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Thread: The Psychology of Cross-Dressing

  1. #1
    Member Brandi Christine's Avatar
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    The Psychology of Cross-Dressing

    Any thoughts on this article?

    It seems to make sense to me as to one of the reasons I do what I do.

    brandi


    The Psychology of Cross-Dressing

    Cross-dressing (and here we refer particularly to men dressing up as women) could hardly have a worse reputation. The concept of a man taking pleasure in putting on a pair of stockings seems laughable, pitiful ? and plain sinister. We assume a marriage would almost certainly break up the day a wife found her husband in her underwear; and that a manager would lose all authority if his colleagues knew about his enthusiasm for mascara and lipstick. Cross-dressing seems like an admission of failure. Instead of living up to an ideal of strength, ruggedness and sheer ?normality?, a man keen to slip on a dress is taken to be a deviant of a particularly alarming sort.

    But in truth, cross-dressing is grounded in a highly logical and universal desire: the wish to be, for a time, the gender one admires, is excited by ? and perhaps loves. Dressing like a woman is merely a dramatic, yet essentially reasonable, way of getting closer to the experiences of the sex*one is profoundly curious about ? and yet has been (somewhat arbitrarily) barred from. We know cross-dressing well enough in other areas of life and there think nothing of it. A five-year-old boy living in a suburb of Copenhagen who develops an interest in the lifestyle and attitudes of the cow herders of the Arizona plains would be heartily encouraged to dress up in a hat, jeans and waistcoat and aim his pistol at an imaginary Indian chief ? so as to assuage his desire to get a little closer to the subject of his fascination.

    We should accept that the adult cross-dresser is no different. He too wants to inhabit the experiences of a group of people he is keen on. He seeks to know what it would be like to cross his legs in a tight cocktail dress, to walk across a marble floor in a pair of heels, to feel a grey cotton bra strap encasing his back, to put a little silver bracelet around his wrist, to feel the breeze on his bare waxed arms and to stroke his smooth long legs in the bath. He might extend to imagining what it would be like to kiss a man as a woman, to feel bristles that are normally his on lips as soft as those of the lovers he has known. Admiring himself in the mirror in a pair of black tights, the cross dresser samples the intense, fascinating satisfaction of being simultaneously himself and the object of his desire.

    Edit10/11/20 I did not realize I missed the paragraph below when originally copying & pasting the article, I have added it back in

    Though it may sound peculiar, in all this, the transvestite is only guided by the sort of questions that we otherwise admire greatly in the writing ? and reading ? of fiction. What makes Anna Karenina moving is the intensity with which Tolstoy was able to imagine the experiences of a glamorous married woman in love with a handsome army officer. To write Mansfield Park, Jane Austen had to learn how to dress up not only in the grey simple frocks of an impoverished sixteen-year-old schoolgirl (her heroine Fanny Price) but also the braided jackets of a middle-aged swaggering member of the aristocracy (Sir Thomas Bertram) and the black waistcoat of a sensitive would-be clergyman (Edmund Bertram). The balding, heavily mustachioed Flaubert famously explained to his girlfriend Louise Colet that his heroine Emma Bovary had become for him more than a woman he was describing as a dispassionate observer of a fictional landscape: his identification with her was so total, he felt he had quite literally become her. It was understandable, therefore, that he should have added to Louise that he had just masturbated at the idea of being Emma, lying back with her arms above her head, on a bed in a little hotel in Rouen, being powerfully penetrated by the local landowner Rodolphe.

    /edit

    Transvestism is a way of tapping into our birthright of universal citizenship: it?s the most dramatic protest against being imaginatively bounded by the particular gender-province we happen to have been born into. Crossdressing enacts the great philosophical principle expressed by the Roman playwright, Terence: Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto: I am human, nothing human (including mini skirts or a hair band) is alien to me.

    It may of course be a bit disturbing to sense that one is really not so firmly anchored to the gender one was born into. It may be bewildering to have to accept that one is at heart, in the semi-conscious mind, always going to be something far more diverse, multi-faceted but also perhaps interesting than a mere ?man? or a ?woman?.

    We shouldn?t be scared. Across a range of important fields of life, we can accept that our original identity and status shouldn?t be regarded as decisive; and know the value of extending our sympathies through art, travel and the work of the imagination. The transvestite is doing nothing more than practicing some basic empathetic moves with which we are already very comfortable in many areas. Although we haven?t fully recognised it yet, cross-dressing is a very normal thing to do.
    Last edited by Brandi Christine; 10-11-2020 at 05:54 AM. Reason: Removed link and forum business
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    Wow Brandi - good read.

