In "sissy role play" a sissy is a person (typically a man) who adopts hyper-feminine behaviors, and engages in stereotypical "feminine" activities (e.g., housekeeping, putting on make-up), often within the context of BDSM. Particularly within the BDSM community, a "sissy" will typically assume the submissive role to a dominant female and/or male partner(s). Often sissies in a BDSM context also identify with other fetishes and sexual practices.
As a lifestyle desire or fetish activity, a sissy's feminization is an involuntary transformation from masculine to feminine, either physically, behaviorally, or both. The process is known as feminization or sissification. This transformation can either be permanent, or temporary. Additionally, this transformation can be something that the "sissy" goes through only in private (temporarily - fetish) or in public, temporarily or permanently.
Additionally, individuals who identify as a sissy represent a broad spectrum in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity and to the type of feminine dress and appearance they fetishize. A sissy might entirely identify as a heterosexual and only desire to be dominated by a woman, while other sissies might be bisexual or homosexual and desire to be dominated by a man. And in forced feminization gender-play, a heterosexual (or bicurious) sissy might have the desire to be forced by his female partner to engage in sexual acts with a man. In terms of dress, some sissies prefer ornate maid uniforms, while others prefer to dress hyper-sexual female clothing.
As with most sexuality issues, there is much debate in the psychiatric community as to the reasons and motivations for undergoing feminization and identify as a sissy.
The lifestyle ranges of those who identify themselves as sissies varies considerably. However, the one element that most sissies have in common is the desire and practice of wearing feminine clothing and adopting feminine behavior. A homosexual male who is a full-time cross-dresser or transvestite, and is not interested in kinky fetish-play, can identify herself/himself as a sissy.[not in citation given] While on the other-hand, a heterosexual male who only part-time crosses-dresses and is heavily engaged in fetish-play may also identify as a sissy.
To further illustrate the inclusiveness of the term, individuals who would be considered transvestites, (which by Magnus Hirschfeld, the originator of the term transvestism, is used to describe persons who habitually and voluntarily wears clothes of the opposite sex.), and live full-time as females often identify themselves as sissies, while heterosexual married men who cross-dress on the weekend in front of webcams for viewers on the internet might also identify themselves as sissies.
With the proliferation of the internet, a wide variety of websites—both pornographic and non-pornographic—geared toward sissies and the general transgender community have flourished. There are many websites that sell wigs, makeup, women's clothing fitted to male body-shape, large-size women's shoes, and even how-to guides for feminization. The internet has allowed for much greater anonymity for those interested dressing and appearing as the opposite sex.
In addition to online merchants and advice websites, there are also sites that are chiefly pornographic in nature and cater to feminization fantasies or feature sissies engaged in sexual acts. These sites often include S&M themes and feature erotic humiliation, "sissy training", corporal punishment, and strap-on dildo play (see pegging). These sites often feature photographs or videos of male participants either being dressed, or "forced" to dress in female clothing and instructed on feminine and often submissive behavior. The dominants on these sites are most often female, however dominant males are not rare. There are also sites dedicated to self-hypnosis, often pornographic in nature.
In particular, a very common theme sissification is "sissy maid" training. In a typical scenario, a male submissive, or sissy maid, is dressed in an often sexy and frilly maid uniform to help enhance the sexual thrill. The activities the sissy is made to perform range from mundane household tasks that a real maid would perform, to degrading tasks that invoke erotic humiliation. The "sissy maid" might also be instructed to perform sexual acts, however, these acts usually place the sissy in submissive or passive role.
- Bottom (BDSM)
- Domination and submission
- Erotic humiliation
- Female dominance
- List of transgender-related topics
- Transvestic fetishism
- Forced Feminization 101, Melissa Daniels and Renee Carter, 2006, at Locked in Lace[unreliable source]
- Sissy, by Mark D. Snyder, at Beyond Masculinity: Essays by Queer Men on Gender and Politics
- Hirschfeld, M. (1910/1991). Transvestites: The erotic drive to cross dress.(M. A. Lombardi-Nash, Trans.) Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
- Susan Stryker, Transgender History, Seal Press, 2008
- David Valentine, Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category, Duke University Press, 2007
- Veronica Vera, Miss Vera's Cross-Dress for Success: A Resource Guide for Boys Who Want to Be Girls, Random House Inc. NY, 2002
- Helen Boyd, My Husband Betty, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003
- Lucy Chesser, Parting With my Sex: Cross-dressing, Inversion and Sexuality in Australian Cultural Life, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 2008. ISBN 978-1-920898-31-1.