On Sissy, Forced Feminization, and TG Transformation Porn

by rheabambulu

I don’t care if it hurts
I wanna have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul

So fuckin’ special
I wish I was special

(Radiohead)

Sissy porn did make me trans

(Andrea Long Chu)

This is not what I planned to write about. I wanted to write about our current fixation with applying modern trans identities to history — I’ve even uncharacteristically planned an outline! — but I am going to take a left turn and talk about sissy porn instead. Now, I am not actually into sissy porn. My history with this kink is in what might awkwardly be called “magical gender transformation stories.” The difference being the shame factor. Sissy porn usually involves degradation and humiliation. I used to read what is now called TG fiction (transgender fiction) on old crossdresser forums around the turn of the millennium when I was 15. Over the years, before transitioning, I also watched trans porn, but I never really felt comfortable with it. I am attracted to trans people, but PornHub, and its predecessors, are too male gaze — even if in the mid-2000s I didn’t know this term. Fast forward a decade and a half — post SRS — and I am trying out sex again. After my surgery, I’ve had to figure out how things work anew. Essentially, I am answering the question, “what turns me on?”

I have previous mentioned that I am demi-sexual, so the answer to my question can be complicated. I tried trans porn, but again, it caters too much to the male gaze. I realize that there is more and more queer for queer porn sites, cams, and all sorts of ways to consume erotica, but I don’t want to pay for something that I will rarely use. I also don’t seem to like live-action porn. I remembered the fiction I read twenty years ago as a young teen. But when I look now there is so much erotic fiction out there, and everything I find consists of impoverished prose and a recurring motif of punishment and humiliation, usually concerning a misogynistic protagonist, turned into a woman for angering a witch, or sister. Not my thing. So, I wasn’t very successful in my quest.

One day while feeling horny I remembered InCase. InCase is an artist that draws futanari, or futa for short. According to Sam Riedel (2017), futanari translates to “dual forms,” but in hentai (manga porn), it functionally means a girl/woman with a penis. InCase’s characters look like stylized fantasy and sci-fi concept art. They (no one knows who InCase is, let alone their gender) are very talented and have a penchant for the xenobiological and demonic. I find this incredibly arousing — even though most of their characters are not trans femmes per se. Femme boys also populate InCase’s work as well as transformations. InCase draws erotica with an assortment of body types, which might indicate a queer identity, as queer artists tend to be more sympathetic to this type of representation. InCase led me to search out more types of this art. There is a large scene of trans and queer artists who work in this genre. In particular, there is a flourishing subculture on DeviantArt — I am not sure if this is a migration from Tumblr or its community. Twitter is also a haven for the likes.

Specific examples of this art can be found on @LavenderIncubus’ Twitter. He is a transmasculine person who draws portraits of trans and queer demons and anthropomorphic creatures with a range of body types. Sometimes they are engaged in sexual intercourse, sometimes they are just hanging out posing naked. The style is influenced by anime and they are all very kawaii. Fat femmes with penises or strap-ons are common, often with fox tails or cat ears. Trans masculine characters often proudly show off their chest scars while holding their cocks. It is very affirmative. @LavenderIncubus art does not represent transformation porn directly, in the sense that there is some kind of magic or sci-fi power being used, but the animal and demonic hybridization hints at this. While this sounds like The Island of Doctor Moreau, it’s all very cute. The transformation of humans into animals, or to gain animal traits, has long been a trope hinting at metamorphosis: In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora (Ovid).

InCase’s work uses more fantasy tropes but also employs futa, alien/demons, and femme boys; you might expect to see a femme being fucked by a futa, while a fat ogress lounges in the background stroking her pussy. I love a recent short comic panel called “The Concoction” where a bunch of whiches surround a cauldron making a potion. The titular liquid glows with fluorescent colours. One of the witches drinks it and sprouts a penis, the others follow and they all fuck each other. In what can perhaps be called InCases magnum opus, “The Invitation,” a multi-chapter graphic novel — published only their website, the 19th-century protagonist studies a curious objets d’art which he becomes obsessed with, it slowly transforms him into a demonic futa who is then enslaved by a demonic master and taken to the underworld. I bet Christian conservatives would lose their literal shit over this one. It is mildly grotesque, full of sticky demon tongues and femme-demon cocks. In the second chapter, the perspective switches to that of the fiancé character who in a bid to save her partner, follows him/her into the underworld. She eventual gains her partner’s cock and they all have lots of demon sex. It is the best kind of gender-bending transformation fuckery. The sex results in the character becoming more monstrous, but it is all still very stylized and somehow sensual.

