What is crossdreaming?

by Felix Conrad - Clinical Philosopher on January 4, 2015

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A crossdreamer is a person who gains sexual, emotional and psychic satisfaction from cross gender ideas or behaviour.

The sexual fantasies of male to female crossdreamers can include any or all of the following…

1. Being dressed as a girl. (transvestic)
2. Behaving like a girl. (behavioural)
3. Being embodied as a female and having a vagina etc. (anatomical)

The common thread of these fantasies is the need to be feminine.

This does not mean they aren’t turned on by heterosexual sex. Many crossdreamers are married and able to play the sexual role expected of a husband. However, deep down their fantasies always return to being feminine.

Where does the term come from?

what is crossdreaming

‘Crossdreaming’ is a new term coined by Jack Molay that some sexologists refer to as ‘autogynephilia’ and psychiatrists as transvestic fetishism. For many transgender theorists, however, crossdreamer sexuality is simply a logical consequence of being trapped in the wrong body.

The new term was coined not only because autogynephilia and transvestic fetishism are seen as offensive, but because they fail to adequately capture the behaviour they try to describe.

Autogynephilia overreaches and tries to create some elaborate theory of transsexualism.
Transvestic fetishism underreaches and attributes everything to a fetish for female clothing.

The good thing about ‘crossdreaming’ is that it is not entirely sexual and includes fantasies that are emotional and centred on a broader sense of self. The picture above perfectly captures the concept – Unlike autogynephilia, it’s dreamy and includes the personality.

Why might someone see themselves as a ‘sissy’ or ‘autogynephiliac’ rather than a crossdreamer?

crossdreamer forumThere are five stages in the development of crossgender sexuality. Some people never go past stage 2.

Once they reach climax their cross gender experience is over and they have no desire to cross gender in any context other than a sexual one (furthermore, they may be embarrassed about their sexuality). Therefore, they prefer to think of it as a sexological fetish with no deeper ramifications for their psyche.

For those quacks who are determined to reduce all cross gender arousal to a fetish, crossdreaming is seen as dressing it all up in flowery language to make it less sexual. It’s also a favored target of internet trolls who like to harass proponents of the term and accuse them of converting autogynephilia into transgenderism.

The only politically correct term for cross gender arousal

Because contemporary gender theory states that gender is a matter of self identification, all terms such as ‘cross gender arousal’ and the love of oneself ‘as’ a woman are deemed offensive. If a transgender person is engaging in such fantasy then they are not crossing gender at all, as their gender is that which they fantasize about.

This leaves Jack Molay’s term as the only acceptable label for such behaviour.

The relationship between crossdreaming and late-onset transsexualism

The causal relationship between a sexual interest in being a woman and the latent development of a transgender identity is fiercely controversial.

If you claim that late-onset transsexualism is an outgrowth of cross gender sexuality then many transwomen feel that you are invalidating their identity. To them, it is reducing their femininity to a fetish.

If you want to save yourself a lot of time (and controversy) then be aware that such a causal link can never be empirically proven or disproven. Therefore, I advise you to keep an open mind, and if someone says they find ‘autogynephilia’ offensive then respect their wish and don’t use the term.

Comments that Jack Molay wanted to add to my definition…

“Thank you for this one, Felix. I can relate to all of this.

Several things happened after I came up with the term, which is — as you point out — a non-toxic alternative to the term “autogynephilia”.

1. I realized that it was a much broader term than “autogynephilia”) which only covers people assigned male at birth who are attracted to women). I have learned to know MTF crossdreamers who love men as well as many FTM crossdreamers who love men.

2. The term has taken on a life on its own. While it originally referred to sexual fantasies, crossdreamers found that that was a too narrow perspective, and included non-sexual interests, expressions and identity traits as well.

As for “sissy” fiction and imagery. This is definitely an expression of MTF crossdreamer sexuality, but it is not the only one. If you go over to sites like Fictionmania, you will find that a lot of crossdreamer fiction is not sexual at all, and that much of what is erotic or even pornographic, does not fit the “sissy” aesthetics of submission and “bimbofication”.

I am not saying this because “sissy” fantasies are wrong or amoral. Fantasies are fantasies and we should only be held accountable for our actions, but many MTF crossdreamers do dream about becoming strong, intelligent, independent women — also in bed.

In my own life I have also noticed that my fantasies change as I am able to integrate this part of me into my sense of self.”

Thanks, Jack 😉

What now?

If you are just starting to explore why you fantasize about being a woman then you have two options.

1) if you are gender confused with a history of crossdreaming then start with the first article in this series. What is a transvestite, and why are women’s clothes so prevalent in cross gender psychology?


2) If you are interested in analyzing common features of crossdreamer sexuality and sissy porn (why do fantasies include weird stuff like men and french maids etc) then click on the image below.

Why am I a sissy? and other questions

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