This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 16 table of contents.


Transvestitism is sexual arousal achieved by dressing like the opposite sex. Transvestites are not necessarily homosexuals; in fact, in a survey of subscribers to the magazine Transvestia, only 10% described themselves as homosexuals. Transvestites typically report cross-dressing before puberty (Buhrich & Beaumont, 1981). Buhrich and Beaumont also assert that cross-dressing is often accompanied by fantasies of bondage (being tied up or dominated).

What is transvestitism and how is it distinct from homosexuality? Why is it said that there are no lesbian transvestites?

Both men and women are capable of cross-gender dressing, but apparently only men do it for a sexual thrill. Male transvestites are not necessarily gender dysphoric. They may be perfectly happy as males, but they get a kick out of cross-dressing.

Defining transvestitism as a sexual behavior rather than a manifestation of gender dysphoria, Levine and Lothstein (1981) asserted that all transvestites are men. Money (1981) agreed. He found that women who dressed as men, whether they were heterosexuals, lesbians, or female-to-male transsexuals, simply felt most comfortable in male dress and were not sexually excited by cross-dressing.

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