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Thread: Has Confusion About Gender or Sexual Orientation Been Part of Your Journey?

  1. #26
    Member Christina89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visitor View Post
    I note Christina that you've been here for 11 years. I imagine engaging in conversations here has helped you move beyond the confusion. I've only been here a short while so the support that is on offer here, while wonderful, is quite new for me. I'm happy you've come to peace with being a crossdresser. You do mention in your profile that you're bi-sexual so it seems you've come to peace with your sexual orientation as well. There was much for you to unpack along the way... but then mental health workers are inclined to tackling challenges like that. It seems to come with the territory.
    I do need to update my profile. I am not bi. That I did think as well due to be attracted to transwomen. But as I grew older I realized that transwomen are real women. No matter what. You will find out who you are and what you want. And it will take time. Time that we will all be here with you to help you realize who you you are.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christina89 View Post
    ...You will find out who you are and what you want. And it will take time. Time that we will all be here with you to help you realize who you you are.
    Clearly this has been an unfolding process for you and you've come to a different place than you were when you started. I guess that happens for all of us. Honestly, I didn't expect to be exploring crossdressing at this time in my life. It has been merely a distant memory but here I am... talking with folks on this website for whom this is an important part of their life. Who knows where any of this leads?

    And by the way, I've found transsexuals very enticing... but always from a distance. In one way engaging in crossdressing seems a close cousin to what transsexuals are doing... presenting as women while remaining men. They may or may not decide to do SRS but they are definitely on the path some on this website feel compelled to follow. This is one reason why this behavior is confusing... what does it mean and where does it lead? I understand there is no single answer to those questions... so here we are.
    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...
    T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

  3. #28
    Member Brandi Christine's Avatar
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    For me I think it definitely has, when I first started there was no sexuality, I was too young and I just wanted to be a little girl. But once my hormones kicked in it became all about sex, and while it is still there it is less of a driver. In school I fantasized about girls in a romantic way, about guys (with me as the girl) in a more sexual way. I have had gender identity issues all my life, but was too scared to ever express them overtly... I am older now, and while now less concerned about what the world thinks about me, I am married to the love of my life and must be content (hopefully) to be a semi-closeted crossdresser and a good husband...
    ...Damsel in distress.
    Not exactly natural, Stunning none the less...

    (As Girls Go by Suzanne Vega)

  4. #29
    Aspiring Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    You present some very interesting points, Visitor, but I also detect a bit of a thought that this behavior we exhibit follows rather systematic pathways that lead to a limited number of possible outcomes. Perhaps that is not the case, but that seems to be the case. As a biologist, I am well aware that there are underlying laws and rules that must be obeyed in producing a final outcome that tends to result in clustering of the solutions rather than a randomized distribution. But within the clusters there can be a great deal of randomization even though the larger distribution is non-random and seems to have some kind of commonality and direction.

    The complexity of gender, sex, and sexual orientation and how they interact or don't interact is one of the most difficult areas to make sense of. To a large extent, the conjectures and suppositions of the gender binary concept which we have adhered to for centuries if not millennia tends to blind us to seeing that much of our behavior has a plastic quality at the individual scale, but appears to be more structured at the societal scale. As the behavioral geneticists have discovered, all behavior has its roots in genetics, but the impact of experience can modify that constraint through brain plasticity. The options can become almost unlimited if the heritability has a low percentage. These three aspects that seem to be so intricately linked when viewed through gender binary glasses tend to separate when viewed from other theories.

    Allow me to suggest three books you might want to read. First is "The Psychobiology of Transexualism and Transgenderism" by Thomas Bevan. This is a fairly scientific treatise and summary of what is generally known about these three behaviors and their connections. Not an easy read (and a bit expensive), but I am sure you can handle it easily. To see a different view than a more gender binary perspective read "Gender Mosaic - beyond the myth of the male and female brain" by Daphna Joel and Luba Vikhanski. This presents a very different view of gender based on Dr. Joel's 25 years of study and research of gender from the point of view of a neuroscientist and psychologist. An easy read and a very new view of gender formation, structure, and expression. And last is Gina Rippon's "Gender and Our Brains." This examines the nature and history of the gender binary concept, its virtues and also its ability to redirect our concepts of gender, sex, and sexual orientation from what appears to actually happen to produce a strictly structured world that is of no real benefit to anyone. In my opinion, these three books form a study core of gender, sex and sexual orientation in a way that gives a person the wider perspective needed to see how the vast diversity present within this population operates in fashions that, in some respects, is beyond the more defined perspective of cis gender people.

