I’ve written extensively already about how a large aspect of our crossdressing is really about lust and sexual pleasure. But there is an aspect of crossdressing that I think is less about lust and more about romance or companionship with the other, the opposite sex. It’s about connecting to and being with a real woman and enjoying her femininity and beauty. Why is it that for me and many other ex-crossdressers, that we have far more desire to crossdress when we are alone compared to when we are with our wives? Someone might answer, “well when men are with their wives, they are getting sexually satisfied, and therefore don’t have as much temptation to crossdress, but when they are alone they are looking for an alternative way to meet their sexual needs.” That seems to make sense, but I don’t think that fully describes what is going on. Some men may masturbate while crossdressing but then still desire to keep crossdressing after the sexual release. Why? There is another need they are trying to meet besides only the sexual pleasure. Alternatively, some men may be sexually unsatisfied by their wives to some degree, but still not desire to crossdress until they wife leaves for a week. Why?
I think for me and most other men that we are drawn to the beauty of the feminine. We long to connect with femininity through companionship with a woman. There is something immensely satisfying for heterosexual men to be in the presence of a woman, even if they are not thinking about sex. That’s why we are attracted to women and get married. There is something natural about being drawn to the feminine in that sense. We connect to real women who are so different from who we are as men. For women it’s the same but the opposite. They are drawn to how we are different as men. If you read a few romance books written for women, or watch chick flicks, you’ll see that women are also drawn to the masculine, to connect to something different from themselves. They might be attracted to a man having a beard, looking rugged, being strong, or even smelling a certain way after hard work. I think this is natural and part of the way God created us differently as men and women. It’s a beautiful thing and makes life interesting. Of course, men and women are far more alike than different, and masculinity and femininity are on a spectrum, and we have to be very careful not to pigeon hole people and not say things like, “all men are like x” and “all women are like y”. Each individual is different. See my post – Integration and Contentment for more on that.
If the desire to connect to the feminine is natural, then what is going on with us is simply a slight deviation from what is normal. Just as we use crossdressing to substitute for the woman that we would have sexually desired, so we also use crossdressing to substitute for the woman that we would have desired to be with or connect with. Rather than enjoying having a woman around us who acts and looks feminine, we have taken it upon ourselves to create that substitute woman, that substitute femininity. We want to act feminine ourselves, rather than appreciating a female around us who is truly feminine. I can only speak for myself, but I have found that when my wife is home, I don’t have that desire to feel feminine. Not at all. But if she goes on a trip, then that desire comes out in me and I might feel temptation to crossdress. It’s not only about sex. It’s about wanting that female companion around for fellowship and beauty. Maybe it even connects to the idea of being comforted by having a feminine presence around. But instead of a real woman with you, it’s a false one.
For me, this has helped me to cut through a lot of the stupid rationalizations and false reasons to crossdress like – “I want to feel feminine.” “I want to let out my feminine side.” “I feel like a woman myself.” I’m not saying other men don’t truly feel that way. But maybe most crossdressers are like me. If I truly wanted to feel feminine or felt feminine then I would desire to crossdress even when my wife is around. But the difference is clear. When she is around, I can go for months without a single thought of “I want to feel or look feminine.” When she is around, I am connecting with her, the real female, and enjoying her beauty and femininity. The result is that I have no temptation to create a substitute.
