Be Strong for Halloween

In a few days it will be Halloween. I post a reminder at this time every year. I know firsthand that it is a time of vigorous temptation. Even just seeing other people or children getting into costumes can conjure up memories of crossdressing, or fresh desires to crossdress. And the ads all over the internet certainly do not help.

I certainly imagine that some of you are crafty enough to get your wife or parents or girlfriend to dress you up as a girl or a woman for Halloween. But remember, just because it seems harmless to them, you know yourself. You know that for you, it’s not just clothing. You know that for you, you are obsessed with the clothes, and feel you cannot do without. For some of you, there is even a sexual component involved. What seems harmless to them is something that keeps you in bondage and addiction.

Don’t give in my brothers. Be the men God created you to be. Some of you have been going strong, resisting temptation, and God has been healing your hearts and helping you to appreciate being real men. Don’t throw all of that way. Don’t set back your progress. Don’t rationalize and give in.

Be strong in the Lord. Resist the temptations. Recognize the absurdity of crossdressing and take joy in knowing that you did not give in to it. Take delight in the self-control God has given to you. He has empowered you by His Holy Spirit.

Enjoy the innocent laughter and fun of your children as they dress up, knowing that for them, they do so for fun or to model after the good examples of adults in their lives (or from television or books). Take joy knowing that for them, they realize it’s all pretend and they aren’t getting a sexual high or special comfort from the costumes.

From Joshua 1, as the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land. Fitting words for us this week as we prepare to enter battle over our lives and souls.

6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Nocturnal Emissions vs. Masturbation

This is a pretty graphic topic I guess, but it seems practical enough for me to talk about, because dealing with these issues is a reality for most of us.  First of all, if you want my thoughts on masturbation, see my long post on it – here.  I’ll try not to repeat myself.  This post is more about nocturnal emissions, and how they sometimes coincide with crossdressing dreams, and I’m going to explore the possible connection to regular masturbation or lack thereof.

So, what do guys do who aren’t married?  What is their sexual outlet?  Nocturnal emissions of course.  So one could say that masturbation is not necessary and so we should not do it.  I’ve noticed this is also the case in marriage.  My wife and I usually have sex once a week.  If we skip a week (which happens quite often), I usually have a nocturnal emission in there near the time we would have had sex.  So again, we could say masturbation is not necessary, because God has provided the means of nocturnal emission.  I’m not coming at this from a scientific angle, so perhaps some men don’t have nocturnal emissions, but I would guess most of us do if we aren’t having sex regularly.

I’ve been going back and forth on my judgements about whether masturbation is good or bad (if done without sinful thoughts).  Earlier this year I leaned toward masturbation always being a bad thing, as I don’t believe it’s God’s ideal, as it’s very difficult to do without sinning in our hearts and minds, and as we have the outlet of nocturnal emissions for the sexual release.  And perhaps most important, it is difficult for some men to masturbate without it turning into a serious addiction.  Some months ago, my wife and I had not had sex in a couple weeks and I wanted to masturbate, but I thought to myself –  “well, what if there is really no need to, because God provided nocturnal emissions instead.” So I prayed, “Lord, I’m going to try to lean on masturbation less in these times of being away from my wife, and let you use nocturnal emissions for my release if I need it.” Well I went to bed and that very night I had one.

But lately I’ve been wondering if masturbation is actually a better outlet for the sexual release than the nocturnal emissions.  Let me explain by first analyzing my nocturnal emissions or wet dreams.  When I have a nocturnal emission I almost always wake up as it happens.  90% of the time I wake up in the middle of a dream, and so I realize at that time what the dream was about.  Wonderfully there have been times that I have had a wet dream thinking about sex with my wife.  But unfortunately sometimes it is about me with another woman, or more often (at least in the past) it was about crossdressing.  (Thankfully the number of my crossdressing wet dreams has drastically reduced in recent years, yea for healing from sexual perversity!).  So I wake up, and feel very dirty and guilty about my sinful dream.  And on top of that I hate wet dreams because they are a sticky mess.  Masturbation is a whole lot cleaner because you control it.  But with wet dreams I end up getting my boxers and the sheets sticky (and sometimes my wife if I am laying up with her).  I guess this is how God designed our bodies to work, but it sure seems a gross method.  It’s not that I detest physical things, like that which my body produces, I just don’t want it all over the place.

