The longer I have this website and try my best to care for and help other men, the more I realize the importance of making a distinction between a harmful sexual addiction and an unwanted sexual orientation. The two are very different things, and yet I would like to help men in both areas. When men come to this website asking for my help, sometimes they themselves don’t even fully realize what they want help with. It’s important for clarity to first help them think through the addiction and orientation question. The approaches for helping them are quite different. Unfortunately in the past I have failed to differentiate these two different things in most of my posts. Some strategies I outline are more directed at dealing with sexual addiction and other strategies are more helpful in learning how to live contented lives as men without indulging our autogynephilic sexual orientation. Some posts definitely are geared at both aspects at once. In future writings, I hope to more clearly explain which aspect I am talking about. Thinking through these two aspects might help some people to be better able to discern which area they need or want to focus on.

Someone may ask for help because he feels shame, confusion, or frustration about his autogynephilia or crossdressing. You can read more about what autogynephilia is here and here (Let me warn that this Reddit channel is majorly affirming of autogynephilia as something healthy). Simply put, autogynephilia is sexual attraction to acting like or being a woman. There are some people who use female clothing purely as a fetish (a paraphilia), purely for sexual reasons. Autogynephilia is much deeper than simply just being a fetish. It includes actual longing to be a woman and many men with autogynephilia do end up transitioning into living as “women.” From what I’ve studied, most male to female transsexuals are actually autogynephilic.

To understand the full-orbed nature of this sexual orientation, compare it to heterosexual orientation. When a heterosexual man is attracted to a woman and wants to marry her, he is not simply just looking to satisfy his sexual lust. He is also looking for for companionship, romance, and affection, not to mention feelings of comfort and security from being united to the other person. I’ll add that he takes pleasure in the woman being feminine and different from him, so that he enjoys being with her and enjoys her beauty and difference, even when they are not sexually intimate on any given day. A man with autogynephilia seeks all these same facets of a relationship, but he seeks to satisfy them through the woman of his making, himself, rather than through a real woman. In this very informative article by Anne Lawrence – Becoming What We Love, this deeper aspect of autogynephilia is well outlined (keep in mind this reading may trigger some guys to be tempted, especially since the article takes a secular perspective that is more affirming of autogynephilia, so read with care). But I think it is definitely worth a read. For those with autogynephilia like me, our temptation is to try to meet our sexual desire, companionship desire, romantic desire, and desire for affection, comfort, and security, all through our crossdressed self. This is why some have likened male to female autogynephilic crossdressers as people who have in a way become married to themselves.

Autogynephilia is a type of sexual orientation, one that some people encourage embracing, but one that I believe as Christians we must not act upon. I view it both as sinful to act upon, and even from a secular humanistic perspective, I think it is unhealthy to act upon. For a starter on understanding why I view it as sinful and unhealthy, you can read this post. I didn’t consciously choose to have this orientation, but I do believe that crossdressing is sinful. While I can’t necessarily change my orientation, I can refrain from acting on it or indulging it. Although the orientation itself is a result of my fallen sinful nature, on a daily basis I don’t need to feel guilt and shame just for having the orientation. But I should feel guilt if I choose to disobey God and act upon my desires by actually crossdressing, reading transgender fiction, looking at sissy pornography, or even just allowing myself to daydream and fantasize about being a woman.

How do I help guys to think about their autogynephilia and resist it? How do I help guys to live contented lives as men? For most of us, whether married or not, it is very helpful to focus on other fulfilling things in life besides sexuality. It is possible to live a very full and meaningful life even without fulfilling all of our sexual desires. Focus on serving others, ambition in your work, the joys of eating, exercise, and games, spending time with friends, and pursuing growing closer to Christ. But for married guys, I also encourage focusing on their heterosexuality which exists alongside their autogynephilia. They can focus on indulging their heterosexuality through pursuing a loving and pleasurable relationship with their wives instead of indulging their autogynephilia. And for all of us with autogynephilia, we can focus on integrating so called masculine/feminine aspects of our personality, and embracing our identity as men.

I don’t advocate suppression. We need to face our condition and understand our desires, and then we can choose whether to act on them or not. I don’t advocate conversion therapy. I don’t think we can just flip a switch and get rid of our autogynephilia, nor can we do shock treatments or watch enough pornography to suddenly take it away. But I do think that the less we indulge our autogynephilia, the weaker it gets. The more we indulge our heterosexuality in a healthy way, the stronger it gets. I don’t say this from a researched scientific standpoint, but from anecdotal testimony from the men in our recovery groups who, like me, have experienced great reduction in the strength of their autogynephilic desires after long periods of not indulging them. Our temptations should lessen over time. I can say that real change is possible over a longer period of time. I would say that I still have trouble with the addictive aspect, outlined below, but with daily issues of autogynephilia I am 99% changed. I can go many months at a time without the single thought of anything to do with wanting to be a woman. I can go many months even without having a single desire or temptation related to autogynephilia. I don’t have the envy of women I used to have. I don’t have the discontent with my body I used to have. I don’t feel insecure as a man. I love being a man. When those autogynephilic thoughts or desires creep up once in a while, it is only necessary to exhibit self-control and resist the temptation until it passes. And yes, I have given in at times, with great regret. But when that happens, I confess to my accountability partners, and get back up, and start living a life of freedom again. I enjoy my life and am not overly troubled by the underlying autogynephilia that still exists in me in a small way.

