An open answer to Yahoo! Answers

I saw someone post this question on Yahoo:

why do I crossdress ?
Im 15 and ive been cross-dressing for about 3 years now. But i used to when i was like 6 years old. I don’t know why but i just love to try on woman’s cloths i love leotards, panties, tight dresses, tights stuff like that and sometimes i wear make up. I just feel really happy when i wear woman’s cloths and i don’t know why. I just feel aroused by them. I only do it on my own and nobody knows that i do it. I just want to know why is it cos im more feminine then other men or what please tell me. Also can you tell me some websites i can buy cheap woman’s cloths of thanks. And do you think i will grow out of it because at the moment i don’t want to cheers

I wrote an answer that was rejected for being too long, so before I lose all that work I thought I’d post the complete answer here and then direct him to this page.

Jack, there are as many reasons for crossdressing as there are men who do it (and that’s a LOT of men; estimates typically seem to be about 10% but that’s just a wild guess since most men would never admit to it). Some say it’s hormones — your body got “blessed” with more estrogen than most males do. Some say it’s all psychological — you’re trying to replace, or invent, a female influence in your life or you are rebelling against societal pressure to be the strong male. Some say it’s sexual — something in your life got you to associate soft clothing with sexual arousal, and that created a permanent bond in your brain. Me, I think it’s some combination of that and more.

I’m pushing 50, and I have been dressing on and off since I was about 12, which is typical for straight male crossdressers. I can’t answer the “why” question, but I can hopefully put your mind at ease about what it is and is not.

It doesn’t mean you’re gay. Very few crossdressers are gay; many are happily married. Likewise, it probably doesn’t mean you want to become a woman. That was the hardest part for me, because when I was your age we didn’t have the Internet to do all this research on so I had no idea what was going on with me. I didn’t resolve the question of whether I was gay or wanted to become a woman until I was sexually active with a wonderful lady, and that confirmed that I really like being a guy with a female sexual partner, and I never want that to change.

It may seem like the urge to dress is what sexually arouses you, but I remember being 15. A strong wind blowing across my crotch sexually aroused me. Seeing a cute girl sexually aroused me. Random thoughts passing through my brain while I was trying to learn calculus sexually aroused me. There may be a connection between the dressing and the arousal, but there probably isn’t no matter what the idiots say who wrote DSM-IV 302.3. As you see yourself, we started it before we even knew about sex!

What to do about it depends on a lot of factors — how bad it makes you feel to do without, how much you value fitting in with your peer group, your religious views, how badly your parents would react, etc. It’s VERY unlikely that you can give it up completely; visit any website for crossdressers and you’ll see page after page of stories about “binging and purging”. Some men will throw away thousands of dollars worth of clothes, only to start buying more again after a few days/weeks/months/years of denial.

I could never tell my parents. They went to their graves (hopefully) never knowing. While I lived at home, I didn’t buy anything. After the initial discovery of my mother’s underwear drawer and my deceased sister’s box of old clothes, I suppressed the urge until I went to college because I knew that anything I hid in my room WOULD get discovered, and I also knew my parents — particularly my extremely conservative, critical dad — would go ballistic.

In college, I had a small stash hidden that I would wear when I had the rented house to myself, and a few snide comments from my roommate made it clear that he knew, but he never came right out and said anything. So if you find yourself in a shared living arrangement, either let the other person know or make triple-sure that your secret is boxed up whenever you are not home, in a way that can’t be discovered with a casual glance.

When you find the girl of your dreams (and you will!) and you know you want to share the rest of your lives together… DO NOT HIDE IT. A relationship built on a lie is doomed to fail, even if she never finds out (which is highly unlikely… she WILL find out). Sugar-coat it all you want, explain how long it’s been going on, explain that you are unable to stop it, explain that it’s something that relieves your stress and makes you feel whole… but give her every opportunity to back out of something she can’t live with, before she’s trapped. She may cry, she may hate you at first, but no reaction of hers will be as bad as if she finds out on her own later and wonders what else you lie to her about.

She will probably want to put limits on your dressing. Not around me, not around the kids, not in public, not in bed, not during sex, whatever. HONOR THOSE LIMITS. Find a way you can get time for yourself that doesn’t demolish her comfort zone. If you’re really lucky, she’ll love the idea and encourage you and help you… but don’t count on it.

Finally, never make your dressing more important than your family (or your job, or other obligations). If you get to the point that you endanger yourself, your home, or your relationships with your dressing… it’s time to get help.

All of that was just to answer your first question! As to where to get stuff… local thrift/resale/pawn shops are a good source; I have found numerous items at the Salvation Army store in our town. When you have your own bank account and you don’t have to worry about other people seeing how you spend your money, ebay is best — don’t worry what the seller thinks. They don’t know you, they’ll never meet you (I do always make sure it’s not somebody near my hometown!) and they’re happy to take your money. Right now I’m wearing a satin prom gown I picked up for thirty bucks. Mail order catalogs are also good sources. I like full-cut briefs, not bikinis or thongs, so I’m very fond of the cheap nylon briefs from Roaman’s (aka Woman Within)… something like 10 pair for $25.

I created an account just so I could answer your question, because I know how scary it can be to discover this side of yourself. Feel free to contact me privately if you have more questions… cdralph2010 at gmail. Or read some of the articles on my blog,

About Ralph

Male. Straight. Married.
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