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by: Aaron Capener

 

Of course, your trip has been scheduled for the day of your shot. Where do you start packing if you don't know what to do with one of the most important parts of your day? Here's where you start!

If you are planning on being away for longer periods of time, you may need to pack your testosterone. For those of us that inject our testosterone, it could be a little more complicated when getting ready for a flight. Considering all of the syringes, vials, and needles necessary, there are a few extra tips for traveling with FTM medical supplies you want to keep in mind.

 

  • Prescription: Definitely bring your prescription and keep it on hand in case of any questions. And by prescription I mean the fancy paper they staple to the back of your bag after you pick up your meds, including your name, refill date, etc. 

 

  • Checking vs Carry-On: Can you take syringes in checked luggage? Yes, you can. According to a TSA spokesperson, "you need to package them [the syringes] with their medications so it’s obvious they’re needed for a medical reason.” If have a testosterone shot due on the day of travel, I would recommend doing your shot before/after your flight. If you do that, you can check your products which will be a much smoother experience.

 

  • Protective Case:

    The last thing you want is for your vial of T to crack or your gear to be damaged during your flight. Let’s be real, even if they mark it as fragile, checked luggage is still going to be thrown around. Even if you are carrying it on, there’s still chance it could be crammed into the overhead bin. Be sure you are storing your gear in a hard case to help avoid damage during your journey. Here's a great, inexpensive shot kit that can hold up to a month's worth of shot supplies.

 

 

TSA Requirements:

Bringing your full shot kit on the plane can slow down the security process but can be done if necessary. On their site, TSA mentions that you need to let them know that the contents of your kit are medically necessary. You must “Inform the TSA officer that you have medically necessary liquids and/or medications and separate them from other belongings before screening begins.”

This doesn’t mean you have to announce your trans* to the TSA agent. But you can say something along the lines of, “I’ve got some medical supplies in here including syringes and testosterone.” It also doesn't hurt to bring a copy of your prescription too, just in case.

Waiting to take your shot until after you arrive at your destination would be ideal if possible. That way you can check your testosterone shot supplies in your luggage and not need to go through extra security protocols.

 

 

All in all, if you are strict about what time of day you administer your shot then you can carry it on the plane with the above instructions. However, if you can do your shot before your flight or after and pack it in your checked luggage, it will speed up an already long and sometimes stressful security experience.

Be sure to consider all your FTM supplies including packer gear! We hope you found this helpful and ensure that traveling with FTM medical supplies is a quick and painless experience!

Drop a comment below and let us know any hacks you know to make traveling with FTM medical supplies a breeze!

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by Mark Van Streefkerk

 

You’ve probably heard some bogus assumptions about testosterone before, whether online or from well-meaning friends or family members. In a culture that rewards masculinity, testosterone has a revered and guarded status. It’s marketed to cisgender men as a treatment for a variety of ailments, among them depression, lethargy, weight gain, and impotence. It’s lumped in with Anabolic Steroids and filed under Class III of the Controlled Substances Act, at the same level as Ketamine. On the other hand, Estradiol, a form of estrogen, isn’t a controlled substance at all. Of course, gender isn’t determined by set levels of hormones. Each body makes both estrogen and testosterone. Just like if a person is nearsighted, prescription glasses help correct their vision, choosing hormone replacement therapy can be an effective way of treating gender dysphoria.

I’ve been in situations where once I mention being on T, someone chimes in with something weird to say about it. There's a lot of misleading ideas about hormone replacement therapy. Just look at what Trump said about defending his choice to ban trans people from serving in the military: “They take massive amounts of drugs, they have to, and you’re not allowed to take drugs.” Apparently, some people think being on hormones is the same as being on drugs.

These are some other myths I’ve heard about T and the facts that disprove them.

 

Myth #1: T is the same as steroids and you can get it on the internet.

False.

Anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and other athletes often have testosterone as one ingredient, but they are stacked with other substances. The goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to get a person’s hormone levels to a range seen in cismen.

The best way to do that is under the supervision of a doctor who prescribes T, and follows up with regular blood tests. Don’t buy T online. There’s no way of knowing what you’ll be getting.

 

Myth #2: You’ll get roid-rage, mood swings, and T will change who you are.

 

This is generally false, with some exceptions.

If you’re taking T under the guidance of a trans-competent doctor, they won’t prescribe excessive doses of T that can mimic the “roid rage” of a steroid user. I have known some folks who say they were more irritable when they first started T. Typically however, moods tend to stabilize within a few months of starting hormones.

Personally, my biggest mood swings were when I was on a biweekly dose of T. The first doctor I went to put me on .5ml every two weeks. I was her first transgender patient. The two days before my shot were pretty brutal emotionally.

When I switched to a doctor who treated many other transguys, she prescribed weekly .3ml shots, and I never had those intense mood swings again. On a side note, T doses vary and are different for each person. As far as T changing who you are, most folks report feeling more confident than they did before. 

 

Myth #3: You can’t get pregnant on T.

False.

While testosterone decreases ovary activity, people can and do get pregnant on T. There’s no definitive study of how much T reduces your chances of getting pregnant, but if you don’t want to it’s not worth the risk. Aside from preventing pregnancy, safer sex protects you from STIs. Keep in mind, birth control pills or implants are estrogen or progesterone-based.

(Editor's note: Trans-masculine folks on testosterone can still take birth control. You can take progesterone-based birth control if you are worried about adding estrogen to your system. Anecdotally, professionals report no substantial changes in masculinization when patients use combination estrogen/progesterone forms on top of testosterone. However, no formal studies have been done. If you want to be on birth control, talk to your doctor and make sure to closely monitor your T levels.)

Condoms or other barrier methods are the most effective. Learn more about sexual health for transmen here: http://www.tradesexualhealth.com/sexual-health/trans-health/transmen.html

 

Myth #4: If you’re on T you have to get a hysterectomy within 10 years.

False.

A person can take testosterone and keep their uterus intact forever. The old assumption that being on T with a uterus increases your risk of cancer only reflects the fact that transmen are less likely to get pap smears. That led some to falsely equate higher cancer risks in transmen, just because they aren’t getting screened. It’s a trade-off: if you have a uterus and cervix, you’ll need to get regular pap smears. If you have a hysterectomy, you won’t have to get screened.

Check out this video by Ryan Sallans for an in-depth look at transmen and hysterectomies: 

Transgender Men: What to Know About Hysterectomies - YouTube

 

Myth #5: You inject T in your vein.

False.

Maybe that has something to do with the assumption that hormones are drugs, but nope. The two ways to inject T are Intramuscular (IM), meaning you inject in a muscle (thigh or butt usually) and Subcutaneous (SubQ), meaning you inject with a smaller needle into the tissue just under the skin (mostly done in your stomach).

 

Runner-up Myth: T is from bull balls.

 

Gross, and no.

All injectible, and gell/patch-based testosterone is made in a lab from plant sources.

