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Thread: Addiction? / Compulsion? / What Is It?

  1. #1
    Member Deborah2B's Avatar
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    Addiction? / Compulsion? / What Is It?

    Is crossdressing an addiction, a compulsion, or something else? It is an addiction like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or doing drugs? Do we do it just for the thrill because "it is wrong to do it"? What causes men to want to dress up as women?

    My wife has “discovered” my crossdressing several times over our many years of marriage. Each time I "got caught" I have tried to stop doing it. I obviously come back to doing it again. This time around I explained that I have been crossdressing since before I went through puberty. I told her how I have tried stopping many times over the years even before we started dating or got married. A few times she came home unexpectedly while I was dressed up. A few times she found some of my female stuff.

    Several days after telling my wife my life story with crossdressing she came up with the idea that it is an addiction that I have. She came up with this idea that I should be able to give it up like she gave up smoking many years ago. I don't know if this is an attempt on her part to try to deal with this situation. I explained to her that I like the clothes, shoes, etc. that I have bought each time. I like the way they look on me. I like the way they feel on me. I enjoy the transformation that takes place. She feels I am choosing crossdressing over her. My father cheated on my mother many times during their marriage. I have never done that to my wife and she knows I never will be with another woman. I do not know if she is considering my female side as "the other woman".

    I told her that I am not one of those guys that have “too much testosterone on the brain”. I said I am still a guy and enjoy doing "guy things” but occasionally,I want to become a girl and enjoy "girly things". I do not want SRS,hormones, or anything along those lines. I just want to have some "dress up" time occasionally. I assured her that my crossdressing is not a substitute for our intimacy with each other or for anything else.
    I need some help dealing with this situation. How do I get her to understand this is a part of me? I am hoping to get her to accept it or at least tolerate it? I am tired of the hiding and the lies. I do not want to hide this anymore. I do not want to lose her because of my crossdressing. I love my wife more than anything else.
    Deborah

    My desire is to create an illusion that is a compliment to all women. It is not meant to demean women or their struggles. It is not a threat to their femininity. It is meant to uphold and celebrate their presence and beauty. I try to accomplish that goal each time.

  2. #2
    Honesty Is Not A Sin Vicky_Scot's Avatar
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    Defiantly something different for me. Its part of who I am. I had no choice in the matter as I had no choice in the colour of my hair or eyes or how tall I would get. x
    Don't Take Life To Serious, It's Only Temporary

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    It is often wrongly assumed that a person chooses to be transgender and one day decides they want to live the remainder of their life as transgender .This couldn't be further from the truth. Transgender is established sometime during pregnancy, probably in the first three months and certainly well before an individual is able to make a choice.

  3. #3
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    I agree with "It's part of who I am".
    I spent decades trying to understand this and after much thought and research I truly believe that this is genetic. I believe that it's related to the hormone levels in utero and that thee is no "choice" involved.
    Consider that all fetuses begin as female, which is fact. At a certain point in development hormones trigger the change to male, sometimes to someone intersexed, sometimes a hermaphrodite. It's not a choice that that occurs, it's genetic or at least hormonal.
    I feel strongly about this as I see in my family 2 cousins, each with different parents, who are gay and myself from a 3rd parent set who is...?? still not sure if I'm just CD or if it's more. Time will tell on that.

    Perhaps there is a "nurture" trigger that begins the curiosity leading to the first trial of a sibling or parent's clothing but I do not believe that this is an addiction. For some of course it may be just a fetish, a sexual thrill, but I feel that most of us had no choice and we became CD, TS, TG or whatever term you prefer because we were meant to be this way. It's Who We Are.
    Can you see the REAL Me?

  4. #4
    Silver Member Elizabeth G's Avatar
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    It is definitely part of me, how I'm wired so to speak. Could I choose to not dress? Maybe, but I can't choose to not want to dress.

