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.

15 Ways to Fight Lust with the Sword of the Spirit

This was a helpful article by Kevin DeYoung at Gospel Coalition – 15 Ways to Fight Lust with the Sword of the Spirit.

The beginning of the article is downright depressing, about how many pastors are giving in to sexual immorality, especially on the internet.  I understand and know the problem very well even though I don’t struggle with pornography.  I certainly struggle with other temptations.  It’s depressing thinking about so many pastors giving in to sexual sin, and yet I also remember Romans 7, that we all do what we don’t want to do, and we are broken, sinful, and will continue to struggle with sin until Jesus comes back.  I expect all of us to struggle and fail at times.  What scares me for real is the pastors who have the habit of sexual addiction in some form, but they aren’t fighting it or repenting of it.  That is very serious.

DeYoung’s Bible passage commentaries are very good.  This is a good little devotional.

I am only troubled by #1.  It’s easy for Scripture to say to rejoice in my wife, but what if she doesn’t rejoice in sex, but rather only does it because she has to?  The marriage bed is not a delight for everyone, and for those of us that have a problem in that area, it sure makes it even more difficult to not give in to temptation.  But resist we still must.  It’s hard, but – is possible, and Jesus is coming back soon, or we die soon.  Either way the struggle is short compared to eternal life.  Also DeYoung’s 2nd passage and commentary addresses this concern.

#5 is a comfort to those of us with unwanted temptations.  Temptations are not the same as giving in to temptations.  We should not judge ourselves for the temptations, nor let others judge us for them.  And yet, we should be continually growing in our relationships with God and holiness so that the temptations get weaker and weaker and disappear more over time.  In the path of sanctification, not only our actions should change, but gradually our affections and desires should change as well.

#8 is difficult for those of us with a crossdressing temptation.  We can get led astray by looking even at a woman who is not particularly attractive just because of her clothing.  We get led astray by the internet and television which are hard to go without these days.  Even all the news lately triggers us when talking about transgender issues.  And we can’t very well ask our wives to put a lock on her closet and the laundry bin.  Temptations are there and we must do what we can to minimize them, but ultimately we need self-control because we can’t remove all the temptations.

#15 is a good reminder for hope for change.  It CAN happen.

Don’t Suppress your Desires

Many people have made the claim that I advocate suppressing your crossdressing desires.  I do not actually make that claim.  It is not healthy.  We must acknowledge that those desires are there, and consciously choose not to act on them.  If we just try to ignore the thoughts, sometimes that only makes them more powerful.  And if we try to deny to ourselves that we really have such feelings, they will come out in an unhealthy explosion later.  No, we should not suppress them.  We need to acknowledge them, deal with them, understand them, and then choose not to act on them.

This article from – Your Brain on Porn – talks about to deal with temptations in a healthy way that does not involve suppressing them.

When I get tempted to crossdress, I use this “RAIN“approach from the article, without consciously thinking about the acronym.  I feel the temptation come.  My body starts feeling weird and tense.  I recognize that, yes, I do have a desire to crossdress.  I then might even explore that desire.  What am I really desiring?  Do I desire to read crossdressing fiction?  Do I want to wear women’s clothing?  Or maybe I just am wanting a sexual release and crossdressing is the easiest way to get it?  Or sometimes maybe it’s not about the sexual release, and something about the “femininity” is attracting me.  So I don’t push the desire away.  I think about it and try to understand the underlying motivations for that desire in that moment.

Once I understand it, then I choose to reject it, and apply the proper real solution.  If it is that I’m bored, I find something productive to do.  If it is that I need sexual release, I will plan a time of sex with my wife, or if she is gone on a trip, then I may masturbate (I use that one sparingly).  If I am lonely, I will go spend time with God or another person.  If I’m feeling stressed, I will find comfort in God’s Word.  If I’m feeling bad about myself, and my masculinity, and desiring to be a woman, then I’ll combat the lies in my head with logical truths from God’s Word, about what it really means to be a man or a woman, and then seek contentment in the real situation I am in, knowing that I cannot really change my sex.

I think if many of you use this method, you will be able to calmly and rationally say “no” to temptations.

How Satan tempts us to crossdress

Recently I listened to this free sermon online by Pastor Tim Keller.  It was a powerful message, for any Christian, but for me when thinking about crossdressing it was especially insightful.  I highly recommend it – Spiritual Warfare by Tim Keller.

While I would never say that Satan is the cause of crossdressing in all of us, I would say that at the very least Satan exploits these crossdressing natures/desires in us, and tries to use them to bring us down.  We are in a war.  We have an enemy.  Thankfully our God is infinitely greater and more powerful and is with us and gives us power against Satan’s schemes.  But we need to realize what Satan is up to.

Tim Keller brings up several devices Satan uses, that he in turn got from another book.  I listed several of the devices that Tim Keller mentioned and I want to examine them in light of our temptations to crossdress.  In doing so, we can see the ways Satan is trying to mess with us, and we can be more resistant and overcome temptation.  (If you don’t think Satan and demons exist, you may believe what you wish, but please refrain from arguing with me about it).

