I have written extensively about how crossdressing can become a replacement for one’s girlfriend or wife. See this post. Sometimes this happens because the crossdresser perceives his crossdressed self as more feminine or more attractive than his girlfriend or wife. In actuality, the crossdressed self may not be very beautiful (perhaps even repulsive to the general population), but since crossdressers are so sexually attracted to female clothing, jewelry, and makeup, more than to the female body itself, their image in the mirror may still seem beautiful and sexy to them.
But there are other reasons why a crossdresser may more strongly desire crossdressing than sexual intimacy with his wife. I’ve been pondering what it is about crossdressing that makes some men desire crossdressing more than their gorgeous wives who look like supermodels, their wives who might be very feminine in appearance and manner. On top of this, their wives might be affectionate, loving, and fun. Why would a man want to crossdress if he has a wife like that? I have written a lot of other posts that get at some of the other reasons (envy, gender dysphoria, addiction, objectification, etc.) But one other reason for this could be that crossdressing allows a man to have more control.
It’s a stereotype, but most men love to be able to control and subdue this world and the things in this world. This may sound bad, but it can actually be a good thing. God created men to be co-rulers with him, and co-creators, as they work in this world, develop it, and create culture (see Genesis 1:28 and 2:15). Men love to administer and organize and make things more efficient. Men tend to enjoy hard work and have the ambition to want to be successful at all that they do. Men love to conquer. Let me be clear. I know I am speaking in stereotypes and this may not perfectly describe all men, nor do I mean to say that some women don’t have similar desires. But these are general traits of men, and in our world we see a lot of positive fruits from these tendencies in men, and we see a lot of destruction from these tendencies as well.
One of the common ways these tendencies bring destruction is through marriage. We have all seen men dominating women and men who abuse women. That is evil. We have also seen men who manipulate and control women. They make them into doormats or slaves. That is also evil.
In this post, I am arguing that for some crossdressers, crossdressing is a manifestation of their God-given desire to control their environment and their lives, but that it is a distortion of that desire for control, a desire for control that has run amuck. Many of the wives of crossdressers I have engaged with have described manipulative and controlling husbands who do whatever they want with no regard for the feelings of their wives, but that is actually not the direction I’m going in this article.
I am arguing that the crossdressing behavior itself is a way to assert control over one’s life. Most men desire to connect with a woman, with the feminine, in an intimate way. For some crossdressers, crossdressing is a way to assert complete control over this process of connecting with the feminine. It’s a way to engage femininity without fear, without surprises, and without risk. We can control it completely. We can get the exact look of womanhood that we want, when we want it, and how we want it. We can make the woman in the mirror do whatever we want. We want to control a woman as simply as we control the television with a remote control.
I’ve interacted with a lot of crossdressing men and had a lot of interesting discussions. Over time, patterns emerge. Let me describe some patterns below that seem to support this idea that crossdressing is sometimes about control.
- There seems to be some connection between obsessive-compulsive disorder and crossdressing. I have written about that here. There has been research done on this, but I think more needs to be done. One of the central issues in OCD is a desire for control. Crossdressing could be a ritualized compulsion to deal with obsessions and anxiety, and in this case perhaps it includes the anxiety of figuring out how to relate to women romantically and sexually. Perhaps when we were younger, we experienced attraction to girls as unwanted and intrusive obsessive thoughts, and crossdressing as a compulsion was a way to deal with those unwanted obsessions. I don’t know. The connection between OCD and crossdressing is fascinating and needs to be explored more.
- There seems to be a common theme of crossdressing men having histories of being rejected by women. I’ve written about that here. This could be actual verbal rejection when asking women out. But it could also be perceived rejection. Many boys grew up shy, not fitting in with other boys, feeling weak and scrawny, and feeling undesirable to girls and later undesirable to women. This has led to many men feeling shame, inadequacy, or a loss of confidence when relating to women. Perhaps crossdressing gave men like this a way to control their approach to femininity. They could approach it on their own terms, and master it, without fear of rejection and without surprises. As the old jokes say, it’s really hard to understand women. What better way to control difficult interactions with women, then to remove women from the interaction completely? An image of a woman in a mirror is much less complicated than a real woman who makes her own choices and is unpredictable.
- Relating to the above point, there seems to be a common theme of men feeling shame about themselves. Although many men who are crossdressers are very successful, they may hate how they look. They don’t think they are attractive as men. They don’t think they look very manly or handsome. Crossdressing in this case is a way that they can control their feelings about their appearance. They don’t have to see themselves at all, and so they don’t have to feel bad about how they look. It’s not the man and the woman together. Instead, they see only the image of the woman in the mirror. To the crossdresser, it’s as if their ugly body has disappeared.
How can we work on recovering from this distorted way of trying to take control?
We need to learn to embrace the adventure of life and give up our need for absolute control. There are going to be surprises, and failures, and disappointments. But there will be great rewards and experiences in life as well. We must stop being control freaks. We must leave things in God’s hands. We need to trust. We need to be willing to take risks. Part of true manhood is being willing to take risks.
Interacting with women is complicated and difficult, but it is also rewarding. It’s time to give up the game of crossdressing. Stop trying to control something that is meant to be alive and active and interesting. Enjoy a real relationship with a real woman, a woman you don’t control, but a woman that is therefore exciting and fun to be with. A real relationship that you cannot control will be hundreds of times more fulfilling than a fake relationship that you have full control over.
Here are a couple helpful articles about learning to give up a need for control: