I’m pensioner now, and retired, so I am able to spend part of every day dressed en femme which, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, means being dressed fully as a woman. According to the modified Harry Benjamin Sex Orientation Scale that makes me a Type III or “true transvestite”, but according to Ray Blanchard’s modified taxonomy I am a “non-paraphilic autogynephiliac”, whilst according to Robert Stoller I am just a pathological pervert who is expressing hostility and hatred towards women, so it’s only a matter of time before I develop into a serial sex-killer, according to him.
Frankly, any hostility I allegedly feel towards women would be completely overwhelmed and swamped by that which I do feel towards those pontificators in the psychiatric professions who glibly express their mere opinions and unproven hypotheses as if they were demonstrable facts and generally applicable theories, without any regard for the niceties of scientific enquiry or methodology, particularly when those same pontificators are aware that their pronouncements will have a damaging effect on those whom their language denigrates and is disapprobative of.
Actually, most of these pontificators and “experts” are wrong - especially that sad deviant, Stoller - for I am just me and the labels that others apply to me are just so much empty verbiage uttered by their enunciators in a pathetic attempt to convince themselves of their own self-worth and that their own lives have meaning per se.
When I am not en femme, I always wear lingerie - bra and panties during the day, and a night-dress in bed at night. Additionally, I do other ‘female’ things on a regular daily basis, such as pluck my eyebrows, manicure my nails, apply foundation cream to my face. I also epilate my whole body regularly, and my toenails are permanently painted a shade of pink or red. Most evenings I make-up fully: face, nails, jewellery and wig. I find the whole experience simultaneously pleasurable, sensual, exciting, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. What’s more, I do absolutely no-one any harm by it, which is more than can be said for many of the other pastimes that are available to me and indulged in by the many.
Though I spend every day cross-dressed, in part or in whole, as a rule I do not go out locally in public dressed en femme, much as I’d like to. The reason being that my wife does not wish me to, whether in her company or not, and I respect her wishes. However, she is quite prepared to indulge me in private and regularly takes me out in drab, i.e. in my male persona, on shopping trips to buy more femme things for my alter ego, Caroline.
Whilst I spend so much of my time en femme - and would spend all of my time that way if I could - you would be wrong to think that I am really a transsexual rather than a cross-dresser or transvestite. For the fact remains that I am happy to be a heterosexual male, and I wish to remain one, despite the fact that I love to do many things which our society has decreed to be the sole province of women.
Actually, truth be told, I think that I would love a pair of real breasts - but only relatively small ones (size 36B) - though I’m not sure whether by implants or hormonally, though hormones should have the advantage of sparing me my current need to shave facially on a daily basis. Nevertheless, real breasts are most unlikely to ever come about, so I’ll just have to continue to face my razor - or razor my face - and make do with my bra-cups stuffed with old nylons.
One thing I am absolutely adamant about, however, is the fact that there is no way I would wish to have my penis and/or testicles removed, even though I do not use them much for sexual purposes these days, for I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I am, indeed, a man - and that I am both content to be one and wish to remain one. Incidentally, I still consider myself a heterosexual male even when, dressed en femme, contrary to the claims made by Benjamin, Curr, et al., that “true transvestites” are homosexual when dressed (see here, for example).
I just want to be able to cross-dress whenever I want and I want to do that practically all the time.
So when and where did my cross-dressing all start?
It was when I was about the age of 3 when I can first remember becoming attracted to my mother’s articles of underclothing.
Since I slept in the only room in the flat which had a fire lit in it, after I was put to bed at night my mother would undress in the room where I slept before joining my father in their bedroom for the remainder of the night. She would leave her clothing draped neatly over a chair at the foot of my bed, where it would remain until she collected her things in the morning to dress, which she would also do in the room where I was. I remember being attracted by these garments and used to touch them, being particularly interested in the undergarments, which were always the last she removed and which were placed on the very top of the neat pile of clothing. One day I tried on my mother’s panties but was discovered by her and punished enough to make me cry sorely.
I recollect that I did not get an erection when I tried on the panties though I did become slightly tumescent, which caused me to feel simultaneously amazed, frightened, and terribly excited in some way I did not understand.
