January 17, 2016

The Life of a Crossdresser

Many crossdreamers use -- or have used -- crossdressing to express their "other side". Here is one such story, shared by a fellow Scandinavian.

Great many crossdreamers express
their transgender side through
crossdresssing.
Illustration photo by Discovod.
Guest post by "Dr. Gonzo's Better Half,"

Dear Jack,

I am a writer and a traveller, in my 40’s. One marriage that never happened. 10 years of travels, working for companies around Europe. I consider myself to be a philosopher.

And a cross dresser.

A long time one too. And a puzzled one.

I hope I can shed some light on things, as I am in search for some answers myself. Hence, the "confession". Writing a blog post for Crossdreamers is like reminiscencing with a complete stranger you have never seen.

What am I?

It will be easier to start here than to tell my mates, or my parents:  “You know, I have searched my urges on the internet, and what I found is that I am an autogenophiliac. Which means I express my perversion by imitating the most feminine women by imaging myself, or getting dressed in their most feminine attire.”

In other words, I am a narcissist in denial who expresses his perversion through cross dressing. Or should I say I am a cross dresser with no gender variety, or is it something more?

Note that much of this story are fragments that might shed some light on this.

Arousal

For a long time, I thought that my little “fetish” differed from other cross dressers is that it aroused me. Did when I was a kid; still does today. And I believed that this pathologized me in some ways. Unfortunately, the first place I looked was Wikipedia and was introduced to the “perv” model to describe what I and apparently others in here have in common.

I never dreamt, or got aroused, by the thought of having a woman’s body before. It was their clothing. Their essence.

I have read Felix Conrad’s entire blog, and almost all of yours as well. And all of a sudden, I am not your “ordinary” cross dresser anymore. And the notion that it’s some sort of mental disease, or perversion, repulses me.

When it started, it’s hard to tell. For all I know, I may have had these “tendencies” for as long as I have lived. Your writing has forced my to dig deep inside. In fact, I have been trying to learn about this for the last week.


A story of a cross dressed life

I never considered myself gay, nor feminine. I was however ecstatic when my mother dressed me up in some frilles when I was about 1 year old. Of course, I cannot remember this. Or perhaps, deep down in my conscience I do.

Not to act like a patient, nor an analyst, but there is something I would phrase as “trigger points”.

The five year old in a skirt

Example of one such trigger point:

I was about 5 and was getting ready to go to a party with my mother and the man we were living with at the time. For some strange reason, I wanted to get my suit trousers off, and get myself into a blanket as if it was a skirt.

Funny how a long lost memory has popped up like this. Me coming to this website for answers may have been another.

On the outside, I was like every other little boy. Although, I always had this notion that I could never measure up with the rest of them or the best of them. There was also something else inside that may have been lurking there.

The outsiders

When school started, I really found out what living in a harsh world meant. Bullying, yes. I fit in by beating up, or at least give any tormentor something to remember me by. Often angry.

Feeling outside of the norm.

I would love it in the beginning of a school year when the girls came with their finest dresses first day after summer vacation. I would often pull my towel around my waist and a frothy bathrobe with a belt and pretend these were something else.

Other than that, my best friend and I would do what every other kid would do. At least regarding the gender normative. I played football. Climbed in trees. Fought.

And then we discovered cross-dressing. I don’t know who suggested it (it may have been me), but around the age of 12 we raided his mother’s wardrobe. I would start doing the same in secret at home.

Nobody knew.

Then my family moved away. For a year or so, there was no cross-dressing, only cross dreaming.

The ballerinas

In 6th grade, I experienced something disturbing. We were producing a Christmas show, and four of the boys were volunteering to play ballerinas.

One mate of mine had on a dress with pettis and the works. Yes! I was secretly envious of him. Did I show it?

Not a single word.

It came back with vengeance the year I turned 14. When I was bored, or wasn’t out playing football, I would spend time at home in the summer, exploring my mother’s wardrobe. I found my favourites, and was in heaven when I wore them.

7th-9th grade was a terrible time. Not so much bullying, but the feeling of not belonging anywhere. And this was still a time of homophobia. And I was, of course, a part of that majority. Coming out as someone who gets off wearing the most feminine dresses from his mother’s closet would be socially suicide in any case.

Puberty kicks in

Puberty didn’t really start to kick in until I was 16. It bothered me. I would be jealous of the other mates in the locker room whom had started to grow, and also get muscles. I had mixed emotions of growing body hair. That meant I had to shave when getting dressed. And that could give me away.

One winter vacation when my parents were out of town for a week, I would spend every day dressed up in different dresses and suits. I would rush through my paper route, and get home and get dressed up again.
Crossdressers may be triggered by TV series that
depict the expression of femininity in one
way or the other. Cast photo from North and South
from the 1980s.

When the TV series North and South went on TV, I would be obsessed about the ball gowns. One might say that my crinoline fetish started right there, although I had always been fascinated by them. I could fantasize about them constantly. How it would be like being in their situation? Or at least being dressed in their gowns. Same thing with Gone with the Wind.

When I had turned 15, my mother did something that devastated me. She threw away some of her old wardrobe. In secret, I would go down to the garbage room and retrieve “my” favourite dresses. And by all sense of the word, hence forth, those dresses were mine.

Not long after, I did my first purge. I didn’t dare having them in my own closet.

Off course, being aroused was one thing, but ejaculation was never in question until the age of 16.

On the outside, I played ball with the rest. But there were times my secret was hard to keep.

The urge

One Saturday night I got the urge. Although my parents were home, I still snuck into their bedroom, and had to try on something. I looked myself in the mirror, and rushed to change. That’s when I heard footsteps on the outside, and opening the door. I hid behind the door, and the piece of cloth under my shirt.

