October 15, 2010

Guest post: Crossdressing is not a fetish!

Here is another guest post written by Nadia-Maria Soraperra for the Knowing about CDing forum over at Flickr (an invite only forum).

Nadia argues that crossdressing is – usually - neither about sex nor fetishism:

When you are studying the crossdressing phenomenon in-depth, you are faced to the unavoidable, irrefutable, (irrefragable) observation that most crossdressers used to indulge in autoerotism (or in sexual acts with others) using women clothes.

It must be rare if you ever happen to know about one crossdresser who never did it, or never will do it, at least for a certain period of her life. For many CDers [crossdressers], discovering autoerotism whereas playing with woman clothes around puberty is exactly how the whole history has begun.

This sexual behaviour, involving pieces of women clothing, is not easy to understand from a layperson point of view (who is as a rule the CDer herself or of her spouse), but all seems to be clearer for them as soon as you call it a fetish, a sexual disorder known as fetishistic transvestism.

That’s why an easy conclusion has been consistently that crossdressers suffer essentially from that disorder and even dress ultimately for sex. Ironically, many CDers will eventually agree with being diagnosed as fetishists. For those who may not agree at being labelled as fetishists, so-called «experts» (the famous Ray Blanchard being one of them) have individuated various other disorders, and especially this one known as GID, the «Gender Identity disorder».

Attentive readers in this [flickr] forum already know that I don’t agree with that simplistic and biased view. I believe instead that our population of «regular crossdressers (RCDs)» don’t suffer any disorder at all, but from a severe unacceptance by society that may lead some of us to depression or despair.

To understand something about crossdressing you don’t have to be confused as taking consequences for causes. In an insightful paper, the author shows rather convincingly how sexual excitation from crossdressing is only a side-effect of crossdressing, not the cause. Please see : The causes of Transvestism I already quoted in an old thread.

Anyway, as human beings, all of us are «sexual» beings and we know that sex – if not driving the world – at least plays a (great) role for almost everybody , whether a man, a woman, or a transgender being. We devote considerable time to find partners for the sake of enjoying good sex.

You have to consider that the simple fact of needing a satisfying sexual life may drive you to a considerable investment in life. As a genuine man, you may develop strategies at seducing the proper partner, eventually marry her and devoting your entire life at caring for her and raising her children.

A genuine man can fail at enjoying a satisfying sexual life with the proper partner(s), whether or not they are ready to invest enough in dating potential partners. Some men may have no success at all with women, whereas some others are highly functionning people who simply do not have enough time to invest in sex, because they wish to pursue other goals in life they rate as more important than just good sex.

That’s why you will easily find people who may end in indulging mostly in seemingly inappropriate behaviours such as autoerotism, or booking escorts, etc. Yet, if these men are not simultaneously classified as crossdressers, psychiatrists would not suspect any disorder at all in them, because their behaviours are easy to understand even to the layperson.

A crossdresser is «apparently» a genuine man, yet many of them may spend all or almost their entire life without understanding properly who they are. When they will begin to understand who they are, they may not have enough time to invest in finding the proper partners for the sexual life they would deserve.

For instance, most will discover too late they are not sexually at ease in the role of a husband making love to an CD-unaccepting wife. Then, they may not want to seek for a more satisfying sexual life with other partners, because they don’t want to ruin their marriage and miss their duties towards their family and children.

Other crossdressers, unmarried, may still have difficulties to revise their own view at sex. They may believe for instance they are 'perfectly' heterosexual and are eventually afraid at attempting bisexual experiences, whereas it could possibly be the proper solution for them.
There are several ways of enjoying a satisfying sexual life when you are a crossdresser, whether you are straight, bi or gay. It all depends of who you are and nobody can tell you for sure what to do about your sexual life.

As an example, for a heterosexual CDer, a good way might be to find an accepting wife who can cope with the CDing needs of her husband in their sexual relations. Yet we know that this situation is only for the happy few.

Most CDers will never be in a favorable situation, and will have to look for second-choice opportunities, such as autoerotism in the closet. Many will even never fully realise they could enjoy another sexual life, much more satisfying, involving the proper partners (another accepting GG [genetic girl], a male admirer, a lesbian TS, etc.)

Unacceptance of CDing by society makes most CDers indulge in an unproper sexual behaviour, called by incompetent Ray Blanchard a disorder. CDers do that only because this behaviour appears for them as an easy response to a very delicate situation. They prefer a less then perfect sexual life for the sake of saving what appears for them the most important goals in their life.


PS. Of course fetishism does exist, yet it is wholly independent from crossdressing.


  1. I'm quite surprised Jack that you would publish an article like this. For the most part you have shown some clear research as a basis of thought in most of what you publish, but this? Hogwash and nonsense. You state in your preamble Nadia argues that crossdressing is – usually - neither about sex nor fetishism: when it fact he/she has put forth a poorly articulated theme built upon a vague idea of finding a suitable sex partner so one does not revert to autoerotism.
    Also I am always amazed at how people without any clear articulation or understanding of issues put forth by academics such as Ray Blanchard, can in turn postulate on a theory or body of work they have no understand of. The references to Ray Blanchard’s incompetents have no room in any article that one would take seriously, unless someone who has the same academic credentials can prove him wrong.
    You have a good site, but every now and then I wonder why stuff like is approved for posting.

