Posts Tagged ‘breasts’

Winner! Double Panel Compression Shirt

August 9, 2011  |  journal entries  |  5 Comments

Thanks to Random.org, the random winner of the double panel compression shirt is … Barrett!

Ice cream sounds like a great idea for this heat wave.

I had a couple of questions about the compression shirt in the comments & via Twitter, so I’ll try to answer ‘em here. Seems like that review was kind of vague (sorry about that)—to be honest, I’m not an expert in compression shirts, so I might not be the best person to answer these. This is my first experience with one and I haven’t been wearing it much this summer, so that’s about all I know. But I’ll do my best to answer these with what I know!

This looks like something my butch partner would really like in her size. What I can’t figure out is, if you purchase this in your size and you are someone with large breasts — does this cover the breasts completely or does the shirt still show the top of your breasts? Either way, I’m sure it’s fine under a button down—but I’ve been searching for something that covers the butch rack completely (cause cleavage isn’t what she’s going for).

Basically, it covers your breasts completely. If you have larger breasts (like I do) it does give you a little bit of cleavage at the top, because in order to flatten it has to spread ‘em out as much as possible. It is definitely fine under a button down. I’m not sure I would wear it by itself, but it is very easy to wear under a tank top or tee shirt and won’t give you cleavage.

I got a question about the compression shirt. Should I buy one in my size or a size smaller??—@C_Rod224 on Twitter

I bought a size M because that’s the size of men’s tee shirt I wear, but it did NOT fit. The XL is still quite small and for a minute, I thought maybe it wasn’t going to be big enough to fit, but it does—it’s just a challenge to get on and off. So I would try one size larger.

I’m not an expert at this, though—other folks who have binders: do you generally buy your same tee shirt size, a size larger, a size smaller? What’s the rule for this?

One more question … I wanted to buy her the frog bra you had mentioned before and apparently it’s been discontinued… Do you or any of your readers know of a place that still sells them or of something with a different name that achieves the same effect? thank you thank you!

Yeah, it’s discontinued. From my understanding, it’s pretty good if you’re a C-D cup, but it’s not great if you’re bigger than that. I’ve tried a LOT of athletic bras, aka binders, and the best thing that I’ve found that works for me is my favorite, the Enell bra. I’ve got about four of these now, and while the elastic does wear down, when they are fresh, for me, they are nearly as effective as the compression shirt.

Anybody else out there have opinions about bras/binders that work well for larger-breasted folks?

The double panel compression shirt was sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

Review & Giveaway: Double Panel Compression Shirt

August 5, 2011  |  reviews  |  48 Comments

I’ve been putting off this review because just about as soon as I received this double panel compression shirt, New York City started that little heat wave called SUMMER, and I have barely worn it since. In fact, while I’ve been working at home the last few days I’ve been topless, and when the time comes to go out in an actual shirt I can barely stand the fabric of a tank top on my skin, so there’s NO WAY I would wear this right now.

But I would gladly wear it, in general. I didn’t connect that it’d be 60-80 degrees while I was just visiting the Pacific Northwest, or I would’ve definitely brought it on that trip. There were a few times I wished I had.

I bought a compression shirt a few years back, the same brand—which seems from my knowledge to be the most famous and common brand—and while I thought I was getting the right size, I could not get it on. It did not fit.

So it is still basically brand new, in a box, where it’s been since I got it.

Would you like to have it? It’s size M, black. Leave a comment about one fun thing you’ve done this summer (or something else, just leave a comment) and I’ll pick one comment at random and mail it to you—if you’re in the US I’ll pay postage, if you’re outside of the US you pay postage. I’ll pick a winner on Tuesday, August 9.

This new one, though, I ordered a bit too large, in size XL, and it fits.

It helps tremendously with button down shirts and vests and flattening out my torso in general. I find it hard to breathe in, just a little, which is also why it’s been hard to wear in the last few months, because I’ve been thinking about and witnessing lots of things related to breathing and breath. I have to be a bit strategic about wearing it; I wouldn’t want to put it on for a hike or even a day when I was doing a whole lot of walking around New York City. I can definitely tell when I eat a large meal while wearing it, too.

I am pretty large chested—usually I wear a 34DD, though lately it’s been a 36DD—so I didn’t know if I could wear one of these at all. Glad to discover that it turns out, I can.

