Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's All In The Family

"AGP runs in families." I've read this more than once and I have developed a theory as to why this happens. It goes something like this: it's commonly accepted that things like alcoholism and obesity also run in families. It's also commonly accepted that these people use alcohol and food as "stress-relief"; it's a coping method for them So people are genetically predisposed to choose one "vice" or another as their "coping method of choice." Is AGP similar? Is AGP more a way of coping with the pressure of life rather than a truly TS/TG condition? As the mother of a son in kindergarten, I worry that this runs in families. I worry that my son will also suffer from AGP - and the mental anguish that goes along with this. I do NOT want that for him. I do not care if he is gay/AGP/TS/TG, but I do very much care that he is happy with whoever he is.

My son love pink and purple. When he was a toddler/preschooler, he wanted "princess" underwear and to wear his sister's dress-up clothes. I have always allowed the dress-up clothes (I wonder now what William thought of that) and I never made a big deal about it. I didn't think it was a big deal. Girl clothes are much prettier than boy clothes and little kids don't understand yet the pressure that our society puts on boys/girls to conform to gender standards. I figured he'd learn about it eventually and only wanted to protect him. I didn't allow the princess underwear or dresses out because I didn't want him to get teased - and I explained that to him in exactly those terms. He seemed to understand. No child wants to do anything that would cause him to get "laughed" at for. At the same time, my son is also drawn to very "boy" things. He loves dirt and bugs. He loves to sports, and to shoot his Nerf guns and build things. He is more "rough and tumble" than calm and quiet. He does not get the girls desire to play house or dolls and he really struggles with "pretend" play.

Since discovering William's AGP and as I learn more about it, I have pondered what I can to do for my son - to help him if he has feelings of gender confusion. Yet I don't want to "make a big deal" of it either. I have gone back to him and told him that if he wants princess underwear or to wear dresses at home, it is absolutely fine with me. He told me that he "might want to someday, but not right now." We left it that if he ever changes his mind and wants to wear girl clothes, he will let me know. I am a "huggy" person, so he has always gotten a lot of hugs and kisses. I am fairly demanding of him, but at the same time, I try hard to make sure he knows that I am proud of him. He seems happy - to me and to others.

So...my question is, what more can I do? I want him to feel loved and appreciated for who he is, regardless. Is there something more that I should be doing to convey that to him? We are NOT telling the children about William's AGP. Since the cross-dressing and role-reversal is purely sex-based for William, it's not appropriate to share with them. We are very open with our children about the "facts of life", they know how babies are made, but right now, it's just the facts, not any details. AGP be just waaaaay too much information for children and they would have no way of understanding it. I honestly don't know if this is something that we will ever share with them. So how do you foster an open and loving environment regarding sex with your children when you are not open and honest about your own "condition" with them?

I also wonder if there is really anything that I can do. If the AGP's self-image is as distorted as the anorexics, is there anything that I can do now to change what may come? Is there something that you, as AGP's, wish your parents would have done for you?

31 comments:

  1. Susanne,

    I think you are doing exactly the right things :) You are a great mother in being so accepting.

    I really hated springing that statement on you and I almost cried when writing it but the thing is; it really is important. We were all children once and I worry about the children caught in this more than anyone else. They need sane ways to explore their feelings and sane gender exploration so they grow up into healthy adults. I know that if my parents had not so strongly enforced gender norms on me, I would be much healthier today. Let's let the children just be children and grow up to be themselves.

    All of this is hard.. Dealing with gender abnormalities is hard.. It is not exactly something we were brought up to expect or accept as real (even when the issues are our issues). I think the benefit is that if your son does have some form of AGP. Perhaps one day you will here him say "I have AGP and it really isn't that big of a deal. I have lived a rather normal life as a male, never really felt that I was in anyway inferior to my peers, and I am happy." That is what websites like this should be about. We need to make sure people with AGP can live normal lives without shame. We do not need more people with AGP transitioning to find that they have to live in a community (some TS call it a ghetto), take a second rate job, and struggle with ever finding that one special someone. The goal is for everyone to have as normal and healthy and happy of lives as possible with an emphasis on health and happiness above normalcy.

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  2. I agree , and I'm glad Susanne has made this blog. She definitely has a big heart! The best thing I think for people who have this is to figure out the best way to balance and provide communication with significant other.