    We really are pretty normal people in 99% of our behavioral concept of self, but that 1% produces a variation that has a profound effect on an individual, especially if they live in a society where such behavior is considered at least a little abnormal. The interesting thing is that in other societies, this variation is not only accepted but considered to be a gift. You can't have it both ways if the behavior is rigidly defined by biology, as the gender binary proposes, and therefore a more flexible perspective is more likely to match the reality of what occurs in creating our sense of self that directs our social interaction. Dr. Joel concludes, "We are all different and therefore we are all equal."
    Last edited by GretchenM; 09-29-2020 at 08:06 AM.

  5. #30
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    Gretchen, do you talk to ALL the girls this way?

    I'm sure you've heard about the elephant being described by the group of blind people surrounding it. And I'm sure you've also heard that to a man holding a hammer EVERYTHING is a nail. I appreciate that as a biologist you would examine this topic through the lens of genetics and epigenetics. This is not the hammer I'm using. That said, I'm certainly not tied to a binary view of gender. I'm inclined to believe that behavior is the product of our genetic makeup interacting with the environment in which we develop... nature plus nurture. Anything is possible within the limits of what a human being is capable of doing which is pretty far ranging as we know from observing the human drama. Some behaviors are so extreme that society has to incarcerate the individual so others can be protected. Some behaviors are so inconsequential they are never registered by anyone but the individual engaging in them. Some behaviors lead people to this website.

    It strikes me that on this website considerable attention is devoted to trying to understand the genetics of it without paying a great deal of attention to the psychology of it. It seems somehow easier to say I engage in these behaviors which can be very disruptive to my life because my feminine side which has never been acknowledged needs to be expressed. I've NO interest in pathologizing these behaviors but it does interest me how they've come into being. I believe we come honestly to our path through life and to the extent our motivation is confusing to us we will make an effort to understand. The books you recommend are clearly offered to help transgendered people understand themselves. The books I've read speak to how we develop as infants and what happens when the holding environment is less than optimal. There is no such thing as perfect parenting and though good enough parenting will get us to a secure sense of self, there can be all sorts of wrinkles in that piece of fabric. Secure attachment is the gold standard but not everyone gets there. Trauma affects the brain of a developing child. How the child comes to terms with the vicissitudes of life when development has been impinged upon is a very open question.

    I appreciate what you offer to the conversation Gretchen and have great respect for how you've come to healthy self-expression in your life. As is discussed often on this website, self-acceptance really is key to finding peace with ourselves. I'm happy to be exploring my own relationship to this desire I have to wear women's lingerie with this community of like-minded souls.
    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...
    T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

  6. #31
    Aspiring Member Lacey New's Avatar
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    I won?t say that I have ever been confused about my sexual identity or my sexuality because I always saw myself as a male and I was never had any sexual interest in other males. However, I was sexually attracted to lingerie and dressing in women?s clothing. And years ago, it seemed as if all cross dressers or transvestites or whatever label were automatically characterized as being gay and pictures of cross dressers often were male couples. So, I felt as if my cross dressing labeled me as gay even though it was the furthest thing from the truth.