But let me get into the sinful aspect of wet dreams.  I really think that when I’m dreaming, I’m still me.  I lack much control, but it’s still my thoughts and desires that come out in my dreams.  Therefore, since in my living life I have healed greatly and resisted crossdressing so much in the past years, crossdressing isn’t as much a part of my dream life as it was.  So I do think it’s right to feel some culpability for what we dream about.  It’s still us doing the dreaming.   Could demons influence our dreams?  Perhaps.  Could we sometimes just dream about random things that we can’t imagine how they got into our minds?  Perhaps.  But largely I think we control what we dream about to some extent by the worries we allow ourselves to think about during the day, by the things we take in with our eyes, and ears, by our hopes and desires, etc.   Now granted, our self-control is severely limited while dreaming.  It’s pretty hard to resist the temptation of lust while we are out of it and sleeping.  So what can we do to avoid these dreams, these sinful dreams that can even cause us to experience heightened temptation to crossdressing during the day because we think back to the pleasure of the dream?  See this post for an example of how a wet dream led to one of my failures – here.

In considering these things I have determined that for me, masturbation is preferable to wet dreams.  When my wife and I don’t have sex in a given week, I have greatly heightened temptation to sin, not because of any specific trigger or desire, but just because of wanting that sexual release.  Instead of waiting for the nocturnal emission, I masturbate and deal with the issue immediately, and then all temptations go away.  I only need to masturbate that one time and then can wait until the next week when we will have sex again.  I also can control my thoughts during masturbation but cannot during a wet dream.  The wet dreams end up being full of sinful lust, whereas when I masturbate I can think only of my wife and nothing else, and not have any sinful thoughts.  Let me be crystal clear.  I am not talking about masturbating while looking at pictures of women on the computer, or while looking at crossdressing photos, or while thinking about crossdressing or any strange fantasy.  I’m talking about something that takes about 3-5 minutes in the bathroom, only using physical stimulation and thoughts of my wife.  It’s quick, clean, without sinful thoughts, and gives me that sexual release until my wife is back with me to have sex again (like if she was away for work).

I write about this just to get you all thinking.  I’m not telling you what to do.  For some of you it would be disaster to take my approach because you can’t control yourself with masturbation.  So then don’t do it!  But maybe for some of you this is a good alternative to crossdressing wet dreams which will throw you all out of whack.  I welcome criticisms, reflections, thoughts, and scientific data, on these issues.

Be Prepared for Battle

Psalm 144:1

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.

I love this verse for thinking about spiritual warfare and avoiding sin while on the computer.  Originally the context was speaking about actual war as David relied on the Lord for help in winning battles for Israel.  I think it is an appropriate application today to think about the spiritual war we are engaged in.  As Paul says in Ephesians 6:12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

And 1 Peter 2:11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

I love the idea of God training my fingers for battle.  I try to regularly ask God to build up ability to have self-control.  One of the areas I need it most is on the computer.  It’s so easy to lose my head and go look at something stupid that I will regret later.  It is so easy to click on some article about crossdressing that shows up on the news.  And that can lead down a rabbit trail of sin and lust.

I need my hands and fingers trained.  I need God to guide my finger clicks on my mouse, and keep my hands from typing in stupid Google searches.  When I sit down at the computer, I am sitting down to a battle.  I am sitting down and fighting over my soul.  My sinful nature and the demonic world would love nothing better than to see me go back to crossdressing addiction, squandering away my life.

This would be a wonderful verse to print out and tape to your computer mouse, keyboard, or computer monitor.  Men, let’s prepare for battle when we sit down, and not take the computer lightly!  It is a wonderful invention, which can be used for many wonderful blessings.  But we are also capable of committing great evil on these machines.  When you sit down remember that there is a battle going on, and the battle is over your soul.

But God is our Rock, our foundation, our stability, our strength.  We need not fear.  He gives us the strength we need to overcome temptation.

Disturbing Quote

I came across this quote from another blog.  I found it quite interesting, so I read the whole original article.

Amy Bloom, in her article from 2002, Conservative Men in Conservative Dresses, wrote :

“The greatest difficulty people have with cross-dressers, I think, is that cross-dressers wear their fetish, and the gleam in their eyes, however muted by time or habit, the unmistakable presence of a lust being satisfied or a desire being fulfilled in that moment, in your presence, even by your presence, is unnerving.  The combination of the cross-dressers’ own arousal and anxiety and our responsive anxiety and discomfort is more than most of us can bear. We may not mind foot fetishists, but we may not wish to watch them either. ”

From my experience, and from talking to others, this quote speaks the truth.  People are disturbed by our behavior and we need to understand that and accept it.  And of course I would add, they should be disturbed by our behavior.  Come on men, let’s stop giving in to this messed up behavior.

