Sunday, 3 April 2011

Male femme, sexual fantasy and desire.

It is very common for male transvestites, irrespective of their (our) sexual orientation, to fantasize about sex with men. Indeed, most of my sexual fantasies are about men. But..... I'm not really attracted to men. (And that's not some lame sort of denial: I have had sex with men, but it doesn't do it for me where it counts.) So what are these fantasies about?

Looking at the lesbian paradigm once again: butch/femme is a significant erotic pairing, two women's mutual desire for each other's differing forms of gender expression as women. That's not to say that all lesbians follow this paradigm. They don't. Even within butch and femme, the pairings femme/femme and butch/butch are perfectly valid. And very many (most?) lesbian relationships do not involve butch or femme at all.

But in this instance I'm thinking, as a femme man, specifically about butch/femme as the focus of desire. And given that I fantasize about men but don't actually desire men, perhaps what I really desire is butch women and just use men as butches by default (which, given everything I've said and think about gender, is a bit crass of me, but there you go; sexual fantasies don't have much to do with well-considered gender analysis).

The question is: do I really desire butch women? I've always thought it was androgynous women I liked, but, hmmm..., maybe it's butch women. For instance, listing some of the women on film that do it for me: Sarah Connor in Terminator 2; Ripley in (especially) Alien 3; Vasquez in Aliens; Jordan O'Neil in GI Jane (after she's shaved her head of course); Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby; Kara Thrace (Starbuck) in Battlestar Galactica; Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager (if only for one particular scene in a turboshaft); Jean Seberg as Saint Joan (okay, that's quite soft butch there).

And then there's tomboys. How many films are there where the really cute tomboy (e.g. Doris Day in Calamity Jane) gets a makeover – a girly haircut, a pretty dress, make-up. And there! So she was pretty after all! She looks so much better now! No, she doesn't. She looked great before, you morons.

Is it possible to go further than the personal and suggest that a lot of straight male cross-dressers – male femmes – who fantasize about men, might in fact be attracted to female butches? I don't know. But perhaps it's something worth considering at least.


  1. Feel free to not answer if the question is too personal, but I wonder: if you are in the midst of sex with a woman, are you still imagining/wishing-for a man (i.e., someone w/ an "outie")? Would a butch woman *really* satisfy the particular desire you describe? Specifically, would the butch woman need additional...erm... "accoutrements" to satisfy your desires, or would her body -- just as it is -- be enough (so what you really want is dominance, not a specific body part)?

    I suspect the average female partner of a CDing man wouldn't be too happy to learn that "most of (their partner's) sexual fantasies are about men". This isn't about thought-policing, it is about having one's partner - "most of the time" - being present in the moment and satisfied/happy/turned-on by who they are actually with. It is difficult not to wonder why a person who fantasizes about X "most of the time" would not just go ahead and be/do X instead of Z. One model of sexual orientation takes into account fantasies too (plus behaviour plus attraction).

  2. Hi Apple. Many thanks for your very pertinent questions. No, I don't mind answering them; though I've had to do a lot of thinking about them first. Taking your questions in order:

    1) No, I'm not imagining/wishing for anyone else. That would be, I dunno... a bit weird.

    2) I wasn't thinking about a butch woman satisfying me exactly, since at that point I wasn't really thinking about sex as such, only that I find butch women attractive. And it was a personal comment not a general one. Having taken the identity "femme" to heart, I was just running with it, wondering whether the traditional femme/butch erotic pairing might also work for me; i.e. whether I fancy butch women. And the answer seems to be yes. Whether other male TVs might fancy butch women, I don't know – that would be for them to say – but I'm quite intrigued by the possibility.

    3) Specifically, I don't know. I've never had sex like that; i.e. as a femme man with a (self-identified) butch woman. Supposing it did happen, I guess there'd have to be some serious talking first. It couldn't just be a case of: here, strap this on and do me. Or maybe it could. I might very well like that ;)

    4) Dominance, no; that's something else. There's a quote in a book I'm reading describing the (lesbian) butch/femme sexual dynamic as being about butch power vs femme hunger; and that rings true for me. But hunger isn't necessarily passive or submissive; it may well be rapacious. And power isn't necessarily aggressive and dominant either; it often has to be coaxed.

  3. On your second paragraph: No, I'm sure that the average female partner wouldn't be too happy. But note that I'm not saying that most CDs' sexual fantasies are about men, only that most of mine are. Nor am I saying that most CDs fantasize about men, only that it's a common fantasy (though I can't quantify exactly how common). Also, it's easy to misunderstand what's going on here. Perhaps it's simplest if I talk about what I think my fantasies mean...

