Within the first few months of coming out as trans, I made a few changes: I started testosterone, answered to a new name and took the opportunity to end my rooting interest in the miserable New York Jets and change my alliance to the Green Bay Packers. This was also right around when I bought my first soft packer, which means I became both a Packers fan and a packer myself. (That I didn’t spend the next calendar year making that joke to everyone I knew is a testament to my restraint.)
All of which is to say, sometimes you’re in the position of wanting a penis, but not having one on your person. This is where packers come in. “Packing” is the act of accessorizing your pubic zone to create a bulge; a packer is any prosthetic/toy/sockbundle/slime-filled condom that allows the wearer to achieve this effect. A packer is distinct from a dildo or strap-on because it isn’t expressly designed for penetration, though some packers are designed to do both.
But there are a few considerations to take into account before you head on down (or more realistically, click on over) to the dick store to pick one up. So join me, fellow cock shopper, and let’s explore the wonderful world of the detachable penis.
Form Follows Function
Broadly speaking, packers fall into a few major categories: soft, stand-to-pee and pack-and-play. Soft packers are precisely what they sound like — penis-shaped prosthetics designed to be, well, a penis-shaped prosthetic. That’s not to say they’re simple: Soft packers come in a broad range of designs, materials and price points. You want an inexpensive, $20 soft packer? That’s available to you. You want to spend $200 on a hyper-realistic uncircumcised penis, or one that matches your skin tone exactly and has the precise correct number of visible veins? That, too, is out there. Go nuts! (Speaking of which, there are a variety of testicular options on soft packers, too.)
If you don’t want your packer to be soft all the time, consider a pack-and-play — “play” here being an unsubtle euphemism for penetration. This variety tends to have a rod inside the shaft that can be adjusted for packing or fucking, depending on your needs in the moment, and the rod can either live in the packer full-time or be removed.
As with any item that claims to do the job of two devices in a single package, PnPs can come with drawbacks. It’s possible the rod might make the packer cumbersome, or not work as well when it comes time for “play” as a single-purpose penetrative toy might. This is all, obviously, subjective, and your mileage may vary; read all the reviews you can, and avail yourself of the knowledge of your local sex shop employee, even if it’s just over the phone or by email. Not only is it their job to be knowledgeable about the dick(s) their shop slings, but they’ve probably heard plenty of anecdotes from customers about what did and didn’t work for them.
Our third packer varietal is the stand-to-pee packer, a device that does precisely what it says on the label. These are packers that also function as funnels that imbue the wearer with the ability to stand while peeing. I mean, most people can stand while peeing, but “stand to pee (with better aim)” isn’t super catchy branding. There are packers out there that do all three things — soft packing, penetration and urinal-enabling — with the caveat being the note above about products that claim to have multiple uses. Maybe they work super well! Maybe not! Unfortunately the cowards at Wirecutter and Consumer Reports haven’t weighed in on this one yet, so some extra research is probably warranted.
While some (mostly higher-end) packers can adhere directly to your skin, most require being, well, packed, somehow. Here again we have three general ways to go about it — 1) a classic o-ring harness; 2) packing-specific briefs; and 3) Chaos Mode.
To handle the last first, Chaos Mode is my term for people who just sort of add a packer to whatever their extant undergarment situation is and go about their day. No special attention paid to the prosthetic hog they’ve added to their corporal form; no worries about keeping it secure or whether it’ll fall out, no gods, no masters. This is free-balling on hard mode, and there is nothing I can say to or about these people that will be in any way meaningful. They have achieved a special kind of enlightenment and are operating on a completely different plane from us mortals. (It’s worth noting that once you have your packer, this method is free.)
For those of us who are still bound to earthly forces like anxiety and gravity, fortunately, there are ample harness options to choose from. Your decision should be guided by a combination of use case and personal taste, and the fact that the following options can range in cost anywhere from $15 to a couple hundred bucks (or higher if you want a custom setup). For example, if your goal is to soft pack at home while doing nothing more athletically taxing than, say, baking a bundt cake, you can almost certainly grab a packer strap or any pair of underwear designed for packing — boxer briefs are probably the most common design, but there’s at least a little variety out there, style-wise.
In recent years, there’s been an explosion of boxer briefs designed for cis men with Special Pockets for their genitals, and whose branding reliably implies that prior to their brand’s $50 Dick Pouch Innovation™ cis men were just walking around with their dicks smashed, accordion-like, by the unforgiving steel of their Hanes. I can’t comment on whether or not these Special Dick Pouches have liberated the cis from compulsory tucking, but it’s certainly possible to slip a packer into some of these pouch-forward boxer-brief configurations without going full Chaos Mode.
If your plans for the day can be described as “vigorous,” you may want to consider pairing your packer with a classic o-ring harness. We don’t have time to break down every possible style of harness, but the key here is to make sure the size of the o-ring is compatible with the size of your packer.
Finally, packing can take a little getting used to. At minimum, it’s obviously a physical shift — you’ve added a bulge where no bulge heretofore was present — and it might take a bit of practice getting the hang of packing-while-anything-ing. Walking, sitting, bundt-baking, all of it.
If you’re planning on using your packer as an STP and/or form penetrative sex, you’ll definitely want to get some of the trial and error out of the way before you call upon your new packer in your hour of need. Get a sense of how it fits your body, if you need to adjust how you wear it when switching from packing to playing and/or peeing, if it’s the right size for you, etc. Give yourself the best chance of success so you’ll enjoy using your packer, instead of feeling anxiety about it.
Whether it alleviates dysphoria, leaves you feeling sexier than before or just fills up an annoying Dick Pouch Innovation fabric pocket in your boxer briefs, the point of packing is to make you feel good. However you do it and in whatever way it works for you, it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.