November 6, 2010

The Vernon Coleman study of Crossdressers

In 1995 the author and crossdresser Vernon Coleman made a survey of crossdressers.

The European Medical Journal Special Monograph On Transvestism/Crossdressing was based on questionnaires which were completed by 414 British males during July and August 1995 and on written communications from over 600 other British males during the same period.

Coleman belong to the crossdressers who think there is no connection between crossdressing and transsexualism. I think there is such a connection, although I understand his point about there being a big difference between the crossdresser who has no wish to become a woman for real, and the transsexuals who are driven by a gender identity dysphoria.

Coleman also denies the existence of crossdressers assigned female at birth. I know they exist.

His results are very interesting, though, and seems to confirm findings made by others.

I include some of the results below. The complete report, with Coleman's comments and quotes from crossdressers can be found over at his site.

How old were you when you began wearing womens clothes?

The average age at which males in this survey started dressing in womens' clothes was 13. The youngest respondent reported that he had started crossdressing at the age of 4. The oldest was 70 when he started dressing as a woman.

This confirms that the myth that the urge cannot "awaken" before puberty is exactly that: a myth.

Why do you do it?

Note: Respondents were invited to tick as many options as they liked.

a) Because I like the feeling of women’s clothes: 321 (77%)
b) Because it gives me a sexual kick: 244 (59%)
c) Because it helps me relax and deal with stress: 202 (48%)
d) Because I want to be like a woman: 262 (63%)

"Surprisingly, perhaps," Coleman says, "the most common reason given for cross dressing was the feeling of wearing women’s clothes."

The question is, of course: What does that mean? Is it the sensual feeling associated with the feminine, or is it just a practical way of avoiding an itch? The fact that close to 60 percent get a sexual kick out of this, seems to confirm the idea that sex is an important part of the motivation. This is why Ray Blanchard ends up reducing "autogynephilia" (the love of oneself as a woman) to a sexual perversion.

Coleman makes a very important point, however, by pointing out that there is more to this than sexual desire:

"A man who is under constant pressure to achieve, to perform and to make money may find that he can escape from those pressures most effectively by slipping on silky, feminine clothes. He can change his personality and his perception of society's expectations of him within seconds."

I see that a lot of people talk about "male privileges" when discussing transgender issues. For men caught in the web of gender stereotypes (the man being responsible, strong, untouchable, "uncryable") the "female privileges" give room for emotional relief.

"By dressing as women they can liberate their feminine, gentle side - and (temporarily at least) escape from their aggressive, ambitious, demanding masculine selves," Coleman says.

In Christian and Muslim cultures there is a tendency of keeping this "clean" longing for emotional relief from the "tainted" urge for sexual relief. I believe this division is artificial. Still, it is clear that crossdressing is much more than a "sexual fetish" for these men. It is also a way of expressing a feminine identity and to deal with stress.

If you had the opportunity would you have a sex change operation?

94 respondents (23%) answered 'yes'
320 respondents (77%) answered 'no'

Coleman argues that crossdressers are different from transsexuals:

"Many lay people who come into contact with transvestites confuse cross dressing with transsexualism. Wives, girlfriends, employers, workmates and friends often suspect that transvestism is merely a stepping stone on a longer journey; a half way house on the way to transsexualism. This mistaken view is also common among many professionals (doctors, psychologists and social workers) who assume that transvestites and transsexuals are merely variations on the same theme. Some psychiatrists regard transvestites as gender dysphorics but on the evidence obtained by this study I would regard that as a misnomer. Some transvestites would like to become transsexuals but most transvestites (over three quarters according to this survey) have no doubts about their gender and are perfectly happy about their crossdressing. "

I think Coleman is mixing etiology (the cause of both phenomena) with the expression of that etiology. The idea of there being several types of transgendered people (inincludingrossdressers and transsexuals) is based on the understanding that they have a common -- or related -- cause. The fact that as many as 23 percent want a sex reassignment operation points in that direction. Many MTF transwomen have started out as crossdressers.

But Coleman is of course right in insisting that most crossdressers do not want to transition. They want to remain men, while exploring their femininity through crossdressing.

Has being a transvestite ever lost you a job or a relationship?

