Why does my husband like dressing as a female in our bedroom?

He wants to wear makeup and heels. He even tucks his penis away to resemble a vagina. He wants me to wear a strap on and have anal sex with him. I have tried this for him, but I don’t like it and have told him so. He keeps making comments about it and says he can't live without it.

Tamara Powell
Tamara Powell
Anything But Ordinary!

Depending on your own sexual history and what you grew up expecting to be "normal" in the bedroom, I can easily imagine that this came as quite a shock to you!  

It DOESN'T necessarily mean, however that your husband is: gay, bisexual transgender, or even necessarily a cross-dresser etc. unless he has already told you so. I agree with the other poster who recommended you try and ask him more questions with an open and curious attitude and see if he might be open to explaining more with you. 

That being said, what we also know from research is that frequently what turns us on isn't always what we identify as.  Lots of people have fantasies or even sexual behaviors they may enjoy from time to time without considering themselves to be a part of any label or subculture. For example, many women are okay with having their hair pulled or bottom spanked during a particular rowdy sexual encounter but certainly don't consider themselves kinky, submissive, or anything else.  

It could be that your husband enjoys pretending/ fantasizing that he is something completely different in the bedroom from time to time from what most other see him as outside in the corporate world or in other roles he plays as husband, father, son, friend etc.  Many of my kink clients are drawn to their particular fetish simply because it's the opposite of what their life typically entails (e.g., a high profile CEO who is always responsible for making the decisions enjoys being at "the mercy" of someone else once a week). 

Each of us has a sexual script - a blueprint if you will of what we like and don't like in the bedroom and also what we have each come to see as being "normal."  It's also an internal guideline for how we each define our role in sexual expression, sexual orientation, sexual behaviors, sexual desires, and how big a part our sexual identity plays in our everyday lives (Gagnon & Simon, 1973).

You've been clued into the fact that your husbands greatly differs from yours on the surface level at the moment. 

ALL of us are sexual beings yet none of us is exactly identical to one another in our sexual definitions and script expectations. It's like our own sex fingerprint. 

In my role as a couples counselor, I often help partners become aware of their own sexual script and explore where it overlaps their partners and where it may always differ.  If a couple is able to successfully navigate formulating a plan for both to feel validated and sexually satisfied, the relationship thrives. 

Most counselors would agree that a healthy script includes:

  • Both partners taking ownership for the couple's sexual experiences.
  • Both partners learning to communicate openly and honestly about their feelings.
  • Both partners learning to meet one another's - needs, desires, and wishes while making sure his/her own needs are being met.

If "pegging" your husband as it's called is a hard and fast no for you, that will likely need to be respected as it may be too far off your own sexual script.  However, if your husband is for sure absolutely adamant about "needing" to dress in a female fashion and/or be anally penetrated, you may seek professional counseling to help navigate how both of you will come to an agreement about fulfilling these desires in a way that doesn't hurt either one of you or the marriage.

My warmest wishes to you both!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH, CCTP, CCH
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH, CCTP, CCH
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

It sounds like you may be asking two different questions.

With regard to what you said about your husband dressing as a female in your bedroom, I wonder if you would consider asking him more about this. If you choose to do that, I would suggest that you ask him whether a certain time is a good time to have a conversation and asking questions for five minutes or more that are related to you learning more about his experience. This can be difficult to do at times, particularly when you may want to offer your own opinions or become very anxious or of type. Consider thinking of a phrase that may help you to stay calm during the discussion. It may be helpful to think of yourself as asking questions as if you were an investigative reporter and using questions that start with words like "what, how, who, where, when." Questions that start with "why," can be very difficult to answer for some people and can be overwhelming because it often links to answers involving emotions that may or may not be understood. 

Also try restating what your husband is saying to make sure that you are understanding correctly. If what he is telling you is different than what you have heard or thought of for many years, it may be challenging to follow his meaning initially. Remember that listening to your husband does not imply agreement with what he is saying, just that you are following and looking to understand what he is experiencing. I also recommend sticking to one topic for the conversation, but this could be done with many different topics over time.

You could also see if he would be willing to have a discussion where he listens like an investigative reporter to learn more about the experience that you are having.

As far as what you mentioned about the sexual experience, maybe if you can discuss what it is that you don't like and/or understand what it is that he does like, you could see if there is some middle ground here. It depends on what you both prefer.

These types of conversations can be difficult to have for some couples, at least initially. Having structured conversations, such as the ones I've described briefly above, can feel awkward initially, but the reason it can be helpful is because it can lead to further understanding in a way that decreases the chances of having an argument.

Also consider seeing a therapist in your area who specializes in couples to discuss some of these ideas.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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