Why does he crossdress?
Crossdressing information and support for partners, family and friends
If you’ve recently realised that a man or boy in your life is crossdressing you probably have many questions. Many people are concerned, worried, even in a state of shock at the news that a loved one is crossdressing.
This page is based on my experience of this issue as a counsellor, having worked with crossdressers and their families for many years . I will help you with some of your questions. I help many men who crossdress as well as partners and family members who are struggling to come to terms with it and to better understand crossdressing.
Without exception I’ve found that the more information you have about crossdressing, the more those initial worries ease and become easier to live with.
Has his crossdressing come as a shock?
It is bound to come as a shock to discover that a man or boy who is close to you is wearing women’s or feminine clothes. It is something that is not widely understood or accepted in society and as a result many people feel the need to keep it a secret, even from those close to them.
However, It is more common than you might think, and most men who crossdress are not gay or bisexual. Nor are they perverted in any way. They feel a compulsion, a need to dress in a more feminine way. It is likely that these feelings were as confusing for them at the start as they might be for you now. They might have tried to stop or change them. The desire to crossdress is not something a person has control over, rather it is a part of their identity.
Depending on the circumstances in which you have found out, you may be feeling an enormous amount of stress at the moment. It is important to remember that the man or boy in question is likely to have struggled with this as much as you are now and maybe for much longer.
You may feel that you no longer know him?
It is common for partners and family to question every aspect of the man’s behaviour after learning about his crossdressing. Those in shock can feel that because they were kept in the dark about it, there may be other things they have been ‘lied’ to about, or not told. You might feel that everything is different, but it is important for both of you that you try to resist those feelings for now. He needs your understanding and support and in turn, you need the same, I would like to be there for you.
Because of the way that crossdressing is perceived in society it can be very difficult to open up to people about it, even to close family and friends. It is likely his feelings have developed over time and maybe initially, there was nothing to conceal. Try to remember this is still the same person that you love, albeit, with some issues which may feel scary for you right now.
Worried he is gay?
This is a very common worry for partners. In fact most crossdressing men are heterosexual and have no interest in having sex with men. Often it’s not a sexual issue, but rather more to do with identity and gender. It is important therefore to not leap to any conclusions but to explore this as openly as you can, I can help you understand what is happening.
Worried he no longer loves you or finds you attractive?
For many, finding out a partner is crossdressing throws up many questions about how a future relationship would work. You might be wondering how it even could. It is very common to worry that your partner no longer feels the same way about you. As I’ve said, understanding crossdressing can really help to reassure you. Most of the time this is about personal identity and doesn’t actually change the way your partner feels about you. It is entirely possible for couples to work through and understand these feelings together.
I often work with couples to help them exchange and share feelings, and this can happen together or in separate sessions, with me helping to convey questions and answers between both.
Should I ask him to stop?
It is likely that in the long term he won’t be able to. In most cases he will already have tried to stop, and is likely to be feeling a lot of guilt and worry, especially if this has been a secret for a long time. Instead a better approach is to talk through the feelings behind the behaviour, to understand it before you move on to talking about any actions that either of you should take. It can also be helpful to learn about what has worked for other families and couples, I can share experiences and what has worked well for other couples.
Why do men crossdress?
Because of the prejudice that still exists in society around crossdressing, most people don’t have any first hand experience. When it happens to someone we know, we often don’t know how to react.
There has been a lot of research that looks at why men sometimes want to crossdress. To date there isn’t any conclusive evidence, but a lot of the debate looks at the impact of nature and nurture.
It may be a genetic issue, after all, we all begin life as female embryos which is why men have nipples even though they serve no practical purpose. Some research cites fluctuating levels of estrogen and testosterone in a woman during her pregnancy as a possible cause.
Men and women have both of these hormones, and different levels of them often affect our traits and characteristics. These fluctuations probably explain why some men have ways of thinking and acting which is more stereotypically feminine. We all know very creative men don’t we.
Other research suggests that a person’s environment especially when growing up may be significant. For instance the lack of male role model or the way that a boy is raised in childhood could affect their perceptions and feelings about gender.
There is also some research which implies that the loss of a female relation, or in some cases estranged relations can cause a man or boy to crossdress as a way of feeling closer to the female they lacked a connection with.
However understanding more about crossdressing can only help so much, eventually we need to accept people as who they are.
The challenges faced by men who crossdress
Of course there is a lot of misunderstanding, misconception and even phobia in society which can make people who are struggling with issues of gender feel isolated and lost. Many have experienced a stressful and even traumatic journey that has led them to seek therapeutic help.
A lot of people assume that a crossdressing man is gay or even has some sort of sexual deviancy, which makes talking about it publicly so difficult because of the stigma. Partners of crossdressers can often fear that their boyfriend or husband wants to have a relationship with a man, as a woman. But often crossdressing is not primarily a sexual thing, it is more to do with identity.
A lot of people drawn to crossdressing can have strong feelings of guilt, shame and self-hatred. Learning to accept ourselves can be especially difficult when it comes to crossdressing because they may lack a support network of friends or family. A crossdresser and their partner or family member will find it much easier if they find someone they trust to avoid the isolation and loneliness that some people experience because they feel alone with their worries
In my time as a counsellor I have become experienced at helping men who are struggling with their feelings and sense of identity. Cross dressing counselling can help men to better understand the compulsion they feel and to become more happy, comfortable and confident in themselves. I also help families and friends of men who want to crossdress to both understand the issue better and to help them express their feelings and to also become more comfortable about it.
What do I do now?
It is important that you approach this very carefully. As much as possible, don’t allow your emotions to influence your judgement. It’s likely that the man involved has not spoken to anyone about crossdressing, their privacy should be respected, especially since there is still so much misunderstanding and stigma in society generally.
