Ask Professor Foxy: Things Change

My question is this: I have found it really hard lately to have sex with my boyfriend (5 year relationship). A little over a year ago he told me that he’s a cross-dresser and while he doesn’t want a sex change, he does think of himself as significantly female. We lived separately due to my work for about 6 months, and it was fine when we visited each other (about twice a month), probably because there was no sign of it, but we’ve been living back together again for another six months. He still looks mostly the same as ever (except for shaving legs and chest), and he’s keeping a cap on the behavior, but I think I see him differently. For the last four months, I think we’ve had sex three times. It’s weird, he doesn’t dress much, but it’s in my mind a lot. What’s weirder is, it’s not penetrative sex that’s the problem or cuddles, I just don’t like kissing him anymore, or him doing anything downstairs. I kindof just want him to get on with it. I’ve also been pretty down, probably due to stressing about his “hobby”.
Blah, this isn’t much of a question. I guess I’m wondering if the zero sex drive on my part is because of his CD, or because I’m depressed. It’s not like I’m lusting after anyone else, I’m just not interested in sex and particularly not in kissing.
Is there a way to get around this? I tried to make myself do it a lot because I read somewhere about fake it til you make it, but I just felt sad.
Sorry, this isn’t much of a question –

Hi Q –
I’ve been staring at your question for a few days now and what keeps hitting me over and over is how difficult a situation it is. First, I want to clean up a couple of misconceptions. Most cross dressers are heterosexual men. While for some people, this is a step for transitioning genders (male to female in this case), the majority of cross dressers are not interested in transitioning. Rather, they are turned on or comforted by wearing women’s clothing. I think you get this at least intellectually.
You are writing in to a feminist sex column, so I am going to make the assumption that you want to be accepting of his CD.
Here is the heart of it – things have changed. You acted and built on certain assumptions for the past four years and now, after four years of intimacy and relationship, you are discovering a new aspect of him. Are you pissed that it took him four years to tell you? It’s ok to be. You can understand how it took him time to be accepting of himself and to work up the courage to tell you, yet you can still be pissed. You give him deserved credit for “keeping a cap on his behavior” while you are trying to work through this, but at the same time his shaved arms and chest are actually a pretty constant and consistent reminder.
Gender matters in relationships. I don’t mean gender as in sex. I mean gender as the percentage we want our partners to be masculine and feminine. You found someone whose percentage worked for you – both sexually and in a relationship – now that percentage has changed. What does this mean for your own percentage?
I think fake til you make it works in certain situations, almost all of which are nonsexual. You need to stop faking and start being honest with yourself about how you feel. Do you have friends you can talk to about this? An online support group for women dealing with the same issue? You need a place to vent without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings; you need to talk this out for yourself before you can work it out with him. You are having sex, but I don’t think you are having intimacy. You are trying and it is commendable. I just want you to put yourself first right now.
You may have depression, you may just be sad. I think finding a therapist for at least a couple visits would help. Check out the American Associations for Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists for a therapist who is less likely to be judgmental of the CD and more able to focus on the actual issues.
At the end of the day, this relationship may work and it may not. We want to be GGG (Good, Giving and Game – to borrow from Mr. Savage), but there are some things we just can’t be ok with. And this may be yours. But you need to give yourself time and space to really flush out what you are feeling. And then you need to talk to him about it. What compromises can be reached? Maybe he can have other partners who he dresses up for? Maybe you can have other partners who are not into CCD? Maybe he does it ever third Thursday? While being caring for him, you also need to be caring for you.

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