What is tucking?
Reducing the visibility of the penis and testes by 'tucking' them into a less visible position.
What does tucking do?
- Lower body
Makes genitals less visible
Occasionally, people experience these effects:
Reduced sperm production
How long does tucking last?
The effects last only while the genitals are tucked. Physical exertion may cause the genitals to come out of position and become more visible.
What should I be aware of?
There is no published medical research into the risks of tucking we are aware of. Perform tucking at your own risk.
Possible side effects of tucking are:
- skin irritation and fungal infections, particularly if tape is being used 1
- defects or hernias at the external inguinal ring 2, p.7
- infections such as epididymoorchitis, prostatitis, or cystitis 3, p.93
- chronic testicular pain 3, p.93
We are not aware of any research into how common these side effects are.
Testes require a lower temperature than body temperature to produce sperm. The effects of tucking on fertility have not been studied, but as tucking keeps the testes closer to the body than normal, this may result in reduced fertility.
If you hope to store your sperm, you may wish to avoid tucking for several months beforehand.
Are there other options?
Tucking is often only necessary while wearing tighter clothing in which the shape of your crotch is likely to be visible. Often, a simpler way to hide this part of your body is to wear loose clothing like a skirt, dress, or thick baggy trousers which are more concealing. You can read more about this kind of approach on our page about Disguising body shape.
Tucking can be significantly easier after orchidectomy surgery.
How do I tuck?
Tucking involves pulling the penis backwards between the legs. Usually, the testes (testicles) are also moved forwards.
To keep the genitals held in this position, one or both of the following are normally used:
- tight underwear or shorts: look for stretchy fabric containing elastane, which is sometimes known as Lycra. You should be able to find this kind of clothing described as “shapewear”, “control pants” or “control knickers” in most shops that sell underwear. Another option using similar fabrics is cycling shorts or swimwear. You could also try using two pairs of briefs in a smaller size than normal on top of each other, which may be more comfortable in warm weather.
- medical tape: this usually requires shaving the area to be comfortable. Make sure you use tape which is designed to be used for medical or sports purposes as this is suitable to spend an extended period on skin. Other types of tape, such as packing tape or duct tape, can cause damage to your skin.
Some people find it easier to use a specialised item of clothing called a “gaff” or “concealing underwear” designed specifically to hold the genitals in place. You can read more about underwear designed to help with tucking on our buying underwear page.
Some people are able to partly or completely insert the testes into the entrances to the inguinal canals to further hide them, but it is usually not necessary to do this in order to tuck effectively, and the health risks of doing this are unknown.
- 1.Conard, LAE (2017) “Supporting and caring for transgender and gender nonconforming youth in the urology practice.” Journal of Pediatric Urology, 13(3), pp. 300–304. Link
- 2.Feldman, Jamie L and Goldberg, Joshua (2006) Transgender primary medical care: Suggested guidelines for clinicians in British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Link
- 3.Deutsch, Madeline B (ed.) (2016) “Guidelines for the primary and gender-affirming care of transgender and gender nonbinary people.” Link
This page is illustrated using a photograph by Animesh Srivastava available at Pexels.
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