Also interesting was how the author detected that the men who are crossdressing are men with very firm gender stereotypes about women, stereotypes that I find too traditional, too focused on superficial appearances, and disturbing.  Understand this!  Part of my healing from crossdressing has also been a healing in my marriage, not viewing women and my wife in such a stereotypical way, no longer gently pressuring her to wear high heels and makeup, not being bothered that she is a very strong person, emotionally and physically.

Helpful Bible Verses 13

In my struggle with crossdressing over my whole life, many Bible verses have been helpful to me.  I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures.  In addition to the ones I’ve already written about, I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to my crossdressing struggle.  For those of you who are still struggling, it would surely help you to write some of these down and read them daily, or in times of temptation, or after a failure when you need to be built back up by God’s Word.

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

It’s easy to think that crossdressing obsession is harmless, especially when you compare male crossdressers to real women.  “They can wear a dress, why not I?”  But it is not just that crossdressing is sinful, going against God’s design for men and women.  It also easily becomes infatuation with the desires of the flesh, and the love of the world.  Being overly infatuated with clothes and appearance and makeup is not only a problem for male to female crossdressers, but also for some women and some men.  If any of us are too focused on the things of this world, too infatuated with fashion and appearance, too obsessed with clothing, then this is sinful love of the world.

It is not that these things are bad in essence.  Clothing is okay.  God even gave clothing to Adam and Eve after they sinned.   It is not that the clothing is bad, but I think John here means an inordinate love of the things in the world.  It’s one thing to appreciate things in the world that God has made.  It’s quite another thing to have an inordinate love of them.  A normal healthy person, with a healthy view of things in the world that God has made, I believe they would put on their pants and shirt and acknowledge that they look nice, and then move on to live their life and begin their day.  They might go shopping once in a while and enjoy picking out some new clothes to wear.  But when I look at how I was when crossdressing, this did not describe me at all.  I was obsessed.  I could look at fashion magazines for hours.  I could try on new outfits of female clothing for hours nonstop, every possible combination of clothing you can think of.  And when I was not crossdressing, I felt deprived, and stopped caring about anything else I was doing, just rushing through all else in life waiting for that opportunity to dress again.  And if I had been ready to out myself, I would have spent all of my money and extra time shopping for new clothes that I did not need.  This is excessive love for things in the world.

I know John probably did not have crossdressing in mind when he wrote this.  But it always hits my heart relating to crossdressing when I read it.  Back when I was crossdressing, I was not focused on God’s kingdom and the things of Heaven.  I was not focused on praising God and having him using me for his work.  I was focused on the things of this world.  I had taken something that was meant to be a good gift from God – that is, female clothing that adds beauty to this world and adorns real women.  I took that good gift and focused on it to the exclusion of God, my family, my work, and everything else.  I focused on it so much that I perverted it and diverted it from its true purpose and uglified myself through it.

I think we tend to do this with many of the gifts that God has given us.  We take alcohol, a good gift, and pervert it into harmful addiction.  We take work, meant as a gift from God, and use it only to make money or make ourselves feel powerful.  We take family, meant as a gift from God, and we idolize it and put all of our hopes on our family rather than God until we have suffocated our family members by putting them in the place of God.  We take many of God’s good gifts in the world, and because we love them more than we ought to, we pervert them, hurt our relationship with God, and ourselves.

10 Minute Relapse

At first, I did not think this would be an enjoyable post to write. I would much rather just keep this information to myself. But I felt God calling me to share this on my blog because I know I have many readers who are fighting crossdressing temptations themselves. They are reading about my experience and trying to learn from it and find hope in my story. But if my story is going to help anyone, it first of all needs to be a true story.  After writing this post, I’ve felt some joy in having done it, knowing that it will give others some help in their own recoveries.

So let me be honest. I crossdressed last week. I hate to admit it, but it happened. I put on a couple of dresses for ten minutes or less. It ended with masturbation and disgust. I am not only disappointed in giving in to such an action that I have come to hate, an action that I consider sinful. I am also very disappointed to have broken my streak of victory over crossdressing. I was coming up next month to three years of complete and total abstinence regarding crossdressing. (I can’t say that I’ve been fully abstinent in my mind, and in what I’ve seen on the computer, but as far as actual crossdressing, I was coming up to three years). In the last three years I have not crossdressed so much as even to slip on a woman’s shoe for a few seconds.

