When Cross-Dressing Puts Relationships in the Crosshairs

Black dress and purse on bedA long time ago, my (much older) bachelor next-door neighbor confided in me that his pleasure in life was purely “sartorial.” Unfamiliar with the term, I ran to my dictionary and learned sartorial meant “pertaining to clothing, especially men’s.” But this distinguished college professor was no dandy—his clothes appeared unremarkable, plain, and masculine.

As we became better and better friends, he confessed to me that his sartorial interests were with feminine clothing, and that he had been wearing female lingerie under his tweed suits for many years. He lamented that he had lost his last girlfriend years before when “the allure of her panties reared its satin head.” What offered a sexual turn-on for him was a turn-off for her.

He wanted my help with shopping for dresses, but I was wearing work shirts and overalls—this was the early 1970s, and nobody condemned me for dressing like a male farm worker! Since I couldn’t offer shopping assistance, I spent time with him and listened.

Henry was lonely and felt keenly isolated. He felt he didn’t fit in with gay men. “They would think I’m a homosexual hiding out in the closet and avoiding my desire for another man,” he would say. He thought transgender people also disdained him: “They think I don’t have the guts to act on my transsexual longings.” Henry was sexually attracted to women.

Since that time, I’ve learned much more about cross-dressing, a type of compulsion or need that some people, primarily men, have to dress like another gender, also known as “transvestism.” Apparently Henry’s sweetheart was fine with this until he began raiding her underwear drawer.

Most male cross-dressers I’ve met since then are heterosexual, married, and the last guys you’d imagine dressing like a girl. Many choose macho professions to help hide or mitigate the feminine side of themselves—jobs such as firefighter, auto mechanic, or plumber. A male cross-dresser may derive sexual excitement by identifying with a woman, but he can still maintain a heterosexual consciousness when out in the world.

I don’t know what happened to Henry. I know he yearned for a female partner who would understand. He especially hoped that one day he would marry a woman who could accept him with all his quirks and proclivities. Back then I don’t believe there was as much support available as there is now.

Guys reading this while wearing frilly garb might be concerned about being caught. This fear is shared by many cross-dressers. You might want to look at the most recent edition of The Tranny Guide, sometimes referred to as “the tranny bible”—a book full of helpful and humorous suggestions. Laughter can really help! Another book that many people have found useful is The Man in the Red Velvet Dress.

Therapy won’t take away your desire to cross-dress, but it can help you find peace with yourself, especially if your intimate relationships are being adversely affected.

So, what if you’re a wife or girlfriend discovering your guy’s sartorial interests? I recommend a 90-day “chill” period before taking any drastic measures. Talk to him about what he does and why. Read anything written by Frances Fairfax, especially A Wives’ Bill of Rights. Look at the site for The Society for the Second Self or “Tri-Ess,” a national organization for cross-dressers, their wives, and their families. These folks do everything from campouts to discussion groups to bus tours, and they may be able to help you find a local support group.

One wife told me years ago that it would have been easier to accept her husband if he announced he was gay. She felt scared she would lose “the butch part of him—the manly part.” That didn’t happen. Over time, she came to terms with it: “There are worse things he could be doing, and I’ve found he’s the same guy I fell in love with before he broke out the Little Bo Peep outfit for Halloween. I don’t always condone his fashion statements, but I don’t need to divorce him, either.”

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jill Denton, LMFT, CSAT, CSE, CCS, Sexuality / Sex Therapy Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Grace

    September 30th, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Wow, now that takes a strong woman to stand by her man that is doing this. I am not sure that I would ever be okay with that, because all this time I would think that he was gay and that this was his way of expressing that. I am fine with that on its own, but not from my husband!

  • Mavericksa

    January 23rd, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    If your husband did cross dress your issue surely would stem from the “I would think he was gay” part of your statement. Also I strong is not necessarily the adjective to describe the woman. Open, non judging, caring, accepting and most important trusting. Understandably it took my wife many weeks to accept the truth after finding women’s clothes. He mind only wanted to believe I was cheating. Why wouldn’t you accept it “in your husband” afraid what the neighbors would would think and say? We ALL have masculine and feminine energy in us. Woman are beautiful and so are men sometimes expressing that in all kinds of ways feels good. I am far from being attracted to men. Food for thought. w/love. All One.

  • Joanne W.

    November 9th, 2019 at 7:40 PM

    I love dressing as Joanne & having sex with men, I should have been born a girl

  • janney

    November 11th, 2019 at 7:08 AM

    To each his own “Joanne” but I pray you don’t catch a disease. No one cares who you fornicate with or what you enjoy.

  • MaryJane

    November 11th, 2019 at 2:25 PM

    To Joanne, dressing up and being homosexual for sexual activity doesn’t make you a girl. A woman has menstrual cycles, a uterus, can give childbirth. You just play “pretend” you are a woman.

  • Mavericksa

    January 23rd, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    “Her mind….” Here is an article that 95% rang true. tgforum.com/wordpress/index.php/background-papers-on-transgender-issues-from-renaissance/reasons-for-male-to-female-crossdressing/ CD ing goes deeper than article talks about. I can only be honest I haven’t fully grasped a complete understanding of the why for my self. Also men have a strong desire for female attention and it’s not uncommon in a marrage or just in life for woman to have a some what less desire for that “attention” from men that men desire of a woman. Men and women cheat however men seem to get caught more. I am a faithful devoted husband and and known for my creativity. CD is a way to experience femininity if only in a fantasy escape with myself. The deeper also has an element of the inner child and “toxic shame” as John Bradshaw outlines in is work. Healing The Shame That Binds Us. Whether one admits dealing with toxic shame we all have some element of this because we all where children at one time and it would just about impossible to not have had one or two events effect us as children. It doesn’t take much. Children are such sponges and look up to all the adults and other children to learn “how to be”. Up till about the age of 7 as far as understand, after which we start to take on our own personality and build upon the base that was establish during the first 7 years. Even acts that a child was near like adults fighting or a husband raging at the wife in the other room will effect a child and has the possibility to cause “shame” . Or a wife griping at the father or saying something she Really did not actually mean just couldn’t help her self from saying it. Again JFLS w/love All One

  • Joanne

    June 1st, 2018 at 4:03 PM

    My wife did not like it when I would dress as Joanne but she put up with it for 2 years until I came home one night with acrylic nails, pierced ears & my eyebrows waxed pencil thin with a high arch in them, she asked me if I wanted to be a woman 7 I told her yes. That ended our marriage.

