Fetishist? Yes, I’m also one… but…

IMG_0294In my country’s crossdresser/transgender community, the current ‘hot’ topic of discussion is around crossdressing as a form of fetishism, and how to ‘educate’ the public about the different forms of crossdressing. And as you can read in my most recent entries, this is something that I give a lot of thought as well.

Documentation on the Internet, fortunately, is on the side of the non-fetishist crossdressers. After all, they’re the ones producing most of the documentation. Fetishists have no time to write — they just wish to enjoy their arousal when putting on some lingerie and spend their free time in search of a sexual partner who appreciate their fetish, and there are quite a lot of them, too. I seriously suspect that crossdressing as a fetish comes on the fourth place, after BDSM, sexual role-playing and rubber/latex/leather, although this list claims it to be #7 (but it’s not a scientific study!). As a fetish, crossdressing has increasingly become more and more acceptable in the past decade. I can seriously believe that in a decade or so, two male friends can chat over a beer watching a game on TV and casually say something like: ‘Oh, you crossdress for kinks? Me too!’ and laugh about their sexual experiences. It’s becoming as socially acceptable as any other fetish.

That naturally leaves us non-fetishist crossdressers — we who simply need to manifest our inner self-image as women — with a problem. How can we claim to be ‘different’? More specifically, how can we make the public in general, which is starting to accept crossdressing as an acceptable form of sexual fetish, that crossdressing, for us, is something completely different?

Some groups (like, for instance, the British Beaumont Society) are notoriously intolerant about that, and they have very strict rules to prevent fetishists from joining them. Those rules pretend to avoid that those groups degenerate into dating events, where men looking for sexual partners who enjoy wearing female lingerie while having sex will try their luck. The same applies to online groups as well. In my country, I have joined two forums (outside the omnipresent Facebook with its gazillion groups…). One of them required a relatively strict procedure for entry; the other was less strict. After several years, the ‘less strict’ group was crammed full of fetishists, who complained to the management that they were unable to post more ‘erotic’ pictures and videos of themselves. The management obliged: the restriction against pornography was lifted. You can imagine what happened. After a year, the forum had to shut down. Because, in truth, the quality of the pornography was not that high — there were far, far better places to access porn, even amateur porn. What mostly happened is that the non-fetishists quickly got tired of participating in what was now just a dating site, even against the wishes of the management, but that what was happened. So it became pointless to participate, unless one was, indeed, looking for a date. But even for that the site was not appropriate: there are way better dating sites. So it was a mediocre porn site and a mediocre dating site, with little interest, and, as a result, closing it down was the only reasonable choice. The first group, by contrast, is still around: it has less participation these days, because its most vocal members are now with their transition, but it is still around, and it still accepts the occasional member or two every month.

The point here is that it looks like the only way to keep the fetishists and the non-fetishists apart is by enforcing strict rules. However, like everything in life, there is not just black and white. Non-fetishist crossdressers also have fetishes of their own, and this is as natural for crossdressers as it is for cisgendered people.

I, for instance, cannot claim not to have any fetishes. They are, however, of a different nature, but that is not immediately perceivable, and has caused a lot of confusion among several people who contacted me over the years.

For example, I’m a smoking fetishist. This means that I do, indeed, derive sensual pleasure from the act of smoking as a woman. I have addressed this elsewhere, so I won’t bother you with details. Let’s just say that smoking fetishism is as strange to any non-smoker (or anti-smoker) as foot fetishism is for those who just think that feet are smelly and ugly and not worth of being part of a sexual fantasy. I don’t know what the current theory around fetishes is, but I think it’s safe to assume that they are a bit more than merely ‘current fads’. I prefer to explain all these things as something that is not ‘learned’ or ‘copied by example’, but that there is already a latent potential inside us, and a trigger is what makes the fetish emerge.

This is something that transgendered people are very familiar with. They have always been transgendered, even before birth (if science is right about that!). However, they might not have realized it, until some special trigger unlocks that potential, and then one might suddenly feel that they have always been like that, it was just that the ‘right’ circumstances never actually presented themselves. I usually refer to my first crossdressing experience as something that happened to me when I was 23 years old, or something like that (I don’t recall the exact date, I have a terrible memory): I was alone, away from my parents who were enjoying their vacations, while our own place was being painted; so I had to spend a few days at my (female) cousin’s place, and suddenly, out of the blue, I got this irrepressible urge to put on her lingerie — just because it was available. And, yes, I certainly got very aroused by that — and immediately regretted it afterwards, feeling deeply ashamed of myself, and scared of what I had done on an impulse!

Does this mean that I ‘became’ a crossdresser when I was 23 (or thereabouts)? No, of course not. I had tried on some of my mother’s clothes when I was a little kid. I dreamed of being dressed as a girl by my parents during Carnival, but was so scared that they would find out how much I would enjoy the experience, that I blatantly refused any attempts to do so. I loved a doll we had and sewed clothes for her — and for all the other plushies I had. I envied the other girls and their lovely long hair, while I had to wear mine short. I could go on and on, until I faced a small identity crisis when I was 15, and decided to suppress all those strange thoughts about being a woman, because I was completely scared about them, and, to make matters worse, I feared that thinking of myself as a woman would prevent me to get a girlfriend, which is what every (male) teenager wants most. The whole concept of lesbian MtF transexuality was, of course, absolutely unknown to me (in fact, when I was 15, scientists didn’t even believe such a concept could exist at all!).

But, no matter how much I suppressed those thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the truth is that the ‘right’ trigger just happened to reveal my true nature to myself. If I had never been at my cousin’s place by myself, I might just have started crossdressing much, much later — until the right set of circumstances happened again.

Similarly, I believe that fetishes happen in the same way. It’s obvious that, as a kid, I wasn’t a smoking fetishist — kids were not allowed to smoke, after all 🙂 But I definitely had the potential to become one. Of course, because my own mother smoked with a holder (she abandoned the holder when I was an adult), that image was definitely constantly in my mind. Later, during my teens, I would be fascinated with old classics where women smoked sensually — in the old days when smoking was fashionable, elegant, and glamorous. In my case, I associated smoking with eroticism. I tend to say that my earliest form of conscious crossdressing was to smoke with a holder — unknown to family and friends, of course. In fact, almost nobody in my family knows that I smoke: I wished to avoid them a huge disappointment; although I was never forbidden to smoke, my parents would be utterly sad if I picked up the habit. My mother died happily believing that both her offspring, in spite of her bad influence, never smoked. Or at least she thought I never became a nicotine addict.

In fact, I became much worse than that 🙂 Because addicts, in a sense, entertain the idea that one day they might just stop; they just lack the willpower and opportunity to do (or so they tell themselves). My case runs much deeper than that: I’m not merely an addict, I’m a smoking fetishist, and, as a result, I don’t want to stop. I might be forced to do so one day in the future, either because smoking becomes unlawful, or because of health issues, but, until that day happens, I will enjoy it as much as I can. This is definitely the same attitude I have towards eating (I love to eat) — especially chocolate (I’m a cocoa addict!) — and, of course, towards crossdressing. These are things that are part of myself, and I can suppress the urges, but not eradicate them.

However, smoking as a form of fetishism has also a strong erotic component — to myself and to all who share the same fetish. Perhaps by a strange turn of events, I decided that my YouTube channel (and Flickr timeline) would be for an audience of smoking fetishists. When I started doing that, there were not that many YouTube channels just for that; mostly people would just upload pirated videos from smoking fetishist websites. Very few fetishists would actually post videos and pictures of themselves (this is one of the reasons why some of my old videos have dozens of thousands of views, but recent ones just have a few hundreds: these days, there is a vast variety of smoking fetishist videos out there, most of them done by professionals and very good-looking amateurs).

Because smoking is so erotic for me, almost all my videos have a mildly erotic component as well. This is actually unfortunate, because it means that the whole group of people looking for a crossdresser as a sexual partner will get aroused by my videos. Smoking fetishism does not even make the top 10 list of common fetishes; it’s more likely on the bottom 10! But crossdressing, as said, is very high on the list. So what people see is a moderately erotic video of a crossdresser — if she smokes or not, that’s irrelevant — and, because it’s mildly erotic, they immediately assume I’m available for sex.

Which, as you know, I’m not. I still have practically zero libido. And I have absolutely zero interest in having sex with men (as defined by their genitalia, not their gender). But how can my viewers understand that, if all they see is a male crossdresser who is clearly aroused on the videos she posts all the time?

I have to admit that I’m naïve and tend to understand things very slowly. None of this was very clear to me. I assumed, completely wrongly, that most of the people who would watch my videos would come from the tiny crowd of smoking fetishists. A few, of course, are exactly that. But the vast majority couldn’t care less about the smoking aspect. All they want is to have sex with a crossdresser, and assume automatically, because I’m ‘willing’ to post mildly erotic videos of myself, that I’m also ‘willing’ to have sex with them.

This is so wrong in so many different ways that I’m seriously considering closing down my YouTube channel!

On the other hand, there is also something nagging at my back, and you’d have to know a lot of my background to understand me. During almost all my life, I never got compliments, neither in public, nor even in private. My friends tend to laugh at me or scorn me, not compliment me — both male and female friends. That is something I got used to since my pre-teens; I was never differently treated. My few past partners, before my current wife, would also be more willing to scorn me than to compliment me. My own parents, who I’m sure loved me, would not really hand out praise easily. They expected me to perform well in school, and have good grades, and get a good job, and be successful at what I did (which, until 9/11, I was). I found all that normal; I would also not ‘fish for compliments’ because I simply hadn’t been brought up that way.

So this is where I stood. Now suddenly, from 2007 onwards, I get in touch with a completely new reality. All of a sudden, a lot of complete strangers started complimenting me on my female image. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that at all. I thought — because I’m conditioned to think that way! — that they were just being polite. Or, in some cases, just being sarcastic. Or — in most cases! — they were expecting that their flattery would actually lead to get me in bed with them. Whatever the case, I never assumed that any of those compliments were real, heart-felt — because that lies beyond my life experience.

