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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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Do I need to meet a psychiatrist? Statement: I like to

Resolved Question:

Do I need to meet a psychiatrist?
I like to crossdress. I usually wear men's clothes and don't mind to wear men's clothes, but just cannot deny the attraction of the so-called female clothes, such as bras, camisoles, tights, boots, and skirts. I especially like bras, which hold me tight, and skirts, which make air circulate and are really comfortable. Sometimes, I crossdress out but feel very nervous. This disturbs me. The trouble does not come directly from my crossdressing, but indirectly from my worry of being viewed abnormal, drawing too much attention, or insulted by people because of crossdressing.
I put some makeup, but only foundation and powder, while crossdressing out. I don't like to make up as a woman and I don't put on any wigs. I don't wear the outwear with laces or puff-shaped sleeves because I think those don't match my face. I don't act sissy.
I Sometimes masturbate with crossdressing, which is not required but just an enhancer for my sex.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.


Great question. And yes, "Transvestic Fetishism" is indeed a disorder listed in the DSM (the "cookbook" of psychiatric diagnoses). But here is the deal with that: Fetishes are categorized as "diagnostic," or in need of psychiatric care, when they interfere with (a) intimacy (i.e., because of the fetish, the bearer cannot engage in a healthy, emotionally and sexually intimate relationship with a partner), and/or (b) sexual functioning (i.e., the bearer cannot function sexually without the object of their fetish being involved). So, based upon your description, I would not right now categorize your issue as being in need of psychiatric care.

With just about any psychiatric diagnosis, the issue will move from normal to abnormal based upon how much distress/interference it causes. In other words, just about everybody gets depressed from time to time - but depression is only "diagnosed" when it interferes with a person's functioning. If a person feels blue but gets along with their life, they will eventually get better and move ahead. The sexual continuum is about the same: most everyone has one or two "quirks" to their sexual repertoire that, when used occasionally in fun or used as a part of their relationship with their partner, all is well.

I hope that made sense. Using the women's attire to masturbate occasionally and enjoying the feeling of the silk or lace on your skin is not in and of itself diagnostic, despite that it is statistically "abnormal." Your anxiety regarding getting caught is also grounded some is reality - there would probably be consequences if you got caught, say, at work... so you can minimize the anxiety by being more selective about when you engage in the cross-dressing and fantasy.

For now, enjoy... but keep your eye on the habit. If you ever cross the line I indicated above, then perhaps a psychiatric intervention would be helpful. If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dr. Steve,
Thank you for the advice.
Sometimes I think a crossdresser even doesn't need to be treated if so much distrss by the society is on him. I prefer to say to get "suggestions", which include how to avoid increasing distress, etc. It similarly applies to homosexuals. Homosexuals "had to" be treated because the society thought they were wrong, and mentally disordered. Nowadays, nobody think a homosexual needs to be treated. Homosexuals could screw up their life, but this basically came from the social pressure. It also reminded me of scientists in ancient times. They told the truth but got penalty. The communions and the society blame them for being blasphemous. Now, those scientific truths affect the world so much.
I am not saying crossdressing is something amazing or terrefic, but I kind of disagree that DSR still keeps "Transvestic Fetishism" while "homosexual" has been removed. It is just because the society already can accept the homosexuals and therefore they don't feel so much pressure. The society mostly still cannot accept crossdressers and lot of pressure is therefore on them. And as far as I know, crossdressers are seldom cured, just as homosexuals.
That's why I would like to say "suggestions", instead "treatments". The suggestions are not to ask crossdressers/transvestites to give up his dressing way, but to tell them and their family how to reduce the distress from the environment. Do you agree?
Thank you very much.
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.

Hello again:

Well said! And I do agree. You stated your point very well. In fact, your argument pretty much describes the foundation for our profession's shift from using "abnormal" to "quality/quantity" to define mental illness. Heck, left-handers are statistically "abnormal" - in fact, being left-handed is even a life-threatening affliction because lefties tend to die earlier than righties (on average)... but I don't think anyone would argue that being a lefty means one has to be pathologized!

Anyway, I wish you well.

Dr. Steve

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