I have been thinking recently about how a crossdressing addiction makes so many demands on us. It consumes us and enslaves us, just as all idols and addictions do. What I’ve seen in other crossdressers and in my own past experiences, is that the more you give in to the demands that the crossdressing addiction makes on you, the more you lose your sense of self, your real identity. You feel like you are gaining something in the crossdressing, but you are also losing something at the same time. You gain the false persona while losing your real persona. Let me explain.
Men and women are different and look different. So the more you give in to the crossdressing addiction to try to look and act like a woman, the less you look and act like yourself as a man. Take some obvious examples. When a crossdresser is new in the addiction, his activity might be limited to simply wearing female underwear or clothes once in a while, for comfort or for sexual purposes. But as the addiction grows, so do the demands that the addiction makes on the person. Soon the man is willing to shave off his beard, perhaps viewed as a small sacrifice for the sake of the woman he creates when crossdressing. But it’s still a loss, and perhaps it is to his wife as well. Then maybe he stops lifting weights. He enjoys having good muscles and a good body as a man. But since he likes being a woman part-time, he stops lifting. Another loss to his identity and life as a man.
If the addiction escalates, more losses come. Perhaps he starts keeping his hair longer, which he realizes looks silly while being himself as a man. It’s another loss, but it’s worth it because during crossdressing episodes he can style it like a woman would. Perhaps he starts to shave his legs and keeps it a secret from others, or makes excuses to his wife about why it’s more “comfortable.” No more wearing shorts or playing ball with the guys. Another loss. As the addiction continues, you know the rest of what happens. Soon there are painted nails that have to be hidden. Soon there is more and more time away from male friends and from the wife he loves so he can live out his crossdressing fantasies. Soon he starts eating a lot less to lose weight to try to look smaller and more feminine. It makes me want to weep when I look at the google search terms that bring people to my blog such as “losing muscle for crossdressing.” And if things continue, hormones begin to mess up his body, and eventually a full series of surgeries come. Now he has lost his male self completely, utterly mutilated and erased, the biggest loss. And on top of that, he may have lost his wife and children and friends and job in the process, all for the sake of giving in to the demands of the addiction.
I’m not the first one to notice this. Look at what Richard F. Docter wrote in his book, Transvestites and Transsexuals:
There is a gradual “erosion” of masculine identity, perhaps a weakening of the self-system, as cross-gender behavior is rehearsed and reinforced for many years. This process of self-destruction of the masculine identity is especially worthy of more intensive study. A parallel growth of cross-gender identity occurs.
The most common loss I see is that crossdressers sacrifice their marriage. Many crossdress to replace their wives with the false created female persona. The make-believe woman becomes the one the crossdresser lusts after in the mirror, and the one the crossdresser wants to spend the most time with, the one that most sexually satisfies the crossdresser, the one who finally satisfies the crossdresser’s longing to connect with the feminine. The crossdresser will probably want to remain married and hope his wife will be attracted to him as a woman. If forced to choose between pleasing his wife and satisfying the make-believe woman, unfortunately all too often the make-believe woman wins, and the marriage is over.
If we are honest, we know this is how crossdressing works. When addicted, you sacrifice many things to feed the addiction. And the demands are endless. In fact, even after you’ve had surgery, and you’ve started living as a woman, there are always more surgeries to consider, more treatments to try, more habits to make, more skills to learn, to try to overcome the male body and mind that keeps asserting itself and trying to look and act as much like a woman as possible. You have to learn how to speak differently and walk differently and give yourself new mannerisms. It’s an addiction that never completely satisfies, and for whatever meager rewards it offers, it takes much more than it gives.
Consider the difference between crossdressing and a healthy marriage. Both crossdressing and marriage demand some sacrifice but in different ways. Crossdressing demands that you sacrifice your identity, your real self, and much of your time and perhaps your family besides. Marriage requires hard work and sacrifice and compromise to be sure, but it does not demand that you sacrifice your sense of self. To the contrary, the more in love you are with your wife, the more time you spend together, the more you will feel like yourself. At least that is what I’ve seen. You can be a full and complete male enjoying time with your full and complete female who you are married to. And if you have a healthy marriage with a good attitude, marriage usually brings out the best of your traits, and even helps you to improve yourself. The only “losses” could be things like free time or certain hobbies that you have to give up. But you don’t lose yourself. But crossdressing demands that you put your male self and your male self’s desires, and your male self’s money, and your male self’s body to death in order to feed the needs of the false female persona.
Can men who are pro-crossdressing admit this? If you want to say crossdressing should be embraced, then say so. But can you admit that it comes at a huge cost?
This is the nature of idols. They demand sacrifice. Crossdressing demands that you make cuts and losses from your male identity. I’ve written on idolatry here – Crossdressing can become idolatry. I highly recommend you read that post if you haven’t, or read it again. Pastor Tim Keller says – “An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance, in order to hold on to it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries. To practice idolatry is to be a slave.” “An idol is something we cannot live without. We must have it. Therefore it drives us to break rules we once honored to harm others, even ourselves, in order to get it.”
I am not yet perfect, and sometimes crossdressing desires still come into my head, but I can proclaim that I am no longer addicted to crossdressing. I am free! So I can live for God and for my desires as a man, rather than putting myself to death for the sake of a foolish addiction. If you are struggling and this post has convicted you, there is hope for change! I and the community here are ready to help you. You can enjoy this freedom from crossdressing also! There is still time before you lose yourself completely. Post here and I’m ready to pray for you and help you!
John 8:34-36 –
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.