We all have some basic instincts, don’t we?

Most of you probably know the 1992 movie, Basic Instinct. It is an erotic thriller that is as much about psychological sexual tension as it is a murder mystery. The main character, Catherine Tramell (played by Sharon Stone) most assuredly wasn’t a crossdresser. It was a dead giveaway when she said, “You know I don’t like wearing underwear, don’t you Nick?”  (Nick played by Michael Douglas). And you thought I was alluding that she wasn’t a crossdresser because of the interrogation scene that preceded that comment, right!  OMG! That shot would have been much different with a crossdresser in it!  How many of us would have turned away instead of zooming in? Or maybe some of us would not have turned away?

I thought it would be fun to interweave in a little parody of the movie, add in some perspective as a crossdresser and how we might see things in a different light.

Catherine (played by Lisa): You know crossdressing isn’t like smoking…I can stop smoking”

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The story tells us that Catherine Tramell had a degree in psychology, wrote murder mystery novels, liked to play games and was bisexual.  How many of us would have traded places with her lover, Roxie? Aha, all the heterosexual and bisexual readers! Hopefully, by now, you are getting some sense where this article is going. To address an issue that I read about in a forum on CDH, I would like to play some games using the context of the movie.

Catherine (played by Lisa):  I would have to be pretty stupid to write an article about being bisexual, and then act in the way I wrote the article. I’d be announcing myself as bisexual. I’m not stupid.

If you know the movie, you know there was always some ambiguity as to whether she was guilty.  The ice pick at the end may allude to her guilt. However, using her logic I’m pretty sure writing this article keeps me clear of any suspicion. The one exception in this article is there is no killing here, although the detective may fall for the wrong girl.

Psychiatrist: She intended the article to be her alibi.

Recently, I read a forum on CDH where the topic creator was asking everyone if they felt the desire “to be with a man” when dressed as a woman.  Two-thirds of the respondents at the time indicated they had.  While this may not be the most scientific of polls, because basically everyone who responded felt a basic instinct, an impulse if you will, to respond one way or the other. With either the acknowledgement that it struck a nerve to be honest or denial because it struck a different nerve and denying the fantasy or not understanding the rationale at all. It wasn’t a random poll.

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Detective: Ms. Tramell, did you participate in sadomasochistic activities with the victim?

Catherine (played by Lisa): “Exactly, what did you have in mind?”

I searched the internet to find out how many crossdressers identify as heterosexual. Again, not a scientific poll, but probably fairly accurate.  Most information suggests 85%, but to be safe, we’ll apply the 80/20 rule and use 80%.  Applying that percentage to the number of respondents to the desire “to be with a man” question on CDH results in 452 heterosexuals.  So, 379 fantasize about being with a man when dressed, but 452 of 565 identify as heterosexual?

Detective said to the police psychiatrist:You know, sometimes I can’t tell sh*t from shinola, Doc. What was all that you just said?”

The numbers set up a paradox; a familiar story where we understand there is an overlap.  It’s probably safe to assume that all the non-heterosexual respondents (20%) indicated they had the fantasy. So, it would mean the overlap is the difference which is 47% or 265 respondents that have the fantasy and identify as heterosexual. Almost half! So, why did these respondents answer the way they did? Let us play a little detective and uncover the basic instincts that led to the respondents answering that way.

First, is it because they feel it is just a fantasy? If they have not acted on it, and it is just a fantasy, it does not mean they have deviated from the heterosexual realm, does it? A very common fantasy is a threesome, that doesn’t mean it happened, or that some of us would want it to happen in real life for various fears and concerns. One thing about fantasies is the owner can control the environment in the fantasy. Putting it succinctly, how many of us have dreamed of hitting the lottery and how we would spend the money. Doesn’t mean it happened.

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Detective: It must really be somethin’ — makin’ stuff up all the time.

Catherine (played by Lisa): Yeah. It teaches you to lie.

Detective: How’s that?

Catherine (played by Lisa): You make stuff up; it has to be believable. It’s called suspension of disbelief.

Detective: I like that. “Suspension of Disbelief.”

Second, we get to the whole topic of bisexuality. The relationship between Catherine Tramell and Roxie was hot. Perhaps in the surveys taken, it was a choice between heterosexual and homosexual only?  Perhaps an option was not given for bisexuality. Could it be that some respondents feel that maybe they are bi-curious, but like our first suspicion, they believe bi-curious, if not acted upon, is no different than a fantasy?  Fits the definition of curious doesn’t it? And why is the lesbian relationship in Basic Instinct more acceptable to some of us then the fantasy of being dressed like a woman and being with a man? To a man, a lesbian relationship may be more erotic, more palatable, and therefore he rejects this fantasy outlined in CDH as not acceptable?

