expendable grunts who carried all the blocks of stone? Or the team of genius’s who, in a world without calculators or engineering degrees, designed them?
A smart Alec might reply… “the grunts built it… you didn’t ask who designed it?” and that would be valid, but we all know that if the geniuses hadn’t designed it then it would have been impossible to build. Similarly, the psyche of the crossdreamer in which he has both a sexual urge to be a woman, an emotional urge, and an aesthetic urge – are all part of the female identity which he develops, and you can’t separate them with amateur psychology or dogmatic ideas about gender that you want to force on the world. It’s like… a Macdonalds happy meal comes with nuggets, fries and a toy. It’s a package. In fact, the question about the sexual drive creating the psychological drive is like looking at your happy meal, picking up the nuggets and asking if they caused the fries… or did the toy make the nuggets and the fries? None of them made each other, they all came together and we cannot say with scientific certainty how it happened.
Now, I would like you to consider your reaction to what I’ve said. I think my answer will be unsatisfactory because we have a natural tendency to monocausal explanations. Tell the truth, we humans are… pretty fucking dumb. The idea that the sex came first so that must be the cause of all else is exactly the sort of idea we love. It’s sequential, tidy, logical. But unfortunately… crossdreaming is a mental and genetic and social phenomena, and not some simple, mechanical apparatus that can be explained with ease. Similarly, the argument from quantity is powerfully enticing … whatever there is the most of must be the dominant force: “Because the majority of my crossdreaming thoughts are sexual then it must all be sexual.” I would reply, “Well, of course, their mostly sexual… humans think about sex constantly… what do you expect most of the crossdreaming to be about… quantum mechanics?”
The first argument – the sequential – in no way addresses the nuances of sexuality and its wider effect on behaviour, nor powerful psychological forces such as repression. It is quite plausible to me that the infant mind immediately represses his contrary gender identity, but this force is only powerful enough to partially repress it… it cannot override a powerful human instinct like the sex drive and thus the sexual aspect of crossdreaming remains in the conscious mind while the gender identity gets buried.
To be honest, I’m not totally convinced by that theory, but try to prove or disprove it. My previous point is worth repeating: we are not even in the infancy of understanding the complex interplay of genetics, experience, neuroscience and social conditioning that gives rise to so much of human psychology. To say that the female identity of a late onset transsexual is just sex is only one notch of sophistication up from saying that the world doesn’t fall because it’s being held up by atlas, or that the sun moves across the sky dragged in a chariot by the sky god.
To show the complexity of the situation, think of some of the scientific data we do have, rather than unprovable psychological mechanisms. We know from numerous case studies that once a transsexual takes hormones their sex drive falls off the cliff (due to the absence of testosterone). This should mean, therefore, if their crossdreaming is sexually motivated that they should lose interest in transitioning. But they rarely do. Although they are no longer aroused by crossing gender it still feels right and natural and an arrival at their true self. Conversely, for those in the ‘it’s all a deeper psychological drive’ camp, consider the type of sexual fantasy this individual has from a very early age… surely, if he was in some deeper sense – female – the sexual behaviour would be that of a female and he would fantasise about men, as women do. However, the substance of his fantasy – even if it includes men – is always about being a woman, and that is the source of the erotic impulse.
So unfortunately for those who want a simple explanation, the deeper female self and the sexual self are not locked into a convenient causal relationship where we can say one causes the other. I believe they come in the same package. And I say ‘believe’ because – I repeat – at this moment no one can be completely – or even slightly – certain.
To conclude, if you are currently involved in the debate… is my female self, deep down, just a creation of my sex drive… the answer is… I don’t know, and no one will know until both you and your female identity are long dead, so stop being drawn to the wrong question and start asking the right questions.
Here’s a test you can try. Take medicine that will make your libido go way down. If being a woman seems boring or stressful, then it was most likely just your sexual fantasy. If being a woman still gives you the same great feeling of satisfaction, then you’re fine. The truth is, I don’t really care if some of my fellow trans girls are only doing it for sexual reasons. I just feel sorry for anyone they eventually date. If that person ever decides to take a break from sex, that trans person will probably lose their mind and hurt them in some way or another.
I did that test! Well, to be honest, my libido has been down to zero since around 2000 or so (the last time I had physical sexual intercourse was back in 2007). But I am taking lots of antidepressants and anxiolytics, all of which keep the sex drive down. My testosterone levels are normal for my age, but, due to being overweight, the estrogen levels have skyrocketed way above the triple of what would be average for my age and size. This doesn’t affect me physically, but… it probably also keeps the sex drive so down that technically I could fit into the classification of ‘asexual’.
But. There is a ‘but’. Presenting myself as a woman gives me even more of that great feeling of satisfaction. Well, I’m also cheating: I present as a woman publicly perhaps a third of my time, and all that done in broad daylight, in public, doing boring chores like standing in queues at the supermarket or asking bank clerks for a loan. What that means is that I’m linked to that feeling of intense satisfaction much more than before, when I was just another closet crossdresser and had to dress in a rush, hidden from everybody, just to enjoy myself for a few hours, and take everything away very quickly lest I’d be found and labeled as a pervert.