    I agree in that the whole 'transition'' thing does not make much sense for many people, unless one's internal identity is principly female. If a female identity is just a component of one's life, then I think 'transitioning' would be a big mistake, resulting in the fracture of familial relationships with little to gain. If one 'transitions' and is principally lesbian anyway (attracted to women), doesn't it make more sense to keep a male identity and find a nice open-minded bisexual girl who can accept you as you are? To me, this just makes more sense and is a more realistic and mature solution to an AGP 'problem' If you explain yourself to her I don't see how this isn't a better solution. (ie family relationships intact, this does not preclude cross-dressing occasionally, having children, ability to orgasm, can present in public without ridicule, etc)


    For myself it's becoming clear the best course of action at the moment is simply to accept who I am, somewhere in-between genders with unusual fantasies and sexual proclivities. This was rather difficult to come to terms with, a process involving lots of tears as I'm sure many of you all know. I like cross-dressing occasionally. As long as this doesn't become addictive to the exclusion of human relationships, I don't see it as much of a problem.

    Some day I will find someone I can again relate to, and I will keep trying, but if I don't, I at least have my work and my clothes, right. The more I think about 'transition' the less it makes rational sense.

    In terms of finding someone who I can relate to, at this point I'm approaching my relationships with women from the perspective that I will be relatively up-front about myself. Maybe I'll present myself as a 'lesbian in a man's' body' haha. I'm still struggling with how to present this and when, as I'm currently actively dating. It's very difficult feeling like this at age 26 in the current dating scene, as generally people are 'expected' to have one night stands, something which does not at all interest me. I need to explain relatively early in a potential relationship that I am very different from normal men, but I do have alot to give if I can manage to communicate properly.

    In any case, I think it will be important to figure out a plan for people with AGP to articulate themselves to potential partners. I'm thinking that in the future I will be more up-front to potential partners, where after x number of dates or when the relationship becomes sexual that I will mention or explain myself. ie. Narrate fantasies, or mention cross-dressing, etc. If the girl leaves, well, that hurts but it does me a favor in that I can keep looking for someone who can accept me in a relationship of give and take. As Susanne says, there is really not much of a choice.

    So thanks to Susanne for this blog and to all who are posting here, it's really giving us insight on how to approach our lives in a healthy and fulfilling way.
    -Colin

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  3. Colin,

    My comment would be that who you are attracted to has absolutely nothing to do with whether you should transition or not.

    I think that in general people who are attracted to men are more likely to be legitimate TS people but I am sure that there are real lesbians in the TS community.

    The real question is how do you want to live your day to day life. Do you see yourself as female all the time and then almost get startled every time you are sired? Or do you usually see yourself as a man but not a necessarily masculine inside the bedroom?

    I personally don't think I would recommend that you tell a girlfriend that you are a "lesbian in a man's body". If you really feel that way, you would want to live as a lesbian and it doesn't sound like that is the case. I would recommend that you just tell her that you have different needs from most men and that in order to fulfill those needs, you sometimes feel the need to take on the female role. Offer her information and don't push. Give her time to make up her mind on how she feels about things.

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  4. The comment about a 'lesbian in a man's body' was a joke, I was just being facetious. What I meant is just I have feminine aspects to my personality but I'm attracted to women. Generally the girls I'm friends with are bi anyway.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I see myself as 50% male and 50% female. I enjoy male activities but I enjoy the company of girls over that of guys, I like to gossip, I like shopping, I like talking about relationships rather than sports, etc. I was out to dinner with a girlfriend last night and our whole conversation involved drama and gossip, talking about friends relationships, and subjects involving people we knew. But I also like science and math. So I'm a bit of both. I see myself as somewhere in between.

    I was just thinking out loud, my comment wasn't directed at you. I definitely think there is legitimacy to transition for some people with AGP, but to me it just doesn't make sense. I would lose my family and I'd have little to gain. I think I'm better off just finding an open minded girlfriend. But I'm totally okay with trans as well, a former roommate was trans, I think it's a good idea for some people and not others.

    Thanks for the advice!
    -Colin

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  5. Colin,

    I am sorry.. I just don't take comments like that as a joke because I know people who would say something like that :)

    Masculinity/femininity.. these are overall things and there is a large deviation of behaviors in both men and women. Saying that a girl is not feminine because she just so happens to like math, etc is wrong. Studies have shown that certain spacial skills, etc. are actually more culturally linked than sex linked. Other skills do tend to have links to sex specific brain development. For example, the left hemisphere of the brain tends to develop earlier in women providing them with generally superior language skills especially at an early age while in men, the right brain that is considered by men to be the emotional center and the center for abstract thought tends to develop first in men. However, there are variances even in which skills are located in which hemisphere.

