When Blanchard said that Autogynephilia competed with heterosexuality he was making a very Blanchard-like statement. For him, autogynephilia was an aberration while heterosexuality was a God-given behavior that nature intended for us, so it was inevitable he would frame any relationship between the two as an ongoing fight for the heart and soul of the individual. Rather unusually for a Blanchard-like statement, however, many crossdreamers strongly relate to this narrative of two psychosexual forces at loggerheads.
Who am I and what am I?
There are many reasons why the question of ‘competition’ resonates, but the most important is the desire to know who we are and what we are. What we’re really asking is – given all these different desires I have…what the hell am I? Part heterosexual part crossdreamer? A heterosexual with a fetish on the side? Bisexual (taking into account fantasies about men) or something completely unique?
Caveat 1: The perils of interpreting desire.
The problem with formulating an accurate label for your sexuality is that it involves an interpretation of your sexual fantasies. These interpretations are all well and good, but when people with gender variant sexuality start interpreting their fantasies they align the interpretation with a deeply held belief. For example…a crossdreamer who aspires to live as a hetero woman will interpret their fantasies about men as genuine attraction, whereas a fetishist will claim they’re illusory.
Also, some sexual impulses are much easier to interpret than others. If I tell you I have a latex fetish then you can be pretty sure of my erotic motive when I’m whacking off to latex porn. However, what’s going on when a guy who finds gay porn disgusting whacks off to ladyboy porn? What’s his true erotic motive?
To conclude, investigating autogynephiliac sexuality and its relationship with heterosexuality often requires interpretation of difficult phenomena such as faceless men and overt fetishism for objects and clothing. These interpretations will always be just that: interpretations.
Caveat 2: Maybe crossdreamers have to learn their sexuality.
The pioneering sexologist, Havelock Ellis, was completely uninterested in sex until he was sixty…
…and saw a woman urinating. Then he discovered that urolagnia (pissing) was what really turned him on.
Some unusual forms of sexuality need triggers or learning experiences before they are realized. Crossdreamers know they have a kink for being a girl or dressing as a girl, but interpret this as a sub kink within their larger heterosexual identity.
Therefore, many years can pass until they really understand their sexuality (particularly with older crossdreamers who didn’t have access to Tumblr). By this time, however, they have so many years under their belt as hetero men that they think this is a fundamental part of their identity, giving rise to this whole idea of competition. However, if they had grown up in the Tumblrverse and knew about crossdreaming from a young age there might not have been this long hetero identification, and therefore…less sense of ‘competition.’
To conclude, as an unusual sexuality not commonly talked about in wider culture, many crossdreamers have to pass through a bogus hetero phase before they learn their sexuality. This phase biases the mind towards dualism and competition.
Caveats aside…my own personal view of the relationship between crossdreaming and heterosexuality.
1. Competition from a practical perspective.
I certainly do not see myself as heterosexual. I see myself as having a unique and beautiful form of sexuality that is closer to pansexual than hetero. This is because I find men, women and self professed ‘she-males’ attractive, and genuinely believe I would be capable of falling in love with any of them (though, with a guy I would have to be in the female role).
Obviously, when I was married and playing the role of a hetero man my crossdreaming was in competition with it because I was playing a false role. How could I be a heterosexual male if I spent my time fantasizing about being a woman sleeping with men, women and a whole lot more besides? Not surprisingly, pretending to be something I wasn’t was a form of competition with my ‘autogynephilia.’
This tells us something important about Blanchard’s notion of competition: that it’s only relevant if you’re trying to quash your true sexuality or to define yourself as heterosexual or live with somebody in the role of a heterosexual. If you do not consider yourself as hetero and have told your partner that you are a crossdreamer then there is no competition.
2. Competing sexual motives. To a hetero male breasts are sexually attractive but he does not desire to have breasts. A crossdreamer finds breasts sexually attractive and it turns him on to think of having breasts…is there any genuine hetero attraction or is it just his desire to have breasts that turns him on?