  • WP

    June 4th, 2018 at 8:33 PM

    Please understand that she as a straight woman attracted to males and masculinity has a right to have that attraction.

  • Deanna

    June 5th, 2018 at 7:31 AM

    Women marry men, to expect them to accept you as a woman is a bit much. Men who hide their crossdressing and then act like the wife should accept it or be turned on by it are fooling themselves.

  • Tracy

    February 15th, 2019 at 6:01 AM

    I am a cross dressing married man. I have found that I don’t get turned on unless I am crossdressing. My wife has been very understanding but she is losing her patience I can tell. I feel like I have let her down in some ways in our marriage.

  • FJ

    December 31st, 2019 at 6:06 AM

    This is my life too Tracy, I hope you and her have found peace and acceptance

  • cassaundra

    September 30th, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    I am not saying that I would like it, but you know, this is who that person is and what makes them happy so who am I to judge that? I don’t really want a guy who does that, but then again, if I met the man of my dreams and he like women’s panties better than he dows boxers, then maybe I could be brought around. I don’t know, it’s such an awkward kind of situation that I don’t even know how you start to have a conversation about it.

  • Margo

    October 12th, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    It is an award situation because we have been taught that male where boxers/briefs and women where girdles/panties. Truth is they never told us why. There is no law saying we have to wear assigned underwear, there fore if a man wants to wear panties he can and if a woman wants to wear boxers her choice. No law against it except man’s emotional law. If it makes them happy and stable hey i am good with that.

  • marc

    October 1st, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    It is not that you need to fight that urge and deny who you are, but it is all about discovering ays to tap into all parst of you and become comfortable with who you are. We all have our little quirks and differences and those things alone shouldn’t be a reason for us to feel unloveable no matter what they are.

  • anon

    October 1st, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I don’t want to put my name out there becasue I am a little embarassed but I do what I do to feel a little better about me. I guess I am bi, I have loved men and women, but there is something about the woman’s clothing that honestly just makes me feel a little more special than my own stuff does. Is that weird? I don’t like to think of it as strange because this is something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember but the society as a whole sees it as strange so I try to keep it tampered down at times. I know that eventually I could meet someone that I don’t feel like I have to hide this from but for now I will just stick with the items that you can’t see underneath the clothes on the outside.

  • RonaldQ

    October 2nd, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    It could be that issues such as this are going to be easier to deal with and for both partners to deal with once all of the shame and secrecy is gone. If there is one person who is so busy hiding what they do and feeling horrible about it, then there is the other person in the relationship not getting everything that they need because the other is too busy hiding part of themselves that they never fully give one hundred percent to the relationship. They can’t because they are scared and afraid of what might happen if they are truthful and their partner does not understand and becomes unwilling to even try to understand. If you find that ability to get everything out in an open and honest way than I think that there may actually be a little more understanding and clarity there that has always been missing and could in the end result in a stronger relationship overall.

  • Margo

    October 12th, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    Ron I thank you for sharing that story. I add only that in the 1970’s it was shameful for anyone to cross dress. You use to get arrested for crossdressing and that may be why people avoided being seen in crossgerendered clothing. I am a classic tomboy from the time I
    was 5 years old. I hated wearing dresses even through high school to now. I will wear a suitskirt down to ankles or woman’s suit otherwise you will see me in bluejeans and a t-shirt or khakis. I express myself freely. If a man wants to dress in woman clothes he is free to do that, RuPaul put that on the map along with “Bosom Buddies” and “Tootsie”. After events like these people lightned up, it took awhile but people get the picture. Self expression in clothes of the opposite gender does not make them gay but it might help them understand the opposite gender better. I think that if a husband is crossdressing he might understand his wife better and vice versa.

  • Olivia

    October 3rd, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    please please please isn’t it easier to tell someone about your proclivities early on rather than letting them find out about them later one?

    At least give them the chance to make a choice whether this is something that they can handle or not before they get too involved and feel like they can’t back out now.

  • Lynne

    December 31st, 2019 at 11:03 AM

    Thank you for your insight! My husband didnt say a word till we had been married for over a year. You’re right, I feel trapped. I really wish he had said something before we got married. I’m so disappointed with this whole mess.

  • Blakely

    October 4th, 2014 at 6:04 AM

    so I am understanding that there is a difference between just plain old cross dressers and transsexuals? I mean, not every cross dresser wants to be a woman they just like to wear womens clothes?

  • raquel

    October 6th, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    The line about being a turn on for him and a turn off for her? Well that would be me. I guess that I have always had this very masculine ideal of what I want my man to be, and these two things would not jibe for me. I guess that that could limit some of my options (?) but I also think that it is good to know ahead of time what you wnat and what you can put up with in any relationship.

  • James

    March 14th, 2016 at 4:39 PM

    It is hard to find a woman that would accept me as an underwear crossdresser.. btw, i’m NOT a gay..

  • nico

    October 23rd, 2019 at 12:27 PM

    that is true i losse 12 years and still no one

  • Sam I Am

    October 29th, 2019 at 7:21 AM

    Either you find someone who loves you enough to accept it or you don’t. A secure woman will accept it while other women will fear it. If it stays home then everything is fine once a man starts going out it puts thoughts into a woman’s head that you are straying or need more attention. Tread carefully and don’t lose focus of what is important, which is your woman who is by your side.

  • Kari

    November 6th, 2016 at 10:30 PM

    I found out 6 months ago that my partner of 2 years is a crossdresser , and it has destroyed our otherwise great relationship.
    If crossdressing was as simple as just wearing clothes , im sure it wouldnt be a problem. These people that comment saying its ok for girls to wear jeans , pants etc and that its no different obviously arent looking at the big picture .
    Yes girls wear jeans and pants etc , but there is no sexual turn on involved in it at all , I wear jeans all the time BUT i dont feel the need to masturbate or have sexual fantasies while wearing them , im still the same person,I dont create an image or another person that turns me on so much that i feel the need to keep it hidden from society .
    Like i said , No its not always just about wearing the clothes its about what these clothes can turn your partner into that most wives and girlfriends im sure find hard to deal with , its the sexual componenets of the fetish side of this that i personally found disturbing , not just the simple ‘different clothes’ . For some its just not that basic and simple , it can actually change how you see that once perfect man you thought you had found.
    I dont want to offend or upset anyone here , im just saying things from my perspective.