    Do not get too hung up on all this though... For example, I have very good language skills (but not necessarily knowledge of grammar) and I am very relationship oriented but I am actually right hemisphere dominate. So because women usually have dominant left hemispheres and right hemisphere dominance is often termed "male brained", I must not be TS, right? lol I have a friend who is extremely left hemisphere dominated or "female brained" but she likes to do a lot of activities that are typical to men and a lot of women would find her quite odd.

    The overall theme is that over analyzing one's self is stupid. Just ask yourself how you see yourself and how will you be most happy. If you feel like you should be one of the girls, be one. If you feel like a feminine male who is just a little different, learn to accept and live with yourself.

    Ultimately, simple questions are the best and self doubt is hell.

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  6. Actually, I would disagree with the statement "over-analyzing one's self is stupid." I do agree, however, that self-doubt is painful. I think analyzing oneself is useful, but that one can become confused and refuse to consider that just maybe, the easy answer may be the correct one. Unconsciously, many people don't WANT the answer to be easy, because that would then somehow denigrate all the turmoil that they've felt. If the answer is complex, then all the confusion and shame that they've felt is totally justified.

    That said, I don't think AGP is easy. I think it is one of the most confusing and painful conditions that I have ever heard of or dealt with. But it's not "normal-life-ending." People are here looking for a "cause" behind AGP or to label it as TS/TG, etc, but I'm starting to believe that AGP is a separate condition all to itself. And persons with AGP need to learn HOW to live with it. A person with AGP CAN live a normal life - with a little extra effort. Recognizing WHAT they have and HOW to integrate it into a healthy relationship is key. Part of that involves rejecting a negative self-image and part of THAT is rejecting the old-fashioned, stereotypical male/female roles that society has perpetuated.

    Men who are sensitive, like to talk, and are interested in people are just as manly as those who are not. (Believe me, I worked with men for 15 years and when they are alone with a woman, they are more like women than you would ever believe!) Women who are self-confident, indepedent and like to do "manly" things can also be just as feminine as the image of the soft-spoken housewife of the 60's. You need to stop thinking in terms of masculine and feminine actions/beliefs and start thinking "people." We're all just people...

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  7. Susanne,

    Very good points.. I did not mean to infer that some analysis was stupid. Analysis is necessary. But spending 10 or more years just going over the same events over and over again especially when you know the answers, that is not healthy.

    It goes further than AGP not being TS/TG. Even as a TS, I am not the same as some other people who are TS. There are TS groups who can't identify with me. There are also TS people who can identify with me but very few other TS identifying people. So, the world is a very confusing place.

    It really doesn't bother me because I don't plan on staying in genderland forever. I can pass as a female and while I still have some things I need to do before I start living full time as one I am not overly concerned. I wish that I could just drop out of bed, throw on any clothes, and be ma'amed but that day will probably be a while in coming, however, if I do everything I eventually want to do, it will come. Being TS, it really is just about wanting a normal life as a female.

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  9. Hi, Susanne.

    I'm of the belief that AGP exists as a combination of nature and environment. So even if a male has the nature so common to AGPhiles, he may not ever develop AGP unless that nature is molded by environment (which can also include media influence and thinking habits - not just parental roles).

    It's hard for me to offer much on this because I'm 32, unmarried, male and have no kids. Anything I'd say about your situation would be theoretical guessing at best. That said, the one thing you can do for your son is to let him explore his own identity. Not just sexual identity, but who he is as a person. It's important that he gets the opportunity to test who he is within the world and learn from his own successes and failures. I didn't get that chance due to an overly controlling mother and while I don't blame her for my AGP, I do think the inhibition it created left me with only a handful of experiences with which I could build genuine confidence. It became easier to turn inward after a while - and that's when the secrecy and self-focus begins.

    Anyway, give him the chance to see who he is (or thinks he is) reflected in the external world. If he has success there, it may be the difference between him continuing on as someone who orients himself towards other people and real women and someone who detaches from that because he believes there is no role or place for him.

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  10. Susan - I hate to be the one that rains on your parade - but:

    Here is the definition for transvestism, Directly from the mouth of the individual who discovered (invented) autogynephilia.

    There are four key elements in the syndrome of Transvestism (later called Transvestic Fetishism) as described in theDSM. These four elements are: (1) cross-dressing (2) associated with sexual arousal (3) in a biological male (4) with a heterosexual orientation

    The term autogynephilia (Blanchard, 1989a) denotes a male’s propensity to be erotically aroused by the thought or image of himself as a female.