    It took me a long time reading and researching the issue and help from this site to realize that the majority of us are heterosexual males. I still wish that I knew why I did it and still do it now many years later after the intense sexual excitement has passed.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacey New View Post
    ...It took me a long time reading and researching the issue and help from this site to realize that the majority of us are heterosexual males. I still wish that I knew why I did it and still do it now many years later after the intense sexual excitement has passed.
    Honestly, I'm inclined to believe it has something to do with self-soothing for me. Granted, there has been a sexual charge associated with dressing but the simple act of putting on a brassiere seems to settle me somehow. I understand that it can be turned into a bigger production with makeup, wigs, a closet filled with clothes but my guess is it all begins when we touch or put on a piece of women's clothes and it simply feels good. Men here talk about coming home from a day of work in which they've done the man thing and wanting the relief that comes with taking off the man armor and putting on something feminine. Other men will have a martini and pick up the sports page. I don't think we come to this means of self-soothing without some early experience in which we have our first taste of comfort from a woman's garment. The fact all our mothers were women and we had an intimate relationship with them for years likely is in the mix. It isn't at all unusual for a boy to imitate his mother. The photo taken on my third birthday has me sitting on the front porch with my mother and I'm a bit awkwardly trying to mimic the way she is sitting with her legs crossed. My mother was a buxom woman and she nursed me. We lived in a small house and doubtless ran into each other in various states of dress. She wore a silk petticoat. The story goes on and on.
    Last edited by Di; 10-01-2020 at 02:01 PM. Reason: It is offensive to keep generalizing everyone dresses for your same reasons / you already posted about wearing a bra and talking to your neighbor
    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...
    T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

  8. #33
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    Visitor, I can relate to your question.
    As a child I suffered from gender dysphoria, as well as having an inferior complex and severe introversion. I had an older brother who continually teased, harassed, and beat me up. The left side of my rib cage is still misshapen because of broken ribs. I also have a sister who is a year younger than me, and she was my mother's pampered little princess. I hated my life and felt like a loser because I couldn't compete with my older brother and felt ignored by my parents. I imagined that if I was born a girl then my life would have been much better.

    As a young child I believed that all parents preferred girls. Girls were prettier, smarter, better behaved, and valued greater by society. I never thought I was really a girl inside, but I believed that being a boy was a terrible handicap. I started crossdressing when I was about 3 years old. I remember rummaging through my mother closet and telling her that I was playing mommy. I admired all the pretty things that my sister got, and they all were forbidden for me. I was jealous of my sister and all girls in general. When I got the opportunity to crossdress it wasn't sexual - I was just making my world right.

    I no longer have any gender dysphoria, but I believe that my early childhood made permanent changes to the way my brain is hardwired. Now when I crossdress I can feel the release of feel-good neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin etc.) The response is automatic and involuntary. Crossdressing just eases tension, and makes me happy.

  9. #34
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    Hi Confucuis - I think it is natural because the means we use to "feel-good" as you say aren't universally accepted, that we spend a great deal of time here trying to normalize our behaviors... to release any confusion or shame we may be carrying. This website is wonderful for that and I'm grateful to have found this community. That said, I think it is fruitful to recognize as you have that this behavior began as a way of surviving the challenges of being in that particular family. Understanding that has helped me a great deal to have compassion for the means I've used to survive. I've written about this before... it was only when I was able to put crossdressing into that frame that I was able to simply engage in the behavior and explore its place in my life right now. That is probably one of the reasons I initiated this conversation. I did have confusion. Coming to terms with that is really at the heart of claiming my aliveness... with or without dressing. I'm experiencing the feel-good neurotranmitters you mention... pretty sweet.

    Thanks for your comment. PS - I have a Yin/Yang medallion around my neck as I write this. Confucius was a compatriot of the Taoists I find so fascinating.
    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...
    T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

  10. #35
    Member CharlotteCD's Avatar
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    I had confusion over my sexual orientation in my early teens, but that was totally unrelated to dressing - what had actually happened was that I had finally found a friend who was emotionally supportive and totally connected on every level, and my hormonal teenage brain equated this emotional/spiritual connection as some kind of attraction. I'd never before had those feelings for another man, and never since. I considered it a good insight into why you shouldn't be quick to label yourself.

    The dressing is a whole other thing though, and I remember lying in bed at night and wishing I would wake up as a girl. My sister had dressed me up a few times when I was young, and my mum had used my for a dressmaking model. When my parents realised I was too keen to be dressed up they put a stop to it. I was caught with my sister's clothing a whole bunch of times and I always made up excuses and never admitted to wearing it.

    It became sexual when the hormones kicked in, and my dressing was centred around lingerie, stockings, tight dresses and heels. No surprises there.