 

I recommend the amazing Hudson’s FTM Resource Guide for this article on the chemistry of T: http://www.ftmguide.org/bioidenticalt.html

What are some myths you’ve heard about testosterone? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Other articles by Mark Van Streefkerk:

Unpacking Money and My Masculinity

Staring At Other Guys' Dicks and Puberty As a Grown Man

 

--//--


Mark Van Streefkerk is a young adult novelist and freelance writer whose work has been in Seattle Gay Scene and Barista Magazine.  Find him at markvanstreefkerk.com and Instagram: @luvyerselfandbeproud
--//--
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By: Scout Rose

 

There was a time in the not so distant past when the best packing underwear available was DIY. There was one brand you could buy ready-made, but it looked like some kind of hospital underwear. At the time, if you didn't want to wear something super ugly or make your own, your only other option was prayer. That is to say, prayers that your packer wouldn't fall out when dropping trou in the bathroom.

Fortunately, that has all changed in recent years. Today there are many underwear companies making great packing underwear options. This variety also means that FTMs have the privilege of choice when it comes to cut and style. You can choose between boxer briefs, jockstraps, harnesses, and more. You can also decide if you want to go with a classic, basic look, or something more sporty and fun.

Sad to say, however, that there are also still a lot of duds out there. My main complaint is that a lot of packing underwear leaves WAY too room for your packer to move around in.

For example, I recently bought a pair of underwear from a company that will remain nameless. I absolutely loved these boxer briefs for the first half hour wearing them. Unfortunately, everything was downhill after that. The first mild annoyance happened when they started riding up my legs. Every five minutes or so I felt the need to reach down my pants and pull the legs back down. Hmph.

Strike two happened while walking to the gym a half hour later. Perhaps once the fabric was warm and stretched out a bit, it began creeping into my booty crack. Soon enough, I was also pulling a wedgie out of my butt every couple of minutes.

By the time I got to the gym, my packer was swinging around in the pouch in a way that was truly irritating. I was wearing my Santos STP and while the head bounced against my left leg, the cup bounced against my right one. It was supremely annoying. In fact, I got so frustrated that I went to the bathroom, took off my underwear and packer, and worked out commando.

I know I can’t speak for everyone here, but the thing I want most from my underwear is a nice, snug packing experience. And now that I've worn the good stuff, I have a much lower tolerance for anything uncomfortable. Fortunately, there IS good stuff out there. The following 3 brands of packing underwear are truly top notch.

Read, pack and prosper.

 

Jockmail

 

Jockmail is a Hong Kong-based company that produces high-quality underwear in many styles. The general aesthetic of the brand is decidedly athletic. Think primary colors, accent striping, and block lettering. This makes a lot of sense because Jockmail underwear, in particular, is great for working out. The packer pocket on Jockmail is small enough to keep your packer secure and close to your body. I've done everything from cartwheels to handstands, without so much of a wiggle from my packer. You can also be confident that your packer will not fall out when you're changing into your gym shorts.

It's important to note that not all Jockmail underwear is made for packing. They also make standard, non-packing underwear as well as underwear for booty enhancement. You can find those other styles on their main site. But all the underwear on Transguy Supply is made for packing. Check out their packer briefs, boxer briefs, and jockstraps in a range of colors.

Because it’s a Hong Kong-based brand, the sizing runs much smaller than US sizes. Unfortunately, this means Jockmail is not really a viable option for lots of bigger guys. Anyone with a waist size of more than 38" will find these products too tight for comfort. Fortunately, Jockmail isn’t the only company out there making great packing underwear.

 

Speakeasy Briefs

 

Each pair of Speakeasy Briefs comes with a zippered pocket sewn into the front. Speakeasy was originally created for guys who want to sneak their flasks into shows. The company actually sells flasks made to go in the underwear's front pocket. Leave it to trans guys to discover that these boxer briefs are also fantastic for holding a packer in place. We've always been a resourceful bunch.

Speakeasy makes one style of underwear only: solid color boxer briefs. The color options here are limited too. These packing skivvies only come in black, red and turquoise. Where they lack in flair, however, Speakeasy makes up for in comfort. Super soft and stretchy, these underwear are easily the most comfortable on this list. And they come in a full range of sizes so are great for bigger guys.

The pocket on this underwear is a bit larger than the Jockmail pocket. This means it can fit larger packers, but also means that a smaller packer might move around a tad. But honestly, just a tad. Definitely not enough to annoy you. And not enough for your packer to shift completely sideways. Plus, the Speakeasy pocket has a zipper so there's literally zero change for your packer to fall out.

 

RodeoH

I recently bought a pair of their new TRUHK underwear. I'll admit that the design looked a bit weird to me at first. But H-front flies have been popping up in the underwear world lately and are gaining in popularity. In fact, you probably won't be the only guy in the locker room wearing something that looks like this.

The TRUHKs are actually made from bamboo, so they're ultra soft. For some reason, the bamboo also hangs in a way that creates less ride up on your legs. Score! RodeoH designed the TRUHK's specifically for use with an STP called the "Realistic STP." Unfortunately, I don't own one of those (yet) and so I couldn't test it out. Other transguys have been reporting great experiences though.

I tried my pair out with a couple of other models and had varying degrees of success. Ok, I actually failed miserably and got pee all over myself every time I tried to use a different STP with my TRUHKs. But like I said, it's designed to be compatible with the Realistic STP and not these other models.

 

A Quick Note On "Pouch" Underwear

I honestly take issue when people claim that any old brand of pouch underwear is “packer friendly.” It's important to take the safety of trans folks seriously. If you can't guarantee my packer won't fall onto the floor when I'm using a public bathroom, your underwear is not "packer friendly."

I should also be able to do handstands, jumping jacks and acro yoga without having to worry about my Mr. Right splatting on the floor in front of my gym crush. In fact, if your underwear doesn't meet these criteria, I consider them “packing hostile.”

Need some examples? These pouch underwear brands include Pump, Marco Marco, Andrew Christian and [insert any other gay underwear brand here].

Don't misunderstand me, these companies make excellent, sexy, quality underwear. (Extra shout out to both Marco Marco and Andrew Christian for being trans-inclusive in their model selections.) But what they make is NOT packing underwear. It’s pouch underwear, and there is a difference.

Pouch underwear is called such because it contains a pouch in the crotch region. It is meant to enhance the visual appearance of your junk. Guys who have had phalloplasty, and who want to show off their bulge will likely love pouch underwear. But for guys who pack, use pouch underwear at your own risk. And don't say I didn't warn you.

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by Mark Van Streefkerk

I’ve had three surgeries in the last four years. It started with a non-transition related surgery: removing a benign tumor from behind my left eye, then top surgery the next year, followed by a year off, and then I had my hysterectomy a few weeks ago. Though I’m open to considering bottom surgery (phalloplasty or metoidioplasty) in the future, it feels good to be at a stopping point right now. Three surgeries in four years feels like a lot to me but there are plenty of folks who have had many more transition-related surgeries than I have. Just as there are many trans folks who don’t want surgery at all. Everyone’s gender expression looks different, and even among people who have had the same procedure from the same doctor, results can vary widely. If you’re considering gender-affirming surgery, here’s what I’ve learned from my own experiences that may help you.