But where does this kink come from, why do I find this sexy, is it calling back to the stories I read as a teen? Am I just a pervert? Some will say yes. Unfortunately, this type of art was not on the web in 2000. But the stories I remember reading were all based on transformations, often instantaneous, but sometimes initiated by a friend or mentor through the incremental application of hormones, or some additive. In the latter version, the mentor or friend always seemed to just know that the protagonist was a girl, even if she didn’t. Or perhaps a male character would rip his pants and have to wear a dress to school and this initiated something in him/her. When I was 15 these stories had a sexual aspect to them. Which was very confusing and made me feel guilty. I learned as the internet and I developed in tandem through the 90s and 00s, that this type of kink is common in trans feminine people and there is a lot of shame around it. This is reflected on countless Reddit threads with titles like “Help! Am I Trans if I Like Sissy Porn.”

Thus, I want to analyze this kink because trans identities, specifically trans women and transsexuals are associated with paraphilia. Specifically, this type of erotic media is closely associated with pathologies surrounding trans people eroticizing their own bodies. As I will explain below, a minority of sexologists believe that trans people are mentally ill, and this is displayed through erotic fantasies about becoming women. Because many (not all) trans femmes discover themselves through sissy/forced-feminization or a related kink, normalizing it to a degree can help alleviate the stigma surrounding it and its connection to this spurious paraphilia. After all, why was so much ink spilled over Andrea Long Chu’s Females (2019) when she claims that sissy porn made her trans. This comment caused a shitstorm in both the trans community and outside it, in the former because trans people knew it would be used to do us harm. We need to de-stigmatize issues surrounding trans sexuality in general, as it is alarmingly associated with anti-social and pathological behaviour, which is a reflection of trans critics and not trans people. To this end, I read some accounts of sissy erotica and related kinks. I want to look at these and then end by positing my thoughts.

Perhaps it is best to start with Ray Blanchard. Unfortunately, this piece of work is associated with my old alma mater, just like J. Peterson. I am of course talking of the University of Toronto — fucking Canadians, you all think we are nice. Blanchard, starting in the 1980s developed the theory of autogynephilia. It says it all in the name (to love one’s vagina). Today, most sexologists take this theory for what it is, a pile of hot shit. Though gender-critical and trans-antagonistic types will fling it at us from time to time like caged chimps. Blanchard posits two types of transexuals. Group A, or “true transsexuals,” are gay men who know early on that they are trans. In Blanchard’s misreading of male homosexuality, he supposes that some gay men want to become women to fuck other men. If you have ever hung out with gay men you will know why this is absurd. It replicates a heteronormative understanding of same-sex attraction, that there must be a man and woman. Many gay couples involve two masculine men — sometimes somewhat toxically opposed to the feminine. The butch and femme fallacy is more of a reflection of straight sensibilities than a norm. Likewise, I have known many gay couples who are both femmes (this is to say nothing of genderqueers and nonbinary gays).

Group B are the transsexuals who like women, and they are not “true transsexuals,” but perverts turned on by the thought of being women (the “auto” in autogynephilia). Here, the “normal” heterosexual desire is misplaced onto the self (Serano 292, 2006). This pathology still exists in the DSM-V, unfortunately. Blanchard does not address trans masculine people, at all, which alone reveals the absurdity of this position. This works well for gender-critical TERFs, because they don’t believe trans guys are anything but fallen lesbians (which of course replicates the paternalistic view that a woman doesn’t know herself and needs a guardian, yuck; this type of reasoning shows just how unfeminist TERFs are). Also, when one considers how often cis men talk about, or are focused on their penises, one could suppose they are autophallophiles. Regardless, even if you do not have a trans porn kink/fetish or have masturbated to the fantasy of becoming a girl, and you have not previously identified as a gay man, you fall into Group B. This is an absurd categorization. You can, I hope, see why this theory makes people nervous about trans porn and sissy kinks and fantasies around trans sexuality in general. In this sexological schema there are only two categories.