    The sexual feelings and desire to dress left me totally when I met my now wife, and I didn't dress for around 4 years. Then about 18 months back faceapp became a thing and I saw how I looked as a female again and my desires came flooding back, but this time it was back to my earliest days - I wanted to be a woman.

    Cue losing my job for unrelated reasons, being home alone all day every day and having a desire to present as a woman and my dressing restarted. I've come to recognise that I am actually trans to some degree, but it's certainly been a bumpy road to get to this point.

  11. #36
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    Amazing how these journeys unfold and where they take us Charlotte. I imagine finding yourself in this place creates new challenges with your wife who didn't sign up for this particular adventure. We read so many stories here about how men who crossdress negotiate relationships both with regard to dressing and then, perhaps, as in your case, transitioning. The fact others are doing it doesn't make choices any easier. I've dipped into the Transsexual forum and know there are others exploring this possibility, both with other members and with friends and family. I wish you well as you chart your path. I remain comfortable with being a man who occasionally crossdresses.
    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...
    T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

  12. #37
    AKA Lexi sometimes_miss's Avatar
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    Really far too much to write here, all the information about my going from being a normal boy, into a crossdresser with gender identity confusion, is in my bio in the writers forum. It's about a ten minute read. Link is in my sig at the bottom of this post. I may be one of the very few who knows why I feel this way; I wasn't 'born this way', or born to be this way. There are mentions of child abuse, so if that triggers you, perhaps you would prefer to PM me for a truncated version. Otherwise, it explains how outside influences can leave us with a lifelong tendency to crossdressing and GID, with no genetic, or pre birth hormonal influences involved. It can be all nurture, no 'nature'.
    Some causes of crossdressing you've probably never even considered: My TG biography at:http://www.crossdressers.com/forums/...=1#post1490560
    There's an addendum at post # 82 on that thread, too. It's about a ten minute read.
    Why don't we understand our desire to dress, behave and feel like a girl? Because from childhood, boys are told that the worst possible thing we can be, is a sissy. This feeling is so ingrained into our psyche, that we will suppress any thoughts that connect us to being or wanting to be feminine, even to the point of creating separate personalities to assign those female feelings into.

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    Brave of you to say sometimes miss

  14. #39
    Aspiring Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    Visitor, I think we are in close agreement regarding the multitude of causes and effects that we experience. The fact remains, though, nobody has ever really figured out exactly why this behavior exists. But among many of the experts who study this, the arguments tend toward us just being another of a multitude of variants within a diverse biological spectrum that influences everything, but does not exhibit well defined causes. It appears to be unique to humans, but we also express our identities in ways that are far more complex than other animals. Still, animal behaviorists can see a very wide range in the behaviors of other animals, especially primates, that reflect the beginnings of diverse behaviors based on individual differences and it is not hard to see that in a more mental creature as the human could expand those behaviors into something really significant. Philosophically, it appears that diversification in both body and mind and how individuals use those tools is pretty much the rule.

    Recently it was discovered through experiments that even slime molds show evidence intelligence in that they make choices and in maze tests show an ability to find their way through a maze to a food source just like multicellular creatures like mice or people do. We all seem to use the same strategic processes. There seems to be a continuity from the simplest organisms, and you can't get much simpler than a slime mold, to the rest of the plant and animal kingdoms. It is now known that plants communicate using complex chemical aerosols and alert other plants in the area, even of other species, of local growing conditions and the presence of certain predators.

    But as for the specific behavior we exhibit a lot of it is just a result of living in a society where gender is overwhelmingly seen as a fairly binary concept and because of the propensity of humans to be attracted to US-THEM contrasts anything different becomes exaggerated into something "weird." In societies where diversity is accepted, we aren't so weird at all. There we may be unusual but we are normal.

    So, the conclusion from that is that we are just a variant of those folks located more toward the center of the bell shaped curve and otherwise are pretty normal in a biological, sociological and psychological sense. In short, it is relative to the current standards.

