Today many fashionable clothes are designed for wear by either sex. Slacks and jeans, sweaters, frilly shirts, bow ties, jaunty hats and stylish boots often “look even better on a woman”, as the advertising slogan used to say. But, while a woman might happily dress in a man’s suit and tie, the poor fellow who tries to step out in a cocktail dress or evening gown is risking his reputation, if not his personal safety.
Despite this, thousands of men get a harmless kick out of dressing in women’s clothes. Contrary to popular belief, transvestites are not necessarily homosexual, although they all willingly confess that they pursue their compulsion to gratify the softer, more feminine part of their natures. In a world torn apart by violence surely this is no bad thing.
Transvestites are particularly attracted by the glamorous aspects of femininity. They spend hours grooming themselves for special occasions, shaving their legs and bodies, spending a fortune on luxurious skin creams and other cosmetics. The excitment comes as much from the anticipation of wearing them as the fulfilment.
Some transvestites identify with a specific feminine type – the saucy french maid, the femme fatale or the music hall star. Others contrive to look and behave as much like normal women as possible. Still more will want to dress in a stimulating material, such as satin, silk, rubber or leather. Others will seek female domination, bondage or humiliation in conjunction with their cross dressing.
Psychologists say that a fetish is an association between some object and a pleasant sexual experience or the desire for it. Certain materials are considered sexually provocative and today there are clubs, publications and clothing shops which specially cater for those with a predilection for rubber, leather, silk, satin and lace.
Rubber, of course has long been associated with hygiene, being widely used in hospitals and the nursery. Those who delight in wearing rubber underwear, dresses or shirts, or regularly sleep and make love on rubber sheets, are recreating some childish paradise in which the smell or touch of rubber played a delightful part. Rubber particularly appeals to those adults who enjoy baby games.
Leather is associated with hunting and gives a chance to identify with our primitive forebears to whom the wearing of skins was a symbol of sexual and social status. Leather is also identified with belts, straps and instruments of restraint as well as with whips and Flagellation.
Silk, satin and lace represent softness, elegance and femininity. The growing fashion for transvestism may imply that men are beginning to show a softer side to their nature.
Foot fetishists are among the most common. They will literally grovel before an attractive woman, sometimes in public, and beg to be allowed to worship her feet. If she is wearing boots or high-heels and stockings then so much the better. To be allowed to admire, touch and kiss her foot is paradise indeed, and the more haughty and contemptuous the woman the better the foot fetishist likes it. If she grasciously allows him to remove her footwear and kiss her bare toes he is likely to curl up and swoon with delight.
The psychology of Bondage is obvious. If a transvestite is restrained he has no way of escaping from the feminine attire which he has been compelled to wear, thus assuaging his conscience.
It would be a matter for outrage if there was the slightest element of coercion in bondage games. In fact, not only do many women enjoy being the “victim” but so do many men. How reassuring it must be in our repressed society to know that, in the face of overwhelming passion and temptation, we are totally incapable of resistance! It permits us to enjoy the delights of sex in total innocence.
Such ideas have long lurked in the folklore of sex. In the greek legend, Prometheus was chained to a rock as punishment for stealing fire, and his name had become a symbol of an organisation promoting bondage. The story of Samson and Delilah, the binding of Gulliver by the Lilliputians, Joan of Arc at the stake, the exploits of Houdini and the pictures of Christian martyrs have similar sexual undertones.
The relationship between the prisoner and the captor is a recurring and popular theme in literature and films. The prisoner is naked, chained and buried in the deepest dungeon or behind the highest prison wall, apparently totally helpless. The captor, intelligent, cruelly attractive, is dressed in sexuall-provocative clothes.
Just as there are many different types of transvestites, so their sexual interests vary and although we have briefly touched on some, there are many more: corsetry, depilation, voyeurism, enemas, the list is endless and reflects the sexual practices of the population at large.