66 respondents (16%) answered 'yes'
348 respondents (84%) answered 'no'

Coleman adds:

"At first sight the low percentage of crossdressers answering `yes' to this question seems surprising. It is clear, however, (particularly from the response to Question No 13: Do you live in fear of people finding out that you are a transvestite?) [69% said `yes' 31% said `no'] that a very large number of transvestites are extremely secretive about their crossdressing. These transvestites clearly believe that they would lose jobs or relationships if their secret became common knowledge. Most transvestites would probably prefer to be open about what they do. The secrecy tends to add to the guilt they feel. Many transvestites are also aware that it would be much better to tell their loved ones than to have them find out by accident."

The stigma attached to crossdressing makes this much harder than it need to.

Another important point, that Coleman does not make, is that the fear associated with crossdressing, is a strong indication of this not being a voluntary urge, something the crossdressers decide to do just for the thrill of it. The risk is too high for this to be the case. This points in the direction of this being some kind of inborn trait.

If you go out crossdressed, in your opinion, how many of the people who see you are convinced that you are a woman?

82 respondents (20%) reported that they never went out crossdressed
125 respondents (30%) reported that no one who saw them would be convinced that they were women
95 respondents (23%) reported that a few of those who saw them would be convinced that they were women
87 respondents (21%) reported that most of those who saw them would be convinced that they were women
23 respondents (6%) reported that all of those who saw them would be convinced that they were women

These numbers show that the men have a pretty realistic understanding of how they appear. They still crossdress, and the fantasy of being a woman brings emotional relief all the same.

Those who believe they could pass, are not necessarily lying. If they are a bit feminine looking at the outset, they may be able to get away with it.

Have you ever had sex with another man?

82 respondents (20%) said 'yes'
332 respondents (80%) said 'no'

Coleman adds:

"The incidence of any homosexual experience among transvestites (1 in 5) is slightly lower than the incidence of any homosexual experience among non transvestite heterosexuals (usually regarded as 1 in 3). Most of those transvestites who admitted to having had sex with another man said that their homosexual experiences were isolated. The incidence of genuine homosexuality and bisexuality among transvestites is considerably less than 1 in 5 and probably close to the normal figure for non transvestite males of between 5% and 10%."

Coleman draws our attention to a very important fact. A significant proportion of heterosexual cismen do report having sexual experiences with other men. I would guess that this proportion would be even higher in cultures where being the active part in a homoerotic relationship is not considered gay or effeminate, and therefore OK. In other words: Our strict division into homosexual and heterosexual is misleading.

If we are anything like our closest relative in the animal kingdom, the bonobos, you may even postulate that bisexual behavior is the default, and that heterosexual relationships is just one of many natural variations.

I believe we need to develop a more sophisticated and nuanced view of sexual orientation. Being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual is not one simple, unified, permanent and stable trait that is valid for all sides of life. This is especially true for crossdreamers, as they may distinguish between:
  1. Sexual practice (some of them report having had sex with men, even if they fall in love with women)
  2. Sexual attraction (some of them report being attracted to the male physique at the same time as they are attracted to women)
  3. Romantic attraction (some are sexually attracted to men, but fall in love with women)
  4. Sexual fantasy (some report having fantasies about having sex with men, even if they are not attracted to them)
  5. Sexual identity (some consider themselves homosexual or bisexual, but their interpretations of these words may vary)
  6. Gender identity (most of them identify as men, some as women and some as something in between)
  7. Gender expression (when crossdressing these male bodied person express their own understanding of femininity, when they are not they express their idea of maculinity)

Have you ever had sex with a woman while you've been dressed as a woman?

228 respondents (55%) answered 'yes'
186 respondents (45%) answered 'no'

This response shows that a surprisingly large percentage of crossdressers are able to integrate their crossdressing into their sex lives.

Coleman adds:

"The number of transvestites who have made love to their wives or girlfriends while crossdressed will probably surprise many - particularly those who, quite wrongly, assume that transvestites are gay."

308 respondents (74%) answered 'yes' to the question "Does your partner know of your transvestism?" 106 respondents ( 26%) answered 'no'

When asked whether their partner approve of their crossdressing 177 respondents (43%) answered 'yes', while 237 respondents (57%) answered 'no'. Although a surprisingly large percentage of female partners accept this part of their man, it is also clear that many of them just tolerate it.