    As to precisely why this variation exists is not understood, but what is understood is for life to evolve and adapt to different environments and challenges, Nature uses randomized diversification and natural selection to achieve survival in the current environment and variations to survive when the environment changes. It appears to be pre-adaptation when in fact it is just variation. For humans, the social environment, although not equal to the physical environment in importance, is certainly a close second. We are unique in that way and, in some respects, our evolution has switched to include social interaction as a major environmental factor. Meanwhile with our companions on this planet the social environment, although influential and important, is not a major influence as it is us. It is a matter of degree and differences in life style. There is no perfect state - it is just wide variation around a median that doesn't really mean much of anything other than being a statistical value. It is the variance from the mean that is important. High specialization often leads to extinction; high diversity has a much better chance for long term survival.
    Last edited by GretchenM; 10-02-2020 at 07:54 AM.

  15. #40
    Member Leasa Wells's Avatar
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    this topic is way above my pay scale, that being said i will offer my two cents.

    I started cross dressing at a young age, then in the last two years I started my transition. My sex can be anything I want it to be as everyone is different. Forget the biological, or religious aspects.

    What does come up is will it change, an frankly its none of anyone business.

  16. #41
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    This is going to be one of those no but yes answers (essentially yes in reverse - if that makes sense).

    My crossdressing really started around age 11. Whilst this came with a great degree of confusion, this was more a case of me not knowing why I had the desire to wear female clothing rather than any particular desire to identify as such.

    This became immensely more complicated a few years down the line (when I was 13 / 14) when, at a loss for ways to ?fix? me, my parents turned to therapy.

    Unfortunately, the therapist they chose was big on a ?Total Immersion? programme, where I had to essentially live full time as a female, which continued for a number of years thereafter.

    Unsurprisingly, my male friends at school shunned me and I very soon became ?one of the girls? and I suppose was fortunate that they at least were fairly accepting.

    So the confusion came not from being a male wanting to identify as a female but in fact from being a male shoe-horned into a female lifestyle when (as I?ve learned since) that was not the reason behind my crossdressing at all.

  17. #42
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    One of the thousand different flavors for how we come to this behavior and how we interpret it. I was confused my entire life about what it was that led me to visit the parent's bedroom where I was babysitting as a small 12 year old and to remove all this woman's sexy lingerie from the dresser drawer. Yes, it was sexually arousing and I wanted more of that, but why that behavior? The gender confusion came along the way simply because I had no idea why I was doing what I from time to time felt compelled to do. I believe I understand it now, the silk my mother used on my genitals when I was an infant. That felt good too but it was pared with fear and so my mind tucked the memories away for a few decades... crossdressing happened along the way but always laced with shame.

    It seems whatever this behavior is about for you, it is not coming from a desire to be a woman. I know that is the case for me as well. Now I'm simply allowing myself to dress... as I do... without shaming myself. Perhaps it will all become much clearer if I'm not amplifying/distorting the experience with shame. I trust this is all a learning process. Enjoying dressing along the way is not a bad thing...
    We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time...
    T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

  18. #43
    Resident Polymath MarinaTwelve200's Avatar
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    I nipped THAT aspect in the bud, early on in my teen years, "Just to be sure" I was not "Gay" or "TG" or something, by going to the libraries and reading books on psychological subject matters---And gained an interest in Psychology and the workings of the mind to boot. So after a few weeks of initial worry, I hit the books, and discovered that I might be a bit eccentric, I had no gender or other sexual orientation problems. Further studies helped me figure out, I was CDing as a way to "Escape" or" taking a vacation away" from MYSELF.----quite the REVERSE of those who somewhat "Identify" with the opposite sex/gender.

    Unlike other kids, I did NOT trust the opinions or Myths of my PEERS, I always preferred a more reliable source---books. At first to be able to "correct" or "one up" them on various subject matters-----and as I wondered about my CDing, I immediately sought my habitual source of information. So I had no problems in wondering what was going on with me. However, I still do not know how I would have handled the situation if I found out I actually was Gay or TG.

  19. #44
    Senior Member Asew's Avatar
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    Never had interest in men, but did wonder if I was lying to myself about it and still feels true to me. My dressing is not a means to try to allure someone else (man or woman), but closer to just having a feminine side and wanting to embrace that part of myself.

  20. #45
    Member ShelbyDawn's Avatar
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    Sexuality, since I was molested at 15.
    Gender, only since I was old enough to understand that there was a difference between boys and girls, maybe 5 or 6.


    Shelby

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