1. Be Wary of YouTube

Everyone is different and everyone’s results are different. If you’re like me, you’ll probably look up everything you can on YouTube and the internet about the surgery you’re preparing for. While it’s a great source for general tips, knowing what to expect and providing comfort when you’re nervous about surgery, I think the algorithm can skew searches. You might only find exceptionally good results or scary surgeries with complications.

Kinda like Yelp reviews, you’ll hear less from people who have had an “average” experience and more from folks who have had really good surgeries (“It was a breeze! I was back at the gym in 2 days!”--which is never, ever true, by the way) or folks who had complications. It’s good to watch those, but keep in mind your experience will likely fall between the two extremes.



2. Try To Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Nervous about surgery? Your only job is getting to the hospital on time, then the highly-qualified, trained professionals take over. What you can control is setting yourself up for a successful recovery as best you can.



3. Stock Your Fridge Beforehand

At the very least, prepare for two weeks of not leaving your house much, if at all. I’d recommend a big grocery haul a couple of days before surgery. If you’re on a budget, go to Trader Joe’s or discount grocery stores. I put in $150 at Grocery Outlet and got a lot more than I thought I would. 



4. Prepare Food In Advance

When you shop, aim for snacks and easy-to-make foods like instant oatmeal, microwavable dinners, and canned soups. You’ll want some easy-to-digest foods too because your post-op system will be slowed from anesthesia. Grab some apple sauce, saltines, and instant mashed potatoes, all of which are easy on your stomach. Take some time the evening before surgery to pre-slice some fruits and veggies. Prepare your first few post-op meals in advance or at least plan them out.



5. Set Up Your Recovery Area

Before surgery practice how you’ll get in and out of bed / the couch. One of my biggest challenges post op was just that, getting in and out of bed without using my arms (for top surgery) and without using my core (post-hysterectomy). Make up your post-op bed before you head out for surgery, get your pillows (and neck pillows and bed loungers) and bedside station just right, with everything you need within reach. I needed my girlfriend’s help every time I got in and out of bed for the first few days post-hysterectomy. She eventually found a really handy bed rail at a thrift store. It’s a large handle made for the side of a bed. The base anchors between the boxspring and mattress. It was a huge help for me getting in and out of bed on my own.



6. Consider These Helpful Supplies If you’re heading in for top surgery, get a back scratcher and some reusable drinking straws. Get a pack of cleansing wipes since you won’t be able to shower for a few days post-op. A cushioned lap desk makes eating easier when you’re lying or reclining.



7. Dealing With Nausea Maybe you’ve had anesthesia before or maybe not, but if you haven’t, I’d highly recommend asking for a scopolamine patch before surgery. It’s a little round patch they stick behind your ear that releases anti-nausea medication. It’s good for about three days. Coming out of my first surgery I was so nauseous from the anesthesia I puked a bunch of times, what little I had in my stomach. That was miserable. I’ve asked for the patch ever since and never had that problem again.



8. Reduce or Quit Smoking

If you smoke, pot included, every surgeon will tell you to quit before surgery. Smoking anything cuts off oxygen to your body, making its healing job a lot harder. The longer you quit smoking before surgery the better. It helps if you quit even the day before.



9. Befriend Your Post-Op Bod Unfortunately, we don’t get to spring off the cutting board and immediately resume life in our new form. Bodies have to heal and regrow around parts that were cut into. My post-op bod was swollen, stinky, bloated, constipated, sore and so many more decidedly UNsexy things for a while, and yours probably will be too. If you’ve had top surgery, you’ll probably be wearing a binder, have drains or big incisions. Anesthesia and medication, as well as the gas they may use during surgery, might leave you bloated. Your post-op state could trigger body or disordered eating issues. You might gain weight and that’s perfectly fine. Consider the fact that you literally have the rest of your life to work out or exercise if that’s your thing.



10. Start Moving (Slowly) When Your Body Is Ready

Start stretching your lower half and walking when you can, even if that’s just walking around your house for a few minutes a couple of times a day. Movement helps decrease your risk of blood clots after surgery and helps with the next point.



11. Dealing With Constipation Constipation wasn’t that bad for my first two surgeries but it was awful for my last one. I’ll spare you the particulars, but here’s a few things that helped me: drinking LOTS of water, walking, stool softeners and laxatives. Also, prune juice is king.



12. Facing Post-Op Blues

It’s entirely possible you could get caught up in the feels. Feeling down post-op is such a common experience. Pain and discomfort aside, you’re basically being sidelined from your life for a few weeks, away from work or friend groups, not having sex for a while, and you have to rely on others for help. After my latest surgery I felt hopeful and excited for the first few days, but as recovery dragged on, I got frustrated and depressed thinking I should be farther along by now.

The days dragged on and on and I had all that time to sit with my feelings, bummed that I felt exhausted walking to the end of the block and back, couldn’t lift more than 15 pounds and couldn’t roll on my side and cuddle my girlfriend. When I met with my surgeon for a post-op appointment however, she told me I was right on course.

My advice is to give all those feelings the space they need without feeling bad about them or trying to shove them away. Talk about them, post about it or write them down. Journaling is my go-to. When I journal I also note what things have improved, however little they may seem, and that makes each day a little more exciting as I observe small improvements. I reached out to people on Instagram who were open to messaging about similar post-op experiences. You’d be surprised at the number of folks who might have the same surgery date as you.



13. Get Used To Asking For Help

Asking for and receiving help can be a big deal if you’re used to a busy, independent life. For at least the first two days after surgery, expect to need some kind of round-the-clock care whether that’s from a partner, parent, friends or roommates. I’ve had to ask housemates to help me get dressed or help make me food.

Fresh haircuts have always made me feel good, but post-op top surgery I couldn’t raise my arms high enough to comb my hair. It was a humbling experience when I had to ask my friend to comb my hair. My partner, community and friends have all been lifelines in my recoveries. I’m grateful to the friends who came over, brought food and watched TV with me.

Even though your body might feel gross, bloated and painful for days, I promise it’s not the final destination. You’re just traveling through.


Comment your post-op tips below!

 

Want to read more about Gender Affirming Surgeries? Check out this related article:

 

Other articles by Mark Van Streefkerk:

Unpacking Money and My Masculinity

Staring At Other Guys' Dicks and Puberty As a Grown Man

 

--//--


Mark Van Streefkerk is a young adult novelist and freelance writer whose work has been in Seattle Gay Scene and Barista Magazine.  Find him at markvanstreefkerk.com and Instagram: @luvyerselfandbeproud
--//--
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by Mark Van Streefkerk

I’ve had three surgeries in the last four years. It started with a non-transition related surgery: removing a benign tumor from behind my left eye, then top surgery the next year, followed by a year off, and then I had my hysterectomy a few weeks ago. Though I’m open to considering bottom surgery (phalloplasty or metoidioplasty) in the future, it feels good to be at a stopping point right now. Three surgeries in four years feels like a lot to me but there are plenty of folks who have had many more transition-related surgeries than I have. Just as there are many trans folks who don’t want surgery at all. Everyone’s gender expression looks different, and even among people who have had the same procedure from the same doctor, results can vary widely. If you’re considering gender-affirming surgery, here’s what I’ve learned from my own experiences that may help you.



