The British Journal of Psychiatry
Two clinically discrete syndromes of transsexualism.
N Buhrich, N McConaghy


Transsexuals are defined as subjects who have a sustained feminine gender identity combined with a wish to alter their bodily appearance towards the feminine. The results of this study indicate that they can be differentiated into two clinically discrete groups. In an investigation of 29 transsexuals who sought a change of sex operation it was found that those who had experienced fetishistic arousal were significantly more likely to be older, to have experienced heterosexual intercourse, to be married and to show penile responses to pictures of men and women indicative of a more heterosexual orientation. They had less experience of homosexual contact to orgasm as compared transsexuals who had not experiennced fetishistic arousal , but this difference was not statistically significant. Frequency of cross-dressing, strenght of feminine gender identity and intensity of desire for a sex change operation did not discriminate the two groups. The fact that desire for a sex change operation may be associated with experience of fetishistic arousal could be one reason for the higher incidence transsexualism in men than in women.