  2. On the contrary, I found Natasha's comments quite incisive. I think "anonymous" is unable to put aside Natasha's less than perfect command of English and focus on her ideas.
    What she is saying is that because of society's strictures and rigid thinking, most cd'ers are unable to fully express themselves sexually, and repress themselves; choosing to satisfy themselves in private rather than risk censure and the loss of things, like family, that are important to them.
    I think if you read any of the blogs in this area, you find that this is a common theme and a cause of great distress.

  3. I completely disagree with this article by Nadia. I do not consider myself a crossdresser at all. I do dress, but it is not because of some social issue driving me to do so. I don't consider my case to be a case of autoerotism. To me it is not a fetish either. I dress because I feel I am more woman than man, that wearing the clothes of a woman feels right to me. I don't do it to get a sexual thrill.

    This article both angers and offends me. It is the complete opposite of everything I have read in the area of crossdressing and trasgenderism. It does not offer any hints of answers nor does it offer hope. Many crossdressers dress, not because of some sexual inequity, but because they want to present themselves more as the opposite gender.

    I feel that from my own experiences and talking with people that crossdressing and trangenderism are very closely related. A person will crossdress because they feel they can better represent themselves as the opposite gender. When they are dressed they feel more in touch with who they are. Dressing offers an escape to a world in which you are forced to be somebody who you are not. Unfortunately most will only crossdress, and for them that is enough, but for others, like myself, dressing is not enough and to really be the person who is on the inside, it goes a step further and an actual transition to the other gender takes place.

    I believe in the theory of gender identity disorder. It may not be perfect, but it is an attempt to understand what goes on in the mind of a transsexual and an attempt to help identify it. To read something that says it is hogwash was really upsetting and to me it seems clear that the author does not have a clear grasp or any knowledge of it.

  4. This blog is for discussing a wide variety of views on crossdreaming and crossdressing and I definitely think Nadia's arguments deserve a hearing.

    I am sure there are crossdressers and crossdreamers who have never gotten sexually aroused by feminization fantaisies, and I know for a fact that the great majority of M2F transgender who do transition do it for a wide number of reasons, the sexual part being - at most -- one of many related to their gender identity.

    But I find it disturbing how hard it is to discuss the sexual part of the crossdreamer's life. Maybe this is caused by the ridiculous demands of clinics in the 1960's and 1970's, which required that anyone seeking sex reassignment surgery had to live up to to the stereotypes of the time: women as ultrafeminine incarnations of the pure and timid (read: asexual) housewife.

    Or maybe this is a hyper-correction to the writings of Blanchard. Blanchard did not call autogynephilia a fetish (as Nadia believes), but his conclusions amounts to the same: the sexuality of the crossdreamer/crossdreamer is autoerotic to the extreme: he is in love with the idea of himself as a woman and unable to establish a "proper" relationship to someone else.

    As I read Nadia, this is this myth she wants to criticize:

    She contextualizes crossdreamer erotisism, arguing that the reason it appears as a fetish or an autoerotic obsession is because the crossdresser is forced into solitary masturbation. The reason for this isolation is the fact that there is no room for his/her sexuality within the accepted practices of his/her community.

    To reduce crossdressing and crossdreaming to a fetish or autogynephilia is to reduce the lives of crossdreamers and crossdressers to banal clichés. I'll follow up with a separate post on this topic in a week or two.

  5. The psycho-sexual makeup of crossdressers and crossdreamers is extremely complex and as Jack mentioned, most are reluctant to discuss it. I will not go so far as to use the "fetish" label, not because of the negative connotation of "fetish", but because I think "fetish" is too limited.

    "I believe instead that our population of «regular crossdressers (RCDs)» don’t suffer any disorder at all, but from a severe unacceptance by society that may lead some of us to depression or despair."

    The problem is that "RCDs" WANT to believe they are "normal", desire "normal" relationships, try to act "normally" in a relationship, but become depressed because of the pyscho-sexual overlay of crossdressing or crossdreaming, they are not and probably will never be "normal" relationship-wise. (I should probably say "we" instead of "they" because I am this applies to me, as well.)

    Is "disorder" appropriate? "Different" might be better terminology. And we ARE "different". If someone is depressed or in despair because they are "different" has two choices: treat the depression or accept the fact they are different.

  6. To act like, to feel like, to be like, almost is being one, a person of other sex than ours, it is sexy, it touches sex, it indicates sexual orientation. Forgive me the transsexuals, the transgenders, we use gender as an agreement in the discourse. The agreement is sexual, or sexually driven, determined by it. Nature, asks us for nurturing our desires. We may want to change what we are, by cross-dressing a little. I am convinced that what I do by cross-dressing is to express my gay love. If I would be a woman I could be much closer to fulfill my desires and rest. If I am not able to live my passion I may forever be sad.


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