1. Be Wary of YouTube

Everyone is different and everyone’s results are different. If you’re like me, you’ll probably look up everything you can on YouTube and the internet about the surgery you’re preparing for. While it’s a great source for general tips, knowing what to expect and providing comfort when you’re nervous about surgery, I think the algorithm can skew searches. You might only find exceptionally good results or scary surgeries with complications.

Kinda like Yelp reviews, you’ll hear less from people who have had an “average” experience and more from folks who have had really good surgeries (“It was a breeze! I was back at the gym in 2 days!”--which is never, ever true, by the way) or folks who had complications. It’s good to watch those, but keep in mind your experience will likely fall between the two extremes.



2. Try To Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Nervous about surgery? Your only job is getting to the hospital on time, then the highly-qualified, trained professionals take over. What you can control is setting yourself up for a successful recovery as best you can.



3. Stock Your Fridge Beforehand

At the very least, prepare for two weeks of not leaving your house much, if at all. I’d recommend a big grocery haul a couple of days before surgery. If you’re on a budget, go to Trader Joe’s or discount grocery stores. I put in $150 at Grocery Outlet and got a lot more than I thought I would. 



4. Prepare Food In Advance

When you shop, aim for snacks and easy-to-make foods like instant oatmeal, microwavable dinners, and canned soups. You’ll want some easy-to-digest foods too because your post-op system will be slowed from anesthesia. Grab some apple sauce, saltines, and instant mashed potatoes, all of which are easy on your stomach. Take some time the evening before surgery to pre-slice some fruits and veggies. Prepare your first few post-op meals in advance or at least plan them out.



5. Set Up Your Recovery Area

Before surgery practice how you’ll get in and out of bed / the couch. One of my biggest challenges post op was just that, getting in and out of bed without using my arms (for top surgery) and without using my core (post-hysterectomy). Make up your post-op bed before you head out for surgery, get your pillows (and neck pillows and bed loungers) and bedside station just right, with everything you need within reach. I needed my girlfriend’s help every time I got in and out of bed for the first few days post-hysterectomy. She eventually found a really handy bed rail at a thrift store. It’s a large handle made for the side of a bed. The base anchors between the boxspring and mattress. It was a huge help for me getting in and out of bed on my own.



6. Consider These Helpful Supplies If you’re heading in for top surgery, get a back scratcher and some reusable drinking straws. Get a pack of cleansing wipes since you won’t be able to shower for a few days post-op. A cushioned lap desk makes eating easier when you’re lying or reclining.



7. Dealing With Nausea Maybe you’ve had anesthesia before or maybe not, but if you haven’t, I’d highly recommend asking for a scopolamine patch before surgery. It’s a little round patch they stick behind your ear that releases anti-nausea medication. It’s good for about three days. Coming out of my first surgery I was so nauseous from the anesthesia I puked a bunch of times, what little I had in my stomach. That was miserable. I’ve asked for the patch ever since and never had that problem again.



8. Reduce or Quit Smoking

If you smoke, pot included, every surgeon will tell you to quit before surgery. Smoking anything cuts off oxygen to your body, making its healing job a lot harder. The longer you quit smoking before surgery the better. It helps if you quit even the day before.



9. Befriend Your Post-Op Bod Unfortunately, we don’t get to spring off the cutting board and immediately resume life in our new form. Bodies have to heal and regrow around parts that were cut into. My post-op bod was swollen, stinky, bloated, constipated, sore and so many more decidedly UNsexy things for a while, and yours probably will be too. If you’ve had top surgery, you’ll probably be wearing a binder, have drains or big incisions. Anesthesia and medication, as well as the gas they may use during surgery, might leave you bloated. Your post-op state could trigger body or disordered eating issues. You might gain weight and that’s perfectly fine. Consider the fact that you literally have the rest of your life to work out or exercise if that’s your thing.



10. Start Moving (Slowly) When Your Body Is Ready

Start stretching your lower half and walking when you can, even if that’s just walking around your house for a few minutes a couple of times a day. Movement helps decrease your risk of blood clots after surgery and helps with the next point.



11. Dealing With Constipation Constipation wasn’t that bad for my first two surgeries but it was awful for my last one. I’ll spare you the particulars, but here’s a few things that helped me: drinking LOTS of water, walking, stool softeners and laxatives. Also, prune juice is king.



12. Facing Post-Op Blues

It’s entirely possible you could get caught up in the feels. Feeling down post-op is such a common experience. Pain and discomfort aside, you’re basically being sidelined from your life for a few weeks, away from work or friend groups, not having sex for a while, and you have to rely on others for help. After my latest surgery I felt hopeful and excited for the first few days, but as recovery dragged on, I got frustrated and depressed thinking I should be farther along by now.

The days dragged on and on and I had all that time to sit with my feelings, bummed that I felt exhausted walking to the end of the block and back, couldn’t lift more than 15 pounds and couldn’t roll on my side and cuddle my girlfriend. When I met with my surgeon for a post-op appointment however, she told me I was right on course.

My advice is to give all those feelings the space they need without feeling bad about them or trying to shove them away. Talk about them, post about it or write them down. Journaling is my go-to. When I journal I also note what things have improved, however little they may seem, and that makes each day a little more exciting as I observe small improvements. I reached out to people on Instagram who were open to messaging about similar post-op experiences. You’d be surprised at the number of folks who might have the same surgery date as you.



13. Get Used To Asking For Help

Asking for and receiving help can be a big deal if you’re used to a busy, independent life. For at least the first two days after surgery, expect to need some kind of round-the-clock care whether that’s from a partner, parent, friends or roommates. I’ve had to ask housemates to help me get dressed or help make me food.

Fresh haircuts have always made me feel good, but post-op top surgery I couldn’t raise my arms high enough to comb my hair. It was a humbling experience when I had to ask my friend to comb my hair. My partner, community and friends have all been lifelines in my recoveries. I’m grateful to the friends who came over, brought food and watched TV with me.

Even though your body might feel gross, bloated and painful for days, I promise it’s not the final destination. You’re just traveling through.


Comment your post-op tips below!

 

Want to read more about Gender Affirming Surgeries? Check out this related article:

 

Other articles by Mark Van Streefkerk:

Unpacking Money and My Masculinity

Staring At Other Guys' Dicks and Puberty As a Grown Man

 

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Mark Van Streefkerk is a young adult novelist and freelance writer whose work has been in Seattle Gay Scene and Barista Magazine.  Find him at markvanstreefkerk.com and Instagram: @luvyerselfandbeproud
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It's no secret that good STPs can cost a pretty penny. It's not uncommon to shell out several hundreds of dollars for a quality stand to pee prosthetic. If you've got money to burn, we'd never fault you for spending your cash on something that brings you relief. However, the high price tag makes these more expensive STPs out of reach for a lot of struggling trans guys.
 
