I am many things, but I am not subtle.
The first time I wore a packer, part of me was disappointed that it wasn’t more obvious. I felt so hot, so powerful, but the bulge in my jeans was barely noticeable when I photographed it to share the gender euphoria I was experiencing with my girlfriend. It’s not that I wanted everyone to look at my dick, it’s that I wanted the people who I wanted to check me out to be able to see it. It felt gender-affirming, but it looked far too subtle.
I took this photo on the Monday after Eroticon 2023, when I was enjoying a final day adventuring around London. I’d worn the same shorts the previous evening, when I joined many of the other conference attendees in the pub. (Just like having sex makes you want more sex, talking to other people who spend a lot of time thinking about sex makes you want more nuanced and nerdy conversations about sex.)
It was a hot day and the pub garden was small. I was squeezing between tables towards an empty seat when someone pushed their chair back to stand up, trapping me where I was.
And I was suddenly very aware that my bulge was at another attendee’s eye-level and very close to their face.
They made a joke, I stumbled through a playful reply, and the people around us laughed. I was blushing, but I was grinning too. It felt good to be surrounded by people I liked and trusted. It felt good to know without a doubt that they were laughing with me, not at me. And it felt even better to have someone who to make a playful joke about my dick in a way that made me feel like they were really and truly seeing me as a guy.
I am still figuring out how to look hot and masculine. My girlfriend has teased me that some of my outfits lean a little ‘basic tech bro’. I’ve recently started wearing rings and I’ve painted my nails more times since stepping into my gender than I did the in preceding decade – though wearing a skirt is off the table, at least until I get top surgery – but I’m not sure I know how to look slutty while still looking like a guy.
Subtle is not a word anyone would use to describe me. I am loud and unapologetic about who I am, especially since I’ve started to more consciously unmask. But since stepping into my gender, many of my outfits are more subtle. I’ve focussed on finding the clothes that make me feel the least dysphoric and most comfortable in my body. And that in itself – feeling masculine and present in my body – makes me feel sexy.
These shorts though? I bought these shorts more than three years ago, when I knew I was trans but hadn’t fully realised how much I’d been forcing myself to perform ‘sexiness’ as a woman in a way that made me dysphoric. They spent more than twelve months hiding in the back of my wardrobe, but last year I pulled them out again. I discovered that the tight, high-waisted shorts designed for people without penises makes the bulge of my packer look anything but subtle.
Psssst… if you’ve been missing my writing on my blog, you should check out my newsletter! I’m writing slightly more frequently over at Genderbent, and if you subscribe you’ll get essays about gender and transmasculinity delivered to your inbox on a semi-regular basis. This is me trying to be less subtle about promoting my work, so it would mean a lot if you subscribed:
Quinn Rhodes (he/him) is a queer, trans, disabled sex writer with vaginismus. He’s a slut and a sex nerd who writes about his adventures in trying to fuck without fucking up. Quinn can usually be found wearing stomp-on-the-patriarchy boots while falling in love every time he fucks.