Keller divides the devices into two types – Temptation and Accusation.


1.  Satan shows you the bait but hides the hook.   How often I’ve been tempted to crossdress or read crossdressing fiction and all I seem to be thinking about it is how pleasurable it will be in that moment.  But I forget how awful I will feel afterward, how confused it will make me feel in regards to my gender, how guilty I will feel, how I will get addicted, how much it will mess up my marriage, and how it will distance me from God’s presence.  And there are other more disastrous consequences my friends have gone through because of crossdressing – losing jobs, losing marriages, alienation from children, etc.

2.  Satan tries to get us to rationalize sin as virtue.   How often we crossdressers have ignored the addictive and distorted and deceptive nature of crossdressing by trying to say, “oh but it’s good for me to be a balanced person showing my feminine side” or “But my wife can better relate to me when I’m crossdressed (because I can’t have real feelings when not pretending to be a woman).”

3.  Satan shows us the sins of Christian leaders.   We regularly see pastors or famous Christians struggling with adultery or pornography or materialism.  In comparison, we don’t feel so bad about our crossdressing.  If they can do what’s even worse, we can dabble in crossdressing.

4.  Satan tries to get us to over-stress the mercy of God.   This is the one that has got me the most.  I have a very good sense of God’s grace and it fills my life daily with joy and gratitude.  However, in the moment of temptation, sometimes I use God’s grace and forgiveness as an excuse to give in to sin.  But just because God won’t punish me for my sin, does not mean I should give in to it.  As the apostle Paul said, do we sin more so that grace will increase?  By no means!  God’s grace should fuel our desire for gracious obedience, not become an excuse to sin.

5.  Satan tries to make us bitter about our suffering.  In counseling other men struggling with crossdressing, I’ve seen this one many times.  So many crossdressers have gone through awful life experiences, divorce, alienation from children, drug addictions, job losses, financial struggles, and many other very difficult issues.  Often the despair and the suffering drives these men to rationalize their crossdressing.  “I’ve suffered, so I deserve this fleeting pleasure.”  Or “life is so hard and difficult, what’s the point? I might as well crossdress.”  Instead of turning to God for comfort in suffering, we get confused and turn to fabrics.

6.  Satan shows us how many non-Christians seem to be having great lives.  If we judged crossdressing by the faces that we see on many crossdressing blogs and websites, we might imagine that most non-Christians crossdressers who are embracing crossdressing and not trying to resist it, perhaps they are all having wonderful lives full of happiness and pleasure.  But even if this was true, it doesn’t rationalize sin and addiction.  And I don’t think it is true.  Just browse the forums about crossdressing to see how much angst and confusion crossdressing causes in crossdressers’ lives.  The 100 people every day who find my blog through searches about the destruction crossdressing causes are not a figment of my imagination.

7.  Satan tries to get us to compare one part of our life to another.  I’m such a good person in other ways so its okay that I do this one sin.  Keller makes the joke, but serious joke, that mafia hit men rationalize their murdering of people because at least they love their mothers.  It’s a strong point.  How many of us have argued that in general we are good people, who love our families, work at our jobs, serve in our churches, so really what’s the big deal if we allow one little sin like crossdressing in our private lives?


Satan accuses us (lying to us), making us feel either a lower view of God’s love than we should, or a lower view of God’s holiness than we should.

1.  Satan wants us to look more at our sin than at our Savior.  He wants us to dwell on our past sins and condemn ourselves.   I have talked to many crossdressers who cannot imagine how God could still love them or forgive them.  And in their despair, they continue to crossdress.  But it is not our own righteousness that causes God to love us or forgive us.  In Jesus we can be completely forgiven and saved, and so we can live in joy and grace and obedience without despair.

2.  Satan wants us to obsess over past sins that have done damage that can’t be undone.   My crossdressing has hurt people, including my wife.  I have done some terrible things I’m ashamed of.  But Satan is the one who wants me to dwell on the past to keep me stuck there.  In Jesus, I am forgiven, and I am a New Creation.  I live for the future everlasting joyful life with him.  I leave my sin behind me, and push forward towards the goal.

3.  Satan wants us to think that the troubles we are going through must be punishments from God.  Satan wants us to ignore the fact that Jesus died to take our punishment.  If we look at our suffering now and view it as God punishing us, then we won’t run to God for comfort and help and provision and peace.

4.  Satan wants us to think that our inner struggles can’t possibly be something a true Christian would have.  I used to feel this way myself.  With these crossdressing desires and addiction, could I really be a Christian?  Am I alone in this?  I have found that I am far from alone and that all Christians have deep struggles that they don’t talk about every day!  True Christians face temptations, of all kinds.  But there is victory in Jesus.  We don’t have to be afraid.