If you've been following my STP journey, you know that I went through a long, hard process learning how to stand to pee. I spent a lot of time (and money) trying to figure things out, but finally being able to use an STP was like a revelation to me. I truly believe that everyone who wants to learn, can. I also believe that you don't have to spend a ton of money like I did on fancy prosthetics.
 
There are some great STPs out there that won't break the bank and we're here to tell you all about them. So, without further do, here are the 3 best STPs for guys on a budget. Below are full reviews of great STPs under $40, including pros, cons, and who each STP is best for. 
 
1. pStyle - $12
This pStyle is hands down the best STP to learn on. The slim design and hard plastic make it compatible with every type of body. Thick thighs? No problem. Fast pee-er? No sweat. If you've had trouble using other STP devices, give the pStyle a try. It may not look like a dick, but it's super easy to get the hang of.
 

PROS: 

This STP is the cheapest of the lot. It's also incredibly easy to use. I still recommend practicing in the shower your first couple of times. Cleaning up pee off the bathroom floor is not fun. However, for most folks, the learning curve is quick with the pSytle.

The pStyle is also very discreet. Of course, it won't help anyone who needs to see a penis when looking down over the toilet. But because it's just a piece of hard plastic, most people will have no idea what it's used for. If you happen to leave your pStyle somewhere others can see it, no one is going to give it much thought.

 

CONS: 

As you can't pack with this STP, you will need to figure out how you are going to carry it around. Coming in at 7.5 inches, it's also a bit long. Fitting it inside a pocket might not be possible depending on what you're wearing. Cargo shorts and fanny packs should be able to accommodate. For a stylish fanny pack option, check out this one from Stealth Bros. & Co

 

WHO IT'S BEST FOR:

- Anyone who doesn't need a prosthetic STP, but still wants to stand to pee. This includes bigger guys and guys with thick or muscular thighs.

- Guys who can't get the hang of other STPs. In the beginning, I had a ton of trouble with other devices. I just couldn't figure out where to position my STP and spilled every single time. I also had a persistent backflow issue. After successfully using the pStyle for a couple of weeks, it all clicked into place. When I went back to my prosthetic STPs, I found I had a lot less difficulty figuring them out.

 
 
2. Packer Gear STP - $15
 

The Packer Gear STP is cheapest, somewhat realistic-looking STP device on the market. It's far from perfect - and it probably won't pass for a dick. Like the pStyle, it's also an excellent packer for beginners.

 
PROS:
The wide bowl and large pee hole make it super easy to use and for a mere 15 bucks, you're getting a body safe, 100% silicone STP.
 
CONS:
The downside to this cheap STP is that it feels just that... cheap. Don't get me wrong, this product is actually quite durable. But the walls are thin so if you have thick or muscular thighs, you might have issues with it collapsing during use. I haven't heard any reports of this yet, but buyer beware. 
Even though the walls are thin on this device, it's too stiff to pack with. Like the pStyle, you'll have to find some other way to carry it around.
 
WHO IT'S BEST FOR:
- This is best for guys who want their STP to be somewhat realistic, but also need the cheapest option possible. You won't find another prosthetic at this price.
- Like the pStyle, it's also great for learners. If want to try using an STP before spending more money on something fancier, this is a fantastic option

 

 
 
3. Santos STP - $39
 

There's no use beating around the bush - this STP blew my mind. I ordered a sample of this STP hoping that it would at least be passable quality. When the product finally arrived, it far exceeded my expectations. The Santos STP is a shockingly high-quality device for the money. Truth be told, this model is probably my favorite STP of all time. It’s well made 100% with soft silicone and yet it also packs fairly well. Apart from the Emisil Compact STP, it’s also the most realistic one I own. 

The pee hole at the end of the shaft on the Santos is on the smaller side. This contributes to its realistic look, but can also create backflow issues. However, with just a light squeeze on the tip, the hole widens and lets liquid flow out at a decent pace. Only those with the strongest pee streams will need to modify the pee hole for easier use.

We've ordered a boatload of these bad boys, in every color they offer. Pre-order now for shipment this Summer!

 

PROS:

Urinal passable. Packs well. Comes in a great range of colors.

 

CONS:

The main con I can think of for this device is the silicone is a bit sticky to the touch. My FreeTom STP also has this issue, but it's easily remedied with a little Packer Powder. Each time after washing, I dust my Santos with a little of this Packing Powder. Make sure to wipe off any excess powder with a towel and you're good to go.

 

WHO IT'S BEST FOR:

- If you have more than $15 to shell out on an STP, this is such a great device for the price. 

- Perfect for guys who really need a realistic looking option. 

 
Want to read more about Standing to Pee? Check out these related articles:
 
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More and more, insurance companies are covering the cost of transition-related surgeries. However, the prevalence of crowd-funding campaigns and personal fundraisers are telling. For many people, the idea of having your insurance company pay for top surgery is still a far off fantasy.
 
What if your insurance company doesn't cover transgender-related care? What if you don't have insurance at all? Or what if your insurance company only pays for a surgeon "in network" and you aren't confident with the results of any surgeons in your area? 
 
For those of you in any of these boats, this list is for you. Check out our 2019 guide to organizations that can help raise money for your chest surgery:
 
 
 
The Jim Collins Foundation
The Jim Collins Foundation was created to honor Jim Collins, a trans social worker, psychotherapist, and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. The foundation chooses several recipients per year depending on available funding. 
 
Grant Size Avg / Estimate: Undisclosed
 
Rules of Eligibility: 
  • The Jim Collins Foundation makes selections for grants based on a combination of demonstrated financial need and level of preparedness.
  • Applicant must understand the steps that are currently required to undergo the medical process of transition, and must have completed - or have outlined plans to complete - the following steps:
      • Secure a letter of support from a licensed medical or mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or therapist.
      • Select a surgeon who is knowledgeable in transition-related surgeries. If you are chosen, the organization assumes this named surgeon is final.
      • Identify who will care for and provide support post-surgery.
      • If the applicant has not completed all of these steps but is planning to do so, please include your plans in your application.
    • Note: If you are selected for funding, the payment will be made directly to the doctor or hospital facility. You must comply with any and all requirements according to the Standards of Care of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), formerly known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA), as determined by your selected surgeon.
    • Applicant must demonstrate a genuine need for financial assistance.
    • Applicant must detail the efforts they have made to fund-raise and the amount of cost they will be able to cover on their own, if any.
    When: The 2019 grant cycle will open May 15th, 2019. Their current grant submission deadline is August 1st at 11:59 pm EST.
     
     
     
      FLAVNT
    Flavnt Streetwear is a queer and trans-owned apparel company that donates 15% of profits to selected partners in need of gender-affirming surgery. Flavnt raises funds for one partner at a time and does not have a regular fundraising cycle. That said, you can easily find out if they are accepting applications for a new partner by following them on social media or by signing up for their newsletter. Alternatively, you can always bookmark their partner application page and check back often to see if applications are open.
     
