Who am I, anyway?

When I first started this blog, it was for the purpose of finding, relating to, and encouraging other crossdressers. As part of that goal, I spent a lot of time seeking out crossdressing blogs and forums to see what other crossdressers like to talk about.

What I found was… not me. Page after page about panties and bras, passing as a female in public, how to hide what you do from your wife (!), and musings factual and fictional on the authors’ erotic attraction to women’s clothes.

I have said before that you can’t redefine “crossdresser” to the point that you claim you aren’t one, if you are a man who wears women’s clothes for any reason, in any quantity. But if all of the above defines the crossdressing community, I’m getting off this ride at the next stop. I pass no judgment on those who do prefer to go fully female or like using clothing as a sex aid (there are far weirder and much more unhealthy ways to pursue arousal) or those who collect panties like some people collect baseball cards… although I still have harsh words for folks who claim to love their wives and yet make lying and deception a part of a relationship built on trust. But that’s a sermon I have preached repeatedly and won’t go into here.

Instead, the bloggers I have the most in common with are the ones who, for personal or marital or spiritual reasons have decided to quit crossdressing entirely. They understand that “if it feels good, do it” is a self-destructive philosophy; they understand the importance of limits and self-control and taking responsibility for your actions, your family, your job.

Does that mean I’m also quitting? I don’t know. Right now, it just means I’m changing my focus. I feel like an idiot participating in these “stop crossdressing” blog discussions with an avatar that shows me in a big satin gown, so I’m changing my avatar photo by way of supporting my friends who take the desire to stop more seriously than I do.

I am still physically (and psychologically) a male who wears clothes designed for women, so I can’t deny the crossdresser label. And yet… I really don’t see myself that way. For whatever reasons that have blurred over 40 years, I like soft fabrics against my skin and I like the open, loose feel of long skirts brushing against my legs. But I don’t like wearing clothes just because they were designed for women. I know that many crossdressers will gladly wear denim jeans and t-shirts and button-down shirts and cotton underpants… as long as those items, even if they are visually indistinguishable from men’s clothes, are sold in the women’s department and are marketed with women in mind. And let me state again before going any further, I pass no judgment on folks who do that. You have your own path, and where that takes you is your business (the theological implications of crossdressing are a whole different can of worms that I have addressed here in the past and my friends address on their blogs).

I guess what I really long for is the day when a man can go into the men’s department, walk past the camoflage cargo pants and flannel shirts and select from satin and velvet gowns with full skirts. Can you imagine the ads? A lady reaches for a dress in her bedroom and the hairy arm of her husband stops her and takes the dress away, reminding her that it’s his. “Rustler evening gowns: Soft enough for a woman, but made for a man.” When that happens, I can truly wear “men’s” clothes and not need to call myself a crossdresser at all.

I know, that’s never likely to happen. But a guy can dream, can’t he?

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About Ralph

Male. Straight. Married.
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10 Responses to Who am I, anyway?

  1. thorin25 says:

    Hi Ralph. Great post. It’s nice just to read your honest thoughts about where you are at. I wish my struggle had been like yours. Unfortunately I used to be one of those crossdressers who did it for sexual pleasure, and maybe also for wanting to identify with the female gender for escape, for fitting my personality, comfort, maybe all those things together. I’ve delved deep into some pretty horrible crap on the internet, in pictures and stories. Some of those stories even get into homosexuality, abuse, incest…. Doing those things, I am very not proud of. Much much regret.

    I am very glad that you have been able to limit your crossdressing to what it is. Please hear my warning to not go down the paths that I went. There is only darkness there.

    Although we still disagree on some things, please know that I very much appreciate having you around, reading each other’s posts, and having good discussions.

    As far as your wish in the last paragraph, I think there has been a lot of progress recently. We are definitely not to the point yet you wish our culture to be at. But there is a lot of things men feel comfortable wearing and doing now that wasn’t the case not too long ago. Don’t you think? It seems our culture is ever so slowly changing. I think they are making more mens clothing with more comfortable soft frabics and styles. A good share of my shirts are shades of red and purple, and similar colors. 🙂

  2. Ralph says:

    Wow, that was fast! Of course it was you and ikthys who most made me take a long look at what really matters to me and where I am on my journey with myself and with God. I still have a few things to work out, but you got me started and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

    Let me also stress that just because crossdressing didn’t have the sexual hook for me that it did for you (and many others), I have been free from that particular trap. My own discoveries in the world of sexual stimulation have taken me down some dark paths indeed. To this day if I don’t keep a constant dialogue going with God, my idle thoughts and idle time can pull me into temptation involving bondage fantasy — stories, pictures, just imagining it, or physically acting out with whatever materials are at hand. Thankfully my wife has absolutely zero interest in the topic or we would end up enabling one another. Every single time I let myself go that direction, the reality is a huge disappointment compared to the fantasy and I am plagued with guilt and remorse, and once again I have to get on my knees and pray for forgiveness and release from such a destructive, consuming compulsion.