  • mel

    February 8th, 2019 at 1:21 PM

    what you have explained is what I’m going through. its not just clothes. I was so attracted to my husband and wanted sex all the time. Now I am so angry. Everything he does makes me mad. I’m not attracted to him sexually anymore. I tired to play along with this, i did a lot of research too. “its harmless” was the most common phrase. Bull Shit! It Destroyed my very happy relationship in 6months. I am afraid I won’t be able to become attracted to him again. What do I do?

  • Jess

    February 14th, 2019 at 8:30 AM

    I agree completely. Once a fetish is established and out there it is hard for some partners to accept or play along. It is very deceitful for a person to hide something this huge also and expect their partner or spouse to accept it also.

  • Angela

    September 2nd, 2019 at 7:49 PM

    I just found out a week ago that my boyfriend of 1.5 years is doing this. He was a childhood friend who I fell in love with, and my kids, especially my 12 year old daughter adores. I was and think I am still in shock. He is very a masculine man in every way and I was always so attracted to him. I love him and thought we were going to always be growing together, but I dont know how I can knowing this is who his also is. And I dont know the full extent. I just happened to stumble on photos, and curiously looked at his email to see clothing orders, then found extensive number of shoes and clothing. I am heartbroken.

  • nico

    October 23rd, 2019 at 12:33 PM

    Angela sorry for what you felling :( , am same crossdreser and have similar story but i love only woman

  • Michelle

    January 9th, 2017 at 7:40 AM

    My wife was aware of my crossdressing when we married. She does not participate or encourage me in any way. I keep my body and legs smooth shaven; and would love for my wife to encourage, even better, order me to wear sheer nylons on a regular basis for her inspection, seeing as I keep my legs so feminine. She could even tease me about my crossdressing, calling me her feminine, “bitch husband”. Thus; I would truly enjoy a dominant side to her nature. Also; I’ve always had thoughts and fantasies of my wife openly flirting with other men, and especially having a personal, intimate relationship with another man. I’ve had these thoughts and feelings since before we were married, but could never tell her, as I didn’t want her to think I didn’t love her, and I didn’t think she could be open-minded or accepting enough to include them in our marriage. Maybe too little; too late.

  • Melanie

    May 15th, 2018 at 6:34 AM

    As long as my husband wasn’t gay I would be ok with it, but if he were trying to hook up with other men I would want out of the relationship obviously.

  • greg

    May 22nd, 2018 at 9:46 PM

    My friend and I are both hetero males.
    II am stuck in a wheelchair and he cross- dresses at home and in places he feels safe and comfortable.
    We live in a small town.
    Word got out that he dresses up and it is becoming a problem.
    It isn’t MY thing but as long as he doesn’t hurt anybody, why do people have to go out of their way to make him feel terrible?
    Now I am worried that I will get lumped in as a pervert by people in town for just hanging with the guy?
    It doesn’t bother me so why should it bother them?

  • Missy

    May 23rd, 2018 at 12:39 PM

    People just need something to talk about. They could care less about your friend/roommate and his crossdressing. People are also ignorant and tend to criticize what they don’t understand. You shouldn’t let it bother you that people may talk. As long as your friend is your friend and his habits/fetishes don’t hurt anyone then let them gossip.

  • Kelli

    September 11th, 2018 at 9:14 PM

    I think I need professional help dealing with my husband’s cross dressing. I am not ready to go public with my story, but I can’t hold my secret in any longer. Can you listen to me?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    September 12th, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Hi Kelli. Thank you for your comment and for visiting the GoodTherapy blog. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

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  • Ali

    September 25th, 2018 at 2:30 PM

    Hi Kelli, I’m also a wife who struggles with her husbands crossdressing.
    If you’d like to chat via email maybe? It is made so much worse that this topic can’t be discussed freely with friends etc.

  • Jane

    October 26th, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    I don’t trust any man who cross dresses on the side or hides it from his girlfriend or wife. If he hides that he is hiding other aspects of his life as well also.

  • Lynne

    July 9th, 2019 at 2:48 PM

    My husband revealed his cross-dressing fantasies after we were married. At first, I tried to go along, believing “to each their own”. I still believe “to each their own”, but i also believe this should have been brought up BEFORE we married. Now, I can hardly look at him, and keep thinking he married me under false pretenses. For the most part, he doesnt cross-dress, but when he does, the fantasies he spins out are just beyond my limit. (they mostly circle around me being “dominant” and him being a “sissy princess”. ) I dont blame him for his fantasies, but I cannot force myself to pretend I like them. Its now to the point I dont want to have sex with him at all. The cross-dressing doesnt make him a bad person, but it repulses me and leaves me questioning our marriage. I am not the least bit interested having sex with a man wearing a dress and him asking when we can get a strap-on so he can be penetrated. What to do?

  • Susan

    August 16th, 2019 at 8:21 AM

    Sometimes fantasies should remain just that, a fantasy. Trying to live out them just hurts and starts confusion among a relationship on how you can’t fulfill that fantasy or even want to. Try to love someone for the person they are. Don’t discourage or encourage the crossdressing.

  • George

    August 17th, 2019 at 5:18 AM

    I have fought cross dressing for my whole life. Once our children were born my wife said she could no longer have sex with a “transvestite” That was 20 years ago. Now I gave up the fight and wear skirts/dresses/lingerie full time while at home. She thinks there is something wrong with me???

  • susan

    August 19th, 2019 at 7:41 AM

    There are two components to this behavior. One is the act of crossdressing making you feel like a woman and the act of crossdressing turning you on. The sexual behavior can have dire consequences to a healthy hetero relationship.

  • Another wife

    December 2nd, 2019 at 9:21 PM

    George, I personally think that cross dressing is just not compatible with heterosexual marriage. I also can’t have sex with my husband anymore and likely never will again. A man emulating a women is the ultimate libido killer and I suspect it is for the majority of us. I used to ask my husband why he wasn’t gay or bisexual because that would make more sense. Surely there are more men open to this proclivity than women, yet so many of you are heterosexual and consequently living a life of shame, rejection and fear. Sad. Maybe more research into WHY this happens to men is needed, and therefore a possible cure.