Therefore, when we are apart, I realize I am actually just longing for the type of companion that God created for me to have, a real woman, and more specifically to the specific woman God gave me. When I am away from my wife, I just need to dwell on the fact that I miss her, mourn her being gone, and look forward to when she will return. When I remind myself of this, the temptation to try to recreate her out of myself quickly dissolves into nothing. Instead of fulfilling the sexual need I might feel through making a false woman, I have to wait for her to come back to be sexually fulfilled. Instead of fulfilling the emotional need of wanting to be around and connect to the feminine, I have to wait for her to come back. This is not suffering. This is what all normal couples go through. The waiting cultivates patience as well as affection for my wife. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Connected to this is the idea that if our wives dress and behave more femininely it can also reduce our temptations. This is not only about women being attractive or dressing more attractively. It’s about femininity. So if our wives wear dresses and skirts, or paint their nails, it can help further satisfy that desire to be together with the opposite sex, with the feminine other who is so different from us, so that we have less desire to recreate the femininity ourselves. I don’t think this is universal, but for many of us this is the case. I do remember hearing from another ex-crossdresser that his wife dressing more femininely increased his crossdressing temptations. Maybe he was cultivating his feelings of jealousy and envy rather than his feelings of appreciating his wife. For me, the more I embrace masculinity myself, and the more my wife embraces femininity, in terms of our appearance, our behaviors, and our roles, the more we are attracted to one another. What is it like for others of you ex-crossdressers?
I think those with strong gender dysphoria are a different case. Some men with gender dysphoria truly do not feel like themselves when not acting femininely. But for them, it’s not a desire to feel feminine. They are not desiring to feel something different. They are already feeling a certain way, and they have labeled it as feminine. For them, it’s a desire to not have to act differently from how they would naturally act. For other crossdressers, the very notion that “we desire to feel feminine” reveals that we do not struggle with gender dysphoria in the same way those other men do. The treatment for us then may look a bit different than the treatment for those other guys. Their struggle can also be managed or overcome, but we have to recognize that it is a different struggle than ours in certain aspects.
If what I say in this post is true, what are some takeaways or action points?
1. Explain to your wife why it’s helpful to you for her to dress more femininely. Or if you don’t think it’s appropriate to tell her this, then at the very least, when she does dress femininely, be sure to compliment her and appreciate her for doing so. Be careful not to pressure your wife into gender stereotypes in terms of her behavior that may not fit her, and don’t pressure her to wear things she is uncomfortable wearing. Also, be careful not to be consumed with lust for feminine objects of clothing. The idea is to connect to the feminine through love of your wife. But don’t make the mistake of trying to connect to femininity through objects. If your wife dresses femininely, appreciate her as a whole person, a femininely dressed person, the person you love. Do not fixate on the objects she is wearing as separate things apart from her as a whole person.
2. Embrace masculinity and being a man yourself. Take care in how you dress as a man. As you are drawn to your wife’s femininity, she will be drawn to your masculinity.
3. When your wife is away and you get sudden strong temptations to crossdress, remember that part of the reason for the temptation is that you are missing your feminine companion, you are missing that feminine beauty, the one God gave you. Instead of creating a fake femininity by creating a false woman by crossdressing, remind yourself that you are actually missing your wife. Allow yourself to feel that heartache, allow yourself to feel deeply the feeling of missing her. Acknowledge to yourself that you are missing seeing her beautiful smile and beautiful feminine body. Acknowledge that you miss talking to her. You miss the person who is bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh, the one who is so like you, but also different in important and attractive ways. Allow yourself to cultivate a feeling of looking forward to being with her again, rather than trying to create a replacement for her because you are impatient. Doing this has helped me immensely in defeating temptations and I know it can help you too!
4. Focus on feelings of appreciation, wonder, and delight in the feminine beauty of your wife. Work to overcome feelings of envy for her femininity. Femininity rightly belongs to her, not you. Delight and rejoice in her femininity and companionship. Resist thoughts of envy when they come. Confess them. Take them to Christ. And ask for help to change your heart.
5. Take time to think through your feelings. Which feelings that you or society label feminine are actually part of you? Which feelings that you or society label feminine are actually just part of your crossdressing persona which functions as a replacement of a real woman in your life? If you are normally a very gentle and quiet man, even when around your wife, that may just be part of who you truly are. You can then allow yourself to be that type of man and not try to force yourself to be something you are not due to cultural pressures regarding gender stereotypes. But if you find that you want to feel demure or cute, and you want to crossdress in order to help you feel that way, but you only feel this desire when your wife is away for a week, and never have that desire when she is around, this probably is not a real aspect of your personality, but rather you trying to create a false feminine persona to replace your wife while she is away.
Other takeaways that you would add?