Encyclopedic resource on transvestism

I have no idea where I got the link to this resource, but I found it in my notes and investigated it.  It is an Armenian medical network encyclopedia type article/section on transvestism.  The section is called – Transvestism and Gender Identity Disorder in Adults.  Prepare yourself for a lot of reading!   It looks really well researched and cites numerous case studies.  The article itself is from 2006, so fairly recent in the scheme of things.  It’s nice to read something scholarly and academic on this subject once in a while.  That doesn’t mean every psychologist has it right.  From conservative folks like me, to the most liberal crossdressers, I’m sure all of us will find things to disagree about with the researchers and psychologists.  But it can be helpful to read their findings anyway.

Notice that the link I gave is only page 1 of at least 22 pages on this subject.  One of the pages, about treatment, I have linked to and commented on in the past.   I have perused the other pages, and here are some notes of things I found interesting or helpful.  Quotes from the link are in italics.

 

Greenson (1968) discussed the difficulty boys experience in attempting to “dis-identify” with their mother and counteridentify with their father to establish healthy masculinity. He emphasized the gender aspects of transvestism by summarizing as follows:   The fact that transvestism is almost exclusively a male disease and more widespread than commonly believed, is a more impressive testimonial for man’s dissatisfaction with maleness and his wish to be a female. (Greenson 1968, p. 371).

This definitely seems to be true.  I have never come across a woman in life or online who crossdresses for sexual pleasure, and the number of men who do so is staggering.  There are plenty of blogs of women who are transitioning to live as men, but this seems to be more about perceived identity and personality than anything sexual.

 

Although sexual arousal associated with cross-dressing is universal in adolescent and young adult transvestites (Croughan et al. 1981; Docter 1988; Docter and Prince 1997), the linkage of sexual excitement and cross-dressing is diminished or lost altogether in 25% to 65% of older transvestites (Docter 1988). In a recent survey of 851 cross-dressers with a median age of 45 years, 86% expressed an increased “need to express my opposite sex gender role” with their advancing years, whereas only 14% reported that women’s clothing itself was the key element in their arousal (Brooks and Brown 1994).  Brierley (1979) described these observations as constituting two stages of cross-dressing: an early fetishistic stage and a later identity stage.

From another place in the article – Although not displaying persistent gender dysphoria for the requisite 2 years (J. K. Meyer 1974; Wise 1982), transvestites’ psychosocial histories may be similar to those of transsexuals. The degree to which gender-dysphoric patients display symptoms may shift during their life span from fetishistic sexual behavior with cross-dressing to a predominant focus on gender dysphoria (i.e., a primary diagnosis of transvestism evolving to one of “secondary transsexualism”) (Docter 1988; Person and Ovesey 1974). Some researchers have reported that nearly all transsexualism is preceded by cross-dressing or accompanied by cross-gender fetishistic behavior (Hoenig and Kenna 1974).

This fits with what I’ve written about elsewhere.  There is an evolution in crossdressing over a person’s life.  It may begin sexual but evolve into something that feels more about identity and expressing femininity.  This unfortunately seems to lead some crossdressers to eventually see themselves as transgender and they start living as women.  What starts as a seemingly harmless sexual confusion – a boy who likes girls but figures out he can have pleasure from seeing a pretty girl by dressing himself as one – eventually becomes much more.  The boy becomes a man who continues to crossdress for sexual pleasure and soon feels like he can’t go without it.  The man spends so much of his life dressed as a woman that he eventually feels like that woman is part of who he is.  Eventually, the man might enjoy the false woman part of himself more than his real self, and wish to live as a woman.  I guess people have freedom to do what they want, as sad as it makes me to see men do this.  But what is often the case, and extremely tragic, is the wife and children and relatives who have to lose a husband and father in the process.

 

Buhrich (1978) and Docter (1988) recorded these men’s conscious motivations for cross-dressing based on interview data. Reported motivations included a feeling of comfort or ease; relief of tension; escape from pressures of the masculine role; feeling sensuous, elegant, or beautiful; sexual arousal or enhancement; and expression of traditionally feminine aspects of their personalities. Clinicians working with self-referred transvestite patients have emphasized obsessive-compulsive motivations (Lukianowicz 1959a; Stekel 1930) and narcissistic gratifications (Benjamin 1966; Buhrich 1978; Wise and Meyer 1980b).