It was my dad. I was wondering what I was doing in their room, and what I had underneath my shirt. I said “nothing”, and “just a piece of clothing”.

I was practically caught once at the age of 15 by one of the neighbours during winter time. I had snuck down to the garage to throw something away in the bin room. She saw me, and in panic, I hid in that shack with her trying to open the door on the other side. She called the police, and they yanked the door open with ease.

I just wanted her to go away after telling them what was going on, before even leaving the bin room. In deep shame I looked down on myself while walking up the stairs to get undressed in self disgust. I did deny for myself that I was in fact a cross dresser. The term “transvestite” grossed me out when I heard the term the first time. And was hoping that it was a term that did not apply to me.

When I went to bed, my mother came for “the talk”. My mouth was sealed. This was a secret I wouldn’t even give up under pressure of water boarding

But where-ever I would go, I would have my cross dreaming with me.

The traveller

Like said, I was always a traveller. My year in the US as an exchange student was a painful, but learned from it. I found the darker side of the “conservative” American mindset. The highlights were going on trips with other exchange students and let off some steam from the pain of having to deal with rednecks every day.

My cross dreaming travelled with me. It was always there. Some times as a relief from the pressure, followed by a feeling of remorse. Like a hangover. “I’m never gonna drink again”. And then you get hammered the next weekend having forgotten about the Sunday morning pledge.

Coming home to Scandinavia was strange. I was starting a new school, and had to start all over. I felt strange. I had seen something that no other around me had seen or lived through.

And for a time, I was also back in business raiding my mothers wardrobe.

How many trigger points do we have now?

On the outside, I had started playing handball, going back to football, martial arts, and lifting weights. And off course, dating, and drinking during the weekends. I got myself a job in a store.

In the army

Ready for Pavlov’s failed experiment: “Army Duty”. For a while, my urges were under the lid. I had a full life outside cross dressing.

Until one school party in the 1990’s. A cross dresser party. We were in 12th grade, and were about to challenge gender stereotypes. I had two of the girls making me up, and dressing me.

Any arousal? Funny, no! Any “AGP” [autogynephilia] symptoms? Not at all. In this context, we were a bunch of guys and girls dressing up in each others garments, and having a laugh about it.
Through his autogynephilia (AGP) theory,
Ray Blanchard has contributed to the
sexualization AND stigmatization of trans people.This 

drawing by Jayna Pavlin refers to his role in the inclusion 
of autogynephilia in the American psychiatric manual.
More about AGP here.

Besides, there was no trigger for me right there and then.

It did get me into my old fantasy games, however.

The writer

At the university, I would rather spend time writing poetry about the BS I saw, and flirt with the girls. I was a full fledged bohemian at the time. Sick and tired of the state of things, but too busy drinking, and chasing the girls I never had a chance to connect with as a teenager.

My cross dressing periods only came sporadically. And always when I was alone.

That’s when depressions started to kick in. CDing [cross dressing] was only a source of shame and guilt. But like a drug addict, I couldn’t stop.

In the late nineties, I started ordering clothes. And buying women’s clothing for Xmas under the pretence of them being presents. When I had money to spend, I invested unabashedly in my wardrobe and without regret (unless I bought something that did not fit). That’s when I started wishing my feet were smaller, so I could easier fit normal shoes with high heels. They were presents for the repressed part of me.

Was there an erotic aspect to it?

Given the fact that getting dressed, made up, accessorised can be a highly erotic act in itself (as preparing for a date or an event), but this arousal doesn’t last. But the feeling of euphoria lasts. Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable as it were. Corsets. Stockings. High heels! Full skirted dresses. Skirt suits. Pleated skirts. Anything that is feminine!

That’s when I had my first breakdown, as it were. After that week, I went out, got really drunk on a ferry to a country next door, and landed in the drunk tank.

After that, life was pitch black. I locked everybody out, and didn’t work for months.

Going south

That year, I went to Southern Europe to visit my father, and get some distance from things. But that also meant another purge. A heartbreaking purge. All because I didn’t want my parents to find out and start asking awkward questions.

I met the first transsexuals down there. They were not blatant about their gender identity, nor their androphile sexuality [being attracted to men].

During carnival season, my father suggested I dress up, and in something feminine. Off course I declined. I would much rather be on the outside, observing.
From a drag queen competition in Las Palmas.
Photo by Borja Suarez/Reuters
It seemed to me that half of of the town were cross dressers. I have never seen so many men in dresses at one place in one time. I still felt I couldn’t connect with anyone there. Not even my bisexual father. Even though he did ask me if I had sexual issues.

Sexual issues

As in: I can’t get an orgasm unless I fantasize about myself walking down the stairs dressed like Cinderella when having sex with my girlfriends?

Off course I didn’t say anything. Except that I missed having a girlfriend at the time.

I was all of a sudden not “getting any” after some years of full bohemian life.

Instead I buried my head in a novel I started writing before leaving. Drinking every day. Forgetting about my “AGP”.

Again it worked well for a while.

Lovers and break-ups

Until another trigger point came in 1999. I was having my compulsory once-in-a-lifetime back packing tour around Europe. Stopping in Amsterdam.

By that time, I had gone from being an ardent anti-“drugs” disciple to slowly opening my eyes to the value of a joint over booze. Another process that has taken 20 years since my first joint after the army service.

I also found a flee market at Rembrandtplein. And went nuts. And I was right back in my hoarding mode.

I found more clothes in Germany. And came home with a full new bag with women’s clothes, even makeup.

The trip home from Germany was almost unbearable. I couldn’t wait to transform properly for the first time in more than two years.

I kicked out my mate who had borrowed my place during that time, and even if I was deadly tired, it didn’t stop me from going through the transformation ritual.