Apparently, however, some of them are genuine. And that comes from the way they’re actually pleased about what they see on the screen. But, again, I shrugged it off after reading Richard Ekins. In his work, he describes how crossdressers engage in several contexts, and, depending on the context, this leads to a certain kind of stereotypical behaviour. I don’t presume to understand anything about sociology, but what little I gathered from Ekins’ explanation, this means that when crossdressers are in a group together (online or in the real world), they naturally know that everybody is, in fact, male. But because all present themselves as female, they role-play the role of women when in presence of each other: complimenting themselves, picking up things that are done right, ignoring everything which is just plain wrong, and so forth. You’re supposed to know the rules of the game when interacting with the group, and the ‘game’ is actually taken very seriously by the participants. It mirrors, in a degree, what genetic females do among friends: they’re prone to pick something they like and compliment their friends about it, while avoiding the rest. The difference between that and what crossdressers do is that we are in what Ekins calls an ‘open context’ — everybody knows that we’re male crossdressers, we all ‘read’ each other, but that doesn’t prevent us from pretending we just see beautiful women in front of us.

It is said that we crossdressers are too harsh on ourselves, and bad judges of our own looks and behaviour. That might be the case. But the reverse is also true: when among fellow crossdressers — or non-crossdressers who, however, admire crossdressers — we all play a role. We pretend to each other that we don’t know who we are, and, since we present ourselves as women, we interact with each other as women. Outsiders might find this strange, but that’s how it is within the group.

Smoking fetishists are exactly the same. Because we get aroused with the sensuous image of a woman smoking, both the performer and the audience also play their own roles: the performer is putting on an act, and the audience knows it’s an act, but still enjoys it, and comments and applauds as if the act were ‘real’. But for people outside the smoking fetishist community, this is not immediately apparent. They misinterpret the erotic undercurrents. Here is the difficulty: smoking fetishists are aroused by the sensuous display of the act of smoking, and the rest is pretty much irrelevant; it’s the smoking itself that is attractive, not necessarily the person doing it. The non-fetishists, however, are not aroused by the smoking (even if they are tolerant of smokers). They just see the ‘act’ and believe it is real, i.e., that the person engaging in the act is actually enticing others to get sexual pleasure and is willing to have sex with them. So they react accordingly — here is a woman wanting to have sex with me, let’s show our appreciation and get in touch with her.

Let me give you another example to see if I can make the point a bit more clearer. When J. Lo or Shakira dances on the stage, the audience knows it’s an act, an artistic performance. They dance quite sensually — but the audience, knowing it’s just a performance, are not immediately jumping on the stage and wishing to have sex with them, right there on the spot. Instead, they appreciate the show for what it is: a fantasy, nothing more than that, but one that is actually very sensuous and sexy, and definitely can entice arousal. But because the audience knows it’s nothing more than a performance, they will not start molesting the singers (a few might, of course, not understanding it’s an act, but these cases have mental disturbances of some sort). Just because ‘it’s merely an act’ does not mean that it is less attractive, rather the contrary. We might get videos of the performance. We might see them over and over again. Some might even masturbate while watching Shakira swaying her hips or J. Lo bouncing her bottom. Why not? It’s erotic, it’s sexy, it’s pleasing to watch. Some might even go so far and send those artists some comments over Twitter or Facebook, and say things like ‘oh baby you cannot imagine how much you excite me!’. But even those messages are ‘part of the game’. The artists know the role they play; the audience responds in kind. The artists (well, perhaps not J. Lo or Shakira, they have no time for that) might even answer, ‘thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the show!’. It’s all part of show biz, and nobody confuses it with the ‘real life’.

However, with shows given by smoking fetishists, this might be quite unclear. Most of the audience might appreciate Shakira singing and dancing and understand it’s just a show, just a fantasy created to entertain an audience; but the same audience might not understand that smoking fetishists are also just putting on a show. Instead, they assume that ‘it’s real’, in the sense that ‘this person really wants to get laid’. Why? Because we have been conditioned for decades to assume that singers and dancers put on shows. But the public at large doesn’t have any clue about smoking fetishism and how they also do shows for their audiences. It’s just outside their experience. And that is not surprising, after all: it’s a little-known fetish with very, very few followers.

Consider crossdressing, which has so many more fetishists. Transvestite shows have always been popular in the past hundred years or more. The audience also knows, in this case, that this is really just a show. They might enjoy it, or be surprised and shocked, but they still know it’s nothing more than a performance. It’s only when crossdressing males are encountered outside the stage that questions are raised — if that person is crossdressing outside the environment of the show, what does that mean?

Therefore, the same thing actually happens when crossdressers appear outside the ‘show context’. Then we give out strange signals. Because there are so many crossdressing fetishists — both fetish crossdressers, and fetishists who love crossdressers — it’s very easy to ‘cross the line’ and say, ‘oh, if this person is on a stage, then I know it’s a show, and it’s just a fantasy, just a pretence; but if I meet her outside the stage, then maybe this person is really a fetishist, and then I can have sex with her’. This is the kind of thought that crosses people’s minds. Of course, some transvestite artists actually encourage that kind of thinking, although many don’t — it’s a show, they just get paid to perform, outside the stage they don’t even remotely think about crossdressing, or crossdressing as a form of fetish. It’s just show business.

Similarly, we don’t address Shakira on the street and say, ‘I saw your video yesterday, you were so sexy, do you want to have some sex with me?’ We know that Shakira just performs like that on the stage. Of course, a few (minor) artists may actually have second intentions when performing a sensual, erotic dance on stage, but this would rather be the exception, not the rule.

Because there are no real ‘shows’ from smoking fetishists for other smoking fetishists, naturally the public at large doesn’t understand what is fantasy and what is not. And it’s hard to educate the audience, because it’s so further away from their experience. In fact, they might even had the opposite experience, i.e. meeting a woman in a bar that deliberately smokes in a provocative way to attract sexual partners. It’s not uncommon, even though it’s much less common in our days. In that case, the whole innuendos present on smoking fetishism are absent. Smoking provocatively, in that context, means being available for sex. And that, of course, ruins the possibility of educating the public that there are people who enjoy watching women smoking as a fantasy or a show — because that lies beyond their own personal experience, and, as such, it’s not understandable (like, in fact, most fetishes are not understandable by anyone who doesn’t share the same fetish).

As a side note, the smoking fetishist community is actually quite tolerant of crossdressers. There is a good reason for that. Most of the videos for the smoking fetishist community are made by paid models. In most cases, those models are not smoking fetishists themselves. Some of them don’t even smoke regularly, they just do it as a show for a willing audience, because it pays — surprisingly, even though it’s a ‘minor’ fetish, there is a huge amount of websites offering smoking fetishism videos. Because those models look gorgeous when they smoke, they are pleasing to watch.

However, there is something lacking. Smoking fetishists can immediately tell when someone else actually knows how to smoke or not. It’s an art that requires some training and practice, like any other, and smoking fetishists know that and are able to appreciate the art and the performer that does that art. Unfortunately, because smoking has become a taboo, and smokers are slowly being ostracized (even though I’d say it’s not that bad these days as it was a few years ago), it means that the art of sensual female smoking is only carried along by few. A generation or two ago, mothers would teach their daughters how to smoke, and the art of smoking was propagated among generations. These days, of course, parents discourage their children from smoking (even when the parents are smokers themselves), so there is a discontinuity in this transmission of knowledge. As a result, most women who pick up the habit, in spite of their parents’ will, just copy the way others smoke. Until recently, that meant copying it from males, since more males smoked than females — a trend that has been completely reversed in some cases (like in my country, where a huge proportion of women smoke nowadays, almost compensating the huge drop of men who stopped smoking). Males and females smoke completely differently, and smoking fetishists know that very well. Models in videos simply haven’t been taught how to smoke properly, because, in most cases, they’re coached by men! Those video producers, however, have all the range of visual effects to enhance those videos, and know enough about a few key elements about smoking fetishism, that those videos still sell. After all, since it’s a fantasy, just a show, that is enough to produce suspension of disbelief to please smoking fetishists. We can watch regular movies and derive some pleasure from them even if we know that everybody is an actor, and all visual effects are produced by Hollywood studios; suspension of disbelief is what makes movies (and literature) enticing — we know it’s not real, but we can still enjoy it, by ‘pretending’ that it’s real. The same, of course, applies to smoking fetishism videos

But ‘hard-core’ fetishists want more, they want to see true smoking fetishists, who still know about the art of sensuous female smoking, and who actually enjoy smoking (instead of merely being paid to smoke in front of a camera). That’s why amateur videos made by smoking fetishists are popular. Unfortunately, as said, there are not many contemporary women who still know about the art and are able to give a convincing performance on video (even if they are, indeed, smokers). By a strange twist of events, it is curiously the crossdressing community, probably strongly inspired by the art as it was performed in the 1950s or 1960s, who carry the spirit of the art along. As said, smoking fetishists, because they are object/behaviour fetishists, do not care that much about the performer, but much more about the act. Of course, if the performer also looks good on the video, it’s a bonus, but not a requirement. Crossdressers who are also smoking fetishists look like women, they know how to smoke like women, they enjoy smoking in front of an audience (as opposed to being paid for smoking), and, as a result, in general, they give a reasonably good performance. The audience, even if they are heterosexual males with no interest in crossdressers or transgendered people, respond in kind. As said, they care little about who the performer actually is, they just want to get some excitement and arousal from the act of smoking itself.

And because it’s a performance, done in a specific context, the audience also knows how to behave accordingly to the ‘rules of the game’. Compliments, motivation, applause is part of the ‘game’, but what is being complimented is the act itself and how well the performer is managing the performance, not the performer herself. But, of course, in the role-playing context of a smoking fetishim performance, the two are mixed. Each side obviously knows exactly what is meant by those ‘rules of the game’. But an outsider, unaware of smoking fetishism as a sensual art form, is completely confused. All they can see is that there is someone on video who is doing sexy things (well, they might resent the smoking itself), wearing provocative clothing (or not at all!), and getting complimented by an audience. They totally fail to understand what it is all about, and, obviously, get it completely wrong. The nearest comparison would be watching a BDSM performance on stage without realizing what it is about; most people will be shocked, if they had absolutely no BDSM fetishes of their own.

When reflecting about this, I miss something in YouTube and/or Flickr. There is no easy, simple way that I can flag or label my videos as ‘for smoking fetishists only — non-fetishists, please stay away’. Of course I can put ample warnings everywhere. I can blog about it. I can provide links to explanations. But none of those will have any effect: people are living in an age of short attention spans and care little about information, all they want is pleasure, or, at least, strong emotions. This is the advantage carried by professional smoking fetishist websites: because they charge for access, only those who are actually willing to spend money to get access to smoking fetishist videos will join. It is similar to pay for getting access to, say, a bar or club with transvestite shows: the audience knows exactly what they are going to get, and they’re willing to pay to get it. While this model is ‘safer’ to the extent that it keeps the performance within context, it leaves the amateurs out of the picture. It also means that so-called ‘true’ amateur smoking fetishists (in the sense that they are really smoking fetishists, not merely paid actresses or models to perform an act) are left out of the picture — unless, of course, they want to go ‘pro’ and join one of those websites (it’s actually ironic that there are many websites announcing ‘amateur smoking fetishists’ and charge for access!).