 

Let’s move on to the matter addiction. Someone may ask for help because his life is spiraling out of control through addiction to crossdressing, sissy porn, or transgender fiction. Anyone of any sexual orientation can fall into sexual addiction. Someone who is heterosexual can fall into pornography addiction. Someone who is gay can fall into gay pornography addiction. Someone who has autogynephilia can fall into crossdressing fiction addiction or crossdressing addiction, which I definitely did in my past. It’s possible that someone who finds no moral issue with autogynephilia may still want help overcoming their sexual addiction related to autogynephilia. And it’s possible someone will come to get help with their autogynephilia, but they actually have no sexual addiction. This is complicated because each person is different.

I’m someone that was sexually addicted in the past, and still view myself as sort of similar to a recovering alcoholic in the sense that if I let myself give in to autogynephilic desire right now, the addiction will restart again. For me, even if I didn’t view crossdressing as sinful, I’m not sure I’d be able to do it in a so called “healthy way.” For me it is inherently addictive. I remember times in the past where I would spend more than 9 hours straight on crossdressing fiction, probably doing damage to my body, and also going without food and water. That is harmful addiction. I know I am not alone in this!

The damage caused by an addiction like this is very similar to the damage caused by any sexual addiction. To understand the science around sexual addiction better, especially addiction related to pornography, read around at Your Brain on Porn. The sexual addiction based on autogynephilia can have additional types of harmful effects though that go beyond what you would see in a regular pornography addiction. Crossdressing demands sacrifice of self and also Crossdressing Never Satisfies. It’s not surprising that some men lose their jobs or their wives or their relationships with their kids through this addiction. More tragically, some men commit suicide over the horrors of sexual addiction. They hate what they do and end up hating themselves and they see no way out.

Treating this kind of sexual addiction is in most ways the same as treating a heterosexual pornography addiction. See this post for more of the comparison between the two types of sexual addictions – Crossdressing is like Pornography. Some of the basic steps of treatment for sexual addiction like this would be to purge all female clothing and paraphernalia, to get an internet filter, to tell about your problem to someone, to get an accountability partner, to join a recovery group like the ones offered at this website, and to reduce temptations and opportunities to sin wherever possible. It also helps a lot to fill your life with good things and healthy habits that will take your mind off of sexual temptations and help you to make it through the depressing period of dopamine withdrawal symptoms.

 

 

A few remarks as I conclude:

If you are here reading this and you are not a Christian, and you find nothing wrong with autogynephilia, but you do see you have a problem with autogynephilic sexual addiction, I am still very happy to give you any help that I can. But you may discover that you are like me, that you can’t actually indulge your autogynephilia in a healthy way because it has become inherently addictive for you.

For Christians out there, I will say that I speak about having an autogynephilic sexual orientation for the sake of helping others to understand my testimony and the ways in which I am similar to other men out there. However, I don’t think sexual orientations are as fixed and unchangeable as our culture finds them to be. I also don’t think sexual orientations should define our identity in such fundamental ways as is often practiced in our culture. I don’t think of myself as autogynephilic in terms of telling me who I am and what my identity is. My identity is rather that I am someone made in the image of God who sinned and rebelled against God. But because I am in Christ, and purchased by him, I have become God’s child and been forgiven for all of my sin. I am a man of God, living life with the God I love, who loves me more than I can possibly imagine. That is my identity. I’m living a life of freedom with God, and I don’t define my identity in the terms of what specific sins I am particularly drawn to.

If you are out there and you feel trapped by addiction, and you are terribly ashamed of all the sexual sins you’ve committed, let me assure you that you are never too far gone. God is full of grace and is ready to forgive you. Simply speak and pray, talk to Jesus. Put your trust in him as your savior and mediator before God. Put your trust in him and accept him as the one who took the punishment that you deserve. Put your trust in him as the one who lived the righteous life you are unable to live. Put your trust in him as the one who can set you free from bondage to sin and the Devil, and fill your life with peace and love and joy. Please reach out to me to talk more about this!

John 3:16-18 – “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 – “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

John 10:10 – “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 8:34-36 – “34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.