What is a sissy? You may wonder why we're starting this chapter with such an odd question - after all, the chances are that you wouldn't be reading this book if you didn't already have some idea about what a sissy is. Even if you can't put your finger on an exact definition, you're sure to know a sissy when you see one. Perhaps the word brings to mind men wearing pretty pink party dresses, frilly lingerie or dainty maid's uniforms, adopting exaggerated effeminate mannerisms more befitting for a young lady or even a little girl whilst submitting sexually in ways that would be anathema to more macho men. "Help! I think I'm a sissy!" certainly isn't something you're likely to say unless you're already well acquainted with such stereotypes, identifying with them to a greater or lesser extent even if you're unsure as to what they really mean. Can we shed any light on the matter by considering the word itself?
In popular parlance, the term "sissy" has quite a different meaning to the one you may be more familiar with online. Look it up in a dictionary, and you'll find definitions that are only loosely connected with the subject of this book. If you were to broach the courage to ask someone who wasn't familiar with the sissy subculture what they thought the word meant, you're likely to hear the same kind of things. Young children use "sissy" synonymously with "scaredy-cat" or "cowardly custard" when challenging one another to dares, adopting it alongside "cry baby", "wimp" and "wuss" to taunt playmates who lack courage. As they grow older, the word takes on an additional meaning, used pejoratively to describe boys who fail to live up to societal expectations about their gender - peers who are perceived as weak, effeminate or simply show too much of an interest in things deemed appropriate only for girls. The stereotypical "sissy boy" is regarded as the antithesis of the alpha male, lacking courage, strength and manly prowess, unable to say boo to a goose let alone prove himself as a man. "Sissy" might also be used diminutively to refer to a junior sister or young girl, and the unfavourable comparison should be clear for a boy who is expected to impress the girls with his manliness rather than seek to join them.
Obviously this is not a book about cowards - indeed, it takes a certain courage to admit to being the kind of sissy we'll be talking about. Nor do we mean the term in a derogatory sense, however important a factor humiliation may be to some sissies - something we'll investigate in more detail in due course. Instead, we'll be using the word "sissy" as a convenient shorthand for "submissive crossdresser" - something that doesn't roll off the tongue quite as easily, but conveys a far more accurate meaning. After all, when you stop to think about it, the kind of sissies you're more familiar with are exactly that - no matter whether they're sissy girls, sissy maids or sissy sluts, they're all men who adopt a submissive role whilst wearing feminine clothing.
It's easy to see how this more specialist definition derives from the mainstream meaning. If one takes the idea of a man being effeminate to extremes, wearing women's clothing is the logical conclusion - especially the kind of overly stylised or sexualised attire beloved of sissies but eschewed by real women for being too over the top. Similarly, it's clear why submitting to another's will, especially doing so voluntarily, might come to be associated with weakness and cowardice. After all, in the cut-throat world of the alpha male, dominating others is how a man demonstrates his power, reflecting his sense of worth and status both to himself and those around him in the process. Even in the sexual arena, a macho man takes the lead, actively penetrating rather than passively being penetrated. It is no coincidence that the stereotypical sissy does the converse, adopting archetypal feminine attitudes and behaviours both in the bedroom and beyond.
Of course, if we're going to use the word sissy as a shorthand for submissive crossdresser, we need to understand what we mean by that - what a crossdresser is, and just as importantly, is not, as well as what it means to be sexually submissive. To complicate matters, not all crossdressers are submissive, nor do all submissive men crossdress - the submissive crossdresser is a combination of the two, distinct from dominant transvestites and more conventionally attired submissives. That's before complicating things with talk of homosexuals and transsexuals, let alone looking at different types of sissies, which range from the innocence of the sissy baby to the promiscuousness of the sissy whore. Such details might seem unduly academic, but they're actually of vital importance when it comes to avoiding misconceptions - not just your own, but those of other people too. Let's see if we can begin to unravel things a little by looking first at what it means to be a crossdresser or a transvestite.
