Transsexual Anonymous

From transsexual to recovering sex addict: a different approach to gender dysphoria

Welcome to my website. I’m a transgender fantasy addict. I’ve created this site to share a message drawn from my personal experience – one that may not be relevant to very many people, but which I hope may be of life-changing, even life-saving, significance to those few.

In a nutshell, my story is this:

For anyone who identifies with my experience, my message is: THERE IS HOPE!

I suggest beginning by reading my story (link here). Then this link will take you to a guide through the rest of the material here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thinking about sexual orientation: so what if I fancy women?

However strong my transgender urges, I could never successfully hide from myself the fact that I was sexually attracted to women. There were two rationalizations I used to deal with this:-

1. OK, so I’m a lesbian. What’s the problem?

2. I don’t fancy having sex with men as a man, but wait till I’ve transitioned…

Let’s look at these in turn.

It’s true that plenty of women are lesbians, and there is no reason why TSs shouldn’t be too. The problem is one of statistics. There is a lot of disagreement about how many people should be considered homosexual, but 5% is probably a rather generous estimate of the proportion of women who are lesbian. On the other hand roughly 50% of MTF TSs are said to identify as lesbian. It’s an enormous difference! If you’re attracted to women it might mean that you’re a lesbian woman; the point is that as a simple matter of probability it’s much more likely to mean that you’re a heterosexual man.

There’s not the slightest evidence that any of the medical procedures involved in gender transition can produce an about-turn in sexual orientation. I have read accounts of TSs initially feeling uncomfortable with the idea of sex between men, but happily engaging in sex with male partners once they have transitioned. Speaking for myself, any such idea was simply a denial of reality. Consider this: as a sex addict I frequently had sex in sordid surroundings with individuals who I considered ugly and stupid, who thought equally little of me and were only interested in grabbing my cash and getting the sex over as quickly as possible. If my reason, my moral code, my aesthetic sense – or anything other than my sexual compulsion - had been in control, I’d have run a mile. If I’d fancied men, nothing could have stopped me having sex with them, but in fact I only ever had sex with women.

Imagine it is a fine summer Saturday afternoon, and you are walking down a crowded shopping street. Who are you noticing sexually? Listen to what’s going on in your underpants, not in your head! The answer tells you your sexual orientation, and I’m not convinced that any amount of hormone ingestion is ever going to change that. You may be fantasizing about being the women that turn you on, but that’s a secondary consideration - and in my case it's turned out to be something I could change.

What may be true is that if your testicles have been surgically removed and your body is no longer producing testosterone, and meanwhile you are ingesting female hormones, your sex drive will be dampened down to such an extent that you will be able to make a decision in your head to prefer male sexual partners. Is that what you want? I decided it wasn’t.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Autogynephilia: men trapped in men's bodies

'Autogynephilia' is a long word built up from three short Greek words meaning 'self', 'woman' and 'love'. It refers to a condition in which a biologically male person becomes sexually aroused when he imagines being a woman.

I was introduced to this concept by an essay written by Dr Anne Lawrence, a post-operative transsexual who identifies herself as autogynephilic., and I've yet to find a better introductory account of it. Read it here, and also her Frequently Asked Questions page.

I'm not necessarily endorsing everything Dr Lawrence writes. For one thing, there has been much controversy over her views within the transgender community. For another, the path she has taken is the opposite to the one I have chosen (and I have no idea how she would react to the contents of this site). But there's no need to get into theoretical debates, nor, at this stage, to prejudge what is the best way of dealing with the condition. The point is simply to read her account of her own condition and ask whether you can identify with it.

Speaking for myself, after I had read it I could never again say to myself with complete conviction “I’m really a woman”.

How do you react on reading it? Can you identify with it? Or does it make you angry? If so, why?

Denial is a central feature of addiction. It seems logical to me to suggest that it may also be a powerful temptation for autogynephilic transsexuals. For as soon as we accept the fantasy of being a woman for what it is – as something we experience as men wanting to be what we are not, we have to accept that it cannot be realized. Whatever we do to our bodies, there is no escape from the people we are inside.

I certainly tried very hard to convince myself that I didn't fit the diagnosis of autogynephilia - for instance by inflating the handful of episodes from my childhood where I experienced transgender feelings into a biography in which I was 'really a girl' all the time.