    I'm in a somewhat similar situation to what you describe. I know you hear it a lot on this forum but is therapy an option? My wife and I have found it to be quite helpful for us. Our next appointment is in about two hours as a matter of fact so gotta' run!
    It's just the clothes... isn't it?

  5. #5
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Deborah,
    I can't speak for everyone but most of us were born with our wiring slightly different and no matter what clothes we chose to wear the basic feeling will never go away .

    The problem is the links other people put to our CDing needs , are we gay , do we want to be a woman OK many also ask are we just a sexual pervert . The next problem is sex and gender can be mixed up .

    I understand your comment about testosterone , whether you have too much or it just kicked in early which is what happened in my case . This is not the driving force for everyone some plainly have GD and feel body and mind don't coincide , eventually full transition is the only option but it's important to remember this is not the solution in all cases . We all have a differnt story to tell the TG spectrum is wide , some CDers are happy to occasionally dress in private others have to be out in the RW as I do but at my age full transition will not happen I have found my happy balance , social transition works for me .

    Your wife needs answers but at the moment you need to decide honestly where you are on the spectrum , maybe write your history down to get it clear in your own mind , once you've done that you can hopefully sit down and talk it through with your wife . I'm afraid it won't work trying to stop , you are forcing an unacceptable suppresion on yourself possibly out of guilt and possibly to appease your wife . Long term suppression will lead to all sorts of problems and you health will eventually suffer .

    Try not to make promises you can't keep to your wife that will just make things worse . Please accept you may not be able to build the trust back up again I had to accept after twenty years of coming out to my wife the compromises or DADT just didn't work , the trust had gone . Counselling may work providing both parties take part , I hit a brick wall because my wife refused , I was the one that needed fixing , as it turns out she thought it meant a cure .

    It is very hard for a man to openly reveal this part of him , sometimes I don't feel other people realise what a man has to endure to accept this , in their eyes we suddenly stop being the husband , father and in my case a grandfather , these are the things we risk losing and often the things we are blackmailed with . As it turns out it doesn't have to be like that , I separated a year ago and may daughter accepts me so I'm still dad to her and grandpa to her daughter and yet I've been out as Teresa with them so it can work , the WORLD does not end !!
    Last edited by Teresa; 02-08-2019 at 11:42 AM.
    The real me ,no going back.

  6. #6
    Member Deborah2B's Avatar
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    To add to my story my brother was gay. He passed away in 1996 due to AIDS related issues. My wife and I were the first people that he ever told. He had already graduated from college at that point in time. My parents of course freaked out when they found out but eventually got past it. He felt that we would be able to accept this and we did. My sister was very much a "tomboy" growing up but still enjoyed getting all dressed up. My mother in law had several close friends that were gay. My wife knew them and did not have any issues with them. My mother found some leotards and tights I had hidden when I was a teenager and freaked out a little. I convinced her and my father that it was a passing moment.
    Deborah

    My desire is to create an illusion that is a compliment to all women. It is not meant to demean women or their struggles. It is not a threat to their femininity. It is meant to uphold and celebrate their presence and beauty. I try to accomplish that goal each time.

  7. #7
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    Deborah, as with you, I have been crossdressing since before puberty and the first time I did it was when I was 4 years old. CDing is not an addiction. As Teresa posted, our wiring is different from other men. I tried stopping, but eventually I went back to it and now I just accept that's the way I am and don't feel guilty about being this way. My wife was tolerant of my CDing, but she wasn't accepting. I learned to keep it to myself and she let me be.

  8. #8
    Member Shayla's Avatar
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    Deborah, It sounds like you have been totally honest with her, and honest with yourself as well. You have an idea of what you want out of this (occasional girl time), you are not forcing her to participate, she is trying to force you to bend to her standards of what she feels the relationship should be. Try a gender educated counselor, perhaps a professional opinion will convince her that she should let this part of you be expressed sometimes without judgement.
    It does seem however, that just as deep as our feelings are about our needs, some women are equally entrenched in what they see as attractive male behavior. And we all want to feel attraction to our mates. Best of luck and keep the dialogue going with her.

