Starting the Year with Hopeful Testimonies

Happy new year!  May this be a year of freedom for you as you give up crossdressing and find wholeness and peace in accepting you really are, as God made you to be.  I figured the best way to start this new year would be to give you some testimonies to inspire you and give you hope, that change really can happen!

 

How I Found Freedom From Gender Confusion Part 1

How I Found Freedom From Gender Confusion Part 2

This quote really shows the dead-end of crossdressing, and of all harmful addictions.  It can never satisfy:

“Except… I just needed to do something about my leg hair—it was spoiling the effect of the stockings. And the armpit hair had to go. (Pro tip: don’t ever try to wax your own armpits.) And the chest hair too. So much hair to remove! And now I needed some makeup to cover my stubble. And a few more bras. And some fake boobs, to put in them. And some padded pants, to give a bit of shape to my backside. And how was I going to give myself a waist? And I never had enough dresses, and they never looked good enough on me, and somehow I was struggling more than ever. The holy grail of acceptance had simply led me deeper into a trap. I’d embraced my desire, but it remained as unfulfillable as ever, and its demands were getting bigger every day.”

Another good quote – “I learned that sin promises freedom and brings only slavery—which seemed oddly familiar… And on it went. I thought my identity was rooted in how I looked or felt or dressed, but I learned that my identity was in Christ. I thought that exile was having to dress as a woman behind closed curtains, but I learned that all Christians are exiles and strangers in this life. I had thought that God didn’t want me to struggle, but I learned about spiritual warfare, I learned about the point of suffering, I learned about the freedom that comes from denying ourselves and taking up our cross. I learned that being a Christian requires repentance and change.”

 

Decisions about Gender Dysphoria – The Power of Choice – This was a really interesting testimony with some very worthwhile ideas in it.  Unfortunately, this testimony is from the Mormon Church, which I happen to believe is a false church.  It’s still good to read, especially since so few crossdressers believe it is possible to give up crossdressing.  But I do have some serious issues with Mormon doctrine, and we have very different views about who Jesus is.  But I don’t want to take time to argue about that right now (and I do think there are those within the Mormon church that might truly know Jesus, despite the false teachings of that institution as a whole).  I think the easiest way to give up crossdressing is through having a true relationship with Jesus Christ.  But even religious people that I disagree with can still give it up such as Nick who wrote this testimony, and even those with no faith at all, are still able to give it up.

Part of this testimony makes me sad.  So much of it is about doing what God commands in order to be sure of eternal life.  Eternal life is a gift of grace through Jesus Christ, not something we earn through good works.  We do good works as a result of our free gift of salvation, we don’t do them out of fear trying to make sure we’ve been good enough.

Here are a couple helpful quotes though which can give all of us some good advice:

I also learned I do not have to think in gender binary. Treating all actions, desires, and hobbies as masculine or feminine is a great source of stress. I do not have to think of gender at all for these things. I choose to define myself as Nick. I have many interests and desire to learn a variety of new skills. I do not care if they are considered masculine or feminine. They are what I like and I would do them if I were male or female. The qualities that make up who I am, I own. I do not let narrow social gender constructs determine my pursuits.

I have also found that gratitude is a great balancer of dysphoric distress. Instead of focusing on the body and life I do not have I think on the things I have been given. I have a good, healthy body with which I can serve God and my fellow man. This may not be the body I want, but I treat it with respect and maintain it because I want to be attractive and show gratitude. I am grateful for the family, friends, and opportunities I have been given. I do not need to focus on the things I do not have.”

Freud on Crossdressing

Merry Christmas everyone!  This is an unusual post to do right before Christmas, but it’s what I had ready to go.  Sorry about that.  For an inspirational post about Christmas, see this one from last year – Christmas Meditation.

