Posted by: | 2014/11/06

caught my pre teen son in his room wearing a bra and womens boots in his room with an erection

My son is physically advanced for age 11. Seems to have a permanent erection at home in the bath or in evenings. He has begged me not to tell anyone and that it is the first time. I agreed as he was distressed about it. Last night he was sitting on our dressing room floor said he was tidying my wifes shoes. Never thought anything of it, assumed he was perhaps trying to cover up something else like eating sweets when he should not have been. I have not told my wife as he requested. really need advice as what to do. Or is this perhaps a way of dealing with hormonal changes. I have always had a very close relationship with him. He has younger twin siblings and two older siblings from my wife's previous marriage. Who are 27 and 30.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2014/11/08

Something I think many families are finding it hard to deal with is that the age at which children reach physical puberty and maturity is falling quite rapidly, so a kid of 11,  which in our day was thought of as a really young child, is now physically similar to what in earlier years might have been a teenager of 16 or even 18.
And they're not quite maturing psychologically and socially as early as all that ; so they're like someone who wake up an find they have a sports car and really don't know how to drive it. 
Now with added exposure to more frank sexuality on IV and in movies and online,  they can easily form ideas of things that look like they might be fun to try, but again without full ability to handle the feelings that get so easily aroused.
Sounds like you have a good relationship with the boy, and do try to keep that channel open. Congratulations to both of you on achieving that.
I like Maria's point about respecting his privacy and knocking when his door is shit.  You don't mention sex education,  and whether you and he have had continuing frank discussions bout the physical and emotional changes he will have been experiencing,  but do keep this up.
As others have mentioned, this is indeed to be part of an exploration phase, and not to indicate lifelong sexual preferences and patterns, but do chat with him about it, clarifying what he thinks about it. He should feel free to experiment fairly freely in private without feeling he has to commit to any long-term commitment to any particular orientation of style,  to be aware of the risks of taking any such interests into the outside world,  to be aware that there are people round who might try to exploit him and how to avoid that, and that he is respected, above all.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/06/02

Hi, I've had a similar issue with my eleven year old. He seems to have a fascination for high heels. I found a pair of my heels in his closet a year ago and he said he was imitating a spongebob episode where sponge ob pretends to be a mom. Now, a year later I find a pair of my high heeled boots in our basement. He says he's curious about shoes and nothing else. He's a very masculine boy who has lots of boy friends and plays sports, etc. He never showed an interest in anything "girly" in his childhood . I bought him a doll So that he could have gender neutral Toys. He never touched it or played with it. He says he loves being a boy and he loves his boy parts and he wants to marry a girl. I Love him no matter what and accept him. I'm just curious if this is experimenting , a budding fetish? Confused on what is typical and not He's an only child so I have nothing to compare this too! Any advice would be great.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016/04/18

I have just caught my 13 son in my bra and came top naked from waist down with an election! It has shocked me, as being a mum I don't understand this kind of behaviour!? He says he just wanted to know what it felt like. And that it gave him and election? He is a typical lad at school, lots if male friends. Plays football etc I just think it must be a phase that he must explore, but I wonder if Dad's are better at giving their sons the sex talk??

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/11

Cybershrink.. Are you qualified to comment on this site? I have noticed from a previous post that your comments seemed out of place, borderline wrong.. You do not mention any form of gender issues, not now and not in the previous post I read.. I question your role at News24..Produce your qualifications or failing that, have this section proofread by a qualified psychologist prior to publication, and do not comment unless you are 100% certain of your facts!

Reply to Anonymous | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Tegan | 2014/11/11

Arrogant much? It is much more common for adolescents to have issues with their sexuality and not their gender, plus the father stated that he found his son wearing women's clothing WITH an erection - most people would firstly consider it a matter of him exploring sexually and not a gender issue.. Regardless of whether it's a problem with their sexuality or their gender, I don't see anything wrong with CS' advice - keep communication open with your child, make sure they know that they can come to you and discuss whatever without fear of you judging them. And let them know that's ok to explore and experiment, but it's something that you do privately.. I don't see what's wrong that advice?

Posted by: Kabelo | 2014/11/11

Well done dad !!

Reply to Kabelo
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/11

Has he been doing this for a number of years? If he has been doing it from a very early age, an age that predates puberty, it is not a sexual desire, but a gender conflict, if there was signs of his gender conflict, maybe the clothes, wearing shirts as skirts, or playing with dolls, or other so called girly actions, then this could further indicate a gender identity dysphoria. Many children display this "crossdressing", society at large has no issue with girls dressing and playing as a male, but for a boy to do this as a girl, society has a meltdown... The first thing is not to shame the child or make him do something you would not do yourself, that is, do not make him or shame him into wearing clothes other than what he is comfortable with..Book an appointment with a child psychologist with an interest or specialty in child gender conflicts.. Not all child psychologists deal with this area of child hood...