  9. #9
    Gold Member Alice B's Avatar
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    For me it is a compulsion. Something I want to do at various times. I can and have had times where I went for months without dressing and did not feel stress from withdrawal. Now that I am totally retired and have cut back on many things I used to do, I dress in some fashion every day because i can. Not because I have no control.

  10. #10
    Member Deborah2B's Avatar
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    Teresa - I did write down my history and let her read it. I wanted to be totally honest with her this time around and not hide anything anymore. My children are adults now but they do not know about this part of me. I want to work things out with my wife before I even think of sharing this part of me with them.

    Shayla - I do not want to force anything upon her. She does love that I am more caring toward her and our children than other men that she knows and has seen out there in the real world. I have found a few articles and stuff on line that I hope will help our situation.

    Thank you everyone for your input.
    Deborah

    My desire is to create an illusion that is a compliment to all women. It is not meant to demean women or their struggles. It is not a threat to their femininity. It is meant to uphold and celebrate their presence and beauty. I try to accomplish that goal each time.

  11. #11
    Platinum Member Beverley Sims's Avatar
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    I feel it is not an addiction but something imprinted in your psyche from an early age.
    Work on your elegance,
    and beauty will follow.

  12. #12
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    Whatever it is, I am taking a break, in 2 years I bought about 2 dozens Brassiere, 2 dozens panties, a few stay ups and several pantyhose, 5 slips, a few thighs, a garter about 3 dozens camisoles all in all I really had a good time, I will not throw my Lingerie out, I think I am getting the point that's it is an obsessive compulsive disorder and I would not be able to catch up with it.
    Live Today as if it is your last day

  13. #13
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    In my opinion, crossdressing is innate and immutable. It is how our brains are hardwired.

    What separates crossdressers from non-crossdressers is that wearing feminine clothes makes us happy (even ecstasy). Non-crossdressers can wear feminine clothes and feel nothing special (but embarrassment). I believe we feel this way from a combination of genetic and environmental (psychological) factors. Similar to synesthesia, stimulation of one sensory pathway (feminine clothes) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory pathway (release of feel-good neurotransmitters).

    During the first three years of life our brain produces neural connections at a furious pace (synaptogenesis). At three years of age you have about 5-times the amount of neural connections as an adult. Through early learning processes we undergo neural pruning, where some neural pathways are cut while other pathways are reinforced. (Note: there is another period of synaptogenesis during puberty.) In the learning process we are making associations between feminine clothing and contact with the feminine. Our brains become hardwired to release feel good neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins) this way.

    No amount of aversion therapy will cure a person of crossdressing. No amount of prayers will be effective. No psychological counseling will work either. Yes, it is possible to limit your crossdressing and some people stop crossdressing, only by the force of their own will, but the urges are always there.

    Again, this is only my opinion, however I believe the scientific evidence does support this view.
    Last edited by Confucius; 02-08-2019 at 03:05 PM. Reason: added information

  14. #14
    I accept myself as is Gillian Gigs's Avatar
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    If you are looking for a "one size fits all", then you are out of luck. Many of us ended up on this site to answer the questions of, why, is it an addiction, is it an obsession, compulsion, ... and the list goes on. Only you can find your own conclusion, and I would encourage you to do it with your wife. Then she will be in the loop through the whole thing, and she should gain some understanding. It is a journey of self acceptance, self discovery, and hopefully inner peace.

    Your wife is attempting to understand this the only way she knows how. In her case she is thinking addiction, like cigarettes. She then thinks that if she can quit, then so can you. Easier said than done! I'm not saying whether you can quit, or not, if it were an addiction, because I don't know how many have succeeded, versus those who have failed. The point is that as long as you are getting enjoyment, fulfillment, and some inner empty spot filled, you are going to continue to do what you are currently doing. Good luck on your journey.
    I like myself, regardless of the packaging that I may come in! It's what is on the inside of the package that counts!

