Sunday, 1 May 2011

Autoparagynaecophilia Explained

Today during an IRC discussion in one of the many channels I frequent, one of the people in the group, James, noticed the word used to describe my condition by one Dutch physician at the AMC hospital (Amsterdam): autoparagynaecophilia. Having knowledge of both Latin and Greek, he thought it'd be an interesting puzzle to figure out what it really means. The following is a copy & paste from the text file he sent me earlier:


Autoparagynaecophilia is a Greek neologism created from several parts:

auto - Of or relating to the self. From the Greek 'autos' meaning 'self'

para - Meaning beyond or beside. Has acquired the meaning 'abnormal' or 'defective' in medical contexts.

gynaeco - of or relating to female/woman

philia - Meaning friendship or affinity, has acquired the meaning 'tending toward' or 'attraction to' in medical contexts.

paraphilia - Meaning 'abnormal attraction to'. Medical neolgism synthesizing para and philia


A related term, autogynephilia has been used by some psychologists (notably Ray Blanchard) to describe "a man's paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman." in male-to-female transsexuals [1]. This characterisation is controversial, however. [2]

In this light, autoparagynaecophilia could be interpreted as a synthesis of 'autogynephilia' with the more mainstream term 'paraphilia' to emphasize the deviant nature of this phenomena.

Alternately, and more literally, autoparagnyaecophilia could be read to mean "(tending toward) abnormal attraction to one's own female anatomy". Absent any professional consensus on a definition however, the term is effectively open to interpretation by the reader.

[1] Blanchard, R. (1989). The concept of autogynephilia and the typology of male gender dysphoria. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 177 616-623.
[2] Moser, Charles (July 2009). "Autogynephilia in Women". Journal of Homosexuality 56 (5): 539--547. (available:



Strange_Panda said...

Interesting word.. I think I still don't completely understand, but I do know it would be an awesome word in scrabble.. A pity it probably wouldn't fit on the board..

I wonder, could you tell me on which servers/in which channels you frequent? I think it'd be nice to be able to talk with you.

Maya Posch said...

You must get that pesky Y in Scrabble, though. I never had much luck with that one :) And a bigger board, yes ;)

I mostly frequent #Nyanko (my own channel) and on a wide variety including ##electronics, #android-dev, ##c++ and others :)

Russ Nelson said...

My take on the word? It's a technical way of saying "You think you have a vagina, but you really don't." Doctors love to put ordinary ideas into Latin because it makes them sound more medical. Are your extremities numb for no apparent reason? Oh, you have neuropathy. What does that mean? It means that your extremities are number for no apparent reason, but because it's in Latin, it's a diagnosis.