Kate from Sydney, Australia contacted me the other day with a question that was concerning her dearly. She recently discovered her boyfriend wore women’s panties and was worried because she hadn’t come across something like this before, especially with a loved one.
Her email was as follows:
Hi. I hope you can help me. I recently found out my boyfriend wears ladies underwear, you know panties and stuff. I accidentally caught him pulling his pants down in the shower, which was strange because we usually change in the bedroom. He seemed protective and me being me just walked in and thought nothing of it. Then I saw him standing there with his pants to the floor and a bright pair of blue panties. We both just looked at each other and I walked out. Since then, we haven’t talked about it and I don’t know what it means. I’m usually good with working stuff out but this is just plain confusing.
Q: What do I do? Is this normal? Should I be worried? I’m lost.
A: Hi Kate. Thanks for writing in with your question. Firstly I want to congratulate you for making the step and seeking advice. Relationships can be tricky, especially when it comes to sensitive matters such as these. Secondly, before I proceed in answering your question, I want to emphasise the importance of keeping your mind open. Whenever dealing with psychological matters, it’s critical we try and not invoke our filters but rather think critically. Certainly this will require a conscious effort but it will ensure you can focus on the issues at hand and dealing with them the most effective and efficient way. So, let’s get into it.
From what you have described to me Kate, your boyfriend has a panty fetish, possibly even a cross-dressing habit. But without more information, it’s difficult for me to make a clear distinction. However, I want to go ahead and answer your entire question by each sub-question.
- What do I do?
Like with any overwhelming or scary event, first breathe. If you’re experiencing any sort of emotion, try and let it pass by simply focusing on your breathing. Once you feel calm, you’re ready to continue. Now, there are very few things you can actually do here Kate, but don’t be disheartened because these steps you can take are key to ensuring the best result possible.
- First realise this is out of your control. While it affects you, your boyfriends fetish/habit is about him, not you. Trying to persuade or forcing your ideals onto him will only worsen the situation and close him off even more.
- Secondly, you need to resist the urge to make an assumption based on your perception of what society believes is “right” and “wrong”. Additional research into cross-dressing and panty fetishes is recommended. This way you can focus on the facts and work out a solution for both you and your boyfriend, rather than blindly following the masses.
- Thirdly, you need to try and remember what you thought and felt about your boyfriend prior to seeing him wearing panties. How many good qualities does he have? What are all the things he has done that you’re grateful for? Reigniting this train of thought allows you to focus on the positives and what makes your boyfriend exactly that. Love is the most powerful force in the universe and conquers everything, including fear.
- Lastly, you will need to initiate the conversation about his habit/fetish as he probably won’t. It’s a good chance your boyfriend is filled with shame, regret, and other similar negative feelings revolving around this topic due to his perception of society and you (what you may be thinking). Love and constant reassurance are the keys to success in this conversation.
- Is this normal?
- What’s normal, right? Normal is a state that is defined by your perception as regular and common. Moving all over the country during your childhood could be considered “normal” to you because your Father was in the military and that’s what you did, regularly. But to another, their childhood may have been in the one home. They wouldn’t consider moving everywhere all the time “normal” as it’s far from regular, almost inconceivable. Our perception matters. It helps define not only what we think and feel, but what decisions we make. And decisions we make not only affect us but others around us. What you should realise here is your boyfriends panty fetish/cross-dressing behaviour is new to you, and until you investigate further, it should invoke neither a positive or negative response. Furthermore, upon investigating more, you will discover that cross-dressing and/or wearing panties is quite common among men, especially heterosexual men. A study done by the man of Vernon Coleman investigated whether there is a correlation between cross-dressing and transsexualism, that is, whether a cross-dresser wanted to change their biological body in accordance to how they felt inside like a transsexual would. More information can be found on the following link: http://www.crossdreamers.com/2010/11/vernon-coleman-study-of-crossdressers.html
- There is also another article on the same website which has some really interesting data specifically related to cross-dressing. The survey was completed by over 1,000 cross-dressers and indicate most cross-dressers are in fact heterosexual, and a significant amount are married. You can check it out here: http://www.crossdreamers.com/2010/02/survey-of-crossdressers.html
- Should I be worried?
- Worry is perpetuated through the fear of the unknown. I wouldn’t say you should be worried but rather aware. There are many psychological reasons why we behave the way we do and without observation, it’s next to impossible to identify key patterns and produce a result/understanding that’s more closely related to our actual self. This means you will need to learn and uncover more pieces of the puzzle by way of questions, attentive listening and support. By working with your boyfriend, you can try and identify the reasons why he’s doing what he is & what it means for the future (i.e. does it change anything?). Please do take note however, if you discover anything related to his identity, that is for example, he believes he should’ve been born differently (opposite sex) then you have a potential case of gender identity, which is serious and requires professional help. Just keep this in the back of your mind and try and ascertain the facts first before making any conclusions.
Remember the most important part of all of this is your unconditional love and support for your boyfriend. He needs to be reassured and comforted knowing that you do not hold him in judgement or despise him. By showing your commitment and humanness, it will help him slowly regain his confidence in himself and hopefully allow him to open up more, resulting in a stronger relationship.
Good luck Kate