  • Rhiannon

    December 4th, 2019 at 3:51 PM

    Most studies I have read show crossdressing men were shy teens that perhaps didn’t fit in with most social circles. Crossdressing men are usually very heterosexual and aroused by women but may be drawn towards wanting validation by their male counterparts. Crossdressers are men who hold stressful jobs so the element of crossdressing to help destress is also debatable.

  • Lillian

    December 19th, 2019 at 1:42 PM

    The “Why” in your question is a red-herring to accepting the humanity of the situation and only tells me you see this as a burden. Go ask the Cult of Aphroditus, it’s only 2,500+ years old cross dressing cult that predates the Greek empire after all.

    Why’d it happen, what can we do about it, what’s to be done, why aren’t you gay… etc ad infinitum off the horizon of why why why why why. Why not just see what it is? A straight man, comfortable in his own body, wearing women’s clothes, wanting to share and understand the experience of being a woman. That’s all it really is. He’s still a man. Anything more or less is a failing on the crossdresser to explain himself, and a failing on the woman for assuming as much.

    Talk. To. Each. Other. And don’t assume!

  • Joanne W.

    December 9th, 2019 at 2:04 AM

    Finally, after two failed marriages & countless girlfriends, I have found the perfect woman for me. She encouraged me to dress as Joanne in all of my free time, she helps me with my makeup, she takes me shopping, she is teaching me how to be a lady, in a few months she is going to take me to get my hair styled & colored in a feminine look, she takes me out with her friends to meet men & after we get my hair done, she is going to help me find a doctor to start on hormones. I never thought this day would happen, it took many years but it did happen & I am the happiest girl in the world.

  • Lillian

    December 19th, 2019 at 1:30 PM

    Here’s the deal folks. Crossdressing can be a really personal thing. I LOVE being a man with all it’s privileges and trimmings (I do mean that). I also love my body, and I also adore women. I also love wearing dresses. I’m pretty standard with that. Middle of the road. Same percentages of gay folks in the general population applies to the group of crossdressers. As it turns out we’re all just human, wouldn’t you know???

    I get that a woman is attracted to masculinity. I’m a man and I’m attracted to femininity. Funny enough I just think girls wearing my clothes is cute. Why you lot get your panties twisted up over mine is beyond me. Relax. The BEST scenario I can see with a woman who isn’t on board with this, or even finds it a turn off if she’s also found herself involved with such a man, would be for her to say, “Listen, I don’t get it and I don’t like it, but you do, I love and respect you, so you do you, just don’t let me see you in that stuff or dressed up, but I can’t tell you what to do on your own time.” BAM instant gold starts all around for being an accepting human and being a trusting human.

    That’s the best a lot of men can hope for which is super, super unfortante. We talk about mental health a lot these days, feminism is doing awesome things for everyone all around, but why are we glossing over CIS-gendered cross-dressing men here? That’s a failing, but we’re all to blame here including me sitting here in my dress!

    WOMEN: Being a CD doesn’t mean your man is gay or that he wants to be a woman. Yes your masculine man should be masculine for his wife, but you’ve no right to dictate who he naturally is or tell him what he can and can’t wear ON HIS OWN TIME. If he loves you, he loves you, best thing you can do as a non-accepting wife (let that concept sink in…) is to leave your man alone. If you let him be free with this, he will not stray far I guarantee it, and if he wants to, he’ll tell you. The more negative light you cast, the more we’ll turn away. It’s that simple.

    MEN: Be brave okay? It hurts the group of us to pin issues of gender non-acceptance on women “not getting it” when here we are telling NOT A SINGLE SOUL about what we like to do. We hide, we’re dishonest, and we need to be more accountable to ourselves. Stop lying, stop hiding. Be honest and be brave! If we don’t challenge the stereotypes and offer insights into who we are, then how can we expect those around us to be as open and as accepting as no human has ever really been? That’s ridiculous. Don’t get lost in the pink fog too! It’s a beautiful, peaceful, innocent and tender place to be, I get it, but life is harsh and you can’t just live under a rock. Put on your big-boy-panties, be a man for those around you you’ve said you’d be a man for (ie your wives…), and then TELL YOUR WIFE you’re dressing up.

    WIVES: Let your man dress the way he wants to. TRUST ME, the best thing a woman ever did for me was tell me she wasn’t into it but was into me, didn’t want to engage with it, but had no real authority to tell me what I could and couldn’t own or wear on my own time. You know what I did? I loved that woman like no woman I’d loved before. All in! No hesitation, everything I could give her I did. R-E-L-A-X. My current wife is moving from tolerant to accepting, she will never be supportive, and because she had cast such a negative light at me, my back has turned and our relationship suffers. I told her when we were dating. I told her when I wanted to buy more stuff. I still hide a lot of my wardrobe in a private storage locker because she literally can’t handle herself around this. Be a big girl, hug your man, tell him it’ll be okay, and we’ll work it out. Husbands do that for their wives ALL DAY LONG we’d appreciate a little give-back, yeah?

    Wearing a dress doesn’t take a single FIBER of my masculinity away. If you assume it does, if you assume I want to be a woman, if you assume I’m gay, if you ASSUME anything, all you’re doing is making an ass out of both of us. Get it?


    Also there’s ~2,500 year old statues depicting feminine figurines lifting their dresses to reveal male genitalia. This is a very old thing, very deeply part of the human condition, and I see that it’s a shame so many men are so secretive about it, and so many women are intolerant of it. What a crying shame.

  • Stassie

    December 20th, 2019 at 11:02 AM

    Crossdressing doesn’t make men gay, having sexual relations with other men does.

  • Jacob

    December 20th, 2019 at 3:14 PM

    I have yet to meet a woman that is ok with my crossdressing. At first they seem ok but then it gets weird, one ex threw my stuff in the garbage she found. I think I will just hide it from here on out if I am lucky enough to date again steady. One ex bought me tainty underwear but she then kept using it against me if mad.

