As I claimed before, I’m a surface crossdresser — the urge to keep my balance between anima and anime is only skin deep. This means that I derive pleasure just from “dressing up”. There is nothing more to it — like someone who, for instance, drives over to their favourite Reebok shop, gets a pair of sneakers, and spends ages just watching themselves with the new shoes on…
The lowest level of crossdressing is anarcissist one — many report getting aroused just by looking at themselves when dressed as a beautiful woman, and this falls definitely in the many categories of self-pleasing sexual arousal: simple masturbation comes to mind, but there are other forms of self-pleasing. There is much to be said about it.
Masturbation is mostly viewed as purely physical pleasure — you stimulate yourself physically, and your pleasure centres in your brain react to the physical stimulation. We all know how it works, and we find it natural.
Men, however, can be, more often than not, visually stimulated (women can as well, although they usually prefer more complex stimulation — more on that later!). There are few genetic males that will not get aroused by pornography. They can complement it with physical masturbation, of course, but normally they don’t need it to get aroused. The mere image of a physically well-endowed female figure is often enough; the male brain is even usually very quick to match a pattern of a female figure within the pleasure centres, and the sexual arousal can be (almost) instantaneous. That naturally varies from person to person, of course, and the amount of time you require to view enough sexually stimulating images to get aroused will vary. Some males can take minutes, some hours, some are not aroused at all (which is very, very rare).
The point is that, from the point of view of your pleasure centres, you can stimulate them in many different ways. We associate masturbation with pornography because they often come together; but while the first is physical self-stimulation, the second is visual stimulation. There is quite a difference! A heterosexual male, for instance, does get feelings of repulsion and disgust watching (or stimulating) other males — they’re not visually stimulated by that. However, stimulating oneself is physically pleasant. Clearly there is a detachment between the physical and mental stimulations, and what is appropriate in one case is not appropriate in the other.
Crossdressing is a strange way to bridge this gap: physical and visual stimulation that match. There is just one subject of your attention — yourself, your own body. But when crossdressing, it’s a body that has an appealing female figure. So, for the crossdresser, you get a positive feedback loop working — the urge to touch the female figure increases with your level of arousal. But that female figure is your own body, and easily accessible! This means that the image of that female you see on the mirror will reinforce the stimulation, and you’ll be drawn to sexual arousal much faster, and so on — both stimuli reinforcing each other, stronger and stronger.
I’ve described before that, while I enjoy very much watching two females making love (or even one female masturbating on her own), the notion of watching “common” pornography where I have to see a male having fun (with a female, of course, but that’s not my point) is too distracting and rarely excites me. I’m simply not interested in the male having sex. I understand, from a philosophical point of view, that most males watching pornography project themselves into the male actor that is having sex, and thus experience the pleasure from the actor’s point of view, who has all these gorgeous females to have fun with.
This projection never takes place in my own mind. I both loathe and envy the guy having fun; I wish it was me that were there; but it isn’t. I’m just watching a male having sex. I can’t derive any pleasure from that. In my mind, it’s totally frustrating and even slightly disgusting watching a male having sex — as a heterosexual crossdresser, I can’t understand how other heterosexual males are able to “project” themselves into the actor and focus just on the females. For me, this is almost always impossible. I prefer just to skip to those parts where the females are on their own — thus, lesbian pornography is very exciting to me — and forget about the rest.
As a crossdresser, however, it means I can have all the fun by myself. What I watch on the mirror is a female figure which is visually appealing and stimulating; what I feel inside is the urge to have sex with a female. But that female figure is myself; thus, this form of crossdressing is purely narcissistic. I stimulate myself with my own image, in female form. This is the reason why most crossdressers tend to go to one of two extremes — the “passing” type (ie. looking like a female as closely as possible, which will trick your mind much better) and the “glamorous” type (ie. dressing up as a gorgeous, ultra-sexy babe, like the ones you see on TV or video, but which in “real life” do not walk around dressed like that). What they feel as an urge is to have the ultimate female figure available for their own pleasure.
Can this experience be explained to a non-crossdressing male? I think not. Most people are not narcissistic in that sense; they can admire their own bodies but just in relation to the other gender ie. in the sense that a great male body will please lots of females, and that also gives them pleasure. Ultimately, one might get to the extreme to love one’s body so utterly that having a partner is not even required. Again, for me, this extreme is rather strange to me — since I only get aroused with a female figure, not my own rather uninteresting male one.
