Guest Post – Becoming A Man

By Mctorie

What do you do to relax on a Friday night? Have a drink? Watch the telly? See a show? Much to the bemusement of my wife, recently I chose to polish my shoes. No matter how hard I tried to explain why I enjoyed it, my wife couldn’t understand and in the end exclaimed “well, it makes sense because it goes with your whole shirt and tie thing.” In saying this, she was simply recognising that I take a certain amount of pride in my appearance. It was for me a reminder of how much I have grown away from CD in recent years. I want to explore briefly what has happened to create this change – in summary I call it Becoming the Man God Wants Me to be.

I must state that I am not totally free of CD. I still have temptations. But I hope that the story of the start of my change will help you. We are all individuals with unique stories and reasons for CD, so take what you find helpful.

Before we married, I told my wife about my CD. What helpful stuff I did find online, I forwarded to her. I told her I had started as a teen and had been trying for about five years to stop. Although I managed to stop at points using a ‘manly’ pulling my socks up effort, I would end up binging with greater falls and risks each time. This continued in marriage: within a year I had binged twice. Both times my wife found something, and my secret was laid bare. I think it took me both times see how hurt she was, and therefore how much it cost for her to forgive me. I also hated the secrecy that surrounded CD: this is something I saw through counselling, and was another motivation for me to quit.

I went to counselling primarily for porn addiction, but I also opened up about CD. My counsellor told me to observe the times when I used porn and CD. A few months later I concluded that they often went together. For a while I theorised that one led to the other, then theorised vice versa. I then theorised I should stop theorising, because I realised that my depression played a part, in that when I was feeling low I was most likely to use porn and/or CD. I was searching for meaning in my day-to-day life, and was using these things to help make me feel something positive. For example, I had a particular dress I wore at night (when my wife was working): I reasoned that it made me feel peaceful and calm, and so I would sleep. Similarly, I had other clothing that I would wear when working at home because I felt more comfortable than I did in jeans and a shirt. In short, dressing made me feel good, and it felt right. I had a sense, though, that it wasn’t. I knew God should be my ultimate source of comfort, but my action in dressing didn’t reflect that. I had found the truth in Harry Schaumburg’s statement that “sexual addition isn’t just an issue of sex or even of external behavior. It’s a by-product of loneliness, pain, the self-centered demand to be loved and accepted regardless of the consequences, and a loss of vital relationship.” (False Intimacy: Understanding the struggle of sexual addiction). Through Schaumburg’s book I realised that I was addicted: I would go to any lengths – driving to the other side of the city – to buy things. I thought I could control my CD; I thought that if I dressed, I wouldn’t go on to masturbate, even though perhaps 9 times out of 10 I did. I thought I could keep it secret. My thinking was what Schaumberg calls ‘rationalisation’. I felt CD met a need in me. But I realised through this book, counselling, and my wife’s example that, far from meeting it, it destroyed good things that God gave me.

My need was this: to be accepted, to be able to be me, to have a purpose. I began a quest to tackle these in a proper way. I asked God to help me. I read about what it means to be a Godly man. I re-read Disciplines of a Godly Man. I saw my wife’s forgiveness of my actions. I asked God to help me be able to praise her. I saw and began to accept that I am a man, that He created me a man, that He gave me a gift in my wife, a woman. Spelling this out and dwelling it out made me ask God – “ok. I get that I’m a man now. So how am I to become the man you want me to be?” And that’s why I summarise my growth as BTMGWMTB.

About a year after my counselling finished, I received some cognitive behavioural therapy to help with my depression. Some of the tools help CD. For example learning to have down/’me’ time. As a Christian, I believe God gave us this earth to enjoy it. But I often felt guilty if I went out with friends or did things without my wife. As a result I wasn’t doing any of the things I really wanted to do. Of course, you have to make sacrifices. But when I discussed, for example, that I wanted to go to a writer’s event, this brought us closer together. Performing there and meeting others gave me an enormous boost to my confidence, and I have made some friends. And as my confidence grew, I turned to writing as much as CD, and then after a while turned to writing more and more. I replaced, bit by bit, the harmful with the good. It took a while, but I came to learn that if I didn’t do these things, I was more likely to feel low, and so I was more likely to CD.

I also know I need to look after myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. If I do not, I cannot hope to resist any temptations. Of course, I still fail. But I do myself no favours if I do not sleep well, eat properly, read and pray, keep physically fit. Three words: Traditional wet shave. I listen to podcasts while I shave. Learning about God and how to trust him, while feeling in tune with my ancestors, giving me confidence in both Him and externally. shaving is now a process I look forward to. This small step helped me take more pride in my appearance and opened up the world of male sartorial.

Two years ago, I was wearing the same band t-shirts I had been wearing for the last 8 or so years. I only updated my jeans when I really had to. And then, noting how good I felt at a close shave, I decided to update my wardrobe, little bits at a time. I started with belts and beanies (it was winter). I bought new winter shoes. As I received a few compliments, I kept going. Now, this has never been my motivation, but it did break down the stereotype that a man can never be interested in his clothes. Now, I am no fashionista, but I see clothing as an opportunity to use God’s gift of creativity. I think He gave me an eye for woman’s clothes, and now I am using it within the bounds of being a man. I have as many casual shoes as my wife has (if not more…), and love choosing them according to mood/occasion/weather. When I dress well, it helps to give me confidence. I know that God is my ultimate source of confidence. But a full windsor and a crisp shirt all lined up at the gig line, and sleeves rolled up properly (flat, no bunching, three finger widths wide, please), and shoes you can use as a mirror also helps.