The slight crossdressing episode reminded me very much of why I stopped crossdressing in the first place. It was immediately apparent that the activity was not as pleasurable as I was hoping it would be. In fact, it was quite lame. Immediately afterwards, I was reminded of how pointless the activity is, how much it is a waste of time, how ugly it is, how unfulfilling it is, how worthless it is, and just how wretched I feel after doing it. The few seconds of sexual pleasure were not worth it. When confessing to my accountability partners, I felt so much shame and embarrassment. And at first, I felt complete shame and embarrassment imagining sharing this information on my blog. I no longer feel that way. Once I spent with God and experienced his love and forgiveness, the shame and guilt went away.

I did not want to share this information because I figured there would be a lot of crossdressers out there who would take it as proof that you cannot give up crossdressing. I was worried people would give up hope. But such a view is illogical. It makes no sense at all. What happened to me was a slight relapse. It would be as if an alcoholic took a little drink after three years of abstinence, only to regret the decision and go back to abstinence. This little glitch in my three years of victory only goes to prove how victorious I have been. Crossdressing really has been out of my life. Ten minutes of crossdressing doesn’t change the wonderful freedom of the last few years, and it doesn’t change the freedom I will continue to have from this day forward. This was a slight failure after three years of perhaps subconscious building temptations, but it doesn’t change anything about how crossdressing is still out of my life, and I’m still enjoying not being a slave to it anymore. The temptations are usually not there. The desires for crossdressing have diminished to the point of non-existence most days and weeks. I’m not sure why I was tempted this particular day. But once again now, a week later, the temptations are gone. And even if they come again, I know I have the freedom to say “no” to giving in.

So don’t let my story make you lose hope. Let it give you hope. Let it give you hope that even if you have a failure here or there, there is still freedom to be had. It is still possible to give up crossdressing. I failed only because I made the choice to fail. I could have easily not have given in. And that choice was a choice I regret. Whatever temptations were building over the last few years found their release in those minutes, and I’m ready to begin again living in victory. It holds no power over me.

Now I’m ready to live in grace again. I’m not driven to give up crossdressing by fear of God or Hell. I’m driven to give it up because living without it is experiencing a more abundant and joyful life. And I’m driven by God’s love.

Thank you Lord Jesus for your mercy and grace. I do not trust in myself and my own holiness for my salvation. I trust in your righteousness alone Jesus for my salvation. I am not going to wallow in guilt and shame. Shame is not what you want for me. I know the grace and love of my Lord. I know that you don’t keep a record of my sins. I know that I don’t need to feel a burden of guilt for past mistakes. I am going to move forward in freedom, grace, love, and joy, in you Lord Jesus. Lord, give me strength to make it four years of victory this time!”

Healing is Possible

I would assume that many of my readers out there are skeptical that healing from crossdressing addiction is possible.  Some might say, “sure maybe Thorin could stop crossdressing just because he is a pastor and has need to stop because of his job, but for most people they will not have enough motivation to really quit and still be happy.”  I’m not sure exactly what people say, but this short post is to give some hope that I am not alone.

On my email prayer chain we’ve had around 60 men join over the last few years.  But our number is at less than 60 right now.  Why is that?  I’m sure there are some who have joined our chain who went back to crossdressing and stopped responding to emails.  They are still with us and not very communicative, so they do not account for our number being less.  However, there are some people who have officially left our group and told us why.  And their reason is that they got their crossdressing under control.  They found good healing in their heart, mind, and body from our Lord Jesus with this issue of crossdressing.

Is healing possible?  Yes it is!  I am not the only one by far.  There are men who deal with this sin of crossdressing and get it out of their life, who never share their secret with others and never share their story online.   And then I can testify that 5-10 people have left our prayer group specifically because crossdressing was no longer a big struggle for them.  They were able to have self-control.  They were no longer crossdressing, and no longer was it causing strife in their life.  Their desires for crossdressing had lessened and they were ready to leave our group and live their lives and stop thinking about crossdressing altogether!  Most of the rest of our group is no longer crossdressing either, but we stay in the group to help support each other to continue, and we stay around to help others who come to our group who want to stop.

There is hope.  If you are struggling with crossdressing, it is only a false rationalization and excuse to say that healing is not really possible.  If you really want to quit, you can, and still lead a healthy and happy life.  If you want to keep crossdressing, we can’t stop you.  But don’t keep spreading the lie that it is impossible to change, that you can’t live a full life without crossdressing.  Those lies need to be removed.  Healing is possible!  Crossdressing can be dealt with and stopped!