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I would chalk up a lot of the pop in interest in sadomasochism and heavy bondage among trans women in the 7 months - 2 year period to be about coming to terms with having erectile dysfunction and then losing interest in more vanilla sex. Maybe a bit crass of an explanation but I think it fits with what I've seen.

Interesting question on the community explanation, I wouldn't be surprised if trans men tend to have communities more similar to their pre transition communities. Especially when it comes to dating it seems much more common for trans women to need to seek a new partner pool after transition than trans men since trans women are either dating straight women or gay men before transition, neither of whom tend to be particularly interested in dating women, while the butch/femme spectrum inside lesbianism can more easily accommodate trans masculinity. So maybe that additional insularity can explain some of the additional divergence among trans women.

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1. Broadly saying "trans people are more ___ than cis people" is a common but very misleading way to distill these types of results. For a more obvious example, it's probably true that "men have [on average] slightly fewer fingers than women." However, while that framing suggests to the imagination a whole population of ~9.95-fingered men standing next to their 10-fingered girlfriends, the numbers actually just capture a vast majority of 10-fingered men plus a small sub-population of dramatic outliers due to violence or workplace accidents.

A more honest form of language would be "The average of values in respondents indicating transwoman identity is slightly higher than the average of values in respondents indicating ciswoman identity," or similar. Likewise, It'd be helpful to see distributions and standard deviations for many of these poll responses both on the cis and the trans side, maybe graphs that parse out trajectories for medians or for 20th vs. 80th percentile, etc.

2. These polls are great fun, but it absolutely contributes to the society-wide decline in information hygiene when you regularly:

- poll an extremely highly selected group of people (on Twitter/ Substack (aware of and following Aella (care enough about BDSM to answer a poll on it))),

- receive oceans of responses enriched with an unknown but likely large quantity of bots, trolls, culture-war-motivated lying, and deliberate multi-responses across alt accounts, and then

- headline your conclusions in ways that fully obscure all those reasons for nuance and epistemic caution, instead presenting your interpretations as broad Truths about group qualities across the general population (which, given the salacious nature of the polls, will go on to be reshared and vaguely internalized _as_ broad Truths by a huge proportion of the audience).

When journalists do this, it's understandable if gross. But as a rationalist-adjacent type, shouldn't you have higher standards for information handling?

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Can you survey men who have taken steroids about this? What about men who have taken DHT blockers?

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As a cis malesub, I find the results for trans men fascinating...

> This confusion also is evidence against my theory that hormones have something to do with the submissive/dominance gap; if hormones themselves are causing changes, then it’s really counterintuitive for this impact to happen more on the extremes of kink. It might in fact work that way, but it’s not what I’d naively expect.

I had thought that maybe cis het malesubs were towards the "feminine" end of some hormonal/brain continuum... something like "Not quite gay enough to be gay, but could a masculine women please take charge of the sex?" (Before somebody leaps on me, remember malesub online discourse has a lot of "forced bi" and sisssification in it.)

However, if I read Aella's graphs right, transmen (tend to) start off as submissive and the male hormones make little difference to that as a baseline, though they maybe become more adventurous about switching. (And as a sidebar, I wonder if some of the tailing off of enthusiasms is just the novelty of experiencing kink wearing off.)

Now, I wonder: if I suddenly started taking testosterone or similar masculinity boosters, would it actually make me *more* submissive, or at least more stoical and maybe more eager to take a harsh beating?

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i'd like to see what the trend was for straight vs queer more broadly

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My expectation would be that transwomen become less into the trans community after they transition.

E.g, before transition, talking to the community for advice of various kinds. (It would appear that dealing with government paperwork is a big part of the trans experience, from getting a prescription for hormones to getting a Gender Recognition Certificate).

After transition: more going out as a woman in the wider community, rather than trans-specific venues.

( Based on knowing a bunch of trans people)

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I agree with 1, especially about showing the distributions.

What are your proposed solutions for 2? How *should* we study this topic in a way that avoids selection bias and bots/trolls?

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I'm a bit surprised about you writing "especially trans women, are already really far away from cis people’s scores" given that the first figure seems to show that absolute gap between scores is larger for *transmen*. Transwomen, on the other hand, are only slightly more submissive than ciswomen.

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"Trans women are more submissive than cis women, even before ever taking hormones."

That would make sense, wouldn't it, given that they have made a conscious determination that they feel like a woman--in whatever complex set of emotions and definitions they associate with that feeling--and not only that they feel like a woman but that they want to take action to actualize their identity as such. Submission being traditionally identified as a female trait might be part of that.

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