Those readers who have done some background reading will not be surprised by this state of affairs, for it is all in accordance with the general psychoanalytical theories of fetishism and how it develops, more on which will be found on the Theories page.
After my early discovery and punishment, I never repeated my earlier experiments in cross-dressing, though I was still fascinated by my mother’s clothing, her makeup, and the general paraphernalia of her toilette and often touched her things, sometimes surreptitiously. I frequently wanted to get close to girls at this time too, to be in their company, and play with them. Having said that, I never wanted to play with dolls, nor would I have played with girls if that was the only activity on offer. Essentially, all I wanted to do were the things that appealed to little boys but to do them in the company of girls, who were by nature much nicer, more attractive, and wore prettier and nicer clothing that myself or my many little male friends
One other incident which may have been significant in fuelling what may have been my unconscious desires happened around the age of 11. I had moved into a new area, and the local group of boys I played with were led by a contemporary of mine who took to applying his mother’s clear nail-varnish to his nails. Before long, all of us in the group were doing so until our respective mothers started to notice that the contents of their nail-varnish bottles were diminishing rapidly and we were forced, one by one, to stop. Nevertheless, I still remember the pleasure I experienced from smelling the polish as I applied it to my nails and how I loved the way they glistened afterwards. Come to think of it, I still do.
It wasn’t until pre-puberty that I was reintroduced to the pleasures of women’s lingerie. A great friend of mine - actually there were two of them, because they were identical twins, and both were instrumental in this - had a beautiful older sister who was dating as US serviceman stationed in this country.
Now that serviceman was in the habit of buying his girlfriend, the twins’ sister, what they both considered to be sexy underwear - in the form of flimsy panties, diaphanous negligees and the like - but how the twin brothers came to discover this fact, I can no longer remember, though I suspect it was from plundering her undies-drawer. What I do remember, however, is that they were in the habit of secretly trying these items of female underwear on and trying to masturbate - we were all pre-pubescent, remember, and none of us had ever achieved an orgasm or produced ejaculate at that time.
From the moment the twins invited me to try on some of their sister’s panties, the old passions were aroused - literally.
Thereafter, I would save my pocket-money assiduously until I had enough to go to a ladies’ shop and buy a pair of pretty panties of my own.
An amusing aside is in order here. Due to the twins boasting about borrowing their sister’s panties to wear whilst practising masturbation, it was not long before every pre-pubescent boy in our street either started to do the same or to acquire pairs of panties of their own. Some, like me, by saving up our pocket-money, others by stealing them from washing lines. Before long, everyone in our gang had become a secret fetishist and cross-dresser. I wonder how many of them would care to be reminded of that now?
For me, what followed after I rediscovered the delights of lingerie was a series of cycles of acquiring, wearing, masturbating, becoming disgusted with myself, and finally purging, or disposing of the articles of clothing in question - until the next time, that is - a practice I would follow for years afterwards.
Naturally, all this had a deleterious effect on my life throughout my teens and the early years of my majority, despite my academic and professional successes, and fits the diagnosis of a paraphilia and transvestic fetishism as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-Text Revised; see here for brief details and here for amplified ones.
It was not until my early thirties that my “transvestic fetishism” came to and end when I cross-dressed fully en femme as a woman for the first time.
As soon as I did so, the whole psychological nature of the practice changed. No longer was I practising transvestic fetishism and fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV-TR, but I was practising what the International Classification of Diseases-10 (see here) calls “dual-role transvestism”, though I was unaware of either of these diagnostic manuals at that time - and ignoring, for the moment, whether these respective diagnoses per se are worth so much as the paper they’re written on.
In short, female apparel per se no longer had a fetishistic attraction for me, but cross-dressing became a means whereby I could subsume my male identity, which had been near crippled in my earlier life by the low self-esteem that had been inculcated into me by my parents, to become an attractive and desirable woman - at least in my own eyes. From that point, I developed my female alter ego more fully, by giving myself a femme name and learning to dress and comport myself in the way that was appropriate for my new “feminine” personality.