    This is not the same as woman taking natural pleasure from her own innate erotic femininity.

    The former is a projected fetishistic arousal. just as a fetishistic transvestite might experience erotic arousal at the thought of wearing female cloths, an AGP will experience erotic arousal at the thought of 'wearing' a female body.

    Deluding yourselves into believing that AGP bears any relation to the neurobiological sex reversal and its life-long consequences, as experienced by classical transsexuals, will nott help you or anybody else come to grips with his AGP - if it indeed ever existed. At least before before Ray Blanchard invented it

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  11. Hello Susanne, I hope you don't mind me popping in to share an opinion. I really feel for your situation! I've been around (and peer counseled) quite a few people who are dealing with the issue your husband and I feel compelled to let you know a few things.

    I've been trying to come up with a quick diagnostic for people to separate out the AGP condition from people who were born transsexual, because what I've found is that some of the things Blanchard (and his later followers) say can exist in either depending on how you look at the concepts.

    I think it really does boil down to "do you fancy yourself for a shag?" to put it bluntly. Regardless of what one may personally identify with on those lists, if you answer that question in the negative then AGP doesn't apply. If you DO become aroused at your image in the mirror, it's a sure bet you are not "transsexual" and you should NOT transition. Too many people start out as crossdressers and graduate to transsexual when they don't like the stigma of crossdressing. Surgery does not create transsexuals, it is a birth condition. There is no real connection between that birth defect and "AGP", and Blanchard does a great disservice by mixing the two. Please trust me on this, to anyone who might be reading!

    I've been on a crusade lately to stop the lies that I see the transgender supporters spreading because I believe them to be extremely harmful. It is NOT ok for husbands to listen to this TG talk and decide to "transition" partially while trying to hold on to wives and children. And most of the "gender therapists" are nothing more than enablers who will encourage men to "transition" partially or fully if the men simple express that wish. Find the right one, if you must pursue therapy!

    I think this is the single most harmful thing that the TG construct does. By suggesting that men can enhance their lives by "exploring their feminine side" with fetish behavior followed by major, irreversible changes to their lives that will affect them forever. The TG construct earns a spot right at the top of the homewrecker list for this.

    I don't know the answer to these AGP feelings for men, or how to get rid of them. I think you have to look at the addictive cycle and the underlying problem though. Blanchard errs when he confuses the issue with transsexualism- I believe the origins probably lie with sexual orientation... and I wonder how "straight" the transvestitism is. You cannot tell sexual orientation behavior such as hobbies and mannerisms. It is entirely possible that there is a deeply buried homoerotic component to "heterosexual crossdressing". As others have hinted at.... who does the autogynephilic fancy in the mirror, the woman he sees, or the man underneath? Perhaps it is a quest to receive permission from himself... to simply be himself with regard to sexual orientation.

    The important thing is that YOU have needs and you should not subordinate them to this issue. Nobody can tell another what the right thing to do is here of course, it's up to you how much you want this to be a part of your life. I do strongly urge you to resist attempts to escalate the behavior if you plan to stay together. Your husband is NOT transsexual, and despite what you hear form TG sources, "transition" should not be pursued by anyone but born transsexuals. It will ruin your life.

    This is my sincere, heartfelt opinion. Take care Susanne, and please feel free to email me. :)

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  12. Aria Blue,

    I don't think William has any desire to transition - but maybe I'm wrong and Susanne can speak to that. As far as I know, it's strictly a sexual fetish for him and that's it. That's why I like this blog. The people here are posting about what's real and honest, not just spiraling off into addictive cycles of delusion.

    As far as your question of "do you fancy yourself for a shag?" - I'm not sure what you mean there. Which 'you' and 'yourself' is that even referring to? Are you saying the man looks in the mirror and sees the woman he wants to shag. Or the woman looks in the mirror and sees the man she wants to shag?

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  13. ag_in_doubt asked:

    Are you saying the man looks in the mirror and sees the woman he wants to shag. Or the woman looks in the mirror and sees the man she wants to shag?

    I'm not sure how to read this. Are you suggesting multiple or 'split' personalities?

    If so then you would be redefining AGP as a disassociative disorder?

    I'm also not certain whether you are talking about a physical mirror, or an internal, psychological 'mirror'?

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  14. It seems to me that all taking part in this discussion agree that there is a distinct difference between AGP and TS.

    Whether autogynephilia is _only_ a fetish is another matter. We do not know that. The fact that Blanchard tells us that it is, doesn't mean much to me, unless he can prove it. I have looked through most of his papers, and cannot see that his "autogynephiliacs internalzing their external love object" theory is nothing but a theory.