The dressing lasted until I got some new roomies, and decided to move out. I needed a change of scenery. And moved into a collective where dressing would be almost impossible outside the confines of a small room.

Then I spent some more years abroad.

I had two romances, in which one almost ended in marriage, but ended with me doing another purge at my ex-fiancées bidding. She found my (...) wardrobe when I was back in my own country to sort things out. I was devastated. Having to choose between her and a part of me that my mother finally came to say would always be a part of me no matter how much I resisted.

I chose my girlfriend, who then broke up with me only months after.

Doubly devastated. I guess she was using another excuse to break up with my CDing.

Then I found out that my mother had known all along! She just never said anything!

I have read and heard horror stories about parents giving their kids a lashing for sneaking in their room like a thieves acting out their “perversions”.

The thing is that she was the one spilling the beans behind my back to my girlfriend. And I might have lied to her about my CDing just due to fear. How can or could she expect me to tell the whole secret when that was the secret I wanted to keep hidden for as long as I lived?

However: When I told my friends, my trusted brothers in arms, about this predicament, none of them were bothered by my little hobby.

That was the time I started thinking about suicide. I was in the darkest place since the army. (Those are days I have blocked from my mind completely). I had been taken anti-depressants, but found cannabis as a much better medicine. But something told me to take a break from it (still some doubt, and a voice from Anslinger that weed causes reefer madness).

So I went deep diving in the bottle instead. There were memory lapses. I stayed more than a year getting over the worst before I figured out that another job in another country would solve things. In a way it did. My writing and fighting spirit came back.

TG fiction and hypnosis

My CDing was barely there. For years I coped. Travelling from place to place from job to job, sometimes going hobo to have something to write about, sometimes I would live like a king. I was out, gathering more GEMs for my “great literary career”.

But with all that spare time, and with some money, and the internet. The internet can be a dangerous thing for a frail mind under pressure.

Soon I found myself engulfed in feminization hypnosis videos. My CDing came back with a vengeance -- once again.
There are companies that sell feminization hypnosis CDs
and videos that are to make both crossdreamers and
trans women feel more feminine.

I found a range of TG fiction, captions, and much more. I never bothered to ask why at the time. I ordered my first dresses online. Off course a bit big. I had lost weight the last years.

During that fall, I would dress as often as I could.

And an embarrassing moment when my landlord walked in on me (I thought I had the house to myself until he came to check on some things), and saw me all dressed up in the living room. To my surprise, he apologized and said that he didn’t mean to embarrass me.

Finally, I came home to my country in the north of Europe broke, unemployed and injured instead of going to (...)  as planned.

Once again, my cross dressing came back. Money started to pour in. As some karmic justice, I won respectable sums betting. I was about to replace my entire purged wardrobe. Just as I dreamt about two years earlier. But it wasn’t enough. I needed a wider outlet. I needed to experience my “inner woman” in a public space. So this year, I managed to go a week to England….

Marion comes out


And Marion was born.

My ex-fiancĂ© once asked me, in a sarcastic voice, if I had any name yet. I honestly didn’t. I never got any further than my image in me as a beautiful woman in beautiful gowns and dresses.

I got an appointment with a CD shop with a lovely lady who offered me accommodation for the 3 nights before going to this weekend event. For the first time in my life, I would meet other cross dressers. I needed to find out where I was in this vast spectrum. And no surprise, her son was also a cross dresser.

Was I just another cross dresser, or something more?

Everything was new. I was about to realize in real life that I wasn’t alone. That all the stories are real.

I was interacting with other people while being dressed and made up. Actually making a whole new base with new people whom are living this every day.

Being addressed with female pronoun. Being treated like a lady. Going to the women’s toilet. Everything was a new sensation. Taking the train to the coastal town where the event was. A nerve wrecking ride, but still exhilarating. I would look myself in the mirror, and I would clearly pass if someone were more than two feet away from me.

Marion was born. For a week I was Marion. And was upset when they had put my male name on the guest list.

As far as pure “AGPism” goes, there wasn’t a trace of that. I was living my fantasy. At least parts of it. Now, I could concentrate on learning to interact with people as my female self.

The event had the entire range it seems like.

I spent four days with some of the most fascinating people from the entire transgender scale.

From heterosexual cross dressers, to gays, to veterans, scholars, married, pre-op, and post-op.

What frightened me a bit, is that when we had a pageant they convinced me to partake in because they all thought I was going to win. I luckily didn’t. I’m afraid that my male psyche would take another dive on that one.

Shopping
Many crossdressers find shopping for their male persona
boring. Shopping for the other side, however, becomes
a pleasure. Photo: MoustacheGirl.


I learned something. I love shopping. When going into town for the first time to shop, I was nervous. But I wasn’t alone. Besides, I was -- apart from my voice -- passing (according to witnesses).

The high was of another dimension. Here, I could walk into a shop straight to the women’s department all dressed up and gorge myself without anyone lifting an eye.

Normally, my planned sessions seldom last more than a week.

So the last night before going for one night in London, my male part slowly came back. Concerned. A part of me wanted to travel to London fully dressed. Another partof me not so. I would be afraid that changing back would be harder, even tough necessary. I didn’t have a chat with myself that night.

And a musician, a post-op told me: “Don’t worry about it. We’ve all been through it!” She was dressed more masculine than me that weekend if I can use that angle.

When I took the train back to London with all the delays, Marion was still with me. I envisioned myself in my feminine clothing travelling instead of my male clothes.

Marion was here to stay. The male part of me hates shopping. He has one pair of shoes he uses regularly and walks around in jeans.

Marion loves shopping. She loves fashion. Looking fabulous. She has more clothes than “I” will own in my entire life. And I got them all within the two years I’ve been home.