At first glance, you might think it would be easy to say what crossdressing is all about. After all, the word practically explains itself - crossdressing involves wearing clothing more typically associated with the opposite sex, going against prevailing societal expectations in the process. Of course, like anything else, there's much more to it than that - a man wearing a frilly dress and lingerie is obviously crossdressing, but what about a businesswoman wearing trousers and a smart suit? Today such attire would barely warrant a second glance in all but the stuffiest of boardrooms, but go back a few decades and it would be unheard of, as outrageous as one of her male colleagues wearing a flowing skirt and stockings today. Nevertheless, men have openly worn skirts and hose historically, with such clothing being deemed perfectly appropriate for their gender in other times and other cultures - the Scotsman's kilt is a symbol of national pride, not one of shame! Similarly, drag queens, pantomime dames and even Shakespearean actors can all take to the stage dressed in the most outrageously feminine outfits without doing their reputation any harm - quite the contrary, in fact.
Sissies can hardly be described as taking part in a theatrical production. Even if they were to be shamefully paraded in front of an audience while dressed up, there would be something quite different about such humiliation beyond simply playing a role. Similarly, a man who dons women's clothing in a sexual context also falls into a different category as far as society is concerned, no matter whether he's merely fooling around with his wife and her underwear in the bedroom or engaging in more deliberate dressing for solo satisfaction. It's one thing for a man to dress up as a woman as a joke, perhaps as part of a drunken stag night, but quite another for him to do so more seriously in search of the emotional effects that such clothing brings. Yet for transvestites and sissies alike, the psychological impact is the big draw of dressing up - garments that women take for granted have much more meaning when a man wears them because of what they do to him inside his head, quite apart from to his body.
As anyone familiar with lingerie discipline can attest, a man doesn't need to be a crossdresser in order to be affected by wearing women's clothing - simply being put in panties or a bra can have a profound effect on his state of mind. In the case of transvestites and sissies, however, there's an active desire on their part to don such attire in order to feel a certain way, whether that's aroused, relaxed or simply feminine. Crossdressing is not just about looking like a lady for many such men, but feeling like one too - however unlikely a real woman might be to adopt the clichéd stereotypes so often seen amongst sissies. We'll be exploring the often complicated psychological reasons behind this in due course, but for now it's worth noting that the motivations of crossdressers vary between individuals just as much as the clothing they wear. Some transvestites might simply put on lingerie for the sexual thrill it brings, whereas others dress more fully as part of expressing an alternate persona that's ordinarily repressed or in order to help them relax and unwind.
Beyond sharing a desire to wear women's clothing, there are few generalisations that can be made about transvestites as a whole - like men in general, crossdressers come from all walks of life, in all shapes and sizes. Some choose to don feminine garments on a regular, even daily basis, perhaps wearing lingerie under their regular male attire or dressing up more fully in private around the house. Others find that crossdressing is more of an occasional affair, something they do from time to time when the mood takes them. They might go for weeks or even months without feeling the urge to dress up, then find themselves compelled to do so every day until the desire fades again. Alternatively, dressing up might be a Friday night activity for letting off steam after a hard week at work, or simply something they do when they're feeling horny - turning them on as part of some naughty fun, whether alone or with company.
Not all crossdressers wear the entire gamut of feminine clothing - indeed, many have a particular penchant for certain garments, materials and styles, often to the exclusion of others. Sometimes this can be very specific, such that only satin panties or angora sweaters will do the business, whereas others opt for clothing with particular associations, drawn to provocative clothing that would send an unmistakable message were a woman to wear it - skimpy miniskirts, sexy stockings and stilettos, for example, the stereotypic outfit of a streetwalker. Such attire need not be trashy or tarty, however - prim and proper or sweet and innocent can be equally appealing, with pretty party dresses or beautiful ball gowns being more the order of the day for many transvestites. Some go as far as using cosmetics and prosthetics to make them appear as convincing as possible, even to the extent of being able to pass for women in public, whereas others don't care how implausible they look so long as they feel feminine inside.
There's a world of difference between transvestites and transsexuals, however similar the words may sound. The latter are individuals who psychologically identify with the opposite sex so much that they regard themselves as women trapped in men's bodies. Although transsexuals also wear feminine clothing, they do so for deeper, more profound reasons than those that motivate the transvestite, reflecting their inner selves by means of the outer appearance they present to the world. Such people often undergo sex reassignment surgery to give them the body they feel they ought to have been born with - a far cry from simply dressing up in women's clothing, however frequently. Sadly, it's all too easy for the uneducated to mistake the two, lumping transvestites and transsexuals together in an unhelpful pigeonhole that does nothing to help anyone, least of all the sissy coming to terms with his own desires.