    Firstly, I'm not gay. (You're going to have to take my word for that.) So why would I be fantasizing about men? I think the point is not sexual excitement about the male form as such (which would be a gay fantasy), but sexual validation of my femme. By validation I mean recognition of who I am, acceptance of it, and a corresponding desire for it. Here I find my sexual fantasies are lagging behind my theoretical understanding somewhat. Because in my own fantasies it seems femme still equates to woman (even though the whole point of my blog is that it doesn't) and the straight validator in that case – i.e. the basic type of person that provides fulfilment – is a man. To put it more straightforwardly, these fantasies are about having sex with a man as a woman. And they work for me even though I'm not a woman and don't fancy men. To follow on from answer 4 above, I guess what I'm doing is acting out femme hunger vs butch power, albeit in a rather stereotypical way.

    On the other hand, another explanation I've read is that male CDs are just role-playing the sort of women we secretly desire. Which would mean that my fantasies are really about role-playing the sort of woman I want in bed. About that I can't think of anything to say except... that is so completely not it.

    Re: "One model of sexual orientation takes into account fantasies too (plus behaviour plus attraction)". Yes, but I don't think that applies here, or at least not in such literal terms. What the straight married male CD would probably like most is to go bed dressed, and for his female partner (the woman he loves and married) to give him validation. The problem is that his partner generally doesn't want to do that; she doesn't want a femme lover; that isn't the basis of her own sexuality. On this aspect of their mutual sexualities, they're incompatible. I don't know that there's anything much to be done about that. Unless they're willing to take turns perhaps?

  4. Hi again. Thanks for considering my questions, which I know are quite personal!

    My feeling when I read your second reply is that it sounds a bit like the much-hated "a-word" (e.g., you wrote "To put it more straightforwardly, these fantasies are about having sex with a man as a woman.").I don't wholly understand why this concept is so maligned. I mean, yes, it probably doesn't account for the TS experience, but it does seem to apply to a fair number of CD/TV desires/behaviours. If you disagree and think that word doesn't apply to at least part of your fantasy life, what is the distinction?

    I find that this notion of "validation" irksome. And maybe it is b/c I'm fairly androgynous in my feelings/thinking about myself and further believe that everyone else is (or should be) the same! BUT, what would that actually mean that you want your (female) partner to do to indicate that your "femme" aspect is being validated? Would it be enough that she "allows" you to wear lingerie in bed (for at least part of the interaction)? What else, if anything? Do you want to lie there and let her do all the "work"? Is that what would make you feel "desired" (validated)? I've heard some CD/TV people refer to wanting to be "passive" in bed. Well, from my point of view, that looks (and feels) to the CD/TV's partner like selfishness and laziness.

    I really don't understand -- perhaps apart from clothing -- what a "femme" person wants to happen in the bedroom (if it doesn't necessarily have to involve being penetrated).

    W/re to the idea that heterosexual partners do not want a "femme lover", again, what most of us don't want is a "female" (in body/appearance) lover. I don't want to touch boobs, etc. And I certainly don't want a lazy (passive/dead-fish) lover. But that is the way some of this sounds: like CD/TV people want to be the "actor" and have their partner be the "director" (now do this, move that leg over there, etc.). Again, it sounds like laziness to me (not to mention quite selfish: to expect that the other person does all the giving and the CD/TV does all the taking).

    But am I not understanding what you mean when you say you want to be "femme" in bed (again, apart from the clothing aspect)?


  5. Hi Apple. Thanks for the further comments and questions. Okay if I split them up and take them in turn again?

    1) Autogynephilia (the a-word). I was planning to post about this at some point but want to read J.M.Bailey's book first. I've just ordered that from the library (I certainly didn't want to pay for it), so more on AGP in due course probably.

    For now, I'll just say that the basic flaw in AGP is that it describes but doesn't explain. The theorist (Ray Blanchard) looks in from the outside, describes what he sees, but has no real understanding. To show what I mean: it's easy to think of countless areas of human activity which, if you had no idea what was going on, would seem totally incomprehensible (most sports, for example). But you could still describe them and create a theory to fit what you saw. And even though that theory might be completely ludicrous, because the description was correct people might recognize it and say, yes, that is what's happening. But that wouldn't make the theory any less ludicrous. And as a theory AGP is regarded as ludicrous by most of the trans spectrum.

    2) What femmes want in the bedroom: Really, that all depends on the femme. But no, I don't mean passive. Femmes aren't passive! Well, okay, sex is personal, so I'll try and talk about me again.

    I suppose what I want is for my partner to lead. And by that I don't mean initiate or dominate or service. Think of it more like ballroom dancing. One partner leads, one follows. In this dance following is responsive, not passive. You're not standing there waiting for your partner to move you about manually, nor waiting to be told what to do. (Indeed, the leader may need encouragement to take the lead.) Nevertheless, there's an element of surrender in being led, a willingness, an acceptance, which is still not passivity; on the contrary it's exhilarating. And I think that's what I want sexually as a femme: to be led. For lovers to show their desire by action, and to lead.