I thought that I was going to cope with things. I have not been dressing since I left Britain.

The CDing however comes and goes. The feelings have been strong this week since I started reading about this and using your blog as reference point.

How much do I have in common with them? With you? With other cross dressers?

These days, I plan my “guilt-free” dressing sessions. And I take the time I need. I already plan my next trip where I can explore my inner woman further incognito while doing my favourite pastime – travelling. Britain has become the playground for the Marion in me.

Autogynephilia

Out of intellectual curiosity I wanted to find out what this “AGP” was, and what causes, and if there’s a cure as if I would ever want one. Hence, I came to this blog. What am I?

Apparently not just the normal cross dresser.

I have started fantasizing about real breasts. At least breast forms so natural they blend with your skin when attached and have special neurotransmitter that would make the touch of them as if you were touching your own skin.

Can this be progressive?

Does this all make sense?

Where do I belong on the HBS scale?
In the 1960s Harry Benjamin developed a scale of different variants of
transgender. See the post on Harry Benjamin for more.
Click in image to enlarge.

I’m hearing about Christine Jorgenson and Lily Elbe. And certain things strikes a cord. Which ones?

And just like you, I refuse the term “autogenophiliac” as if this is some form of pervesion. If that was the case, according to Mr. Blanchard [the man behind the autogynephilia theory], all “AGPs” must have a constant erection for the duration of the dressing session, no matter how long it takes, and no arousal must occur during that session. Which is futile and ridiculous.

Blanchard seem to forget that all you need to get sexually aroused is a dick. Or a vagina. He also seem to forget that the largest erogenous zone is the brain. Someone who is into the science of sex should know this.

The variation of fantasies that might turn up in that giant zit between the ears is endless. But the notion that being aroused by getting dressed is some sort of pathology while others are not is beyond ridiculous.

I have found the Harry Benjamin scale as a useful tool. At least I have had to come to the conclusion that I am a cross dreamer with a strong female presence inside of me. But how strong?

I feel like standing at a crossroads in life. As if there are 8 books inside that same head fighting to get out at the same time. It’s as if I have 8 tabs that takes huge amounts of resources from my computer's processor and having the CD “condition” on top of it all.

This text has been shared with permission of the writer. The text has been edited to protect his identity.

For more crossdreamer life stories, visit the Crossdream Life forum.

17 comments:

Orlanda said...

“I have started fantasizing about real breasts. At least breast forms so natural they blend with your skin when attached and have special neurotransmitter that would make the touch of them as if you were touching your own skin.”

Wouldn't it be fantastic? Unfortunately, we can only grow permanent breasts...

Thank you for sharing your story.

And I don't fit anywhere in the HBS scale...

Jack Molay said...

Who knows what the future might bring?

To me the very fact that a XY person can grow breasts is the ultimate proof that sex is not fixed in stone. We often forget this obvious fact when discussing sex and gender.

Cindy Richards said...

Marion,

Thank you for sharing your story here. I found it all so interesting and helpful in seeing the many points in common with my own. I will mention a few here if I may.

I can really relate to what you said about shopping. I am the same…. I find it quite a burden as a man, but a wonderful pleasure as a woman. But that should be no big surprise since I find almost any activity as a woman enjoyable, since I am being ME!

I too found the Benjamin scale useful in discovering where I fit in - in this vast array of gender variant people, with much in common, yet with differences as well.

Like yourself, I too have sought the help of CD shops, or transformation studios as some are called. I have done this many times and have found all to be really satisfying experiences.

Also being a frequent traveler like you, I used my trips away from home to explore this side of myself with a feeling of privacy and safety. It was during my travels that I felt comfortable going out, interacting with people, and yes - shopping.

Another point in common, if I read your story right, was that at one point I too turned to alcohol and drugs to try and find some peace. Of course those only caused more problems. I am happy to be done with those for good.

"Can this be progressive" you asked. I can't speak for anyone else of course, but in my own case it certainly seems so. These feelings have grown and evolved over the years, and I imagine they will continue to do so. What will the future hold for us? Only time will tell, but I look forward to finding out.

I wish all the best for you, Marion, in your continued journey.

Cindy

Anonymous said...

Thank you Cindy.

You said you have visited different CD shops. Do you have any to recommend? You see, England has become Marion's new playground (if that's where you are living).

Can I ask you where you think you fit in the Benjamin scale and how you evolved from say cross dresser to where you are now?

As a writer, it has been a bit scary writing such a narrative as I did in the piece and do now. And twice in less than a month.
These last months have been more than strange. And I found out that I wasn't alone. Or a fetishist as someone suggested a long time ago.
This last week has been hard. I cannot simply get the nagging hunch, or feeling about what goes up inside that giant pimple between my ears.

The alcohol/drugs thing (why do people insist on differentiating them) is a non-issue these days. Granted, I smoke a ton of weed, but it's a long time since I have considered it a "dangerous drug". The power wielders who fights this war on the plant are as deluded as Ray Blanchard regarding AGP.
The years after my army service was a bit of a mess. Living it up and down as a bohemian. And perhaps landing in the drunk tank was a part of the story.

I'm looking for symptoms. I read blogs. And tons of soul searching that is overall time consuming besides my search for answers.

I look for calling cards. Like why, how and where the urge comes from itself.

A simple fetish?

No.

That would to say that all fantasies that causes arousal are fetishes. One could perhaps start pathologizing the people who are too busy pathologizing other people while hiding behind their diploma.

Cont...

Anonymous said...

..Cont.

This yearning after having a pair of full firm breasts under a sexy cleavage makes me considering natural estrogen booster products. Having a wider hip. Softer skin. Not having to shave.
It's that slippery slope someone spoke about.