That being said, as many as 153 respondents (37%) answered 'yes' to the question of their partner helping them choose clothes, make up etc.

The good new is that it may be possible to establish stable relationships where the partner accept the crossdreamer's inner woman.

21 comments:

John said...

"A man who is under constant pressure to achieve, to perform and to make money may find that he can escape from those pressures most effectively by slipping on silky, feminine clothes. He can change his personality and his perception of society's expectations of him within seconds."

I am not really a crossdresser but from this very line I can understand why I want a slim feminine well shaven body rather than a hairy muscular big body. My friends have always been insisting that I must keep up the once muscular hunky body I had, but for numerous sub-conscious reasons, I decided to slim it up and make it ultra feminine a few months back.
Apart from the fact that I consider the feminine style to be more beautiful looking, I also simply feel that once I feminize my body and appearance, I can keep myself free from abnormal social pressure of men to be strong and demanding. I don't actually want to be weak but I don't want to be seen by someone as a stereotypical caveman type person who is not sensual and has no innner life, and spends whole life only catering to needs of others. After giving that impression, I can be as strong as I want to be but sans the artificial social pressure.
Someone might as well consider me to be freak for this type of thinking, but I have seen that deliberately androgenizing myself is definitely healthy in the long run.

John said...

From my experience, I can also understand very clearly the plight of crossdressers/transvestites. If an androgynous male like me wants to delibearately feminize himself through a queer metrosexual outlook despite being muscular and well built in childhood, males who are even more feminine in the transgender spectrum can as well want to look a bit more like women than me. And how to best do that? Of course, by putting the women's garb.
I don't see how transsexualism however could be related to this. Transsexualism is about gender identity and transvestism and crossdressing, and even things like drag are aspects of gender expression. The reason people confuse transvestism with transsexualism is that people with a cross gender identity will definitely want to express themselves as the opposite gender.But people don't understand why a person who totally or almost entirely identifies with his anatomical sex would nevertheless want a cross gender expression.
Why would for instance, a non transsexual male want to feel like a woman?
To me the answer is obvious. We are all born with masculine and feminine energies. It is just that some males have higher than average feminine energies and that leads to some behavioural effeminacy and desire to feel like woman despite not identifying as woman. Same with butch tomboys with higher than average masculine energy who want a more manly outlook despite not identifying as male.
What is the source of this higher than average masculine or feminine energy? That is for the neuroscientists to find out, but I am sure that its chief agent is different from tbhe chief agent which causes transsexualism.

Monty said...

The sexual orientation part is highly confusing. Heterosexual cismen having sex with men is indeed common in many cultures such as Asia. It is because those cultures don't even divide people on the basis of sexual orienation. Rather, they divide people on basis of gender orientation. Hence, feminine gay male prostitues and shemales easily get access to sex with masculine men because the masculine men don't label or consider thameselves as gay for having sex with feminine males.
Two masculine men having sex for emotional intimacy is considered to be different from the sex between a man and effeminate male.

Leslie Ann said...

When I re-came out to my wife three years ago, this study was one of the things that I presented to her. I felt myself to be a crossdresser at the time, and I thought that Coleman's study might ease her mind about what to expect. She proceeded to cherry-pick factoids that suited her contrary arguments.

Within a year, I knew that there was more than crossdressing in my heart. When I told her this, she started referencing Coleman, trying now to support my being a CD when the alternative seemed much more dire.

The study is quite revealing of an under-researched group, but the biases show through in places. Imperfect, but good reading.

femslut21 said...

I think your discussion of etiology isn't quite right. Dressing in feminine clothing is a sign that may have any number of causes.

To make a medical analogy: A high body temperature is an outward sign that similarly may have many causes - the body may be responding to numerous bacteriological or viral agents (i.e. fever), the subject may have a high metabolism, the subject may have been exercising, the subject may have just come from a very hot environment, or the subject may have a tumor in the anterior hypothalamic nucleus which regulates body temperature.