There used to be ‘closed’ communities for smoking fetishists (some of which have, in the mean time, been shut down, like HolderGals). They had this huge advantage that they kept things in context. Such sites, however, require time, patience, and money to survive. Because the smoking fetishist community is so small, it’s rare that they endure the test of time — they tend, over time, to be abandoned by their creators. As a result, amateur smoking fetishists go to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and popular ‘general-purpose’ social websites, which are unlikely to shut down, and create their own groups and communities there. The problem is that they are also widely accessible to a non-fetishist audience. And this means that misunderstandings will always happen.

So, this long post was just to say that there is a gap between fetishist crossdressers, and non-fetishist crossdressers, and it’s hard for the public-at-large to separate them. The only solution is to keep the non-fetishist crossdressing community closed to the general public, by introducing strict rules of access. However, just because a crossdresser is not a crossdressing fetishist, but merely someone who expresses their inner self-image as a woman, in private or even in public, it doesn’t mean that they might not have other fetishes as well. This is certainly my case. I don’t have crossdressing as a fetish. However, I’m a smoking fetishist. I cannot claim not to have any fantasies. Of course I have them, like everybody does. However, my fantasies are quite different from the ones that are more common among fetishist crossdressers.

Let me give you a typical example. I don’t mean to sound as if I’m stereotyping, but a common fantasy for a fetishist crossdresser is to have sex with a man who makes her ‘feel a complete woman’. In the vast majority of the crossdressing community — because most of them are crossdressing fetishists — this is the common view, that to ‘become a complete woman’ you need to ‘have sex as a woman with a male partner’. Of course there are variations on the theme; some fetishist crossdressers, for example, are also BDSMers, so being dominated by a male might be part of their fantasies. Others prefer sissification — forced femininity — and that might not even include the sexual act by itself, but merely humiliation. Both of these groups are actually quite large among fetishist crossdressers. As a result, it’s to be expected that the public at large, knowing just a little bit about crossdressing in general, assume that all crossdressers are fetishists, some of which even appreciating domination or sissification, and that’s what they are willing to give them.

In my case, my crossdressing is merely the expression of my inner female. As such, my fantasy is way different. My ‘ideal’ fantasy would be a romantic dinner in an expensive restaurant where I could wear my best dress, go to the opera afterwards, and possibly have a drink at a fancy bar, where the music is not too loud for conversation. And of course in that scenario I would have no problem in doing that either with female friends or with a male companion. Sex, however, would be completely out of the picture — it’s just not part of my fantasy. Smoking would surely be part of it, though — because I’m a smoking fetishist. However, such fantasy is not understandable by those who look at me and consider me to be a crossdressing fetishist. They might even play along with the fantasy — so long as it ends in bed. For me, however, that last step would completely spoil the fantasy, because it’s outside the context that excites and entices me. There might be a good reason for that, too, and that’s my body dysphoria. I can dress as a woman, I can behave as a woman, I can smoke as a woman, I can even flirt as a woman, and I can perfect all those arts to the extent that they are indistinguishable from what a genetic woman would do, but I cannot have sexual relationships as a woman (not even with other women!), because that requires surgery and hormone therapy. Anal sex is just anal sex; oral sex is just oral sex; neither are ‘sex as a woman’ 🙂 (even though women obviously might appreciate both as well) But this is something I cannot convey to sexual fetishists. All I can say, in much simpler words, is that my fantasy goes up to a point and does not go further. Beyond that point, the illusion shatters, and, as such, it doesn’t appeal to me in the least.

When doing my smoking fetishist videos, all I can do is to put on a good performance. As best as I can (and I believe I’m doing my best to improve myself as well), I strive to appeal to fellow smoking fetishists. Being one myself, I know what is attractive and what is exciting. Being lucky for having had the opportunity to learn the art of sensual female smoking, I’m willing to share my knowledge and skills with others, through my videos (and sometimes via some personal conversations and mild coaching, when asked for). I know what an audience of smoking fetishists actually like, and how to entertain them. And, of course, being a smoking fetishist myself, the whole performance is also very exciting to me (and it shows on the videos how excited I am).

However, what I cannot do is to change people’s perceptions. If someone is not a smoking fetishist, my videos don’t make any sense, because the context is lacking. All that the general public sees is a crossdresser who is excited behind the camera and is doing some sexy poses and moves. Therefore, they extrapolate my behaviour to a different context. Instead of being label as a smoking fetishist, I’m viewed as a crossdressing fetishist. Of course this leads to a huge confusion — no wonder!

Therefore, I’m seriously considering taking down all my videos and pictures from the Internet, and just putting them available for smoking fetishists. This will mean screening the audience. They will have to prove, through an interview and some polls, that they actually are smoking fetishists and understand the context of the performance. That is the main reason why I have so few pictures on Facebook; I took them all down when it was clear that I was attracting the ‘wrong’ audience. Setting up my website to restrict content to smoking fetishists only (well, besides a few friends — those of you who are actually reading this post and therefore understand what I’m talking about, because you are reading it!) will take some time, though, and I have to give it some thought. Hosting pictures is easy, since I have almost limitless web space. Video streaming is another story. I might have to change my YouTube channel to ‘friends only’, and somehow interface the website to automatically have members of the restricted area joined to my YouTube friends list. I’m not yet sure how that can be accomplished, but I believe it’s possible — it’s just a question of figuring it out. It will take time. I don’t know when I’ll be finished with the change.

If you’re reading this, you have nothing to worry. You’re one of the 50 or 100 people who will definitely be part of that list, because, even if you’re not a smoking fetishist yourself, you, at least, are now aware of the context of my videos, and will not entertain strange notions about them.

The public at large, however, will have to content themselves with merely a handful of selected pictures in demure poses.

  • Erin Swallows

    Well you always put on the performance worthy of my attentions Sandra, and I am sure you know that only too well. I will admit that sometimes I am as guilty as the rest of the general public in getting caught up in those sensual images of you and find myself blurring the lines that otherwise would always be clear. But let's hope I never have to find myself not on your short list. Kisses my love. Xx

    • Of course not, Erin, you'll always be on the list of my closest friends, don't worry!!

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 1

    Hello Sandra Lopes. What an absolute joy it is to find that your extreme intelligence and insightfulness are as remarkable as your physical beauty. After enjoying your videos to an embarrassing degree, I feel, after reading your posts, that I now know a little bit about you as a fellow human being, rather than just an object of lustful desire. (I know this sounds like the typical sexist comment, as in “Oh, not only is she pretty, she’s smart too!” – but really I am impressed when I see ANYBODY as intelligent as you are. You are a very good writer as well.)

    Your literate and complex essay brings many thoughts to mind, including ideas I’ve reflected on myself over the years, and some that had never occurred to me at all. I hope you won’t mind reading a bit of what I think and feel.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 2

    I will spare you the profuse tributes you deserve—I commented on your YouTube channel you are “the most beautiful, elegant, sexiest creature ever to grace the planet Earth” – and I will leave it at that.
    THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT, SEXIEST CREATURE EVER TO GRACE THE PLANET
    I am a crossdresser and a fetishist, with crossdressing being first and foremost among many fetishes. The list of things that excite me sexually has grown and developed over many decades–I am 65 and have been dressing for over 50 years–and smoking is a late, but real, arrival to that list. As I’m sure is often the case, I did not even know I had this fetish until I "discovered" it on the Internet. Now it has joined my very long list which started almost simultaneously with crossdressing and bondage, going back to the age of 12 or 13. Lipstick is very high on my list, and I readily confess that, while your smoking is intensely erotic, your beautiful lips appeal to me even more.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 3

    Mainly, when I watch your videos, it is YOU, your beauty and feminine allure, the sensual way you move and smile (and smoke), that gets to me. I noted your comments about compliments, and I want to make sure you understand that I honestly think you are as beautiful and sexy as anything I have ever seen (and remember, I'm 65 and so have seen a lot). Regarding what you said about people "assuming" that you are "available for sex"–well, I'm sure that is true, but with me (and others I am sure) there is no such assumption; rather, there is, and most powerfully so, the FANTASY of such a thing. In other words, I can think of nothing more appealing than such a scenario, but I am not so foolish as to entertain any hope of its actually happening.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 4

    I was a little surprised by your comment about your libido being "nearly zero." But my surprise merely proves how people, myself included, tend to form speculative conclusions based on what they are seeing in a YouTube video or a picture on the Internet. I do know better than to assume my impressions are necessarily accurate. In my case, even at my age, the libido is still raging (often to my chagrin). I've been single for a long while and haven't engaged in any sexual practices with others for years. But I do “take care” of myself alone and in private quite regularly. With substantial thanks to the Internet and, most recently, to you.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 5

    I was married for 27 years, most of them happy, and have a grown son and daughter as well as two grandsons. My wife made many sincere attempts to accept and even participate in my crossdressing and other fetishes, but she just could never get comfortable with it. This was a great disappointment, of course, but I was grateful that she loved me enough to make such an effort. When we divorced in 1998, my crossdressing was pretty far down the list of causes, but she had learned by then that it is not something that ever goes away.

    I am sorry to ramble so much about myself….but your blog contains so many points of interest to me. While my crossdressing and other “bizarre” interests are intensely sexual, I also have a very strong philosophical side. Crossdressing, for me, is most definitely fetishistic, in that I do it mainly for sexual pleasure; but I do also have, secondarily, that need to express my female side.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 6

    You mentioned that you have no sexual attraction to men, and neither do I, but one of the biggest paradoxes I have ever faced is the fact that I am profoundly attracted to pretty crossdressers who present convincingly as female. For many years I foolishly denied this, although I was constantly finding myself aroused from looking at pictures of sexy crossdressers. It wasn't until I was well into my twenties or even thirties that I accepted unconditionally that the idea of sex with a fully-feminized man was something I could and would definitely do.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 6

    You mentioned that you have no sexual attraction to men, and neither do I, but one of the biggest paradoxes I have ever faced is the fact that I am profoundly attracted to pretty crossdressers who present convincingly as female. For many years I foolishly denied this, although I was constantly finding myself aroused from looking at pictures of sexy crossdressers. It wasn't until I was well into my twenties or even thirties that I accepted unconditionally that the idea of sex with a fully-feminized man was something I could and would definitely do.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    I think I had some of that old stigma about being classified as "gay” – not because of homophobia (I am an ardent supporter of LGBT rights and equality), but because it seemed inaccurate. It is difficult for me to reconcile the fact that, since puberty and to this day, I have been primarily attracted to women, powerfully so, even worshipful…I feel not the slightest attraction and in fact am turned off by the thought sexual contact with a man who presents as a man; feeling this way, how could I possibly be "gay"? But now that I have come to terms with the fact that male genitalia on the person of a completely feminine crossdresser DO arouse me, I no longer care if, in the eyes of some, that makes me "gay."