If you’d find it helpful to talk these issues through with an experienced counsellor in complete confidence, then I can help. I also offer ways to speak with me anonymously. This can help you to take it all in, gain understanding, to share your worries and to think about what the implications might be. You can speak to me before or after you’ve started speaking to your loved one, alone or together. Above all, it’s important to remember that your relationship can still work. I’m really pleased to be able to offer support to many couples, who in many cases do go on to live happily together.
Kind words from recent clients
“I contacted Paul after much thought and the sense of relief I felt was enormous.
I’d discovered 5 years ago that my husband was a cross dresser. Our relationship has suffered through this and other life issues, subsequently separating.
Recently though we’ve got back together and with Paul’s help have looked into the cross dressing and the reasons behind it and our relationship as a whole. We are now in the process of rebuilding.
Paul has been so so important in all of this, helping both of us with his insight, compassion and a great person to offload to.
For me as a wife of a cross dresser Paul has removed the taboo that surrounds this, so important when you are trying to see a way through a situation that I thought at first was totally hopeless.
I’d say to anyone who finds them self in the same situation, that there is help out there and you are not on your own. Paul has a wealth of knowledge on this subject and this is why I approached him.
S., UK, January 2021
“I contacted Paul Parkin because Google ranked him #1 in the world for cross dressing therapy. What I learned over the first couple of sessions was not only is he the expert in this field, but he is insightful in lots with other life challenges too.
Paul’s in-depth knowledge and caring approach quickly made me feel at ease, valued and accepted.
I hadn’t realised but my early childhood relationships cause me problems in my adult relationships. Paul is helping me explore this important issue too. My relationship with my mother is linked to why I feel a compulsion to crossdress.”
Matthew. NYC USA. April 2018
“Paul helped me to understand why I cross dress, and to feel comfortable with my self.
He also helped me realise ‘there is no shame’ only my fears and unhelpful thoughts, now they’re gone.
Paul also supported my wife and helped her to understand.
Our relationship is much better after chatting with him, I would highly recommend his ‘relationship check-ins’ as a way to improve relationships, it really does work.
Thank you isn’t enough, really Paul you saved us.”
R.B. Indiana, USA. March, 2018
“Paul has helped my wife and I to navigate the very challenging problems we had in our relationship, he has helped me accept and value who I am, and helped me to understand why I cross dress.
He has also provided my wife and I with practical communication tools which have already changed our relationship for the better.”
Fl USA 03/19/2018
I just wanted to give you an update on things. It’s all very good.
I have settled into a gender fluid identity which allows me to express myself fully.
My relationship with my wife is fantastic and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
So thanks for all your help.”
J. UK Jan 2018
“I first approached Paul after opening up to my wife about my cross dressing / gender identity. It is something I have been battling with for a long time. Paul’s excellent counselling made me feel great about who I was and finally lifted a weight from my shoulders. The most important thing to me is my marriage and my wife’s wellbeing. Paul gave me the strategies to effectively communicate with my wife and give her reassurance. After a few rocky weeks, things have settled down and all is well now. Thanks Paul!”
Thanks J. – UK October 2017
‘I was sad, frustrated and didn’t know where to go when I contacted Paul.
My marriage was wonderful but my wife did not know the real me and it was creating barriers that were not fair to either of us.
Paul is so understanding and easy to talk to and, through his guidance, I wrote a letter to my wife, from my heart, which explained why I needed to dress and how I felt deep inside. Her reaction was amazing and a massive burden has been lifted from my shoulders.
We are now on a new journey with Paul constantly there for support if needed. My happiness now, after so many years of suppression, is incalculable.
Thank you so much Paul, you have been, and still are, wonderful’
Rachael – UK September 2017
“I was searching online for some kind of counseling to help me understand my crossdressing tendencies better. I wanted to let my wife know how I felt about it. This was very important to me for her to understand. I was scared of telling her and that’s when I came across Paul Parkin, an online counselor from the U.K. (Which I thought was kind of cool.)
I was a little leery at first not knowing what to expect. However Paul was extremely helpful and understanding and pointed me in the right direction. Paul made me feel comfortable and guided me to give me the courage I needed to tell my wife (which already knew about my crossdressing before we got married) of what I am, and that I wanted to wear panties everyday. My wonderful wife accepted that and we’re getting along even better than before I told her how I felt.
My anxiety and stress levels are almost gone. I’m much happier now able to enjoy living my life without worrying about my wife finding my panties in my dresser drawer, knowing that they belong to me and not some other woman. I’m now able to talk about my crossdressing to my wife without feeling so embarrassed by it anymore.
Thank you Paul, you made my life so much better then it was. I couldn’t of done it without your help. I would recommend you to anyone who needs guidance, especially crossdressing like myself to you. You’re services are very helpful and wonderful to know that it’s available if someone needs guidance to understand themselves better, like I did.
Thank you again Paul.”
Sincerely Jim B.
U.S.A. – June 2017
About Paul – online counsellor, online therapist and life coach
I’ve been working as a counsellor for over 14 years. I believe in online counselling and therapy because it lets me help people wherever they are in the world in a confidential, accessible way and with reduced fees.I first came across counselling for crossdressing a long time ago when a guy I was dating introduced me to his uncle. He was a married lorry driver with children. He answered the door to us crossdressed.
I spent a very happy evening with him and his wife about their experience. At first his crossdressing had rocked their marriage to its foundations but over time they had found a way for them both to cope with and accommodate his need. They told me how crossdressing counselling had helped the whole family through a really difficult time and that they now felt happy and fulfilled.
I was so inspired by them and their journey, and I’m delighted that I now regularly help individuals and families who are struggling with gender and crossdressing issues towards a happier future.