  • Jane

    December 28th, 2019 at 1:49 PM

    I said it before and now again, it would be one thing if men would just crossdress but when they crossdress they want to take on the role of a woman and in a sexual way involving other men. That means they want to engage in acts of homosexuality. Plain and simple.

  • Cheryl

    January 20th, 2020 at 5:22 AM

    I agree, crossdressers crave attention from men rather than women. They can say what they want but it ultimately is the fact their husband or boyfriend wants to be treated or act like a woman that turns their wife or girlfriend away.

  • James Lewis Hopkins

    April 10th, 2020 at 2:07 AM

    I am 71-year-old retired general surgeon. I cross-dress whenever I am at home. If I don’t I can barely stay awake to do anything productive. After 35 years of marriage, my wife divorced me because she could not stand my need to crossdress. At age 14 I began wondering what it would be like to be and/or look like a girl. I tried it by using some of my mother’s clothes. I had no sisters. I was the second of five boys in my family. I liked how it felt and felt aroused by looking at myself dressed as a female in a mirror. I came from a deeply religious Christian family and still believe deeply in the reality of Christ and a Heavenly Father. I heard a sermon preached that suggest that doing things that are sexually arousing when you are not married are best avoided. I decided to stop dressing because of that and didn’t for many years. When I married during my fourth year of medical school in 1974, I was not cross-dressing and didn’t even know that terminology even after taking a California state required sexual education course for physicians. In San Diego where I went to medical school, I never saw or treated any gay or lesbian persons and had never even heard of transsexuals. I did my internship though at a hospital near Greenwich Village and saw and treated my gay individuals. I was aware of but never saw or treated any drag queens and again no transsexuals or crossdressers. I felt occasional urges to cross-dress when my wife went out of town, but the urges didn’t last long. I did begin wondering what to do with these urges when they occurred and looked into the writings of some sexologist who considered crossdressing a way to spice up a normal heterosexual relationship from time to time. The idea that these urges could completely take over your life as you got older was completely unknown to me. Ironically, about a month after my mother died in 2002 at age 84, I experienced the sudden onset of intense and unrelenting desires to cross-dress. They were so intense and unexpected that I called a local university hospital emergency room and asked them for advice regarding how to deal with these feelings. I was advised to consult a local crossdresser/ /transsexual support group. I actually considered committing suicide because I strongly suspected that my wife and family would not accept a father and husband who cross-dressed. I did not and never had perceived myself as having a female gender identity. I was all male and totally heterosexual, but the idea of dressing as a female and even becoming female suddenly became intensely attractive and interesting. I called the recommended support group and spoke with an MTF crossdresser who also self-identified as a male but crossdressed most of the time. I also learned he had married an MTF transsexual who had undergone SRS in Thailand in his late 30s who self-identified as completely female. He convinced me that a live crossdresser was more likely to be better off and accepted by his family and society than a dead one. He asserted that there was no cure and that I would need to learn to accept and live with the condition and that he and his support group could help. I was surprised that this group was not like AA. No one tried to cure anyone of crossdressing. Learning to accept oneself as a crossdresser and eventually to pass in public were the principle goals of the group. At first I rejected this invitation and sought help from a licensed sexologist who suggested I keep the women’s clothes I was gradually and secretly accummulating. I didn’t share my crossdressing behavior with my wife for two years. I decided to tell her about what I was struggling with after I tried to have sex with her one night but couldn’t unless I imagined myself as a female. I was disturbed by this and tried to rid my mind of this thought by imagining myself as a female on a piece of paper and ripping it up mentally. I was shocked that I immediately lost my ability to have an erection and couldn’t be with my wife. It was then that I realized something that I couldn’t explain was going on and described what I had just experienced and told her about my crossdressing. I told her that I intended to get help and did. I consulted a psychologist who is employed by a family services group sponsored by our church. I was referred a psychologist who specialized in sex addiction. He respected the fact that I had been totally faithful to my wife and felt I had an obsessive compulsive disorder. He tried a number of types of psychotherapy that have been successful in treating OCD-like disorders for two years, but nothing helped. I then sought medical care from a respected local psychiatrist. She tried me on a variety of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication that had been reported to relieve crossdressing urges. None of them helped. The thought came to me to try taking St. John’s Wort, an over-the-counter mild anti-depressant. I was extremely sensiitive to its sedative effects. I could only tolerate about 1/6th of the manufacturer’s recommended dose, but it stopped my urges to cross-dress. The supplement made me too drowsy to go back to work, but I went to my psychiatrist and asked for something to help keep me alert. I had already been taking caffeine regularly since 1996 when I had a mid-brain bleed complicated by hydrocephalus that required emergency placement of a shunt between spaces in my brain called ventricules where cerebrospinal fluid is produced and the abdominal cavity surrounding my intestines called the peritoneum. This saved my life but left me chronically drowsy. I tried a variety of forms of dextro amphetamine which worked extremely well. The best I found was an anti-ADHD medication called Vyvanse. For a year and a half, I had no desires to cross-dress except for a two week period when I ran out of Vyvanse and had to take Methylin, a long acting form of Ritalin. While taking Methylin, my urges become more intense than ever. I actual felt like I wanted to be a female forever and transition until I was able to get back on Vyvanse. Eventually another medical condition, sleep apnea, developed and I became excessively drowsy even on Vyvanse. I lost a teaching position in a healthcare related career college and voluteered to work at a low wage as a medical researcher with my brother who headed a cardiovascular genetics research clinic. I found that unless I crossdressed I couldn’t stay awake in front of my computer for more than 20 minutes. Crossdressed I could work for 8-12 hours. It was then that my wife decided to divorce me. Six months later when the divorce papers came in, I had a minor stroke. My neurologist said that I should stop all stimulants and the St. John’s Wort. I did not want crossdress again and didn’t for 10 days but soon find myself becoming severely depressed. In order to get out of the house at all and return to work, I had to crossdress. This time I did it publicly. University policies mandated acceptance of my crossdressing, but my brother was very embarrassed and disturbed by it. Some female members of my church saw me crossdressed once in public and were likewise disturbed. I was a baritone in my church choir and had been an active participant in our lay ministry. I discussed my condition with leaders in my faith and eventually it was decided that if I crossdressed only in private, I could continue my participation in Church without restrictions of any kind. My ex-wife and I eventually decided not to seek other companions and to see each other relatively frequently, but my ex-wife could never accept my crossdressing and felt betrayed and devastated by it. I learned later that my mother after her death had an autopsy and was found to have inoperable, non-metastatic, locally invasive uterine stromal cell sarcoma in her left pelvis area. It is a rare tumor that is found virtually only in women who have taken diethylstilbesterol or DES. DES is a synthetic estrogen-like compound that was used from the 1940s to the mid 1970s to prevent premature labor. I have since learned that up to a 1/4 of males born to women who took DES during their pregnancies turned out to be gay, transsexual, or transvestite. Some cases of intersex have also been associated with DES. Exposure to hormone disruptors in the environment have proposed as causes of transgender behavior. Over 1500 environmentally prevalent compounds have been identified that can modify sexual behavior in laboratory aninimals and wild life. They included plastic derivatives like bisphenol A, dioxins, atrazine, a common herbicide, lead, cadmium, DDT, upholstery flame retardants, and even genistein, a phytoestrogen found in soybeans. I think what appears to be an epidemic of transgender behavior may be related to exposure to some of these compounds. My childhood was idealic. My father caught me once dressed in my mother’s clothes and simply left the room until I had changed back into my own clothes. He never brought up the incident again. But transgender or transsexual feeling have been associated with gender-related child abuse and with trauma to the mother-child relationship. Treatment of the trauma and/or abuse without focusing on the transgender feelings have resulted in regression or disappearance of those feelings. Random mutations have been proven to be associated with most cases of intersex. Epigenetic reactions to having many older brothers have been shown to be associated with being gay. Most children who develop desires to crossdress or to desire transition to the gender opposite to the one assigned at birth lose that desire if they are initially accepted as being transgender. But many do not and never lose the feeling that they were born into “the wrong body.” I think my feelings and history place my squarely in the category of a heterosexual autogynephilic non-op transsexual. My self-perceived gender is not the opposite to the sex I was assigned at birth, but the desire to become female or at least look female is constantly with me. I am accepted by my family and religious community as long as I don’t crossdress in public, and I can live with that, but I don’t think I could avoid serious depression or do medical research at home as I now do if I didn’t crossdress. I think my case is not unlike many other crossdressers who love to crossdress and love their wives and children. I think things would have turned out better if I knew when I married that I had a tendency to crossdress that would eventually become a major issue in my life. I am not interested in seeking another partner and have decided to interact with my old partner of 35 years no matter how she treats me and come together with her at family affairs. Not an ideal situation but one that I am willing to live with for the foreseeable future.

