Masochist and Trans

The Third Sex Issue 3, article 1 (February 1931)

It is often said that the great majority of trans femmes1 are masochistic because this can best be explained by their nature and predisposition. In general the view is widespread that it is precisely the feminine feeling in trans femmes2 that exerts a strong stimulus on masochistic feelings. We3 asked a number of trans femmes1 whether they were actually prone to masochism and we were given the explanation that, although they are susceptible to masochistic feelings, they are not extreme masochists in the sense that is usually imagined.

In some scholarly works, trans femmes1 are also referred to as masochists who suffer from a certain fetishism that focuses on putting on the clothes of the opposite sex. The many variations that there are among trans femmes1, of course, do not allow a uniform determination of what the their emotional life is like at all.

We know female-attracted trans femmes4, i.e. those who feel completely normal and only associate with the female gender and want to dress and move around accordingly. This type of trans femme1 is unlikely to respond to masochistic acts.

It is different for those who count themselves among the bisexuals. i.e. those whose drive is directed towards men and women and who are naturally more susceptible to the caresses of men than the purely heterosexual. We also found in our survey that those who actually admitted to responding to masochistic acts were for the most part bisexual.

The third category is the male-attracted trans femmes5. According to their disposition, they wear the clothes of the opposite sex out of pure compulsion6 and act accordingly. Strangely enough, however, they deny that they feel masochistic.

We are putting this short article up for discussion and ask for a detailed statement from trans individuals1 so that we can get our hands on appropriate material to counter any misleading designations that trans individuals1 are masochists, fetishists or sadists.

For the rest, we refer to our article “Sadism and Masochism in Sexual Life” in Issue 2 “The 3rd Sex”, in which, from a scientific point of view, the elements of sadism and masochism in sex life are particularly emphasized.

  1. Transvestiten. It’s difficult to determine if the authors polled only those who identified as women or anyone who “cross-dressed.” I’m using “trans femme” here in the utmost umbrella sense - anyone assigned male at birth whose gender presentation is feminine.  2 3 4 5 6 7

  2. männlichen Transvestiten, male transvestites 

  3. The editorial staff was led by Friedrich Radzuweit, a gay publisher. 

  4. heterosexuelle Transvestiten 

  5. homosexuellen Transvestiten 

  6. Diese tragen ihrer Veranlagung nach schon aus reinem Zwang die Kleidung des andern Geschlechts. It’s not clear to me what they mean by “compelled” (Zwang) or “forced” to wear feminine clothing. Is it an inner urge or forced on them by partners or society?