I don’t hear a lot of crossdressers online acknowledging that crossdressing commonly is associated with obsessive-compulsive motivations and narcissistic gratifications.

 

Transvestite entertainment literature frequently includes themes of sadomasochism, female domination, and bondage in conjunction with cross-dressing activities (Buhrich and McConaghy 1976; Stoller 1975). However, only 5% of 504 transvestites surveyed by Prince and Bentler (1972) reported participating in cross-dressing while being dominated by a woman. Buhrich and McConaghy (1976) noted, nonetheless, that a fantasy interest in these activities was found to be much more likely than actual participation. Multiple paraphilias are common in those who present for treatment in tertiary referral centers, suggesting that these conditions co-occur in highly selected clinical populations (Abel 1989; Kafka 1991).

I have no idea why this would be, but from all my years spent reading crossdressing fiction online, I can attest that it is true.  Does one thing to lead to another?  Are those of us who struggle with crossdressing just more messed up than the average person and so we have other problems as well?  Or is it just simply that crossdressing and things like female domination have many interconnections and similarities so that they naturally go together.

Marital partners of transvestites are more likely than their husbands to seek treatment from a psychiatrist (G. R. Brown 1994). In Prince and Bentler’s (1972) survey of 504 subscribers to a transvestite journal, most of whom were themselves middle-aged transvestites, only about 24% had ever sought psychiatric treatment, whereas 38% of 106 women in committed relationships with cross-dressers had received mental health treatment sometime in their lives (G. R. Brown 1994). Early studies of wives of transvestites focused on small clinical samples. In them, wives were categorized as having low self-esteem and “moral masochism” (Stoller 1967). These women have also been described as having character styles rich in dependency and, therefore, as “settling” for a cross-dressing mate as an alternative preferable to the pain of loss and loneliness (Wise et al. 1981).

This is just sad all around.  I hurt for the women dealing with crossdressers like us in their marriages.

If anyone else finds any good nuggets of information in this long article, please share them below!

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6 comments on “Encyclopedic resource on transvestism

  1. Andrew says:

    Well finally a subject that I can identify with LOL. I should clarify by restating that I used to identify with this, Praise God! Andrew here, and Yes I could identify with many things written but mostly the female domination aspects Just my opinion but I don’t believe the 5% of 504 men surveyed part of the study. I do agree that it is more fantasy related than reality based as when I was “out there” it was a common theme that was the basis for a ton of various chat rooms, discussion groups and dating sites on the internet. It is also the starting point for many of the tg fiction stories on the net. As a writer of them myself I can tell you that it was the driving force in many of the stories that I wrote and eventually became a driving force in my life as well. It was only when a Domme wished to make me her “wife” that I started to question fantasy vs reality. You see, this woman was intent on not only turning me into Victoria but also wanted to make my wife her slave. I will leave the “rest of the story” alone because I do not wish to feed anyone’s mental sobriety but I will tell you that the thought that I had gone that far into that “fringe” lifestyle to the point of involving my wife scared me to death. It was one thing to go about dealing in my own sin but then to involve my wife was just to much even for this depraved mind to accept. Though I was still in the throes of my addiction I just couldn’t do that to a woman that I loved. With all of the things that I had done in the past and would continue to do for a little while longer that was the proverbial “straw” for me. I think that God had his eye on me at that time of my life and maybe he allowed that wake up call for me.
    It was interesting that a lot of the material was drawn from the 60’s and boy have the times a changed so to speak. Today Cding is looked upon as a “hobby” or a “quirk” and even women have come to accept and tolerate it. Yet if the truth be told, I don’t believe that a sane and genuine woman can ever truly accept a man being or pretending to be a woman and that is also
    God’s fault because we are wired differently than women. At some level every woman, I believe has that innate sense deep at her core that says that this is wrong. I agree with you Thorin and my heart goes out to every woman that deals with this brokeness that we men have been dealing or are dealing with. Can any one of us actually in our heart of hearts tell ourselves that what we did or continue to do was or is a “good” thing, I think not. It is the world that will no longer say what is wrong is wrong, the same world that in my day said “if it feels good do it!”, that world today complements and gives an atta boy to crossdressers and gay men and lesbian women in spades. That is the world that I believed was right at one time and if you didn’t agree, than it was your problem and not mine.
    Yet, when I truly looked at that man in the mirror, I was the guilty one and I knew that what I had done previously, continued to do, or even had thoughts of doing in the future was on the wrong path which would lead to total destruction. Thanks be to God that one day my wife looked at me and said ” When you are old and sick and are no longer capable of caring for yourself, who will be there to take care of you?” I can still see the moist eyes as they pleaded with me to somehow come back to her, to reverse the trajectory that I was on. It was a plea to take a look and it may have been a final plea to look at the wreckage I had caused her and my son. It was that plea that I believe the Holy Spirit used as a 2×4 to whack me upside my head and thankfully I came to myself. I got up from that table and went upstairs to the bedroom I had taken as mine away from my marriage bed and away from my wife and I laid on that bed and cried tears of regret, tears that became sobs of guilt and finally wails of pain as it poured out onto the pillow I laid upon. I had hit my bottom and the Lord spoke in a very real way to me that I was loved just as I was, that He cared about me and He made me perfectly and exactly as He planned.
    It has taken a while since that day and yes there have been slips and trips and falls along the way and there has been very little perfection but I have come to realize that this is not a destination but a journey that I will be on till I breathe my last. It is not about perfection but simply progress and thanks to Jesus and His grace there has been a lot of progress. Anybody who reads this blog hopefully identifies with it’s words and if one will only read the myriad of stories and comments as well as the fellow fighters blogs then I think we can all agree that this is a battle that we are fighting. It is a spiritual battle that we are fighting and if this study and all the studies that have been written could only see us as we struggle with this sin, the only conclusion that could be drawn is that this is a definite problem, that it is an addiction and from a spiritual standpoint drastically misses the mark that God calls us to as men and so can be summed up as sin. The wreckage in our lives proves to me at least that nothing good can ever come from its acceptance by society or from us accepting this behavior as anything remotely acceptable.