But I want to be sure.
Like sex or gender markers.
I have for instance longer index fingers than ring fingers (when measures from the root on the palm side of my hands)
Is that an indicator of something?
Some say it is, and some say it's debunked, and points to the gender map.
How about combining this pre adolescent urge to dress?
An urge that during puberty became all time consuming I couldn't concentrate at school My entire train of though was consumed by the next time I could sneak into my mothers well equipped closet.
And now, two years after coming home from 10 years abroad, it has become an issue again.
Gender dysphoria?
Social dysphoria?
Body dysphoria?
All of the above?

At least these last three months I have explored the social presentation, time has gone to do reading. And it disturbs me a bit. As there are two parts of me fighting hegemony.
I have not started counting days to the next trip yet. But my thoughts are always around how it will be presenting as something else I have done the last 43 years.
So before I do anything "rash", I want to be sure about a few things:

The finger test.
If I could get a brain scanning and a blood test.
Are there other markers I should look for that would either confirm or refute?

If the creams and pills from Suddenly Fem are reversible after stopping taking them.

http://www.crossdresser.com/9020-estro-boost-supplement

Is there someone here who have experience with this?

I'm standing at a crossroads every single day.
Where my mind was supposed to be about writing other stories, this is taking up space. And it bothers me.

I'm reading Felix Conrad and Jack Moley to find reasons NOT to do anything drastic. Their insight, open mindedness and writing skills reminds me of old dead, wise writers.
Then I read other transgender women's' blogs, and they advice for it, and use the crossdreaming as a calling card. (At this point it's as if I almost consider myself a part of them)

All have been great sources of information. As well as the feeling of getting some form of recognition. This has been a burden carried alone in secret for as long as I can remember.

On to something else. The shame and the guilt trip. What holds us back.

I think there are three components to the anti-climax after orgasm.
One physiological (hormonal), one identity wise (psychological) and one internalized transphobia (also called cognitive dissonance)
We know that testosterone is behind sex drive. When that sex drive is over, i.e after orgasm, the system cools down to normal level, and whatever drove one to arousal is no longer there. And when you look down, it's an eternal reminder of your male sex. Call it double dysphoria.

Jessie said...

Thank you so much for your writing on this topic. When I saw a therapist a while back at the bequest of my wife, I thought I was going to hear the same thing I have read over and over elsewhere... crossdressing in more common than most folks think, it doesn't mean you're gay, etc. I was pretty surprised when my therapist very quickly surmised that I was not a crossdresser, but in fact a transvestite and that it was actually quite rare; according to her. She said the fact that I became sexually aroused when wearing women's clothing was what made me a transvestite rather than a crossdresser because crossdressers, dressed, for non-sexually related reasons. I went to therapy sessions for about 6 months and decided that it was good to talk about it with a professional, but that I was comfortable with myself and my wife and I were doing much better after having things explained by a professional, rather than what you can find written on the internet or in books (My husband wears my clothes, etc.).

She didn't go deeper with my "transvestite fetishism" because I was okay with it, and my marriage was doing great compared to when everything was shocking and my wife didn't know what it was and why I was doing what I was doing. We have limits and all, but the biggest help to our relationship was simply knowing more about what seemed like something that was very rare and meant that I was gay. When we got that settled it was easy to move on, but I knew that I had a lot more information, but not all there was to the story. That is where your website has come in and why I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart! Your writing here gives me much more detail about something that is otherwise a very lonely thing to live with, and for that all I can say is... you rock!

Keep up the awesome work...

Jessie the crossdreamer!

Jack Molay said...

I deleted the last part of the three part comment of M by mistake. Here it is:

...Cont.

This leads us to the internal sexuality of a pre-op trans woman. Still a man, and perhaps identifies and presents as man in daily life has a hangover. As opposed to being in a relaxed state as after interourse with a woman, the aftermaths might cause distress in the still male identifying trans women who just had a sexual experience as a woman. It sort of challenges that male ego in some sort.
Why is this so? The internalized transphobia pushed on by a cisnormative society that even the non-gender conformist TERFs are pushing. You are feeling as disgusted with yourself as they feel about you and me. (Wonder what what TERFs fantasize about to get them aroused since they are so obsess about digging into others)
So the guilt/shame feeling after orgasm has both natural as well as sociological factors contributing.
There is no reason for having this guilt or self shame trip however.

The best proof of this are the difference between early onsets and transitioners and late onset and transitioners. Being socialized as male in a cisnormative society makes you internalize both your sex life as a woman as well as the transphobia pushed from a hostile outside world.
You go through life, living and presenting as a man. But your entire sex life is as a woman. Either through cross dreaming, or in the form of cross-dressing.
One is entering ones own sexual being as a woman.
Early transitioners don't go through those symptoms of dysphoria since they already are living and being accepted as women.
Late transitioners or non-transitioners will go through a larger or lesser degree of dysphoria for their entire lives or as long as they "stay put" and do nothing. Some can live with it, some cannot.

That is how I understand much of the writings from Jack Moley and Felix Conrad.
As well as plenty of other anecdotal evidence from other bloggers and commenters.

Any thoughts on this?

All I know is that all this came highly inconvenient, since I am not able to concentrate on my other writings. Because right now, all I can think of is the ten days in England in March, and how those experiences will affect my life and decisions after that. Hopefully one book project will have been done by then. Perhaps one last dressing session before I begin will help. I have a new sleeping gown and robe in silk that arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. Still not tried. (Getting wider hips, and I would look "fabulous" in it. heheh)

M

I appreciate the eyes reading this, and the minds who can shed some more light on what is happening.

Cindy Richards said...

Marion,

"You said you have visited different CD shops. Do you have any to recommend? You see, England has become Marion's new playground (if that's where you are living)."