Yes, I still have a long way to go. But bit by bit, God is teaching me what it means to live out my calling as a man. Psalm 139 says “how blessed I am, so bound with love, surrounded yet so free.” (New Scottish Hymns). I used to think that when I CD’d I was free to be who I wanted to be and that being a man was so restricting. I have found the opposite. It is only within the bounds of God’s love am I truly free, including from CD.

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8 comments on “Guest Post – Becoming A Man

  1. thorin25 says:

    So much of this resonates with me mctorie. I was the epitomy of a man not caring about my clothing as a youth, but then when crossdressed, it was the exact opposite and I wanted everything to be perfect. Neither of those are good. The right solution is living as a man, caring for yourself so that you dress well, but also not being obsessed with dressing well as a man either. But I have found it helpful to take more pride in my appearance as a man, which reminds me that I am not really a woman, no matter how much I might have wanted to be one.

    Schaumburg’s statement is really good and helpful to ponder.

    So much of this is related to meaning and purpose in our lives, and you wrote about. If we have no meaning or purpose, of course we will waste our lives away with sexual addiction and crossdressing delusions. But if we have purposeful things to do, to make this world a better place through our work and service, then we have something to live for besides fleeting pleasures.

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  2. Kirk says:

    Thorin – I appreciate your candid posts. They help me stay focused on my goal from abstaining from CDing and sexual perversions. I struggled this morning with the battle in the mind, ugh!, but I made it through it by getting up and listening to a podcast. It’s good to hear I’m not the only brother out there struggling and who uses podcasts to help stay focused on the word of God.
    I don’t like to admit but I struggle with depression. I know to continue striving for the goal of full recovery but I also know not to let the devil get me down with condemnation when I slip up.
    Peace and God bless to you and all the other brothers struggling to stay in the right side of righteousness.

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  3. thorin25 says:

    Thanks Kirk! Just a clarification, this is a guest post that I did not write

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  4. Temptedsinner says:

    Mctorie,
    Thanks for sharing this part of your story. Becoming the man that God wants us to be can be a long and often difficult task. I pray for your continuing success. It is still difficult for me to understand how crossdressing became such an obsession for me. The lies that I told myself and reinforced with actions. As I get further away from the “pink cloud” the truth becomes more and more clear. For instance being relaxed while home alone and dressed up. Relaxed? Really, If I was so relaxed then why is it that at every sound outside like maybe a walnut falling off the tree onto the car. Instantly my heart would start pounding, I’d jump out of my seat ready to tear off my “comfortable” clothing as I would look out almost all of the windows to see who was here. It’s amazing that I never had a heart attack. If I was being so true to myself then why was I so scared.
    As those days get further behind me with each flip of the calendar I can see more clearly how wrong I was. Now when I’m “relaxing” there is no fear of being discovered, I’m not on pins and needles, I’m just chillin! It’s a beautiful thing.

    I pray that any guy reading here can begin to see the truth of our creation and purpose of being and begin or continue to walk in the light of Christ.

    Temptedsinner

    Liked by 1 person

  5. robmilliken says:

    Love your post Temptedsinner! All victory over sin is of course due to the presence of Christ in our lives. But I believe since God issues all of us with a brain that He expects us to use whatever means necessary (spiritual, physical, or psychological) to as it is written “flee from sin”.. My gf started buying me men’s colognes, clothes & jewelry something none of the wives in two failed marriages even considered doing. I believe Jesus put her in my life to show me through her gifts not just her feelings for me, but to fuel my interest in men’s furnishings. Like Temptedsinner I never realized the confidence that being a well dressed man gives you! Firstly I’d always shunned wearing suits or what I use to call “yuppie wear”, lol! But now when funds are available I look forward to visiting Men’s Warehouse to not just buy, but learn about putting together a clothes conscious man’s wardrobe be it casual, casual business, or formal…
    PRO’s: Your pride in your manhood strengthens, as compliments of your new appearance rise.
    You don’t appear to be totally bereft of “dignity with style” which benefits both your professional and private lives.
    CONS: Interest in a more polished male image does cost a couple Benjamin’s but well worth it if you’re serious about gaining even one victory over the sin of cd.

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  6. TJW343 says:

    HI – This is truly a great posting for ALL CD-types to read & especially reflect upon. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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  7. Paul says:

    Mctorie,

    Thanks for this post. I found it really helpful and a lot of what you said resonated with me.

    I used to rationalise that women have more choice in clothes and it wasn’t fair on men. I used to think that because women can wear what they like, including clothes normally associated with men that I should be allowed to wear their clothes. Even typing that sounds as ridiculous as it is, but such is the blindness of sin.

    What I have come to see is that I can still take pride in what I wear and how I look without having to wear women’s clothes. It’s much more liberating because I don’t have to worry about all the secrecy that CD brings with it. Life is better without CD.

    The part about finding good activities was really helpful. Thank you for writing this post.

    God bless,
    Paul

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  8. Daniel says:

    I am keeping this in my bookmarks to read again.

    Like

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