  15. #15
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    Honestly at times, it has been a compulsion and an addiction. Most of the time it is in the compulsion territory. Dressing has negatively impacted my life before I got it under "control". I can go months at a time without dressing, mostly during the winter months. During the summers, I have an intense want and desire to become Eboni. Binge and purging clothes has effected me the most. So much money down the drain, because of an internal shame response. I have mowed to never purge again unless its something I no longer need or want. Dressing has finally found a place in my life. Living alone for the first time for the past three years has given me and Eboni the freedom and space to grow up and wise up. There's always room for learning and growth, so I look forward to how I'll be in the future. I'm still drawing for sexual reasons, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. That's okay with me

  16. #16
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    I really think that what you are doing now is correct and what you should be doing going forward, talking honestly. Keep that communication up as best you can. When possible do not talk about your opinions and how you are feeling, just ask her how she is feeling "now" and then let her ramble and talk. Make it about her. Only talk when an answer is needed. Do support what she is saying (support does not mean totally agree) by nodding your head making small comments like "OK, I see", and keep asking more follow up question directly about what she says. Act like another woman would when listening to their female friend vent or rant. Men mostly have a hard time doing that because we hear "I have a problem or issue I do not like" from their SO and then want to offer, in the spirit of helping out and helping, one or more logical solutions to that issue. Men do that all the time with each other with fantastic results with clear and direct conversations regarding an issue. Women tend to vent first and then maybe ask for solutions. Women may discuss an issue and work out a resolution to that issue over time and not as directly as a man would.

    If you hit a wall with your conversations, then maybe you should find a relationship therapist with some knowledge of transgender (umbrella term) issues. I really do like your honesty with her. I also like you ability to communicate with her. My suggestions are more directed at how you can improve that communication process for both of you.

  17. #17
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    Deborah, part of the problem you're going to have is your wife is ignorant and ill informed as to cross dressing. She needs to be educated by a gender therapist or other professional who deals with cross dressing men. She believes it is an addiction. And, because she kicked the habit of smoking, she feels you can just stop. I'd like to ask her why she started smoking to begin with. With all the information out there concerning smoking there are still young kids who start smoking. Why? It is not ingrained in one's dna to start smoking. It's because they are immature and thought it was cool! Alcoholism is a disease that has an addictive nature to it. Drug use has an addictive nature. Why do people start smoking, drinking or using drugs? Because of societal influence. Peer group pressure. Immaturity.

    What of cross dressing? I have yet to encounter or read a post where a young boy thought it was cool for he and all his friends to get together and play dress up because it was cool. Sure, maybe at Halloween to do some silly dress up or under the guidance of a girl friend. But, to adopt a life style. Nope.

    I never thought it would be cool to dress up in my mother's clothes. There was some inner draw. I told my wife "I do not know why I do what I do!" It's plain and simple. Does society still hammer away at gays and lesbians for who they are? Only if you have misguided moral opinions which are unfounded by any scientific evidence.

    Can there be an addictive nature to cross dressing? Sure, in the same way others collect coins or stamps or tea cups. "I have to get that or this!" I do suspect many of us get carried away because of rejection. I cannot explain why I have so many dresses or undergarments. I know my wife would just shake her head in amazement. Maybe I would not use retail therapy if she was accepting and I could relax without making her feel awkward.

    If your wife is intent on busting your balls because you "NEED" to wear women's clothing on occasion I'd re-evaluate the relationship. You may be the best man to come along in a long time, but, what's in it for you in the long run?

  18. #18
    dress to feel the energy Shely's Avatar
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    The simple answer I have come up with is: It is all of the above. It would be nice if it was just an addiction, but there is more to it than that. (IMHO)
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    Not sure I would call it an "addiction", but I do think (like anything) that it can become unbalanced and disrupt an otherwise healthy life. I am actually quite bothered by a lot of people (doctors included) that simply say "We are born this way", and I'm not just talking about CD.