    Susanne's post is about how you help a child that shows signs of some kind of transgender or transsexual behavior. I think her way of dealing with this is exemplary. Ultimately, we must let the kind find his own way.

    But there is a big elephant in the room: It is far too early to tell, but the question is interesting: If her boy has an unorthodox gender orientation, has that anything to do with William's AGP? In other words: Is there is an inherited biological component that underlies the behavior of both of them?

    I get a lot of reports from AGPs who tell me that they are convinced they have brothers, uncles or fathers that are AGP. This is all anecdotal, of course, and proves nothing, but to me it means that we cannot dismiss a biological explanation out of hand.

    To this people respond that AGPs behave like obsessed fetishist, and can therefore be nothing but fetishists. But that is saying that cause and effect is the same thing. This is not so in the case of transsexuals, nor is it in the case of AGPs.

    If you are a man with a mixed gender identity, as several of the comments in this thread indicate, it is very hard to establish a normal relationship with a woman. We expect her to condemn us as unmanly freaks.

    Many men keep their condition a secret or they live alone. This means that they can get no natural outlet for their sexual energies. But desire won't be denied. It takes the path of least resistance.

    If that man is (1) a gynephiliac with (2) a strong inner woman, (3) unable to express his feminine side in a normal relationship, that might easily lead to an obsessive focus on crossdressing or TG erotica. Not that I am saying that there is anything immoral about crossdressing or erotica, but too much of it can ruin any relationship.

    Fortunately, there are a lot of women who are willing to live with the peculiarities of a autogynephiliac. There are ways of making this work, and love is so much more than deciding who's to be the top or the bottom anyway. But that means that there has to be an openness about what this is, as well as respect.

    Susanne is doing a very important job here, helping me and other autogynephiliacs understand ourselves and finding ways of making a loving relationship with a woman work. For that I am very grateful!

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  15. As regards the "do you fancy yourself for a shag?" test. I identify as an AGP, but do not crossdress and does not in any way fancy myself for a shag (in the meaning of being sexually attracted to the "woman" in the mirror, wanting to have sex with "her" as a man).

    But I am not a transsexual and do not think it would be right for me to transition. I won't speak for other AGPs though.

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  16. My son was born 4 months premature. For 4 months, I lived in a NICU about 2 hours away from home. It wasn't until he was 33 days old that the doctors told us that he MIGHT live. When he came home on oxygen, they told us that if he lived to be 2, he would probably live. BUT we couldn't take him out in public or allow him to get sick as that would seriously compromise his health. On top of that, he had a 90% chance of having a serious disabiliity. No one except another parent of an extremely premature baby knows what William and I have gone through. Others tell me that they had children who were born 3,4 or even 6 weeks early, but it doesn't compare. Not to denigrate their experience, but it's not the same. Parents of full-term babies can read about the experience, they can empathize, but they have absolutely no way to relate. Because of this experience, I UNDERSTAND that I can NOT be the one to judge another's level of AGP/TS/TG - or whatever they label themselves as. Even in William's individual case, I can only go by what he tells me he feels, because I do NOT FEEL it myself. I believe that I can be helpful to the discussion of AGP because I bring an objective opinion - an outside perspective that will hopefully help AGP's understand themselves better and make choices and decisions within themselves and their own relationships to help make them healthy. Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. But just as snowflakes are unique, so are individuals. No two are exactly alike, not even identical twins. I will not presume to tell one person that their self-label or choices are wrong. It's theirs to determine, not mine.

    I do wish everyone could stop talking about Blanchard. He did not invent autogynephilia, the PHENOMENA. He and Bailey did invent the THEORY that because of these feelings, people choose to transition. Maybe some do, but Bailey said "all" and he's wrong. We all ALREADY know it, I don't want this forum to turn into more discussion into how much he is wrong. But to say that he invented the condition - that's not correct. The condition itself has been recognized by others besides Blanchard over the last century. The phenomena of a heterosexual man becoming aroused by the thought of himself becoming a woman is not new. If "we" had the clout to create a new word that could be accepted in lieu of AGP, I'd do it in a heartbeat. It would be a relief to me - and I'm sure many AGP's who would like to discuss the phenomena without getting bogged down in Blanchard/Bailey's theory.

