The Risk of Keeping Our Secret Lives a Secret

If you are anything like me (and I am guessing you are since you are on this Learning Center) then I imagine you remember the first time you tried on a bra, a pair of heels, the first time you tasted cherry red lipstick on your lips.  These are special moments that have forever made their mark on us.  We can recall the thrill of hearing heels clicking on the floor, the swish of a skirt, the power of a dress.  I feel these things still. 

We remember the sadness and regret we felt when we put these beautiful clothes away.  It's likely they were not ours, but quickly and quietly borrowed from our sister.  These clothes made us feel beautiful.  We loved them in a way that we never loved clothes before.  It was an intense feeling that somehow, we knew we had to keep a secret from everyone else.  

Boys didn't wear dresses.  Boys didn't wear makeup.  Boys played with trucks and played sports and we weren't supposed to be beautiful.  There were rules, you see, but no one really knew why things were this way.  They just were.  We kept these moments of beauty to ourselves.  We became really good at putting high heels back in a closet exactly how we found them.  We could change out of a dress and back into boys’ clothes quicker than anything.  Thus, began a life of keeping this side of us private.  As we grew older these instincts stayed with us.  We learned how to shop for lingerie and skirts in a store without drawing attention to ourselves.  We hid our beautiful clothes in our closets.  We knew we weren't going to change who we were, but we didn't understand why we are who we are.

But this side of us does not need a reason why we want to wear what we want to wear.  This is who we are.  We can't explain it to ourselves, and we certainly cannot explain it to someone else.  Years of keeping this part of us a secret continues and few people, if any, know all of us.  Some of us have come out to people in our lives, whether it is our families or our partners.  Sometimes this can go well, other times....well, it's a disaster.  We don't understand this side of us, so it's not really a surprise someone else doesn't understand either.

But understanding this side of us is one thing, accepting it is another.

I am out to my wife and my immediate family.  Besides a very small number of others, this side of me is very much hidden.  Like many of us, I have all come to the conclusion that it's just easier to stay in the closet.  With my beautiful clothes.  

Coming out to others does not really get easier for me.  Every relationship is different so each time I have come out has been done in a different and delicate way.  Sometimes it has gone exactly how I thought it would, other times have gone better, or worse, than I had dreamed.  There have been times I regretted doing this.  People don't understand and it's hard to explain who we are.  I absolutely feel that being honest with this side of you is the most important gift you can give to yourself.  I also feel that you need to be honest with your partner, especially before your relationship moves to the next level or commitment.  I also understand, and can relate, when you don't want to.  It's a risk to come to out.  Coming out to our partners is the scariest thing in the world.  No matter how well you know them, you really don't know how they will react to this. 

So, what is life like if you make the choice to not share this side of you to your partner?  From my experiences, and I am sure yours as well, I can tell you that it is a life of paranoia and guilt.... each and every day.  When I was younger, I met a girl who I thought I would be with for the rest of my life.  I was in love, the kind of deep, passionate forever love that only a twenty-year-old feels.  Love makes us feel we can conquer anything and everything, even the part of us that wants to wear lingerie and dresses.  I promised myself that I never would do 'this' ever again.  Look at me now. 

I had my own apartment and feeling very grown up and I gave her a key to my place.  She and I liked the idea of her coming in and out whenever she wanted.  I gave her my key because I didn't have anything to keep from her.  Well, except, you know, THIS.  But I wasn't doing THIS anymore so there was nothing to keep a secret.

This worked for about two weeks.  It wasn't long before I went shopping for a new bra and panty set (with matching garter belt, naturally).  I have always loved lingerie, it has always been my way of connecting with this side of me, even in boy mode.  Only a crossdresser can feel relaxed and comfortable in stockings and heels after a long day at work, after all.  I tucked my beautiful lingerie in the back of my dresser drawer.  Just like always.  But this time was different.  

In the coming days, I felt paranoid every time I left my apartment.  What if she came over while I was at work?  Sure, it was unlikely she would go through my dresser, but.... she might.  What would she think?  If she thought they were mine, would she out me to our friends?  Would she confront me?  Would she think they belonged to another girl?  Would she break up with me?  

Every day until I threw away my new lingerie I was on edge.  I was paranoid.  I was afraid.  Terrified.  I lived in fear, but I also knew I was not being honest with myself.  This is who I am.  I can't change this side of me.  I wasn't being honest with her.  I did not want to be in a relationship with someone I couldn't be honest with, and it was unfair to her as well.  I had a glimpse of what my life would be life had the relationship progressed.  It felt like lying and, to be honest, terrifying.  I could not live in fear of someone finding my panties, no matter how well I thought I had hidden them.  Denying this side of me was not an option, I knew that, too.