    Grant Size Avg / Estimate: Between $500 and $3000 depending on the duration of the fundraising period
     
    Rules of Eligibility: Flavnt's rules for eligibility are simple -- anyone can apply so long as they are over the age of 18 and they are a trans person (including nonbinary and other gender non-conforming identities) seeking a gender-affirming surgery that they need help fundraising for.
     
    When: Varies
     
    Where To Apply: There is a dedicated link when applications are open. Check their website for updates or sign up for their mailing list for more info. 
     
     
      Point of Pride 
    Point of Pride is a non-profit organization co-founded by Jeff Main and trans activist and speaker, Aydian Dowling. In addition to an awesome binder donation program, Point of Pride chooses several recipients per year for their annual surgery fund. 
     
    Grant Size Avg / Estimate: $6000-$9000
     
    Rules of Eligibility: 
    • Applicants must identify as transgender (FtM, MtF, non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and all other non-cis identities).
    • Applicants must be over the age of 18.
    • Applicants must already have begun saving money for their surgery.
    • Applicants must complete their surgery within 18 months of receiving the funds.
    • Applicants must complete their surgery in the United States with a U.S.-based surgeon (you may live outside of the U.S. and still apply).
            When: Applications open at midnight EST on November 1 and run until 11:59 pm EST on November 30
             
            Where To Apply: All applications must be submitted online. When they are accepting applications, there is a dedicated link on their website. Check here for updates:  https://pointofpride.org/annual-transgender-surgery-fund/#apply-now
             
             
              CK Life
            The mission of Community Kinship Life (or CK Life) is to provide the trans community with the tools needed to achieve their personal goals while having a sense of community and kinship. CK Life also has an annual surgery fund. 
             
            Grant Size Avg / Estimate: Undisclosed
             
            Rules of Eligibility: 
             
            • Applicants must meet WPATH standards to be granted a scholarship.
            • Applicant must demonstrate a genuine need for financial assistance. 
            • Secure a letter of support from a personal reference regarding your volunteer work or CONSISTENT community involvement. 
            • Any funds awarded must be used within three months (for non-genital procedures) or six months (for genital surgeries) after the time they are awarded. If there are extenuating circumstances (such as a surgeon's long waiting list), that time frame may be extended. If the funds are not used within the stated time frame, they will go back into the general pool to be used during the next scholarship cycle.
              When: The 2018 cycle is closed. CK Life has not announced when the 2019 cycle will be open. 
               
              Where To Apply: When the cycle is open, you can apply via a Survey Monkey link on their website.
               
               
              The Rizi Xavier Timane Surgery Grant
              In 2012, Rizi Timane LCSW, PhD, DSW(I) established an annual transgender surgery grant to pay for gender confirmation surgery for those in need of surgery as part of their transition.
              Grant Size Avg / Estimate: $2000-$8000
               
              Rules of Eligibility: 
              • Applicants must identify as transgender (FTM, MTF, non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and all other non-cis identities)
              • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of your surgery
              • Recipients must complete your surgery within 12  months of receiving the grant. This is coordinated with your surgeon as the grant is paid directly to the surgeon's office on your behalf.
              • All surgeries must be completed in the United States with a U.S. based surgeon (though you may live outside of the U.S. and still apply.)
              • All applicants and care providers must abide by all standards as set by the WPATH
              When: the 2019 cycle opens June 2019
              Where To Apply: Click this link to learn more or apply. 
               
               
              Gender Bands Top Surgery Grant
              Genderbands' primary mission is to help transgender men and gender non-conforming people pay for their gender-affirming top surgery. 
               
              Grant Size Avg / Estimate: $2000-$2500
               
              Rules of Eligibility: 
              • Applicants must be 18 or older at time of applying.
              • Applicants will need to show they have already raised 50% of their needed funds as well as an active plan to continue to raise funds. Our grant program is meant to help close the gap from your own fundraising efforts and your surgery amount.
              • It is not necessary for applicants to identify as FTM. Non-binary persons are welcome to apply. 
              • Surgery must be in the USA but applicants can live anywhere in the world.
              • Surgery must take place within the calendar year of being awarded the grant.
              • Be willing to let Gender Bands follow you on your top surgery journey.
               
              When: Applications for their grant are open November 1 – December 31
               
              Where to Apply: Check out their website to apply. 
               
               
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              TG Supply by Scout Rose - 2M ago

               

              The first time I tried to pee standing up, I was trekking in the Tanzanian bush. Right before my trip, the local government in Dar ramped up their anti-LGBT activities. People were being jailed for befriending queer people on social media. I knew that while I was there I would be in some situations where bathroom privacy was not guaranteed. Worried for my safety, I bought a hard plastic STP (or stand to pee device) from a camping store and packed it in my carry on.

              Knowing nothing about STPs, I didn't even attempt to use the one I bought until the actual moment I needed to use it. Miraculously, everything went off without a hitch. Over the two weeks I was in Tanzania, I used the STP several times with no issue. When I came home after that trip, I packed the plastic device in my "travel supplies" box and forgot about it. 

              Using an STP correctly can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. While a handful of folks have zero issues and are able to pee successfully right out of the gate, most people require a lot of practice. It's not uncommon to become incredibly frustrated after weeks of failed attempts.

              Fast forward several years when I was introduced to the world of FTM STPs. After watching a couple of YouTube STP reviews, I decided to try one out. 

              I first bought a Number One STP and was shocked to discover that success this time around didn't come as easy. In fact, I went through several models (and dollars) before finding one that worked for me. And even then it took lots of practice to perfect. 
              Using an STP can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Of course, a handful of folks have zero issues and are able to pee successfully right out of the gate. Most people however, need a lot of practice. It's not uncommon to become very frustrated after weeks of failed attempts. 
              Once I finally got the hang of it though, the thrill of being able to stand to pee was a revelation for me. Even if sitting to pee doesn't trigger your dysphoria, standing to pee can be very empowering. Plus it's an awesome skill to have when you are hiking or camping. 
              Through all my trial and error, I learned quite a bit about the world of STPs. I also scoured the internet, looking for every actionable STP tip I could find. This article is the full list of every helpful hint out there. I hope that it helps you with your STP journey.  

              May you one day write your name in the snow. 

               
               
              1. Locate Your Urethra
              Your pee hole is uh... not the same as any other holes. If you've never taken the time to get to know yourself down there, the location of your urethra may come as a surprise. As much as this may trigger your dysphoria, it's important to know where it's located. It's the only way you'll know how to position your STP in the right place. If it helps, pretend you're Encyclopedia Brown and do a little detective work. 

              Once you locate your urethra, you'll have a much better idea of where to position your STP. Nothing is worse than missing your device completely. It's the standing to pee equivalent of an airball. But maybe even more embarrassing.