First, let’s turn to Julia Serano. She discusses autogynephilia in Whipping Girl (2006). Serano first remarks that a binary schema for classifying transsexuals into two categories is invalidated by its clear inability to account for the diversity of transgender identity, even when only looking at transgender women (and as I previously mentioned, it discards trans masculine folks). For example, Group A transsexuals tend to know early in their lives, are almost exclusively into men, and act very effeminate — think of your stereotypical effeminate gay man. However, returning to my experiences, I am attracted to women, but I was aware of having cross-sex inclinations very early on, long before puberty which is when Group B is supposed to find this out. Where Group B transsexuals discover this later in life and tend to not identify as gay men before transitioning. Blanchard also typifies Group B, or autogynephiles, as primarily being concerned with arousal — as opposed to gender dysphoria (yes, yes, this is very medicalized). Returning to myself, a person who identifies as mostly asexual, this is an absurd statement (and another reason why we shouldn’t reduce complex phenomena into simplfiyied boxes). I never liked men but was aware of my trans inclinations at a young age, and though I was/am, aroused by transgender erotica, I only returned to this recently. I also don’t fantasize about myself becoming a woman. I am one. There is a pretty big gap in my interest in transformation/forced femme porn. In which I socially and medically transitioned. I gave up cross-dressing, which in Blanchard’s model is a primary means of sexual gratification, in my teens and early 20s precisely because, for me, clothing didn’t feel like gratifying gender expression, i.e. a deeper expression of my gender identity.

Serano points out perhaps the most absurd part of Blanchard’s theory. The sexologist clearly also saw the aforementioned hole in his theory, that trans women usually get over their sexual arousal phase vis a vis clothing. His solution is that we “pair-bound” with ourselves, which Serano interprets as an analogue to being in a long-term relationship where the sex is over. Which is it Ray, we are primarily concerned with fucking ourselves, or not? A primary symptom of our psycho-sexual pathology can’t just not be there. Serano says the following:

Blanchard’s categorization of autogynephilia as a sexual orientation reveals a startling naiveté regarding his understanding of human sexuality. In focusing exclusively on ‘sexual object choice,’ he neglects to consider the role that our own bodies play both in our sexual fantasies and in our realities. Our sexual experiences, whether masturbatory or with partners, typically involve various combinations of sexual attraction and desire for others, as well as sexual sensations and responses to mental, visual, tactile, and other stimuli that arise from our own physically sexed bodies. Since cissexuals are able to take their own physically sexed bodies for granted, they often focus exclusively on that aspect of sexuality which they cannot take for granted — namely, their potential sexual partners. In contrast, pre- and non-transition trans people are unable to take their own physical sex for granted, and thus their sexual fantasies often revolve around physically becoming or being their preferred sex. Every trans person I’ve spoke with about this — whether MTF or FTM spectrum, homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual — has said that their sexual fantasies almost always involve (on some level) there being in the appropriately sexed body (294).

This oversight is almost understandable if it weren’t so damaging. Understandable because this kind of obvious oversight would be clear to a trans person, but Blanchard is a cis man, he is incapable of conceptualizing what it’s like to discover one’s sexuality as a trans person. Unfortunately, this is not only an issue with sexologists, as the title of Vivian Nameste’s 2009 essay indicates: “Undoing Gender: The ‘Transgender Question’ and the Epistemic violence of Anglo-American Feminist Theory.” Her conclusion? Include trans people in knowledge production! If this advice had been followed in the context of autogynephilia, then the theory would have been dead on arrival as it is just a normal aspect of the many hues surrounding trans sexuality.

However, I would say Serano’s most effective observation is just that women, and trans women especially, are so sexualized, that it is hard not to initially make a sexual association. I would add too, that if you fall into Blanchard’s “true transsexual” group and thus transition, or at least externalize one’s female gender identity from an early age, this is less likely to manifest as sexual arousal during puberty. There would be no novelty to it. This would also track with my experience. When I cross-dressed before puberty there was no sexual arousal involved. I only started to correlate gender play and fantasy with arousal as I was discovering my sexuality as a teenager. It also became something that I could only explore with partners in the framework of a kink: the good old, “hey, I have a crazy idea…put these on” scenario. This probably only strengthened said sexual association.

While Serano isn’t talking about sissy porn, she is circling the same issue. After all, the reason there is shame attached to this type of erotica media is that it is used to invalidate trans identities as manifestations of paraphilic proclivities. And as Serano shows, this association stems from Blanchard and the sexologists that to ignobly take up his research — which according to Serano, is going to gay bars and watching and talking to trans women.

