The Empty Pouch in My Boxer Briefs

how-i-pack

A genuine Jockey underwear advertisement, circa 1955.

There is an empty pouch in my boxer briefs. I notice it, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t pack.

I never thought I was missing a penis. I was envious of my brother because he was a boy; not because he had a penis. I kept hoping that I’d wake up and be a boy. I prepared myself for this by practicing boy things, including standing up to pee. I gave that up after a few days, and went back to memorizing baseball statistics and solving math puzzles.

There is a hole in my vocabulary. I rarely talk about my genitals or anyone else’s. I don’t like to use either scientific terms or slang. The words sound foreign to me. Growing up, I pretended there was nothing there, the way male and female dolls are smooth and intact under their clothes.

Maybe because I was attracted to women, I didn’t pay any attention to penises. They seemed superfluous, and vaguely unclean, except on marble statues in the museum. Maybe because they seemed so important to everyone else I decided they were unimportant to me. Denial and dissociation as a defense against dysphoria.

I refused to wear fancy underpants. The kind with lace or hearts. I really wanted to wear my brother’s Fruit of the Looms. I knew not to ask (once in a while I stole a pair), and settled for six packs of plain white panties. When I grew up, I bought the simplest cotton hipsters I could find. White, black, gray, or navy. Jockey for Her. I pulled on my Levi’s to cover them up. Then it occurred to me that I could wear whatever underwear I wanted, regardless of what went in them, or what they were designed to cover.

After a short and expensive period of experimentation, I rejected tighty-whiteys. I like low-rise boxer briefs (and trunks). In cotton, with a little spandex, without the Y fly/opening. I have striped, plaid, neon, and flowered boxer briefs. They all have a little extra room in the front.

I doubt I’ll ever fill that pouch. I’ve looked at packers and STPs (stand to pee) and they don’t appeal to me. A little bulge in my crotch is not going to affect whether I am read as male, butch, or something in-between. I don’t think adding a packer would make me feel more comfortable, the way that binding and top surgery did.

I was dysphoric about my chest and my silhouette, but not my bottom half. It could be that I dealt with my bottom dysphoria early on by wearing Levi’s. I started right around puberty. I liked how Levi’s looked. I liked how they felt. I liked that they had a button fly. I liked that everyone knew they were men’s jeans. I didn’t notice that they also had a little extra room in the front.

I don’t know why it took me so long to make the jump from jeans to boxers. Jeans tell a story; boxers are private. My boxers don’t show, except when I change at the gym. I don’t think the guy at the laundromat cares what I drop off for him to wash, dry, and fold. Donna thinks they are cute compared to what I used to wear, although the empty pouch makes her anxious about what is on the horizon.

Notes: Mae West would have had a field day with that pistol packing boy; it is a real print advertisement from 1955. “To Pack or not to Pack” by Rocco Kayiatos, tells the story of one trans man’s decisions to pack and unpack, and ends with a half-dozen other guys chiming in on the subject.

“How the Boxer Brief Got Into America’s Pants” details the recent changes in the design and marketing of men’s underwear.

16 thoughts on “The Empty Pouch in My Boxer Briefs

    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      It is one of those taboos that when you break it you question why it was such a big deal?
      I’m not sure if it is because women’s lingerie is more sexualized than men’s underwear (I don’t think of men’s underwear as particularly sexy) or what. But it is definitely a fun taboo to break.

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  1. Lesboi

    I have a couple packers and have been contemplating buying a new one that I can pee with. I like the feeling of packing a lot but like the other guys in the blog post you linked to mentioned, it does move around a lot and shift into weird and embarrassing positions in your pants. And then there’s the chance it can fall out especially if you aren’t using a harness. I mostly don’t pack now because I’m lazy and having it in my pants makes me think about it all of the time and hard to focus on anything else. I’m constantly concerned about whether it looks like I have a boner or if it’s really noticeable and stuff like that. But, I must say it does make me feel a little more confident and “cocky” which I can definitely appreciate and I generally like having something in my boxer briefs. I think the key to packing is finding one that is the right size and a harness that holds it in place well. Also, the material they’re made of is important because they do get sweaty and sticky after all day wear. When I was a kid I used to pack rolled up toilet tissue in my underwear to give me a bulge until one day my mom noticed that I did it. That was the end of that!