 

On to the subject matter of this post.  I remember when I first explored the issue of crossdressing on the internet when I was young, one of the first things I found was a website talking about Freud’s view of crossdressing, the “sexual inversion hypothesis.”  While Freud had a lot of crazy and strange views, and I surely disagree with him on many, if not most, psychological matters, I do think there is some merit to his idea here.  Maybe not the whole idea as he has packaged it, but at least the central point, which is that the man’s sexual desire for women is somehow diverted, or inverted, so that he desires himself dressed as a woman, instead of a real woman.  Even as a youth addicted to crossdressing, this idea made perfect sense to me and fit my situation.  Today, I still think it describes the situation well of many, (but not all), crossdressers today.  I say so not because of scientific evidence, but based on my experience and the stories of most other crossdressers I have ever read.

Here is an article that explains Freud’s view on this.  It is a very interesting read.  “Freud’s Sexual Inversion Hypothesis and Crossdressing.”

Where I disagree with Freud is how this condition is caused.  He argued that it could be due to thinks like incestual thoughts towards a mother, or problems with the relationship with our mothers in general.  I don’t think any of that makes sense.  However, the third class of causes, “facilitating experiences,” would actually fit a bit with my own story.

Why am I posting about Freud at all?  Because on this blog I like to link to and reference many different views and articles on crossdressing, so that all of us can read the information that is out there, and continue to wrestle, struggle, wonder about, and think through our crossdressing issues.  One of the best ways to understand an issue is to read about it from many different perspectives, even perspectives as strange as Freud’s.  But like I said, I think his idea has at least some truth in it.  The basic idea that we are sexually attracted to ourselves as women is something I’ve repeatedly blogged about.

I’ll list some quotes from the above website for those who might not have time to read the whole thing.  Quotations:

With respect to crossdressing, the idea is that the sexual feelings a male would ordinarily direct towards women, are, in the crossdresser, diverted. They become instead directed towards female clothing, or towards the crossdresser himself as an imagined female.Sexual feelings must be understood to encompass a variety of distinct sensations and emotions, including:

  • the giddiness or high that a man feels when attracted to a woman
  • soft, tactile gratifications of holding and touching
  • sexual arousal
  • stimulation of erogenous zones
  • release of sexual tension with orgasm

In the “normal” male, these sensations and feelings are elicited in various phases of courtship and mating with a female, and to some degree also in other relationships with women.  Inversion implies that for some reason, the normal process is not followed, such that the man chooses to experience some or all of these types of pleasurable feelings by himself.  As evidence that something like this is going on, consider the prominence that mirrors have in the life of the crossdresser. Indeed, one wonders whether, if there were no mirrors or cameras, there would even be crossdressing.  The crossdresser sees in the mirror a reasonable facsimile of a woman. Many of the same cues that a man finds sexually attractive in a woman are in that image–the clothes, makeup, hair, nuances of expression, etc. It seems fairly clear that a crossdresser obtains sexual enjoyment (by the broad definition of ‘sexual’ above) from his own image.  The basic concept of inversion is thus simple enough–the man chooses to display the attractive features of women, and to enjoy those, rather than to enjoy these features as present in an actual women.”

 

A main implication is that crossdressing of this kind is not an ideal state (note: all comments here only apply to inversion-caused crossdressing). It is a misdirection of sexual energies from their original purpose. It might be too strong to call it “pathological.” But the theory does imply that crossdressing impairs self-actualization. Crossdressing risks violating the organic integrity of the male. It affects the unity of his essence. Part of him is still committed to women and to finding higher levels of fulfillment through his love of women. But the crossdressing diverts energy from this. By not adequately investing his sexual urges in women, his relationships with women potentially do not become as deep and fulfilling as they might otherwise become.

Like all neurotic or defensive behavior, there is an inherent paradox with such crossdressing. It is a “good” strategy short-term, but not long-term. For any given day or week, crossdressing provides pleasure and escape from anxiety. But what are the consequences, what opportunities lost by following the strategy for 10 years, 20 years or more?

The crossdresser basically experiences a highly refined version of infantile sexuality. It is highly fantasy laden, and extremely narcissistic. Some would argue that the very purpose of erotic pleasure is to tie us more deeply to other people. Yet in the crossdresser the pursuit of sexual pleasure tends to have the opposite effect of driving him away from people and into himself.”

