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.)

Description Edit

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 also Edit


  • Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specified. Guilford Press (2008).
  1. Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedAmerican Psychiatric Association (2013). pp. 685–705. American Psychiatric Publishing.
  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.

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