What Is Tucking?

Medically Reviewed by Isabel Lowell, MD on June 02, 2023
7 min read

Tucking is a way to make your penis and scrotum less visible by hiding them in the folds of your body. Tucking is generally safe, and it is common in the LGBTQ+ community.

Many transgender women and gender nonconforming people tuck to lessen gender dysphoria. That’s the anxiety and uncomfortable feelings you might get when you feel your appearance doesn’t match your gender. Not all trans women or transfeminine people tuck. But it can help some people feel more like themselves. Tucking is also common among drag performers.

It’s also a way to feel safer in spaces that may be hostile to transgender people. If you’re worried that people clocking you – noticing that you’re trans – could put you in danger at school or work, you may choose to tuck while in those environments.

Start when you’re comfortable at home, with plenty of privacy and time to explore what works for you.

Gather some items that will make up your “tucking kit.” You’ll need something to secure your tuck, like a pair of tight underwear, medical tape, or a gaff (a garment that keeps your package tucked in).

Go pee, so you’re starting with an empty bladder.

Step 1: Slide your testes into your body – gently. When babies are born, the testes are inside the body at first. By the time the baby’s about 6 months old, the testes slide down the inguinal canals into the scrotum. The first step in tucking is placing your testicles back into the inguinal canals.

Feel for the inguinal canals with your fingers. These are at the front of your body. Be gentle and be patient with yourself. It’s OK if this doesn’t work at first. If you feel any pain, stop and try again another day.

If you are taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a combination of estrogen and testosterone blockers, this step will become easier over time as your testes shrink.

Step 2: Wrap your penis. Now that your testicles are out of the way, gently wrap your now-empty scrotum around your penis.

Step 3: Tuck your package. Nestle your wrapped penis between your butt cheeks. You’ll need to pull down, then back, then up.

Step 4: Secure your tuck. If you’re using tight underwear or a gaff to keep your tuck in place, pull your garment on now.

If you’re using tape, there are many ways to wrap. Try searching for illustrated tutorials online.

One popular medical tape method is to secure a long stretch of tape from the front of your crotch, under your legs, up between your butt cheeks, to the small of your back. An alternate tape method uses an X-shape that leaves the penis head free so that you can pee. 

Step 5: Test your tuck: Once your tuck is secure, you are ready to go. It’s a good idea to practice your tuck at home to get used to wearing it. It may feel strange to have your testes in a different place in your body, and your range of motion may be different. 

You might also try out different ways and see what the advantages and wear times are. For example, tape can give a tight tuck, but it is difficult to redo a tape tuck in a public restroom. That might be a drawback if you take spironolactone – a drug to block androgens that’s commonly used as part of gender-affirming hormone therapy for trans women – because it makes you need to pee often.

Always stop and untuck if you feel pain.

There are a number of online, independent shops run by and for trans people that sell gaffs and tucking tape. Many of these shops have illustrated tutorials for tucking, too.

Some sex toy shops sell gaffs, often in a section called “gender affirmation.”

You can also make your own gaff at home using an underwear band, a sock, and a YouTube tutorial.

Many people use medical tape or sports tape, which is available in most drug stores, grocery stores, and big-box retailers.

To avoid irritation, try to steer clear of duct tape, masking tape, and other tapes not designed for use with skin.

If you use a tape tuck, you may find tucking easier if you trim or shave beforehand. Less hair means less pain when removing tape. 

That said, freshly shaven skin is also very sensitive, so if you're going the shaving route, wait for your skin to air out and dry completely before you tuck. You may find it more comfortable to shave the day before you tuck, or on a day when you do not plan to tuck.

Another option is to wear a pair of tight underwear. Try a size smaller than you normally wear to make sure everything is held in place.

Several important benefits are linked to tucking. It can help reduce gender dysphoria, and that can lead to better mental health.

You might tuck, look in the mirror, and feel more like yourself. Some trans and gender nonconforming people get strong, positive feelings when they feel their appearance matches their gender. This is sometimes called gender euphoria.

Your safety matters. Tucking may help you feel more comfortable in your own skin and safer in the world. Tucking may also make some clothes fit more comfortably.

Keep in mind that tucking could have some possible risks to your health. 

If you tuck for too long, it could irritate your skin. Be sure to let your skin breathe when you’re home safe.

 The general guidelines for groin skin health apply to tucking, too:     

  • Cotton underwear is the most breathable and friendliest to your skin. 
  • Shower regularly and let your skin dry out completely before getting dressed. 
  • Avoid scented soaps and lotions.

If you have skin irritation, contact your doctor.

Tucking shouldn’t hurt. If you feel any pain in your scrotum, stop tucking and talk to your doctor. Testicular torsion, the twisting of the testes, is a rare and painful condition that requires medical attention right away.

Does tucking affect fertility?

You’re still fertile while you’re tucking. If you’re not trying to have a baby, and you’re having sex that could lead to pregnancy, use birth control.

That said, just as spending a lot of time in a hot tub temporarily reduces sperm count, spending a lot of time tucking can reduce sperm count, too. This is because of the higher temperature inside your body. If you have been trying to get pregnant without success, you may want to stop tucking for a little while since that can help increase your sperm count.

How does hormone replacement therapy affect tucking? 

Estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT) gradually makes your testes smaller, which makes tucking easier over time.

How long can I tuck?

It’s important to take breaks. If you tape, tucking for more than 4 to 8 hours may cause irritation, discomfort, and even pain while peeing.

Can I sleep tucked?

No. It’s important to take breaks from tucking, and you should not wear your tuck to sleep if you can avoid it.

What do I do if my tuck falls out?

Breathe. Find a safe place with privacy, and adjust your tuck. You may find it helpful to carry an extra pair of underwear and an extra tucking kit.

What if I have to pee?

You’ll need to untuck to pee. Find a bathroom with a stall and give yourself plenty of time to untuck and re-tuck.

What if I get an erection?

Your tuck can still stay in place, even if you have an erection. If it’s more comfortable for you to untuck, you can.

Will I get a UTI?

There’s very little medical research on tucking, and none of it covers urinary tract infections (UTIs). Some doctors think tucking increases the risk of UTIs due to the penis being close to the anus and because you may wait longer to use the bathroom. Other doctors haven’t seen any increase in UTIs among patients who tuck.

To help prevent UTIs, you can stay hydrated, pee regularly, and always pee after having sex.

What if I can’t tuck comfortably?

If you have serious gender dysphoria and you can’t comfortably tuck, you might think about exploring gender-affirming surgery. For example, you may consider an orchiectomy – surgery to remove the testes, which makes tucking easier – or vaginoplasty, surgery to create a vagina from the skin of your penis and scrotum.

To learn more about surgical options, contact your health care provider.