  • Brenda

    April 11th, 2020 at 3:05 PM

    The last comment and admission just confirms that men who crrossdress definitely have some mental issues. It isn’t their fault but it is sad. To live a life of shame and guilt and compulsion. These men feel they are letting their wives, girlfriends down and the wives,girlfriends feel like they are doing something wrong because their husband,boyfriend wants to crossdress.

  • brad

    April 14th, 2020 at 6:43 PM

    Hi Brenda – I think you could rephrase that to: “definitely some men who crossdress have mental issues” – practically everybody has an issue of some sort. I like to engage in dressing up in clothing made of sheer fabrics (mens and womens) but for me it is a kink, more than crossdressing. I’ve termed it flexdressing, to distinguish it. However, it is difficult for my wife who finds the energy a turnoff, and hasn’t yet come around to exploring it more – I understand. I imagine if she wanted to put a false beard on and wear heavy denim dungarees and boots while I stimulated her gently with an ae handle, i’d be circumspect. Plus we have other underlying relationship issues that affect our ability to be completely vulnerable and open-minded. Regardless, the main issues facing men who cross dress, stem from inflexible, and unhealthy ideas around gender. That a husband dressing up in women’s clothing is so frightening to a wife or partner, shows how deeply gender norms have shaped our attitudes, and how being different in so many ways, is very, very scary.

  • Brenda

    April 17th, 2020 at 5:57 PM

    It is true about both everyone having issues and scary how being different is. I guess it is a low percentage of women who love their crossdressering partners enough to stick around. Men should not be ashamed and should be honest enough not to hide it from their spouses or partners.

  • Linda

    April 18th, 2020 at 1:38 AM

    I can see all points of view here and there doesn’t seem to be any easy answers but there are some realities: Some, maybe most women are turned off or completely repulsed by their partner’s crossdressing. It may be visual or it may cause confusion or a questioning of her place in the relationship or both.
    My husband cross-dresses and told me early on in our relationship. I was so traumatized I started having dissociative episodes. THAT’S how hard it can impact someone. It’s not judgement. This is no small thing to lay on someone.
    Learning someone you loves does something like this can cause a tremendous amount of mental trauma for reasons I don’t even understand. I love him dearly and I DO NOT base my feelings on judgements of whether it’s good or bad; normal or abnormal. I’m simply repulsed by the way he looks and I can’t get past it. Cross dressing to me makes a man look almost like a circus clown or sideshow freak – and not masculine.
    I’m sorry if my words seem harsh but I cannot help the way I feel. It’s visceral and I can’t change what I’m attracted to.
    We only occasionally talk about it and I understand the pain and shame he must feel having to hide his secrets. We’ve come to the understanding that he does it when I’m not around. That’s the best we can do. I have to admit that it leads me to being suspicious that he may be hiding other aspects of himself.
    I wish I could give a more reassuring answer to men that cross dress. I don’t judge people for who they are but I can’t change my own instinctual reactions to my husband’s cross dressing. I can’t help that it repulses me and I’ve stopped thinking I have to change who I am if it hurts me.
    Crossdressing can definitely ruin a marriage but I wouldn’t blame the wives for being non-accepting. What you are telling her about yourself can turn her world upside down. It can lead to her questioning who you really are. I can lead to her being angry and depressed and questioning the whole marriage. Blaming her or demanding she change to satisfy your desires is unfair to her.
    I believe the answer is in counseling, talking, or in finding a partner who accepts and/or embraces cross dressing. Many of you may not find that answer and will have to move on. For me? There lies within myself a constant sense of anxiety and disquiet about the whole thing but I love my husband too much to let him go.


