A friend recommended to me the book – “Living with a Transvestite: A Phenomenological Study of Wives and Committed Partners of Transvestite” by Heather Christine Freegard. It is free to download, so any of you can read it! All in all it was a book worth reading, though not a Christian book. The most important thing about this book is that crossdressers can read it and be confronted with the reality of what crossdressing means to most of their wives.

So many women have suffered immensely in their relationships with crossdressers. In most cases these women did not know their partners were crossdressers until much later after already being married for years or already being in an enmeshed long-term relationship. As the book shows, the first great pain these women experience is a loss of trust, a feeling of devastating betrayal when they find out all the secrets. But these women also have to deal with constantly having to hide their husbands’ secrets from children, family, or friends and even lie for them. These women are usually pressured by their husbands to accept and enjoy the crossdressing. These women have to face confusion in their own sexuality as their husbands coerce them into having sex while the husbands are crossdressed. Many of the women have to face the reality that their husbands find far more sexual satisfaction in the crossdressing compared to in them as real women, and in many cases the wives have to learn to live without a sex life even though married. Many of the women have to deal with emotional abuse and manipulation by their crossdressing husbands who have a tendency to be selfish and narcissistic while enslaved to their addiction. Some of these women have to deal with their husbands constantly obsessing about how they as wives dress, and how they need to dress more sexily or femininely. In most cases, the women find that they did not sign up to marry someone who tries to dress, live, and act like a woman whenever alone at home, and they are left with little choice but to divorce.

The most important sections in the book are the testimonies and quotations of the wives who partook in the study. It’s one thing to read my above paragraph about the pain these wives go through. It’s quite another thing to read about their pain in their own words, in real and specific situations. The book is heartbreaking. But it is a good reality check for active crossdressers today. For all of you reading this post who are still actively crossdressing, please oh please consider reading this book and reevaluate how you treat your wives.

That is the main point I wanted to make about this book. But I would also like to share some quotations and ideas from the book that I found interesting or helpful:

    • On page 21 the author notes that perhaps 1% of adult males are transvestites. I’m not sure what to make of this data. It seems too high to me. Perhaps if it includes every male with gender dysphoria and every male who occasionally likes to wear panties, then 1% seems likely. But for all-out crossdressers or ex-crossdressers, like most of the people reading this post, who tried to dress every moment they got, and were stuck in deep addiction, that’s got to be lower than 1%. Anyway, who knows. It’s something terribly hard to research.

 

    • Also on page 21 the author mentions that in marriages with a transvestite, 90% end in divorce. This is a terrible, dreadful and painful statistic. These are real people and the pain that crossdressers and their wives go through as the marriage explodes is just awful. I have walked with so many people through this, men and women, and the pain for both can be unbearable. Thankfully, there is hope. I know of a lot of marriages now where the husband has overcome his crossdressing addiction, is no longer giving in, and these marriages are healthy, happy and stable.

 

    • Here is a quote from page 49 that makes a lot of sense to me but it’s hard to prove – “Ackroyd (1979), suggested that transvestites are so attracted to women that they wish to become permanently or intermittently identified with them and that this stimulus stems from admiration and affection for the opposite sex.” What do you think? Is that true to your experience?

 

    • The book makes clear, as I have so often pointed out myself, that crossdressing is a sexual issue. Crossdressers love to claim it’s not, but there is too much evidence to the contrary. Crossdressers like to make their addiction sound less disturbing, less creepy, and more acceptable by claiming it is not sexual. I don’t know how that really makes it any better or worse, but I think that must be the reasoning behind crossdressers so often lying about this. The book makes it very clear that crossdressing is sexual because of the detrimental impact that crossdressing has on the sex lives of the couples. Many crossdressers simply aren’t interested in sex with their wives. But the most poignant example in the book to illustrate this point was when a wife shared that her husband was protesting and arguing vehemently that crossdressing wasn’t sexual for him, and at the same time she could see that he would get an erection whenever he simply talked about crossdressing with her.