I live in the USA. I have no experience with these shops in England. But in the USA they are all around and plentiful. I have been to some in Boston MA, Wash DC, Florida, California, and even Nebraska. When traveling to a city, I do a google search and see if there are any there.

" Can I ask you where you think you fit in the Benjamin scale and how you evolved from say cross dresser to where you are now?"

I would place myself at level III. But I do believe my place has changed over the years. It seems I started as level I and then over the years progressed to II and III, and for a while seemed to be at IV. But I was very distressed and frustrated at IV and I think now have settled comfortably at III. Of course when I was going through this, I had not seen this scale, so this analysis has the benefit of hindsight. Throughout childhood, teens and 20's, I considered myself a crossdresser. It wasn't really until my late 30's that I felt there was more to it…. and would relate to being TG in the broad sense of the term. Perhaps I was in denial in my early years, or was repressing my true feelings. Or maybe things really did change and progress. I don't know for sure.

You ask many very good questions and I sense that you are troubled and conflicted by this. I certainly understand that. I have been as well. I wish I had good answers. But all I have is my own experience. I'm sure other more experienced commenters have better answers. I was very troubled until I was able to accept this as a part of myself. I finally accepted myself as I am and learned to love myself as I am. But it took me years, and plenty of pain, to arrive here. I have seen many young people come to self-acceptance much faster than I did. There are many different paths to self-acceptance. Some of us just take the long one.

May I propose a little mental exercise that could be helpful? These feeling we have are usually described as gender dysphoria, meaning distress. But why are these feelings distressful? Do they need to be perceived as distressful? Is it possible that these same feelings could be perceived as a positive thing? Something to be embraced and even enjoyed. Perhaps they are even a gift. We are special in this way, being able to experience life from a diverse and broad perspective. We can experience the joys of both or either gender. I have seen the term gender euphoria to describe the positive and pleasant feeling, rather then dysphoria, which is distressful. But are they two sides of the same coin, where each of us gets to determine for ourselves which we experience, by our own attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy

For some strange reason, I almost always find myself watching transgender documentaries on YT while being in femme mode. One story really hit me. The Cate McGregor story. There was an outspoken military man with a louder mouth than me who got anxiety attacks right of an award ceremony, and asked directly on a plane to a friend and colleague "have you ever heard of transgender"?

As accepting my crossdressing a part of me, it was my mother of all who pointed it out to me 8 years ago when my ex. fiance found out. (In the worst possible way. She had found some of my "stash" in my bag under her bed while I was back in my own country. The whole ordeal was quite upsetting since she thought I lied to her out of malice, and she found out through my mother who have apparently known for many years. Without telling me.)

I am in a process of accepting this part of me as more important, and perhaps even essential in some ways if not for the war of words, and many years of built up, self imposed guilt - and shame trips. (This as an intrinsic part the cisgender, heteronormative society formed by religious indoctrination. For some strange reason, I have now started to consider the term "heteronormative" a term for institutionalised bigotry)

Reading this blog is a great help.

I never considered myself transgender. Cross-dresser only. And then I discovered the Harry Benjamin scale, and to my horror discovered I was a bit further down than I appreciated.
I measured my D2 D4 ratio. My index finger was longer on both my hands than the ring finger. I have never considered myself gay. But that's the only reference they have besides women in this context.

And now, sitting and writing, dressed up, and nowhere to go. I am yearning for the day I am going back to England for my little playground trip. There I found a variety of persons on all levels on the HBJ scale. Most of them older, having been married, grand kids. Some in transition. Some just weekend crossdressers.
One couple fascinated me. They both work for Repartee. One has already transitioned (and have some gorgeous gowns from her younger - perhaps pre-transition days) and her male partner who has a female alias and credit card on that female alias calls himself "transgender" only when dressed. There was a "tranny granny" who experienced the D-Day. There was a daffodil who have invented "her" own mobile, motorized toilet. There was married couples where the wives went along and accepted their husbands' weekend crossdressing
And me. A fashionista with an affection for the 50s: 1950s and 1850s. Where gender identity and expression was clearly shown through dressing. (Now, many TERFs look like gender confused, cross-dressing bull-dykes).
I sometimes felt I didn't belong there. I was all about my "glam". Dressing more feminine, and perhaps having more feminine mannerism than most. I do get those almost naturally when dressed.
Back here, I feel alone. A viking. Torn in two. Whom are about to take a similar trip as Thor (once crossdressed as a bride to get back his hammer)
As far as my crossdreaming goes, only my closest mates knows about it, and my mother.
When I search for signs, I search to be certain.
(Wishing off course I was 25 years younger)

Anonymous said...

..Cont.

This is what I suspect the long time dysphoria getting stronger as time goes by. Suppressing that inner part of you that needs to come out, while being kept in a prisoner of conscience by both your male self and society at large.
(I get mixed messages from who bore me: "You have beautiful hands. If you took better care of yourself you could have been a model." For some strange reason, she gave me the book "Middlesex" for Christmas one year. But only in private. I suspect her to be on to something that I have not yet come to realize.)
That off course and the misalignment between the testosterone that builds up the sex-drive and the female brain having different ideas.
This culminates in the hangover feeling (unless there has been intercourse with a woman) when looking at yourself, and perhaps your outer feminine expression when that male side comes back to normal.
Getting rid of these self imposed guilt- and shame trips is one step towards recovery if you ask me. And reading other people's stories is therapy in itself.

