How safe is it to tuck?
Someone asked us:
Okay, I don’t know if you’ve had this question before, but is “tucking” safe? What are possible side effects? What are the best methods if tucking with the least amount of adverse effects to my health?
Thanks for sending in these questions! Currently, there isn’t much research on the safety of tucking (the practice of concealing the testicles and penis) so we reached out to one of our own medical providers, Dr. Jen Hastings, who’s also on the advisory board at the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health for information.
Here’s what Dr. Jen has to say: “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough research to know the answer to this question for sure. It’s possible that tucking may affect the sperm and your fertility, as the testicles are held close to the body and are at a higher temperature, which may lower sperm count and make sperm move less well. This is not thought to be permanent, and the effect on sperm should reverse within 3 months.”
“Another thing to consider is that if you use duct tape instead of a gaff, your skin could get irritated and, rarely, infected. UTIs, yeast infections, and other skin conditions are also risks if you’re improperly tucked or stay tucked for too long.” Jen suggests taking regular breaks from tucking, like when you’re asleep, at home, or in other safe situations.
Finally, no conversation on tucking safety is complete without considering your emotional and social safety. Jen says, “For many trans women, tucking is mandatory for their safety and comfort.”
In the end, it’s up to you to decide if tucking is a safe option for you and your situation, and how often you feel safe taking breaks from it.
We hope this information helps!
-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood