When selves have sex: what the phenomenology of trans sexuality can teach about sexual orientation

J Homosex. 2014;61(5):605-20. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2014.865472.


In this article, Bettcher argues that sexual attraction must be reconceptualized in light of transgender experience. In particular, Bettcher defends the theory of "erotic structuralism," which replaces an exclusively other-directed account of gendered attraction with one that includes a gendered eroticization of self as an essential component. This erotic experience of self is necessary for other-directed gendered desire, where the two are bound together and mutually informing. One consequence of the theory is that the controversial notion of "autogynephilia" is rejected. Another consequence is that the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is softened.

MeSH terms

  • Body Image / psychology
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*