If we are going to resist Satan’s schemes, we need to be aware of them and understand them.  Please give this sermon a listen.

You Can Say No to Porn – Video/Article

This short video/article by John Piper is a very helpful reality check in our battle with sexual sins – You Can Say No to Porn.  We often feel out of control with our sexual desires.  We feel that it is impossible to resist.  We feel overwhelmed by the temptations.  It is almost like we have to give in, almost like we have no choice.

But this is a lie we give ourselves to rationalize giving in to temptation.  Piper’s analogy or example is extreme to be sure, but it proves the point that we do have control over our actions.  If we were threatened that ISIS would kill our family members if we gave in to pornography or crossdressing temptation, of course we would have the ability to resist such temptation.  And if we were promised the reward of a million dollars, of course we could resist the temptations in order to get that million dollars.

This article hits home two points to me.

1.  I am in control.  I have freewill.  I can resist these temptations if I want to.  So the goal is to keep growing in my relationship with God, and learn enough about the detrimental effects of sin, that I do actually WANT to resist the temptations.

2.  I have a very paltry view of the gifts God has offered me.  God has not given me a million dollars, but he has given me his love, salvation, meaning in life, his presence with me, his Word, and eternal perfect life with him.  These things are priceless and in comparison a million dollars looks like rubbish.  If I really valued these gifts from God as much as I logically should, crossdressing would also look like rubbish in comparison and temptations would be far more easy to resist.  So I need to cultivate more gratitude for all God has done for me, and more faith in what is to come.

Article – The role of a wife in your recovery

This is a good article for thinking about the role of your wife as you recover from a crossdressing addiction.  What Every Wife of a Sex Addict Has a Right to Know About Her Husband’s Recovery.  It can be difficult to know how much to tell her and how to involve her in a way that is appropriate and helpful to you both.

My own philosophy for my marriage, and what I usually suggest for men who are recovering from crossdressing is this.  Confess to your wife in a general way about your addiction.  Make sure you have a very long talk so that she can understand what a crossdressing addiction entails and what it doesn’t.  But leave out the specifics about what you have done.  The details aren’t necessary and only give her graphic images in her mind and could hurt the marriage.  She needs your confession, and hopefully forgives you.  But she doesn’t need every detail.  And then keep her posted on your recovery, what you are doing, and how you are progressing, but again, don’t give her every detail.  That is for your accountability partner.  Your wife doesn’t need to know about every relapse of wearing female clothing again.  She doesn’t need to know about every perverted thought that goes through your head.  But she does need to know you are taking your recovery seriously, that you have a support group or accountability partner, and that you are making progress.  And I believe she should be allowed to ask anything she wants and you should answer honestly.  You can advise that it might not be helpful for her to know all the details.  But if she wants to ask questions, you should answer.  After all, according to 1 Corinthians 7, she owns you!

This has worked very well in my own marriage.  My wife did not want to know all the details.  But it was good for her to know who I am and what I’ve struggled with and how I have found freedom.  And her giving me forgiveness and me receiving it, was vital.  Today my wife and I can talk freely about my former addiction and about this website.

Dress-up in a Different Way

Crossdressers love to play dress-up.  I’ve been there.  I know the secret pleasures of hours in front of the mirror playing dress-up with clothes that were not meant for me.  Ah, but that time is gone.  And I don’t miss it.  What a fruitless activity.  What a powerful addiction that was.  It kept me in bondage for so many years.  No longer.

Now I play a different kind of dress-up.  Now I seek to clothe myself with Christ.  No more clothing myself with bras and panties and living in the delusion that I could make myself a woman just by changing the outer clothing.  That is stupid and wrong.  Now I clothe myself with Christ, and clothe myself with the virtues he wants me to have.

Romans 13:14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Galatians 3:27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Colossians 3:12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Clothing myself with Christ is a metaphor to be sure, but not completely.  When we become a Christian, Jesus the Christ truly comes to live in us.  And when he lives in us, he changes us from the inside out.  He gives us his own perfect righteousness so that we can have salvation, and then he begins to transform our lives by the Holy Spirit.  We then begin to actually look like him, not perfectly, no, not until he comes again in glory, but we do, in some small but concrete ways, begin to look more like Jesus.

For the Christian, this is what real beauty is all about, for both men and women.  For any of us, crossdressers or not, we are not to be so concerned with our outward physical appearance, spending hours in front of the mirror trying to look beautiful and obtain some cultural ideal.  We are supposed to be more concerned that we are following Jesus and living the way he wants us to live.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 –  9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

1 Peter 3:3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

1 Peter 5:5-7 –  5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

The beauty of living like Jesus bears fruit in making the world a better place, and makes us more into the people God created us to be.   My brothers (and sisters), let us together strive for this kind of beauty.  It begins by trusting Jesus as your savior and inviting him into your life, and then let the joy of his salvation and forgiveness for your sins transform you, so that you delight to show him your thanksgiving by living a transformed life.