In the last Packing 101 post, we talked about what packing is and why people do it, how to choose the right packer for you, and how to take care of a packer. We’re looking at the other half of the equation in this post— packing underwear, how to wear a packer (with or without packing underwear), some issues you may come across while packing (and their solutions), and having sex with packers.
Free Packing and Harnesses
Some higher-end packers can be worn directly on the skin with prosthetic glue or adhesive sheets. However, this may require hair removal, and isn’t an option for all packers.
The cheapest option is what’s known as ‘free packing’. This involves just placing a packer inside tight underwear, trusting that they’ll keep the packer in place. While this is affordable, as it doesn’t require any specialist packing clothing, it does come with a few drawbacks. Firstly, free packing relies on underwear being tight, limiting the styles that somebody is able to wear. Secondly, there’s generally less control over packer movement, with a risk that a packer could fall out of underwear. However, free packing might be a good choice for people who are new to packing and unsure on their feelings about it, who don’t mind the limitations it brings in underwear styles, and generally plan on wearing their packer in private or in situations with minimal movement.
Another option is to wear a packer with a classic strap-on harness. Depending on what sex toys and gear you already own, this may also be a free method for wearing a packer. It allows a lot more control over packer placement and movement, which can be very helpful if you’re planning on a lot of movement and athletic activity. Wearing a strap-on harness can also make it quicker and easier to switch to a conventional strap-on, if this is something you plan to do. However, strap-on harnesses may be a bit bulky, making them unsuited to outfits that involve tight clothing. Additionally, there’s a bit of extra consideration to make when it comes to strap-on harness styles. O-ring harnesses will hold the base of a packer, but not necessarily its shaft, which can then move during the day and require repositioning. While this can be mitigated by wearing underwear on top of the harness, this layering may become uncomfortable or (especially in the case of underwear style strap-on harnesses) awkward feeling.
Packing Underwear and Harnesses
There is underwear specifically designed for packing, which generally fits into two categories— harnesses or underwear.
Harnesses are typically simple straps, created with the intention that the wearer will also wear conventional underwear on top of them. A classic example of a packing harness design involves an elastic waistband, a stretchy o-ring, and fabric holding the o-ring in the correct position. This simple design makes them cheaper than packing underwear, and means that people can wear any underwear they already own with a packer. However, because this involves double layering elastic waistbands, it can be uncomfortable. People who are larger and/or carry more weight in the middle in particular may find this double pinching to be uncomfortable or unflattering.
Packing underwear, such as the SpareParts Pete and Packer Gear ranges, resembles conventional underwear more than packing harnesses do, and is designed to be worn on its own. Generally, they contain a pouch to hold the packer or packer shaft in the correct place. Underwear that somebody already owns can also be converted into packing underwear through sewing a pouch into the crotch, or attaching a readymade pouch. Packing underwear tends to be very comfortable, as there’s only a single elastic waistband.
However, packing underwear with pouches may be worn too high. Additionally, a lot of common packing underwear brands have limited plus-size options. If packing is something somebody wants to do daily, replacing their existing underwear collection with packing underwear can also be expensive.
How To Wear A Packer
So you’ve got your packer and the underwear or harness you’ve chosen to wear it! What now?While packing harnesses and underwear can make placement of a packer feel a bit more intuitive, there’s still the choice of whether to ‘pack up’ or ‘pack down’.
’Packing up’ means positioning the shaft of a packer up towards one of the hips. A lot of STP devices are designed to be worn this way, and it tends to minimise how large a packer’s bulge looks. However, as many packers are moulded with shafts pointing downwards, ‘packing up’ can cause tears in the material and impact the lifespan of your packer. Additionally, ‘pouch’ style packing underwear is often not designed for this kind of wear, and ‘packing up’ while wearing tight bottoms can emphasise the head and shaft shape a bit too much. Packing upwards can also increase the chance of a packer moving during wear.
‘Packing down’ means placing the shaft of a packer down to rest over the testicles. Many soft packers are designed to sit this way and pouch style packing underwear designed to hold them like this. ‘Packing down’ does make packers look larger than ‘packing up’, which may be a positive or negative for you depending on your preferences.