 

    • A thought that came to me as the wives in the book shared about the fortunes their husbands would spend on clothes and shoes and makeup, was that crossdressing is similar to pornography in another way I have not yet written much about. In both cases, with crossdressing as a means to sexual pleasure and with pornography, there is a constant struggle for something new. As the porn addict is constantly searching for new pictures and videos, sometimes having 20 tabs open and loading at one time, and constantly flipping through pictures and videos at a nonsensical pace, so also the crossdresser who is after sexual pleasure constantly needs new outfits and new clothes. I know for many crossdressers that they need to change into a new outfit almost every literal minute. Always looking for a new look, a new pose, a new image in front of the mirror. Thus most crossdressers spend a reckless amount of money on clothing stashes that they can scarcely hide or afford financially. It’s sexual addiction. It’s need for constant new images, and constant new stimulation. And even for those who don’t masturbate while crossdressing, perhaps it is still an addiction, still a need for constant new things and new stimulation, because this drive to purchase hundreds of outfits seems to be universal among crossdressers. What do you think?

 

  • Last, there were some very interesting quotations about gender stereotypes and gender differences. All of them are on pages 214-215.
    The nature of Transvestism both challenges, and demands strict adherence to, sexual and gender differences. The challenge lies in the transvestite’s desire to alternate between the masculine and feminine roles at will.”
    In the maculine role he takes on a masculine vocation and is successful, yet nurtures a capacity to slip into a feminine role. In the feminine role transvestites tend to adopt extremely feminine images (Brierley, 1969, p30).”
    That is, the Transvestite forms a combination of gender role extremes. The inability of the person to express their softer, that is traditionally feminine, aspects whilst in the masculine garb and role describes an inability on the part of the person to blur or integrate their need to express a range of emotional and behavioural traits and roles.”
    It is almost as though this identity has to be put on before permission can be granted to do supposedly feminine things – from housework to being more emotionally open. In this respect, transvestism reflects traditional gender roles whereby masculinity and femininity are entities in and of themselves, mutually exclusive and fixed (Woodhouse, 1989, p139).”

In my opinion, these statements directly support and reinforce what I’ve said about integration of personality in this post – Integration and Contentment. Crossdressers have experienced a division in their personhood and personality, in some way that we can’t fully decipher or understand, at some point during their childhood. But as should be obvious to anyone, crossdressing as an activity only reinforces the disintegration and division of the personality. The more you crossdress, the more your mind and body associate that you can only feel certain things while crossdressing. Crossdressers have extreme mood swings and extreme behavior changes, going from the masculine persona to the feminine persona. What would be healthy would be to stop crossdressing and learn how to integrate your full personality together, so that you, as you, as a man, are able to be more balanced, so that you are not either excessively aggressive and angry while not crossdressed, or ridiculously passive and gentle while crossdressed. Why can’t you learn to allow your gentle and nurturing side out while seeing yourself as a man? Why not strive to be healthy and balanced in your emotions as one person rather than try to be two different alternating personalities? Do you really have to put on a dress in order to let those real feelings out? Isn’t that a ridiculously unhealthy personality trait, to have to have certain types of clothing in order to let yourself feel certain emotions or to do certain behaviors? Why can you joyfully and happily do all the chores for the family while crossdressed, but you can’t joyfully do chores to serve your family dressed as a man?

Ex-crossdressers in this community and in our prayer group have many discussions about this phenomenon. I’ve made clear that I think much of crossdressing is simply about sexual addiction. But there is another aspect of it for most of us as well, and that is the aspect of the comfort, the personality change, the retreat we feel when we crossdress. Sometimes when temptations to crossdress come, it is not because of a sexual desire. Sometimes it is the desire to escape, to let go, to feel something we want to feel that we are having trouble feeling as a man. I find that in such times it is important to stop myself and think through the situation logically. I ask myself, “why do I feel a pull to crossdress right now? I don’t think it is a sexual urge. What is it that I want to feel?” Then I think about how to get that feeling in a healthy way, or I think about how to be content even without feeling what it is that I want to feel. Maybe I am stressed about something, and part of me thinks that by dressing I can escape that stress. Of course, dressing will only add stress, and not take any of it away. So instead, I look for other ways to reduce stress in my life, or find other healthier ways to handle the stress and work through it. For me, the most important thing is to go to God in a time of deep prayer, and pour out my burdens to him, and let him refresh me with joy, peace, and comfort. That gives me tremendous strength and contentment.