Guest Post – Paul’s Testimony

Thorin has recently written a blog about what a long journey it is to find healing from crossdressing. It is! Like all addictions, CD has a stronghold on us and it takes time to break free. As believers in Christ we don’t do this on our own. In fact we can’t. We need Christ to break the power of sin in us and to sanctify us. That doesn’t mean we do nothing. We make use of the means of grace, Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with other believers, the Lord’s Supper. As we make use of these means of grace so we know Christ’s grace in our lives.

For me it has been a long journey. My crossdressing started as a very young boy when I had to share a bedroom with my sister. I was probably eight or nine years old and would try on her dresses. During my teens CD became a big part of my life and I would look for every opportunity to try on my mum’s clothes. Getting married opened up more freedom to explore. It was during this time that more and more cords of CD tightened their grip on me.

About four years ago (2012) the desires to dress were so strong that I knew I needed to get help. Just dressing up had lost it’s fascination and in order to get a ‘buzz’ I was taking more and more risks. Those risks put me in a position where I had to tell my wife.

I didn’t tell her the extent of my CD and she still doesn’t know how far I went. She just knows that this has been a problem for me. That day I hurt her. That day I caused her to question her own femininity and whether she had been a good wife. If I could wind the clock back to when I was a young boy I wouldn’t ever have started so that I wouldn’t have needed to cause the woman I love the hurt I did.

As a result of that day I began searching for help online. I knew that was risky because whenever I had searched for help on this subject, I only ever found everything that is so unhelpful. But I asked the Lord to direct me and one of the first sites I came across was healingcd.wordpress.com. As I read the articles I began to see that there was hope to be free of, what I am convinced of, is a sin before a holy God.

The last four years have been a struggle but by God’s grace I have come to a much better place. The desires haven’t gone away and there have been times when I have still fallen into sin. Those times have left me feeling ashamed and perversely and sadly have often fueled the desire to do it again. But gradually things have started to change for me.

That was highlighted in a recent fall. I tried on one item of clothing. Four years ago that wouldn’t have had any effect on me. The only way I got turned on was by completely dressing up. I only ever felt shame when I had gone ‘all the way.’ However, in this recent failure, one item of clothing for a few minutes, I felt so ashamed, so empty, so wretched. As always the Lord came with the assurance of his redeeming grace and the knowledge that his righteousness is the only covering I need to stand before a holy God.

It was reflecting on this that I have realised that God is doing a work in me. Although I feel that there are still cords around me they are fewer and have less of a hold on me.

I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to keep on fighting this. Don’t give up. If we sow thoughts and deeds in the field of the flesh (CD in my case) then it is from that field we will reap corruption. Our lives will be rotten and we will stink. We won’t be the fragrance of Christ. But, if we sow thoughts and deeds in the field of the spirit (using the means of grace) we will from the field of the spirit reap eternal life. We will enjoy fellowship with Christ both now and forever.

Videos on the Serious Danger of Porn

As you watch these videos, remember that just as your brain chemistry changes as you become addicted to novelty and porn and masturbation, the same is true for sexual addiction to transgender porn, transgender fiction, lusting after images of crossdressers online, etc. For me, this was undoubtedly true in my sexual addiction to websites of a transgender or crossdressing nature, and I’m still in the long process of healing and recovering from that powerful addiction, though I’m very thankful for how I’ve changed and the freedom I experience today.

In addition, the same kind of sexual addiction with the novelty and binging element that the videos discuss, I also experienced with physical crossdressing. Why else do you think a crossdresser would constantly look in the mirror and constantly change outfits, and do so for hours at a time? Binging, novelty, addiction. Just as these videos describe.

This first video I’ve shared before, but in a slight different format. This one is a TED talk. The other videos I have only just seen for the first time.

