The psychological origins and causes of erotic crossdressing (+ why transvestite is a dumb term!)

by Felix Conrad - Clinical Philosopher on February 16, 2018

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Point A – a human is born a male.

Point B – forty years later he wants to chop his balls off and change his name to Tammy.

Question: what the hell happened between point A and point B? Where should we start if we want to understand the phenomena?

Answer: at the beginning.

CHAPTER 1 – The Beginning

For many femephiliacs, crossdreamers and late onset transsexuals, the first cross gender experience is what psychiatrists call… a ‘transvestite’ experience. So, let’s begin by asking ourselves what a transvestite is, and how it relates to problems with gender identity.

There are two definitions of transvestite: the savvy one – relevant and necessary to readers of this book – and a dumbed down version for members of the public and the psychiatric profession.

The dumbed down version is this: a transvestite is a person who derives sexual stimulation from wearing the clothes of the opposite gender.

The savvy one is: a transvestite is a person who derives sexual stimulation from wearing the clothes of the opposite gender; however, this is just a part of a deeper sexual fantasy about being a woman, which in turn is part of his Deeper Female Self – which may, or may not develop, as he grows older.

So for our purposes, there isn’t really such a thing as a transvestite – there is only transvestite behaviour. Wearing women’s clothes is just one of various ways in which crossdreamers stimulate themselves sexually in their broader erotic, disposition to being a woman. They might equally be turned on by stroking their chest and imagining they were breasts, or by having sex as a woman. Saying he is a transvestite is like saying a heterosexual having sex in the missionary position is a missionaryist and like trying to define his sexuality by the fact he has sex in the missionary position. We all know that that is just one position and part of his heterosexuality.

Before we examine further, however, this early erotic behaviour towards the feminine, let’s just think for a moment about the clothing of the opposite gender. Why does it start with that, and why does women’s clothing exert such a powerful and lasting hold over the femephiliac erotic interest?

We do not know the exact scientific reason but I will relate to you recent thinking on the subject…

Femephiliacs inherit their erotic taste genetically. Quite literally, there is a gene which means that their principle erotic interest will be to behave and look like a woman. At some point in the child’s development this gene is activated and the first thing he does is to identify the female in his environment.

Now, because we are not living on a desert island paradise where everyone is naked, he can not identify women by their secondary sexual characteristic of vagina, and similarly – due to concealment and differences in size – breasts are not so striking, either. Also, in a world of gender equality where men and women have the same jobs and both change nappies and do housework, there is less demarcation of behaviour and roles. In fact there are not as many feminine identifiers in the environment as you would think, which means the infant locks on to the most visible and striking sign of womanhood available: their clothing. And of course, clothes that are markedly different will make more of an impression. Therefore – a bright pink, satin dress, screams much more of the female than a pair of jeans. And this would be even more so if the process occurs at an age – so young – the child is not sufficiently observant to notice minor details like makeup and only registers great swathes of moving, shining colour.

Thus the child – directed by the gene he inherited – has initiated a process which will result in an erotic association with clothing. It is the environment’s clearest characteristic of the goal of his desire: womanhood. Furthermore, because this is the first erotic stimuli that the child is exposed to, it is the strongest and – despite the addition of subsequent erotic stimuli as he develops (breasts, vagina etc.) – it often remains the strongest.


If you have a problem with that theory then you could choose a more practical explanation. What the individual seeks in his fantasy is to cross gender. Clearly, however, he cannot just walk up to a chest of draws, take out a vagina and put it on. Clothing, however, is an easy jump to the other gender: open a draw, take out an item of clothing and, hey presto, you have a cross gender experience. Clothing has, therefore, a magic force to the individual who is interested in being the other sex.

Whatever the cause, many individuals who have a crisis of gender identity later in life began their cross gender behaviour with clothes of the opposite gender, and this behaviour was sexually gratifying. And while it may not seem overtly erotic when a young child does this, it is quite clear from all the evidence, that very young children do have an erotic drive. At this point I do not want to enter into that debate; all we need to establish is that as soon as they develop a full erotic drive in puberty, cross dressing and cross gender fantasies will be an important part of that drive and we can say that their first significant cross gender experiences are sexual in nature. Furthermore, while they may have successful heterosexual sex, their principal fantasies will always be about crossing gender, and that will continue to be the case for the rest of their lives as testosterone powered males.