               

               

               

              2. Practice at Home

              For a lot of guys, successful STP use requires lots of trial and error. If you don't have thick or muscular thighs and don't have a fast and hard pee stream, you might be one of the lucky few who has no trouble using an STP on the first try. 

              However, most folks need quite a bit of practice before they can go without making a mess. We recommend that you practice in the shower first. We also recommend that you leave the shower off when you are practicing so you can easily identify a spill as a spill and not just more water from the shower head. Being in the shower makes clean up relatively simple. Trust us on this one, cleaning up pee off your bathroom floor royally sucks. 

               

              3. Graduate Slowly

              Once you've mastered the shower, you may feel tempted to try out your STP in public right away. We strongly encourage you, however, to take your time with this process. If you take baby steps towards your goal, you're less likely to have an accident once you finally do take the show on the road. 

              After you've successfully STP'd in your shower with zero spills 5 times in a row, you can safely assume that you are ready to move to the next step. For this next period, try using your STP in your home toilet. While you get the hang of using your STP at an actual commode, we recommend taking off all of your clothes at first. 

              It may be a pain to completely undress every time you pee, but it's a lot more of a pain to have to change multiple times a day because you got urine on your clothes. Also, rest assured that this is only temporary. Once you've nailed peeing naked, the next step is trying with only your underwear on. Then finally, for the last stage of your practice, try using your STP in your bathroom fully dressed. 

              Once you are regularly using your STP fully clothed in your own bathroom, you'll be ready to move to the public domain. 

               
              4. Build The Right Muscles 

               

              If you're having trouble moving through this process, there are a couple of things that you can do to troubleshoot potential issues. The first of these is building the right set of muscles in your body to help you control your urine stream. 

              Using an STP is like pouring liquid through a funnel. It can get backed up and overflow if the funnel isn't wide enough for all the liquid you're trying to send down it at the speed with which you are trying to send it. If you are noticing that you have consistent backflow issues, you may have a stronger than average pee stream.

              This is the category of people that I belong to, and ultimately, why so many of my early STP endeavors had failed. Enter Kegel exercises.

              Kegel exercises are exercises to help you control the flow of your pee and they work by strengthening your pelvic floor.  To locate these muscles, next time you are relieving your bladder, try to stop the flow of urine midstream. That part of your body that clenched is the area that you are going to try to strengthen. Once you have identified where the muscles are and how to flex them, you can do these exercises when you are not peeing to greater effect. 

              Once a day, contract these muscles for 5-10 seconds, then relax, repeating 10-20 times. 

              After you've gotten the hang of it, you can stop the flow of your pee any time you think you might be close to overflowing the bowl of your STP. When I use certain STPs I literally have to start and stop 5-10 times so that my pee has enough time to drain and doesn't backflow all over my pants and legs. Apparently, this isn't good for your urinary health over time, so I try not to use my STP if I can tell that my bladder is really full. 

              Also, I recommend buying an STP that can handle your pee at the outset. For fast pee-ers, this means one with a bigger bowl or a wider hole in the shaft like the Packer Gear STP (bigger bowl) or the Model D Sport (wider hole). 

               

               

              5. Widen The Pee Hole Of Your STP
              If you're dead set on using a particular model (because you like the way it looks, or packs, or adheres to your body) but discover that it can't eliminate liquid fast enough for your stream strength, don't worry, all is not lost. With a little careful handiwork, you can always widen the shaft hole yourself. I personally did this with my Emisil Compact STP. I love the way this one looks AND packs, but I hated having to stop my urine flow multiple times every use. 
               
              I picked up a hobby knife (like the one pictured above) from my local hardware store and carefully widened the hole at the end of my Emisil's shaft. I know making any alterations to such an expensive prosthetic can be nerve-wracking. However, until I find the perfect STP, I've resigned myself to the fact that a little Macgyver-ing is probably inevitable. The risk outweighs having an STP that I never use. 
                
              6. Wear Underwear With A Fly Hole

              The number one reason to wear underwear with a fly-hole is that it hides any harness you might be wearing. 

              I personally don't normally do this, but I also very rarely use the urinal. When I do, however, having the fly hole is an absolute must. Some guys say that pulling the shaft through a fly hole can help to stabilize your STP. 

              Also, as Alex from Transthetics says, "Another good trick as far as side slit underwear goes, is to cut a small hole in the layer that sits against your skin, where the shaft sits and actually pull the shaft through this first layer. This helps with keeping the STP in place and makes using it that much easier as it doesn’t have to bend around two separately directioned pieces of material."

              Though the fly-hole makes discretion easier, if you only own fly-less underwear, you can still use an STP. We polled several cis guy friends regarding their bathroom practices, and most of them report to actually prefer pulling their waistband down. Pulling your dick through a hole in your underwear can be a bit of a hassle, so for ease and quickness, pulling down your waistband is common practice. 

              Truthfully, it's really only common practice for guys to use the fly if there's a really good reason to. For example, cops and EMTs often have cumbersome, weighted belts that are hard to take off and on every time they have to go. Same goes for businessmen who wear dress pants with a belt, clasp hook and inside button to use the fly hole. For everyone else, it's way faster to just drop trou. 

               

              7. Wear Loose Pants
              Speaking of trou, wearing loose pants will absolutely make it easier for you to use your STP. If you wear tighter jeans, the zipper may not go down far enough for you to be able to position your STP correctly. If you're a tight-pants wearer and don't want to change up your style just so that you can stand to pee at a urinal, another option for you is to unbutton your pants and pull them down a bit. Be careful though, pull them down too low and you may get some awkward looks. 
               
              8. Go Before You Need To Go
              Even if you've done your Kegel exercises and are fairly confident you can regulate any back-flow issues, it's always a good idea to go before you really really really have to go. Doing this will help regulate your urine flow. If you've been holding it, it's a lot harder to stop once you've started. It's also a lot more uncomfortable to do so. Do your bladder a favor and go as soon as you feel any inkling. 
               
              9. Visualize for Success
              Ok - So you're ready to finally try out your STP in public. You've practiced and practiced. You've got the right gear. You're looking good and feeling great... 
               
              But wait, are you going to use the stall or the urinal? What will you do with your STP after using it? Put it back in your pocket? Or will you be packing with it? Having a well thought out plan can make a huge difference in your STP success. At the very least, knowing what you are going to do in advance will ease some of the anxiety you may have about using your STP in public for the first time. 
               
              10. Be Patient With Yourself

              As much as we wish there were a perfect STP, every body's body is different. What may work for you, may not work for someone else.

              For me, once I finally figured out how to use an STP, I was able to go back and successfully use STPs that I had failed with before. Sometimes you just need to try something different and then it will all click into place. 

              If your prosthetic STP just isn't working for you, pick up a pStyle. They're consistently rated among the easiest STPs to use and won't cost you an arm and a leg. (Also, shout out to pStyle for being a badass company with a trans-feminist ethic. Unlike almost every other hard plastic STP on the market, they intentionally removed the gendered language from the packaging so buying one won't trigger your dysphoria.) Think of the pStyle as STP training wheels. Once you have success with the pStyle, go back to your prosthetic. What happens just might (pleasantly) surprise you.

