Guide to Packing For Gender Affirmation and Exploration

Guide to Packing For Gender Affirmation and Exploration

By Charlie Lewis - December 2023

Packers are great tools for gender expression and gender euphoria, as well as helpful in drag, costuming, and for those who are exploring different body and gender experiences. There are many reasons for a person to be interested in packing. Whether you’ve never heard of it and want to learn more, or you’re ready to try out packing for yourself, this guide will go over tools, methods, and tips to help you achieve the body experience you’re looking for.

Note to the readers: This article is not intended to provide health/medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This article is also not sponsored by any packing/packer brand/manufacturer.

What is Packing?

“Packing” is the process through which one uses prosthetics to add heft to their genital area or to simulate the experience of having a penis. Packing historically has had many uses, including drag, theatrical, costuming, and gender confirmation and euphoria. Many types of tools can be used to achieve this, which can create different kinds of packing experiences.

Who May Want to Pack?

Ultimately anyone interested in playing with their body appearance for reasons of gender euphoria, a combatant of dysphoria, or for the sake of curiosity and exploration may want to pack. This is a brief and non-exhaustive overview of groups of people who may be interested in packing.

Packing as a practice is associated mainly with the transgender community, and more specifically for those who identify as transmasculine, FTM, non-binary, or trans men. This is a result of many who identify as transmasculine having dysphoria relating to having certain genitalia, also referred to as “bottom dysphoria” to indicate the portion of the body causing dysphoria. Packing has been recommended by those serving and supporting the trans community as an effective way of combating dysphoria and increasing gender euphoria. As a result, the trans community has been a large part of the pioneering of new packing methods.

However, the desire to pack is not tied just to those who identify as transmasculine or those who experience bottom dysphoria. Some women, non-binary people, and those who are undifferentiated in gender and do not currently have a penis may wish to pack for drag, cosplay, acting, or because they are interested in exploring having a visible bulge or feeling a sense of heft in their pants.

Some who pack already have a natal penis (one which was present at or since birth) or have had gender-confirming treatments/procedures which result in a phallus or phallus-like genitalia are still interested in adding heft, size, or details not present in their current anatomy.

Different packing tools/methods

This is a list of the most common tools used for packing. These all have different uses while still falling under the category of packers/packing devices. Understanding their various purposes will help you to decide what kind of devices and packers you ultimately want to use.

Packer Underwear/Straps

Packer underwear refers to two related products: underwear made with a pocket to hold your packer, and underwear with a fabric packer/bulge sewn into it for ease of use. These are best for “soft packs” or fabric packers.

Packer straps are similar to the packer underwear made to hold packers in place. They are similar to a jockstrap and go around your waist and/or legs to keep your packer comfortably in place. Finding straps that are comfortable for long-term wear and possibly adjustable is important when prioritizing comfort while packing.

A third option for securing your packer is to use body-suitable tapes such as KT tape or other brands of trans tape to attach your packer to your skin. This can be a good option for those who experience dysphoria, as these tapes can be matched to your skin tone and allow you to see your packer as far more integrated into your body.

All of these can be helpful if you are packing for long periods and don’t wish to constantly re-adjust, or risk your packer falling out of your pants when using the toilet. STPS and Pack and Play style packers should always be worn with straps or tape/adhesive, rather than packer underwear and pouches for sanitary reasons as well as ease of use.

The Sock Method

It's a classic and a good way to try out packing without having to buy an expensive prosthetic. The sock method is very simple. You can use any number of socks, usually from 1-3, however, it depends on how large you want the bulge to appear. You ball up the socks, arrange them in the correct shape, and then place them in your pants or underwear, adjusting them in front of a mirror until it is to your liking.

Soft Packs/Packer Prosthetics

Packer prosthetics refer to items made specifically to look and feel like a penis for both external appearance and reasons of gender confirmation and euphoria. Soft packs are prosthetics that are not made to be rigid or for assistance urinating. These packers are often made of silicone, which makes them suitable to have against skin and more sensitive areas of the body. It’s important to ensure the material will agree with your skin and not cause irritation or other side effects. Soft packers can also be made of stuffed fabric bulges/phalluses, or semi-rigid cups with the outline of a phallus.