Coming out is never easy.  It's also not always required.  You don't have to come out to everyone in your life.  But coming out to your girlfriend, fiancé, boyfriend, significant other, partner, spouse.... I believe it's the right thing to do.  I know it's hard, I know we are terrified of the response.  We could lose it all, but that just underlines the importance of coming out as early in the relationship as possible.  A first date is probably not the time to have this conversation, but once the relationship becomes, well, a relationship, then it's probably time to say "honey, we have to talk".

Love, Hannah


  • Maxine

    This article is great food for thought. To say I am a late bloomer is an understatement. I am 54 years old and only discovered my desire to do this only a couple years ago, and actually started dressing this spring. Nothing involving makeup or wigs, but the feel of leather corsets, panties, and my thigh high scrunch boots are unbelievable. At this point, it feels more like a small vacation from myself when I can do it. As you describe, there is always the feeling of disappointment when I have to put it away and become my male self again. But, I am blessed as I also enjoy being a man, if that makes any sense. I like wearing my Carhartt tee shirts, jeans, and sneakers, too. I hope and pray for those that feel they were born the wrong gender that they are able to find happiness and contentment. Inner turmoil in one's life is one of the worst things to live with, it affects everything you say and do. My dilemma is that I've been married for over 20 years. I love my wife more than anything, and the thought of hurting her is too much to bear. I have no desire to be with anyone else, man or woman. In my case, I don't know if I will ever come out to her about this. Add to the fact that I work in one of the most "macho" or "manly" industries, heavy equipment repair, I feel better served keeping this to myself. Even if I told her the truth, would she believe me that I only recently discovered this about me? She would wonder about the entire marriage. Once trust is gone, the marriage is either over, or becomes so bitter that it should be over. For me, it is one of the biggest catch 22's in my life, to tell, or not to tell. Who knows what the future will bring. A very big "Thank You" to En Femme Style and to you, Hannah, for this site. Wonderful that people can share their experiences to help others.

  • Sherry

    It’s interesting how we grow and develop over our lives. I too started small and scared.

    Today, I’m enfemme everywhere. I’m no longer afraid of what others think and only dress male for work and on occasion for business.

    Be yourself, be happy and love life.

  • Seas

    Another view – In keeping being enfemme a Secret , the euphoric feeling of being engulfed in femininity at will or pink mist , gives one a feeling of great power .


  • Michelle

    They way you described how we start doing this was spot on! My sisters panties and bras, stockings, etc were far too much for me to resist as a young boy. Mom's dresses and wigs completed my early dressing when I had those rare home alone moments. 47 years later, here I am…still unable to stop wanting to be a woman. I have collected and purged countless times, I've gone out in public as a female and passed…I've also not passed at times. I've done what a lot of people would consider risky behavior (going to stranger's houses and having sex, etc.). I can't help it…I HAVE to dress…I HAVE to be female…it's who I really am on the inside. But because of my life circumstances, I simply CANNOT come out and I have to continue living the lie. I'm divorced, but have a college aged child living with me (which makes me live in constant fear of him finding my dresses in my closet, my stashed makeup, etc), I have very conservative family members living nearby who could drop by at any time (so dressing in my own home is risky), I have a female GF/FWB who I actually went to high school with, so if I come out to her…and if it wasn't accepted, my life could be ruined by her very easily. She knows my family too. Soooo….I feel completely stuck…but I can't stop. Internally, I KNOW I was meant to be born female. I can't stand it! I like having sex with men, and hope beyond hope that I don't catch something and give it to my GF….which would literally destroy everything. I have contemplated surgery many many times, but at this point in my life (54 yrs old), I'm thinking I should just hold out for a while longer…maybe my next life I will have the body I was meant to have in this one.

  • Kelly

    Wow! This happened to me recently! So dead on! I was recently married until June for 13 years when my wife discovered my crossdressing things, pictures of me. She couldn’t understand it, but was more angry at me not being upfront and honest with her. Instead I lied and hid it from her! We are still friends but are separated awaiting the divorce finalization. Vowed I wouldn’t do that again. Recently I met a classy woman on a purchance meeting. Went on a date. Had fun. Been talking with her for over a month. I am a otr driver, so talking on the phone works best. I realized this could actually get to that next step. So I told her the other day that I was a crossdresser. Even to the point I’m looking to go out in public as a woman. She took it very well, said she knew something wasn’t right, I was too feminine compared to the other guys she’s been with. She said she would be my friend, support 100% but that’s all she could do. She also told me I was amazing and brave to come out and tell her, being so open and honest! I will have a friend forever with her! I know someday I will find the person that’s right for me, that can accept me. But in the meantime, honesty with myself and others is first! Thank you for your site, your wisdom here I am so grateful!

    Hugs and kisses


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