In this video, I can definitely relate to what he is saying that addiction stems partly from wanting approval. Most of the times I have failed sexually were times of feeling depressed, rejected, or disliked. We need to get our approval from God, not from people. God’s love is unconditional.

This last video talks about some graphic content. As someone who was not addicted to porn, I did not realize how degrading and perverse most of internet porn really was until seeing this video.

Painful story about dealing with a transgender partner

This is the story of a woman and the pain she went through dealing with her partner (husband maybe?) who was a crossdresser addict, who crossdressed for sexual pleasure until finally convincing himself that he was transgender.

The writer claims to be a radical feminist and much of her blog is about such topics.  I am not advocating for the content of the blog itself, nor the attitude of the author towards issues of gender and transgender.  While some of what she says in other posts about transgender I believe to be true, much of it comes in vulgar language, and is certainly not from a Christian perspective and worldview.  I would recommend not reading any of the other posts.

However, I can affirm that much of what she has written in her story, from my experience, is true not only of her partner but also of many crossdressers.  I have heard so many stories similar to hers since starting this blog ministry.

Read it here – Gas Mark Six

In her story she shows very clearly the issue of escalation in the lives of crossdressers.  When giving in to crossdressing, we can never be content.  The addiction escalates and escalates until crossdressing has consumed our lives completely.  We aren’t content until we can be fully and completely a real woman (which cannot happen).  And in cases like the man in the story, we can’t really get what we want, because we want to be real women while at the same time masturbating and having sexual pleasure as a man.  It’s hard to imagine that this man cannot see the foolishness of his actions, and yet this story is just one of thousands.

On the issue of emotional abuse I think she is right. I don’t agree with a lot of what feminists say, but I do believe they are right when they talk about masculine bullying and manipulating coming from transgendered husbands.  I have seen this time and again from other stories.  Trying to force your wife to live as a lesbian is abuse enough, let alone all the lying, manipulation, and guilt trips.

I’m sad to say that what she says about her counselor is also not unique.  For a counselor to lay all the blame on her instead of her husband is unconscionable.  That counselor should lose their license.   I have lost a lot of faith in secular counselors.  I’m hesitant to send those struggling with crossdressers to counselors because so many counselors are absolutely clueless about crossdressing and transgenderism and instead of truly trying to help someone quit crossdressing and accept their male selves, they will encourage them in their delusions.  They are going along with the culture which says that whatever people want to do is fine, we should not judge.  It’s foolishness.  I’d much prefer to send people to Christian counselors or pastors.

Quotations from the book – Divine Sex

I read a book called – Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationship in a Hypersexualized Age by Jonathan Grant – and I had saved some quotations from the book to eventually share with you.   I do so today.  Even though the book is not about crossdressing or transgenderism directly, some of the sections were very helpful and enlightening as we think about our struggles, and as we think about the sexuality that God intends for us in spite of the various ways that we are broken.  The quotations are each about different topics, so I will comment on each of them separately.

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But infatuation has a short natural life cycle.  Like the boosters on the space shuttle, it burns bright for a time and then falls away.  This explains why we feel so “alive” in this early romantic stage and why people make such significant sacrifices – of careers, reputations, and existing relationships – in obedience to these feelings.  The infatuation drug is so strong, Fisher explains, that anything associated with the object of our affection will seem to glow – his car in a crowded parking lot or her sweater over a chair.  It explains why the grass seems greener when we “fall in love.”  The second stage Fisher describes is the bonding experience of sexual intimacy.  Besides the spiritual-emotional attachment that develops during these encounters, a strong physiological attachment also occurs.  This, she says, is why there is no such thing as “casual sex.”  Sexual climax releases a rush of certain neurotransmitters and hormones.  The neurotransmitter dopamine intensifies the sensation of romantic love, while the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin deepen our emotional attachment to the other person.  Oxytocin is also released when a mother breastfeeds a baby, which bonds mother to child.  As Fisher explains, this is partly why we can experience such a strong sense of cosmic union with somebody after making love with them.  The final phase of relational attachment is the deep sense of peace, warmth, and security we can feel with a long-term partner.  This is the consolidation phase of a relationship, wherein the bond is deepened through emotionally warm experiences such as sharing a walk along the beach or watching a movie together.”