  3. #3
    Member MonicaPVD's Avatar
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    I think the article is entertaining and can be helpful in enlightening non-crossdressers. However, it offers just one of the myriad of theories that attempt to explain what we do. Of course, there are as many "whys" as there are crossdressers. Most people like simple, straightforward explanations to things they don't really understand. To that end, the article is a success.

  4. #4
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    While, sadly, I can offer little in the way of definitive explanation of why cross-dressers do what they do, I have to take issue with the article's explanation that they "...wish to be, for a time, the gender one admires, is excited by..." While that certainly covers some CD's, it is woefully inadequate as an explanation of what drives all of them. This fact can be made plain by a simple perusal of the list of thread titles on this part of the forum.

    The fact is that the CD community has not been seriously studied by those best equipped to do so. There is a still nascent study going on at Rice University, and if it ever gains traction, I'm sure that they will find the etiology to be somewhat more complex than a temporary desire to "be a woman". I know... That sounds snarky as hell. I don't mean for it to be, but that's the plain truth.
    Last edited by Aunt Kelly; 10-06-2020 at 11:24 AM.
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    Administrator Di's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonicaPVD View Post
    . Of course, there are as many "whys" as there are crossdressers. Most people like simple, straightforward explanations to things they don't really understand. To that end, the article is a success.
    I agree it might try to explain to someone that like simple explanations for things they do not understand.
    But especially agree there are many whys and do
    not like the generalizing, cookie cutter explanation as we know it is not a one size fits all.
    It is Offensive also how wives are generalized especially dislike the following

    We assume a marriage would almost certainly break up the day a wife found her husband in her underwear; and that a manager would lose all authority if his colleagues knew about his enthusiasm for mascara and lipstick. Cross-dressing seems like an admission of failure. Instead of living up to an ideal of strength, ruggedness and sheer normality a man keen to slip on a dress is taken to be a deviant of a particularly alarming sort.

    So basically I do not think much of the article. The subject is not cut and dried.
    If it speaks to you that is great.
    This is a personal journey.
    Last edited by Di; 10-06-2020 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Make clear
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  6. #6
    Senior Member NancySue's Avatar
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    First, I?d like to know if the author of this article is a CDer. Why? I believe it takes one, to know one. Each of us has a similar trait...to wear women?s clothes. However, there are several different psychological motivations. Which category? Straight, Bi,
    Gay, TG, Or TS. Each has its own arena for which only others in each category can understand or relate to. Regardless of orientation, the thing we share is this inexplicable, psychological need, desire and compulsion to wear women?s clothes, commonly called the Pink Fog. How many of us have tried to stop? It may be days, weeks, months or years, but we mostly all come back having experienced anxiety, frustration, depression, etc. I?ve fought it, but have lost every time. Dressing affords me so much comfort, pleasure and anticipation. I knew long ago, I could never give it up, yet I have no desire to become a woman...others do...which is my point. To some degree, we?re all similar yet different. Oh yeah, I didn?t like the article. Surprise?

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    Once I accepted myself, the need to know "why" went away.

  8. #8
    Heather loves heels Heather2die4's Avatar
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    Right Monica. Many reasons. For me, it's all about play and getting outside my 'normal' experience. In my teens and 20s, there was a sexual element as well but still playful. Now, having the best of both worlds is just a fun way to live. Moving through the world as a woman gives me a very different experience. New, exciting, and a bit naughty. Okay, more than a bit. Then there's the whole breaking the rules thing. I also feel it gives voice to something deep inside me that can't be expressed in male mode. As Cindy Lauper said, "Girls just wanna have fun."

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    I don't believe the author understands crossdressing. Gives a simple explanation for a very complex condition. I 've been crossdressing since childhood, I have different beliefs and unsure if any are true. I know it is an obsession and compulsion that I can not control. When dressed after the initial excitement and exhilaration a relaxation takes over and I feel like , it is hard to define. Like I am normal. It feels good. That is why I crossdress, it feels good..

  10. #10
    Crossdresser Taylor186's Avatar
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    A narrow and misleading take. The author at one point equates crossdressing to a, "A five-year-old boy living in a suburb of Copenhagen who develops an interest in the lifestyle and attitudes of the cow herders of the Arizona plains would be heartily encouraged to dress up in a hat, jeans and waistcoat and aim his pistol at an imaginary Indian chief." Clearly the author does not understand the broad spectrum of reasons crossdresser's crossdress.
    Last edited by Taylor186; 10-07-2020 at 10:56 AM.