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 8

    I have kept my crossdressing secret except to a very few people. I am not “out,” and I have ventured out in public dressed less than a dozen times. I chose the path of least resistance, playing it “straight,” raising a family, being a “regular guy.” All of which was quite easy in natural—I am a regular guy when I’m not under the SPELL—but as I’m sure you know, the repression was unhealthy and has had negative impacts on my psyche. And while I can easily envision a very different life for myself from what I’ve had, I don’t regret the choices I made. My children are wonderful and my grandsons are the light of my life.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    From Adrienne Phaneuf – Part 10

    Sandra, thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts. And thank you for sharing so many wonderful, beautiful videos. And for taking the time to read my rambling, disjointed and somewhat self-reverent reply to your essay. I hope you don't shut down your YouTube site, but if you do, I hope I will be able to continue to follow you by other means.

    With respect and admiration,
    Adrienne Phaneuf
    California, USA

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    Oh my, post-posting regrets…Sandra, I apologize for that very long-winded ramble. Perhaps I didn't say anything wildly inappropriate, but I did allow myself to get caught up in the idea that I was conversing with you, one-on-one, as in an email, even though I realize this is a public post. And since it is YOUR post, I feel bad for talking about myself so much. My (weak) excuse is that, after looking into your eyes for hours while watching your videos, and then having read some of your complex thoughts and ideas, I allowed myself the illusion of a connection of sorts. I am embarrassed, but only for my own part; I only hope I didn't offend you in any way.

    Yours,
    Adrienne

  • Adrienne Phaneuf

    I’m as dazzled by your intelligence and articulateness as by your intense physical allure. I wrote a (rather verbose) response to your blog but have not seen it appear on your page. It may not have gone through, but if it did, I surely hope I did not offend you.

    –Adrienne

    • Oh my, it's my turn to apologise! This stupid spam filter I've got went haywire — it mis-flagged one of your comments as 'spam', and once that happened, all the others went straight into the spam queue! Bummer!

      So I'm afraid they were waiting patiently there until, by chance, I noticed them today. Oh gosh. I'm utterly frustrated by this, and so sorry. I gave you the wrong impression! I get so few comments on my blog that I treasure each and every one of them. Yours are no exception, I loved them, especially because you took so much trouble to write so much! You're a precious jewel in this age of Twitter messages lol.

      So, no, you most certainly haven't offended me at all. Just surprised me a bit. Beauty? Well, it's in the eye of the beholder, but certainly not in my mirror. Intelligence? Nah, the only thing I learned at high school is that one doesn't need to be intelligent, just to be good at pretending to be intelligent. And I'm a very good pretender 🙂 I can't fool my wife, though, who really has an IQ of 140 or so, and always looks clear through my mind… I'm really just average. I might stand out because, well, the Twitter generation can't write more than 140 characters… it's actually funny that if you are able to write more than a whole sentence, you're labeled as 'intelligent' in this age and era! Oh well.

      Anyway. I loved to read your experience, of course, and your incredibly flattering comments! There is one thing that I truly will never understand, and that is why some people (very few, mind you) can actually find anything worth looking at in my face. For me, I always look like a disjointed assembly of parts which just happen to be spread around the canvas of my face. I suppose that the only feature that is unusual and worth noticing are my lips — as a kid, I was always embarrassed about my lips, but today, as a crossdresser, I'm actually fond of them. The rest is just plain ugly — the huge, distorted nose; the horrible jaw line; the terrible chin; the whole stupid-looking expression. At least the eyes are average.

      The rest of the body, of course, as you know, is just padding. I surely don't look anything like that under my male clothes! Then again, shapewear has been a girl's best friend since at least the Renaissance, so I guess that what works for genetic females, also works for me. Also, the hourglass shape is the oldest trick in history: if you're chubby and fat, the best you can do is to tweak your proportions with a corset and the right amount of padding. I'll never be skinny and elegant as a contemporary beauty on the catwalk should be, but the hourglass shape still makes people look twice. Until they come close enough, that is 🙂

      In any case, while I'll shrug off your flattery, I can definitely understand your point. Being attracted to crossdressers — either by being a crossdresser, or not even being one — is not that unusual. What people tell me (I have no experience myself) is that somehow crossdressers, having still male pathways in their brain, actually pinpoint a series of things that trigger a sexual response in other males. In other words: we know what we like to see in women, and we dress according to that 'ideal image' that we males have of females. Genetic females, of course, can also do that, and do it even better (because they have the right bodies for it), but — the truth is, most of them simply don't care. A few do, and they become almost universally revered by males — they become sex symbols for a generation (because it's males that elect them as sex symbols!). Crossdressers, by contrast, tend to do it all the time. Mostly for themselves, but many obviously do it to attract the attention from other males. It's apparently pretty easy to do for us crossdressers — after all, we know how males think, and we can draw upon our own experience to induce that in other males 🙂 While females, even if they have it easier, just have to go by guesswork.

      I think that's the logical and rational explanation for 'why do men get attracted by crossdressers'.

      In my case, to be honest, it's a world beyond the horizon of my own experience. Indeed, even if it might feel strange to you, my libido is so low that I could almost be classified technically as asexual. There are just a handful of points that prevent me to be part of that group; I'm just a slight notch above them, and it's so slight that you'll need a magnifying glass to see it 🙂

      Asexuality, however, does not mean lack of erotism. I can still fully appreciate erotism in all its forms, and most certainly I feel sexy when I dress and do some of the videos. That has almost nothing to do with my sex drive. So I'm afraid I'm always a huge disappointment to my few fans, because they have these high hopes of one day being able to grab me and drag me into bed, but that will not happen. It's not because of them, it's because of me. I'm simply not wired properly to look at sex as something enjoyable. Obviously, I masturbate, even with some regularity (not always dressed; but always imagining myself as a beautiful woman), but that is mostly a mechanical thing — an urge that still exists at the deepest animal consciousness of my brain. And of course there is some pleasure, at least for an instant, during ejaculation. Then there is just this feeling that there is nothing more than this — what's the whole point after all?

      Asexuality, of course, also doesn't mean that I'm not physically attracted to beautiful women. I think that's where one of my problems is: I just get turned on by very stunning beauties. 'Average' simply doesn't cut it 🙂 Because all those beauties are beyond my reach, and I have came to that conclusion in my teens, I simply lost all interest. I can still enjoy their images — and very rarely their presence — but that's just it. I used to have a beautiful girlfriend (just before my current wife) for several years. Nobody believes that after all those years we didn't have sex a single time. And we even shared a bed together a few times 🙂 It simply never happened.

      I could go on with my auto-biography… but I'm afraid I'd bore everybody to death. Except my poor shrink; where I go for therapy, they actually want an auto-biography from their patients, so I wrote a 200-page book for that 🙂 It could have been longer, of course, but I just focused on the events in my life that were directly or indirectly connected with my gender and body dysphoria. In truth, my shrink is lucky: I actually have a very bad memory. If it were a little better, it would quickly go to at least 2,000 pages 🙂

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    Hi, Sandra. Thank you so much for the warm and candid reply. No problem as to the delay, I assumed you were busy, but I confess I was fearful that I’d spoken too freely, that you might not be receptive. It’s nice to know that I needn’t have worried. Among many other impressions, you strike me as someone who enjoys verbally engaging in a forthright manner. Being of like mind (and heart), I tend to open up quickly to that…and this was particularly true given that we do have a commonality of interests that lie outside “the norm.”

    And no apologies are necessary regarding any wrong impressions. As I’m sure most people do, knowing nothing about the person I’m looking at on the Internet, I tend to invent impressions to suit my particular desires, with no illusions that they have any relation to reality. But is a was eye-opening to read your blogs and to have gotten to know something about you as a “real” person.

    • We all create our own perceptions of people we meet — online or offline 🙂 So that's all right 🙂

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    Your modesty about my compliments is charming. But we’ll just have to agree to disagree! Your description of your facial features made me chuckle—“a disjointed assembly of parts…” I know we are, all of us, our own worst critics, but that is REALLY harsh! You are gorgeous, even if you can’t see it. I sure as hell do. It also made me smile to see that you give your marvelous eyes a grade of “average.” Indeed! Those eyes, a rare and beautiful shade of green and gold with an outer ring of blue (as best I can tell from the videos and pictures), are mesmerizing. Not all of the (embarrassingly) large amount of time I’ve spent enjoying your images was just horndog self-indulgence—I also tend to lose myself entirely in your beautiful eyes.

    • One day I'll figure out what people find so attractive about my face!!

      And yes, you got the eye colour right — or rather, as 'right' is possible with blue/green eyes. As you probably know, we humans don't have blue pigments. Green/blue eyes are really just an illusion. The only fun part of having blue or green eyes is that their colour (unlike amber/hazel/brown eyes) changes according to the mood — there is actually some science behind it! For instance, my recently departed mother could always tell when I had a fever, my eyes would become greener (or less bluish). So, well, yes, I can see some 'interest' in my eyes, but they're not 'special' nor extraordinary, just quite average, as blue-green eyes go.

      Granted, the lips are fine. That's truly the only redeeming factor on my face. No wonder that my makeup tries to enhance both the lips and the eyes in the attempt to let people overlook the rest. I've seemed to accomplish that to a degree, or we wouldn't be here discussing my face 🙂

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Well apparently we could go on arguing forever! Your eyes: NOT average; special and extraordinary! I insist. Your skill at deflecting compliments reminds me of my ex-wife (and I mean that with the utmost affection). At least we are a little closer to agreement on the subject of your lips. I won't keep trying to persuade you that my opinion is the correct one, but I probably won't be able to stop complimenting you.

