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Transvestic fetishism

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.)

Transvestic fetishism
SymptomsExcessive sexual or erotic interest in cross-dressing


Males with late onset gender dysphoria "frequently engage in transvestic behavior with sexual excitement," which could include transvestic fetishism. "Habitual fetishistic tranvestism developing into autogynephilia" is given a risk factor for gender dysphoria to develop. [2]

Some male transvestic fetishists collect women's clothing, e.g. panties, 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 limited to heterosexual men; however, DSM-5 does not have this restriction, and opens it to women 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:[4]

  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 alsoEdit


  • 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. ^ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed., p. 456
  3. ^ DSM-5 Documents: Paraphilic Disorders Fact Sheet
  4. ^ American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.