In medicine and psychology we sometimes see collections of outward signs that tend to occur in groups. At first we may not understand the cause (etiology) of this collection of signs, but knowing that they cluster together is useful, so we define a syndrome (σύνδρομος - literally the signs "run together"). The syndrome does not assume that everyone exhibiting the signs has the same underlying condition.

I feel that it is almost certainly the case that "being transgendered" is a syndrome in the sense that it is a description of a collection of outward signs for which we have no explanation.

In cases where there are differing outward signs (such as wanting to remain men) it is correct to subdivide the syndrome into "sub-syndromes".

Therefore I think that the idea of there being several types of transgendered people is based on exactly the oppisite presumption, namely that they have differing causes. This is why they are named differently (crossdressers and transsexuals) and why the categories were created in the first place.

Jack Molay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Molay said...

@femslut21

Yes, that is indeed possible. Similar symptoms may have different causes, and -- given the complexity of the human biological and psychological system -- the same "cause" may even lead to different symptoms. An allergy may lead to a rash in one person and sneezing in another.

In this case I think we are facing a top category --"transgender" --where the different sub-categories are defined by a different mix of causes, or maybe some of the same factors are present in different intensity.

The reason I believe this is that a sufficient number of crossdressers do eventually transition. I doubt very much that the cause for their crossdressing is completely different from the other crossdressers. Their dreams and fantasies seem to be to much similar for that to be the case.

And this is also an area where I think Ray Blanchard has a valid point. He has studied crossdreaming transwomen, but I see the same kind of arousing feminization fantasies among regular non-transitioning crossdressers and among non-crossdressing crossdreamers like myself.

That leads me to believe that they have something in common. This factor X may vary in intensity and even in the way it is expressed, but it is there.

An interesting question is whether this factor X is present in all M2F transsexual women. Many transwomen strongly argue that this is not so. Some of them may be hiding forbidden crossdreaming fantasies, but I seriously doubt that they are all lying.

The "classic transsexuals" and the HBS women argue that they are completely different from crossdressers and crossdreamers, in the sense that they are real women and the transitioning crossdressers are fetishistic men. I have found no proof of this anywhere, and seriously doubt that this is the case.

This leads me to believe that the factor X -- whether this is one factor or a complex of variables -- may express itself as crossdreaming fantasies in some, as a female gender identity in others, or in a combination of the two.

Most crossdressers and transwomen seem to share non-sexual dreams of expressing themselves as women, whether this is on a part time or a full time basis.

Some crossdressers also argue that they do not get sexually turned on by crossdressing. They believe their crossdressing is not caused by sexual arousal.

Although I believe the vast majority of crossdressers do experience such arousal, these crossdressers may be right. Maybe they are asexual or maybe the factor X finds another way of expressing itself in their lives.

It is certainly true that many of them report less arousal the longer they crossdress. For me this is an indication that the factor X may express itself as sexual fantasies when it is repressed, and that becomes more like a desire to express a wide range of feminine traits when it is integrated into the psyche.

This is often the case among older crossdressers. They are at peace with their inner woman. And this is definitely the case for most transwomen. They are not only at peace with their inner woman: They are women.

Anonymous said...

I dress mainely for sexual reasons as my fantasy is to be fucked like a real woman, feel what she feels, be her in the bed.

We don't talk about sex enough.

I am always surprised to hear that some men just want to dress like an old woman and talk to other people like him.

Anonymous said...

I know that I like to ge the girl because in drag I can concentrate on my own pleasure while in my male sexual role, I am only concentrated on the pleasure or the girl.

As if I felt I was obliged to give her as much pleasure as possible.

As if only girls were allowed to have pleasure in sex.

I also like to have no responsability and let the man do all.

Anonymous said...

CDing for me is a comfort for me, knowing I'll getting sexual kicks out of it, that I'll be wanting to meet my "opposite" self. Its easy for me to get into thinking about it and very reward because once (in my experience) you get into it, you'll notice similarities and differences among males and females. You'll notice who has features that are fememine than that are masculine & vice-versa. That and the fact you'll learn a great deal on how to compose your face to the exact, if possible, replica of the gg's face with make up. Oh, one more thing, you'll surely understand why girls take long in the bathroom, why they enjoy to shop, and why they enjoy make up, fashion and different styles of hair. I know I do. ^.^ So its really neat to enjoy what the girls are doing in their routine (seceretly though.)