So I think that this detachment between physical masturbation — where it’s quite fine for a male to derive physical pleasure from a male figure (ie. your own) — and visual masturbation (where you derive pleasure from watching [and touching!] a female figure) — is something that surface crossdressers do not have. They derive pleasure only from female figures, never male ones. Physical masturbation, thus, should ideally be with your own body dressed as a woman — it’s the only way, for us crossdressers, to “bridge the gap”, and reinforce the physical act with the visual image.
Naturally, most of the males never view any “conflict” between physical and visual, and this will not bother them. And since they don’t have this conflict, they cannot understand the urge that crossdressers feel to dress as a woman.
How strong is that urge? I would say that it’s as strong as the normal urge for masturbation. For some, it’s a daily, or even constant urge; for others, it’s something you think about once or twice per week or even less. There is no rule of thumb.
We then come to the more complex forms of crossdressing, which are involved in the next stage of transgenderism. Not feeling those kinds of urges I cannot speak from my experience, of course, but just report on what others tell me how they feel. The masturbation stage is just “oneself”. The next stage requires a partner.
Transgendered males will thus require more than touching themselves to get aroused; they require a partner for that arousal. However, they also need to be “pleased like a woman”, and this requires a male partner. The tag “homosexuality” is difficult to apply in this context, because homosexuality is an attraction between two people of the same physical sex. Transgendered males who require physical interaction with a male only when they are dressed as women are the best example of the separation between “gender” and “sex”. Physically — or legally, if you wish — they engage in a homosexual relationship. But visually and mentally, what they experience is a male and a female having sex together — and in the realm of your brain’s pleasure centres, that’s what happens: both partners experience a sexual arousal between two opposing genders. Naturally, this is only possible if both partners are, indeed, stimulated more by the visuals than by the physicals — ie. if they are more aligned towards their genders and not their (physical) sexes.
Explaining this form of transgenderism (common to transvestites) is much harder, specially from the point of someone who cannot understand how the visual aspect can be more dominant than the physical aspect. However, once someone enters that stage, I believe that the crossdresser will slowly enter, over time, into a deeper feeling of truly having been born with the wrong body. Not everyone, of course, will feel this — actually, the number is quite small — but it is a next possible step: getting your physical body better aligned with your mental gender. The more you consciously feel that conflict, the more you’ll feel the urge to explore that deeper. The limitations, of course, are that at some point you simply cannot continue to play a role as a male in your society. When it comes to the point of making this kind of decision, there is really no way to go back. And it’s a hugejump — requiring counselling for a long time (usually, years) to make sure you’re following that path.
Surface crossdressers never even come close to the border. For them, changing their physical sex is simply out of the question. They desire — all the time! — enjoying physical sex with females, and that is too strong in their minds to consider any physical change. That desire, in fact, is so strong, that they even want to have sexual gratification with themselves in a female body. Thus, it’s quite a different type of urge. Any consideration of “changing sex”, for a surface crossdresser, is missing the whole point. Sure, the physical self-gratification — if one has a physical female body — would be extremely pleasing, which is not to be denied. But it would also mean forfeiting the pleasures of having sex with other females (unless your partner happens to be a “closet lesbian”, of course), since you wouldn’t be properly “equipped” for that any more. Transsexuals rarely become “lesbians” after surgery; they desire to be pleased by males. Surface crossdressers always desire to be please by females, and that will very likely never change, no matter how often — or how successfully! — they crossdress as females.
There is also the notion of “temporary”. Someone desiring to be physically a woman will have that desire all the time. Surface crossdressers, however, will only have the urge of dressing up as a woman as often as, say, the urge to masturbate. It’s not “constant”, but just temporary — just like most people in the world are not constantly masturbating all the time but just feel the urge once in a while. It’s quite a different issue.
Interesting enough, countries like Spain and the UK have recently allowed transgendered people to officially register their gender and not their sex. This is a first stage of allowing people to define, on their own, what gender they wish to belong to. I find this a very interesting development (specially in Catholic Spain). In my dreams I envision a western society where crossdressing is not only legally acceptable in public, but even socially acceptable. It raises too many questions, however, and I think that this will never happen. Societies need stability, and part of that stability comes from having structures that define our role inside that society. Just consider two simple cases — if crossdressing were accepted publicly, would you go to a toilet based on your gender or your sex? And would you address a crossdressed male as “Miss” or “Sir” when applying for a bank loan? Clearly, this will not work.