    Andrew

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  2. thorin25 says:

    Andrew, thank you so much for this testimony. Praise the Lord for what he has done in your life! Lord, thank you for pulling Andrew back from the brink, when he was so close to giving himself completely to such filth of crossdressing and domination. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 7, especially the last phrase
    – 2 “For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. “

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  3. crosswiser says:

    Here is another interesting article about transsexuals and the relationship to sexual arousing crossdressing. Not too long and uses a lot of the same sources and some different ones as well.

    http://sillyolme.wordpress.com/

    John

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  4. Vivienne says:

    Hi Thorin,

    “I don’t hear a lot of crossdressers online acknowledging that crossdressing commonly is associated with obsessive-compulsive motivations and narcissistic gratifications.”

    Well I am one. Crossdressing definitely has obsessive and compulsive features. The compulsion to dress; the obsessions with clothes and wigs and nails and cosmetics. No doubt at all, in my mind. Second, there is an inescapable narcissistic component to dressing. I don’t just want to look like a woman; I want to look like a pretty woman, and more specifically, I need to consider myself to be pretty. I am confident that most crossdressers feel similarly.

    It’s just that terms like “narcissism” and “obsessive-compulsive” have negative overtones of psychological illness about them, so we (and here I include myself) tend to prefer not to use them.

    Vivienne.

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  5. thorin25 says:

    Vivienne, I do agree that you are one. But you are in the vast minority, and I am thankful for your more balanced perspective.

    Based on your comments about wanting to look pretty. It makes me think about how much time we spend in our culture trying to help real women not give in to the culture’s stupid stereotypes and unhealthy standards for beauty. Not only that but we try to help us all recognize inner beauty over outer beauty.

    So does the crossdressing phenomenon help to prove that we really do actually want to keep the culture’s standards of beauty? Does it help to prove that we really do value outer beauty over inner?

    Or do crossdressers just fall prey to the same struggles that real women struggle with, in these two ways?

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  6. Ralph says:

    I actually agree with Thorin on here — folks like Vivienne and I do exist who just dress for the simple enjoyment of wearing clothes we like, but we are in the extreme minority. *most* crossdressing forums I have followed in the past had page after page of folks obsessing over the size of their panty collections or angsting over which shoes go with which skirt; I have even seen some who explicitly stated that all they ever want to do is look at themselves in the mirror.

    There but for the grace of God go I…

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