On Crossdreamers 2

Crossdreamer Sidebars is a support blog for Crossdreamers.com, a site devoted to crossdreamer and transgender issues.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Is it true that 1/3 of non-transgender people fantasize about being the other sex?

In my article "More than one third of non-transgender people have had crossgender dreams and fantasies" I have referred to research done by Justin Lehmiller, Daphna Joel and Roi Jacobson that imply that as many as 35-39 percent of cisgender (i.e. non-transgender) people have dreamed about being the other gender. 

Do these studies prove that more than one third of cisgender people have crossdreamed? Can we trust these numbers?

Lehmiller's study

Let us take a look at Lehmiller's book, Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, first.

Since the respondents were recruited via social media and some types of people may be more likely to respond to such questionnaires than others, we cannot be sure that the numbers are representative of the population as a whole.

For instance, he says that:
Religious folks and Republicans were somewhat underrepresented; however, many religious and political conservatives still ended up in my sample.
Democrats were more likely to have cross-gender fantasies than Republicans, but as Lehmiller points out, it is not easy to ascertain what causes what:
Do people with gender-bending interests gravitate toward political parties that are likely to be more accepting of them, or does being part of a political party that espouses equality allow people to acknowledge gender-variant interests? This is another case where I suspect there's a bit of both going on.
It could also be that some conservatives find crossdreaming fantasies more stigmatizing than other sexual fantasies.

The current backlash against trans people in American conservative circles tell me that we are facing a deep cultural anxiety linked to traditional gender roles, which is especially linked to the hypermasculine fear of emasculation and feminization.

So maybe the right-wingers are more likely to lie about crossdreaming fantasies, to themselves and to the researchers.

However, according to Lehmiller American Republicans willingly admit to fantasies about infidelity, swinging, orgies, exhibitionism, voyeurism and fetishism, so it is not as if Conservatives do not have imaginative sex fantasies.

So I might be wrong about my hypermasculinity theory. Conservatives are also more likely to dream about cuckolding than Democrats, which is another form of emasculation. Moreover, I have been in touch with a lot of crossdreamers from all over the world while writing the Crossdreamer blog and moderating the Crossdream Life forum, and I have found crossdreamers and transgender people from all over the political spectrum.

In other words: It could be that the political bias found in the selection has some effect on the the percentage of respondents reporting crossdreaming fantasies, but I doubt this effect is big.

The Israeli study

The Israeli researchers also recruited respondents by using social media.
Participants were recruited to complete an Internet questionnaire with special effort to recruit participants from sexual minority groups (“minority” in terms of the proportion in the population). No means were taken to guarantee random sampling of the population. Invitations were sent to several groups and organizations that concentrate on LGBT issues and posted on relevant online forums. Invitations were also posted on the Facebook profiles of the researchers.
The fact that the researchers targeted LGBT groups and organizations may partly explain the difference between their results and the ones of Lehmiller. The fact that 76 percent of the female respondents considered themselves feminists, does  indicate a "liberal" bias.

Even if the numbers presented in the study of cisgender gender and sexualities mainly refers  the cisgender part of their sample. LGBT-friendly cis people are probably more likely to answer the call for a response to such a survey.

Again: I am not sure if this has had a significant impact on the final result. I suspect  that liberal oriented people will be more open and honest about such issues, but given that anonymity is ensured, I could be wrong.

But let us for a moment take this doubt seriously. Let us say that right wing respondents are less likely to be crossdreaming (for whatever reason). Even if we cut the percentage of cisgender people who have crossdreamed in half, we still have close to 20  percent of the cisgender population reporting crossdreaming. That is a lot, and far too many to describe such fantasies as the sign of some kind of mental illness.

Crossdreaming, in the sense of imagining your self as being or behaving like another gender,  is quite normal among non-transgender people.

Back to the main blog post!


Justin Lehmiller: Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, New York 2018.

Daphna Joel, Ricardo Tarrasch, Zohar Berman, Maya Mukamel & Effi Ziv (2014) "Queering gender: studying gender identity in ‘normative’ individuals," Psychology & Sexuality, 5:4, 291-321, DOI: 10.1080/19419899.2013.830640

Roi Jacobson and Daphna Joel: "An Exploration of the Relations Between Self‐Reported Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in an Online Sample of Cisgender Individuals," Archives of Sexual Behavior 2018, Vol. 47, Issue 8, 2407–2426 DOI: 10.1007/s10508-018-1239-y

Roi Jacobson & Daphna Joel: "Self-Reported Gender Identity and Sexuality in an Online Sample of Cisgender, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse Individuals: An Exploratory Study," The Journal of Sex Research, 2018, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2018.1523998

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