This was what I found to be the most interesting section in the whole book.  It is clear that when you fall in love there is a lot going on with dopamine.  But when a couple bonds together and stays together for a long time, the hormone vasopressin deepens the relationship.  It cements the connection between the two people.  What if something similar is going on in crossdressing?  With the sexual rush of crossdressing, you get the dopamine release.  And then as you continue in crossdressing, why wouldn’t we imagine that vasopressin is released?  I don’t see any reason to think this wouldn’t be the case.  A crossdressed male feels like the false woman he created is a real woman, and he is sexually attracted to her.  And even if crossdressing has evolved in a person to no longer be sexual, there is still a feeling of comfort, peace, security, and warm feelings.  Instead of, or in addition to, feeling a personal connection with a long-term partner or spouse, you feel a personal connection to your crossdressed self.  Or you feel these feelings with both your spouse and with your crossdressed self.  This would help to explain why so many crossdressers refer to their crossdressed self as if it really is a different person with a different identity. 

It would also explain why so many crossdressers choose to keep crossdressing over an existing marriage, because they have cemented the bond to the crossdressed self, perhaps more than they have with the spouse.  This would also explain why it seems so very impossible to quit crossdressing.  For long term crossdressers, it would be like leaving a spouse you’ve been with for years.  To leave voluntarily would seem near impossible, and you would continually be drawn to see that person again.   Please give me your comments and thoughts about this.  It makes sense to me.  But I could not find any studies looking at the connection between crossdressing and vasopressin.  Though it does appear that there has been a lot of research and/or talk about the relationship between crossdressing and oxytocin, which would perhaps amount to the same conclusion.  From a quick perusal of crossdressing forums – (for 1 example – warning don’t go further than this at that site, could trigger you to act out) – it appears that most crossdressers realize there is this hormone release when they crossdress, and that it is the same kind of hormone release they would get if they were with a real woman.  What I don’t understand is why they wouldn’t quit crossdressing and instead look for a wife, or spend time with the wife they already have.  Addiction is powerful.  Even when you understand that the alter ego is not real, and is just the woman you created that you are sexually attracted to, or are intimately bonding to, it is difficult to give it up.

 

Besides these developments, the type of pornography being consumed has changed in two important senses: its neurological power and its tendency toward hard-core content.  As regards the increased potency of pornography, neuroscience has established that the rich the media – such as high-definition, hyperrealistic moving pictures – the more powerful the effect, particularly on the male brain.  This helps to explain why contemporary pornography seems more addictive than earlier forms.  Online pornography also naturally drives viewers toward increasingly hard-core forms.  Automatic pop-ups and linked advertisements create a fast-moving dynamic environment, which tantalizes the user in the heat of the moment to journey into unintended and increasingly extreme areas.  This progressive dynamic means that all online pornography tends toward the hard-core, often taking people to places they had no intention of going when they set out.  Clinicians make a distinction here between the decisions we make in “cold” and “hot” states.  Because cyberpornography offers dynamic and open-ended choices during “hot” or heightened states, it quickly drives users to places they would reject without question in a cold state.  Most people who have developed a compulsive habit in this area confirm this progressive movement from “soft-core” erotica into increasingly extreme imagery and scenarios.  In this way, scenes that would initially offend or horrify them soon become acceptable and even desirable.”

I’ve definitely experienced this kind of escalation.  It’s very difficult to find crossdressing stories or photos that sexually satisfy you, without going much further into a bunch of other really awful shit.  The only solution is to not give in at all, to even the stuff that seems tame.  And if you view this kind of behavior as sinful, then you shouldn’t be giving in even a small amount anyway.