More focused on porn, Sam Riedel (2017) gives an account of their manga/hentai sissy porn fetish (I use her up top to define some terminology). She points out that futa is not exclusively consumed by trans folks — which is probably even more true in Japan. That said, she highlights how it helped indicate to her that she is trans (it is unclear if she also uses they pronouns, sorry if this is the case). What I identify within her story, and I think this is common, is that we become attracted to these genres as a way of dealing with our dysphoria or alienation, while at the same time using them as an excuse to point out that we are not trans so that we can avoid dealing with this potentially complicated and painful situation. “Oh, I couldn’t be trans if this stuff gets me off.” But as Serano indicates, a sexual reaction to sexy material is pretty common. This just occludes the deeper association. Riedel talks about Avatar Transform!, a comic that narrativizes and depicts the common trope of VR transformation (sci-fi tropes are ubiquitous tropes in this type of story). The protagonist, who at first is ostensibly just fucking around, begins to realize she likes being the VR female version of herself more than her non-digital persona. Riedel says she began to identify with this and had to admit she was jealous.

In another article by Riedel published on Them (2019), she writes,

[w]e live in a society where transfemininity has been overtly sexualized for more than half a century; for many of us, the only transfeminine people we were exposed to growing up were porn stars, sexual deviants in movies like Silence of the Lambs, or assorted sex workers on Jerry Springer. The first time I recall seeing a woman like me was in a page of escort advertisements in the back of the now-defunct New York Press. The coercive re-contextualization of our identities as based in nothing more than fetish is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We sexualize our own desires for self-actualization because we’re told that’s all we are: sex objects. In truth, we’re so much more, and using a kinky lens to seek fulfillment is nothing to be ashamed of.

I certainly can identify with her media reference points, as I am sure many millennials can. And to her last point, she echoes much of Serano’s sentiments. However, I would like to add something to these points which I agree with.

Riedel expounds upon a media landscape from the 90s and early 00s. Where to be trans felt lonely, isolated, and dangerous. And while today, that isolation may be abated by the relative ubiquity of trans voices accessible through the internet, the danger, if anything, has magnified. These fantasies, for me, were a way to fulfill my inner desires, without having to risk social rejection and alienation represented by externalizing them. In part, this is akin to Riedel’s point about not fully embracing your transness. But for me, I think I bought into that early on, I just didn’t think it was something available to me. And then later on, in my 20s, at uni in Toronto, I thought it would be nice to transition, if only it weren’t for all this mental illness I experienced, as if they weren’t connected (ahem). As a 30 something-year-old, who works with trans theory as her job, I now face the additional burden of the existential nightmare that is turning on any media and seeing my identity debated openly and antagonistically. I can only imagine that were I younger, it would compound these feelings of wanting to hide. The kind of porn Riedel explores, and the porn I have rediscovered through artists like InCase — similar to the fiction I read as a kid — provide an alternative route. It is not about humiliation or submission, for me, but about doing away with all that pain and insecurity, about being guided by magic, sci-fi technology, or a knowing second party that guides you along. These transformations are complete and easy. And when they are not voluntary, they offer the possibility of external intervention, in place of the intense introspection some/most of us go through when coming to terms with all this: a transgender deus ex machina. That is a powerful aphrodisiac to offer a pubescent person. It is an easy kink to imagine acquiring. It is also a potent poultice, to skip the hard bits of transition, in a world that continues to shout out how much it reviles and hates trans people. This is to say nothing of the minefield of body issues transition can initiate or exacerbate, who doesn’t dream of magically acquiring the perfect body.

Maybe Andrea Long Chu — who I am a fan of — is right. Maybe sissy porn made her trans. Expressed in these exact words, it is a very edgelord thing to say, but abstracting just a little, we could say it was something that helped her realize her transness. And sure, people will moralize about this, perform outrage for the children, but I think we just need to own our aberrant sexualities. We need to back that sentiment up with the fact that media cannot turn you gay or trans. This is an old and false narrative. D&D does not lead to satan, Teletubbies don’t make children gay, and sissy/tg transformation porn doesn’t make cis people trans (just trans girls). Just as video games do not make you a killer. These are sloppy arguments that push conservative and religious agendas (now supported by a minority of false feminists) under a feigned concern for children. Whereas supporting healthcare for trans children and healthy sexual education is scientifically proven to help children become more functional and healthy adults. Porn and sex work have long been at the centre of false moral panics. There is nothing for us to be ashamed of, it is this false puritanical consciousness that should be exposed for the sanctimonious bullshit it is.

A final thought, Louise Perry’s review of Females says of Chu’s writing: “This form of feminism is far more interested in the supposedly liberating power of lipgloss and orgasms than in the difficult business of incrementally improving the lot of women and girls.” I get it, and while I do not think that Chu is engaged in lipgloss feminism, i.e. post-feminism, she is waffling a lot. And while Chu might be engaging in edgelord prose, sissy porn is connected to material feminist concerns. As I hope I have shown, sissy porn and its related genre are involved in the life chances of many girls — just some of them have penises.