Transvestic fetishism

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Transvestic fetishism is a psychiatric diagnosis applied to those who are thought to have an excessive sexual or erotic interest in cross-dressing; this interest is often expressed in autoerotic behavior. It differs from cross-dressing for entertainment or other purposes that do not involve sexual arousal, and is categorized as a paraphilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.[1] (Sexual arousal in response to donning sex-typical clothing is homeovestism.)


A person who is diagnosed with gender dysphoria (also called "gender identity disorder") should not receive a diagnosis of Tranvestic Fetishism,[2] although sometimes those with this diagnosis do go on to develop gender dysphoria, and then meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder.[2] Most men who have transvestic fetishism do not have a problem with their assigned sex.

Some male transvestic fetishists collect women's clothing, e.g. nightgowns, babydolls, bridal gowns, slips, brassieres, and other types of nightwear, lingerie, stockings, pantyhose, shoes, and boots, items of a distinct feminine look and feel. They may dress in these feminine garments and take photographs of themselves while living out their fantasies.

According to DSM-IV, this fetishism was described mostly in heterosexual men; however, DSM-5 does not have this restriction, and opens it to females and men with this interest, regardless of their sexual orientation.[3]

There are two key criteria before a psychiatric diagnosis of "transvestic fetishism" is made:[2]

  1. Individuals must be sexually aroused by the act of cross-dressing.
  2. Individuals must experience significant distress or impairment - socially or occupationally - because of their behavior.


See also[edit]


  • Laws, Richard D.; O'Donohue, William T., eds. (2008). Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (2 ed.). New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-59385-605-2. 
  1. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 685–705. ISBN 978-0-89042-555-8. 
  2. ^ a b c American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
  3. ^ DSM-5 Documents: Paraphilic Disorders Fact Sheet