Actually, I was just a guy in a frock, enjoying the childish experience of “dressing up” as something one wasn’t, but the psychoanalytical literature doesn’t have much to say about kids pretending to be pirates, or cowboys, or cops, or whatever, provided these roles are considered to be “normal” stereotypes for children to want to emulate. Oh, and before someone says that most children grow up and get over the dressing up stage, I would suggest that the observable evidence proves you wrong, but I digress.
Though I did masturbate from time to time whilst partly or fully cross-dressed en femme, it was no longer done for fetishistic reasons. Furthermore, the more I identified with my feminine side, the more I learned to like myself. No longer did I feel distressed by my cross-dressing, nor that my life was negatively impacted by it. For me, cross-dressing was no longer a paraphilia, but had become a harmless yet surprisingly effective way of realising more of my potential as a human-being.
Incidentally, part of the definition of a paraphilia is that it interferes with satisfactory sexual relations, yet I never found that to be the case, neither during my transvestic fetishism stage nor since. And, no, I am an not homosexual - closet, in denial, or otherwise - as I consider myself to be an exclusively heterosexual male. Paradoxically, perhaps, even when I am fully en femme, I am only interested in being sexually involved with a woman. Frankly, when en femme, I am only interested in being socially involved with women also, for under no circumstances do I want to be the object of male attention.
By the way, and for the avoidance of doubt, my emphasis on my heterosexuality is not an indication that I think there is anything wrong with being homosexual - though some insecure people seem to think that there is - so I would not be concerned if I were gay. However, I must point out that my orientation is purely heterosexual simply because it will be news to the ignorant or the confused to discover that there is no direct connection between the phenomenon of cross-dressing per se and homosexuality.
The conclusion to the previous paragraph is equally applicable to bisexuality - which is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with those who are that way inclined.
Before I learned to accept myself and became a well-adjusted cross-dresser, the concerns that I had at that time drove me to seek therapy as a means of addressing what I perceived to be the problems that cross-dressing was causing me. Unfortunately, therapy did not help. Actually it made me feel even more perverted - and, yes, that was a word used by the consultant psychiatrist who conducted the psychotherapy, since it seemed that he subscribed to Stoller’s view that all cross-dressers are perverts who are expressing hostility and aggression to women. Naturally, his made me feel even more distressed about my state of mind which, in turn, ensured that I became an even better fit for the diagnostic criteria of transvestic fetishism as described in the DSM-IV-TR.(see above)
Amazingly, the consultant psychiatrist, though apparently well-meaning, seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that his treatment of me was a self-fulfilling prophecy and self-serving almost exclusively his interests rather than mine. So much so that when I brought our relationship to an end, because it was doing nothing good for me, he expressed his regret that he was losing an interesting case-study.
Though therapy was unsuccessful, it did result in me starting to read the professional literature on the subject of cross-dressing - if only to prove to myself that I wasn’t some terrible menace to women and likely to turn into a sex-attacker or mass-murderer.
Most of the professional literature I found extremely disconcerting, to say the least (I am not alone in feeling this, see here, and note also the caveat in the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association’s Standards Of Care, see here), for it painted a completely obnoxious picture of cross-dressers. Some of it even suggested that we were all psychopathological, completely out of control sex-fiends and just a hair’s-breadth away from committing some vile sexual atrocity or another. Talk about giving a dog a bad name - incidentally, this is what Edwin Lemert called “labelling theory” in his book Social Pathology: A Systematic Approach to the Theory of Psychopathic Behaviour (see here).
It was at that time I met the woman who was to become my partner and ultimately my wife.
I told her about my cross-dressing on our second date. There was nothing unusual in that, for I had done so with every girlfriend I’d ever had - and I’d had my fair share of them - for I believe that honesty in a relationship is always the best policy. I would add that although all my previous relationships had come to an end after a period of time, none of them were terminated by either partner because of my cross-dressing.