Though they can be separate products, sometimes packers will come with the option of also being stand-to-pee devices (often referred to as STPs). In this case, your packer will be hollow and have a hole at the end to simulate a urethra through which you can urinate without having to remove your packer. This allows you to use urinals or other options without having to sit down or remove your packer when going to the bathroom. Make sure to sanitize your STP packers regularly when in use.

Pack and Play

Pack-and-play devices refer to packers that are semi-rigid to allow for the use of penetration with the packer. Sometimes thought of as “the best of both worlds” pack-and-plays can be convenient. However, due to the rigidity, they are a lot more noticeable when worn in public, so be careful with your clothing choices when wearing them.


Three-in-ones are packing devices made for packing, urinating, and penetration/sex. Though seemingly a convenient idea, these devices need to be both larger and more rigid/visible through clothing to meet all three needs. This can be less than ideal for those who don’t wish to appear visibly semi-erect when moving through the world, however, if that is not a concern for you, this could be a good option.

How To Pack: A Basic Guide

Choose the right packer for you

Contemplate what type of packer or packers best meet your needs. Do you simply want to add heft/a bulge to your clothing? Do you want a realistic-looking and feeling penis? Do you desire to use your packer to urinate?

Take time to consider what size packer you are interested in and experiment with different sizes using the sock method to give you an idea of how they look on your body. Consider comfort level and how long you plan to wear your packer. Some packers have a soft cushion specifically to keep your packer from rubbing against your skin/pubic region, while others simply have a flat back made of the same material as the packer.

Give yourself space and time for trial and error

Packing can be a new sensation for many who haven’t had the experience of a visible bulge or penis. There can be a learning curve in terms of getting things to look right and finding what “right” means for you. If you are packing as a part of your gender expression and exploration, you may have to field feelings and sensations related to dysphoria. Take the time to listen to your body and how your experience packing is feeling.

Strap it in

Have a harness, tape, or strap to hold your packer in place. Many forget about the packer until they pull down their bottoms, dropping the device in the process. As mentioned above, there are several methods for attaching your packer to your body, and some methods are more appropriate to specific packing tools/types than others.

Look everything over

Adjusting in front of a mirror can be very helpful with getting the right height/angle/appearance you’re going for before wearing your packer out. If you have a trusted person whom you feel comfortable with, they can also give you a second opinion on the external appearance of your packer. Looking at yourself in the mirror when packing can also be a great way to get the most out of the experience, especially for those who use packers as a means of gender euphoria.

Packer Hygiene

Keeping your packer clean while using it is an important way to ensure the life of your packer as well as allowing you to get the most out of your packing experience.

Secure your packer

As previously mentioned, straps or harnesses for your packer ensure it stays where it’s meant to, as opposed to falling out in restrooms or changing rooms where it can become contaminated by making contact with public or unsanitary objects.

Empty off fluid

If using an STP packing device, ensure you are emptying it off all fluid after urinating. This can be achieved by pointing your STP down and shaking out any remaining liquid in the packer. 

Take precautions against STDs

If you are using a rigid packer or a pack-and-play for sexual contact, you can take precautions such as using barriers like condoms to avoid the potential spread of sexually transmitted conditions. Whether using a barrier or not, ensure you’re washing the packer with soap and water both before and after contact.

(How to) Sanitize your packer/packing material between uses

All packers made from skin-imitating material can and should be washed by hand with warm water and mild soap between uses, preferably between every use, especially for those using pack and plays as well as those whose packers come in contact with skin and/or genitals. Use a towel to pat dry, or leave to dry on a towel in a spot out of sunlight.

If you have a silicone packer, especially one that functions as an STP device, boiling your packer in water will be the most effective way to sanitize between uses. Boiling can be done in conjunction with washing by hand with soap and water.

If you have a “soft skin” packer made from soft materials that are not silicone, boiling is not recommended, as it can degrade the material over time. A thorough wash with soap and water should be enough to keep these packers clean, but they may need to be replaced more often than those made of silicone.

