I think Michael Bailey’s dismissal of my autogynephilia questions for Scott Alexander and Aella makes very little sense
I am autogynephilic, and there’s been a lot of autogynephilia talk lately. One subject that sometimes comes up, but hasn’t been discussed much on LessWrong, is how common autogynephilia is in cis women.
Two datasets that are sometimes used for this question are Scott Alexander’s and Aella’s. Part of how they happened to be made is that I reached out to Scott and Aella, suggesting experimental questions for assessing autogynephilia, in ways that might function in cis women too and not just cis men:
Picture a very beautiful woman. How sexually arousing would you find it to imagine being her?
Do you find the thought of masturbating alone as a woman to be erotic?
This is somewhat different from usual autogynephilia measures, which contain questions such as:
Did you ever feel sexually aroused when putting on females’ underwear or clothing?
Have you ever become sexually aroused while picturing your nude female breasts?
The reason I didn’t include these latter questions is because it seems likely to me that they will be interpreted differently for males and females (e.g. if males do not have female anatomy, then they cannot be aroused by it literally, so instead they get aroused by imagining some other female anatomy that they don’t actually have), and because these usual questions seem very bad if taken literally (“ever” and “while” rather than “how frequently” and “by” seem like there could be a lot of ways to get affirmative answers while not actually being autogynephilic—though the low rate of endorsement among women suggests to me that they are not taking it literally?).
Anyway, Michael Bailey (activist researcher for autogynephilia ideology) responds in Aporia Magazine, saying “It’s important not to confound y’know being seen as a woman or having a female body from having sex with a partner while having a female body or the prospect of going out on a date while wearing sexy clothes”.
I don’t think this makes any sense. “Do you find the thought of masturbating alone as a woman to be erotic?” explicitly states that one doesn’t have a partner around. “Picture a very beautiful woman. How sexually arousing would you find it to imagine being her?” doesn’t suggest a partner any more than “Did you ever feel sexually aroused when putting on females’ underwear or clothing?” or “Have you ever become sexually aroused while picturing your nude female breasts?” does. This seems like a completely unfounded critique.
I think people who dismiss these questions should admit that they are starting with The Bottom Line that cis women are not autogynephilic, and reasoning backwards about what sorts of measures they do or do not want to endorse, rather than pretending that they are driven by evidence and desire for good measurement.