Transvestic fetishism is a disorder where one derives sexual arousal from wearing clothes of the opposite sex. The majority of such cases involve males wearing female clothing, but there are some reports that females also derive similar sexual pleasure from wearing men’s clothes. The disorder is only considered a problem if the individual has been deriving sexual pleasure from cross dressing for at least six months. Moreover, the urge to cross dress must cause some type of personal stress and affect both lifestyle and interpersonal relationships.
The exact number of people who are into transvestic fetishism is unknown because it is typically a behavior performed at home and not many people brag about it. What is known is that the behavior usually starts in early adolescence and continues throughout life. Men who practice this behavior are often sexually aroused by wearing female garments which may include bras, panties, corsets, slips, girdles, stockings, shoes and even jewelry. These individuals will often masturbate while wearing clothing or may get aroused from just fondling the items. The majority of people who practice this behavior are heterosexuals, usually married or with partners who are fully aware of the fetish. In many cases, these people also have children and lead an otherwise normal life.
Transvestic fetish is usually performed in private but many males do wear female undergarments to work. Of course, the clothing is worn under regular work clothes.
Transvestic fetishism and trans-sexual disorder are not the same. With the former, the individual still wishes to live his or her life as a member of his or her current sex.
Transvestic fetishism is not considered illegal or criminal and most of these individuals lead normal lives. Just like some people like to watch pornographic movies for sexual arousal, these individuals like to cross dress for the purpose of sexual arousal. Problems usually arise when this type of fetish is combined with other paraphilias like pedophilia or voyeurism.
Most people who practice this type of fetish behavior do not want to be treated because they usually are not harming anyone. For those who feel like their behavior is interfering their work and relationships, treatment comprises of cognitive behavior therapy and use of certain medications (SSRIs) to diminish the urge to cross dress. Unfortunately, despite treatment relapse rates are high.