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.

The holistic response to addiction – Article

First a great quote by author Tim Keller – “You know you’re an addict when you’re trying to deal with your distress with the very thing that caused your distress.”

Recently someone shared with me this article – The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.

It’s not really surprising to me at all that there is more to addiction than the chemically addictive nature of the drugs themselves (or the chemically addictive nature of sexual addiction).  The article claims, and I think this is pretty obvious, that possibly the biggest factor is the condition of life of the person taking the drug.  If they are alone, depressed, and isolated from other people, then they will become addicted and keep going back to the drug until they die.

So in proposing solutions to the drug addiction problem he says – “So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”   Of course, if people have a good life and good relationships with others, then drugs, or pornography, or may I add, crossdressing, will have less appeal.

But the article is a bit too optimistic.  It’s one thing to say what we need to improve, it’s another thing to do it.  You might as well say that all the problems of this world come from our sinful selfish human nature (which is pretty much true, aside from the added problem of Satan).  But it’s one thing to name the problem, and another thing to solve it.  There is no magic button to repair everyone’s fallen sinful nature.  And there is no magic button to give everyone good human connection.

I think this world is a broken place.  Not everyone gets a happy childhood and good human connections.  Some people grow up with abuse, some people have their spouses leave them, some kids get bullied, etc.  Until Jesus gets back, there are going to be people who are drawn to addictive behaviors because of their isolation and deep pain.  There is no magic button, but there is a solution, and that solution is the person of Jesus, the Lord and Savior for this world.  It is only through him that we can be forgiven, have our sinful nature transformed, and have the kind of relationships with other people we are supposed to have.  And it is only through Jesus and his 2nd coming, that this world will finally be made perfect.

I would add to the article that it’s not just lack of human connection that causes addiction.  It’s a lack of divine contact.  We were made, created, to have a relationship with our loving God.  When we are disconnected from him, this is a far worse and painful and damaging isolation than isolation from other people.  And the opposite is also true.  When we finally have our relationship with God repaired, when we have that connection through faith in Jesus as our savior, then we have comfort, peace, and rest in our soul.  We have a friendship with the God of the universe.  When we really enjoy that relationship, all addiction can fall by the wayside.

I have noticed something in all my counseling of guys struggling with crossdressing.  There are some who can just simply stop, which is what I did for the most part.  And there are others for who it is a continual struggle.  There are other factors involved of course, and it is much more complicated than how I am about to say it.  But at times it seems that the men with well balanced lives, good marriages, and vibrant faith, they are able to stop quite easily.  But the men with hurting marriages, broken relationships, doubting faith, and difficult financial situations, they have a tremendously much more difficult time stopping.  The stress and worry and disconnection from all of these problems continues to drive them back to addiction, some of them to multiple types of addictions all at once, beyond the one addiction of crossdressing.

So this means that recovery from crossdressing has to be holistic.  You can’t try to fight the addictive behavior unless you are also going to give your life to Jesus, go back to church, work on growing in faith, reconciling your marriage, learning to deal with your anger, forgiving those who hurt you, trying to meet new people, growing in God’s Word, and finding healthy work to do.

An Overview of Sex Addiction – Article

This is a helpful article explaining the ins and outs of sexual addictions – An Overview of Sex Addiction by Dorothy Hayden.  I really thought it accurate in many ways.  However when the author claimed that most of these addictions are the result of bad mother-child relationships or dysfunctional families, that threw me for a loop because that was not my experience and I know for many other crossdressers that was not their experience.

Here are some choice quotes that I think particularly relate to us who have struggled with crossdressing:

The majority of sexual compulsives live in isolation, filled with feelings of shame. Almost 100 percent of the people who come to me for an initial consultation — whether it be for compulsive use of prostitutes, phone sex, a fetish, cross dressing, or masochistic encounters with dominatrixes — relay that beneath the shame they feel in telling me their story, they also experience a sense of freedom that comes from finally being able to share with another human being the hidden, shameful, sexually compulsive acts that imprison them.

