Here are a couple very helpful websites by a sexual addiction therapist, Dorothy Hayden, LCSW. She has worked with many people who have had the compulsion to crossdress. Perhaps some of you would be helped by her therapy. I can’t speak from experience as I do not know her, but I have read many of her articles and I really have appreciated what I have read! Her therapy is not done from a Christian perspective, which of course I see as great downside, but I think her techniques could still be helpful to deal with the crossdressing behaviors and compulsion.
Here are two of her websites each with a plethora of great articles to read:
I really like the approach to therapy that I see here – Sex Addiction Recovery Approach
So many of the steps outlined are things I have discussed on my blog many times, but not in such a logical consistent order as she outlines it.
This quote is interesting and helpful – “Sexual addiction recovery is a life-long process. It moves you out of a narcissist position where your needs are imperative and only see others as need-supplying objects to where you are capable of true self-love. Personal authenticity enables you to have empathy and compassion for others and allows you to take genuine pleasure from giving love rather than always being a self-centered taker.”
I’ll post some other interesting quotes from her many blog posts and articles. Reading these quotes and thinking about crossdressing hits really close to home. Certainly crossdressing is one of the many types of dangerous sexual addiction.
Dorothy, I have to disagree with you on your answer here. I think that most of us are not struggling with gender dysphoria (though certainly some of us are), but rather we are still attracted to women as men. It’s just that we have unintentionally found an erotic shortcut, being attracted to a pseudo woman we can manipulate and control rather than a real flesh and blood woman. Of course other factors are involved with how we developed this – possible trauma, a way to relieve stress or feel comforted, belief in rigid gender stereotypes, etc. Unfortunately gender dysphoria sometimes comes in later over the years, as the pseudo woman starts to become a more important identity than our identity as a man. This does lead some crossdressers to eventually get sex reassignment surgery even though their crossdressing started as a sexual addiction.
“He is able to “undo” traumatic experiences from childhood, he meets needs for pseudo-connection, he uses sexual fantasy to release pleasure-producing endorphins in his brain, he is able to meet needs for breaking taboos, for novelty, to ward off fear of intimacy, among other functions of the sexual behavior. As you can see, sex addicts use sex to meet needs that can’t be met by sex.”
Fantasy is the fodder of a person in the “Erotic Haze”. In many cases, sex addicts perform some form of ritualized behavior. This usually precedes a sexual activity. For example, an addict may cruise in a car for hours looking for just the right sex worker. He gets pleasure from the ritual.
When the sex addict is in this mental state, his needs are what matter most of all. He feels no anxiety about responding to the needs of another. There is no fear of closeness, vulnerability or rejection. To him, nothing feels as if it is a compromise. All that exists is the pleasure of the sexual fulfillment. It is the only time in a sex addict’s life that he knows perfect control over the “other,” and this is distinctly unlike what he experienced as a child.
After 15 years of working with sex addicts, I have concluded that it is not sex – per Se – that is the object of the addictive attachment, but rather it is the state of sexual arousal that most addicts find so compelling. Orgasms are rarely the goal. As a matter of fact, people purposely delay orgasm because the aftermath can involve experiences of disillusionment, emptiness and shame.
Once you’ve entered “The Erotic Haze”, your ability to control your behavior becomes nil. Acting out becomes an inevitability. However, there are a number of stages you go through before you arrive at that state. You don’t get “struck” acting out. It doesn’t come out of the blue, compelling you to take immediate action. The purpose of understanding the sex addiction cycle is, with mindful awareness, to know you’re in one of the beginning phases and to apply newly learned coping skills before you drown in the quicksand.
Rituals are a critical part of any kind of deviant arousal template. The ritual itself becomes a fetish, capable of engendering sexual excitement and release it itself.
The exhibitionist walks through certain spots at certain times, cruising for the same type of woman. The transvestite carefully lays out woman’s clothing and lingerie on the bed, looking at them for a period of time before he dons them. The clinical literature talks about “the masochistic script”. To all appearances, the “domme” is in control. In reality, the masochist calls the shots. The room needs to be arranged just so. The type of clothing the dominatrix wears is dictated by the bottom. Often, even verbal and physical humiliation needs to follow his exact script, or he is disappointed in the scene.
This last part about rituals was really interesting to me. I have spent hours before doing google searches for crossdressing stuff but not allowing myself to actually go to any of the links. I was fooling myself at those times that I was not giving in to the addiction. But I was. Somehow I was getting pleasure just by doing the beginning stages of the ritual, which would otherwise have been google searching and clicking through to the links.
There are many more articles and blog posts that she wrote that I would like to share here, but I will save some of the better ones for later so you don’t have to try reading so much at once. She has some very good resources for you at both sites, whether you are struggling with pornography, crossdressing, other sexual addictions, or a combination of many of these.