Transvestic fetishism is a sexual fetish for the clothing of the opposite gender. It is one of a number of cross-dressing behaviours. It is primarily a psychiatric term.
Transvestic fetishism, fetishistic transvestism and sometimes transvestism are also often used to describe any sexual behaviour or arousal which is in any way connected to clothes of the other gender. Especially the latter is problematic, because transvestism and cross-dressing are neither a sexual fetish, nor do they necessarily have anything to do with sexual behaviour or arousal.
Also, not every sexual behaviour where clothes of the other gender are involved are transvestic fetishism, they are also often used in sexual roleplay without being a fetish. Also, many transgendered people, mostly trans women, also cross-dress before coming out in sexual contexts, to relieve their cross-gender feelings. This is also not transvestic fetishism.
Some transvestic fetishists collect women's clothing, e.g. nightgowns, slips and other types of nightwear and lingerie. They may dress in these feminine garments and take photographs of themselves to live out their secret fantasies. Many men love the feeling of wearing silk or nylon and adore the silky fabric of women's nightwear and lingerie.
Most transvestic fetishists are said to be heterosexual men.
When is it a psychiatric condition?
There are two key criteria before a psychiatric diagnosis of "transvestic fetishism" is made:
- Recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviour, involving cross-dressing.
- This causes clinically significant distress or impairment, whether socially, at work, or elsewhere.
Thus, transvestic fetishism is not considered a mental illness unless it causes significant problems for the person concerned.
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