A similarly unhelpful misconception is the popular belief that men who wear women's clothing must be gay. Admittedly, there are homosexual crossdressers and bisexual crossdressers just as there are homosexual men and bisexual men among the wider population, but there are also straight crossdressers too. Indeed, the majority of transvestites have no homosexual tendencies at all, enjoying and enduring relationships exclusively with women just like their non-crossdressing counterparts - falling in and out of love, getting married, divorced and having children in exactly the same way. There's simply no correlation between what a man might wear for pleasure and who he's sexually attracted to, any more than there is with which foods he enjoys eating or what kind of car he drives, regardless of what others might assume. Of course, there are complexities which we'll discuss in more detail later - even straight men may be attracted to crossdressers who appear particularly feminine, for example, whereas a desire to emulate women's behaviour or to be sexually submissive can add further complications to the mix. Nevertheless, it's as wrong for a sissy to assume that he must be gay as it is for him to believe he must be a transsexual simply because he crossdresses.
Ask someone in the street to describe the stereotypical transvestite and it's unlikely that they'll paint you a picture of a macho man, his bra bursting with rippling muscles as he confidently strides down the street, forcing others to step out of his way. Instead, the chances are that they'll describe a ninety pound weakling, complete with simper and lisp, daintily mincing about in an ever so camp fashion. Actually, a crossdresser is just as likely to be built like the proverbial outhouse, as testified to by the availability of size twelve stilettos and man sized maid's uniforms from specialist suppliers - brawny construction workers and wrestlers crossdress too! Even without being physically imposing, a man with a penchant for pretty pink party dresses can still have a very strong psychological presence if his crossdressing is an extension of an exuberant personality, being the life and soul of a party or the centre of attention on the dance floor. Indeed, there are even transvestite dominatrices who take on the traditional trappings of their female counterparts whilst imposing their will upon others, no matter what their physical size.
For the vast majority of transvestites, dressing up is an intensely private affair - so much so that many are unable to share this most intimate of secrets with even their wives for fear of rejection, let along with friends and family, perhaps coming out only to faceless strangers in the anonymous safety of the Internet. It takes real courage to confront the inevitable barrage of contempt and abuse that comes from less tolerant quarters towards those who openly admit to wearing women's clothing, let alone are seen doing so in public. In turn, this means that transvestites who choose to make no secret of their activities are a somewhat self-selecting bunch, being far from representative of every man who wears women's clothing. That's all the more the case for those who identify themselves as transsexuals - the battle to gain public acceptance can leave such individuals ill at ease with the thought that others might don feminine attire for more frivolous reasons, let alone countenance the idea of sissies who find being humiliated or abused whilst so dressed sexually arousing.
To compound this problem, there are also exhibitionists who delight in exposing themselves in the most ludicrous and outrageous of ways. They may do so online or even in public, perhaps seeking to be abused by passers-by and relishing the resulting sense of humiliation. Then there are crossdressers who unwittingly become the subject of public attention as a result of their misguided actions - perhaps being caught stealing underwear from washing lines or otherwise making a nuisance of themselves, whether as a result of social ineptitude or downright criminality. If you never see the invisible majority who keep themselves to themselves and enjoy dressing up as a harmless hobby, it's easy to draw the conclusion that all transvestites must be perverts and weirdos based on such a skewed sample, but that's far from the case. One could just as easily conclude that only bank robbers wear balaclavas, based on their prevalence in the media, ignoring the fact that countless motorcyclists and skiers do so daily without warranting attention. Flashers certainly don't have a monopoly on macintoshes, so why should underwear thieves have one on bras?
To summarise, crossdressers are men who find emotional or sexual satisfaction in donning articles of feminine attire, although what they wear and how often they do so varies greatly on the individual. Transvestites are not transsexuals who seek to become women, being as masculine as any other man when not dressed up. Nor are they necessarily homosexual or bisexual, although there are some who are, and only a very small minority are exhibitionists who seek public attention for their activities - most are quite content dressing in private.