    June 1st, 2020 at 12:13 AM

    I wish it was only crossdressing. The compulsive shopping, the hiding, the secret online friends, the porn… just when i think we have come to an understanding he moves the goalposts again. I agree that some men look just awful dressed, mine goes full on, wig, tons of makeup, i know i hurt his feelings when i dont compliment rhe effort. He also has a female name, social media accounts and is now collecting sympathetic female friends. I struggle with his desire to be out, and wirh the numerous women friendships. He says i am the most important person in his life, but i sure feel more and mire irrelelvant. His alter ego is never out of his thought- i am sure i often am.

  • Lucy

    October 28th, 2020 at 8:39 PM

    Unlike many transvestites I did not start when young and even more unusually my wife got me to try on some things which I had got for her and my crossdressing, very intermittent and occasional for a few years, developed from there. We had married quite late in life and had a normal and quite active heterosexual sex life for some years, but had no children; my wife had to have a hysterectomy, but even after that our sex life continued happily for a few years. My wife had a deeply unhappy and troubled childhood which has always haunted her, and our sex life gradually has withered until it was virtually non-existent over the last few years. Like many crossdressers I gave up for months on end but the urge returned. My wife actually seemed to like me more as ‘Lucy’ and said I was happier and more relaxed and nicer to be with. She encouraged me to go back to crossdressing several times when we discussed it. I have also suffered from chronic and quite severe illness involving emergencies and periods in hospital. Until I started crossdressing I was entirely masculine and heterosexual and had live an active and often dangerous life in positions of considerable responsibility, but had by then become involved in more mundane work as illness took its toll. If ten years ago, or less, someone had said I would be a regular transvestite with bisexual tendencies I would have laughed incredulously. It has been over the last seven months when I have been at home all the time my transvestism has become almost full time, with my wife’s support and often encouragement. Crossdressing has brought out a bisexuality that I would not have believed myself capable of, but I believe this is as much due to having a non-existent marital sex life, the frustration and depression that has caused being a chief cause of my transvestism and of my bisexuality, although I imagine that the tendency to crossdress may have been latent in me anyway. Our relationship is generally a bit better, and my wife is quite happy with my bisexuality and with me being a transvestite all the time at home and often outdoors, but I fear that this is because she feels guilty that she has given up sex and because she prefers it to what she imagines I might do otherwise, and is less threatened by ‘Lucy’ and her activities than she would be if I was just a frustrated heterosexual husband who might become involved with other women (which I have never been). I don’t know if this can work in the long term, even though it eases things now.
    I have found extraordinary happiness by being a transvestite, and love the feminine and relaxing feel of women’s clothing, which most of the time involves nothing sexual. I have come to dislike having to put male clothes on, and do not think that I could give this up even if I wanted to, or if my wife did, which she doesn’t. To her I think it is an agreeable way of abandoning any attempt at a marital sex life without guilt or worry and without having me as a depressed and sexually frustrated husband, and of having a partner who is happy and relaxed if too feminized to have to treat as a real husband. It is probably rather sad and not what either of us would have wanted (I certainly wouldn’t) but I find being a transvestite brings me great happiness and peace after years of depression and anger and many years of a difficult, stressful, and dangerous if also enjoyable existence, and it seems to make me more bearable to my wife who has also has a difficult life in some ways, and so enables us to stay together after a fashion; neither of us have sought to separate, although in moments of anger it was mentioned in the past (but not in connexion with my crossdressing at all).

  • Bob

    November 30th, 2020 at 7:04 PM

    Please do not call yourself a transvestite… it is such an ugly term, you really don’t have to label yourself, you could just say you love wearing women’s clothing or you are just a crossdresser, truly there is nothing wrong with that, I wear women’s clothing everyday, my wife loves and accepts me for who I am and is actually concerned if I dont wear a bra or pantyhose, I suffer from depression so she is always aware of any changes in my dressing or any changes in my mood or the way I act. I haven’t owned or worn men’s underwear for close to 40 years, it makes me happy to underdress everyday, I wear panties, bra and pantyhose everyday under my normal clothing no matter what I am doing or where I am going, at nights after work i slip on a skirt, dress or leggings and this is how I relax, enjoy life and be who you want to be 😊

  • Lucy

    December 1st, 2020 at 9:11 AM

    Who are you to tell me I shouldn’t call myself a transvestite, and why do you try to do so? If you think it is ugly it is simple; don’t use it yourself! It is no more ‘labelling yourself’ than saying you are a crossdresser, a term which you proceed to use. Transvestite is just an older term meaning exactly the same as ‘crossdresser’ (try looking up the etymology). Otherwise I agree with the rest of your comment and feel much the same as you do in many ways. I am glad you are happy in what you do, as I am, but stop trying to tell others what to do!

  • luanne

    October 27th, 2021 at 12:08 PM

    I’ve only personally known 1 crossdressing male and he was admittedly gay but with issues coming out. (strict unaccepting father).. truth be told i have a hard time believing the research that says men who wear womens clothing are hetero. Im not judging anyone i am wondering how many crossdressing men share the same difficulty coming to terms with their homosexuality because up til lately our society hasnt really allowed it or tolerated it. modern thoughts and acceptance could possibly influence the number of men who cross dress who are admittedl gay. yes ? or maybe not.

  • Lucy

    October 29th, 2021 at 6:18 AM

    Luanne, I think that is probably often the case, but certainly not always. There seem to be a variety of reasons why men cross dress. For some I am sure it is as you suggest; for others it is just a sexual kink/fetish; for others it is an expression of an urge to be or to be treated like a woman, or. it has been suggested, to ‘be the woman that they would like to have sex with’ (but don’t?). For many it gives a feeling of relaxation and happiness from being feminine and the feel and look of women’s clothes, which may have little or no sexual element at all. It can be a form of stress relief from a difficult and stressful, or responsible, male role. Some of us only wish to cross dress occasionally; others (including myself) would like to do so all the time if they could, or to be physically altered to look more like a woman, but can’t for one reason or another – not all of us believe that it is actually possible for a man to become a woman even if we would like to.

  • Jessica

    January 31st, 2022 at 10:52 AM

    This topic is always very contentious. I am crossdresser. It’s something I’ve learned to live with and I’m fortunate that my wife knows it too and although she doesn’t like the idea very much she puts up with me the way I am. But I have also talked to wives who in no way accept that their husbands are the way they are. I understand and support them because they also have the right to see the world as they wish without anyone forcing them to see it differently. Here is a little article I wrote some time ago about the crossdressing but from the women’s perspective. I hope you find it useful.