 

C.S. Lewis describes the ironic narrowing effect of sexual fantasy on a man’s personal identity and capacity to love.  Something that promises limitless frontiers of sexual discovery and satisfaction leads instead into a dead-end canyon.  As Lewis describes, ‘For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful [i.e., proper] use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.  And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.  For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival.  Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.  In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself….After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in.”

I’ve written about masturbation already – see my post here – but I really like this warning from C.S. Lewis.  It really shows the deep problems with masturbation.

 

Seeing the goodness of God did not change Augustine nor help to curb his passions, which remained disordered and uncontrollable.  In truth, this spiritual enlightenment shone a painful light on his brokenness and the depth of his addiction.  Torn between the truth about God and the truth about himself, Augustine prayed one of the church’s most honest and enduring prayers: “Lord give me chastity and self-control, but not just yet!”

Probably the same cry of many crossdressers who want to give up the sin and live for Christ, but at the same time they don’t want to give it upSome people try to give up crossdressing, but still can’t quite muster up the courage to purge for example.  Or they want to try crossdressing in moderation. 

 

C.S. Lewis affirms this conviction that it is not the taming of desire that will set us free but rather the unleashing and enlarging of true desire: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.”

God’s will for our sexuality is what is best.  He wants to offer us more, not less.  But people still don’t understand.  Crossdressers cannot understand the joy and happiness that I have, even though I gave up crossdressing.  I hope one day they will understand and join me in my happiness.

 

It is no wonder that the recent growth of online pornography has turned the previously rare term “sexual addiction” into a mainstream phenomenon within counseling, pop culture, and the church.  This is the age-old dynamic of idolatry.  At the beginning, an idol promises total satisfaction at no personal cost.  It presents the illusion that we are in full control.  Unable to fulfill us, the idol draws us further in and requires more from us with each encounter.  In the end, having promised us everything at no cost, the idol’s false promises ultimately take everything.  Having offered us control, the idol becomes our master.”

Crossdressing is definitely an idol.  It sucks away at your life until you’ve lost everything, marriage, job, family, and sense of your true self.

 

“Having established a safe place and clear rules of engagement – honesty and confidentiality – they shared their personal struggles and journeys: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Many people consider this sort of self-exposure to be anathema, and yet the group grew quickly.  Something about their mix of courage, commitment, and candor attracted other men.  The group became a genuine community of koinonia, or loving fellowship, by stepping into the sort of honest, purposeful, and supportive relationships that Augustine described in his own journey of discipleship centuries earlier.  As he says: “My true brothers are those who rejoice for me in their hearts when they find good in me, and grieve for me when they find sin.  They are my true brothers became whether they see good in me or evil, they love me still.  To such as these I shall reveal what I am.”

This quote explains well why I cherish and love the – prayer group – we have that got started through this blog.

Christian Responses to Transgender

Here are several more articles about Christian views of transgender issues.

I think this first article is quite good and thorough. What does the Bible say about Transgenderism / Gender Dysphoria / Gender Identity Disorder

The gender stereotypes the author envisions are perhaps a little too stereotypical with not enough room for certain boys and girls to be different from the norm.  But otherwise I think it is a helpful article.  It deals with understanding transgender, what repentance looks like, having realistic expectations, and the author advocates love and compassion to those struggling with these issues.  A very well rounded article, and very helpful.

 

What the Gospel has to say to Transgendered Persons

This next article is very interesting theologically and biblically, but it is pretty academic, and not very pastoral.  Don’t read it to know how to counsel transgender people, but read it to understand some of the important theological ramifications.

 

How should Christians respond to the Transgender Phenomenon?

Very interesting article about Christians wrestling with the issue of whether to view transgendered people as having a physical or mental disorder, or are they living in willful sin against God, or is it a combination of both?  I think this is a really helpful article.  The author is clearly advocating compassion of transgender people, and clearly admitting that people don’t just come up with these feelings as a way to rebel against God.  We don’t choose them.  Yet we do choose to act on them, and our actions are what is sinful.  And the more we act on our transgender desires and give in to them, the stronger they become, and the more we actually are rebelling against God.