        • Hehe I think that we could, indeed, continue to argue forever… beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but, on the other flip side of the coin, there are a few objective measurements regarding beauty. Here is an academic article on the subject: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/428250/

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            Thanks for showing me this most interesting article. Even before I read it, I knew it would address the so-called "Golden Ratio" of 1.6/1. I have discussed this at some length with my trans woman friend I mentioned earlier. As it happens, the many surgeries she underwent in her transition (15 years ago) were spectacularly successful, particularly the facial reconstruction. She presented as a handsome man before the transition, but as a woman, she is incredibly beautiful. I'm grateful to have her as a friend. I've learned a lot from her, and she has been willing to describe these major procedures for me in excruciating detail. I keep telling her how "brave" she is, but she deflects those comments as skillfully as you parry the ones I give you! She keeps insisting, "I just did what I had to do." I understand that completely, but I still think it takes a vast amount of courage.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    But enough of that (though I could go on). I’m afraid I also must reject your denial of intellect. You are far more intelligent than most people I happen to encounter, either in casual “real” life or on the Internet. And I don’t exactly hang around with a bunch of stupid people (though they certainly abound on the Internet). You have deep and insightful thoughts and you express them extraordinarily well. And I’m not overlooking the fact that I am reading your essays in English, which I presume is not even your first language. As to looks and brains, If you’ll excuse the base vernacular, girl, you got it goin’ on.

    • Ha, well, we'll have to agree to disagree on that. It's really about averages again. I'd disagree with the 'far more intelligent' and just settle for 'above average intellect' meaning that probably 60% of all people are more stupid than me, but that still leaves some 3 billion people who are much smarter 🙂

      But I know what you're pointing at: it's more about the way I write. Decades ago, I figured out that people who are able to write full sentences and long texts are seen as 'smarter'. It's actually a slight form of prejudice: we're not really clever because we know how to write, but, because our societies have been built on the ability to write, we tend to over-emphasize those who have some skill in writing, as if 'words' were that important… That's the only point where I can agree with you. I profusely reject the short-attention-span generation — if you have something to say, surely you can do better than just 140 characters 🙂 And because those who actually are able to write more than single sentences (which is clearly YOUR case!) eventually appear to be 'smarter'.

      I use that trick often — i.e. sending emails instead of phoning, because it makes me appear smarter. Write long reports instead of single sentences, which shows I know my subject well. And so forth. It's a acquired ability, it can be learned, it can be trained, and eventually, it might be even perfected as a tool (not my case, but I know it's possible).

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        At the risk of seeming to be preoccupied with intelligence (I am, somewhat), and at the risk of seeming to have an overly high regard for my own, I have to disagree with you again on those percentages. I tend to think that I'm smarter than, oh let's say 80% of the people in the world. That's less an indicator of my regard for my own intelligence than a very low opinion of the rest of the world. So there's no way I can accept your 60/40 calculation. I think you are way smarter than I, and so I'l go with 90/10.

        • Hahaha no, no way — that would be utterly impossible, in my case 🙂 You flatter me, but it's simply not true…

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            Again, I think this is simply a matter of the difference between our respective assessments of the intelligence of the general populace. I'd prefer to believe your assessment! Either way, I'm just glad that I am bright enough to recognize and appreciate YOUR intelligence.

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        It is true that people (myself included) tend to judge intelligence on the basis of writing skill. But I don't think that is a misplaced critieron. Of course there are many other criteria, but I think the ability to write well is definitely a sign of intelligence. Sure, it can be learned–but only by those who have the capacity. I will admit to some bias in this regard: When I see that someone can write well, I do assume a level of intelligence that is FAR above average. Since I am a literary type of person, that's an area of intelligence I can relate to. And (wonder of wonders) I DO agree with you about the short-attention-span generation. I signed up for Twitter but I almost never use it. Me? 140 characters? Hilarious!

        • All right, I will agree with you on that point. I also tend to evaluate intelligence based on how people write. Often I get that wrong when meeting them in person; sometimes they simple aren't good at writing but nevertheless very intelligent…

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            I should point out that I know very well that writing skill is not NECESSARILY a sign of high intelligence, or at least not a pre-requisite. In the course of my life and my work I've known a lot of people who were barely literate, but yet extremely bright. In some cases these have been Mexican-Americans for whom English is a second language, but it's more than that–in many of these folks can't write well in Spanish either. They simply did not have the opportunity for a good education. There are plenty of very intelligent people who have little or no academic experience. I only completed one year of college myself–mainly because of laziness, and because I happened into some other skills that got me through a pretty decent professional career. My language and communications skills (along with a typing speed of 100wpm) helped me through a 30-year career as a legal secretary/legal assistant/paralegal.

    • Ah, yes, and no, English is just my third language. I'm Portuguese, with a German mother, and the second language I've learned was German. English came much later, but, to be honest, these days I'm so rusty in German that I tend to consider English as my second language — and over the course of the day, I read and write far more in English than in Portuguese 🙂

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        All the more impressive that English is your third language. Here I go again: I think language skills are another indicator of intelligence. I am nearly fluent in Spanish, and I always marvel that there are so many people in so many parts of the world who speak English. Although I learned English as my first language, I've always thought it must be a difficult language to learn as a second (or subsequent) language, with all of its irregularities and exceptions,

        • English is easy to learn, but sooooo hard to master… hehe

          Still, it's one of those cases where all you need to improve is to practice it a lot 🙂

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        I did realize that you are Portuguese. At first I thought perhaps Brazilian, as I saw early on a reference to Carnaval; but I later figured it out.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    About those male brain pathways and the things that trigger a sexual response, yes, I know precisely what you mean. Women—genetic or otherwise—who dress according to that 'ideal image’ – well, I have a lifelong subscription. I was interested in your observations (in another essay) about how a typical heterosexual male reacts to an image of a beautiful woman who then turns out to be a crossdresser, illustrated (fittingly) with a picture of yourself. I went through with the exercise, but to no avail: I’ve long been curious about that process, but I can’t get a grasp on it, because, in my case, the discovery that a lovely “woman” is in fact genetically male is not in the least daunting. But it’s interesting to consider the possible reactions of a strictly hetero male.

    • I agree with you, and it seems that this reaction can assume different forms, depending on the person. The more open-minded will just laugh at their 'confusion'. Most, however, will be extremely confused, about themselves and their own gender identity, as well as questioning (often for the first time) what exactly their sexual preferences are. Those that are naturally introspective will deeply analyse their own feelings and discover something strange within themselves, which is that what attracts us to other people is merely a perception of our senses: if we are attracted to females and see 'something' which just looks like a female, then we feel that attraction — independently if the person is female or not. This, however, requires a lot of introspection, and a relatively open mind (introspective people are often open-minded, but not all are). Of course, the more frequent reaction is irritation, aggressivity, denial, and violence (in real life that means physical violence; online, it means verbal abuse, which is all that is possible to do).

      I'm a (recent) fan of Japanese manga</em<. Unlike Western comics, Japanese have a huge transgender subgenre, which is perfectly acceptable and just part of the manga canon. On stories featuring crossdressers and other transgendered characters, the Japanese, being formal and shy (at least stereotypically so), are depicted as being extremely confused when having to react to someone that looks female but is not. Part of the story revolves around the 'forbidden desire' towards a crossdresser or transgendered person, and, because most mangas I read are usually on the funny side, this 'tension' around the 'forbidden desire' is used as comic relief. These manga are mainstream, they're not merely read by those who are transgendered, but they're enjoyed by a large fraction of the Japanese population, no matter what gender or sexual preference. Of course we have some literature in the West featuring crossdressers and transgendered people, but we Westerners are not so open-minded about that, and haven't found yet a way to incorporate such transgendered characters. The Japanese have successfully incorporated transgenderity as a plot device into their literature; we Westerners are still very uncomfortable about the whole concept.

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        As I suspect you know, our society in the U.S. is quite hypocritcal. We hold ourselves out to be this most progressive and "tolerant" of nations, while the reality is that there is a disturbing amount of racism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry. We just like to pretend that it isn't so. I suppose, as you indicated, this is more of a Western thing, and not exclusive to the U.S. But the open-mindedness of the Japanese is immensely admirable.

        • Oh yes, same here, we're hypocritical as well…

          The Japanese are not 'perfect' though, they are also a very conservative society. The difference is perhaps that they have culturally a different relationship with sex than we Westerners do.

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            No country or region is perfect. I live in California, which is one of the most liberal and "tolerant" states; and yet there is now before our Attorney General a proposed ballot initiative that would legalize the murder of homosexuals (!). Of course such an extreme measure would stand no chance of voter approval–it won't even muster the number of voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. But our Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has turned the matter over to the courts, requesting a ruling that it is unconstitutional; she wants to thwart it before it can even be circulated for signatures. If the courts do not so rule, Ms. Harris's job will be to write a summary of the bill, and a title. Obviously she finds even that task to be unconscionable. For the moment, it's being referred to as the "Sodomite Suppression Act." This type of thing would be more expected of some of the more conservative states (Texas, Oklahoma, etc.), but there are hateful, psychotic people even here in California…and everywhere.

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            And in 2008 California voters did approve "Proposition 8," which outlawed same-sex marriage. Thank goodness that measure has been struck down permanently by the Supreme Court. And now we are having certain states enact new laws giving business the "right" to deny service to homosexuals. I don't know how much of this news makes its way to your part of the world, but the media are currently all abuzz. The majority of Americans are disgusted by these new laws, and the two states that have enacted them are already facing a tremendous backlash, including a series of boycotts by various organizations and business. But that's enough for the moment–I'm in danger of going off on a rant about our political system and the stubborn persistence of hate in my country.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    Unfortunately, as we know, sometimes those reactions are egregiously violent. I am so far removed from that mindset; if I were to find myself “caught” in such a “trap,” I would be ecstatic. But I am…”outside the norm.” And I digress….my point was simply that I’m impressed by the depth of thought you have given this and the other topics you address.

    • Well, I've always been an introspective person, which helps me as a junior researcher; and, on top of that, my Buddhist training encourages me to deeply analyse the nature of reality by exploring my mind, my thoughts, my feelings, and skeptically questioning them all 🙂

      So don't be 'impressed'. Thinking about things is part of my training.

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Me too–I've always been exceedingly introspective. But I'm no researcher and I have no training. I just explore and absorb information because it comes natural to me. The Buddhist training is something I should have pursued long ago. I have always had a tendency to explore my mind, thoughts and feelings and to question everything. Findings some structure to that would be helpful.