    (continued on the next comment)

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  17. Actually, I DO differentiate between AGP and TG/TS. (Rightly or wrongly, I use the terms TG/TS interchangeably - as conventional English does. I do not know enough about the debate to choose sides.) I'm fairly certain that my William is NOT TG/TS. I'm sure many AGP's reading this are also NOT TG/TS. But should any of them choose to transition because of it, well, I hope that they are happy living as a woman. Because life is so much more than sex. And if they ARE happy, well, then I personally think that they were probably TG/TS to begin with, they just didn't know how to recognize it or express it. I will not fault them for that either. But it seems to me that most people reading this blog understand that I am not here to promote transitioning! In fact, it's almost the reverse - I'm telling them that they could possibly have a healthy relationship WITHOUT transitioning.

    As far as William and I go, WE are the ones who are defining our relationship, not anyone else. If WE choose to incorporate some of his desires into our sex life, that's up to us. And it is OKAY for us to do this! We are two consenting adults, no one is being harmed, no one is doing anything against their will. This blog is a diary of our journey together through this uncharted territory. At the beginning, I did consider that possibility that William might be transgendered. We are fairly certain at this point that he is NOT. He is, however, still AGP. And we are married. And we intend to stay married. So we are trying to deal with this in OUR OWN way. We aren't and won't always be right - more than one of my postings could be titled "Course Corrections", but I'd like to think that our story might help other AGP's find their own way to express themselves within the confines of a healthy relationship. In my mind, that means as a man committed to a woman who occasionally wants to try something "different" in the comfort and security of their own bedroom all the while maintaining the focus on and integrity of their relationship.

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  18. Personally, I would like the word fetish in it's current usage removed from the dictionary. From my observations, I would say that all men have a propensity to have fetishes and that is a normal part of male sexuality. The negative connotation with the word should be stricken.

    That said, if the problem keeps the man from living a healthy normal life then it crosses into a disorder and needs to be treated as one.

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  19. Hey Susanne [and others],

    This is Colin, and I am 26. Recently I met wonderful girl who I think might be okay with me and accept me. She is bisexual and open-minded. She told me she used to rotate her stuffed animals around so none of them would feel 'neglected' (so I know she has a big heart!) Anyway I'm wondering if you have any tips for explaining AGP or crossdressing to a significant other. This girl values honesty alot and I want to tell her before things get serious. I think it's better to explain this earlier than later.

    How would you have liked William to explain himself to you? Does anyone else have any tips?

    Thanks,
    Colin

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  20. For Colin: I strongly believe that you are doing the RIGHT thing by telling your girlfriend about yourself. It's not going to be easy, but I think you will be the happier for it in the long run. I think the most important thing for you to remember is NOT to take offense at her initial reaction. I know I took it badly at first, largely because I didn't understand it and I was...well, scared, I guess. Give her time, answer her questions honestly - it will likely take her quite some time to absorb it all. Try not to get angry if she struggles a bit, if she sticks around and keeps talking, you two have a real chance to create something awesome. Feel free to send her to my website - and she can email me privately if she wants to (su.wi.journey@gmx.com).

    As far as HOW to tell her, I'm sure there are several good ways to do it. My suggestion would be to be completely honest. Keep the focus on HER, not you. Do it privately, at your place, I think, so she can leave if she needs to. Tell her that you have something very personal, very private to share with her - something that you have never shared with anyone else - and that you are nervous about it. Then just take a deep breath and tell her that your secret sexual fantasy is to...(whatever it is.) Make sure to reassure her that you are very attracted to her, if you've said "love" to her already, make sure to emphasize that point again and again. Tell her that this is something that you hope to share with her together, not something that you want to come between you. Make sure to have some information about AGP for her, that might help also.

    Remember, the focus needs to be on the TWO of you TOGETHER. Over the following few weeks, the two of you need to discuss and decide together what activities are acceptable to BOTH of you. She might be completely open to doing something right away, but then again, she might not. William and I eased into it, starting with little bits of clothing and then progressing into more clothing, more activities, etc. We still haven't done everything that he is interested in - and we're more than four months into our journey.

    Finding someone who loves the true you, totally and completely - that's everyone's dream. Good luck, Colin. I'll say a prayer for you and your girlfriend! Let us know how it went!

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  21. I can help you a little here, because I am an identical twin and my brother did tell me at a very young age that he was having AGP sexual fantasies. IDK if my brother's doing the same work on the web as me, but since I make video vlogs he would know I was mr.a. I know alot of AGP's are deppressed but I cant say for sure that all of them suffer from that symptom.

    I reccomend bringing up AGP when he is in puberty during a conversation mabye. It's good to udnerstand why you are different. If he identifies with what you are describing than he might go on his own to research it and may even talk with you about it.