The life of a sex addict gradually becomes very small. The freedom of self is impaired. Energies are consumed. The rapacious need for a particular kind of sexual experience drives the addict to spend untold hours in the world of his addiction. 

Sexualizing is used as a magical elixir to meet needs without having to negotiate the ups and downs of intimate relationships.
(Just think about how crossdressing creates a fake woman instead of a real one you can talk to).

Patients often report that they feel fraudulent, living two separate lives with two different sets of values and goals. They feel they’re acting out a version of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde.”

 

I will not google that

In relation to my last post about doing whatever it takes to quit crossdressing and fight temptation, I did a writing exercise that was helpful to me.  A television show reminded me of how kids used to do the discipline activity of writing something like “I will not hit my sister” 100 times on a piece of paper.  Such an activity I think is helpful because it really ingrains the idea in your head.

Recently, I looked at websites about crossdressing that I should not have looked at.  I repented and enjoyed God’s forgiveness and moved on.  But I did not want it to happen again, so I did this writing activity to help me be more vigilant when it comes to the internet and crossdressing.  Especially I want to be more vigilant around google and not searching for things that might seem harmless, but will lead me down a wrong path.  I thought writing this phrase out – “I will not google that” 100 times would be helpful for ingraining that idea in my head.  I’m not sure if I reached 100 times, but it turned into a wonderful devotional activity in the process, and a good reminder of why I don’t want to fall back into crossdressing or looking at crossdressing websites.  I highly recommend this writing activity.  Below is a sample section from my activity.

I will not google that
I will not google that.
I will not google that.
I will not google that cd filth
I will not google that cd rubbish
I will not google that stupid fiction
I will not google those perverted stories
I will not google those flickr pictures
I will not google that art
I will not google story filth
I will not google that perverted sin
I will not google this toxic stuff to my soul
I will not google pictures of women celebrities
I will not google pictures of women
I will not google pictures of men
I will not google pictures of clothes
I will not google seemingly harmless phrases
I will not google any cd fiction which is all trash
I will not google anything without a purpose
I will not google trying to find sinful things to fill my mind
I will not google in an addictive state ruining my life
I will not google and waste all the time in my life
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google anything about CD
I will not google CD filth
I will not google CD drawings
I will not google CD photos
I will not google when I am home alone
I will not google dresses that were not made for me
I will not google that which will rot my soul
I will not google that which will put me in bondage
I will not google that which will make me feel pain
I will not google that which will make me feel regret
I will not google that which will make me want to vomit later
I will not google that which will make me disappoint my God
I will not google that which will make me add to the sins Christ had to bear
I will not google that which will make me lose a battle
I will not google that which will make me break my victory streak
I will not google that which will disappoint my accountability partner
I will not google that which will disappoint my prayer group
I will not google that which will fill my mind with horrid images
I will not google that which will confuse my body’s sexuality
I will not google that which will bring rot to my soul
I will not google that which will pull me farther away from God
I will not google that which will pull me farther away from my wife
I will not google that which will make me hear God’s voice less well
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that evil filth
I will not google that stuff I Hate
I will not google that stuff that filled my life with bondage for so many years
I will not google that and become a slave
I will not google that and go back to slavery
I will not google that and confuse my sexuality
I will not google that and read about such nasty things
I will not google that and waste all of my time
I will not google that and waste all my time looking for wholesome CD stories because there aren’t any
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that no matter what
I will not google that no matter how much it entices me
I will not google that no matter if I am alone and can delete my history
I will not google that no matter how much my body wants it
I will not google that just because I want sexual pleasure
I will not google that because I want to masturbate
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google beautiful women instead of desiring my wife
I will not google women to lust after which is adultery
I will not google any women to lust at which is adultery
I will not google any people to lust at which is adultery
I will not google pictures of CD men to lust at which is homosexuality
I will not google pictures of any people to lust at which is messed up
I will not google any kind of crossdressing fiction because its all so nasty and wrong
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google that
I will not google any of that rubbish
I will not google that which I know God does not want me to
I will not google that because I know that is what is best for me
I will not google that because I know that God’s will is best
I will not google that because when I don’t google that I am always happiest
I will not google that because when I don’t, I am free
I will not google that because I know God gives me the strength not to
I will not google that you stupid devil
I will not google that because I am going to be victorious
I will not google that
I will not google that because I am the Lord’s child
I will not google that because I have the Holy Spirit living in me
I will not google that because God loves me
I will not google that because I am a man of God
I will not google that because I am a leader of God’s people
I will not google that because I have the promise of eternal life
I will not google that because my joy is full because of God’s salvation
I will not google that because God is my all in all and all that I need
I will not google that because God is my joy and my treasure
I will not google that because Jesus is coming back again to make me new and change my desires
I will not google that because God is with me, always.

