In the last few weeks I have been in conversation with my partner and other couples who have been discussing fetishes and how it applies to the act (or art) of crossdressing. As shown below, a fetish is a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.
Based on that definition, it would seem that crossdressing could be a fetish if it was used primarily as a way to achieve a sexual release. I do admit that there is sensuality to dressing as a woman. As a woman, I am allowed to be more open and allowed to be more tactile in my interactions. I certainly could not lightly put my fingers on a male co-worker’s forearm while we talked about some new project. There is an acceptance that woman can be more “touchy-feely” with each other. Men can give pats on the back, and hugs to each other as long as a shook hand acts as a barrier between the two bodies. And, wearing feminine undergarments and dresses does raise my awareness of the femininity I feel. I do have feelings of sensuality because of the fact that I can stare in the mirror and realize that I am passable as a woman.
But does having feelings of femininity because we are presenting ourselves head-to-toe as a woman mean that we are simply indulging in fetish behavior? I dress up, my girlfriend and I go out to a party or a dinner engagement, we enjoy the food, music, and company, and then we return home. We may hold hands, we may put a hand on each other’s thigh, I pet her gorgeous hair and she keeps my hair out of my face, and I kiss her lightly on the forehead or lips. At the end of the night, there is no intimate interlude to cap off the evening’s adventures. And, so, since there is no sexual gratification, wouldn’t that go far to say that my dressing is NOT a fetish? My dressing provides a sense of sensuality, but doesn’t result in sexual activity.
There is no need to delve into the second definition unless we start looking at “an object worshipped for its supposed magical powers” in a more psychological way versus a metaphysical way. Some crossdressing men love the fantasy of being the sexy school girl, a cheerleader, a French maid, or even a 1950s housewife complete with pearls. While I certainly appreciate those crossdressing men and real women who can rock the aforementioned looks, my personal favorite fantasy centers on being a bride.
For me, the thought of walking down an aisle at a ceremony as the bride in a flowing white satin dress with an ample train and a gauzy veil holds a lot of appeal. Whether it’s the fact that the wedding represents something ultra-feminine or the idea of being a bride during a ceremony where all eyes are on her, this is my specific fantasy. My girlfriend stated that being a bride is reserved for a real woman. She said that women earned the right to be the bride. “What would I do with a wedding dress?” she asked. “Would you just wear it around the house?” My answer – believing that she would never want to be a part of a ceremony where I was the bride – was that I would love to have professional make-up done and professional photos taken. That way, I would have something to remember the experience by.
So, do I see the wedding dress itself as having magical powers? No. I simply believe it to denote a level of femininity that many crossdressers would like to experience. There are things that men cannot do. From wearing sexy Halloween outfits to becoming a bride to being an expectant mother, there are some things that a man could never do or be. In some ways, we just want to find ourselves closer to the feminine ideal we have in our heads.