    What that involves in bed depends on what you want to do. Nothing specific; it's the leading that's important. (Leading isn't easy by the way. That's why the men have a harder time in Strictly, because they have to learn to lead, and to lead far more experienced professional partners. It takes confidence and practice.) As for me: dressing in bed, yes, I want that. To be who I am and to be desired for it (not in spite of it), yes, definitely. That's what I mean by validation: acceptance and desire. (Don't most people want that?) After that, well, things can move on... to wherever they move on to, depending on how things develop. Unfortunately, this is still mostly theoretical for me; I don't have all that much real experience to speak of, and didn't have the words to be able to talk about it properly then in any case.

  6. 3) Regarding not wanting a femme lover: Yes, I think that's the best way of putting it. By definition a heterosexual woman doesn't want a female lover. She wants a male lover. But there's more to it than that. Because most CDs' female partners (though not all; cf Kathy in Helen's book - p.99) don't want just any male lover, they want a masculine male lover (usually the one they thought they did have). And I don't mean stereotypically masculine (hyper-masculine, machismo or anything like that necessarily), but still, yes, masculine. What they don't want is femininity getting thrown in there, because that's not the aspect of a man to which their own sexuality responds.

    Okay, it may not be quite so inflexible as that. People's sexuality can change; things that were once a turn-off can later be accommodated or even eroticized. And then again, sometimes they can't; sometimes it's necessary to say, no, I can't do that. I guess people discover these things about themselves and each other in the course of a relationship, through talking and exploration and talking again. But, given what I said at the end of answer 2, you probably know a lot more about that than me ;)


  7. I'm MTF TG who has started taking steps toward transition. I say TG because I am not averse to my I have also had a fascination for butch's for the longest time and have dated several and loved it. I never felt more alive. Like the author of this post, I too have never desired men. I only dated them in absence of butches. My desire for butch's is complicated but I will try to here. Ever since I was three I wanted to dress and act like a girl though I liked girls and thought they were pretty so I tried to masculinize so I would compliment them and make them feel more feminine. I enjoyed when the girl I had a crush on would wear a skirt (something she rarely did). Since it was rare she was feminizing herself. I later found out that most of my desires to see here feminize me living my desires remotely. I wanted to be a pretty girl who could wear skirts and act in a more feminine manner and not be laughed at. I was jealous. I never got along with girls because of this. Though female anatomy never appealed to me (boobs vag I found gross) I was still attracted to women. Pretty women even and I saw myself as the male counterpart but again I would be faking the masculine part to consummate the masculine feminine ying/yang. When I was 10, I saw a pretty tomboy (Crystal) with a tough looking face beat up a bully. It actually bothered me as I was not ready to accept a pretty face as dominant and masculine. She was more masculine than I as my masculinity was faked and fragile. She in fact threatened my fragile masculinity. I would have wanted to see here feminize (wear a skirt and date boys for instance)as she was pretty and masculine at the same time thus posing a threat to my fragile masculinity. If she wasn't so pretty it wouldn't be so threatening. A few years later when the puberty hit I started regularly having TG fantacies and I started incorporating Crystal into my fantacies. In my fantasies, my desire to see her feminize was pushed under by my intense desires to feminize for Chrystal. I imagined Chrystal as a football (continued)

  8. (continued from last post) player running onto the field with helmet on. I was wearing a cheerleading uniform elevated on a cheer platform on my tipitoes smiling and cheering her one. What had threatened my fragile masculinity now hightened my femininity. Also of note here is that my feminine desires are much more dominant than the masculine ones. In other words , Chrystal was pretty but I was willing to forgoe my desires to see her feminize as my desire to feminize for her was much greater. I live that butches guard there masculinity. They don't smile at men or wear skirts. It is critical with butches that I date that the would fight to the death to preserve their masculinity. I also like that they coax my femininity. There is something so intensely dominant about it. I recall one butch saying "you have nice legs Amy" "you should wear shorter skirts" In this way my butch is taking masculine privilege. My butch is also pushing me in a more feminine direction. I read a book once called the gender trap where a masculine woman and gender neutral male dated. Not long afterwards the butch started taking on the dominant role to with the femme male aquiessed. Over time, they swithed gender roles with the femme male growing hair out. A final moment of realization was when the butch female started insisting that the femme male wear skirts not to humiliate the femme male but because the butch wanted to see the femme male as a woman. The butch couldn't get over how pretty and naturally feminine the femme male carried herself. The are notes of feminization in teh act of a butch asking a femme male to wear a skirt. I want to make it clear that feminization does not necessarily have to be a masculine man wearing a dress and being humiliated. I don't see my feminization at the hands of a butch partner as humiliating. I see it as beautiful. Feminization is a part of nature. feminine cis women feminize. They enhance their femininity especially when in the presence of a masculine partner or by dressing high femme. I've always like when feminization was lead by a masculine partner as in the Gender trap where the butch insisted that the femme male wear a skirt. Dress codes and masculine dictated feminine codes of dress and manner have always piqued my interest.

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