If we have considered transitioning and obtaining Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), what are we thinking of letting ourselves in for?

Medical consequences –
We will need a long and painful course of hair removal treatment; we will take hormones in potentially lethal doses and undergo surgery – with the risks that always go with it – to reshape our genitals, enlarge our breasts, and perhaps to remodel our faces; life expectancy statistics show that it is significantly lowered for post-op TSs.

Financial consequences –
We can expect to spend many thousands of dollars/pounds/Euros on hair removal treatment, voice training, hormone treatment, and surgery; at the same time we are likely to find that society’s inability to accept us drastically impairs our career prospects – even if we have the benefit of anti-discrimination legislation, it cannot force employers, colleagues and clients to accept a gender identity which does not conform with their perceptions.

Sexual and reproductive consequences –
We will sacrifice our ability to have children; our capacity for orgasmic sexual pleasure will almost certainly be reduced and is likely to be lost altogether.

Social consequences –
We are very likely to find that family and friends are unable to accept what we are doing and reject us; if we are married or in a long-term relationship, the relationship is unlikely to survive in its existing form; we may find that even after we have undergone all the treatment available to us we are still unable to “pass” as women, and so face a lifetime of stares, double-takes and worse; although the legal position of TSs is gradually improving, it remains the case in many places that we will not have full legal status as women.

Emotional consequences –
All the consequences already listed have a greater or lesser degree of emotional fallout, but above all we risk the pain of rejection by those we love; we will be undergoing irreversible surgery in the knowledge that a significant minority of those who have done so have regrets - we cannot be sure in advance that we will be among the lucky ones.

What would make it rational to take all this on? Speaking for myself, if I’m honest with myself the answer I must give is this: only the certain conviction that, without it, life itself would be impossible and we would be driven to suicide. If that is not the case, and we are looking to this course of action to solve our problems and make our lives better, we must question whether our thinking is sane.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

12-Step Fellowships

The following are fellowships dealing with sexual addiction; the links take you to their websites:-

Sex Addicts Anonymous
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
Sexaholics Anonymous
Sexual Recovery Anonymous
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous

This site has no organizational connection with any of these groups and is not endorsed by any of them, nor does it endorse them or their websites.

I am a member of two of these fellowships and have attended meetings of one other. I offer links to all five in the faith that wherever the 12 Step Programme is sincerely worked, the addict may find help.

Why so many fellowships? There are differences in the way they define of the type of addiction they are dealing with and where they draw the boundary between healthy and unhealthy sexual behaviour. Some of the differences are subtle, some – such as those concerning attitudes towards same-sex relationships - reflect sharp divergences of opinion within society as a whole. Where such disagreements have arisen, it has wisely been concluded that it is best to ‘live and let live’ in separate fellowships, rather than keep up an endless internal debate which would be liable to distract attention away from the primary goal of recovery.

My suggestion is to find out what is available to you, and then explore what works best for you. As addicts we often tend towards ‘all or nothing’ thinking; it may be that the only fellowship with a meeting in our locality is not the one we would ideally choose, but it can still offer us the essential tools for recovery. If there are no meetings in your area, telephone or online meetings may be an option. There is plenty to read on the websites, and more literature that you can buy through mail order. Other 12 Step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous may have meetings in your area; attending them will give you the chance to share the experience of working a recovery programme, and you may find there are others there who are sexually addicted - then you can think about starting a new meeting.

The Promises: three special promises for transgender fantasy addicts

‘The Promises’ is a beautiful passage from the book ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ which has been adopted by all 12-Step fellowships. It is often read out near the end of a meeting. Read it here.

My experience and hope suggest three things which can be said about the particular ways in which the Promises will be fulfilled for those of us recovering from transgender fantasy addiction:-

  • We will learn to cherish our bodies unconditionally as gifts from a loving God.

  • We will come to accept our personalities as a unique mix of masculine and feminine and value both aspects, and we will not feel that we need to change our bodies or gender identities in order to express our true selves.

  • We will find in loving relationships with other human beings a joy we could never know while our sexuality was obsessively focussed on fantasy and on our own bodies.