Where's the Line?

One of our dear sisters the other night raised the controversial topics of trans autoerotica and narcissism, so maybe it's a good time to delve into these issues. Narcissism often manifests when an individual tries too hard to convince themself of their worth, because they do not feel that way naturally. In the case of a translady, narcissism can also be symptomatic of good old fashion Gender Euphoria... sheer joy overflowing from an inner wellspring that has been pent up so long. People in a state of gender euphoria tend to be a bit (or a lot) self-absorbed, so overwhelmed with delight and enchanted by their own girlish appearance, that nothing else seems to matter to them.

Autoerotica occurs when sexual fulfillment is sought through solitary fantasy role play. I must ask, what is so dirty or wrong about that? How many people have erotic enjoyments on their own? Probably the majority of creative, verile human beings are autoerotic to some extent. Those who attempt to pathologize transgenderism tell us autoerotica is unhealthy, in the same way our grandparent's generation claimed masturbation is a sin.

I believe the main divisions in the community stem from the treatment of these two issues. There are those on the one side, who go en femme in pursuit of good feelings and pleasure, who wholeheartedly embrace and publicly display both autoerotica and narcissism, thus promoting the negative stereotype. Then there are those on the other side, who go en femme because it is who they are inside, and they are left to cope with the negative stereotypes created by the other side. Unfortunately these two groups have conflicting objectives: one side wants all the attention it can get, the other side wishes to blend in without fanfare.

I say there's nothing wrong with autoerotica, even a touch of narcissism isn't so bad, so long as these characteristics are enjoyed in a balanced way that is mindful of the greater good of the community. What do you think? The question is, where's the line?


Shari Williams said…
Well said/written Michele!!! Narcissism is a trait that seemingly runs rampant through the TG community. Your comments about why people are that way are right on! They act that way to cover up feelings they don't want to admit or deal with. The problem is that folks on the outside can see it a mile away; the one who acts that way often can't. The issue of narcissism is even further complicated when the person is engaged in a relationship. At best it is hard for the other person involved, more often then not the relationship deteriorates into a one sided relationship with neither person being there, emotionally and often physically. A smart person once said, "Everything in moderation", and this is a perfect example. We all need to believe we are special, but when we start to believe we are better then others because of our looks, education, social standing, financial status or whatever other yardstick one uses to measure ones self, then that is when the line is crossed. Why? Because you no longer become a person who is more concerned with others then yourself, you begin to believe that you are better, that you deserve more, that you are above others. This kind of behavior is often followed by a loss of loved ones, friends and a sense on loneliness. To combat those feelings, a person sinks deeper and deeper into self obsession... .....It becomes a cycle that is hard to break.

As for the second issue, there is nothing wrong with Autoerotica. But as with most things it has its place and time. As long as it is practiced in moderation and not at the expense of a partner then it is a healthy option for many. Again as with Narcissism it is important not to let the feelings go overboard or get to the point of obsession. Just my two cents worth. Thanks for listening!
Stephanie Yates said…
Autoeroticism is a common part of the transgendered phenomenon, particularly for the ambigendered (I can't speak for anyone else anyway). My point is that I've seen professional opinions, with which I tend to agree, that note that such behavior is often a control mechanism. Autoeroticism is used to shut off the desire to dress, act and appear feminine. Once climax is achieved the desires diminish. Unfortunately for the individual, there is often the feelings of guilt that accompany this act. And the feelings of guilt extend also to the act of feminization that prompted the autoeroticism.

Ultimately, autoeroticism- -while a useful coping mechanism for a while--limits one's ability to move beyond that stage. It becomes addictive and once that happens it is detrimental, in my opinion. And it is detrimental because for me the real rewards of being ambigendered lie in the friendships to be made and the experiences to be shared, even if they are online. Withdrawing into oneself can be uplifting, but it can also be entrapping. It can result in delusions or more commonly into one becoming stagnated and locked into a mindset of artificial limitations.

As with so much in life, it's not what you do, but how often and why you do it that becomes a problems. And, most importantly, life is a journey best shared with like minded fellow travellers.

Stephanie Yates
Alysyn said…
In fact, I think the line varies with the individual. Each of us is responsible for the extent of our lives, and as such should be satisfied, nay, happy with the outcome we have decided upon. Circumstances may seem to dictate the outcome of our decisions, but the truth is we decide for ourselves what we will accept as worthwhile for us; outside influences are merely a sounding board, and not always an accurate one at that. So to place an emotional/sexual standard upon everyone hoping to find the proverbial answer to such a question is futile. We all percieve our sensuality differently...we all percieve our worth within different frameworks. Often the two are intermingled and interject one into the other, but rarely are they static or rational.

In the case of transwomen, there are so many evolutionary opportunities being presented, it's really no wonder that there is so much variation within such a small category. The liberation of one's identity mixed with the breaking down of inhibitions often opens one up to considerations that were, prior to transition, often presented as taboo.

And the journey is never really over...

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