Q: I met my boyfriend almost a year ago, we maintained a somewhat long-distance (he lived 4 hours away) relationship for about six months. We have now been living together since July. Shortly after we moved in together I discovered, by looking at the internet history on my computer, that he was a transvestite. I discovered he had been looking at transvestite sites with profiles. I found his own profile with photos of himself with another man having sex (penetration). None of the photos or sites were pornographic. Needless to say I was shocked and had no idea he had this inclination or fetish. I confronted him with my discovery and at first he denied it, but later admitted it, because the photos were the proof… I told him I needed to hear the truth no matter what it was. I asked him how many men he had been with, how often… he has been married twice and I’ve met another girlfriend he had after the second marriage and with whom he has a child. Sex with him is good, very good, although sometimes he has a difficult time maintaining an erection. Many questions later and, I must admit, internet investigations on my part, I discovered that what he has told me seems to be true. He has contacted other TVs when he was alone and unattached. He dresses mostly when he has a lot of tension as a way to relieve the stress. Supposedly penetration only happened once and he did not enjoy it. Although, I have never in my life had to face such issues… I can say that to a point I understand and can accept the dressing. It has been very random for now. And not total dressing, just the nylons and heels. I’m not sure I could handle wig, make-up and the whole nine yards.
My questions are: I don’t understand how he can be attracted and want women and also want a man dressed? My main concern is whether he really wants me or whether he is really homosexual. Will he cheat on me one day with another man? I’m scared, confused, feel betrayed, a bit disgusted but I don’t want to lose him. He is a good man and I love him. Any advice you can give me is very welcome.
A: As I’ve said before in other posts, sexuality exists on a continuum. This includes sexual orientation (who you are attracted to) and sexual identification (who you feel you are). There are many variations along the way, which also includes transvestitism and transsexualism. In my limited experience, transvestites have typically had some sort of early childhood experience that has led to the desire to cross dress. Many times it is just a stress reliever and other times it is sexual, such as a fetish. I’ve never seen any research indicating that transsexuals cheat any more than anyone else. The hallmark of any healthy relationship is trust and honesty. If your partner feels that he can trust you, he is more likely to tell you more about himself, and vice versa. I would strongly suggest that the two of you begin couples therapy if you have not already. This is a lot of information to digest and there are and will be many issues to work through. I’ve seen some cases in which the relationship did not work and I’ve seen some in which it did. I wish you the best of luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Jan 2007
Counts, H. (2007). Transvestite partner.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/01/23/transvestite-partner/