What bothers me is that the two opposite sides of the spectrum is trying to own the discourse, and label all of us as one or the other.
This is also why I miss my first time, and long for my 2nd time in England like this. At least when I am there as Marion, I won't be judged by my "fellow" sisters.
Like you said, some came to a final conclusion of who they were at a much younger stage. And as far as I have noticed, the acceptance have been more widespread, so it has been easier to come to this self acceptance. Hence, since their bodies haven't been ravaged by testosterone as their older peers, they perhaps feel estranged from them since they are not as passable as the younger ones.
When I went down for breakfast the last morning before departing for London, I came dressed as how I came to England. The one piece of male clothing I had on me.
That was a strange experience. It almost felt as I was cross dressing right there and then to put on a masquerade. Getting back on my flat heels was strange. I had to carry my own luggage downstairs to the lobby. And the staff commented to me that I looked better as Marion as my male self.
(Perhaps my sense of fashion...maybe)
It's strange even writing this now. As a writer having used heavily masculine language, it's a whole new territory referring to myself with a feminine pronoun.

Sliding into the rabbit hole - considering hormones and letting my closest circle know.


Before going to England in March, I am considering a natural estrogen cure for this trip. Getting a more female shape. Do you have any experience with that?

I want to be able to go entire ten days without having to feel stubs on my chin when taking my makeup off.

Do any in your closest circles know your female persona?
My apprehension regarding this, is that I want to get some biological basis before I blurt out with anything. I am writing and rewriting a long detailed email to my closest family internally. Without putting anything down - yet!

Jack may also have contributed to push me in this direction when he asked me if I ever considered living full time as a woman since the response to my appearance was 99% positive on my last trip. (There might come an article about this trip in Repartee this year). After many years of uppers and downers, some of them in hardships - having the feel of luxury and almost a feeling of privilege as Marion was certainly enticing.
That question triggered a long train of thoughts.

One thing is for certain. Getting a more feminine figure sounds more and more attractive if all the boxes I am making for myself is being marked.

We become our own scientists and our own psychoanalysts in many perspectives. No one goes to a gender specialist without a whole lot of thought and internal analysis.
When carrying this burden alone, it may become crippling if it takes all your thoughts and not anyone to share it with.

Cont....

Anonymous said...

...Cont.

Tomorrow, I have to get back in my male mode to have some things sorted out. It's a pest. I was supposed to start writing a an anti-war biography last week. But that has come in the back seat of my urge to dress (I no longer call it "cross-dress") and make internal imageries on my next trip to freedom while reading articles from this blog again...Enjoying the TG-fiction sites without as much shame and guilt as before since both Jack Moley and Felix Conrad explained in perfectly rational psychological terms the internal sex-life of many trans women who still live in that blurred grey area condemned and pathologized from all sides. I am not denying that some people get turned on the idea of total and complete humiliation and feminization arousing and base their entire sexuality on that unless they also have other fantasies that turns them on. If they can only be turned on by imagining themselves as women in a sexual act, or in social context while dressed as women, they have a bit more than just a "kink".
I once had a fantasy about a semi-forced "cross-dressing" when there has been a while since my last session. In my image, I was young just like some of the characters in Fictionmania or Crystal's TG website. Still in my teens. Perhaps 16 or 17. It would be Christmas time My family had gotten me into dresses. And I was presented as a girl with a little extra. I would wear a ball gown with huge crinolines. I would feel very feminine in the presence of people of my own assigned sex. I would sing a soprano for in a social gathering and everybody would see me in my complete femininity. There may be some other suppressed things there as well. What I am curious about is if some form of hormonal therapy will get me more in line and feel less of that self imposed guilt and shame trip. (No - not the Jimmy Swaggart one).
"CTs" and "HBJ tribe" as Jack and Conrad calls them are on the opposite. I defy any claim from any of them that they never got arousal from imagining themselves as women in a sex act with a man. Could they have seen themselves as men having sex with women to get aroused?
They could never image their lives as men. How should their internal sex lives look like if they were not "AGP"?
This is what all extremists on both sides don't realize and are obstructing any real debate. Whether it's internal, or if it's in public like here. People are in here to try to find themselves and do not need to get their internal struggle pathologized or politicized in a quasi scientific lingua.

As much of this might seem incoherent, or don't make sense for an outsider, consider it my brainstorming while I still can tonight. I am sure that at least one will get something of value from the rants of my painted finger nails.
I am not looking forward to getting off my red and white halter neck polka dot dress with petticoats tonight.

http://www.dressedupgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Red-Dress-with-White-Polka-Dots.jpg

At least I have my silky nightgown and robe I can cuddle myself into under the douve. I feel I have a strong presence of both Yin and Yang in me. There's a warrior part. And there's a softer, feminine part that needs to be expressed in one form or another. Dressing is always a sign of self expression and identity. (Which makes me think of the TERFs who have a habit of wearing grey or black clothes, men's clothing, short hair; insist they are feminists but hate all feminine expression through clothing. Let me remind them that I dress for myself! Not them! Not men! Not women! I dress to make myself be comfortable with my own skin! What I don't need is their moral condemnation or the pathologization from the AGP crowd. I have already internalized their BS for more than 30 years already.)

Thanks for your attention Cindy

M

Emma Sweet said...

Hello Marion.

I appreciate your writing and I love the photo of the dress you linked to. I have a belt just like that, but not that dress - I wish I did. Today I am just wearing my red knit dress while working at home. Anyway, I fully agree with your need to express your femininity, dressing, and also - let's face it - the mental euphoria and anguish that we live with as trans people.

"Getting rid of these self imposed guilt- and shame trips is one step towards recovery if you ask me." Yes, indeed. I feel that is at the foundation of recovery but I find it elusive. My therapist and, thankfully, my wife are helping. I'm beginning to feel more and more that the secretiveness that I've had to maintain for so much of my life also needs to be undone. And perhaps there has never been a better time to do it. But like you, I am very wary about letting anyone in to the truth of my experience. Which says a lot, doesn't it?

