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This may be weird, so thank god for anonymity and don't read further if you aren't ready for weird : ). Also might not be in the right place. I'll present my own 'revelations' in the order they came to me, the most recent being delivered via Cupid's Poisoned Arrow. For the record, I MOed last night with minimal fantasy after going 30 days PMO free, 3 weeks PMO straight before that period (ended by dream), 3 weeks PMO free before that (also ended by dream).

First, my sexuality. Till puberty I was happy and well-adjusted to my reality. Come puberty I started liking strange fetishes, cross-dressing, humiliation, etc. I got off on erotic fiction, transsexual pornography (took a number of years to get into this), crossdressing, erotic audio and hypnosis, chatting online, just a lot of weird shit. I never really approached anyone looking for a connection, relationship, or even a date, because my fantasies were so different from what I saw in a normal relationship. I was an attractive, intelligent, charming guy, but my sexual perplexities led me to become increasingly introverted and to avoid a lot of normal social interaction.

Come senior year of college (yeah.) I still hadn't dated anyone, hadn't kissed anyone, and felt pretty depressed. My friends convince me to go to a rave and do ecstasy for the first time. Anyone who's done that understands how your hangups sort of disappear for a few hours. Anyway it seemed like it broke down a barrier for me, letting me believe that I could have something normal in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. I went to another rave a few months later and met a girl. We fell for each other, while drugged, and so began my first real relationship and the most messed up time of my life.

I dated this girl for 9 months or so. Whenever we would go to have sex, I would get extremely turned on just by seeing her and touching her. But then the clothes would come off of both of us, or we'd start having sex, and my erection and all desire would disappear. It was horrible. I could get off sometimes through fantasy (thinking about my own feminization or humiliation), or occasionally I'd feel so in love with her that the love alone was enough fuel to have quality sex. But 90% of the time sex resulted in failure.

This is when I started getting desperate and idiotically creative. I thought I could fix my problem chemically. Caffeine and alcohol became sex tools for me, and when that didn't work, I moved onto erectile disfunction drugs. I did not inform my girlfriend about this. The erectile disfunction drugs had an awful effect on me, giving me headaches and lots of strange physical problems, but I was dedicated to making this work. The ED drugs did not work.

At this point, I figured I was either gay or a transsexual or something stranger and sadder. After lots of horrible, painful experiences with my girlfriend, we finally broke it off. I started seeing a therapist and doing my own research on my condition, all while being pretty depressed. I tried going out with a guy once, a transsexual once as well, but there was zero chemistry whatsoever.

My therapist at this point (who I had chosen because she specialized in gender issues) was leading me to believe I was transgendered. I liked this idea, because it was a huge turn-on to me, but something inside me saw it for what it was--a sexual turn-on rather than an identity. I stumbled across a term- "autogynephilia"- referring to a sexual fetish or orientation where you are oriented towards the female inside of yourself/ feminizing yourself. This was one eureka moment- it gave me some legs to stand on against the view of me being a transsexual.

But this was followed by sadness. In all my research, I found no autogynephile who escaped their fetish. All of them either ended up closeted fetishists and crossdressers as adults, or ended up living as women. I went to a support group of these people ("transsexuals" who I believe were autogynephiles) and it was the most scary and depressing thing I'd ever seen. I did not want to become that. But what options did I have?

At this point I was close to transitioning, at least in minor ways, to living as a female. Hormones were the first step (man my therapist was a crazy bitch), and I was nearly ready. It was such a turn-on to think about my body transforming like that.

At this point, I randomly got in contact with a girl I knew from school who was now living across the country. We had a flurried romance which worked better than my last relationship but still fizzled out pretty quickly. The details aren't important, but it saved me from making a very bad decision. It also left me a depressed wreck : ).

At this point I got into taking care of myself and ditching all my bad habits. I dropped all alcohol, drugs, and other bad habits (besides orgasm;)), and began researching nutrition. Besides leading me to a much healthier diet, this also inadvertently led me to Cupid's Poisoned Arrow. Which made me wonder if the whole fetish thing was really inevitable, or if there were even a "normal" sexuality underneath my perversions. What is sexual identity, and what is sickness?

So this journey has been a little over 2 months now with attempting to control my orgasms. At times it's been impossible, at times it's felt like the easiest thing in the world. It's interesting because pornography was only one of my ways of getting that sexual dopamine rush. Other things, like erotic fiction, crossdressing (or even just fantasizing about my body turning female), talking to women online all played a role.

Thoughts on where I've been and where I'm headed?

P.S. I read the Sacred Fetish article (http://www.reuniting.info/science/paraphilias_the_sacred_fetish), and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for writing Cupid's Poisoned Arrow Marnia, and for putting together such great websites, Marnia and Gary!

Welcome

Thanks for sharing your story. Wouldn't it be great if you could use a machine to tell you exactly what you are and what would be your ideal sexual path? I know it would be very reassuring for a number of guys here.

I think you're right to do a lot of detective work and rebooting before you wed yourself to the idea that autogynephilia is your only option. Most fetishes bring orgasms, not happiness. Alas, sex therapists today have those two things thoroughly conflated.

