But why do you want to do it?
There are plenty of different reasons to explore packing. It can be a turn-on! Or it can be something only you know about, that affirms your gender identity and expression. Or perhaps your dominant shoves your packer into your briefs before you’re going out and then you both know that your dick is right there. Or perhaps you can use it as a tool for passing as male, or for gender validation from others.
Trans and/or masculine-identified folks aren’t the only people who are experimenting with packing. You can be feminine or trans or butch or diesel femme or queer or sugar butch or defy labels or girly or all of the above or none of the above and still explore packing. I know plenty of femmes who pack, sometimes or all the time—one particular leather girl told me recently that she likes to use a Hello Kitty knee sock in a jock strap. Hot! I don’t know about you, but that gives me a very unique impression of her gender and sexual expression.
For folks who were assigned female at birth, we don’t have the experience of that weight pulling down between our legs unless we add something extra there. Particularly for trans and masculine-identified folks, having some sort of weight or bulge between our legs can be incredibly validating, both internally within ourselves and externally through how we are perceived. But it can be validating and useful for anyone of any gender, and can be a really interesting tool for self-awareness and expression for any body.
I know for me, when I started playing around with packing around 2000, I found it kind of indescribably … Comfortable, and comforting. There was something about it that just fit, like a really cozy sweatshirt. The way it shifted when I did, the way my legs stayed a little more apart, how I led more with my hips than my shoulders … it just felt like me. I’m very internally motivated about most things related to my gender and sexuality, so feeling that internal click for me was more than enough to interest me into exploring it further.
While I am masculine and butch identified, I’m not male identified, so packing for me personally has nothing to do with passing as cis male. However, it’s a frequent reason that trans guys pack, and in circumstances where dicks are supposed to be or accidentally on display—like at a gay boy dance club, or at the beach or swimming pool—having one to actually display can be thrilling and validating. I’ve also heard trans guys say that it helps support them in walking, sitting, or holding themselves in more male ways, particularly since cis guys often walk and sit such that they don’t squash their penis.
Packing can assist with the feeling of dysphoria, of feeling disconnected from one’s body in part due to gender identity (or presentation or perception). But for other people, packing actually increases the feeling of dysphoria. Your milage may vary—and however it feels for you is just fine.
Let’s not forget: Even though it can be externally and internally validating and empowering, it can also often be very vulnerable to pack. It is a way to experience our genitals outside of our bodies … and those of us with most of our genitalia on the inside tend not to feel that very often. There’s a reason kneeing a guy in the groin is effective: those soft tissues are soft, and sweet, and vulnerable.
And if you’re like me, and you have a bit of a vulnerability fetish, you might love it even more because of that.
So wait: Is it about sex or gender?
Both, of course. But which it stimulates in you totally depends on you and how you relate to it. I have heard people talk about how they see their packy as completely platonic, not sexualized really at all, but more of a cross between a masculinizing accessory and a prosthetic. And I know some folks for whom packing is inherently sexual, all the time, and they immediately get turned on by it.
It just depends on you, your circumstances, your body, your relationship to your sexual and gender expressions.
It’s kind of like wearing a tie. When I was transitioning to and exploring my own butch identity around 2000, I started wearing ties when I dressed up. At first it was awkward and uncomfortable, but as I got more used to them, I made little rules for myself about where was “appropriate” to wear a tie. I wore them when I went on dates, and I wore them when I was doing a performance (usually reading dirty smut or poems in a dyke bar, so that was a particular association). I got really used to ties (and, later, suits) being an incredibly hyper-sexualized, externally validated, amplified masculine experience.
So when I was working at a finance firm in midtown Manhattan and we had a black tie holiday party, it was a given that I would wear a suit. The first time I went, I felt super uncomfortable because I had only worn a suit and tie in the context of, well, SEX and queers and gender-radicalism. Wearing it in this totally heteronormative environment (with coworkers looking at me just a little more sideways) was not sexual, but my association with the suit and tie was absolutely.
When your only context for a thing is sex and erotics, then it begins to perpetuate itself, like Pavlov’s dog. If the pack is only for going on dates and then getting it on, your system will start to associate it with getting it on. If it’s worn day-to-day like a special watch or favorite pair of shoes, it will be a slightly precious object for love and care. If it’s an every single day practice, it’ll become weird to not have it, and it’ll fade into the background, like brushing your teeth or putting on socks. I betcha those things happen most days, but can you really remember the details of teeth brushing or sock-putting-on-ing? Probably not—because it’s automatic, an ingrained habit.
Packing could be about your own private gender expression, or about others seeing you as male, or it could be about turning yourself and your lover on.
Let’s not forget: It’s hot!
Maybe your lover knows that you have a soft packer in your pants (because you revealed it as you were getting dressed), so they get to fantasize and squeeze and touch it while you’re going about your day. Or maybe you press up against them hard and take their hand and press their palm to your bulge. Maybe they don’t ever know that you have had a packer on all day, or maybe they find out. Maybe they don’t even have to know—maybe you knowing is enough.
I often pack when I want a little extra swagger or confidence, particularly to social events, parties, kink events, queer community stuff, or anywhere that I want to have a little more oomph to me. I often request my boy to pack if I want to work him up for a little while, if I want to have him squirming by the time I get him home and stripped. I try to always remember throughout the time I’ve asked him to pack for me and to touch it, reference it, and tease him about it—mostly because he likes that, but also because if I make a request, I don’t want to forget that I’ve made it.
So now that you know all about why you might want to pack … What kinds of products are out there? Can you make your own? How do you keep it in place? What if you’re a femme and you want to pack?
Such good questions! I’ll explore those all in next week’s post, part 2 of the Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence for soft packing.