    I do believe that many of us are "born this way" w/a certain disposition that makes us much more comfortable to be dressed, roll play, etc. I think we (the rest of the world) are born with all sorts of tendencies, weaknesses, and challenges. And an imperfect world and society often makes it much more difficult for some to "fit in", because ultimately...the world doesn't care. However, I see one goal in life is to get better, to improve our imperfections, and strive to be the best we can be.

    I don't think being born this way gives us free reign to do whatever we want. So if I'm a married man w/children, I believe it's my responsibility to control my appetites/desires/passions so that I can be their father and a good husband above all.

    Now here's where it gets tricky. I have tried to suppress my desire to dress for decades (successfully I might add) even though my wife was supportive and encouraging. One reason I didn't simply take her pass and run, is because I felt I was more aware of where that might lead...mostly that I could become more addicted, lose balance, and thus, not be the father and husband I promised I would be. I have spoken to my wife at length about this and she with me have determined that it is probably best for me to dress some (w/her) in order to help me manage my stress and or feelings about things. However, I'll admit, that when I think about these things, when I visit this site, grow my hair, etc...I find myself rationalizing more that "what's the big deal", etc. I'm a man of faith, and I pray to better understand...and I ask for help to help me manage, while also making sure that I keep my thoughts mainly on the things that are most important. God and my family.

    Because of that, I go back and forth on this.

    To answer your question though...in my opinion, I do not think it's an addiction on it's own, but I think it as well as anything else can become one and lead to ultimately a very unbalanced, unhappy, and unfulfilling life.

  20. #20
    Gold Member Maria in heels's Avatar
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    I don't believe its an addiction. I too have been one who did not dress for a couple of years, but I was always thinking and drawn back to wanting to dress. My wife found out by a mistake on my part and thankfully she began with a DADT relationship, but over the years, has warmed up to the fact that Maria is part of me and therefore, someone that she deals with. I have told her once we started talking that Maria is a part of me and my character and she helps me with decisions and my actions ....
    A new link to a sample of my shoe collection

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  21. #21
    Platinum Member Angie G's Avatar
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    I CD and have been for 60 years on and off until 13 years ago when I came out to my wife she is convinced its genetic as my dad dressed a bit. She excepts and help's. I do think it is who I am.
    Angie

  22. #22
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    Kudos to your wife for being able to quit smoking. I do think there is a similarity between smoking and crossdressing, a bit like, but not the same, as an addiction. Quitting smoking has invaluable health benefits so one is urged to quit, quitting crossdressing has no physical health benefits so I believe it is not an addiction. Whatever it is I don't know. I was able to quit a 2 ½ pack a day habit many years ago. That was an addiction. Smoking is not a normal condition. Crossdressing is a normal part of me. I don't see it as an addiction. It is what it is. I hope things work out well for both of you.

    Ineke

  23. #23
    Member Kelli_cd's Avatar
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    It's something else for me. I only underdress, though. But, I think bras and panties are colorful and cute, and I feel pretty when I wear them.

  24. #24
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    Well, how I see it is what you make of it. Neither sex, drugs or alcohol are addictions but it's in the way it get used and gets processed. For me, I need my fix, the arousal it produces and dopamine effect that feels so good and powerless to stop it, that's for sure.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Robin777's Avatar
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    It is something else for me,as I am convinced that my brain is wired differently than a normal male. I have always believed that in a former life I was a woman and that got carried over to this life. I was born this way. I didn't just chose to dress, I have a need to dress. I always have felt I was different my entire life.That I didn't fit into the male mold growing up.As an adult, I was lucky to find a mate that has put up with me for 39 years and is at ease with my dressing. We shop together at thrift stores helping each other pick out clothing. This tells me it is something that I was born with. Why else would I do this? It satisfies a need.

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