I will not google that. I am free.

No more half measures

A lot of people say they want to quit crossdressing, or that they tried to quit crossdressing and they failed.  But many of these people have not really tried.  They half-heartedly tried, but they didn’t try very hard.

If this addiction is really destroying your marriage, or destroying your life, or you believe it is sinful and displeasing to God, then wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to fight it?

And yet you talk to people and find out –

I tried to quit but it didn’t work” and yet they were never willing to confess to someone else to get help.
-And yet they were never willing to go to a 12-step group.
-And yet they were never willing to meet with their pastor.
-And yet they were never willing to get rid of their internet.
-And yet they were never willing to get accountability software.
-And yet they were never willing to get rid of their female clothing.
-And yet they were never willing to get marriage counseling with their wife.
-And yet they were never willing to ask their wife for help in reducing temptations around the house.
-And yet they were never willing to consider taking medications that might lessen the temptations.
-And yet they were never willing to read God’s Word for 30 minutes every day when feeling tempted.
-And yet they were never willing to pray accompanied by occasional fasting from food.
-And yet they were never willing to put work into memorizing Scripture.
-And yet they were never willing to find an accountability partner.
-And yet they were never willing to learn a new hobby or activity to take their minds off of crossdressing.
-And yet they were never willing to get out of the house doing productive things like Bible studies or volunteer work to have something else to do.
-And yet they were never willing to do the hard introspective work to figure out what the root causes of their crossdressing was.
-And yet they were never willing to read my blog or other blogs/articles giving tips and information that would help them to quit.
-And yet they were never willing to read or only skim more than 1 blog post about quitting.
-And yet they were never willing to pray daily, every hour, asking God for strength to resist the temptations.
-And yet they were never willing to put in place a strategy for how to deal with time spent alone at home.
-And yet they were never willing to join our support/prayer/accountability email group.

If you want to quit, it is possible, but it takes hard work.  Why expect that it would be easy?  It is an addiction after all.  We don’t expect drug addicts just to up and quit one day with never again having a temptation or difficult struggle.  Why expect that it will be different for us?

I think what it comes down to is this.  If you tried to quit crossdressing, but you failed to do most of the things above, then you really didn’t want to quit that badly.  Which is fine.  It’s a free country.  I am not going to try to prevent you from crossdressing.  But I do want people to realize that it is not that quitting is impossible.  It is that some people didn’t really try hard to quit crossdressing, though they said they tried, and we can see that they didn’t put much effort into it.

As I said in a recent post, change is possible.  It takes time, and it takes work.  But if you aren’t willing to put the work in, don’t expect change, and reevaluate your motivation.  Perhaps you didn’t really want to stop crossdressing after all.

I write this post first and most of all to myself.  I need to continue the fight, and I’m encouraging myself not to take any more half measures.  I need to continue the hard work of doing the things above.

If you do want to change, there is hope!  For a starting place – 12 steps to stop crossdressing.