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      For regular packing there are some briefs made especially for trans men that have pouches (RodeoH is one brand) – the packer can get out of alignment, but it can’t escape. I have a pair of swim trunks that have a separate packer pouch and it looks like it would work.
      STPs are more complicated, and I don’t know if I’d want to be fiddling with it and trying to keep dry at the same time – they sound good in theory, but it is lot to control in practice.
      I never did the sock bulge, but I did regularly “borrow” my brothers clean underwear and then put it in the laundry when I was done…

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      1. Lesboi

        I know of the RodeoH briefs you mentioned and others like them. My concern is that the packer will be in a weird location plus I like the feel of the packer on my skin if I’m going to pack. I haven’t had much success with STP but I’m willing to give it one more try before I give up on it completely. There are a couple new products that look promising. I’d like to be able to do it if I needed to but not necessarily always do it.

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  2. J.D.

    This might be of interest to you and anyone else who prefers boxer briefs but doesn’t want to pack:
    http://tomboyx.com/collections/undies
    There was an article about them just this morning in the paper. Far ore expensive than any underwear I’ve ever bought but I might get a pair or two once I recover from the bank-draining cost of top surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks for the link!
      It raises a question for me though about how important it is for me to wear “men’s” boxers, rather than transmasculine boxers or women’s boxers – like the difference between jumping rope to a girls rhyme or like a prizefighter (same motion, same rope, same exercise – different experience).

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  3. halitentwo

    Great post Jamie! I am flummoxed by my own desires sometimes around wanting to have a bulge but not wanting to feel like I’m walking around with a potato in my pants all day. Rolled up socks work nicely and they do not get sweaty. But usually halfway through the day I wash over with shame, “What the hell are you doing?!!?!”, my inner voice screams, and I remove the sock. I doubt anyone else notices either way. But there is something about my confidence level and my presentation when there is something there. More to consider I’m sure.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks Hali –
      I was reading your sock description, and I was thinking “do they have to be men’s socks?” –
      I know what you mean about feeling relatively comfortable and authentic and then suddenly losing that sense (a glance at an unexpected reflection, or a Ma’am-ing). I wish I knew how to hold onto it.

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  4. Hart

    I bought a packer when everything was new for me. It’s called a Mr. Limpy. I love my Mr. Limpy. Sadly, he hangs out in my underwear drawer because I just don’t feel comfortable wearing it in public, being a D cup while sporting a bulge is just too incongruous for me.

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  5. Fredrication

    I’ve written about my Moshi before and nowadays I rarely leave the house without him. I just don’t feel all like me and tend to get more anxious without him. He rarely moves out of place, even without a harness, but I have a special pair of boxer briefs that I use for dancing… Just in case he decide to migrate mid-dance.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      It is interesting to see how each person’s dysphoria plays out differently. Sometimes I think they are talismans (like a little rabbit foot for good luck) – we carry them with us to remind us of who we are (or are not). I have certain items of clothing (e.g. my work boots) that definitely make me feel “right” even though they are no more masculine appearing or noticeable to the average person than anything else I do.

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  6. MainelyButch

    I tried the packer route, but I had the experience of it being out of place alot, making me concentrate on my crotch far too much. Plus it does get sweaty and sticky especially in the summer months, and I am not one to wear shorts much. I have to have my boxer briefs, preferably Aeropostale brand which I find fit nicely and dont leave a huge pouch to deal with in most of their styles. Good article, great morning reading! Thanks for sharing! ~MB

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Glad you found something in your in-box to lift your spirits. Hope you resolve your house situation and get a nice place for yourself and the pups (and the fish, too).
      I have a mix of H&M, Asos, and American Eagle boxers.

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  7. txbridgefarmer

    I loved this because I can definitely relate. I’ve been wearing boxer briefs for about as long as I can remember. When I was in the Army, the one thing I did appreciate about wearing a uniform and being subjected to random inspections was that women were required to wear plain white panties. No lace, no designs, nothing. I had an “excuse” to play down anything feminine in my wardrobe. Back then we wore the woodlands camo. None of the high tech combat unit designs you see today. The pants had/have an oval shaped piece of fabric sewn into he crotch because they were unisex. For a female wearing panties, this would run on the inside of your thigh. I came across boxer briefs, strictly as a way to curb this discomfort. If I bought them in plain white, they couldn’t tell the difference in an inspection because they only asked us to pull the top out. While my choice was strictly a comfort one, initially, I’ve discovered there is something liberating about wearing them. Today I see the ads for women’s boxer briefs but I feel like it just wouldn’t be me. I like my multitude of colors and designs and the flap doesn’t even phase me anymore.

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