Proverbs 14:30 – A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Pondering the nature of crossdressing desires over the years made me convinced that a significant component of crossdressing is envy or coveting. I think crossdressing is sinful and harmful for many reasons, from its deceptive nature, to its addictive destructive nature, to its objectification of women. But envy is one very powerful reason that I think crossdressing is sinful.
Coveting or envy is a really big deal to God. Envy or coveting is a problematic strong desire for something which we do not have but which others possess, whether their belongings, success, position, or advantages. Coveting is thought to be part of the original sin of Adam and Eve. Not only did they fail to trust God’s words to them, not only did they rebel, but they wanted the position of God, the glory of God, for themselves. As a sin, envy is so destructive, so important, that it made it into the Ten Commandments (God’s commandments which summarize God’s entire Law in the Old Testament). Exodus 20:17 gives us commandment #10 of the Ten Commandments.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
What are crossdressing desires if not envy? We want what females have, things that do not properly belong to us. We envy the beauty of females. We crave and desire that beauty. We want it for ourselves. We want to be as beautiful as the women we see or imagine. We envy the feeling of “being beautiful.” Is it any surprise that crossdressers are so vain? We spend hours in front of the mirror striving for perfection in our beauty and admiring ourselves.
We envy the feminine experience. We want to experience what it is like to be a woman or a girl. We want to experience how men treat women or how they treat beautiful women. We want to be treated chivalrously. We want to experience the freedom women have to give in to specific emotions or behaviors that our culture tends to not be so accepting of with men. We envy that women get to feel sexy, sensual, spontaneous, daring, free from responsibility, provocative, cute, free to giggle, be expressive, be vulnerable, sensitive, flirtatious, or gentle. We incorrectly think that we shouldn’t show these feelings as men, so we envy women being able to have these feelings, and when we crossdress we then feel free to give in to these feelings.
We envy the feminine grace of the female body. We envy the curves, the breasts, the graceful walking, and the way women dance. We might even envy the way women hold utensils or the way they wear purses. We want to copy the feminine grace and have it for ourselves. In a way, we worship women, but like Adam and Eve, we want to take what we worship to be our own, to be in control over it, to possess it.
We envy specific articles of clothing, whether we see them online, or in a magazine, in a store, or in our wife’s closet. We envy those objects and covet them to such a degree that they consume our thoughts and hinder us from getting our work done. We covet them so much that we take foolish risks to obtain those articles of clothing even if it means a storekeeper finding out about our crossdressing, or a family member catching us in the act, or us losing our jobs by being found out.
We envy the soft or silky feel of the clothing. We envy the beautiful colors of the clothing. We envy the beauty of the feminine face with makeup. We envy the beauty of shiny painted nails. We envy the look of high heels. We envy what we perceive as the ability to dress in a sexy way. We envy the female clothing that we perceive as more comfortable.
In some cases we envy having a more beautiful wife or woman in our life, but instead of acting out in pornography or adultery, we act out by creating our own private woman through distorting the image of ourselves.
For those who struggle with transgender feelings, I think it is much the same. They envy the experience of being a woman, and envy the female body. They want to be a woman. They think it would be easier, or that it fits their personality or soul better. They envy the female body and want a female body for their own, even though God created them with a male body. They envy, in their perception, what it would mean to be and live as a woman. They envy some of the cultural stereotypes of women in our culture. They envy the experience of being able to bear children and breastfeed. They envy being a mother. They envy taking on female roles in marriage or society.
In short, to summarize all of this, we as crossdressers envy “the feminine,” anything and everything related to feminine beauty. We want what females have, things that do not properly belong to us. When we crossdress, it is almost like stealing because of our covetous desires. We wear things that aren’t fitting for the men we truly are. We wear clothing that is not intended for us. For some other good posts that touch on crossdressing and envy, read these two posts by my friend Ikthys – Closeness and Perks.
You also might be interested to know that researchers have identified the envy element in crossdressing as well. Read these quotes from Richard F. Docter in his book, Transvestites and Transsexuals:
The understanding of heterosexual cross dressing, we shall argue, must also encompass the study of how identity and gender identity are formed, how arousal and pleasure are generated, how sexual scripts are learned and rehearsed, and how intense envy and fear of women may contribute to becoming a transvestite.
Much greater dependency is both tolerated and encouraged in girls than in boys. The process of growing up as a boy may be very stressful and demanding. Some boys appear to deal with this by developing very strong envy of girls who are seen as having it much easier, and as being more attractive and loveable. Envious feelings and subsequent identification with girls are frequently cited by transvestites as a reason for their initial experimentation with the wearing of women’s clothing, usually those of the mother or an older sister. For the boy who comes to believe that girls have it better and are more attractive and who therefore feels intense envy of girls, it may be a short step to actually try on clothing or makeup and thereby be a temporary “girl.” Betelheim (1962) has written of the “wounds” suffered by men who develop fear and envy of the femaleness of women.
Clearly crossdressers have envy. And envy is sinful. I realize that the Bible stating that crossdressing is sinful is not enough for most crossdressers. That makes sense to me. If you are not a Christian, why care at all about what the Bible says? And even if you are a Christian, it’s hard to look at Deuteronomy 22:5 and obey it when there is no explanation of why crossdressing is sinful. But if we stop and think of reasons why it would be sinful, for example how it is related to envy, then we have a stronger case for believing that crossdressing is sinful.
Unless you think envy and coveting are no big deal, this is yet another reason to stop crossdressing. It’s one very big reason that I’m glad that crossdressing is out of my life. It’s general knowledge and generally accepted by psychologists that people who live with envy and covetousness are not happy people. They are always wanting something more than what they have. I remember that during my time as a crossdresser, even if I would eventually be able to wear a certain article of clothing that I coveted, I immediately started coveting a new article of clothing. I was never content, not even for a minute. I always needed something more. It was a never ending cycle.
And if you are struggling with gender dysphoria and are coveting being an actual woman, I’m sorry for the pain you are going through. It hurts terribly, I know. But I have to tell you the truth. You will never be able to obtain that which you covet. You will never truly be a woman even if you take hormones or undergo invasive surgeries. It is impossible for you to have the experience of normal biological real women. Let me tell you about one young man I counseled for years who struggled with gender dysphoria. It seemed like there was little I could do to help him or get him to listen me. He intended to pursue living as a woman. Amazingly, he turned from that path. What convinced him? It was reading what transsexuals online had to say. He realized that most of them were really unhappy and that their clothing, new names, and surgeries did not take away their gender dysphoria or unhappiness. He realized such a path would not help him to be happy either. If we want to be happy, we need to give up envying and stop craving for what we don’t have. Instead we need to enjoy who we are, accept the body that we have, and accept what God has given to us. We need to focus on what we do have and the good things that are in our lives.
Contentment is one of the secrets to happiness. I admit that today I still have envious crossdressing desires periodically. Also, at rare times, I envy women and have a fleeting thought of wishing that I had been born female. But I dismiss those covetous thoughts. If I dwell on that envy, and give in to it, I’d only be sinning and be unhappy. Like all sins, envy enslaves us. I don’t want to be in bondage to envy or any other sin. I have learned how to be content without crossdressing. In fact, I feel so free and so much more happy without it! I also have learned to be content being a man and being content with my body. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I love who God has made me! I feel great as a man! I have even learned to appreciate my clothing as a man, and to choose clothing that I think looks nice and is flattering on my body and attractive to my wife. You can find contentment as well.