Whether in the workplace or the social arena, interactions between people can often be boiled down to a struggle for dominance. That's hardly surprising when you consider the parallels between human society and a primate troupe - many of the issues faced by individuals are similar, even if we couch them in rather more sophisticated terms than monkeys might. Asserting one's territory, proving oneself to potential mates, establishing one's place in the social hierarchy - the details may be different, but the fundamentals are the same. Whilst a man's standing among his peers may be less correlated with his physical prowess than that of an ape, the two are far from being completely detached - as the popular idolisation of the rugged action hero shows. This epitome of the ancestral alpha male not only defeats his adversaries, but survives combat and adversity unscathed to get the girl at the end. However feisty the heroine of such films may be, she invariably surrenders willingly to his superior masculine strength.
That's not to say that there isn't a similar pecking order among females, vying for the attentions of the alpha male quite apart from other kinds of territory and status, albeit usually expressed in more subtle ways than raw physical aggression. Still, no matter how much it may offend feminists, there are good reasons behind the traditional stereotype which regards dominance as being a distinctly masculine attribute and submission being correspondingly feminine - especially where sex is concerned, where the helpless damsel in distress is expected to lie back and allow her ravishing suitor to have his wicked way with her. Whilst real life lovemaking is often a far cry from such corny clichés, the attitudes behind them nevertheless run deep, grounded in primitive, unconscious foundations formed over thousands, if not millions of years.
Against this backdrop, it may seem odd for anyone to want to be submissive, let alone take pleasure from being so. After all, there's little that's appealing or arousing about being mugged in a dark alleyway by a bunch of thugs, unable to defend your property or your person against their aggression, nor to have a pile of unwanted paperwork dropped on your desk by your boss, knowing that you can't refuse for fear of losing your job. It's only in the safety of fantasy that such situations take on a different light - being stripped of one's clothes and forced to go down on gang members at gunpoint would be aggravated rape in reality, however much of a turn on the thought of it may prove for the submissive who secretly harbours desires of being used and abused. Similarly, a boss who insisted his secretary performed her duties under his desk would be facing a sexual harassment claim in no short order, but that doesn't stop many men and indeed, women, fantasising about acting out such a situation - whether as the dominant or the submissive party. What's the difference?
While heightened sexual overtones often distinguish a titillating fantasy from more mundane reality, they're insufficient to separate an erotic encounter from mere abuse of authority or worse. Nor is it the shift from the improbable perfection of the imagination to the cold, hard practicalities of the real world that makes some acts of submission far more appealing than others, however much reality has a tendency to complicate things in the transition. After all, many submissives are fortunate enough to live out at least some of their fantasies for real, enjoying them far more as a result of experiencing them in person. Moreover, many of the physical sensations involved are very similar regardless of how pleasurable or otherwise a situation may be - being slapped in the face stings just as much no matter whose hand the blow comes from, be it that of a stern dominatrix or balding overweight boss.
The difference is of course psychological, being entirely dependent on how the submissive perceives the situation and whether his submission is consensual or otherwise. Being physically punished or humiliated by someone one trusts is a world apart from receiving exactly the same abuse at the hands of a stranger or an enemy. In a loving relationship, the knowledge that a dominant wife will never put her submissive husband in any danger allows the latter to feel safe in submitting to her. However much she may push his limits on occasion, he knows she'll never hurt or humiliate him maliciously, with whatever physical or psychological degradation he endures at her hands being merely for their mutual pleasure. In allowing himself to surrender to her authority, he voluntarily chooses to put himself in a vulnerable position, ceding control to the extent he is happy with - a far cry from having no choice in the matter, as might be the case with the abusive boss or the street mugger, neither of whom care for anyone's interests other than their own. The enhanced intimacy that results from such a display of trust can be extremely powerful in its own right.
