I know the title of this article might seem a little like an oxymoron, but let me assure you from experience that it is not. If you have struggled with crossdressing addiction, like I have, getting yourself an internet filter for your computer will allow you to breathe a huge sigh of relief and enjoy a life of freedom without having to expose yourself all day long to constant temptation.
Having a filter is a relatively recent thing for me. I didn’t look into internet filters long ago when I first started my fight against crossdressing because I thought they only blocked pornography, something which I’ve never desired to look at. But after doing a little more research, I came to learn that modern internet filters can be customized to block whatever content that you need blocked. With most internet filters these days, you can block specific websites and you can also block any websites or search engine searches that contain certain key words of your choice. With these kinds of custom options, internet filters are an incredibly valuable tool for our recovery from crossdressing addiction.
Most of us in our Healing from Crossdressing community have temptations to crossdress physically, but we may also be tempted to look at one or more of the following: crossdressing or transgender fiction, pornography, photos of crossdressers, photo editing or face swap websites, and crossdressing videos on Youtube. A filter can help to protect you against all of those things.
Of course, having an internet filter doesn’t eliminate all temptation. You still have to resist any female clothing which happens to be in your house, and you still have to resist secretly buying more clothing. You still have to resist fantasies and masturbation. And even on the computer, you will still be exposed to crossdressing from random articles that will pop up in the newspaper or on Facebook. You still will need to learn self-control, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. You can’t put all your faith in a computer program to do all the work for you. You will need to stay in God’s Word. You will still need an accountability partner. But even though a filter doesn’t remove all temptation, it sure helps a lot! It makes the fight a heck of a lot easier!
Looking back over the years, I see that most of my failures on the computer were not in situations in which I was sorely tempted. They were not in situations where I desperately wanted to give in. They were actually situations in which I was feeling very free from crossdressing desires from day to day. Imagine this: You are checking the daily news, and you read an article which happens to mention something about transgenderism. That in turn puts a thought or phrase in your head that you decide to search for on Google without thinking too much about it. 30 minutes later you realize that you ended up reading stories about crossdressing, and yet you never planned to do so. Habit and old addiction patterns set in. Something just triggered you, you lost your head, and later you found yourself having failed which you deeply regret. Now imagine the same scenario where you click on an article to read and the page doesn’t load, and your internet filter says, “Blocked!” And you suddenly come back to your senses. And you praise God for the program helping you out!
But even if you became very tempted to sin through some video or article and then your searches were blocked, now you have to think about whether you really want to disappoint yourself and your accountability partner by trying to figure out a way to uninstall the filter program without the partner knowing. And do you really want to waste hours figuring out how to uninstall the filter since you don’t have the password to uninstall it? You can easily see how this would prevent the majority of repeated failures on the computer. In some cases, just the extra time it would take to try to get around the internet filter would give you time to let the sexual frenzy pass and have the temptation lose its power and appeal.
Choosing a Program
Today there are more internet filter choices than I have the time to research. Many of them are similar but they also offer different packages and features, so it’s worth doing a little research before you buy one. I found this article helpful because it analyzed the different internet filters to be used by someone recovering from sexual addiction, rather than looking at these programs from the perspective of parents trying to monitor their children’s internet.
Here is another chart of different internet filters, though possibly a bit out of date. List of Internet Filters from Pluckeye
This article does a good job at showing how to utilize different accountability software for sexual addiction recovery. Different companies and programs are analyzed well. Since we here at Healing from Crossdressing don’t struggle with pornography as our main temptation, let me offer a few additional pointers to guide you in selecting a program that will help you in dealing with crossdressing addiction:
- Make sure you get a program that can block custom websites and customize blocking of specific words and phrases. Since crossdressing is not blocked by normal software which only blocks pornography, these programs only help us if they have a lot of customization features.
- Make sure you can get a program that cannot be easily uninstalled. It works best if they are password protected and the password can be given to your accountability partner.
- If you struggle with hooking up with strangers through dating apps or social media, make sure you get a program that can block specific apps of your choice, and a program which can block dating service websites.
- Figure out how many devices you need to protect and make sure to get a program that will cover all of your devices. Some internet filters are not compatible with certain devices. For example, the program I got does not work on my specific type of Kindle Fire, but thankfully I was able to completely remove the internet from my Kindle through a password which only my wife knows. Think about devices such as smartphones, IPads, tablets, computers, and E-Readers.
- If you need more direct hands-on help from an accountability partner, then consider getting a program which will allow your accountability partner to monitor all of your computer usage. For example, Covenant Eyes has a program which takes random screenshots of your phone or computer and sends them to your accountability partner, but with the picture slightly blurred. Analyze yourself. If you’ve never been dishonest with your accountability partner and you always are very open, then such a system is cumbersome and unnecessary. But if you know you will try to keep secrets from your accountability partner when you are able, then a monitoring program might be necessary for you. Other programs, like Net Nanny, won’t send screenshots, but will allow a partner to see what you are searching for on Google, Youtube, etc. and what websites you are visiting.