Anonymous said...

All I know is it's fun. I look forward to being alone so I can dress up. Sexual excitement is the most obvious component, but there are other more subtle ones. I like picking out the clothes I will wear (the colors, the designs, the fabrics). I no longer go out in public -- too old! But dressing makes me feel whole, and when I'm working alone at the computer, I love to be expressing the feminine, and especially, to have breasts. I used to wonder what it would be like for me to be a woman, but now I'm happy enough to just have the two sides of me. I really have no desire to literally "come out of the closet" to everyone in actual life. If you want to read my realistic novel about a crossdresser, google "cherry single" and "novel."

Jack Molay said...

Ah! A fellow creative crossdreamer! I will look it up!

Sandra Lopes said...

It's almost insulting to comment after five (!) years, but Vernon Coleman has published a very cheap e-Book with a much larger survey in 2014 — http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IQYD20M

I'm just adding this comment in case someone finds a link to Jack's blog (I just got that from Quora :) ) and wonders if there is any more recent information on the subject.

Jack Molay said...

Thank you! I will add this one to the resource section.

Anonymous said...

I have been dating a man for almost a year, he loves dressing like a woman, wearing makeup, wigs and jewelry. He keeps asking me to go out shopping with him dressed as a woman. He is sexually aroused by feminity. He blow dries his hair after a shower and will wear woman's panties under his regular clothes and this excites him.

When I first met him, he complimented me on my nail polish and I thought he just liked the fact that I was a woman that took care of herself. The second date he complimented me on my earrings...the compliments continued and made me feel quite desirable. However, when it came to him initiating sex, he didn't seem to interesting in touching my breasts or getting real familiar with my genitalia. ..I can assure you it's not because I wasn't clean, on the contrary. We have not had intercourse because he is a large man and has a small penis. I can accept that. Oral sex suits me just fine.

As time went on, he still gave compliments on my hair, legs, feet, lips and even my breasrs, though he hasn't really seen them, as I am very shy with my body. He began talking in bed about giving oral sex to a man, that was ok with me, the first few times. However, I began to feel that he desired a man over a woman because he always made talking about oral sex with men, the only subject while I pleased him orally. We began to argue over this and he assured me that it's a fantasy, that he was not bisexual. I secretly watched him checking out men while we were out, and found him talking to a man answering an ad of his, in men seeking men. When I caught him on the phone, he said that it was just fantasy, however, that act hurt me severely.

I finally came to understand what he desires sexually. He loves beautiful women and their feminity, the desire sexually with women is simply that he, wishes to be a woman, and imagines himself as being that woman in that moment?.the desire to be feminine turns him on, not the desire to please a woman sexually. I believe his real desire is to please a man orally while dressed as a woman. I told him what I felt and also told him that he goes out with women as a facade, to appear "norma". Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging, I have no right to judge, I know this as a 52 year old woman.

I am still with him because I love him and feels he may also love me but I don't think it will last because of my fear of reality...he may be gay. I am wise enough to know that fantasizing about the same sex doesn't make someone gay, but the fact that he was on the phone with a man interested in talking with hi, makes me feel that I'm in denial. I also believe that when two people are in a committed relationship neither party should be secretly putting their phone number out there for a sexual fantasy. I live each day fearing he is up to something he shouldn't be doing and it is taking a toll on me and the relationship.

I wish someone could help me sort out my dilemma, I need to make sense of it all.

Jack Molay said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am not sure if I can solve the challenge you are facing, but maybe I can make some helpful comments.

First: Thank you for being so open minded and patient. Crossdreamers and male to female transgender people are helped tremendously by this kind of respect and love. He is lucky to have you!

However, there are two in any love relationship, and you have the same right as he has: That your fears, feelings and desire should be respected as well. So if you do not feel comfortable with the idea of him going down on a man -- even if it is just for playing out a fantasy -- I believe he should respect that.

If yours is not an open sexual relationship, it isn't.

In other words: If you would experience such an act as infidelity, it would probably seriously damage your relationship, and if you haven't told him already, you should say as much. As I see it, this is not a crossdreamer issue at all. It is a relationship issue.