However much a fantasy may involve elements of coercion, the locus of control remains firmly with the submissive when they're merely playing out scenes in their head - able to direct the fantasy along more appealing pathways whilst conveniently ignoring aspects that are more problematic or distasteful. Few women, let alone men, would want to put themselves at the mercy of a street gang for real, but many find the idea surprisingly exciting, allowing them to explore aspects of their personality that are ordinarily repressed out of fear of what might happen. The same is true in a loving relationship, where allowing a trusted partner to take the lead without risk of repercussions lets a couple explore their fantasises in a safe way, grounded in mutual love and respect.
Asserting oneself as a man, let alone as an alpha male, can be surprisingly hard work - defending one's territory, whether it be physical or more abstract, requires constant vigilance, having to forever prove one's dominance in order to retain social standing. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that many outwardly powerful men are secretly submissive behind closed doors, the bedroom being the one place where they don't have to keep their metaphorical fists up. It's certainly wrong to assume that all submissive men are the stereotypical simpering sissy, unable to say boo to a goose, nor to conclude that a man cannot have a submissive side simply because he enjoys a position of power. The lurid stories that appear in newspapers about high profile politicians and celebrities caught with their trousers down in dominatrices' dungeons should prove testament to that, but aside from the hypocrisy that often accompanies such titillating tales, there's nothing wrong with seeking sexual satisfaction in this way, let alone in enjoying a brief respite from the trials of life.
Although frequently confused in the popular imagination with sadomasochism so as to invariably involve whips and chains, sexual submission may actually mean nothing more than allowing one's partner to take the lead, allowing a lover to use one's body to satisfy their own needs and desires rather than selfishly seeking personal gratification. That might mean a man going down on a woman simply for the pleasure he gains from seeing her climax as a result, knowing that her delight comes from his own efforts, without any expectation of earning favour or reciprocation. The experience may be heightened by the submissive allowing himself to be put in a position of vulnerability, perhaps having his movements restricted or being dressed or undressed to reflect his submission.
Conversely, sexual submission may involve surrendering control of one's own body to another, willingly allowing them to inflict pain in the form of physical chastisement or more psychological humiliation. Receiving a spanking, being penetrated orally and anally or simply being verbally abused are all abasements that men would be loathe to accept from their peers, yet take on a quite different meaning when delivered by a loving partner in a safe, intimate environment. Similarly, ceding power over how, when or even if one is allowed to climax, whether by means of teasing and denial or the use of chastity devices, turns traditional lovemaking on its head. As exemplified by so-called "forced feminization", sometimes this involves desires that the submissive is too ashamed of to actively pursue himself, yet yearns to satisfy nonetheless. The transfer or responsibility allows him to enjoy their pleasures whilst simultaneously assuaging himself of the associated guilt. Alternatively, submission itself may be what he seeks, with the actual acts involved secondary to achieving this end - merely being free from the burden of having to make decisions proving liberating enough no matter what is imposed upon him at the whim of another.
Sexual submission may be restricted to the occasional erotic game in which a couple reverse roles in order to spice up their lovemaking, or it may become a more regular affair. Lifestyle submissives surrender control of other aspects of their lives beyond the bedroom, deferring to their partner in household or financial matters too. As with crossdressing, this may occur to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individuals involved - some having every aspect of their lives decided for them, but many more only going as far as works for them and their particular situation. Their submission may be formalised by means of a written contract or rituals associated with particular activities, or they may wear a collar or other attire to symbolise their position. However popular it may be in many men's fantasies, such paraphernalia is by no means mandatory for those with submissive tendencies, just as one need not have to wear a full wardrobe of women's clothes all the time to be a transvestite.
In its broadest sense, submission involves allowing another to take the lead, surrendering responsibility and control over decisions whether in the bedroom or beyond. Placing oneself at another's mercy requires an unparalleled degree of trust that one will not be exploited or abused by the other party, which in the context of a loving relationship creates a unique intimacy that's not only exciting and arousing but immensely powerful no matter what it involves.
Of course, this is not just a book about submissives nor transvestites per se, but the combination of the two - the submissive crossdresser or sissy. Not all submissives crossdress, nor do all crossdressers have submissive tendencies, but there's more than a degree of overlap thanks to the complicated societal associations between being feminine and being submissive. Being made to wear women's clothes can have a profound effect even on a submissive man who ordinarily lacks any desire to crossdress. Conversely, many transvestites find that donning feminine finery naturally encourages a gentler, more submissive state of mind by virtue of its delicate nature - lace and frills hardly being best suited for rough and tumble. Nevertheless, the sissy is distinct in that he actively desires both aspects, longing to submit whilst dressed in and by means of women's clothing, his attire just as key a part of proceedings as it is for the transvestite, yet having similar psychological effects as for a submissive.
