Transvestic Disorder

Transvestic Disorder is a paraphilia described as chronic (at least 6 months), recurring, and severe sexual arousal from wearing garments associated with the opposite gender, as demonstrated by thoughts, impulses, or actions. The disorder produces clinically substantial distress or impairment in social, educational, work-related, and other crucial areas of functioning.


The overall population’s prevalence of Transvestic Disorder is yet unclear. It is pretty unusual in males and extremely uncommon in females. According to research, less than 3% of men have been sexually aroused by being dressed in women’s attire.

The first signs of this disorder may appear in childhood and involve general pleasure in dressing in girl’s clothing. When puberty arrives, dressing up in women’s attire triggers sexual desire and penile erection. As the child matures, he may report less sexual arousal from cross-dressing, but rather a sense of comfort or well-being from continuing to cross-dress. 


Symptoms of Transvestic Disorder:

Transvestic Disorder is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Having the desire to cross-dress in order to be sexually aroused.
  • Using cross-dressing to relieve tension.
  • Inability to elicit sexual excitement unless wearing attire, accessories, or other objects of the other sex.
  • Playing the other sex when cross-dressing.
  • Constant and intense sexual urges result from envisioning or dressing in a single or more piece of clothes generally intended for the opposite sex. These can be a single item, such as a bra, or a set of items, such as a dress, stockings, and heels.
  • Buying clothing and other objects of the opposing sex, wearing them, and discarding them in an attempt to stop the tendency.
  • The urges or acts are visible for at least a half year and cause severe unhappiness in relationships, careers, and on a daily basis.
  • Many persons with the illness are unable to function at work due to their distress.
  • If the individual is younger, he may progress to sexually enjoying himself by wearing garments. Masturbation is frequently avoided by older people in order to prolong the process of dressing up.
  • Those with the disorder who are involved with a partner will frequently have sex during or after the cross-dressing.

Causes of Transvestic Disorder

The cause of the Transvestic Disorder is unknown. Cross-dressing has been reported to produce excitement in childhood, which can progress to sexual arousal during puberty. If a person ages and the practice is repeated and encouraged, the urge to cross-dress may get greater, even as sexual pleasure decreases. 

Risk factors of Transvestic Disorder

Nobody is predisposed to developing Transvestic Disorder. While the actual frequency of the disorder is unclear, it is not that common. Males may exhibit the disorder’s earliest symptoms as an excessive infatuation with a certain item that is traditionally worn solely by women, such as lipstick or a dress. As time goes on, the youngster becomes more interested in the notion of cross-dressing. When a child reaches puberty, cross-dressing begins to trigger penile erections. This sexual arousal usually fades with time, but the urge to dress in women’s attire may persist or even intensify. In some cases, the phase of the Transvestic Disorder is continuous, while in other cases it occurs in episodes.

Diagnosis of Transvestic Disorder:

According to the DSM-5, to be diagnosed with this condition, a person must have persistent and strong sexual arousal from thinking about or acting on impulses to wear one or more articles of clothing traditionally worn by the opposite gender. These fantasies or actions must have existed for at least six months and produce substantial discomfort or disruption in social, professional, or other important aspects of daily life. The discomfort over cross-dressing that characterizes Transvestic Disorder is different from gender dysphoria.  

Treatment of Transvestic Disorder

Since people suffering from this disorder might feel exceedingly humiliated or ashamed, they seldom seek professional help on their own but may do so at the urging of a partner. When this occurs, psychotherapy is the most commonly used treatment. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used where the therapist assists the client in determining the underlying reason for the behavior and then works with the person to develop strategies for managing sexual desires in a healthier manner. Aversion treatment and other sorts of imagery/desensitization, in which the person imagines himself in the setting and then experiences an unpleasant occurrence, may be used to lessen future desire in participating in fetishistic behaviors.

Doctor talking to the patient about menopause and treatment in future.

Thought-stopping strategies and cognitive restructuring (identifying and modifying the thoughts that drive the behavior) may also be utilized.


Compulsive urge medicines, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety meds can all be used in combination with treatment.