By a mischievous twist of Fate, my wife also lost her sex drive more than a decade ago. So we’re just joined by an intense bond of friendship and intellectual affinity which is way stronger than ever. There is just this nagging issue between us: she’s absolutely convinced that transgenderity is just a social construct, at least for most cases, and certainly including mine. Her arguments, by the way, are flawless (I will expound them on an upcoming article on my blog). What this means is that she acts as the ‘check against insanity’ — if it weren’t for her, I’d go through transition, no matter what, even ignoring if I’m really a woman or not (at this stage, I stopped caring about that), just because I always feel so much better when presenting as a woman. In fact, looking at myself presenting as a male causes me such disgust that I’m the kind of person who turns their ID cards upside down in the wallet so as not to be constantly reminded on how I look like.
So I’m pretty sure that presenting myself as a woman is much more than merely an erotic fantasy — while certainly I also consider it erotically pleasant to a degree; not enough to be constantly having an orgasm, or even pre-cumming all the day, but certainly there is a sexual tingle when people look at me…
Why would we have a deep down identity ? Any proof of that ?
What is more deep down than sexuality and drives ?
Those are exceptionally good philosophical questions, and whole religions have sprouted from attempting to answer those.
As a Buddhist, of course, I would simply say that ‘deep down there’ is what we could call ‘the conscience of being conscient’ — that’s my own phrase, not an approved Buddhist term, of course. People usually call it ‘enlightenment’ or ‘satori’ or ‘awakening’ or several such terms trying to describe what cannot be described, just experienced.
Now, because it cannot be described, I will not even attempt to do that, but just give you a simple exercise (simple to describe, but profound in its consequences). Sit down in a relaxing environment of your choice (it may be at your home or at the peak of a mountain; whatever works better for you) and start observing your own thoughts. Notice how they seem to appear, stay for a while, and then fade and disappear. At the beginning, when you start doing that, it will seem overwhelming — with all sorts of thoughts happening at the same time, mixed in with feelings and emotions, and it seems impossible to keep track of all of that. That’s normal and that’s exactly what happens when we first start looking at our own thoughts. But eventually you’ll be relatively good at paying attention to them, one by one, and see them come and fade in succession.
At this stage it’s time to ask yourself the question: ‘so, what is between those thoughts?’ And as you will experience, the answer is not ‘nothing’.
Note that this is hardly a ‘religious’ experience in the sense that you’re somehow tricking your mind to feel things that don’t exist; rather, it’s a very simple experiment that has nothing ‘religious’ in it, has absolutely no connection to the supernatural (whatever that might be — I question its existence), or astral planes, or elevated states of being… nah. That’s all imagination! Instead, we can stick to what we can strictly observe, and sure, we can observe our thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, etc. — and see what is between them.
Don’t get disappointed too quickly. Some people take literally years to experience that. Some will never experience anything because they’re simply doing it wrong (i.e., forcing their own thoughts to somehow acquire a shape that they think it’s what they’re supposed to be experiencing — literally tricking yourself to believe in the existence of such mental constructs — when the trick is to stop forcing anything and just be a passive observer of what’s going on with your thoughts). And some come very quickly to the result and are often surprised at how easy it is.
To answer you directly: yes, there is something more ‘deep down’ than sexuality and drives, but do not take my word for it. You have to experience it. That will be your proof. The technique I suggested will work for many people — not for all, and that’s why there are a zillion techniques, all with the same purpose: to observe what is ‘deep down’ there. And, again, let me emphasise the issue: it’s nothing that you can describe or put words to it; if you can do that, then you’re deluding yourself and just mentally creating a construct according to your wishes and desires and observing that. However, even if it cannot be described, it can be experienced.
Think of someone who never tasted chocolate before, but has read everything about chocolate manufacture, and can recite all recipes for cooking chocolate by heart, and even point out in a shop the different kinds and types of chocolate. This person can even clumsily describe what people experience when tasting chocolate — but they do not know it, and so, words will fail. Then, one day, they actually take a bite — and suddenly have the whole chocolate tasting experience. They might be totally unable to put it into words — but they know that they had this experience, and, furthermore, they also know that anyone has had that very same experience every time they eat a bit of chocolate. Anyone who has tasted chocolate will recognise the experience, and nod knowingly when asked if they are aware of the experience. But we cannot explain exactly how it feels to someone who never tasted chocolate before. This doesn’t mean that the chocolate tasting experience does not exist or lies beyond the realm of experience; it’s nothing mystical or supernatural; it’s just chocolate — taste it, and get the full blast of the experience!
The same applies to what is ‘deep down’ beneath the layer of your thoughts. Everybody who has experienced it knows what it is and can easily find it again, once it has been experienced and recognised as an experience. But it’s impossible to tell you in words what it is, or how it feels, or how it tastes — an experience has no shape or form. Nevertheless, it can be effectively reproduced using this apparently simple (but very effective!) technique of observing thoughts — and then observing what’s between them.
I wish you’d try it out. You’ll be very positively surprised.