Having feet in both camps, many sissies feel somewhat out of place in the wider transvestite and submissive communities, containing as they do individuals who only share half their perspective. We've explored the breadth of possibilities with regards to both crossdressing and submission partly to emphasise the fact that there is no single prescribed path that you must conform to - everyone is a unique blend of different interests in both erotic and more mundane matters, overlapping to a greater or lesser extent with those of others. Provided you bear this in mind and are able to understand where other people are coming from, it's possible to take away the best of everything, benefiting from the wealth of resources available to transvestites and submissives even when they're not specifically targeted at sissies who are both. Obviously, asking a gynecomastia support forum about the most humiliating bras a sissy can wear is not going to win you friends, but they may be able to provide valuable advice about keeping one hidden under clothing - even if the reasons a sissy has for wanting to do so are rather different than men who merely wear bras for support.
Of course, the same variety is present in sissies themselves. There are sissies who like to serve as maids, and sissies who like to play as babies, to illustrate but two distinct expressions of the submissive transvestite, each quite different from the other. The sissy maid takes on the role of a humble servant as he sets about the household chores, whereas the sissy baby finds himself relinquishing responsibility in a manner that's as different as his outfit is to the maid's uniform, yet undeniably feminine and submissive all the same. For some, being a sissy means donning not only the attire but the attitude of a 1950s housewife around the house, whereas others are content with merely putting on a pair of panties and pleasuring their wives from time to time. There are sissies who like lingerie and sissies who like sweaters, sissies who want to be play the role of the blushing bride and sissies for whom the promiscuity of the streetwalker is more appealing. Some sissies want to be punished, humiliated or abused, whereas others simply want to be loved for whom they are when their submissive feminine side comes to the fore.
We'll be exploring the various things that might appeal to a sissy in due course, but for now it's worth emphasising the importance of discovering your own needs and desires for yourself, rather than automatically assuming you must squeeze into a particular mould, however inappropriate or ill-fitting that may be for your individual situation. If, on reflection, you realise that all you want to do is dress up in cute clothes by yourself from time to time, that's perfectly fine. Conversely, you may come to realise that a longing to wear women's apparel or submit sexually is actually a sign of something deeper. There's no shame in acknowledging your desires for what they are, rather than repressing them or adopting aspects of other people's behaviour that you aren't comfortable with simply because of a mistaken belief that that's what being a sissy must involve. No two sissies are the same - it's what works for you in your life that matters, not what others might do or say they do online.
There are, for instance, gay sissies, but that doesn't mean that you have to be a homosexual in order to be a submissive transvestite - while satisfying men sexually is something that many women do, it's not what being feminine is about, as any lesbian will tell you. Similarly, there are sissies who love the thought of being locked up in a chastity belt or made to wear a maid's uniform, but if such overtly submissive trappings don't appeal, there's no need to adopt them - no matter how enthusiastic others may be about them. Of course, if your idea of heaven is going down on your knees to please other men whilst cruelly denied any kind of relief yourself, that's all well and good too - so long as you're doing it with an understanding of the difference between reality and fantasy, both your own and other people's. Hopefully this book will give you a greater appreciation of such matters, allowing you to make your own mind up unencumbered by unhelpful or unrealistic preconceptions and assumptions.
Given the obvious erotic overtones often associated with both crossdressing and submission, asking what a submissive transvestite might hope to achieve from such activities may seem something of a pointless question - after all, surely it's just a matter of seeking sexual satisfaction? While physical gratification is undeniably an important factor for many sissies, there's usually far more motivating them than such a cursory characterisation would suggest. Just as what it means to be a sissy is more complicated than any popular cliché, with many individual nuances beyond the broader generalisations, so too are the reasons that drive men to adopt such unmasculine roles and attire - whether they long to be a sissy maid, a sissy baby or a sissy whore.