This morning I was thinking about going ahead and telling a couple of men friends at our next get together. As if to say, "Look, we've been such good friends for over ten years, I have something important to share with you." But as I visualized the experience in a positive way there were so many possible negative outcomes that I'm sure that for now I will not do it.

About your fantasy and the erotic component to being transgender: it's always had an aspect of erotism for me even long before puberty. And as a teenager and most of my adult life that has been acute. And like so many others I've often hurt myself by thinking it's just a fetish - although I know now it is not. But why is it such a turn on at times? I'm thinking these days that it's more about the outpouring of emotional joy and euphoria of just being myself with the self-conscious burdens lifted even for a few minutes. And sure, I've also had forced or encouraged feminization fantasies which are wonderful at least partly because in those stories it's not even my choice.

I'll let you into one of my favorite fantasies, which is that I go to a woman's home. She lives in an upscale part of town in a larger house. She is glad to see me, welcomes me, and shows me the bedroom where I am to start preparing for my date who will arrive several hours later. During that time she helps me completely transform myself into a pretty young woman, which I love of course. And my date? He is an FTM trans man of the same age, and together we just enjoy going out for the evening. We have candlelit dinner, see a movie, that sort of thing. He's always the gentleman, holding the doors, rising when I leave to visit the ladies room. And later, back at the woman's house we of course fully enjoy each other's company.

That's all I have for today. I hope to keep hearing from you.

Hugs,

Emma

Claire said...

Wow. It's been a million years since I've revisited places like this and stories like these. My decisions were different, but many of the feelings and early events you describe ring true for me as well. Still, I transitioned in my 20's and lived for a decade as a woman. I was lucky to be passable at work, on the street, and in relationships... but life's hurdles and the devastating reality that I would never be a gg pulled me back to life as a male. For almost another decade I held it together, but now mid 40's I'm growing desperate again. Ah, if I was only driven by clothes... Take care my dear and hopefully you can find more peace with yourself than I have.

Jasmine said...

I have a lot of similarities with Marion, especially with the trigger being the gowns in North and South and Gone with the Wind.

I remember looking at pictures of operas and such in encyclopedias obsessing about those gowns. One of my most frequent fantasies has been about being transformed into a southern belle for one of those balls, either willingly or forced.

Jack Molay said...

//"One of my most frequent fantasies has been about being transformed into a southern belle for one of those balls..."//

Which is related to the becoming a princess dreams of many girls and women, I would say. In other words: Quite normal.

Anonymous said...

"Jasmine said...
I have a lot of similarities with Marion, especially with the trigger being the gowns in North and South and Gone with the Wind.

I remember looking at pictures of operas and such in encyclopedias obsessing about those gowns. One of my most frequent fantasies has been about being transformed into a southern belle for one of those balls, either willingly or forced."

Hi Jasmine

Thanks for your response.

Been to England for ten days. Living my femme fantasy of an Audrey Hepburn/50s style woman in a town that seem to appreciate good fashion with the stores to match and a friendly staff to go with it. I tried on dresses and gowns in at least a half a dozen shops while there. Bought with my 4 dresses and one skirt with the petticoats to match.
I went back to Marion mode almost immediately after getting my bags in the door. Even on the train to the airport I felt the mark of the falsies on my bust. Sitting now all dressed up in one of the dresses I bought and no place to go, with an article to write, and many thoughts to ponder.

Drinking the Champagne I won for runner up at the events pageant, pondering how deep into the rabbit hole I have fallen. Wishing I was back in this town where I can live my incognito some more.
The hole thing has been a novel experience to say the least. To live as a woman for ten days, being percieved as a woman, going to the ladies room while being out. Trying on dresses and gowns on department stores and special fashion stores.. I got affirmations everywhere I went. The girls in the store (Collectif) I bought the most items treated my as "one of the girls", and referred me to as "her" at all times. one of them even made my hair to make it look even more 50's the night before going to another town for the event. I was extatic. She asked me if I would go Marion full time. In that town, I would.
Thinking back on now, something that has become a part of me. going to bed without my silky nightgown has become almost unthinkable.
What I missed was to have someone to talk to at the end, and I'm still in Marion mode. I have only worn male clothing 8 hours the last 13 days, and will have at least 2-3 extra days before considering going back to work. In 3 |1/2 months, I will go back to "Marion's Playground" and pick up some of the prices she has won: A few makeovers and photo shoots before going to another event, all dressed up WITH a place to go.

Right now, it's euphoria mixed with anguish and a Danish Girl who didn't exactly impress....

Anonymous said...

"Claire said...
Wow. It's been a million years since I've revisited places like this and stories like these. My decisions were different, but many of the feelings and early events you describe ring true for me as well. Still, I transitioned in my 20's and lived for a decade as a woman. I was lucky to be passable at work, on the street, and in relationships... but life's hurdles and the devastating reality that I would never be a gg pulled me back to life as a male. For almost another decade I held it together, but now mid 40's I'm growing desperate again. Ah, if I was only driven by clothes... Take care my dear and hopefully you can find more peace with yourself than I have.

March 7, 2016 at 2:01 PM"

Hi Claire

As you have gone through another path, mine has and is different.
An article about the latest will be published here when I am finished with it next week. Can I ask you what this desperation consists of?
Is it the dressing or is it the plain crossdreaming, or a combination of both?

I have seen the Danish Girl now as Marion, and saw the footage of where Wegener really suffered from dysphoria before leaving Gerda to look herself in the mirror in the theatre, and got immediate relief by dressing and going out as Lili.

As for me, I feel like Marion is being confined to her four walls of a prison called "home" or going to another country where I can be her where nobody knows her except for as Marion. Marion is taking over more and more...

Join the Crossdream Life Forum!