I guess I'd ask you...since you've been rebooting do you notice the cravings for your particular turn-ons to be less intense (after initiial withdrawal)? Do you notice your desire for real women to be stronger?

When you "relapsed" was it to your fetish? It seems the only way to unwire something is to stop "rewarding" yourself with orgasm using it. Your brain *wants* you to fertilize, so if you stop squirting to X, then it will look around for Y. If you don't give it kinky food, it will settle for"default" food. It can take a while, and "testing" slows you down.

I wish I had more answers, but feel free to hang around while you figure things out for yourself. We'll chime in to compare notes with you.

Remember, the kink may have occurred due to some random (meaningless) association when you were very young, or simply because your brain adapted to the stimulation of porn VERY quickly, such that you needed something more. One study of BDSM folk (mentioned in Doidge's book) found that 100% of those questioned had had painful medical procedures as children, often due to serious diseases. Somehow their brains had eroticised the dreadful pain. So these "weird" things often wire up quite innocently. And then each orgasm strengthens the relevant brain loop, until the brain automatically goes "looking for them," whenever you want to feel aroused.

True orientation is a different matter, but as best I can tell (from hours of reading on an academic listserve with lots of sex therapists and some autogynephiles, too), autogynephilia is not an orientation. It's a fetish. It's not like being born a "female in a male" body. Did you ever read The Man Who Would Be Queen?

You're a brave man to make this experiment, and I wish you well, wherever you go with it.

PS

It's normal, unfortunately, to lose attraction for mates very easily thanks to porn training (of any kind). Guys train their brains to need constant novelty. A new partner is novel...but quickly not so. The only way around this is to orgasm way less and cut out the kink. As I said, your brain, hopefully, will eventually rewire to what you feed it.

Recently a guy here talked about giving up cokes (on which he was hooked), and then eventually preferring water. Sex is a tougher nut to crack (ahem), but it may be possible, with patience and consistency.

I've thought a lot about

I've thought a lot about whether any childhood events could have set me on this path. When I was born, the doctor told my parents I had a heightened sensory threshold.(which is something I've read is correlated with a lot of these people who have drives for autogynephilia) I wonder whether being extra sensitive along with circumcision could be a traumatic experience leading to perverse sexuality?
Another theory is that my grandmother smoked while she was pregnant with my mother, and the toxins from the cigarettes led to some problems in my own sexual development. I read a study linking cigarette smoke with certain chemicals that researchers exposed rats to, and the exposed rats also had sexual issues (exhibiting mating behaviors normally associated with female rats).
Anyway, just fun things to think about: P. In the end it doesn't really matter what the cause is.

I agree that autogynephilia is a fetish. I just wonder if the orientation beneath the fetish is too damaged to be restored to anything workable. I believe it's not, and I am going to pursue this reboot.

"I guess I'd ask you...since you've been rebooting do you notice the cravings for your particular turn-ons to be less intense (after initiial withdrawal)? Do you notice your desire for real women to be stronger?"

I do. I'll talk about the most recent 30 day period here. The first few days (after relapsing) was a pretty rough patch filled with lots of intense cravings for my particular turn-ons (PTOs, if you will:)). Then a bit of a flatline, and about 3 weeks in I was feeling pretty good, a general feeling of arousal without it being connected to anything in particular. Very limited cravings for my PTOs, and I was definitely noticing girls in a sexual way without connecting them to my PTOs. Then somewhere around the end of week 4 I started craving my PTOs again. I honestly don't remember what set it off, although it's very possible stress was involved. (finals, interviews) It's tough because one of my fetishes involves female clothing, and it's very easy to slip from concentrating on a girl to concentrating on what she's wearing. :P I think stress definitely leads me back to thinking about this stuff because it's such an escape.

"When you "relapsed" was it to your fetish? It seems the only way to unwire something is to stop "rewarding" yourself with orgasm using it. Your brain *wants* you to fertilize, so if you stop squirting to X, then it will look around for Y. If you don't give it kinky food, it will settle for"default" food. It can take a while, and "testing" slows you down."

The dream relapses were to really extreme examples of my fetishes. The most recent relapse didn't involve any fantasy (and wasn't NEARLY as intense as my dream orgasms--probably the most powerful ones of my life!) and I don't feel as much of a hangover from it. I had been fantasizing in the days leading up to it, but when it happened it was just a "I've got lots of exams coming up I don't want to be constantly thinking about all this sexual stuff".

I get that it will take a long, long time, but I'm committed! When I've got nothing to lose, my patience is pretty inexhaustible. That's one thing that a long period of depression does--it prepares you for coping with going without certain pleasures :].

Well that's pretty exciting

that you already saw some movement. I think it's normal that you would have some flashbacks and dream stuff when making such a mammoth shift, especially under stress. Those things would prolly happen for a while, even under the best of circumstances.

Did you see this post? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201002/straigh... Bottom line: Brains are plastic, and sex may not be as much of an exception as is generally believed.

Your theories on "why" are interesting. They sound plausible to me, but as you say, at the end of the day, you still have to work with whatcha got.

Keep us posted.