The program I use is Net Nanny. I can’t say I will use it forever. I might switch to a new program in the future. But Net Nanny has always worked very well for me. It covers 5 devices and monitors all internet browsers. The main thing I like about Net Nanny is the amazing customization it offers. I will explain the custom settings I use in the next section. It’s also very convenient to disable Net Nanny when I need to do so. For example, if I want to read some articles about transgender issues that would normally be blocked, but I need to research them for this website ministry, then I can have my accountability partner disable the filter for however long I need, whether 5 minutes or a few hours and he can do so simply by typing in a password.
I had to pay $55 for my Net Nanny package. That might seem expensive but to me it is a priceless gift. It is a steal when you consider it has been allowing me to live in freedom without having to deal with constant temptations! This program has protected me from so much temptation and so much regret. What a gift that a simple computer program can help me to live in more freedom and more joy each day. Other than the price, the only other drawback I noticed is a very slight increase in the loading time of certain websites, but I also noticed that it doesn’t slow down internet gaming at all. Overall, there are no major drawbacks. Even the customer service for Net Nanny was prompt and pretty helpful. However, since I haven’t tested more than a few companies over the years, I can’t say that Net Nanny is for sure the best choice.
When I first bought Net Nanny it took me nearly two weeks to find enough hours to do all of the customizing and testing I wanted to do before I had my accountability partner change the password. I am a perfectionist. My customizing was more complicated because I wanted to severely limit what kinds of things I could access, but still be able to work on this website. Let me give you a summary of the kinds of things I did when I first started with the program.
- I turned on Net Nanny’s standard filters for things like nudity and pornography.
- I blocked about 30 specific websites pertaining in some fashion to crossdressing, fiction, or photo editing.
- I set up a custom filter for certain words and phrases that would block website pages. So if a webpage has the term “crossdress” in it, I can’t access that page unless it’s a preapproved website. I put in about a hundred terms or phrases. I’ll give some specific examples to help you to do the same. I had to work hard on this because all my prior years of addiction, especially in my high school and college years, had made me very good at google searches, finding stories about crossdressing that are not on the main crossdressing fiction websites. I tried to remember anything I ever typed in on google during times of previous failures. So I put in things like, panties, cross-dress, mtf, clothes swap, transgender, he wore her, disguised as a woman, he tried on her, men wearing dresses, breast forms, lingerie, looked like a real woman, makeover, feminize, his high heels, halloween as a girl, girl for a day, drag queen, gender change, painted his nails, and tons more words and phrases.
- I had to find a way to block Tor. The Tor internet browser can access anything even if you have Net Nanny running. The way I dealt with this was to make sure I wouldn’t be able to download tor at all by blocking terms such as “download tor” and “tor browser” and the “torproject.org.”
- I pre-approved certain websites. Some of the phrases could block me from accessing harmless websites, such as say a news website that happened to mention “bra” in an article, one of the words I banned. So I picked about 30 websites that I use regularly that I have never used to help me indulge in sin. These websites I can access all the time even with the filter on. I was strategic about this. It will be different for each person. But for me, I could put Facebook.com as pre-approved, but I could not do so for Youtube.com.
- I then had my accountability partner change my password when I was all done with the setup. Now only he and my wife have the password. Technically, either of them can access my account whenever they want to and see all the things I’m doing. But since my filters are so strict, there is no need of constant monitoring. The most my wife sees is a simple box to type in the password, which she does when I have to research new organizations and research articles about crossdressing for an hour or two.
There are other features you can use on Net Nanny. You can make strict safe search on google something that is forced to be on all the time. You can also make it so that the program itself cannot be easily uninstalled. Even with the default less strict option, you cannot uninstall the program without putting in the password first. If you wanted to be really strict in agreement with your accountability partner, you can also set up a schedule so that you cannot be on your phone or computer 24/7 but have set hours in which you can browse the internet. You can also have your accountability partner monitor your location through the program, just in case you have a problem going to certain places as part of your addiction.
Matthew 5: 27-30
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
This is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which he talks about how he came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it. A lot of Christians and non-Christians think that Jesus just wants us to love, and he doesn’t care about rules and laws, and he isn’t a person who talked about punishment and judgment. Actually Jesus talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible, like he does here. We need to take this threat of Hell seriously. We are saved by grace, not works. But true Christians do not live in sin. If your life is characterized by sins that Jesus is describing, you are in danger of Hell. If you are born again, you receive a new heart and the Holy Spirit to live in you, and you no longer live in sin, but daily fight against it, and repent and confess when you fail.
This passage shows how serious we must be about ridding ourselves of as much temptation as we can. Certainly, we can never take away all temptation. But as I’ve explained, an internet filter does a great deal. If you drag your feet about getting an internet filter, ask yourself why. Perhaps you really have no good reason, but want to leave an opening for sin. Feel free to comment, but I can think of no reason not to get an internet filter. Maybe you are worried what your wife or children or parents will think when they notice a filter on the computer. Explain it to your wife. You don’t even have to tell her about your crossdressing yet (but you should, practice telling the truth). You can just explain that you want to minimize your temptations to look at sinful things on the computer. What wife would not appreciate a husband who would do this?
Before I got an internet filter, I used to think that I could handle all the temptations that came. I thought I could handle being alone at home having instant access online to millions of crossdressing images and stories at my fingertips. But of course, periodic failures still came. We are not invincible. Don’t pretend that you are. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not hard to eliminate at least some of the constant bombardments of temptation that we face each day. If you are serious about overcoming your addiction, get an internet filter now. You will thank yourself later!