And you can bet I’ll be wearing it frequently once it cools down a bit more.

The double panel compression shirt was sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

more on butch bras

June 24, 2008  |  on butches  |  4 Comments

Thanks, all, for the feedback and comments on that last post. Butch breasts and binding and female masculinity are all so deep in this topic, and as one reader mentioned, too, this is also an issue relating to females with large breasts in general. Sure, the gender stuff adds a slightly different dimension, but many women go through this and are challenged by having the right, comfortable bra.

A few more tips, and also some recommendation, since I’ve had a few emails about where to get these butch bras.

First: get the right size of bra. Sports bras obviously are a little less precise in their sizing, but even if you don’t intend to wear any regular bras anymore, figure out your size. It’s amazing how hard it is for us to figure that out. There really is a difference between a 34D and a 36C, and they are not the same size. This seems to be a particularly difficult one for many of the butches I know, because bra shopping is just about The Scariest Thing Possible, and going in there and asking a professional to help figure out what size you really are is pretty much like walking into hell. But, let me just say, it has made a really big difference in my bra-buying since I actually got measured properly, figured out why the sizes are different, and what size I really am.

Now, some product recommendations:

  • Title Nine store has a variety of great sports bras divided by size and by “barbell,” telling you the no-bounce factor. The Frog Bra is particular famous for binding.
  • I personally run into a slight problem with many of the sports bras or compression vests because I have some shoulder issues and if the straps are too much of a racer-back shape, it can cause further problems with my shoulder injuries. So for that reason, the best one I have found is a Champion Powersleek sports bra (I found mine at Macy’s – their site doesn’t seem to list it any more, but I think this is quite similar). Also, because it has a clasp, instead of being pulled over my head, I can actually buy a size that is slightly smaller and tighter, which I love.

Bras & binders are primarily held in place with material like elastic, and the stretch on those does give out pretty easily. I’m finding that I need a new one every few months (although, I suppose if I had more of them, I wouldn’t wear them out so quickly!).

Suggestions? Recommendations? What products do you all use? Any particularly good online resources for figuring out your bra size, or that explains why the sizes are different?

on butch breasts

June 24, 2008  |  on butches  |  16 Comments

I’ve returned to earth – mostly – from the altered state of consciousness of the Power, Surrender, & Intimacy workshop by Body Electric that happened here in New York City over the weekend. I have so very much to say about it, but that’ll have to wait for now, I need more time.

What I do want to write about is breasts. Specifically, mine – more generally, butch breasts.

Last week, I went for one day without my binder, which is really just a tight sports bra that clasps in the back rather than being a solid over-the-head slip-on. I wanted it laundered for the workshop, since I’ve been wearing it practically every day since I bought it.

I wore a backup bra that day, and all day long I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror, in storefront reflections, in my button-down work clothes, or when I looked down. I remembered how I used to hate the uniboob problem, which many of my friends and lovers deemed unsexy or mannish, and it’s not that I like the uniboob look particularly, but as my gender has changed and grown and dropped into itself, the uniboob doesn’t look like a uniboob anymore: it looks like a chest.

It is not that I want to do away with my breasts. Don’t misunderstand me here: I think breasts are butch, just as I think the menstrual cycle is butch and pregnancy is butch and cunnilingus is butch – everything the female body does can be butch, because butch (in my use of the word*) has to do with masculinity on a female body.

And because I believe that the things a female body does are butch, and because my gender philosophies are deeply rooted in love and acceptance of my body as it is and in not classifying human experiences as owned by one gender or another, I have been holding back my desire to delve farther into my own masculinity. I’m afraid of it. I’m afraid it means I’ll be leaving my roots in female-ness behind, I’m afraid of being seen as reproducing the heteronormative paradigm or embodying penis envy. I’m afraid of being rejected by feminist and lesbian communities for being too masculine, for becoming the ‘enemy,’ for rejecting femininity instead of reclaiming it.

Breasts are a big piece of this fear for me. Mine are not so small – part of why I rarely pass: a 36DD, and have been since middle school. I’ve said since I was a teenager that a breast reduction is the only surgery I would consider. I read about Jess’s surgery – or others’ surgeries and body alterations – and I’m jealous.