Incidentally, the psychoanalytical abuse of cross-dressers doesn’t stop at them, for their partners are also fair game to be denigrated and written off as having their own psychopathological problems, even though they had never presented themselves for psychoanalytical assessment. But, hey, what has real evidence got to do with the social sciences? Thus, readers will not be surprised to hear that in the professional literature, it has been decreed that accepting wives of male cross-dressers have poor self-esteem - Deborah Feinbloom in Transvestites and Transsexuals: Mixed Views (1976) - or that they are pathologically angry towards men - Robert Stoller in Transvestite's Women, (American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol.24, pps. 333-39).
In other words, not only are all cross-dressers pathological deviants, but then so are their partners, not to mention their children and probably also their antecedents and siblings.
Frankly, the hubris with which these so-called professionals present mere opinion and unsubstantiated claims as empiric evidence and generally applicable fact is so absolutely egregious that it may well be an indicator that they themselves suffer from the pathological defect of narcissistic personality disorder, one of the criteria for that diagnosis being:-
“A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.”
Certainly, passing off as concrete fact mere opinions, speculative hypotheses, and unsubstantiated theories can be described as “fantasy”, whilst it is indisputable that the language used by many professionals when indulging themselves in their flights of fancy shows a remarkable lack of “empathy” towards cross-dressers and their human condition.
That digression aside, it was with the loving woman who subsequently became my wife that I first learned to value myself for what I am and to experience the “feminine aspects of my personality” - whatever they are supposed to be - without shame or disapprobation on my part. Having said that, however, I do not consider that cross-dressing is a gift, as so many fellow trannies like to claim (see here), nor am I proud of being one per se, but neither am I ashamed that I am a cross-dresser.
Nor should anyone be.
Still, it takes an amazing amount of self-esteem, self-confidence and courage to be able to admit publicly that one is a transvestite, given the general disapprobation that cross-dressing and cross-dressers are treated with in our society. However, in many ways, what is worse than any societal disapprobation that cross-dressers may have to face is the manner in which the psychiatric profession in general continues to refer to the phenomenon of cross-dressing as pathological and to describe us in such denigratory and offensive language. As the noted psychiatrist Judd Marmor said in Eric Marcus’ book, Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945-1990:-
“If our judgement about the mental health of heterosexuals were based only on those whom we see in our clinical practices we would have to conclude that all heterosexuals are also mentally ill.”
Nevertheless, it is axiomatic that for as long as the psychiatric profession refuses to show cross-dressers the same respect and acknowledgement that it belatedly had to exhibit towards homosexuals, cross-dressers will continue to be served appallingly by that profession. ”What does that matter?” you may well ask. Quite simply because when any form of behaviour is written off as deviant and psychopathological by the very profession which is allegedly the experts in that field, then all of us suffer, irrespective of whether we are cross-dressers or are in therapy, for society qua society accepts and uses uncritically the labels applied by the psychiatric profession as absolutes.
Whilst none of the foregoing satisfactorily explains why I became a cross-dresser, nor why cross-dressing became such an important part of my life, that is no concern of mine. After all, psychoanalysts cannot satisfactorily explain why most people need to attribute meaning or purpose to their lives. The fact is that ratiocination, cognition, and analysis do not provide answers, only the semblance of such things, a nugget of information which most people fail to comprehend. Real life is something else entirely, which was acknowledged by Lao Tzu almost two-and-a-half millennia ago in the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 56:-
“He who knows does not speak.
He who speaks does not know.”
It is enough that one exists; simply experience it.
However, my hope is that, by sharing the information on this site with others out there, some less fortunate cross-dresser than I am will read it and learn to like themselves a little better, for the sad fact is that many cross-dressers are troubled by their cross-dressing and needlessly feel ashamed by it.
As for the non-cross-dressers who might visit this site, I hope you learn something of benefit also.
Anyone with any relevant questions or information can always contact me here.
Finally, anyone who wants quick, superficial answers to their questions should check-out my FAQ page first, though I recommend that they make the effort to read my more detailed information pages.
Now, I’m off to pull on a pair of sheer 10-denier nylons over my freshly epilated legs, but for those of you out there who may not be familiar with the delightful sensuality of such things, all I can say is this: try it, it’s a wonderful feeling. And who knows, you might even enjoy it.