For starters, dressing up and playing games can be a whole lot of fun. You don't have to be a sissy baby to take a childlike pleasure in fooling around in different clothes or pretending to be someone else for a while. Just as a boy might delight in becoming a pirate or a cowboy for a happy hour or two, free to have adventures unfettered by anything other than his imagination, so too can a man enjoy playing a girl or a woman. It doesn't matter how unlikely such games may be, so long as everyone is having fun - after all, real pirates and cowboys never lived such fanciful lives as little boys imagine, but that doesn't stop all manner of high jinx in the playground. Likewise, the clichéd caricature of the feminine that many sissies adopt, with their exaggerated sexuality and unlikely outfits, need not be anything like a real woman to be entertaining.
While the games that grown men play may be more sophisticated, complicated by feelings and hormones that children are blissfully unaware of, the pleasures to be had from such role play are often very similar. Many sissies sadly take themselves and their activities far too seriously in this regard, making a big deal out of something that really needn't be deathly solemn and humourless, but everyone needs a pleasurable pastime. Some men race model boats, go to comedy clubs or watch kung fu movies in their spare time, all of which might be deemed similarly pointless and unproductive as donning dresses, but it doesn't matter so long as everyone's having fun. Having a penchant for panties is no different in this respect, albeit less accepted by some parts of society, but is it any worse than obsessively spotting trains or collecting stamps? A sissy who can happily embrace his inner child and delight in what he wears is blessed indeed!
The thrill of the taboo adds an extra excitement for many men who engage in both crossdressing and sexual submission, knowing that openly admitting to such desires is unthinkable. Being caught wearing frilly dresses or impaled upon a dildo would not just be a bit embarrassing but prove mortifyingly humiliating, causing irreparable damage to a man's reputation - especially in the case of an alpha male who otherwise prides himself on his domination of his subordinates. Even in a safe environment, there's a sense of playing with fire, with the excitement of taking risks getting the blood pumping. Again, parallels can be drawn between this and children sneaking into a cantankerous neighbour's garden to steal apples or boy racers driving recklessly fast simply for the thrill of it. Breaking societal norms can be immensely powerful in this regard, no matter whether that involves merely dressing up in private or more openly flirting with humiliation and disgrace, especially when the sissy is encouraged to step outside his comfort zone by a dominant mistress. Even alone, there's a wicked delight in being deliciously naughty, of doing something that one shouldn't.
Conversely, there can be something very relaxing about divesting oneself of the responsibilities of ordinary life by adopting an alternative role, particularly one where any decisions are of quite a different calibre to the challenges faced in the real world. When compared to the cut and thrust competition of the workplace, the far simpler realm of the sissy offers a safe haven, its solace eagerly sought by men seeking to escape their obligations for a brief while. Even the menial drudgery of the sissy maid can seem like bliss in comparison to that of the office - knowing that all the difficult decisions will be made by another, such that a man need do nothing more complicated than to do as he is told. While such a role might soon become just as oppressive as any other were it lived full-time, it nevertheless offers a brief respite during which a man can recharge his batteries until he's ready to assert his position among his rivals once more. Being a sissy for a while is a great way of relieving stress.
The constant struggle for dominance that a man faces in his everyday life can leave other aspects of his personality neglected, if not outright repressed, in order to get ahead. There's often precious little room for a man's more caring, compassionate side in the dog eat dog world of office politics, where any sign of weakness is swiftly taken advantage of by competitors. The law of the jungle may encourage the survival of the fittest, but it also leaves many men feeling shell shocked and off balance, forced to adopt an excessively masculine public persona that only represents one half of their true character. Only in the privacy of their home are they free to express their previously hidden aspects, but there the pendulum can swing the other way, adopting an ultra feminine, ultra submissive attitude to restore the balance and complete the whole. It's often all or nothing for a sissy - not just a bit womanly, but utterly girly.