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    Seeing the title of the thread I was excited to see what was on offer... then as I read the article I found myself apprehensive about how this audience would take the premise. I'm heartened that others are as skeptical as I am that this offers anything other than a fig leaf over a much more complex subject... one which I've been trying to explore a bit during my time here.

    On my way to this website I've visited a few websites where men are sharing their excitement about wearing brassieres, and another where men are talking about the herbal supplements they are taking to increase the size of their breasts. As NancySue notes there is great variety in the motivation of folks who crossdress. The needs we satisfy with whatever form of crossdressing we pursue areceptance are also very personal. I'm trained in psychology so for me it holds great interest. I appreciate that simply arriving at acceptance after a lifetime that has included confusion and shame mixed with fear, is a significant achievement. That is what this website seems to be about... which makes it a wonderful place for someone drawn to wearing women's clothes.

    I appreciate comments on this thread. I think we all know this is a complex matter with which we'll each come to terms as our journeys unfold.
    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. #12
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Brandi,
    The piece appears to be written by someone who dresses for the sheer enjoyment of the first time , I sense they are still on a high and feel that is the end of the story . I don't deny I felt those feelings but wen the high has passed over the need is still there , so what drives that ? How we look is very important but I also accept it's not all about the clothes but the piece partly suggests the attraction is and remains a sexual one and in that context we should feel guilty and ashamed and don't deserve recognition .

    OK it does go on to suggest crossdressing is a need we have from berth but makes very little mention of gender and associated dysphoria , I feel articles like this should make a clearer distinction between a tranvestite person and a transgender person .

    I do feel the one point often missed are the feelings we have at times about nice clothes and perhaps even sexy ones is no different from how women feel on occasions , to look attractive and even sexy is a natural human feeling not necessarily to do with gender .
    The real me ,no going back.

  13. #13
    Member DianeT's Avatar
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    Taylor if you Google the title it will pop immediately.
    In my opinion that paper was written by a crossdresser and is more a sharing of experience than anything else (not a scientific study at any rate). There are some silly statements but the motivations it gives for crossdressing happen to be very close to my own (looking and dressing like a gender I love and admire) so I shared it with my wife a while back. But otherwise it is a broad generalization from a particular experience, so, it speaks to Brandi and me, maybe to a few here as well, but probably not to the crossdressing audience at large.

  14. #14
    Soccer Mom in Training MsEva's Avatar
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    Excellent perception of our lifestyle. Thank you for sharing.

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    @--}----- Sissy_Michelle's Avatar
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    Thank-you Brandi,

    I agree with and understand a lot of what you’ve written. I hope to read more of what you’re discussing here.

    @—}——-
    Michelle

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    As a miad, i dont agree with it either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandi Christine View Post
    ...

    But in truth, cross-dressing is grounded in a highly logical and universal desire: the wish to be, for a time, the gender one admires, is excited by ? and perhaps loves. Dressing like a woman is merely a dramatic, yet essentially reasonable, way of getting closer to the experiences of the sex*one is profoundly curious about ? ...
    This reads, and the quoted section in particular, like a justification by a crossdresser who wants "it" to be socially acceptable. Aside from a genetic component that I believe drives crossdressing, just like it does blue eyes or homosexuality or transness, of all those, crossdressing makes the LEAST sense. Crossdressing is internal and not driven by outside desire. I think all of that is a cop out. We are what we are. Period.

  18. #18
    Member DianeT's Avatar
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    Disagree. This was the main driver when I started it as a child and was intensely curious of everything feminine. Maybe it doesn't apply to you, but don't discard it for others to whom it may. I too am who I am.

    -- EDIT --
    As for the genetics theory, it is just that, a theory. I don't buy it, as it gives much too little credit to the plasticity and versatility of the human mind, which has been repeatedly demonstrated, and is in my opinion sufficient to explain our complexity as living beings. Genetics may have a play in it, but until that is actually proven, I will stick to Occam's razor, and to Laplace's famous word: "I had no need for this hypothesis".
    Last edited by DianeT; 10-07-2020 at 05:03 AM.

  19. #19
    Member SaraLin's Avatar
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    Ummm.
    I think that the article is trying to describe (again, I use analogies) one section of one stripe on the rainbow that is human expression.

    It may be possible to explain "yellow", but it says little to nothing about red, orange, etc.
    Too tight a focus on one "color" makes one miss the beauty of the spectrum.