That he has such sexual fantasies, however, is another matter. Most people have unusual sexual fantasies which enrich their lives in many ways. And his is a quite common male to female crossdreamer fantasy. The fantasy cannot be suppressed. Maybe be the two of you can find other ways of enacting it.

I don't know your partner, so I cannot say for certain that he is not gay. The fact is that I am beginning to suspect that the gay/straight dichotomy is far to restrictive, and it is stories like your friend's (and my own) that has made me think differently.

Most MTF crossdreamers who have such fantasies are not gay, in the sense of being exclusively attracted to men. He may be some shade of bisexual or polysexual, but he might also be a gynephilic, woman-loving, crossdreamer who fantasizes about being with a man, because that would affirm his sense of "femaleness" (for lack of a better word).

Some MTF crossdreamers say that they love women as men, and men as women, which actually makes some sense when you know how they truly feel. Nevertheless, I think that for the majority of the MTF crossdreamers who are active in this community, you will find that their romantic love interest is towards women and women only.

I suspect that our brains are wired more like women sexually, and that this wiring trigger fantasies of being receptive in bed and because of that even some fascination for the phallus. I have learned that this is a fascination you might even find among many straight non-transgender men, and -- for that manner -- non-transgender lesbians.

In other words: "It's complicated!" But if you talk about it (and find a therapist, if needed) I do believe the two of you should be able to sort it out. It seems to me you have managed to decode much of the crossdreamer mystery already.

Sandra Lopes said...

@Anonynmous, I would totally concur with Jack on this point. Even though all our stories are different and unique, there are several points where the stories share similar characteristics. However, there is still a big difference between the subject of fidelity and that of crossdreaming; if you are not in an open relationship, then he has no excuse for hiding any other relationship he may had or still haves from you, and yes, he should be very sincere with you regarding if that's "merely a sexual relationship" (not infrequent among certain crossdreamers) or if it has romantic undertones as well, even if it's just a fantasy that he needs to fulfill. There is absolutely no reason for not letting you know what happens: all relationships without exception must be based on mutual trust; if he cannot trust you enough to explain what this "other relationship" might be (whatever it might be), then you two really need an earnest talk.

You mention a detail which might be significant, however: your own age. I will assume that he will be close to your age as well. Now, I have no idea where you live, but I can describe what happens in my country with MtF crossdreamers in their midlife years: because in their youth these questions were taboo (or they at least perceived them to be taboo), they were not openly discussed, and all such fantasies associated with crossdreaming were strictly repressed, or, when actually enacted, they were covered up and never openly talked about. In particular, assuming any other sexuality except for heterosexuality (even to themselves) would be completely out of the question.

I have personally several crossdreaming friends in the 40-60 age slot. Many of them have been in stable relationships with a cisgender woman, often for decades, and almost always keeping her in the dark. They assume themselves as absolutely straight, no matter what sexual experiences they might have had (with other men or other crossdreamers). In that spectrum, most clearly identify with male (and couldn't ever identify with anything else) and are gynephilic. None of them could ever imagine having a relationship with a man and living with him together, either by dressing all the time as women and having a male partner, or as a gay couple, where they would dress occasionally. Both cases certainly exist, but in the ones I know, the crossdreamer is always an assumed homosexual, and will only seek the company of males as dates or partners — never of women.

Sandra Lopes said...

The numbers your partner has on the phone and the men he talks to might merely be other crossdreamers like him, part of his own circle of crossdreaming friends, and their conversation might be totally innocuous, just friends chatting on the phone and nothing more. Although my own wife has known personally half a dozen of my crossdreaming friends (including, very briefly, one that has gone through transition), and has been out with them a few times (she is not very social) while I was crossdressed, she does not know them all, like I don't know all of my wife's friends and colleagues. All she knows is that I have absolutely no interest in having sex with men (crossdressed or not!) and zero fantasies about that — I'm totally gynephilic and I even have a slight touch of homophobia, since I really find all things attached to the male physical body and their social role in our society truly repulsive. This feeling is shared by many of my friends, but certainly not all.

