I’ve been crossdressing on and off for 50 years. In the last five, I’ve been dressing quite frequently and have become aware of the effect it has had on my persona. Recently, I’ve been trying to ascertain a clearer, positive perspective on my crossdressing – the resultant notes having been turned into this article.

A Question…and an answer

I wanted a starting point, so posing a suitable question was the best idea. “What do I feel when I crossdress?” This lead me to give thought to one of my earliest crossdressing experiences.

The first time I dressed up properly was when I was fourteen. I was home alone for about half a day. I was determined to get past wearing just underwear and got dressed in a complete outfit, borrowing my sister’s clothes. On looking in the mirror, I was absolutely delighted – ‘I’m a girl.’ As I looked harder at my reflection, I became aware that I was both “boy me” and “girl me” at the same time. Who is this dual me, I thought? If I could be this dual me then what else did I have the potential to be?

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This experience was, in a way, a defining change in my life – an inner pathway to the hidden self and its female aspect (the anima) was somehow exposed. Over the years, I have noticed other aspects of the hidden self also becoming known to me – intuitive wisdom, creative endeavours (art, poetry, music …), mystical experiences, etc. The female dimension of myself is just one aspect of my persona.

Using my early experience as the starting point to answer my question, I looked through my journal, blogs, also forums, and articles on CDH to gather more information about how crossdressers described their experiences. I made up a short “Before and After” list of various common descriptive words surrounding the point of transformation

  • Before words: sad, melancholia, stressed, negativity, boredom, feeling flat, unfocused, tired and listless, incomplete, self-divided, diminished, drab, and dysphoric.
  • The point of transformation – at some point when getting dressed – an inner response.
  • After words: happy, delighted, joy, relaxed, contentment, positive feeling about life, intensification of consciousness (holiday feeling), revitalized, feeling complete, fully me, expanded sense of self, beautiful, and euphoric.

The after list of words covers a positive, happy state.  Is crossdressing just an addiction to this positive happy state? Perhaps, a trigger for the release of ‘pleasure’ chemicals in the brain. If that’s all it is then in essence there is nothing wrong with the activity; it is only wrong in the eyes of society as it breaks the gender stereotype norm. It does however have value:

  • it enables one to have a break or timeout from our everyday male-self, acting as a de-stressor
  • it reminds you that you can be happy, joyful, and delighted
  • it fulfills a need to be beautiful

My crossdressing is goal-orientated. I keep doing it to experience a joyful ‘happy state’ which is only a natural thing to want to do. Do I need to feed the need? Perhaps so. We need new clothes and experiences for our time en femme. This is no different from everybody’s needs – we all need the stimulus of ‘newness’ to keep us in a positive state – new ideas found on reading a book, a holiday in a new place, and so on.

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An evolving persona …

I felt there was more going on within my persona once I began crossdressing regularly; I noticed progressing individuation. The female aspect of my persona had in some ways become a vehicle for change.

When I dress now there is still that point in the transformation where I change from boy me to (boy me plus girl me) and that precipitates changes in my perception of myself and how I feel. When I dress, I also feel that I become a more complete me, this complete me is greater than (boy me plus girl me). Wearing women’s clothes can be thought of as a symbolic transformation, which releases the interior feminine and other unrealised aspects of the hidden self for integration. This newly expanded self seeks expression. I feel that when I crossdress I am changing from male to ‘male plus female.’

The dysphoria I feel is the gap between everyday male me and this new happy state, the expanded self that includes my unfolding, flowering feminine aspect.

During my life, I have been aware of the changes within me, heading towards a balanced dyad of my male and female aspects (objective + subjective,  rational + intuitive, left brain + right brain, and so on). In the last few years, this feeling of inner integration has been accelerating, mainly because I made the conscious decision to let these two aspects of myself integrate.

I feel I am a unity of both my male and female aspects together.  Being both together is a completion—like the inner alchemical marriage (or conjunction.)

If I was free to dress how I chose it would be a matter of self-expression in a stage in the completion of the evolving self.


* Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roi_et_Reine_Alchimie.jpg


More Articles by Alicen Thairms

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    Vanessa Jones
    Active Member
    2 years ago


    Wow! I swear I could have written this article myself (especially the before and after). I can identify with many points you had written. There are also points that you have given me cause to ponder.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


    Charlene Victoria
    Active Member
    2 years ago

    Alicen, superb!
    Thank you.
    May I say it this way without intending to be in any way offensive to others; IMHO – “Finally, an article where feeling and experience is minimized and rationale and reason is the foundation. "
    For me your approach to our shared conundrum is refreshing. Again, Thank you.

    Trusted Member
    2 years ago

    Hi Alicen, what a wonderful expression! I now realize more clearly that our need to crossdress or even transition isn’t one or the other; rather it is a more complete integration of our sexual (born as) and sensual (point on the gender spectrum) selves. I’ve been thinking of it wrongly (for me at least) by trying to keep the two halves of me somewhat insulated from each other. Thank you so much, GF, for helping us see how marvelous and creative we are and that we need so desperately to let our whole being have freedom to breathe and live!… Read more »

    Deborah Sullivan
    Trusted Member
    2 years ago

    So well said Alicen. You put into words what many of us feel girl. Hugs

    2 years ago

    Well written, Alicen!

    Something to think about to be sure. I’ve used your methodology in other areas of my life, I just never thought to apply it to my crossdressing.

    I’m going have to investigate and experiment.

    Thanks for the idea!


    Barb Wire
    2 years ago

    Hi Alicen!

    You nailed it! Crossdressing is an addiction to a positive happy state.

    My outlook on life and others truly changes when ‘en femme’, my most vulnerable state. This is when I’m happiest! Kinda ironic and paradoxical, I guess: vulnerable/happy… Go figure…

    Here in Canada we have our Federal election this Monday. If I think about my happy state, then my vote will be for the one who embraces tolerance and acceptance.


    Barb :B

    Noble Member
    2 years ago

    Alicen this is without a doubt one of the best articles I’ve read here at CDH (among so many other outstanding ones). The thoughts and feelings that you so gracefully articulate are ones that I hope to share with my wife one day. Although I am out to her, and we’ve discussed it a few times, all she ever tells me is that she’s still trying to process it. It’s frustrating and sad, and I’m always looking for good educational material to share with her when she’s ready, hopefully someday. I know she doesn’t understand and feels it is just… Read more »

    Caroline Frost
    Caroline Frost
    2 years ago

    I would so like to thank you for so eloquently describing what I feel when I transition into my better self. You have managed to portray not only my emotion but also expressive self! So Alicen a very big THANKYOU for your article .

    Lucinda Hawkns
    Trusted Member
    2 years ago

    what a great post. enjoy being feminine as much as you can and enjoy being female. its a wonderful thing to do and looks are amazing when you are all dolled up. i am the same way. i love dressing in female cloths more then male cloths. my wife knows of my cross dressing and will tell me when i can dress up, but she will not help with make up or see me even tho she has seen me dressed up pretty, i dress up in female cloths more then she does. i even have more female cloths then… Read more »

    Jess Hiver
    2 years ago

    Alicen, thank you for such a thoughtful and insightful article. And thank you for sharing so much of your experience with us. I wrestle with the meaning of my own crossdressing, or perhaps more accurately, what draws me to it. I do not recall early experiences of trying on female clothing or thinking/knowing that I was a girl. And it wasn’t until I was 45 or so that I became aware of the need to dress en femme. It has been a slow process for me involving difficulties in my relationship and significant time in therapy. But somewhere along the… Read more »

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