    I guess that’s part of why I’m not ready to fully buy into the “crossdressing in any form is a sin and an abomination” argument. There are times when something I do invites a conversation with the Holy Spirit that leaves me wretched until I confess and repent… and the dressing doesn’t bring about that kind of turmoil in my soul.

    That’s assuming, of course, I’m not spiritually plugging my ears and saying “Sorry, I can’t hear you!” — which is why I also refuse to declare myself free of guilt.

  3. thorin25 says:

    The inward promptings of the Holy Spirit are wonderful and mysterious. Many times I have rationalized giving in to some sin, logically not thinking it is wrong, only to have the Holy Spirit tell my heart that it is wrong. At those times, I have even started to feel sick in doing the sinful action, which to me felt like the Holy Spirit giving me a strong warning and wake up call to stop. And then upon stopping, coming to a complete realization at what lies I was giving in to, destroying the logical rationalizations. Thank you Lord for the Holy Spirit!

    But, I would still say that the Holy Spirit’s promptings are somewhat subjective. After all, all throughout history people have committed atrocities in the name of the Holy Spirit. That is why we must always check our feelings with God’s Word, and the community of God’s people. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. For me the three strands are God’s Word, God’s people, and the Holy Spirit within me. At this point in my life, all 3 are in clear agreement to me that crossdressing is sinful.

    I also think that it is possible to continually fight against the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and continually stop up our ears to God. The more we allow sin in our lives, I think the harder it is to hear what God is speaking to us. Eventually, we can completely remove any feelings of conscience about a certain action if we just keep rationalizing and giving in.

    Ralph, I have no idea if that is the case for you. That is something you will have to continue to work out with God’s Word, God’s people, and the Holy Spirit within you. Maybe like you said, the Holy Spirit is speaking to you well, and you are listening well, so that when you go down dark places you are immediately convicted. And then when you crossdress in your own particular way, you don’t feel that conviction because it’s not wrong in your particular case. Maybe that is what is happening. You know my views about crossdressing, that I think even what you are doing is not good, but I am not omniscient 🙂

    The following is not a logical argument, and is completely subjective, but for me doing what it right sexually with my wife has never led to other sins. The more I love and desire my wife, the love and desire grows, and it doesn’t get twisted and tainted by other corrupted desires. (and the more I love her sacrificially, the more I desire her for herself, without the extra of crossdressing, but when I love her less, the more I desire to do crossdressing with her). When I do what is right it doesn’t lead to other sins. That is another reason I think crossdressing is sinful. Whenever I crossdress, or read crossdressing fantasies, or look at crossdressing pictures, it leads to other things. It leads to getting turned on by pedophilia in stories, incest in stories, homosexuality in stories, domination and abuse in stories, bestiality in stories, etc. The pictures can lead to porn. I am not turned on by any of those things naturally. And thinking about them now is very sickening. But when I am reading the stories, those things have all at least partially turned me on at one time or another. It seems to me that sexuality is fluid. You start corrupting your sexuality a bit and it leads to other corruptions. The more I delved into those stories, the less bad I felt about them, and the more some of them felt harmless and okay. This makes me think again that if we allow sins into our lives we start listening to the Holy Spirit less, and soon we have warped our own consciences.

    Just some food for thought from my personal subjective experience.

  4. thorin25 says:

    Scratch pedophilia and beastiality out of that list. I’m not sure why I said that. I’ve read stories where something like those was in them, but I wasn’t turned on by them and immediately stopped reading them when such things came up.

  5. Ralph says:

    I didn’t read that as your personal list of weaknesses, Thorin, I was reading that as a general “slippery slope” list of examples of traps that any random person might fall into.

    I know what you mean about running into unexpectedly disgusting material, though. It’s the reason I absolutely can’t read racy stories about topics that do interest me. “Oh good, a charming little tale of a man who crossdresses. OK, so his wife makes him wear that… then the neighbor barges in and he’s embarrassed… then he — wait, his MOTHER??? and his SISTER??? At the same time??? With the chihuahua??????? Oh come on, that’s physically impossible with a watermelon!”