Detective: How did you feel when I told you, you were bisexual when you shared your fantasy?

Catherine (played by Lisa): I felt somebody had read my article and was playing a game.

The third conclusion we can draw is that of self-truth.  Speaking from experience, many crossdressers are not at peace with their femininity. If you read my article on CDH, Are you like Cinderella, too? I am quite confident the inner peace issue is rooted in that dilemma.  Is it possible that accepting one’s sexuality is not any different?  So, if a crossdresser says it took her 40 years to become comfortable admitting and accepting they enjoy wearing women’s clothes is it possible they just haven’t become comfortable admitting they are possibly bi-curious or bisexual?  This is especially true considering the choices offered in the survey? Some respondents may need to look in the mirror. Or… is it that we are trying to put a label on everything?

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Catherine (played by Lisa): My friends call me Catherine.

Detective: What did the victim call you?

Catherine (played by Lisa): Bitch mostly. But he meant it affectionately.

Then there is the fourth and (hopefully) final, and perhaps least obvious conclusion. Those who think sex with a transwoman is not gay sex and therefore conclude they are heterosexual. A transwoman may be perceived as the opposite gender. The classification of bisexual and or gay is subjective to one’s own definition, whether right or wrong as it pertains to the literal definition. One argument may be, well, how trans is she?  Of course that would be like saying how pregnant is she?

Detective: You like playing games don’t you?

Catherine (Played by Lisa): I have a degree in psychology…it goes with the turf.

Ladies pick up that ice pick and start stabbing at some of these conclusions.  Did you read the forum in question and how did you respond?

  • If you have the fantasy of being with a man when dressed as a woman, do you think it defines your sexuality?
  • If you do not have the fantasy of being with a man when dressed as a woman, and you are heterosexual, how do you feel about the issue?
  • If you do not identify as heterosexual, please share your perspective, especially if you went through a time of denial.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article, and thank you to the author of the forum. I hope you had fun with the movie lines, which were intended to make a potentially contentious issue more entertaining. And for those of you who have not seen Basic Instinct, although over-hyped, I recommend it.


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Lisa Fox

I have been cross dressing for since I was a kid. Working on slimming down the athletic build I have had my whole life so I can focus more on being passable. Have never gone out in public dressed, but have worked hard to master, or should I say mistress my craft 😉

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Bettylou Cox
Bettylou Cox
3 years ago

Hi Lisa, And that was certainly an unusual and interesting movie review! When I saw the film,’way back when, I enjoyed the mystery plot, but was somewhat uncomfortable with the bisexual subplot. This was long before I found Bettylou or vice-versa, and when I shared the common beliefs concerning “alternate lifestyles", including the one I now live. I answered the quiz question “no", because I did and do identify as heterosexual, and because I made a lifelong commitment to one woman, and her alone. Now, I think of myself as a girl, but remain committed to my wife; does that… Read more »

Abigail Kingston
Active Member
3 years ago

Hi Lisa, A fascinating article and subject. I enjoyed your “part” in the movie. My take is it is a difficult issue as I think your conclusions could be one or multiple correct interpretations based on the response by each person given in the poll. It depends on the perspective of each respondent and their interpretation of bisexuality, Heterosexuality and homosexuality. Something that came across in my therapy, my therapist specializes in sexuality, is that most of us are not purely heterosexual. I was fascinated by the comment and she claims it was confirmed based on professional studies through the… Read more »

3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Fox

Hi Lisa
I feel like you were reading my hidden biography with the one scenario. It did indeed take me 40 years to come to terms with my cross dressing, and longer to accept my bisexuality.
I used to self identify as heterosexual, even after coming out as as a CD. This required a bit of rationalization of some of my past sexual encounters. Thankfully many of the thought processes that helped with my gender identity were also applicable to sexual orientation so that it did not take that much longer to get comfortable in my own skin.

2 years ago

For me it’s was an issue to be confronted and accepted. After starting to crossdress my fantasies began to include other crossdressers and men. For most of my life I found the naked man to be slightly silly and certainly unattractive. When I started to find these fantasies and naked men arousing I had to accept that I was probably bisexual. as a married man I don’t have the intention of finding out the reality of the full sexual experience but I’m not ashamed to admit to my interest. my biggest surprise when I finally came out to my wife… Read more »

Araminta Purdy
Active Member
2 years ago

To me, if one is gender variant then they have the potential to be variant in their sexual identity. This is not the same thing as Sexual Orientation. Some gender variant people are very attracted to femininity and, when feminine, can be attracted to their own femininity (activating reproductive instincts) but not so much to the masculinity of their partner (except as it augments their own femininity). If one is gender invariant, then it is more likely the gender and sexual identity of the other person is the basis of attraction rather than (just) their own. Thus a male can… Read more »

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