        • There is still time to pick up Buddhist training 🙂 It's not restricted to any age, although I'd think that it makes more sense if you're older than 15 🙂

          Just make sure you get a qualified teacher. That's usually simple enough to do: you should just ask them directly, 'who was your teacher and why did he allow you to teach?' A qualified teacher will have absolutely no problem in answering that truthfully, and allow you to check up on them by giving their own teacher's name (and contact). Unfortunately, a large number of so-called 'Buddhist teachers' out there are anything but qualified. This is nothing new, of course, there have been teachings for at least a thousand years or more to tell students how to figure out if someone claiming to me a teacher is a fraud or not.

          Besides that, all you really need to pick is the nearest Buddhist centre and ask for some classes 🙂 Note that traditionally teachers will never ask for payment for their teachings; however, it's supposed that students requesting teachings learn to practice generosity 🙂

          Also, in order to be effective, the training requires a daily practice — at least 20-30 minutes every day, without fail. But you will start with possibly 3-5 minutes at the very beginning and gradually increase the time of practice. It's not really hard to do — much easier to learn than, say, riding a bicycle! — but it requires some diligence.

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            Thank you for the information. I intend to pursue this. I'm sure it will help me to process some of the frustrations which you've probably noted in some of my comments.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    “Asexuality, however, does not mean lack of erotism. I can still fully appreciate erotism in all its forms, and most certainly I feel sexy when I dress and do some of the videos.” It doesn’t surprise me that you have a rich appreciation of eroticism. I don’t think you could make such sensual videos were that not the case. And I do understand and appreciate the difference between eroticism and simple libido. I’m just happy to know that you do indeed feel sexy when you dress and do the videos, because you are indeed extremely sexy.

    • Hehe yes. There is, indeed, a difference between eroticism and pornography, but the line is not always clear to most, especially because pure pornography always starts with eroticism, and it's therefore natural for people to assume that eroticism is always linked to sex, either as a prelude, an invitation, whatever. However, it stands alone by itself. Our art history is filled with examples of eroticism — even on Christian representations! — without being pornographic.

      A philosophy teacher I've met online (who has a very strange past; she was so poor that in order to study she had no option but to engage in prostitution) is very fond of nudity (where it is allowed to be displayed in public, e.g. nude beaches, saunas, and so forth). To those who criticize her for her 'lewdness' she always answers: 'I'm nude, not naked. If you can't tell the difference, you don't understand anything about art.' She displays her own body as a work of art (I have never seen pictures of her in the nude, just one where her full body is subtly covered by her legs and arms in a complex pose), is well aware of it, and enjoys the pleasure that she derives from it, independently of what others might think. Yes, that's narcissism to a degree. But I totally understand her. My videos are mildly erotic because I feel sexy, and, as a smoking fetishist, the image of a woman smoking always excites me.

      There is no need to 'go further' — 'feeling sexy' and 'eroticism' are goals by themselves, not 'preludes' to 'something more'. But that's incredibly hard to explain to other who immediately link 'eroticism' with 'sex'.

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Pornography has always been rather repellent to me. It seems more like biology than eroticism. Eroticism is what draws me in (sometimes referred to, in this country at least, as "soft porn"). I have to admit that I do link eroticism with sex, but I do think that the enjoyment of erotic images doesn't necessarily have to lead directly to sex. (For example, when I first saw your videos, I immediately felt a DESIRE for sex, but I never made that irrational jump to assuming there was some chance that I might be able to finagle my way into having sex with YOU.

        • Hehe yes, I have to agree with you, and there is actually a fine dividing line between eroticism and pornography. For me, eroticism stimulates the mind (you imagine what could happen and derive some pleasure from that) while pornography just stimulates the senses (you watch what happens and derive pleasure from it). But of course, ultimately, it's all in your mind…

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    “And of course there is some pleasure, at least for an instant, during ejaculation. Then there is just this feeling that there is nothing more than this — what's the whole point after all?” I get that same feeling, but only AFTER ejaculation. Since I’m long divorced and haven’t had a relationship for a few years, I tend to spend a lot of time leading up to that release. At 65, I am honestly surprised that the urge is still so strong, and yes, I am talking about masturbation. I’m sure I’m not particularly high in testosterone or wildly virile—it’s my mind that’s running the show. I surely thought I’d be done with such activities by now; but, since I am presently without a partner and have plenty of time, I’m OK with it.

    • It's always the mind, Adrienne. We keep forgetting that. Sex happens in the mind, not in the body; the body is just a convenient tool for those who haven't realized it yet. If you have the yearning or urge for sex, you'll have it all your life, no matter if your body is willing or not: it's part of you. I have certainly heard many people over 80 and 90 who still precisely the same urges with the same intensity as they felt when they were 15 or 16; they are just incredibly frustrated that their body is unwilling to comply with their urges.

      Of course there is a link to the hormonal levels (there always is!), but, as you said, hormones don't really 'run the show'. Your mind does. And I'm pretty sure that having a partner or not will make no difference; you'll always feel like that 🙂

      So… enjoy it 🙂 After all, it's the most natural feeling in the world hehe

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Absolutely right. The fact that sex happens in the mind, not in the body, is one of the things that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom. I suppose there are some people (men, of course) for whom sex is simply a physical, animal function, but those people are to be pitied (in my opinion).
        It's interesting to read your observation about people over 80 and 90 still having the same urges with the same intensity as when they were younger, because this is something I've long wondered about. At this particular point in my life I am learning for myself that what you say is true. I am alrady experiencing some loss in my body's ability to comply with the urges, but they don't manifest in any real way, because I have no partner.
        Until a few years ago I would wonder, "When is this (the urge) going to stop?" Now I know that it's not going to stop–but my ability to "get it up" (excuse my crudeness!) will. Sooner or later. My best and oldest friend (same age as I) tells me that in his case it has already happened.

        • Well, sex happens in the mind of animals as well — that's pretty well established in some cases, and little reason to believe it's different for other species, just because we are not able to study all species in the same way.

          As for the rest of the comment, yes, the 'urge' is mostly in the mind, not in the body — but of course both are closely knit. Unfortunately, as you said, the body will not always comply with our urges. Currently I'm on anti-depressants and I still feel the urge to masturbate, for example, but it simply doesn't 'work' any more. In a sense, that's actually scary: thinking that simple medicine can rewire the brain and stop some things from happening against our wishes… On the other hand, it's great to know that we can artificially rewire the brain, or else we wouldn't be able to cure most mental diseases!

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            I too have experienced depression throughout much of my adult life. I've been through several courses of antidepressant medications (as well as counseling and therapy) and I am well aware of the effects on sexual function, as you described them. That is a negative for me, but fortunately I've been able to do pretty well for some time now without the medications. I think that depression is a natural occurrence for deeply introspective people (though not all of us). I also think that a hyper-awareness of the ills of society is an invitation to depression. That's an ongoing problem for me, but thankfully I am equipped with an innately optimistic nature.

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    “So I'm afraid I'm always a huge disappointment to my few fans, because they have these high hopes of one day being able to grab me and drag me into bed, but that will not happen.” You are anything but a disappointment to me. Of course I never entertained such lofty and implausible thoughts; more significant is that I now can’t help but think of you as a person, after having objectified you so shamelessly while watching your videos and before having read some of what’s in your mind. Certainly this is an odd turn of events, unique in my experience, but it is by no means disappointing. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know you a little bit, albeit virtually. You are truly fascinating. It’s a genuine pleasure to correspond with you.

    • Aw you're most kind, thank you. I actually wasn't thinking about your own words when writing that sentence, but of a few close friends who secretly hope that, one day, I will 'become' bisexual (or at least bi-curious) and be able to satisfy them sexually. These friends of mine are very patient, they have been waiting for years (in one case, for a decade!).

      However, it's unlikely that this will ever be the case. It's like being transgendered and crossdressing: you can't 'get rid of it' because it's part of what you are.

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Just to be clear, I too would patiently wait for a decade or more for you–IF I thought there was the slightest chance that you would "change" and would have me. But, while I have quite the amazing imagination and am able to live vivid fantasies, I am not capable of such self-delusion. Clearly, if you were going to "change," it would have happened already. And I won't try to argue by holding up my own experience, in which I long felt I had no interest in physical relations with a crossdresser, because I think that was just denial on my part–I think the desire was always there, but difficult to reconcile because I had always felt so intensely heterosexual. (Also please note that I'm not overlooking the fact that you are married; of course I respect that.)

        • adriennephaneuf2015

          And even if you did miraculously "change," why on Earth would I ever think you would choose ME? I'm sure you would have a very long queue of suitors who would be far preferable (and who didn't live in California). As I said, I'm not delusional!

          • Riiiiiiiiight…. My lips are sealed on that point 🙂

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            Sealed, but very pretty!

        • Haha yes, Adrienne, that reminds me a conversation with my good friend @Erin Swallows, she also hopes that some day she'll be able to push the right button to make me 'change', but that is not going to happen — ever. Not in this life for sure 🙂

          As for the rest of your comment, I think you have evaluated yourself perfectly. The interest/desire was always there, it was just being actively suppressed; once you stopped your denial, it naturally surfaced as being part of your mindset. I'm actually very happy for you for not 'suppressing' yourself so much!

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            There aren't a lot of things I'd consider advantageous about aging, but I do think that the older we get, the more we learn to accept ourselves as we are, and to dispense with the conditioning and stigmas that affect us more when we are younger. At least in my case. I always felt a resistance to the possibility of my being labeled as gay; this was not because I ever considered it "bad" to be gay, but because it just didn't seem to fit me, in that I have never been remotely attracted to males except those who present as wholly female. Now: I don't care!

  • adriennephaneuf2015

    But now I feel a twinge of something akin to guilt when I watch your videos. How funny that seems. I feel like I should ask you if it’s OK!

    Sandra Lopes, if you were to write it, I would happily read your 2000-page autobiography. But I’ll have to make do by continuing to read your essays. I look forward to more. Thanks for taking the time to correspond.

    –Adrienne

    P.S. I’m sorry my comments are so lengthy that I have to send them in multiple parts. I hope that’s not as inconvenient for you as it is for me. I’m a renowned rambler.

    • Why guilt? I put those videos up in the hope that some people enjoy them 🙂 Smoking fetishists definitely do; after all, what we like is the act of smoking by itself, the rest (the actor) is secondary.