However, I nevertheless think that it's impossible to keep a relationship going if there is no trust between both. I think you did well in "calling out" his "façade", and I'm curious at his reaction — in my personal case, and in that of so many of my MtF crossdreaming friends, we would be utterly shocked, as we all seek long-standing relationships with cisgender women because that's all that we can ever love, and anything that would be an obstacle to such relationships would be quickly overcome (or not!) by having a serious talk.

It's a slightly more delicate issue if the female partner in the relationship thinks that she can somehow persuade the MtF crossdreamer to "give up" his crossdreaming, his fantasies, and just stick to the stereotyped social role of "man, husband, parent". Crossdreamers cannot ever "give up" — it's simply how our brains are wired, they cannot be "un-wired". But one thing is to admit that the crossdreaming will never, ever disappear, no matter what; the other thing is to use the crossdreaming pretext to have extra (sexual) relationships with someone else. That's not a "pretext" at all: it simply isn't done, it's not acceptable, period (and, again, I'm obviously assuming neither of you really wants an open relationship — that's what you hint at in your text, anyway).

I just wish you both good luck, and that you can sort things out among yourselves. Relationships with a MtF crossdreamers can be a bit confusing and stressy sometimes, but they also have huge advantages — MtF crossdreamers will listen much more to the opinions of their partners, they will sincerely and honestly compliment them and truly appreciate whatever effort they have made to look presentable (and not merely complimenting for a "social" reason), they tend to be kind, tender, and loving (and this will apply to the relationship with their children as well — they make excellent husbands), they will place a high priority on the relationship first and everything else (work, career...) second, and, of course, they will never complain about "too many shoes" or "too much makeup" :-) Obviously, not all cisgender women appreciate those characteristics in a man; but those that do will feel more comfortable in a relationship with a partner who actively works hard to understand them, and who does not shy away from spending a lot of time talking (in general, not just about the relationship) but are also good listeners as well...

Bobbi Dare said...

Hi Anonymous,
First I want to say you have shown your partner remarkable trust and patience - you obviously love him a great deal. About 15 years ago my partner (wife) and I were in a similar situation. I was about 35 at the time and had just (re)discovered myself - thanks in so small part to high-speed internet service. :-) I found a group of crossdreamers and these people became our social group for several years. My partner would come out with me, she even used to dress up on occasion. She has a very accepting nature and many of my married crossdreaming friends were quite jealous. :-)
It was during this time that I tried experimenting with my submissive nature, and like your hubby that did include sexual fantasies of having sex with a man. To her credit my wife did try to help me with that, but she was clearly not a domineering partner. In my case however, even though I was tempted many times, I was never unfaithful to her. Incredibly frustrating - but I felt there was a greater need I had to protect and that was our long term partnership.
From my own experience I can give you some advice. Be very clear with your hubby on your own boundaries and explain the consequences to him. There was a point when I seriously considered HRT and a complete sex change. What changed my mind was when my wife sat me down and methodically explained how we were going to split our assets if I was to go down that path. Thinking about the implications of that and the destructive impact that would have on our lives was enough to push me to reconsider. It was not a quick decision - I think I went through an emotional breakdown actually before I decided not to go through with HRT.

Apologies for the long rant - my point is that you need to be firm and direct with your hubby about your own boundaries. I will not lie to you however - that talk will be tough, it will test the strength of your relationship. I'll be honest with you - if I had come out early in our relationship it would have been a different story. We had built a life together and the in the balance I decided I would be happier by NOT pursuing transition.

BTW - I am not suggesting here that your hubby is going to pursue transition - this is my own story.

*hugs* Bobbi

Sacha said...

You changed your mind because you didn’t want to lose money ?!

This guy is not gay, he wants to be a woman, in fantaisies and may be in real too. Time will tell if it is just a fantasy or a féminin "identity".

Bobbi Dare said...

"Anonymous Sacha said...
You changed your mind because you didn’t want to lose money ?! "

Splitting assets is what couples do at the end of a relationship. This discussion was a trigger for me, it indicated that her trust in me was damaged, that we no longer shared the same life goals and that eventually we would be two separate people maybe living in the same house, but most likely not. Those were the mental images that upset me and caused me to reconsider because I realized that I would be miserable walking away from the life we had built.

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