  • Lucy

    February 1st, 2022 at 6:41 PM

    I am probably in a small minority in that my wife likes me as Lucy and has encouraged and supported me throughout my progression from occasional cross-dressing to what might be described as a transgender state now, where I dress as a woman most of the time and would like to be able to permanently. We are actually both much happier with me as Lucy, strange as that may seem to many people. I would get physically altered but my age and ill health would in practice make that impossible.

  • Lisa

    October 23rd, 2022 at 1:45 AM

    There appears to be a lot of judgement coming from the women who have responded here. Is it any wonder men who crossdress are inclined to hide it from their partner? I was married to a very understanding lady who not only accepted my dressing but encouraged it. Our relationship ended for other reasons that I won’t go into here.
    It is disappointing that the assumption seems to be that a crossdressing man must be gay automatically. The outcome is men feel the need to hide this, so then, they must be hiding other things in a relationship.
    Initial responses echoed above repeatedly suggest that it is better to say nothing than to declare a desire to indulge in crossdressing. The risk of outing oneself early in a relationship is fraught with the fear of being judged, or worse, it is made public.
    For many men, crossdressing can be a significant release from the pressures in life.
    The urge to dress can come and go. I hope that reading this may help others to be more accepting and open-minded.

  • Jess

    January 1st, 2023 at 4:20 PM

    Found out about 6 months ago that my finance of 2 years is a crossdresser. Came across pictures when we were downloading to clear up his phone. I have so many questions and don’t know where to turn. I won’t talk to friends or family about this to help him keep his secret. He says he doesn’t want to have any relations with another man. That he only does it when he’s stressed. But he does go out in public and lives in a small town. When I look at him, I see a man. But after seeing his wardrobe he has sexier clothes then I do! I’m actually starting to feel unworthy. I’ve always been a strong woman but this just kills me. I’ve done as much research that I can but still don’t know if I can marry a man who can carry a mini skirt better then me. Please help me understand why

  • Lucy

    January 4th, 2023 at 11:27 AM

    Dear Jess,
    I imagine that your fiance wanted to let you know about his cross-dressing, or he would have removed the pictures from his telephone before you saw them? If that was the case and it was his way of letting you know without having to broach the subject in conversation it was at least a good thing, as there would be nothing worse that a man getting married without letting his wife to be know of this activity. Many men do cross-dress without any homosexual interests being involved, others may pretend, even to themselves for some time, that this is the case, and quite a lot have or develop homosexual or at least bisexual feelings. Cross-dressing as a reaction to stress seems to be quite common; if that is the main reason I imagine that in a happy marriage the urge may disappear, but for most cross-dressers however hard they try to suppress it the urge seems to reappear at some stage (not always).
    Some women find that they can cope quite easily, a few even enjoy it, others tolerate it, sometimes with difficulty (not good in the long term), but many quite naturally cannot or try to but later find that they cannot. If he lives in a small town and does go out dressed as a woman it is almost inevitable that at some stage someone will realise who ‘she’ is, and if you are going to be living there you shouldn’t have to live under that constant worry if you don’t feel that you could cope with at least someone locally becoming aware, although this will obviously depend on local attitudes and the discretion of others.
    It is not something that you should try and live with if it is going to make you, and therefore both of you, unhappy, and it would be better not to go ahead in a vague hope that it will be OK. You obviously shouldn’t discuss it with any family or friends, but do try and sit down and talk about it together in a calm and totally open and honest way (not nearly as easy as that sounds, I know!).
    I am in a rather different position having emerged as transgender with the support of my wife, and in our rather unusual case we are both happier with me as Lucy than we were before, but the reasons behind that are not the same as most peoples and are actually rather sad. I think that only a minority of women will be able to be happy in the circumstances you describe, but at least it is out in the open now before you are married, which sadly all too often is not the case, and you can decide what you want to do without feeling trapped or deceived in a marriage. Good luck to both of you; only you can decide after more discussion with him whether this is something that you could really get used to and live with after the initial shock of discovery has worn of or not, but don’t go into a marriage without being certain that you really can.

  • B

    June 20th, 2023 at 2:17 AM

    I knew about his cross dressing the day I met him. I was ok with it, but it was only done occasionally, I thought. He never dressed up around my kids, but as soon as I would leave with them he immediately changed. Make-up, wig, lingerie, high heels – to de-stress, to clean up, to “relax” after being in “boss-mode” all day at work. Fast forward a few years, my kids aren’t around – he’s in panties & a dress every night, he barely gets an erection (unless I’m talking about well endowed men (which I have, at his request *at first* & then because why tf not,) <—when i met him i had told him how my current husband wanted to have a threesome & watch me have sex with his *unattractive* friend in front of him. I told him how unwanted that made me feel. How I started to resent my husband for having to make up this stories of being unfaithful, telling him what a dirty sl*t I had been, how much bigger “HE” was. I couldn’t understand how you could love someone but want to see them with someone else. **** SO…. My current cross dressing partner was fully aware of how that made me feel. But we already toed the line as far as was is or isn’t OK to desire. He never wants to have “normal, heterosexual interactions with me” There is no straight foreplay ever. He doesn’t want to go out on any dates with me because I don’t get out of bed & clean up my ever growing mess. I hate myself for that. He says if I cared I would. And the thing is I do care, I love him, love spending time with him – painting, playing games, most of the views we have are similar, but I also have a high sex drive & it was normal for me to have sex multiple times a day (even with him) but he doesn’t even get turned on unless it’s something taboo (ie, him being gay, me having sex with well endowed men. I have no desire to get out of bed or do anything most days.

  • Kim

    April 2nd, 2024 at 12:31 AM

    My husband told me after 15 yrs of marriage. I was really thrown off by it. I am really trying to be supportive but he now wants to bring it to the bedroom. It turns him on but not me. I love my husband and will work with him but it has changed how physically attracted I am to him. I’m talking to a therapist to work through some of my issues. I am hoping we can get on the same page with this

  • Freda

    May 14th, 2024 at 12:53 AM

    Cross Dressing is n*ts, stop pretending it isn’t.

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