      And I love your comments, as well as the opportunity you give me to reply to them 🙂

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        It's not really guilt–it's just that I no longer feel quite as anonymous (nor that you are as anonymous) as I felt before I had learned a little about you as a person, and before we had exchanged words. I'm sure I'll get over it (your videos are that good, and you are that lovely–no arguments, please). And I do realize that we are still, in practical terms, anonymous to each other. But it feels different now. Which is why it's such an odd and unaccustomed feeling. If I were forced to choose one or the other–continue to enjoy your videos for the erotic pleasure they bring, or continue to communicate with you verbally–I would choose the latter. Although I've found few who are as appealing as you, finding images of women who "turn me on" is much easier than finding people as interesting as you are.

        • That's interesting, and also very flattering, because I value much more a 'mind' relationship than a 'body' relationship, if that makes sense to you.

          That's also the reason why I've been married for 17 years — our relationship is essentially based on a mutual mind attraction. We both have next-to-zero libido anyway, and neither of us considers themselves attractive, either.

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            It makes perfect sense to me. I feel the same. It's a great joy to exchange thoughts with you. The "mind" relationship not only lasts much longer, but it's also much more enriching to the soul.

  • noonereally

    "And as a lesbian MtF crossdresser"
    Do you get called a lesbian/dyke/etc. out on the street? No, because you do not live as a woman, let alone a lesbian one. You have no idea of what being a lesbian is. It's not just a word, it has a meaning. In no way applicable to you. It's just as bad as any other straight man calling himself a "male lesbian". On top of that, you have describe yourself as "slightly homophobic". I think you owe people a new irony meter…

    And are you a trans woman? No, you're not that either. The fact you like to wear "female" apparel, for fetichistic purposes or otherwise, does not of you a woman make, trans or not. Again, this isn't simply a word.

    I've read a few of your posts. It seems you think fetishes, gender expression and identity are quite the same, which they are not. Your perception of gender expression/identity isn't as linked to who people really are, as it is with what you think they should be, in order to fit your model of gender. It seems you do little but read up some stuff on the internet. Your practical knowledge of people and their identities is nil. Even if your audience is small, this is disinforming, and might even lead people to do things which aren't really for them. Please try to learn up a bit more on the subject before you offer such bold advice and interpretations of the world around you!

    • First of all, thank you for commenting on this article! In order to promote some public debate in this issue, it's nice to have some dissenting opinions, coming from people with different environments and cultural backgrounds.

      You use the word 'lesbian' as meaning something like a cultural movement — therefore your use of the expression 'it's not just a word'. That might be, in itself, a question of different cultural backgrounds; maybe your own background interprets 'lesbian' as being much more than a word. I'm sorry to say that I share a different background; I employ the word according to my own background, and, to clarify, in my context that word just means 'someone who identifies with the female gender and prefers female sexual partners'. I'm not going to discuss what interpretation of the word is 'better', because that would be as silly as saying that one 'culture' is 'better' than the other, just because they're different. When reading and commenting on the Internet, which has a worldwide audience (and writers, too), you should not assume that someone else's culture is exactly the same as yours, but rather appreciate the difference. I would be fine if you said, 'with my background and culture, I find your use of the word 'lesbian' in this context offensive', and all I could do is to apologise. Instead, I should refer you to the academic, scientific definition of the word, which, although obviously not perfect (all contexts are questionable), it's the one I use, since it has a more precise definition, one which is more neutral and more politically correct. On the other hand, I hope you can understand that I cannot take all possible cultural backgrounds in account when writing my articles; that doesn't mean that I don't care about them, but just that I'm ignorant about them.

      So just assume that I have a male body, a female gender identity (and try to express that gender identity as much as possible), and a preference for female sexual partners. If you have a better word to describe that combination, please feel free to use it, and let me know what it is, so that on future articles I might use it instead.

      I wear women's clothes as a manifestation of my self-identity as a female (a gender expression consistent with my gender identity); not for fetishist purposes. Again, we have to take cultural backgrounds in account. People who end their transition from male to female, in my country, are not 'trans women'; that would actually be highly offensive to them. They are just women. They're not transexual; by legal and medical definition, in my country, you're only transexual while you are under transition. To be entitled to transition, you need to go through a thorough medical examination, by two separate teams of doctors, to diagnose gender identity disorder (we still use that name in legal documents, since our laws predate the 2012 APA recommendation of using 'gender dysphoria' as a replacement for 'gender identity disorder'). Before you have that diagnosis, there is no real 'name' to classify that person; also, if you fail the diagnosis (i.e. the medical evaluation considers that the gender dysphoria is not too extreme to warrant transition, but may be psychologically treated in a different manner), there is no technical name/label for what you are. I jokingly refer those kinds of people as 'failed transexuals' in the sense that they might have similar conditions as transexuals, but 'failed' to achieve a diagnosis of gender dysphoria (therefore, it would be a different in degree, not in kind). However, that term has no equivalent scientific/medical term, but is just something I came up with. As said, people with mild gender dysphoria can be treated differently than others where gender dysphoria warrants transition.

      So if you wish you could call me a MtF gender dysphoric person with a preference for females as sexual partners. That's a mouthful, but possibly a more precise description than the one I used, and one that hopefully is not so offensive to you and people with the same cultural background as you.

      If you really had read my posts, you would have noticed that recently I've been very focused on explaining the differences between fetishism and gender identity, because they are the biggest source of confusion, and possibly also the major reason why non-fetishist crossdressers, at least in my country, are so careful about 'coming out' — they often fear to be confused with fetishists. The problem is that the notion that crossdressing is just a form of fetishism is widespread. So widespread, in fact, that some transgender support groups refuse to talk to non-fetishist crossdressers, since they believe they're merely fetishists. But, in fact, according to a study (probably one of the very few made in my country; more are being done, but that takes time to publish), possibly only 10% of all crossdressers are non-fetishists. Some might get a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, but most will not; they just view crossdressing as a form of gender expression.

      So, again, we have here another split in the classifications. Among those who are not fetishists, some of them might have mild gender dysphoria (not enough to warrant transition, therefore they're technically not 'transexual'). Others, however, will have no gender dysphoria whatsoever (they identify with their assigned gender as birth) but nevertheless manifest their gender expression as females for whatever reason (which, however, is not fetishist in nature). The best explanation for those cases is 'because we admire women so much and wish to make a tribute to femininity'; other cases are stress relief, for instance, or excitement (in the sense of adrenaline and serotonin release, but not necessarily sexual arousal — it's quite different); there are a few more examples, but those are, in my experience, the most common cases I've come across.

      Also, I'm surprised that you think that my perception of gender expression and identity are 'the same' as fetishes. I wonder what websites you've been reading; certainly not mine. I follow the definitions established by groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (it's as good as an example as any other; the APA tends to be more long-winded, the HRC's definitions are terse, concise, and precisely to the point). On the other hand, I grant you that I'm not an academic researcher in the field, nor a doctor, nor a licensed psychologist; as such, no, I haven't evaluated hundreds or thousands of people by conducting interviews with them and asking them what they feel, using the scientific method. In no place I have ever claimed that.

      Instead, I rely upon scientific studies and books published by researchers on the field, who have done a very thorough job to identify and clarify models of gender, and the first thing that you notice if you read enough on the subject is that researchers (like on any other field of science) do never agree precisely with each other, Nevertheless, they can fortunately form a consensus around a lot of points, even though every now and then some theories are rejected and others reveal a novel approach. I tend to side with the more universal consensus unless new evidence shows that a 'new approach' defines a better model of gender. And, of course, I complement my knowledge by conducting conversations with my hundreds of transgendered friends — some of which are merely fetishists, some are transexuals under transition, most are non-fetishist crossdressers — and that gives me the 'practical knowledge' you claim to be 'nil'.

      Obviously I get most of the scientific research papers from the Internet — not only about transgenderism, of course, but also on my actual field of research, which has nothing to do with gender issues — so I hardly understand what your point is about 'reading up some stuff on the Internet'. These days, practically all scientific research is published on the Internet, in one form or the other; even most scientific books can be acquired as eBooks. While there might certainly be documentation — articles, reports, published papers, conferences, books — that never becomes digital, but remains stored in bookshelves on libraries, and, therefore, I have not come across it, I don't understand your point against the Internet. I know few areas of scientific research in 2015 which do not rely on the Internet as a source of published material; even if it's not the main source for some areas, it's most certainly one of the major ones. Maybe you're more familiar with an area that relies much more about traditional models of research in public libraries and therefore you have a prejudice against researchers who mostly use the Internet.

      Because I'm not conducting rigorous scientific analysis — as I have already stated before — my perception is necessarily parochial. I compare what the scientific studies say about the subject and evaluate them by observing my friends. What I write about is this correlation between established scientific facts and what my own personal experience is. But — and this point is crucial — my understanding is necessarily limited to the relatively small group of friends I have. As such, I cannot claim that my own ideas and perception are universal, because my sample of test subjects is not necessarily representative of the universe of transgendered people, but limited to a comparatively small group. Worse than that, this analysis is not double-blind, and, because I'm transgendered as well, my observations are necessarily filtered through my own biases and perceptions. That's why I'm not publishing academic research on this subject, but instead merely opinions and thoughts about my own observations.

      What you are saying is the other extreme: that my own sample group (my friends) is totally outside the universe of transgendered people, and, as a result, my own observations are all wrong. I would say that this is a bold claim, which would require hard facts to substantiate. Put in other words: what you're saying is that my observations of a relatively small group of people (around a hundred or so, perhaps a little more) don't 'fit' at all in the vast universe of millions of transgendered people.

      I would have to disagree, but not merely based on an emotional judgement. Rather, by comparing findings of published academic articles on the subject, as well as some reference books, what I see is that the majority of my sample group (my friends) actually conform rather well to the samples used by real researchers. In other words, while I cannot ever claim that my own sample is statistically significant (because of my own biased perception), I can at least draw correlations between my own sample and the samples used by true academic specialists in the area. And what I can say is that they are significantly correlated to each other, that is, my own friends behave and express themselves in a way which is quite similar to what real academics have found out. So I would dispute your claim that my sample is not representative of the whole universe (at least it has some correlation to it) and that my conclusions based on the analysis of that sample are completely wrong, to the point of saying that they are 'disinforming'. They are, at worst, 'incomplete' — but they're certainly not 'incorrect'. They might not be valid across the whole universe of transgendered people, but it seems that they apply to a sufficient large number of them, since the correlation is so strong.