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/10

I think you are an amazing father. I know it will be difficult to talk to him about this, but just try & keep it as light as possible. As long as he feels accepted by you & has a safe place to be himself where he feels loved, he will hopefully trust you to open up to. Good luck! Cybershrink, I have written about this before, your spelling & grammar are simply awful for a professional. Please check your responses before posting. "...knocking when his door is shit" ! Case in point!

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Sarah | 2014/11/10

1) did he hurt anyone? No. 2) from the movie shark tale - "some fish like to dress like dolphins". 3) let it be. He can't change this part of himself anymore than he can grow wings.

Reply to Sarah
Posted by: Blinding | 2014/11/10

First lets get rid of common misconceptions. Many married men cross dress, and they are not gay. There are huge differences between putting on drag(with an over the top female persona), feeling more at ease in women's clothing or being aroused because you have clothes close to your body that is made for a women. Some men find the idea of that closeness to a women arousing. For them it is like a getting closer to a female body not gay at all. He most likely just dressed up to see what it is like, a simple child's curiosity. Also being a bra(rather than dress) might mean he is curious about the female body and that is the only way he can get close to it at 11. So if anything just be normal, in fact you can even expect him to be straight as he most likely is, but don't treat him like he has to be this or that. Not telling your wife may be best, she might not understand or be insensitive to boy stuff. And embarrassing him over nothing will only hurt your relationship. However if he keeps on putting her clothes on, you may tell him that if it happens again you are going to have to tell her. While you as a father must show you can be trusted to keep secrets, you must also set the example that there is a limit to how much you keep from your life partner.

Reply to Blinding
Posted by: Martin | 2014/11/10

Hi, I think he enjoys the sexual objectification of objects worn by women - which is VERY MUCH a heterosexual thing and a common fetish. I would not worry about it too much. I am gay and NEVER wore female clothing - ever - so don't think it indicates anything with sexual orientation cause it doesn't.

Reply to Martin
Posted by: Perter | 2014/11/10

I can recall when I was k kid rummaging through my moms and sisters underwear. On retrospect it was more out of curiosity than anything else and ever since that phase passed I have never been inclined to dress in woman's clothing or have been attracted to a man Oh by the way I LOVE to feel a woman underwear in my hands as I remove the said garments from her body

Reply to Perter
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/10

computer says no..

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/10

Just because he crossdresses does not necessarily mean he is gay as some of the posters above seem to think.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: :-) | 2014/11/07

Be the supporting and understanding Father you already are, whatever the reason. It might just be a phase or he could very well be gay and is in the process of discovering this for himself. Reason I mention this is because I had a cousin that loved to dress up in women's clothing and he turned out to be gay, difference is, no-one in the family excepted him for who he was and that made life extremely difficult for him. Whatever it is, support, understand and love him like a son. :-)

Reply to :-)
Posted by: Jenna | 2014/11/07

It's normal for teens/ pre teens to start exploring their sexuality, and maybe he's had these feelings for sometime but hasn't acted on them. You need to sit down and have a good heart to heart, ask how he is feeling and be supportive of any decision he makes. We have a family friend who told a cousin he was gay when they were just 10, and now the family friend (now an adult) has started undergoing gender reassignment surgery... I am just saying this because it may or may not be a phase and you also need to be prepared for whatever happens. It must be terrible for him to be feeling like this. Good for you for not judging him, you're a good dad.

Reply to Jenna
Posted by: Maria | 2014/11/07

He is growing up and experimenting with his sexuality. You need to start knocking and asking permission to enter his room if the door is closed. Tell him it's ok to try out different things but he must do it in the privacy of his room. Don't judge him, make sure he knows you accept him for who is. At this stage sexuality is still fluid.

Reply to Maria | 2 comments (hide)
Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/07

Maria thanks for that, i sincerely appreciate your comments. He knows that i would not judge him and love him unconditionally for who he is. Yes i agree with everything you said. He is very well liked by both his teachers and peer group.

Posted by: Anonymous | 2014/11/07

Maria thanks for that, i sincerely appreciate your comments. He knows that i would not judge him and love him unconditionally for who he is. Yes i agree with everything you said. He is very well liked by both his teachers and peer group.

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