I sometimes wonder if there is something about us crossdressers that we are willing to endure/ignore/experience pain to a crazy degree for the sake of continuing to crossdress. Do you think so?
Think about what we go through. Wearing high heels for long hours and somehow not responding to the pain. Or in my case sometimes it was crunching my feet into shoes that didn’t really fit me because they weren’t mine, and yet the pain of my poor toes didn’t phase me when I was in the crossdressing zone. Or putting ourselves into a constricting bra. Or we put up with the time and trials of long hours spent waxing, shaving, putting on make up, working out just to be thinner, etc.
Women like my wife don’t wear high heels because of the severe pain they cause. Women like my wife don’t like to wear makeup because of the great deal of time it takes. I know she is not alone. Most of the women I know are just like her in this. Why is it so different for us as crossdressers?
And this is not to speak of the emotional pain. The emotional pain of guilt that cannot be purged as simply as clothing. The emotional pain of gender and identity confusion resulting from so many hours crossdressing. The emotional pain of a wife’s disapproval. The emotional pain of ripping a marriage apart because of crossdressing. The emotional pain of a strained relationship with God. The emotional pain of shame at society’s disapproval.
So what is up with this willingness to endure these pains? There are 4 options I see.
1. Crossdressing is just so fun and exciting so who wouldn’t put up with these minor pains for the enjoyment? I don’t buy this theory at all. These pains aren’t minor. Perhaps the physical pain of high heels is minor enough. And perhaps there are some who could argue that endless attempts at shaving, waxing, dieting, etc, to appear feminine isn’t that big of a deal. But I remember feeling like I was wasting my life just in the time it took preparing to crossdress. And the emotional pain, wow. I don’t think any healthy person in their right mind would go through all of those emotional pains just for the simple fun of dressing up (when I was crossdressing, I don’t think I was in my right mind, I was stuck in addiction).
2. Some may crossdress, no matter the physical and emotional pains, in order to feel like they are their true selves. If a man really feels he is meant to be, or “is” a woman, he may go through hell in order to try to be himself. You all know my thoughts on this. I think this is identity confusion and the answer is learning how to be oneself as a man rather than physically altering our bodies or trying to appear as the opposite sex. But this option does make sense for why many people would go through the pain in order to crossdress.
3. This article – The Psychology of Sex Reassignment Surgery – on page 117 and 118, suggest that crossdressers go through pain as a form of masochism. (The article is talking about transsexuals, but I think there is a great amount of overlap between fetishistic crossdressers and those with gender dysphoria). The article suggests that crossdressing can be related to masochism in that crossdressers actually enjoy the pain as part of the crossdressing experience. This comes to the fullest expression then in sexual reassignment surgery. “The masochists find that sexual arousal is facilitated by the experience of pain prior to sexual activity; they look upon the surgical excision of the genitalia (albeit unconsciously) as a form of masochistic adventure with the surgeon.”
“What has been scarcely noted in many commentaries on transsexualism is
the immense amount of physical pain that surgery entails. Generally, this fact
is totally minimized. Most postoperative transsexuals interviewed seldom
commented on the amount of physical pain connected with their surgery. Are
we to suppose no pain is involved? Anyone who has the slightest degree of
medical knowledge knows that penectomies, mastectomies, hysterectomies,
vaginoplasties, mammoplasties, and the like cannot be painless for those who
undergo them. . . . It seems that the silence regarding physical pain, on the part
of the transsexual, can be explained only by an attitude of masochism, where
one of the key elements of the transsexual order is indeed the denial not only
of self but physical pain to the point “where it may actually be subjectively
pleasurable, or at least subjectively negligible.”
I think there could be some truth to this, but it doesn’t fully fit my own experience.
4. We go through this pain because we are addicted. This option fits best my own experience. What do drug addicts do? They do everything possible to feed their addictions, even to the point of abandoning their marriages and families, to the point of becoming criminal thieves in order to get money to feed their addiction, and they cause physical harm to their bodies. Ultimately, if they don’t receive help, they kill themselves through drug overdoses or contracting other diseases and health problems. Obviously, crossdressing as an addiction is not so drastic as this. And yet it is still an addiction that we feel we can’t live without and so we will go through great risks to our job and family, and great pain in order to feed our addiction. One can find out in minutes through an internet search that crossdressing has destroyed countless marriages. Why would we go through such inconveniences, such time wasters, such physical pain, such emotional and spiritual turmoil? My answer is that we do it because we are addicted and often don’t know how to get out of that addiction.
If you agree, and you feel like you are caught in this addiction, there is hope. There is a way out, and I believe the way out is much easier than the way out for drug addicts. You can do this! Here is my suggestion for a start – 12 steps to stop crossdressing.