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.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

What's working

I'm not working a perfect program of recovery and I know I never will. But I'm finding that - by the grace of God - my recovery really is strengthening over time. Here is a list of some of the main things that are working for me.

1. Since 2008 I have been a member of Sexaholics Anonymous*. At first I was just going along because there was a meeting in my town, but after a while I decided it was where I belonged. Why? Because it tells me that sex has a place in my marriage and nowhere else. No ifs, no buts. It doesn't help me to be told that this is just my personal choice, one among many choices I could make. The choice has been made by my Higher Power and my choice is simply whether or not I go along with his.

Also because SA identifies what I'm really addicted to and gives it a name: lust. The stuff that goes on in my head, the chemical I can flood my brain with just by playing a fantasy on my internal DVD player. And this means that there's more to being really sober than giving up external behaviours, vital though that is. More about that in point 4.

*As ever, this blog represents my personal views only and not those of any group.

2. I go to meetings.

3. I do service at my meeting. Nothing heroic and spectacular, just service.

4. I have a zero tolerance policy towards sexual fantasy. It's taken me a long time to get there, but it really has been working for several months now - after a rather serious "wobble" made me realise I had to stop using half measures in this area.

In particular, I've accepted that for me there is no such thing as an "innocent" fantasy of being a woman. They're all sexual and they will all lead me to the "hard stuff" before I know where I am. So the time to stop is as soon as I become aware of what's popping up inside my head.

How do I stop? By turning the fantasy over to my Higher Power. Usually I use a prayer formula adapted from the White Book of Sexaholics Anonymous: "God, I surrender the right to entertain this fantasy. Please take it away from me". I use this for any other lust triggers too. The beauty of it is that in an instant it turns each of them from a threat into a moment of contact with my Higher Power. He is a reality in my life and wants to keep me safe - I just have to do my bit by asking.

5. This flows on from the previous point. Lust is spiritual anti-matter. My head used to be full of it. Cutting it out leaves a void and the void must be filled with something. For me that means putting prayer at the centre of my day-to-day life.

For a long time I thought prayer was a means to an end. But that meant I was trying to manipulate God, turning him into a kind of slot machine - I put my coin in and out comes the chocolate. The truth is that prayer works when I stop trying to make it work - when I'm talking to God just because actually that's the most important thing I can ever do, and if it's the only thing I do all day the day hasn't been wasted.

So: I pray in church when I can. I take a prayer book to work with me and use it on the train. I have a "starting work" prayer on my computer. I say some prayers before I go to sleep. And I have a particular short prayer which I use as a "mantra", saying it over and over throughout the day (this is the traditional and well-known "Jesus Prayer": "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me").

6. I believe I have found my way to the form of religious practice that can support my recovery better than any other. For me this means membership of the Catholic church. Here I encounter a God who is infinitely loving; who, being infinitely loving, is gently uncompromising in his demand that I do his will - because what he wills can only ever be what is best for me, what brings me out of the darkness of addiction into the light of his love.

If you are in any way affected by the issues discussed in this blog, I would like to offer you my prayers that you will find help, healing and blessings.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

February 2011 - back again at last!

After losing my login details I've finally managed to get back in to the Blogger account. I'll write more when I have time but for the moment just want to say that pretty much everything I've written before is still valid. It really does work!

And thanks and good wishes to those who've read the blog and let me know. I hope there are still people out there who will find it of some help.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Suggestions for a Path of Discernment and Recovery

First, we examine our thoughts and feelings about our condition. Am I sure I am transsexual? Am I happy about it? Am I sure that SRS is the solution? Am I happy about that? We remind ourselves honestly about the implications. [read more here] If the answer to any of the preceding questions is ‘no’, we owe it to ourselves to explore every possible alternative.

We inform ourselves about the concept of sexually motivated, or autogynaephilic, transsexualism. [read more here] Is there anything there we can identify with? Could this be at the root of our unease? Are we in denial?

If we can accept that our transgender behaviours may be sexually motivated, we ask ourselves: could I simply decide that I am not going to act on these sexual urges, and stop the behaviours? If not, what does that imply?

We consider whether any of our sexual behaviours in general may be addictive. [read the questionnaires on external sites here, here, here, here and here] We examine in detail whether our transgender behaviours in particular have sexually-motivated and compulsive characteristics. [read my questions for self-diagnosis here]

We ask: do I want to be freed from my transgender compulsions? Am I prepared to take action and make contact? [read where to find help here]

We start to work a programme of recovery. As part of this programme we set boundaries around our transgender behaviours. [read about boundaries here]

We trust in a Power greater than ourselves to fulfil the Promises of the 12-Step Programme. [read the Promises, and my suggestions for special promises for transgender fantasy addicts, 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.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Recovery: setting boundaries

Here are some suggestions for boundaries that we can set as tools for achieving sobriety:-
  • Don’t wear women’s clothes or cosmetics
  • Don’t buy women’s clothes, or window-shop for them
  • Don’t shave or remove hair from arms, legs or armpits (unless these are normal male behaviours in your culture)
  • Don’t take female hormones
  • Don’t have treatment for beard removal
  • Don’t use transgender fantasies to masturbate, to suppress feelings or to avoid dealing with problems
  • Don’t enter transgender fantasies while being sexual with a partner
  • Don’t surf the Internet for material to stimulate transgender fantasies
  • Don’t buy or keep transgender pornography
  • Don’t keep catalogues of women’s clothing
  • Don’t use a femme name, for example as an e-mail address
  • Don’t attend transgender social gatherings en femme, or avoid them altogether

Questions for self-diagnosis

These questions are meant to help you think about your situation. There is nothing scientific about them – they are simply drawn from aspects of my own experience which I feel are significant. There is no scoring system. Some of them raise the issue of sexual orientation – you can read an explanation of my thoughts on this here.

How many of the following statements do you identify with?

  • The first time I can remember having sexual feelings as a child is when I first had a transsexual fantasy.

  • I frequently masturbate whilst having transgender fantasies.

  • I use sexual fantasy as a refuge from the problems of real life.

  • The woman I am in my fantasies is the kind of woman I find sexually attractive, and bears no relation to my own age, size, appearance etc.

  • I fantasize compulsively about particular female anatomical characteristics (breasts, vagina, etc.) or biological functions (menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding etc.).

  • My sexual fantasies of being a woman involve sado-masochistic or fetishistic elements.

  • In my fantasies I may be sexual with men, but they are “faceless” – I don’t fantasize about specific male individuals.

  • I regularly engage in sexual behaviours which I want to stop because I feel they are not ways in which a woman would typically behave, but I am unable to stop them.

  • I use pornography, but tell myself that I am different from normal male pornography users because I identify with the women portrayed.

  • I spend a lot of time looking at TS websites and using them to fuel my fantasies of becoming a beautiful woman.

  • I have had one or more long-term sexual relationships with women.

  • I have had no sexual experiences with men.

  • I wear women’s clothes in private, but rarely or never go out in public en femme – I am too nervous.

  • I worry a lot about not being young and attractive enough as a woman.

  • I don’t enjoy social gatherings of transgendered people – I just feel awkward and out of place.

  • I have, or have had, typically male leisure interests.

  • I work in a male-dominated occupation.

  • I turn particularly strongly to transsexual fantasies and behaviours at times of great emotional stress.

  • When I fantasize about being a woman I become less inclined to mix with other people and just want to isolate myself.

  • “I want to be a woman” describes my feelings more honestly than “I am a woman”.

Finally, one to sum up all the rest:

  • I use my fantasy of being a woman like an alcoholic uses a drink.