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  22. Thanks Susanne. I don't know her very well (only been dating a few weeks), but I know her enough to know she likes me a lot and she is into bdsm etc, very cuddly girl, etc. We've played some bdsm games together. She's also a very kind person. She's started staying over and we've started fooling around and sharing fantasies etc so I figure soon will be a good a time as any to tell her.

    I will let everyone know how it goes, it's the sort of thing that if I scare her off, I'd rather that happen sooner than later. That way I can keep dating, and not be really hurt because I invested all this time into one person who says 'no thanks' after six months.

    It's not so much that I'm really into crossdressing around her (I only crossdress once a week or few weeks really) but it's more that I want her to know what sort of fantasies are in my head. She already knows I'm not vanilla and she isn't either. I hate the feeling that I am hiding something, so we'll see what happens. I'll probably bring it up in the next week or two.

    Thank you so much, I will say a prayer for you too.

    -Colin

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  23. Thanks Susanne. I find that your insights are right on point. I am an AGP sufferer. I also am married with two children. When I see my son do anything that is feminine, it does frighten me. I feel like I am in jail cell with no way out. I relieve myself via fantasies and masturbation. And, when I make love to my wife, I leave my top on and let her play with my breasts. It satisfies me, but not her. I feel like she is afraid to deal with the issue. She has said that she is not a lesbian. I have told her that I am a man. However, I can see how if this was reversed, I would not feel very good about our lovemaking. I wish that sex was not that important. I also find that my AGP feelings increase during times of stress. I think that you are right that there is a definite tie-in between feelings of inadequacy as a male and the AGP fantasy. For me, I would not want to change my sex because I feel like I would be an ugly female and I would lose too much. However, I would accept a pill that made a genetic girl. But I would not want to take a pill that took the woman out of me. I think that being female is my way of connecting with my mother, who always wanted to have a daughter. Mothers always are fair game to blame. I wish you and William all the luck. All the best, Suzie Q

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  24. Susanne,

    I have to pause every time I see the this topic as I am stirred by the pain I am afraid I have caused.

    I felt I had to bring up the topic of families but I am sorry if I hurt you. I do not want to become a warmonger so consumed with my own truth that I can't help others. I want to be a person of compassion.

    These wars over definitions and who has the right to what are so ugly and rather than stand back and truly listen to each other, we only measure each other by our own path. Why must we all be so terribly limited?

    There is no excuse for me on a lot of things. I understand the big picture better than most and manipulation like I sometimes do is unacceptable. In my pain, I have at times let myself walk the most inhuman of roads.

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  25. Suzie Q - I'm impressed that your wife is willing to share at least some of your fantasies with you - no matter how difficult it is. And it can be difficult, even when you love your partner. I'm curious how you told her and how she continues to deal with it. I also find it interesting that you don't want to take that side of yourself away, no matter how painful it is. I almost think William feels the same way, although I'm not positive. I know that in some ways he likes it...I'll have to ask him.

    And for Gender Questioning...you have nothing to feel guilty about here. You didn't bring up anything new for any of us. We've all heard the fact that this runs in families before. I think it's actually good to talk about. Ignoring a problem is not the way to solve it.

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  26. Hi Suzanne, I told my wife about my cross-dressing even before we were married. In terms of the breasts, that just became incorporated into our love-making. I tried to get her to talk dirty to me, but she did not want to do that. Before we married, my cross-dressing was our little secret. We never actually crossed-dressed, although I did manage to get her bra off her and on me. After we married, my wife actually decided that she could not accept it. She has taken the military view, "don't ask, don't tell." You raised an issue in your journal that I never considered, namely, what about her satisfaction. I do not think that I have taken her feelings into account. That is very selfish of me. We used to both reach organism. Now, only I do. I want to be a better partner. But, when I am under stress, I have enough problems just focusing on me. In terms of not wanting to give up the AGP or whatever it is, it just is my connection to women. I find that women are much more interesting than men and I like to talk. I am afraid that if I did not have my fantasies, I would just be another guy in a boring suit. Or maybe, it is like the story about the fat girl with the pretty face who loses all the weight and finds out that she never even had a pretty face. I do not want to that girl. I guess that I have always been afraid to find out who I am if you take away my feminine characteristics. The funny thing is that I have male and female friends and I can communicate with them as a woman without being in drag. I have one male friend that said that we did not speak the same language. On one level, I was frightened and on another I was happy. The problem is not about being male or female, the problem is the expectations put on the genders. At times I feel that it would have been easier to be a woman and have a man take care of me. It is stupid but it is what was ingrained in me. I wish that I could freely express my feminity without fear of being labelled a freak or a fairy. My wife, when she gets angry with me, she will sometimes say that I am a failure as a man. Well duh, that is how I feel when I am disappointed in myself. I once told my wife that I was transgendered. She freaked out and said that she could not live with another woman. So I dropped the label and returned to my cell. Again, to return to the question, I guess that my concern is that I really am a woman and would be taking away my essence. Better yet, what if I am me, and the woman is part of that equation. Would it be right to dismiss your child because she was ugly? I don't know. I appreciate sharing with you and hope that our conversation can help you with William. All the best, Suzie Q