Regularly wash/launder your packing underwear and straps to keep them from accumulating sweat, dead skin, and bacteria. If you have packer underwear with a built-in packer, or you are using socks or a fabric packer, wash by hand according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

Consider powdering your packer

Powdering your packer with cornstarch or a cornstarch-based powder will help keep the texture soft and skin-like, rather than sticky or tacky. You can pat the powder on gently with your hands, or roll your packer in the powder before shaking off any excess. This will also reduce the likelihood of lint and other small objects sticking to your packer.

Final Tips on Packing

Material suitability

Ensure you/anyone coming into contact with the packer is not allergic to the material. Packers come in several types of materials, including silicone, fabric, and “soft skin” materials. There’s always a chance that you or someone else interacting with your packer could have a sensitivity or allergy to the materials of the packer. Pay attention to the materials when purchasing, and take time to pay attention to how your body reacts to contact with the packer.

Dressing while packing

Consider your personal style and clothing options when thinking about what packers you’re interested in trying. The tightness of your pants can have a large impact on the appearance of your packer. Some clothing articles are sewn with a slight pocket for people with penises or using packers, while others are made without the extra space that allows for the packer to sit comfortably in the right location. Try out your packer with different pieces from your closet to see what looks best and allows you to be as comfortable as needed.

Practice walking/moving in your packer

Especially for those who are unused to having considerable heft in their genitals, it can be an incredibly new sensation to walk, run, dance, sit, and stand with a packer in use. Practice all of these things in the comfort of your own space to get a feel for it, and to practice moving more naturally with your packer in. This will allow you to wear your packer in public without drawing a lot of attention to the packer or moving in a way that chafes or is especially uncomfortable.

Shopping for your packer

Consider your packing needs and budget

Consider not only your packing needs but also your budget when shopping for a packer. Packers can range in price from around ten dollars, up to more than one hundred dollars depending on use, materials, realism, and other factors.

Look into the skin tone and other details 

Take the time to look into each brand’s skin tone options, as well as other available details such as circumcised appearing vs. uncircumcised appearing packers, realistic painting/coloring, and available sizes.  

Check out the reviews/testimonials

You can find reviews from other customers from both the websites of the brand as well as on Instagram, Reddit, and other review/social media sites. Finding testimonials of others who are packing for similar reasons should help guide you in finding the packers that will work best for you. 

Brands we recommend when shopping for a packer

There are a plethora of online brands selling packers and packing materials. In addition to this, you might be able to find packers at your local trans-friendly sex shop/sex boutique. This can include packers used for sexual experiences as well as soft packs made mainly for reasons of gender expression/euphoria. The following are several trusted brands to look to when beginning your search for a packer.

Transguy Supply

Transguy Supply is a top recommended packer brand, great for finding a budget-friendly packer. This is a good place to start your packer journey without investing too much money. They have classic packers, STPS, and packer underwear/jock straps available in their collection.

New York Toy Collective

Another well recommended brand, New York Toy Collective has a large range of products for gender affirmation as well as sex toys. They have a significant collection of STPS, packers, and packing straps/harnesses. If you’re looking for colorful or out of the box packers as well as realistic ones, this might be the place to start your packer search.


GenderCat has a wide range of skin tones for their hyper-realistic packers. These are on the higher end of packer prosthetics, with costs usually around $200 dollars or more, but if you’re ready to invest long-term in a packer they’re a good place to look. They also offer payment plans to allow more access to their products.


Emisil packers are top of the line and some of the most-realistic packers on the market. Each packer is handcrafted out of silicone and painted to resemble a realistic penis. They have a large range of packers with many designs, sizes, and skintones available, including packers with realistic pubic hair.


This guide has provided a good jumping-off point for using packers, so you can continue to find what allows you to be the most comfortable as yourself. If you’re interested in presenting more masculine beyond packing, check out our guide on the subject here.

Charlie Lewis (he/him/his) is a queer non-binary writer and filmmaker based out of Portland, OR.