In its purest form this is an unanswerable question (because it requires interpretation of fantasy). In operational terms, however, I think we can say that it is both: the heterosexual and autogynephiliac dimensions are inseparable. Both men experience a ‘phwoar’ at the sight of breasts and if we think about it from the selfish gene’s point of view, all that’s needed is arousal and I don’t think nature’s going to start quibbling about whether the true motive was to have the tits or grope the tits and I don’t think we should either.
Personally, if someone put a gun to my head and insisted I come down on one side or the other, I would say that our desire for a beautiful woman is not 100% heterosexual because it often lacks that “I’d give her a good seeing to”. But as we are capable of performing the deed (and performing it well) and we genuinely form romantic attachments I see it as a worthless (as well as unproveable) speculation to dissect the deeper erotic motive.
It’s a bit like a footballer who’s a lifelong supporter of one club but goes to play for another. Although in his heart he’ll still be a supporter of his original club he still plays brilliantly for the new club and gives 100%. Being heterosexual is a part of our multi faceted sexuality. Just as in an alternate reality we could probably be a successful wife to a hetero guy and give good head each night, we’re more than capable of providing and enjoying heterosexual sex.
To conclude, heterosexuality it is all part of the pansexual, chameleon like nature of crossdreamer sexuality. It only becomes competition with heterosexuality if you deny the chameleon and try to be monosexual.
Competition when interest in hetero sex declines within a relationship.
What happens though when we lose interest in sex with our lovely girlfriend and start batting off to cross-gender porn and are not supplying the goods? Surely there is a sense of competition…that our true sexuality has won out in the end!
Well…let’s face it, almost everyone loses interest in the end. If a man loses interest in his middle-age wife and gets interested in an 18 year old lingerie model, do we say that his love of lingerie models is in competition with his marriage? Yes, we do…but we see it as perfectly normal that a middle age guy would fall for a lingerie model should he get the opportunity to date one.
Almost all marriages have underlying sexual problems that need to be resolved, be it impotence, fetishes, childhood abuse etc. and all of these are in competition with a happy, ideal marriage. Thus, competition between heterosexuality and crossdreaming is a symptom of something wrong with the relationship and not an intrinsic property of Blanchard’s shark-like autogynephilia that wants to eat everything up.
Do crossdreamers become bored more quickly of vanilla heterosexual sex than their hetero counterparts? Probably, but your average guy gets bored pretty quickly with vanilla sex. Furthermore, should a crossdreamer disclose their sexuality to their partner and they start experimenting with gender bending and strap-ons and domination and swinging and all sorts of other stuff, the crossdreaming can massively improve their sex life.
Competition when a gender crisis occurs and completely destroys existing relationships.
If a crossdreamer enters into a full-blown gender crisis it can steam-roller all other desires: the need to live as a woman can become far more powerful than the need to live with a woman in a heterosexual pair bonded relationship. Is this proof that there was a competition between the two and the gender variance won?
Well, yes…in a sense; but again, we need to know more about the circumstances. If a woman is demanding her husband be a hetero male and he wants to live as a woman and the relationship breaks down then clearly her narrative is all about the competing drives. If she is supportive, however, then there is no competition.
And this is a good point to end because I think it’s pretty clear that the whole ‘competing’ idea is a little old fashioned. These days people see sexuality and gender as more fluid than previous generations, making the whole notion of competition completely relative. This makes Blanchard’s notion like all of Blanchard’s notions: an interesting observation…unfortunately tainted by a conservative, hetero-centered worldview.
So what am I? Hetero, bi, gay, something else? All of the above and many other things besides. Civilians/muggles/straight people (whatever you want to call them!) are born with a straightforward, Newtonian gender and sexuality, whereas crossdreamers inhabit a quantum universe. We have the capacity to love and live across the spectrum of pretty much all known gender and sexual expressions and what we lack in consistency…
…we make up for in originality.
If you are interested in a deep, sexological analysis of crossdreaming, and further explanation of the quantum theory of crossdreaming then buy my book on Amazon or iTunes.