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  27. Hi Suzanne, I just want to add that for me I believe that AGP is an addiction. I read what I wrote, and I sound just like an alcoholic that does not want to give up booze or a schitzophrenic (please excuse my spelling) who does not want to take her medicine because of the euphoria that she feels without it. From my little research of the subject, the best medicine seems to be a serotonin inhibitor. The side effects are lack of sex drive, lethargy, and weight gain. Given those choices, I prefer a pretty black dress, stockings, diamond earings, and tasteful pearls. Girls are not the only ones who want to have fun. Suzie Q

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  28. from Colin

    @Suzie Q , to me what you wrote does not sound like an addiction. Only vaguely. It sounds to me more like you want acceptance, which is what all human beings want and need.

    Here's the thing: With AGP/crossdressing, the human sex drive is channeled into GENDER-related fantasies. (and whatever else). So what you are not experiencing is addiction per se, but rather your sex drive sublimating into imagining yourself as a woman. This is a biological drive which can turn into something addictive, but will not necessarily do so.

    To me it sounds like your problem is not the AGP/crossdressing itself, but rather your relationship with your wife. What she is saying about you being a failure as a man is an incredibly hurtful thing to say. I would leave a woman who said that to me -- especially if she knew about my crossdressing and gender-dysphoria. I think you need to call her out on that, and demand an apology.

    Even with my first girlfriend, at ages 16-18 who KNEW about my crossdressing and was okay with it (she helped me shop, let me lie in bed with her dressed up etc), we fought all the time and she NEVER once said anything mean about my crossdressing. She knew how much it made me cry (I cried for hours in front of her) and how painful it was when I was a child , so she never said anything mean like that. Even during our biggest fights. She would yell about every other damn thing (you take things too personally! we never go out to dinner! you need to feed the dogs!) but never about my gender issues. She knew that pain went too deep and she cared about me.

    So the fact that your wife is saying things like that is pretty fucked up to put it bluntly. For me, a woman who could not 'accept it' would be a deal-breaker. I would leave. I'd rather be alone than with someone that made me feel bad about who I am. Life is too short for that.

    -Colin

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  29. Granted, the situation is different for you since you are married with two children, but still, life is too short to put up with emotional cruelty from the person who is supposed to love you. It's one thing if your wife can't be totally okay with everything, but at the very least you should be able to trust her not to emotionally abuse you over something so painful that you can't even help.

    I'm not sure what to tell you, but if that was me, and my children were grown, I'd tell her , look we need to work through this... if she said no, I'd say, look we need to work through this or we just can't go on. My crossdressing impulses are not going away so we need to find a way to cope. Let's do this together.

    And I'll mention also it also seems like you have a problem because you are getting off and she is not. Not that you both have to get off every time, but you at least should understand what gets the other person off, what they like, etc. So anyway, I hope things work out for you...

    One thing I've found that helped me is just to constantly say what I'm thinking, especially when my partner asks... I'm learning good communication is critical for AGP because we tend to have such awful communication skills , due to the fact we are used to suppressing our emotions and keeping secrets...

    -Colin

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  30. Colin, Thanks for your thoughts. However, for me, I do not need my wife to validate my sexual fantasies. I also do not want to have a relationship where the main requirement is that the person plays dress-up with me. I wish you well and hope that you find whatever you are looking for. On a personal level, I am very happy with my life. I can communicate and have never been afraid to share my feelings with other people. I also have had many successful relationships and have never felt isolated for long periods of time. I think that the problem with writing is that what you say is true (in your mind) when you say it. However, when you look back, a lot of things have changed, and maybe what you said wasn't even true when you said it. I have been with my wife for over 20 years and am very happy. I am not going to throw that away for anything. Good luck, Suzie

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  31. Well then what's the problem?
    -Colin

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