Cross Dressing **** TRIGGERS ****

This is a very embarrassing thing to bring up but to tell my story honestly, I feel I need to talk about it. It certainly played into my sexual identity which included both gender confusion and sexual orientation confusion that haunted me for most of my life. It is only recently that the picture has become clearer as to how those feelings and behaviors came into existence. Sexual abuse is in the mix but the nature of the abuse is key to this understanding.

It was perhaps thirty years ago that I first had a memory of a piece of silk used to massage my genitals when I was in the crib. There was also memory of a mouth on my penis, also in the crib. Since there were no babysitters and my mother and I spent long hours alone at home I believe she was the perpetrator of what I now recognize as abuse. I also have a memory of being perhaps two or three years old and going to the dresser in my parent's bedroom looking for something silk.

All these memories lay dormant for decades. Along the way I encountered sexual abuse at the hands of three generations in a family who lived on three sides of the home my family occupied until I was 7. My best sense of it is that I was abused from age 3 until age 7 when I was raped by one of the adults. All of this was lost to me until I did EMDR almost fifty years after the rape.

What I hadn't forgotten, however, was that at age 12 when asked by a neighbor if I would be willing to babysit for her daughter, I went to the parent's bedroom shortly after they left and pulled out all of her sexy lingerie with which I experimented in masturbating... something I'd just learned about from a neighbor boy. I was small for my age, shorter than this rather sexy woman, and eventually I started putting on the lingerie and applying lipstick. My mother almost caught me one evening but fortunately I'd locked the door and scrambled to change clothes and clean my face before letting her in. I told her I'd fallen asleep.

Things escalated the next summer when these neighbors went on vacation. I broke into their home and stole lingerie. Over the next three years, up until the age 15 I stole lingerie from clothes lines and broke into homes in the neighborhood. My mother found a pillowcase stuffed with lingerie under my bed and confronted me, sending me to the family doctor for a conversation. He was more embarrassed than I was but I promised to stop. I did for four years, though I eventually began breaking into homes in neighboring suburbs, that despite the fact I had a great sex life with a beautiful girl. But this time I didn't get away with it and I was arrested through a complicated series of events I won't go into. One year probation, no inquiry into what the behavior might be about, no requirement that I go for counseling. What my girlfriend and her family understood about it all I never knew but I did marry that girl three years later.

As years progressed and wives came and went, other ways of acting out sexually took precedence... dirty books, video arcades, anonymous sex with men, pornography. On a couple of occasions when under great stress I turned to cross dressing... stealing lingerie at the laundromat, shoplifting at a couple of stores, even posing as a married man and buying lingerie I'd then use to crossdress and masturbate. I even wore undergarments on a couple of occasions when visiting an adult arcade. My last visits to an arcade and last use of lingerie is about thirty years ago, but much, though not all of the porn that appealed to me featured pre-op transgendered "women" or transvestites.

When my therapist recently suggested that my acting out behavior in its different forms was a way I could gain mastery over what had been traumatic made sense to me. It allowed me, really for the first time, to see crossdressing as a direct outgrowth of that silk in my crib. No doubt it was a pleasurable experience for that infant but the terror in my mother as she acted out her distorted sexuality was more than this small child could tolerate. I dissociated then and at other times when my mother used my genitals for her satisfaction. But I remained fixated on that experience, that pleasure and began at age 12 to act it out. The sexual abuse at the hands of neighbors was acted out through anonymous sex with men, the abuse by my mother with everything connected to gender confusion.

It is a relief to put all of this into a sensible framework though as we all know, carrying the residue of early trauma is no fun at all. What I now know and understand, means I can't go to any of those places any longer. I know these behaviors are rooted in abuse and I don't want to perpetuate that experience. The best I can do is have compassion for that 12 year old boy who was frightened in ways he didn't understand and who did things that caused him incredible shame, as well as for the older versions of me who were running as hard as they could to not feel anything... filled with shame, anger, fear. I'm really ready to put the past behind me, to claim this life... as I slowly learn how to do that. This life truly has been a horror show. I'm hoping for better years ahead of me. At age 77 I don't have a great many left. I'd like a bit of peace and perhaps even some joy before my end arrives.
Last edited:
Thank you SO much for sharing. This was a very brave thing to do. And you laid it out so well.

All I can say is, keep working on it. You will find the peace as I have. You are on the right path!
I didn't see this before. But thank you for sharing. I have very similar issues with crossdressing, gender confusion and sexuality.
Thanks guys! I've visited this forum occasionally and have noted the number of views growing but no one posted a comment. Needless to say, the shame I've always felt about this behavior bubbled to the surface, but I was able to release it. I remind myself that we each come to this website through different experiences of early trauma and that none deserves to be discounted. We all have experienced shame and confusion about what happened and what we did with it that has colored our entire lives... what I call a hell realm. I'm not in that hell realm any longer and am able finally to have compassion for it ALL. I hold the same for every man on this website, no matter how their trauma has been acted out. Healing is all that matters and we can best do that together. I'm grateful for that.


Thanks for sharing your experience. And sharing the threads that tie together the abuse you went through as a child with later experiences in life. I also went through abuse as a child at the hands of multiple generations. Nice for me to see that sort of abuse acknowledged in your experience.
Thanks Jon. Amazingly, the cross-dressing was the most confusing piece and it really only became clear for me that it was rooted in the early abuse at the hands of my mother this year. For some reason I was unable to look honestly at what was happening with her, and so I never gave it the weight it deserved. When I realized how traumatized I was by her behavior I could consider how the feeling of the silk could have become a fixation that triggered the later behavior. It seems so obvious now, but for most of my life I didn't remember that abuse so I couldn't make the connection. It is so important to tie the pieces together so we can release the shame we're carrying. The details of what we did is less important than finding compassion because we recognize the behavior is an outgrowth of trauma over which we had no control. It was never our fault and what we did afterwards was the only thing we could do to survive. We deserve nothing but kindness and care.


Thanks for sharing Visitor. The trauma we experienced had so many effects on our lives. You are growing and healing.
Thanks flying... so much shame we carry as a result of the sexual trauma. We need all the compassion we can mobilize... And, we can support one another along the way. That is a beautiful thing. Healing really can happen. It is a profound relief.