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What Causes People To Crossdress?

life as a crossdresserWhat causes people to crossdress? It’s an interesting question with variety of different reasons. The term cross-dressing is usually used (but not always) to refer to cisgender men who wear clothing and accessories that are considered feminine or associated with women. They might dress that way full time, occasionally, or only in private. The rationale for cross-dressing isn’t universal and there’s limited research on common characteristics among those who do cross-dress.

Lets look at some of the possible explanations on what causes people to crossdress?

To be exact, there isn’t one specific thing that causes someone to crossdress as far as any research or studies have shown. A person’s reason to want to crossdress may vary from one person to the next. But there are also some common and “not so common” causes for people to crossdress  which are mentioned as below.

For some, crossdressing is a very necessary outlet for feminine self-expression, which they might feel is a part of their identity or personality. These people are just expressing themselves and there’s nothing more to it than that. 

They crossdress as a form of expression and crossdressing is a great opportunity for them to express themselves in the way they really want to. For some, they might just want to experiment with the feminine side of their otherwise male personalities.



A common cause in case of many crossdressers is because of the fascination for opposite gender clothing. They are very attracted to feminine clothing and enjoy dressing in women’s clothing or feminine fashion. They like to envision or dress in a single or more piece of clothes generally intended for the opposite gender. These can be a single item, such as a bra, or a set of items, such as a dress, stockings, and heels.

Another common cause for a person to crossdress is that it helps to reduce anxiety, to relax or to relieve tension. A person could be crossdressing as a form of escapism. There are societal expectations to being a man and sometimes they stress them out. Crossdressing is a way to relieve this stress for some people.



For some, it could be because they have a strong cross-dressing obsession. These people find being feminized or  forced to be feminine a strong obsession.

For some, crossdressing helps them to demolish some of the stereotypes about who women / men are and what their roles should be in society. By presenting themselves in a way that challenges the societal expectations of being a man, may lead them to adopt a feminine persona.They might feel it to be liberating and empowering to be able to acknowledge their inner, forbidden desire.


Another common cause of crossdressing is associated with Autogynephilia, which is  term to define a male’s propensity to feel pleasured by the thought of himself as a female.

There are also people who crossdress out of curiosity. Wondering what it’s like to be viewed as the opposite gender. How would people treat them if they happen to look very convincing?



Then of course, there are people who crossdress for fun. Perhaps they want to be a cute secretary or cosplay as female characters and laugh it off with their friends.

In some cases, crossdressing as a defense mechanism against loss or trauma has also been discovered. These are some of the reasons and someone else could have a reason for crossdressing that don’t fit these explanations. Also, crossdressing doesn’t mean every crossdresser is gay.



Is it true that once people get the urge to crossdress, it stays constant and strong throughout their life? No, in fact there are crossdressers who experience highs and lows and their desire to crossdress. Ways that people choose to express gender may change over time, so someone may find that over time crossdressing no longer meets those needs or interests, but for others, crossdressing is a lifelong practice.

Let’s us know your opinion on what cause people to crossdress in the comments below.


You may also like to read:

Crossdressers Talk About The Reason Why They Like To Crossdress

Misconceptions about Crossdressers

25 Crossdressers Talk About Their Crossdressing Experience

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9 Comments

  1. I read your comment and can appreciate with what you have said. When (we) open our hearts and souls and put it in print we are exposing all the hidden truths that we all want so much to reveal. I can identify with what you have said and applaud you for your honesty. Stay safe and have fun, whether it be “naughty” or nice.

  2. Thanks for the article. Since I was little, I was attracted to girl’s clothing and when I wore a dress for the first time, I knew there was no going back.

  3. Thanks for the article. I crossdress because, I’m fascinated with women’s clothing. It helps to relieve stress and tension for me. I’m very relaxed in a dress. I love wearing them and how it feels on my body.

  4. Thank you for this interesting article. Obviously, you put in time to research the question of why cross dressers are motivated to dress en femme. I too have done a lot of research on this fascinating topic, and I think you pretty much hit all the major reasons for cross dressing. For me, it is a way to stay in touch with the feminine side of who I am. I’m heterosexual, married, and my wife is very supportive. Once I started really getting in touch with the inner femme, our marriage began to truly flourish because of the changes it brought about in my personality – more nurturing, patient, giving. Thanks again for a most informative article.

  5. Nobody will ever know the true reason, for me it was curiosity, my mother’s bra knickers just layed there on her bed & I just knew I had to put them on wondering how they would feel, & the next time I did I put a skirt & blouse & eventually after several weeks I was sat her dressing table trying to put makeup on, several years later I am still doing it but with my dresses & my makeup, I ask myself why ? & I come to the same conclusions:- I like been a girl because I feel at ease with myself & happier to say the least when I’m wearing a miniskirt & 4″ stilettos, & YES I’ve been caught several times but that’s another story, but wouldn’t it be a boring old world without 1 or 2 of being different.

  6. I started cross dressing as a teenage boy. Seeing panties and bras hanging on washing lines or on models in mail order catalogues always fascinated me. Yes there was a sexual attraction, but also a curiosity as to how it would feel to wear women’s clothes. Gradually I began acquiring my own, not just underwear but also skirts and blouses, then I began to experiment with makeup. Could I make myself feminine and attractive, or at least passable as a woman? Fortunately although I am very tall, I am slim and have been told, I have nice long legs so stockings and later holdups were also added to my wardrobe. Only my mother knew about this when she came home early one evening and found her makeup on the table. She was extremely disapproving as she was very much “old school” and believed in traditional gender roles. After she passed away I was alone, which offered me the chance to add more clothes, shoes and a long dark wig to my wardrobe. I watched YouTube videos extensively to get ideas and tips on applying eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, blusher, foundation and powder. I also added some very pretty lingerie to my collection and love to dress as often as I can. For me dressing allows me to relax, be at ease and become as feminine and attractive as I can be, I love my feminine identity and have always found femininity to be an awesome concept which i love to follow. I constantly look in the women’s section of stores for tops, skirts, dresses and other clothes that can enhance my image. When I become Antonia I feel a sense of ease, relaxation and femininity which I can only realise when I become a woman. I have gone out dressed a couple of times, but only to drive around late in the evenings, draw money from a cashpoint, and in one occasion nearly went to a local LGBTQ+ friendly bar, but at the last moment I walked past it and went home. Online I do get many admiring comments from men who find me attractive and would like to date me and I must confess to a certain curiosity as to what it would be like to meet a man and be dated by him.

    1. This is similar experience I have had. I believe I am autogynephiliac and love being a female. That does nt mean I m gay but bi curious to being dated as we all like passing and feeling female. It’s complicated x

  7. First I want to thank you for the article, and comment on how I feel reflected in it. At the beginning when I was about seven years old, I felt the curiosity without being able to explain it by touching women’s underwear (my brain told me to) later I was fascinated by putting it on my skin (at the beginning only panties) and it led me to the Autogynefilia. Later, when I felt a lot of work or family tension, I realized that putting on panties with a preformed bra helped me eliminate it and then I felt great. Driving at night alone, with exposed panties hiding my little man and bra things under a tight cropped T-shirt and flip flops was a wonderful experience, thank goodness I didn’t get stopped by the police. I have no interest in the subject of gender change, I feel good with my masculine side. Normally, when I need to, I use women’s underwear hidden in my men’s clothes. Thank you.

  8. Well I put on a skirt felt more comfortable with myself than in my entire childhood and then found this article. I do happen to be gay but many people who cross dress aren’t and are even married in straight relationships.
    I suppose it’s time to come out. Lexi is ready.

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