Autogynephilic sexuality is varied, and may be hard to understand for people who aren't autogynephilic. The version that is most well-known in the public eye is transvestic fetishism, where autogynephiles dress up as women for sexual purposes, but there are also other forms. Another form, which might very well be more common than transvestic fetishism, consists of imagining having a female body during sexual fantasies. Sometimes, autogynephiles only focus on the idea of having a female body, while other times, they combine it with other themes, such as imagining having sex as a woman.
People can be autogynephilic to different degrees. For some, it is just a minor side-kink in their sexuality, while for others, it becomes the primary aspect of their sexuality. The former group is probably much less likely to develop gender dysphoria and transition than the latter group. One way to think about the sexuality of the latter group is that their sexuality requires them to be women for it to function. There is of course a broad continuum between the two end points.
Forms of autogynephilia
The most common way of classifying autogynephilia into subtypes is the following:
- Anatomic autogynephilia - an interest in having a female body.
- Transvestic autogynephilia - an interest in wearing women's clothes.
- Interpersonal autogynephilia - an interest in having sex with men or being admired as a woman.
- Behavioral autogynephilia - an interest in engaging in feminine behaviors.
- Physiological autogynephilia - an interest in having female physiological functions, such as menstruating, or getting pregnant.
Hsu (2014) found empirical support for these categories of interests.
It is worth saying some things about interpersonal autogynephilia. It includes a desire for sex with men, but this desire is probably not the same as classical attraction to men. The attraction isn't to male bodies themselves, in the way that a gay man might be, but instead it is a desire to experience sex as a woman with a man. This desire is sometimes called meta-attraction/meta-androphilia, or in older works, pseudo-bisexuality/pseudo-androphilia, whereas the classical attraction to men is sometimes called alloandrophilia to distinguish.
Some autogynephiles seem to have at least some degree of alloandrophilia, but most likely, meta-androphilia is a more common and intense cause of interest in men among autogynephiles.
Attraction to androgyny
It is well-established that many autogynephiles are very attracted to non-operative trans women. For an example of the evidence for this, see Hsu (2016). In addition, there is anecdotal evidence as well as informal survey evidence that autogynephiles tend to be attracted to other forms of androgyny too.