Now, talking of the rest of their lives, what will happen is that some femephiliacs will develop and explore their deeper female self. This may range from little more than an alter ego, to the creation of a new identity. When this identity becomes important to them they will question it. They will want to know where it came from, if it is valid, and should they continue developing it. And so they will search in their psyche for its roots and see that if they trace their cross gender behaviour back in time sequentially, it seems to have begun with sex, and that all through their lives the dominant activity in their cross gender behaviour was sexual. And even now, with this new identity which feels so right and beautiful and sublime and seemingly non sexual, they are still constantly fantasising and gaining sexual satisfaction from crossing gender.

Which all leads to the million dollar question…. 1) Is the drive to a cross gender identity which I’m developing now, motivated – deep down – by my sex drive?

Start Session 2… NOW

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison Wunderland November 10, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I very clearly recall my first cross gender dressing, panties secreted from the clothesline of an attractive neighbor. First thing I remember wishing was that my penis would go away.

Clothing signifies gender. Simple as that. Gender is a sexual thing, presentation of gender is a sexual act. Simple arrangement of “symptoms/behavior constructs a “fetish” paradigm — for the medical patriarchy, who can call it a pathology, and profit from diagnosis, treatment.

Best thing we might do for OURSELVES, is concede that we don’t entirely u derstand. It’s not a simple, flat, rote diagnosis. Sexuality is more complicated than any sort of linear discursion, any sort of nominative signification.


yolo December 4, 2015 at 6:20 am

Wha if my interest in female clothes has very little to do with erotic aspects? for example I like heels, bags and long hair, non of which have a lotto do with sex. I also have little to no interest in wearing female underwear.


Shae Guerin March 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Somebody here has very little more to do with their transgender ways than to philosophize and pick nits. Too bad; the time spent on this essay could better have been spent living life instead of examining it.


Bill October 8, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Hello Felix,
Above you stated “Femephiliacs inherit their erotic taste genetically. Quite literally, there is a gene which means that their principle erotic interest will be to behave and look like a woman. ”

Can you tell me if there is a genetic test for this gene? Can you point me toward some scientific research which describes or references this gene?
I am very interested in learning more about this.

Thank you.


Transcend Everything October 20, 2017 at 5:48 am

Sorry, althought stated as fact…this is pure speculation on my part. Considered speculation…but speculation none the less.


Kristina October 21, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Where do i join so i can finish reading the sessions? I cant get passed the third.


Robert November 15, 2017 at 1:12 am

I disagree. Crossdressing can be an erotic fantasy about loss of control and adopting a passive role during sex without the crossdresser being uncomfortable about any other aspect of his gender. Equally, crossdressers may derive no erotic pleasure from women’s clothes, but wear them because they identify as women. The idea that erotic fantasies are linked, genetically or otherwise, to gender dysphoria is unproven.


Transcend Everything November 16, 2017 at 9:31 am

Yes, there are many permutations of crossdressing and reasons. Thanks for pointing that out. However, this is a chapter about the type of crossdresser with both an erotic history of crossdressing and gender dysphoria.


Joanna Santos December 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I would suggest that the typology that Felix writes about represents the vast majority of crossdressing males with only the dysphoria being wholly absent or full blown and leading to transsexualism. I have personally known of no one who dresses with zero erotic component although acknowledge they can and do exist. If you are attracted to women it is unlikely the eroticism will not be there unless you are homosexual.


Chloe January 22, 2018 at 3:00 am

Thank you for allowing a forum for this discussion. I truly appreciate it. When I read all the articles about crossdreaming, I finally felt validated. Yet just as you described just because I get it. No one else does. This is what hurts. After my divorce and being told I was terrible and that I lied to everyone and hurt everyone I loved. In truth I agreed with all of this. I never denied that I was untruthful and that I hurt those closest to me. I allowed them to tell people the truth about what happened and they did, I accepted this, without argument. This was my punsishment, my secert was out. We all realize this may happen. What angers me is no one will accept my truth. I don’t want to be out and wild. I just want to be accepted by one person I love who loves me and won’t doubt what I tell them. I know that because of my history it is sexual, yet is more than that. I feel relegated to being either a fetishist, or a closet trans. I don’t want to be out, I just want acceptance from that one person close to me. I don’t want to be out and about just accepted by the one who loves me. This is the hardest thing to explain to people. I just want a lover to speak honestly to with honest, non-judegemental answers. I dont want to hurt them just an honest place to talk with out judgement.Yet this is the most difficult thing to achieve. Thanks for listening.


Transcend Everything January 24, 2018 at 9:33 pm

We will always listen, my friend…

I’m sorry I can’t respond specifically but this is one of those deeply personal comments where some deeper story lies beneath the surface…and I don’t know that story. But please feel free to email me if you want to communicate more directly.



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