But I’m afraid of what it means to want that alteration, to want to physically change my body to better fit a gendered idea.

After that day last week of wearing a regular bra, I started wondering: why do I even have this in my closet anymore? Why do I own this? My exploration of my own masculine/butch/boy/male embodiment is young – I’ve been calling myself butch since 2001, but only in the last three years have I really embraced it and actively, consciously developed it. And now, the farther I get into my explorations of gender, the farther I want to go.

It takes time to cycle through a wardrobe, and I don’t quite have the disposable income to go purchase all new bras – but I certainly won’t be buying any regular ones anytime soon. I’ve gone through this with my underwear already, years ago now, have cycled through all the old girl undies and haven’t owned any of those in years, only have boxers and briefs now. But that feels less obvious than binders and sports bras – no one can tell I wear only briefs except my lovers, I guess, but everyone can tell I bind my chest.

And see, what’s what it is now: my chest. Very different than boobs, breasts, tits. I have those, sure, but they’re underneath, they’re the other layer, the inner ring, something that now gets protected and covered, not out of shame or denial but simply out of layering, complexities, performance, a rich inner life, a duality, a whole person – me.

* Some say men can be butch, that “butch” is a term for a queer masculinity, or a non-traditional, progressive masculinity. I’m not certain I agree, but we definitely lack language to discuss different types of masculinity, and I have definitely observed some men who have a sense of butch energy.

whispers, after

January 24, 2008  |  poetry  |  14 Comments

I recorded audio for this piece, download the mp3 if you’d like to hear me read it.

“I really like the way you fuck me.”

“I’m not fishing, really, I don’t mean it like that – I’m genuinely curious – what do you like?”

It’s slow. Soft and slow, a slow steady build which means I am ready for more before you give it to me: a rarity, precious, because I open so rarely.

A desperation in my pelvis, my cunt, to be filled, to be broken down, to be taken apart into molecules and slowly put back together.

Then there’s that feeling of opening. Desperate, again, a desperate opening, something becoming wide and hungry.

And it’s all so slow and steady. So rock-steady, so solid. Makes my heart burst in my chest and I want to cry out, beg, ask for more, please, please, more, deeper, harder, faster, more, make me feel. I try to bite my tongue, here in this space, try not to let the desperation show. It seeps through the cracks of my eyelids and fingertips anyway. I know it is not hidden. I cannot quite access it with my voice, yet.

Instead, this is what my voice does: whimpers. Moaning with every exhale because my body is at such a vibration that the mere passage of air through my lungs and throat and vocal chords and mouth will exert sound. I cannot stay quiet. Oh oh oh at the very least and then there’s low hums of sound like ohhmmm and I remember what my yoga teacher used to say about the sound of the universe spinning and I feel my heart in orbit. I feel my atoms in orbit and I’m distilled down to the very sources of me, pooling on this bed, this floor, leaning against this wall, wherever, and you’re watching my eyes and I can feel the way you look through me, into me, and I think, this is what it feels like to be seen and it’s beautiful.

I like the way you surprise me with dominance, with force, with a sting or slap or bite. I love the rings of teeth marks on my biceps and inner thighs, the marks you’ve left, they’re fading now and I wish they wouldn’t, I wish they would always be there, wish for layers and layers of these bruises in different shades of yellow and blue and purple and the tender pink not yet deepened into black. I wish I could point to each one and remember the many days it took you to put them there. One a day for a week. For a month. A new way to tell time, a calendar on my arm.

It is not a threat to my masculinity that you wear a cock. That you fuck me with it. It has been, it could be, but you make me feel so boyish, despite your palmfulls of my breasts and twists of my nipples and the ways you say “oh I love the curves of your body,” and I know you mean the femininity, my hips, the way my ribcage gently tapers, my round full breasts I hide with binding and jog bras and button-downs.

Despite this – or maybe because of this, maybe precisely because you acknowledge my very female body, maybe precisely because you see me, really see me, really witness my soft underbelly, the vulnerable girl side of me that I have worked so hard to overturn, override, you see me and acknowledge me, too, actually speak about my body – despite this, you play with my masculinity with such respect and reverence, and it lives in such a solid place in me now, that it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t contradict, it only affirms what I am already knowing in my body: the ways you witness, then acknowledge, then rejoice, in me.