      One sentence of your comment actually caught my attention: 'Your perception of gender expression/identity isn't as linked to who people really are, as it is with what you think they should be, in order to fit your model of gender'. This is actually true for everyone, since all we have is perceptions. People are not 'really something' but instead they create their own perceptions of what they are; that's universally true for everything and everybody, not just gender identity. And people will obviously add their own perception on what others are. This is universal. People are not born with an inner marker that labels them 'I'm a person of type A or B or C' and behave accordingly. Instead, they form their own perceptions on what type they are. Based on their behaviour, they get labeled by others as type A, B or C, because you can't read their minds (and their minds are also not tied to a 'marker' which says what type they belong to). So my conclusions are always based on the following: if someone behaves according to 'type A' (arbitrarily defined, of course), then I label them as being 'type A'. This is a strictly behaviourist approach, because it's all that an external observer can do. What you're actually saying is that I'm probably mislabeling people and consider that 'disinforming'. This is naturally a valid criticism. In that case, I would very much love to hear what your own classifications are, how you identify the traits that make up each classification, so that I can validate them according to my own sample of subjects, and see if your own classifications suit them better. I'm quite willing to be skeptical about my own 'types' and adopt different ones, so far as they describe reality better — in my case, I agree that it's a 'distorted' reality, since it's limited to the comparatively small group of people I'm acquainted with, but it's still worth to analyse how much better those classifications of yours fit them.

      Also, of course, I would require some further scientific evidence on why your classifications are 'better' than the ones I borrow from my own reviews of academic literature. I will gladly assume that I did not read everything that has been published; and I already admitted that scientific researchers often disagree with each other, and use different (even contradictory) definitions and classifications. However, you judge me harshly when saying that I have just 'learned a bit on the subject'. While most definitely I'm not an expert in the field, and I haven't ever claimed that, in the past two decades I have most definitely covered a vast amount of the literature on the whole subject (that means reading hundreds of articles and a few books — not to mention what members of the community write about themselves) and even saw two or three paradigm shifts that occurred in those two decades (typical examples of 'wrong' concepts are the debunking of Blanchard's theories, or the widespread — but wrong! — view that transexuality implies heterosexuality after transition is complete). I'm also aware that a lot of work still needs to be done; for instance, my current interest is to see published scientific material on the issue of 'crossdreaming', which is a term coined by Jack Nolay in 2007, and there still haven't been any studies published specifically under that label (but maybe some researchers have already published something, just under a different classification; I just missed them because of that).

      Just because I actually read quite a lot about the subject, that doesn't mean that I'm not open to read much more about it. In fact I'm quite willing to read much more. If you are willing to share some pointers to published research that sustains your point of view and contradicts mine, I'm very interested in reading about it!

      Nevertheless, I would also like to point out that I don't quite understand what your point of view is; it's not clear from your short paragraph what exactly you're defending as your own model of gender that is so different from the one I've borrowed from the scientific studies I've read. Your paragraph just enumerates some strawmen arguments ('It seems you think fetishes, gender expression and identity are quite the same' — something which I not only never claimed, but actively oppose!) and ad hominem attacks ('It seems you do little but read up some stuff on the internet'), as well as generalization fallacies ('Your practical knowledge of people and their identities is nil.' — while of course my practical knowledge is restricted to some people and their identities, it is not 'nil', just 'limited'; but I never claimed — nobody can claim that — to have practical knowledge of all people, which is what your statement implies).

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Sandra, please permit me to be IMPRESSED by the grace and kindness with which you addressed noonereally's post. When I saw the post, my immediate reaction was an urge to jump in on your behalf (mainly because of the insulting nature of a couple of the phrases, and how far from the truth her allegations were). Of course I quickly realized that you could respond far better than I could (and that it really wasn't my place to do so). Your thoughtful reply surpassed even my high expectations. I think I see a bit of your Buddhist training in your refusal to get "ruffled" (or at least in your not showing it).

        I hope "noonereally" will continue to correspond. Constructive debate can only benefit all concerned.

        • Well, I have learned something with @noonereally — that it's dangerous to use words with multiple meanings in different contexts, and that often the context I'm using is not the one that people think it is…

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            True, and it's quite impossible to post detailed and complex blogs without pissing SOMEONE off here and there, no matter how careful and judicious you are with your remarks. I really don't like talking about her in the third person, but since I am a MAN and she doesn't want any MEN jumping in her general direction, I feel I have no choice. I'll just say that she apparently has a massive chip on her shoulder, and I don't see any hope for a give-and-take in the discussion. That being the case, I hope she will just stay away and not keep trolling your forum.

  • noonereally

    I'm not going to bother to reply to your immense wall of text. Quantity does not equal quality. What you're doing is called mansplaining. Which I don't care to put up with.

    "You use the word 'lesbian' as meaning something like a cultural movement — therefore your use of the expression 'it's not just a word'. That might be, in itself, a question of different cultural backgrounds; maybe your own background interprets 'lesbian' as being much more than a word."
    Such a long-winded, handwaving, patronizing morsel! Hell no. I get called a dyke on the street. I have all the corresponding disadvantages. You do not. You're a guy who (very) ocasionally puts on a frock. You go ask a doctor, average person on the street, a researcher, whatever – what a lesbian is, or if you qualify. Get back to me on that, will ya?
    Lesbian trans women do qualify, though, because they are actually women and live as such, unlike you.

    "MtF gender dysphoric person"
    Transexual women fit that description, not you. You are invading their identity as well. You're not a transexual, not even a "failed one". Crossdressing and transsexuality don't overlap. Try saying that to a trans woman, and see how she reacts. I actually know, and am friends with, trans women (and men). Unlike you, I go out, meet people, you know? Which, by your own admition, you do not do.

    "The best explanation for those cases is 'because we admire women so much and wish to make a tribute to femininity';"
    Women are not objects, to "worship" (oh gawd…), we're people. This sentence brought a shiver to my spine. I feel like I need a shower. You probably mean a pin-up, sexualized, cigarette-toting sex-symbol, made to be pleasant in the eyes of men. That is not who women, or femininity, are. That's a fetish, a demeaning, mysogynous one.

    "When I saw the post, my immediate reaction was an urge to jump in on your behalf "
    Right. I don't care to have men "jumping in" in my general direction. Toodledoo.

    • If you shrug away anything I write as ‘mansplaining‘, you’re not even willing to engage in meaningful discussion.

      I disagree that in order to be a ‘lesbian’ you need to suffer discrimination in public. From your words, it sounds like you are only a lesbian if you have been discriminated. If you’re female and lead a normal sex life with a partner of the same gender, then you’re not really ‘lesbian’ but something else. Fortunately, I have a few lesbian friends who would disagree with that overly pessimistic view of lesbianism.

      In any case, let’s drop the whole subject. I’ve edited the article and removed the expression ‘lesbian MtF crossdresser’ which you find so offensive. I’m not here to offend anyone, and the whole article doesn’t revolve around that sentence anyway.

      I just might point out that the distinction you make between ‘crossdressing’ and ‘transexuality’ is not correct. If by ‘crossdressing’ you mean ‘fetishist crossdressing’, then I will agree with you; that’s something very different from transexuality. On the other side of the coin, not all crossdressers are fetishists, and there is not a single, universal reason for people to crossdress.

      It might never have crossed your mind that some people just crossdress because there is nothing else they’re allowed to do to express their gender identity.

      There is a certain arrogance among some transexuals (again, I’m not generalising; the ones I know are absolutely not like that!) who believe that just because they are allowed to go to transition they are somehow ‘special’ or ‘superior’, and look down upon others who are not doing the same. In some communities such people can actually be very ‘pushy’ and demand that all members go through transition, no matter if that’s the best for them. I believe that this is what you’re referring to: that some transexual women look upon anyone who did not go through transition as somehow not being ‘worthy’.

      But that’s not how it works in reality. There is a vast spectrum in gender dysphoria; and there are several different ways to deal with it clinically. In extreme cases, transition is the only solution. In many others there are alternatives. People can still express their gender without going through transition: they crossdress, for instance. Sometimes they crossdress 24h/7, sometimes they’re not allowed to do so — that depends on the cultural background and personal situation.

      It’s wrong to say that someone is not ‘allowed’ to express themselves just because they don’t follow the ‘rules’. In your case the rule is ‘if you’re not living 24/7 as a woman, you’re not a woman’. I’m assuming the reverse is also true: ‘if you’re not living 24/7 as a man, you’re not a man’. So what do you call someone who lives part-time as a man and part-time as a woman?

      You wrote: ‘Which, by your own admition, you do not do’. It’s clear you have not been reading anything I write…

      And as for the rest of your insults, I wonder why you bother to comment at all. Somehow it seems that you derive actual pleasure from the insulting. Well, I have absolutely nothing against any sort of fetishism, so long as it’s done between consenting adults, but I’m sorry to disappoint you, verbal abuse is not the kind of thing that arouses me.

      On the other hand, I definitely welcome constructive criticism.

      • adriennephaneuf2015

        Sad to see that "noonereally" is apparently a troll and not someone who is interested in a real discussion. Her views have some merit, and I can see that they come from a place of hurt and a sense of being wronged. But it's clear that she isn't interested in actually communicating–she seems to want only to insults around and incite anger–the very definition of an Internet troll.

        For what it's worth, I have a close friend who is a fully transitioned trans woman. She and most of her friends are completely open, accepting and welcoming to people from ALL points in that vast spectrum of gender dysphoria. I also have several lesbian friends, and they all feel the same way.

        • Well, I think she (I'm assuming it's a 'she') felt deeply offended by my words, and, once that happens, it's almost impossible to turn her mind around. It's very hard for someone who was offended to think rationally about it.

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            Quite true. Also it comes down to a matter of semantics (so many arguments do), and the use of certain terms within certain frameworks. Your use of the term "lesbian MtF crossdresser" is a common one–I've used it myself. Within its context, it seems accurate. But I can easily see how a genetic woman who is a lesbian might take exception, based on her own life experience. They have to deal with a particular variety of hate and intolerance. What's sad is that some of them, such as noonereally (apparently), think that we crossdressers do what we do simply "for the hell of it," but the truth is, we are compelled by something deep within our nature. It's not something we just "decide" to do. I felt the urge at the age of 11 or 12, even before puberty, or at about the same time. I had the luxury of growing up with five older sisters, and thus had a lot of girls' clothing to "borrow," before I started buying my own.

          • adriennephaneuf2015

            The memory–more than 50 years old now–remains crystal clear: Sneaking into my sisters' bedrooms, pilfering garments and taking them into the bathroom where I would lock the door and put them on, wondering WHY I was doing it, and why it was such an intense thrill. I was a child! It was far beyond my understanding. I have learned a lot since then.

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