By lust I mean a strong sexual desire and craving, which can of course be sinful as Jesus talks about. But I’m using the word lust in a more neutral way, as basically strong sexual desire and pleasure. When we strongly desire our wives and have sexual pleasure with them, this is lust, strong passion, but it is not sinful. For us who used to be addicted to crossdressing, I think that in some ways we have to learn to lust properly. Let me explain. The more men crossdress and get sexual pleasure from it, the less they desire real women and the less they desire their wives. If we desire crossdressing for sexual pleasure, it’s hard to desire women, or our wives, as we are meant to. For men who are giving up crossdressing, they have to learn to desire what they are supposed to.
Crossdressing for sexual pleasure is sinful just like pornography is sinful. One is not necessarily worse than the other in God’s eyes. They are both sexual sin. But to be honest, at times I have felt much more sinful than other men, knowing that in my past there are sins of crossdressing instead of sins of pornography. While both are sinful, crossdressing just seems so much more perverted and shameful. Maybe it doesn’t just seem that way, but maybe it truly is? Lusting after a woman who is not your wife is sinful and misplaced because you are supposed to lust after and desire only your wife. So pornography or lusting after other women is one step removed from what is normal and good and intended by God and therefore sinful. But I think crossdressing in some ways is one step beyond even lusting after other women, thus two steps removed from what God wants for us. In crossdressing, men get sexual pleasure not from their wives, and not even from other women, but instead only from the clothes women are wearing. They desire not their wives, not even real women, but only objects, or worse they sexually desire themselves and their images in the mirror. If you think about it like that, crossdressing desires are far more distorted and removed from proper sexual desires than pornography is. Obviously pornography is a horrific evil that is addictive, distorted, and is oppressive to women. But even if crossdressing doesn’t harm women, like the sex slaves in the pornography industry, it still seems to be more distorted and more removed from God’s will for us.
Because of this, I think finding healing from crossdressing is not necessarily straightforward. Ideally, God could just heal a man and he’d be able to go right from quitting crossdressing to desiring his wife as he is supposed to. Or he would quit crossdressing and start being attracted to other women and look for a wife. But I think such a man needs to cultivate desire for real women instead of for their clothing. God created men to have desire and attraction to women. Of course this needs to be controlled, but for some crossdressers they may need to learn to have or allow for this desire in the first place, because for so long they have been consumed with desire for themselves or for objects. Maybe they need to focus on the beauty of women for a while and enjoy seeing that beauty.
I’m NOT advocating for looking at pornography. That is sinful and highly addictive and objectifies women. Don’t, not at all, not ever. But I think an ex-crossdresser should not be legalistic and constantly worried about lusting after women he sees while he goes about his day. He should take time to look at women’s faces, see them as real whole people made in the image of God, and see their beauty, see their unique female body, rather than focusing on their clothing or accoutrements or makeup. Once he starts fantasizing about having sex with a lady, he should shut those thoughts down immediately and not give in to that sin. And if that starts happening, well, we know he has successfully reignited or cultivated new desire for women rather than for crossdressing.
I worry especially for men who have been raised to never notice an attractive woman because they think it’s sinful just to notice. Perhaps this legalism about attraction to women was what drove some of us into crossdressing in the first place? Perhaps we associated all desire of women and all thought of sex as things that were sinful, never to be thought of. So we ended up crossdressing instead, as a way to enjoy the beauty of femininity without lusting after a real woman. I think that is what happened to me. It’s hard to know, but if that describes you, you need to learn to enjoy the beauty of women, and allow yourself to be sexually attracted to them. Don’t fear the sin of lusting after women so much that you can’t enjoy being attracted to a beautiful woman. I think this is a really necessary step. There should be a clear distinction in your mind between enjoying the beauty of a woman, and dwelling on her and fantasizing about her and undressing her in your mind. One is okay, one is not.
If you are married already, then don’t spend your time noticing the beauty of other women. Just look at your wife as if looking at her for the first time. Let yourself be captured by her beauty and fall in love with her again. Reject the fake woman of your crossdressing escapes from reality, and enjoy the beautiful wife that God gave to you. See this post for more on that idea – May her breasts satisfy you always.