DEAR ABBY: My husband, a middle-aged minister, can rarely perform in the bedroom without wearing women's lingerie. I have put up with it because he seems to need it.
Lately he has begun wearing a bra around the house every day. He tries to hide it by wearing a heavy shirt or coat, but I can feel it when I hug him before leaving for work. I suspect he's even worn it to church. What would the parishioners think if they knew their preacher was delivering his sermon while wearing a bra?
It's starting to affect our marriage. He rarely speaks to me lately, and when he does, it's usually in monosyllables. I know he's not gay. Until now, our marriage has been a happy one.
I know many men have this problem. Maybe it shouldn't bother me so much, but it does. I don't know who to talk to. Everybody else takes their problems to their minister, but my husband IS one. If I go to his superiors, I'm afraid I'll get him into trouble, which I don't want to do.
Why do men wear women's clothes? Is it wrong? I appreciate any insight you can give me. -- NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR NEEDS: Men wear women's clothes for a variety of reasons. For some it's a sexual fetish; others do it because they say it calms them and relieves stress. It isn't "wrong," but it is different. Some wives go along with it and help their husbands to cross-dress. Others have a difficult time adjusting to it.
This is not something that should be discussed with your husband's superiors. More important than talking to anybody right now is for you to learn all you can about transvestism and cross-dressing. An excellent place to start would be to contact The Society for the Second Self, Tri-Ess National, P.O. Box 980638, Houston, TX 77098-0638. Write to the society or visit its Web site: http://tri-ess.org.