Whether you pack up or down, placement is important. While the clitoris and penis and are homologous, they don’t actually sit in exactly the same place on the body, especially if you have a fatty mons pubis. Instead, the base of a packer should start a little higher that the clitoris/bottom growth, with (if you’re packing down), the bottom of the packer shaft sitting where the clitoris is.
If you’re new to wearing a packer, it’s a good idea to get used to wearing it in private before you venture outside in it. Wearing a packer for the first time can also be emotionally intense, especially if you’re wearing it for gender dysphoria or euphoria related reasons. Wearing it in private first also gives you a chance to get used to how your packing choices move with your body, and a chance to adjust how everything sits without having to awkwardly adjust your junk in public!
There are some common problems that people experience when packing, whether they’re trying packing for the first time or trying out a new product. While these problems can be frustrating, the good news is that most of them have simple solutions!
The first and one of the most common issues people face is their packer shifting during wear. Sometimes resulting in the wearer looking like they have an erection, at worst shifting can result in a packer falling out of place completely! This is more common with free packing than with using packing underwear, and even more common for people who are free packing with underwear that isn’t quite tight enough. Thankfully, this is easy to fix, either by using dedicated packing underwear or using tighter underwear to free pack.
It’s not uncommon to end up with too large a bulge, especially since a lot of people who were AFAB don’t necessarily know the average size and shape of a flaccid penis. In the first part of Packing 101, we mentioned that the average flaccid penis is 3.5 inches in length, so if yours is bigger than this, you may want to size down. If buying another packer isn’t affordable for you right now, packing with the shaft ‘up’ can minimise some of the packer’s size, although this may come with wear and tear risk.
Some people find that their packer is uncomfortable against their skin, including it causing skin irritation, whiteheads, or rashes. Generally, people find they have more skin irritation when using TPE or TPR packers (also often known under branded terms like ‘Cyberskin’). These materials can sometimes contain varying levels of latex, which many people are allergic to. Additionally, the mineral oils used to soften TPE and TPR can cause irritation or skin breakouts, and the corn starch used to ‘dust’ these packers and make them less sticky can also be an irritant. Aside from switching to a silicone packer, something you can do is get packing underwear or a packing pouch that puts a layer of fabric between your skin and the packer, rather than having direct contact with it.
Finally, even silicone packers can show some wear and tear after time, although TPE packers do tend to rip a little more easily. Two of the most common causes of wear and tear are from packing up when a packer is moulded with the shaft pointing downwards, and using an o-ring that’s too small to keep a packer in place. While packing up does result in a smaller bulge, packers don’t tend to be moulded that way and wearing them ‘packing up’ leads to stress on the underside of the shaft. An o-ring that’s too tight around the shaft base can also pull at a packer’s material over time, stressing the silicone or TPE/TPR. Having a looser, stretchier o- ring can help, as can switching to a packing method that uses pouches rather than o-rings, if that’s in line with your preferences.
Having Sex With Packers
While packers generally aren’t designed for sex in the way that dildos are, they can be used for sex. Some people also purchase pack-and-play toys, which we discussed earlier.Pack-and-play toys are more easily usable for penetrative sex (especially penetrative anal sex) than soft packers, as they tend to be a little firmer. However, this firmness, their generally slightly larger size, and the fact they tend to be moulded in slightly less ‘downward’ shapes means that they may be harder to pass off as a flaccid penis than a conventional soft packer.
While they’re not designed for sex, you can use soft packers for some kinds of play. Depending on how squishy your packer’s material is (remember that TPE is porous, so you should avoid using TPE packers for sex, and put a condom on them if they’re your only option), you may be able to engage in penetrative sex, although anal sex is generally more difficult than vaginal sex.
Beyond penetrative sex, some people enjoy their packers being touched or manipulated as you would with a penis. Because the silicone used for packers tends to be softer than that used for dildos, they may be more comfortable to give oral sex to than conventional strap-ons. Additionally, the material of a packer may be able to transfer vibrations from a toy to the packer’s wearer, depending on anatomy, packer material, and vibration intensity. For people with genital dysphoria, being touched through a packer can feel more affirming than direct stimulation would, and even for people without gender dysphoria who just want to experiment with gender in the bedroom, it can be fun and exciting.
Packing 101 was written by the wonderful Kelvin Sparks. Kelvin is a trans man who blogs at kelvinsparks.com.