    When you like activity A and don’t have a problem with it, but 90% of the people who like A also like horrific disgusting act B… you might need to take a second look at A.

  6. thorin25 says:

    You seem to have been “Away-from-keyboard” for a while. Would love to read any new thoughts you have about our common issues 🙂

  7. Ralph says:

    Howdy, Thorin! I’m surprised anyone noticed 🙂 but yes, I’ve kind of drifted away from cyber-socializing at least as far as crossdressing is concerned. I check messages in email and on the blogs maybe once or twice a week and I’ve all but given up on Second Life; I have too much going on in Real Life.

    I’m also… I don’t know, just losing interest in the topic. When I started this blog, it was important for me to find others like me, men who are comfortable wearing, ah, nontraditional clothing but not hung up about being a woman trapped in a man’s body or obsessed with panties and tranny porn and… well, my post from November (above) sums that up so I won’t regurgitate it here.

    What I found instead was encouragement from brothers who are trying (or have successfully managed) to kick the habit (that would be a pun if our hobby included dressing like a nun, but I digress). It led me to rethink my priorities; I find that the less time I spend hanging out — even with anti-crossdressers — the less I consume myself with desires to do more, dress more, buy more, etc.

    Oh, I still wear what I have — by now it’s what I’m used to and it just feels *wrong* to wear pants. But that is all that remains, just the remnants of a lifelong habit, and the more time I spend socializing with others (which forces me to spend more time in socially conventional clothes), the less it bothers me to leave the dresses in the closet.

    Ironically, I am spending more time in Second Life wearing men’s suits. The account I used specifically for the purpose of strutting around in my finest frock lies dormant, but the account I use to interact with friends and family has been going out dancing with my wife frequently. She is physically handicapped so we have not been able to dance in over 20 years; now we can take our cartoon avatars out for a spin as often as we want. I don’t stumble over her feet and she doesn’t end up groaning in pain from the arthritis; best of all for her benefit I always sport a male (almost always human) avatar in a nice suit to match her outfits (which is another irony of sorts — she hasn’t worn a dress or skirt in real life for at least 10 years, but that’s all she wears in SL).

    Anyway, that’s the news and the big change in my life, and I have you, Jared, and Ikthys to thank for it! My life is changing painfully slowly and I’m the first to admit I’m fighting it every step of the way, but you all have had a profound effect on the way I look at myself and my relationships with my wife, my children, my friends, and my God.

  8. thorin25 says:

    Sounds good Ralph. Certainly nothing wrong with taking time off from the topic, that’s for sure! I fully affirm you getting back into your real life, loving your wife, and doing what you need to do. Don’t feel bad about it at all! If you ever need prayer for anything, come back and let us know! It’s been great talking to you!

  9. James says:

    I am an atheist, so I do not have the religious struggles you do. The Bible is too filled with hatred in my opinion to reflect a morality of love.

    That said, I enjoy your blog immensely. As for lying to my wife, I do not. As it turns out, she is immensely tittilated over my cross-dressing – she has even gone so far as to befriend numerous folk on-line who have not “come out” to their wives, to ease them out of a hidden secret into the open. And surprisingly, she is actually quite successful at being Ann Trannie Landers.

    As it turns out, in the modern day, it seems that wives are much more forgiving of an occasional nab of their lingerie (or in my case, my wife makes me clothing, though I wish to learn to sew for myself) than they are about lying. Who’d’ve thought?

    That is not to say that honesty will work for everyone, but she seems to find (in her conversations with other crossdressing men) that it is harder on the men to say anything over fear of rejection than on the women.

  10. Wesley says:

    I really get a laugh out of the idea that you can “just stop” crossdressing. . Sure you can. .

    Maybe if your some twit that started wearing women’s jeans at 23 because you thought they looked good. . or because some rock star does it. . this is a case of “Borrowing” from the fashion of the opposite sex. . . Not crossdressing. . .

    In my humble opinion, crossdressing starts around puberty. It becomes deeply ingrained in a persons psyche after years of conditioning behavior. (the first time, putting on a bra panties or whatever is very sexually exciting. . You mastrurbate, reinforce the behavior and repeat for years. .) that behavior is deeply ingrained. It starts that way when you are young and as you progress in years, it becomes a mechanism for stress relief.

    I realize that is not the only pathway to crossdressing. But in my case, that is what happened. I purged once at about age 17, and was lucky enough to accept that part of me and embrace it early on. Life has been so much easier because of it. .

    But most importantly, I realize I cannot just “stop” crossdressing. . .

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