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Langstrom, N., & Zucker, K.J. (2005). Transvestic fetishism in the general population: prevalence and correlates.

Langstrom, N., & Zucker, K.J. (2005). Transvestic fetishism in the general population: prevalence and correlates. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 31, 87-95.

In basic terms, fetishistic transvestism is defined as the wearing of clothes of the opposite sex (cross dressing) in order to obtain sexual excitement. According to the authors, some male cross-dressers are satisfied with cross-dressing only while for others cross-dressing is one part of the expression of a cross-gender identity. Previous research has focused on referred individuals and/or members of cross-dressing clubs or newsletters. To date, there have been no population-based studies of cross-dressing. According to Langstrom and Zucker, "The aim of this study was to elucidate prevalence and correlates to transvestic fetishism in the general population" (p. 89).

The sample for the study consisted of 2450 randomly selected men and women aged 18 to 60 from the general population of Sweden who agreed to participate in a larger study of sexual attitudes and behaviours. Items concerning cross-dressing behaviours were embedded in the survey questionnaire. One items asked, "Have you ever dressed in clothes pertaining to the opposite sex and become sexually aroused by this?"(p. 89). The wide range of sociodemographic and sexuality items included in the study allowed the authors to identify potential correlates of cross-dressing.

A total of 2.8% (n = 36) of the men and 0.4% (n = 5) of the women reported that they had ever become sexually aroused by cross-dressing. Most of these men (85.7%) reported that they were only sexually attracted to women and none reported a main or exclusive attraction to men. Among the variables that were not significantly associated with cross-dressing behaviour among men were socioeconomic status, history of sexual victimization, satisfaction with life in general, psychological and physical health, or current psychiatric morbidity. Among the variables that were significantly associated with cross-dressing among men were being separated from parents during childhood, being easily sexually aroused, having same-sex sexual experiences, use of pornography, and masturbation frequency. "Transvestic fetishism also was strongly related to experiences of sexual arousal from using pain, spying on others having sex, and exposing one's genitals to a stranger" (p. 92). The authors caution that the very small number of people reporting cross-dressing behaviour in the study limited the statistical power of their analysis.

Alexander McKay

SIECCAN Research Coordinator
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Article Details
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Author:McKay, Alexander
Publication:The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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