  20. #20
    Member Brandi Christine's Avatar
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    For me I have always been curious to know what it feels like to be a woman, I just assumed all guys feel that to a degree, I just feel it more, and I have always admired women, perhaps to the point of emulating them.

    The article has helped me to maybe understand one part of why I do what I do, is it the only reason, I don't think so... Our minds are complex and for the most part unknown, as are some of our reasons for crossdressing. This is just one more theory to help unravel why I feel what I feel.

    On the other hand part of me just wants to accept it and be happy...
    ...Damsel in distress.
    Not exactly natural, Stunning none the less...

    (As Girls Go by Suzanne Vega)

  21. #21
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Brandi ,
    I'm sure may of us say we admire women and possibly emulate them but we must take a step back from that and consider what actually a CDer does want from appearing as a woman . Pehaps the child's rhyme " Sugar and spice and all things nice , are what little girls are made of " , so consider if it's in the mind or reality , are you stuck with the stereotype of a woman ?

    I've had heated comments telling me I can't possibly know what it's like to be a woman , I finally see the sense in that , so I now accept I appear like a woman 24/7 but I can only say what it feels like as ME ! At some point you also have to consider when the CDing label is no longer applicable and be prepared to drop it , I feel Eddie Izzard got in right by saying , " There're not women's clothes but mine !" I really do feel very uncomfortable and awkward in male clothes , to a point I now consider that CDing .
    The real me ,no going back.

  22. #22
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    Psychology of Crossdressing.

    For decades I tried to analyze this. I have a close friend who is a Psychologist and we have spent many hours on the subject and have yet to come to a definite conclusion.
    I was once asked by the girlfriend of another CD "why do you do it?". My answer was that if I had the TRUE answer to that question that was applicable to all of us I'd make millions with my books. Sorry, but I just don't believe there is ONE answer and honestly I don't feel it has anything to do with psychology. I am a firm believer that this is all genetic.
    We, as humans, are a spectrum, not a type. Just as genetics determines our height and hair color, physique and eye color I believe it also directs us towards being CD, TG and all the variants in between. As an example I must say that in my own family there were 3 brothers, all who had sons. Of the 4 sons 3 are gay and I am (at a minimum) CD. We all had different experiences being different ages and yet here we are. I can't explain it any other way. That's just how I feel.
    Wear what makes you feel Confident !

  23. #23
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    I found this article on the internet at "The School of Life." There is no author attributed to the article. Hence, credentials.

    As someone else posted it sounds as if the author is equating cross dressing to going to a "dude ranch" on vacation for the experience of roping steers. Cross dressing is more than "playing dress up" as a little kid. Or on Halloween. I am not under the illusion that I am a woman when I am attired as a woman. I really do not dwell on how I feel as a man either.

    I found the article rather shallow.

  24. #24
    Aspiring Member Lacey New's Avatar
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    I think the article makes a certain degree of sense to perhaps a certain variant of crossdressers such as myself. I was fascinated with what might be under those pretty panties, bras and slips when I was a young teenager and I so much wanted to explore - for sexual reasons obviously - the female anatomy even though at some level I knew that any real opportunity was several years away. Putting on a pair of my mother?s or sisters panties was in some ways a surrogate for actually being with a female. So, on that point, I share some personal agreement with the author of the article. However, what the author perhaps ignores was the addictive quality of wearing women?s clothing. A pair of panties excited me and resulted in the good feeling of sexual release. But then I found out that I wanted more, like the heroine addict. I wanted to wear a bra with panties, then a slip, then stockings, etc, etc. Then, like many of us, the sexual rush is not what it used to be but instead, it is simply the comfort of wearing women?s clothing. So,while I agree that in its early stages, cross dressing might start as a substitution for sex with a woman, through a somewhat addictive process as well as aging, it morphs into simply a comfortable behavior that becomes a lifestyle.

  25. #25
    Silver Member CynthiaD's Avatar
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    To the OP: I’m sure your analysis is right on target for some people, but as others have noted there are many reasons for crossdressing, and the why isn’t really important. As for myself, I started crossdressing long before puberty. It wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 that I began to realize that most boys didn’t want to look like girls. They didn’t want to sneak into their mother's closet and try on her clothes. Until that time, I thought it was something everybody did. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I came to accept it. I never understood it, but I did learn to accept it.

    It's true that I admired the women in my life, much more than the men. To me, the women were "the real people." The men were just there. It took me a long time to realize I Was one of them. The women, that is.

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