Naturally enough, a common fantasy shared by most crossdressers is that technology will allow us in the future to switch sex (ie. not only gender) as easily as we change clothes, or, at least, as easily as you can take a pill to cure the ‘flu or have a few drinks to get drunk — ie. once the effect wears over (of an illness or a hangover!) you’re back to your own body. It is quite unlikely, however, that technology will allow us to take a pill, change sex overnight to have some fun with ourselves, and wake up the next morning with our original sex fully restored 🙂 That is naturally the domain of wild speculation. The closest that we might get, in probably another 30 years or so, is something different — virtual reality by direct stimulation of your neural cortex. Technology is advancing very fast on that area, mostly to restore vision, hearing, or movement to body parts to people who unluckily had their nerves severed or damaged. This means actually translating the neuronal impulses that go from your senses into your brain (and back from the brain to arms and legs) through computerised devices. While this was a very experimental technology ten years ago, and pure science fiction twenty years ago, today, it’s common research — with many people living today with cameras for their eyes or microphones for their ears.
What will happen, when this technology becomes common and mainstream? Well, the first common application will allow you to “watch movies in your head”, so to speak: your brain will be tricked into believing that what you see comes from your eyes, while it actually comes from a video camera or a computer. This is technologically possible these days — our eyes do not have “unlimited resolution” but a quite high resolution nevertheless. But computers can effectively deal with that high resolution these days, and still present us with 25 frames per second to give us what we would call photo-realistic imaging, and feed them directly into our brains. So the technology exists — it still isn’t mainstream, though.
Let’s fast-forward some fifty years or so. Due mostly to recovery of patients with severe neuronal damage, this area of research will grow hugely, like it has grown since the 1980s. At some stage, it will become mainstream, and adopted by the entertainment market, which has huge funds for more research. The notion of a virtual reality like we see in the Matrix movies is not so far away — the science exists, just the technology doesn’t, and it requires further development to become mainstream, accessible, painless, and completely safe. As said, the first stage will be “watching movies in your head”, where you will probably interact with others inside a synthetic, photo-realistic world, and your brain will not be able to tell the difference. If you go further to replicate completely all neuronal signalling (ie. not only video, audio, and movement, which is where the core of the research is being done these days) but also touch, smell and taste, you’ll be able to truly “feel” that you’re “somebody else”. This, naturally, will be the crossdressers’ paradise — being able to log in, become a physical woman for a few hours, and log out again into your body. What a rush!
Still, it would be all “virtual”, even if your brain would not know the difference. You would not be able to have those feelings in the “real world”. But again technology can come to the rescue, although I find it very unlikely that it might ever come to this point, due to ethical issues. If you can tap all neuronal communication between a brain and its body, once this communication is digital, you can send it anywhere. Instead of controlling a virtual simulacrum of yourself in a virtual world — ie. a computerised “avatar” of your self — why couldn’t you simply control a physical body of someone else? All it would require is that your brain’s digitised signals are connected to someone else’s neuronal system, and activated remotely through a wireless connection. In effect, through this digital connection, your brain would be remotely controlling — and receiving input — from another person’s body. Thus, one could envision entertainment companies having a stock of human bodies who had some sort of accident rending them into a vegetative state, put the required digital interfaces inside them, and rent “access” to a complete body to anyone willing to pay to go through that experience. Thus allowing you to interact with the real world, but through a different body.
This sounds like pure science fiction — but, again, the science exists, the technology is “getting there” but doesn’t exist yet, but the biggest hurdle for that to come true is mostly ethical. One would require to define identity and citizenship related to your brain — your “ego” — and not to your physical body. People would eventually be able to replace their physical bodies by remotely controlling other bodies. The sort of complexity arising from these issues are over-reaching and almost impossible to describe — they’re truly in the real of science fiction, since they would require a complete change of the way our society works. It would simply not happen. As soon as that technology exists, for the sake of continuing to live in a rational society, this technology would be made illegal (thus, only available to the very rich 🙂 ).
The best what we can hope for is for “safe” entertainment inside a virtual representation which looks and feels like a real body, but where all interactions — no matter if our brain is unable to tell the difference! — are virtual, synthetic, simulated — but never real. Still, people on such virtual realities will think less and less about their physical sex but much more about their gender, which will ultimately define what you think about your own self.
Crossdressers already do that every day — just without sophisticated technology: they rely uponillusion and nothing else. And they can interact with the real, physical world. It’s not so bad after all!