               
               
              11. Overcome your Pee Shyness

              The last hurdle for some is getting over pee shyness. As you've likely been sitting down to pee your entire life, it can take some time for your brain to tell your body that it's ok to release when you're standing up. 

              Your brain's pee reluctance can be compounded by any number of common anxieties that trans people have in public restrooms. Am I passing enough? Is the guy next to me wondering why I haven't started peeing yet? Do they think I'm a weirdo who hangs out in bathrooms for fun?

              According to SelfHelpo.com, "The urinary sphincter must be relaxed in order for urine to flow from the bladder down the urethra. Anxiety about urinating overstimulates the person’s nervous system and ‘clamps’ the sphincter shut. Failure to urinate heightens the person’s anxiety, particularly if the bladder is uncomfortably full. "

              If you are having trouble, try closing your eyes and picture yourself sitting down.  Also, avoid negative self-talk when trying to urinate. You can even go the opposite extreme and pump yourself up. Tell yourself, "I am freaking awesome." Do it over and over again until you actually feel it. If you are still unable to let it rip, and are determined to stand-to-pee, cognitive therapy is often cited as the best cure for pee shyness. 

               

              I hope you found these tips useful and that you are excited to try out your first STP. If there are any other tips you've heard and want to share, please leave a comment below and help your fellow trans folks out!

              If you're looking to purchase a great prosthetic STP, check out this review Lex Horwitz did of the Sam STP.
               
              Unboxing: Transguy Supply - YouTube
               
               
              Want to read more? Check out these related articles:
               
               
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              BY: @asadcomic

              Want a Mr. Limpy of your own? Check out our awesome FTM Packer selection.

              --//--

              The Adventures of Mr. Limpy are created by Brooklyn illustrator and self-proclaimed "nb weirdo," @asadcomic. You can find their other work on Instagram or check out their website at https://www.asadcomic.com/

              --//--

               

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              It's a big packing world out there. For someone new to packing, familiarizing yourself with all of the options can seem a tad overwhelming. To simplify things for you, we've broken down the basic types to help you choose which kind of packer is right for you. If you're a complete packer novice, you may want to check out our intro article: What is a Packer? first.

               

              SOFT PACKERS

              Soft packers are prosthetics used for the sole purpose of creating a bulge in your pants. They are not firm enough for any kind of penetration and without modification are not usable as a Stand-to-Pee device (STP).

              Soft packers come in myriad varieties: different shapes, sizes, tones and degrees of detail. However, with regards to material makeup, there are generally only two types of soft packer: those made of elastomer/thermal gel and those made of silicone.

              Companies that produce the first variety (elastomer/thermal gel) often have their own proprietary compounds and thus have their own trademarked brand names such as "Cyberskin," "Softskin," and "SuperSkin."

              Because elastomer soft packers are generally made with some amount of mineral oil, we do not recommend wearing one for long stretches of time without a barrier between your skin and your packer. We love packing underwear, but there are also packing pouches that you can affix to any underwear. Check out the packing pouch from New York Toy Collective:

               

              Silicone packers are, by nature, firmer and less stretchy than their elastomer counterparts. While this certainly changes the tactile experience of a packer, silicone packers can be fully sterilized by boiling or running through your dishwasher, so they are much easier to keep clean. They are also much more durable. If cared for properly, a good silicone packer can last a lifetime and be a worthwhile longterm investment.

              The silicone packers we carry on our site are made of premium platinum-based silicone that is hypoallergenic, non-toxic and free of phthalates. These are fully safe for long-term contact with your skin and therefore can be worn with a packing strap or any pouch-style underwear. 

               

               

              For those strapped for cash, or with a strong DIY ethic, making your own packer might be your best bet. Stuffing your underwear with socks is always an easy and accessible option, however, those looking to create a bulge that would pass a squeeze test will want to go the condom filled with hair gel or gak route. Here is our favorite video on DIY packing.

              How you position a soft packer in your pants is entirely a question of personal preference. The first time I ever went to have a pair of suit pants tailored, my tailor asked me if I "dressed left or dressed right." Completely befuddled, I later learned that cis men generally position the shaft of their junk on the same side every day and traditional tailors will add a bit of room in the crotch for whichever side that is. Smaller packers, such as the Extra Small Mr. Limpy are compact enough to position straight down inside packing underwear.

               

              STPS

              For some transguys, not being able to pee standing up can be a huge dysphoria trigger. And while the culture of quiet efficiency that pervades men's restrooms means it's very unlikely that the guy in the next stall is taking note of your stance or the sound of your pee, being able to "go" standing up can reduce the anxiety one may have about those possibilities. 

              An STP, or Stand-To-Pee device, is a packer whose primary function is to help you pee standing up. STPs are hollow and generally have a bowl at the base and a shaft through which your pee can flow. Bowls often have a protective lip so that if your urine stream is strong and can't move down the shaft quickly enough, urine won't come splashing back out at the base (and all over you, your clothes, and the floor). 

               

               

              Though some FTMs successfully use STPs on their first try, most transguys report that using an STP generally takes a bit of practice. We recommend trying out your new STP in the shower - with the shower off so you can clearly determine whether or not that liquid on the back of your legs is your urine and not water from the shower head.

              For my personal journey, it took several weeks of practice before I was finally able to know exactly how I needed to stand and position an STP against my body. I'll admit that I jumped the gun and tried to use my STP in my bathroom at home before I was fully ready and ended up with a LOT of pee all over the floor. More than once.

              If, after several attempts, you still aren't having success with your STP, it's possible that the shape of the bowl just isn't right for the unique way your body is contoured. It's also possible that your flow is too strong for the specific configuration of your STP and you may want to try another. If you suspect that you have a strong stream, we recommend starting with an STP that has a large bowl, such as the Emisil Compact STP, or one that has a wide hole in the shaft, such as New York Toy Collective's Sam the STP

               

               

              PACK N PLAY'S / 2 IN 1'S / 3 IN 1'S

              Pack N' Plays (also called 2 in 1's) and 3 in 1's are multifunctional packers. The "play" in a Pack N Play refers to using your packer for penetration. The "3" in 3 in 1, refers to the three P's: packing, peeing and playing.

              Many Pack N' Plays have a bendable, semi-hard rod inside them that it can be positioned up and out of the way when packing, and out and ready for action when playing. 

              Note that for a packer to function as both a packer and a plaything, you will have to make certain compensations in hardness and size. It can be uncomfortable, not to mention incredibly conspicuous, to have a large, hard packer in your pants all day long. Because of this, packers meant for both activities are often smaller than the toys one normally uses for playing. Also, because they are a bit softer, we recommend using lots of lube during play time. 

              3 in 1s tend to be standard issue STPs with an additional insertable rod for play. Sam the STP is one of this variety. Like the Sam itself, the insert for Sam is made from 100% silicone.

               

               

              Have a question about packers that we haven't answered here? Drop a note in the comments!

               

               

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