We glossed over the erotic aspects of crossdressing and submission at the start of this section, but to ignore such a powerful component completely would be unrealistic - after all, being a sissy is profoundly sexual experience for most submissive crossdressers. Whether they choose to partake in explicit activities with others, pleasure themselves with pornography or simply find that doing the cleaning dressed as a maid makes them hard, there's no denying the arousal and excitement that many sissies feel from what they do. We've focussed on other motivations in order to emphasise that it's not just about sex. Indeed, it's perfectly possible to be a submissive transvestite without being turned on by either submission or crossdressing, merely adopting an alter ego to relax or escape without automatically becoming some kind of nymphomaniac or whore. Often the sexual thrill is a factor that fades over time, such that sissies discover a more mature, complicated appeal to their activities as they age - just as a boy becoming a man might with regards to relationship in generally, looking for more than just meaningless sex from a one night stand.
What makes a man want to be a sissy rather than dress in leather and ride a motorcycle to get his kicks? After all, a lot of the factors we've just been talking about are relevant when it comes to a wide range of other activities, whether sexual or otherwise. A transvestite doesn't have to be submissive in order to find dressing up exciting, whereas a man might get a thrill from the being penetrated by a dominant partner without ever considering crossdressing. Indeed, many men take great pleasure in hobbies that allow them to put the trials and tribulations of everyday life to one side for a while without any kind of erotic component - whether following the fortunes of a local sports team, or playing in one themselves. The origins of such passions can be hard to pinpoint when they've become part of a person, no matter whether he sees himself as a football fan, a motorcyclist or a submissive, feminine sissy.
Nevertheless, with sufficient introspection you may be able to discern some of the factors that have helped to make you the way you are. Childhood influences often play a huge role in shaping an adult - a mother who always wanted a girl, a domineering big sister or simply a chance encounter with the laundry basket at a formative age. Some men can recall vividly the first time they dressed up, whereas for others it's just something they've always done, the ultimate cause lost in the mists of time. Often desires develop over time, as interests lead people in directions they may never have imagined - the fledgling crossdresser searching for information online chances upon a picture of a man in a maid's uniform and is forever changed by the experience. Was he a latent sissy maid all along, or does the encounter change him somehow? Such matters may seem academic, but as we'll see in the next chapter, there are all manner of interconnected associations in this area that can be profoundly powerful.
It's natural for a heterosexual man to be attracted to the curves of a woman's body, but sometimes this process can be short circuited, leading to fetishes for things that have strong feminine associations - a love of lingerie or women's footwear, for instance. It's hardly that big a leap to go from being turned on by seeing sexy underwear on a woman's body to feeling it on one's own - a narcissistic indulgence that nevertheless satisfies sufficiently to be worth pursuing for some men. After all, donning one's own panties is much, much easier than metaphorically trying to get into a woman's, especially at the tender age when such fetishes are often formed. The same can be true for men who long to be cheerleaders, hookers or brides - rather than desiring to be with the object of their affections, they seek to become it themselves. Of course, that doesn't mean they aren't attracted to the real thing as well, simply that they find lingerie, outfits or other attire to be arousing in their own right - whether worn by an attractive woman or more closer to hand.
Perhaps the most important point to stress here is that, once again, not all sissies are the same - indeed, they're all different! Just as there are sissy maids, sissy babies and sissy sluts, each expressing their submissively feminine side in their own unique way, so too does the motivation of submissive crossdressers vary between individuals. Every sissy has his own way of doing things for his own reasons, and though we can explore factors that frequently crop up, there's no reason why everything we've discussed here must apply to you and your own desires. By suggesting possibilities, our intention is to give you food for thought - even if that results in you saying "No, that's not me", so long as you learn something about yourself in the process, then the exercise has been worthwhile. It's far better to recognise something that you're not than to assume you have to force yourself into an ill-fitting stereotype. Equally, you may find that something written here rings true for you - such self-discovery is key to coming to terms with your desires and ensuring they enrich your life.
We'll be pursuing this theme in the next chapter, where we'll take a deeper look at particular aspects of submission and crossdressing that often appeal to sissies, unravelling the difference between fantasy and fact, and exploring just what it is about maid's uniforms, chastity belts and pretty party dresses that makes so many sissies swoon over them. Whether you read on immediately or choose to take some time to contemplate what we've discussed here before doing so, it's well worth coming back and rereading this chapter in due course. Quite apart from the personal benefits of doing so, the more you understand yourself and your desires, the easier it is to share them with others too!