The Gender Spectrum

The Gender Spectrum

For a long time there wasn't much available for men looking for feminine style lingerie, but then the Xdress brand was created, understanding that feeling comfortable in your own skin and wearing pretty underwear makes many men feel happier, less stressed and more confident in themselves. However, this is a very challenging market to be in as it's so engraved in our minds that lingerie is just for women and plain boxer briefs are for men, and never the twain shall meet.

Some may think this is a niche product, and indeed when Xdress was first introduced in the 1990's (originally in the UK) it was generally seen as a novelty, and was featured on many day time TV shows with male models wearing Xdress lingerie. The press also leapt on the story but generally ridiculed the concept. But times have changed and now with 25% of young people surveyed saying they do not identify as cisgendered, Xdress is a little more accepted and hopefully filling a real need. Interestingly, Google, FB etc still have not moved with the times and generally reject any advertising that shows men modeling our lingerie, but maybe one day they will catch up!

The percentage of people identifying as non-binary reduces as age increases, but this is not surprising as older generations were brought up to conform in their home and professional life to their birth gender role. In the past, societal pressure enforced these roles and expectations from an early age through family, school life, TV and movies. The idea of a young boy wanting to dress like his sister as a Disney princess is perhaps a cliche, but really why not? If the boy feels the strong desire to wear what he sees as pretty, it is only the societal norms and fear of the boy (and parents) being judged negatively that will more often than not cause parents difficulty and their desire to set him on the straight and narrow masculine role. Perhaps one of the positives of social media is that it has allowed a more open discussion of gender with the result that while those who prefer to dress or present outside of the norm may still face challenges, they realize it is a shared experience and they are not alone. I suspect that if it was not for the sexist societal shame of a biological male exhibiting any feminine tendencies, many of the older generations would have explored activities, lifestyles and clothing that have been considered purely the domain of women.

Research has shown that there really is a gender spectrum for both men (and women), and the understanding of gender continually evolves. We now know that it’s not just the X and Y chromosomes but at least 12 others in the human genome that determine sex differentiation. Many indigenous cultures around the world have long understood the rich diversity of gender, and it is encouraging that at last the social taboo of deviating from gender expectations is waning.

One comment we at Xdress hear repeatedly when people unfamiliar with gender non-conformity first see our web site, is to assume it is targeted exclusively at gay men. As we have been in the Xdress business so long, we have come to expect this reaction, and to be rejected by web companies who have a very rigid stand on what they believe is acceptable, and fear that they or their staff will be embarrassed or uncomfortable working with images of men in lingerie. As mentioned above, we have great difficulty reaching out to our potential audience due to restrictions that social media puts on what is allowable in advertising.

The issue of sexual orientation and gender is often confused. They are distinct facets of a person, and it does not follow that a man who likes to dress in feminine clothing is automatically gay, any more than a man who like to wear ultra-masculine clothing is gay. The gender aspect is how we see ourselves; the sexual orientation is more to do with who we are emotionally or physically attracted to. So just as there is a spectrum on gender, there is a largely unrelated spectrum on sexual orientation.

We are encouraged that the younger generations are embracing the gender spectrum and are comfortable expressing their true inner selves, through clothing, hairstyle, make up and mannerisms, and are not afraid of being seen by others as they see themselves. Readers of the comments on our blogs will know that there are many mainly older men who strongly wish to express their feminine nature, but years of repression holds them back, which is so sad.

It is exciting in the fashion arena to see imaginative styles that are not strictly masculine, nor feminine, and we look forward to new creative designers emerging beyond the lingerie that Xdress offers. We look forward to this brave and open new world!

Please write your comments and thoughts below!

Best wishes,
David of Xdress

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Finding silk and satin briefs has opened up a new world……better than cotton!


My brother in law mentioned a mani-pedi with my sister in law. He said it was great! when we go to visit them this winter in their nice warmer climate, i will try to encourage us as couples to go together to get one and see where that leads… toenail polish….? Maybe we are more alike and this will be a step towards more revealing things as well, perhaps underwear preferences?


I read this week in the Wall Street Journal that in the 25 years and under, age group, 17% identify as transgender. I thought that was interesting to see a number put on it, and that suggests that times have certainly changed when so many young people are not ashamed to reveal their true identity. Do readers think that there have always been almost 1 in 6 people who have felt that they would be happier if they could come out as trans but have lived their whole lives repressing their feelings? That would be rather sad.


In Europe Men ,Women and children wore sackcloth dresses as they could be made cheaply and easily ,underwear was not available or wanted . Frilly Knickerbockers and blouses made of fine material were invented for Mens outerwear to show the man was well to do . As these items were nice to wear Women claimed them as underwear even though the medical advise of the time was that Females should not cover their lower parts with close fitting garments . When ordinary Men got underwear it was plain and boring but at least not horrible `Y` fronts that came over from the USA later , by the 70`s Mens briefs were very like Womens plain items and even some Unisex were on sale . It became known that Rod Stewart , Mick Jagger ,John Wayne , Cary Grant and Herman Goring ect wore frilly Womens panties yet somehow it all went wrong with the stuff popular at the moment , I changed to Womens briefs when I started work and had to buy my own and I would never go back to boring undies .


It’s pretty incredible to see so many different points of view here, and it only goes to show that none of us truly fit the stereotypes that society depicts. Crossdressing should be no more peculiar than being a different ethnicity. In the end it is only an appearance, and humans are the only only species capable of such severe admonishment based on how another person looks or presents themselves. I am grateful to be one of the men turning the wheels of change, and expressing my purest self around any and every person in my life regardless of their beliefs. Happy Pride Month. -Nathan


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