Binding with TransTape
Many people choose to bind their chest, including myself, for a multitude of reasons."Traditional" binders are a common choice for binding among Transmen and other non-binary, gender non-conforming individuals, but there's another option now that can provide you with the same, or even better, results. There are many ways to apply it and everyone develops their own technique, but here I will share my personal technique with tips and easy to follow steps.
Binding can be very affirming and euphoric for someone who experiences gender dysphoria and it's likely more common than you realize.
We've talked about binding in the past and I personally use and prefer TransTape in place of a "traditional" binder. If you haven't already read my post, "To Bind or Not to Bind", I go a lot more in detail about binding as a whole and my personal feelings and experiences with it.
To this day I continue to achieve better results with TransTape and I don't have to worry about the pesky health concerns that come with traditional binders.
I even had the confidence to toss my binder in the trash years ago after I got the hang of using TransTape.
But with that being said, there is a proper way to use this incredible creation.
I don't want to say that there's necessarily a wrong way to apply, but there are definitely commonly missed steps and mistakes that you can avoid.
Even though I've covered this in the past, let's have a quick recap on what exactly TransTape is before we dig in.
TransTape is a body transformation system that allows you to safely bind, pack or even tuck. It's a wonderful alternative to bras, binders, gaffes, packers and other self-affirming products.
That's right, anyone can use it!
With a 95% cotton and 5% spandex blend, this tape is made with non-medicated, latex free, medical grade acrylic adhesive.
However, that does not mean you shouldn't do a test strip before your first time applying!
More on that test strip in a moment.
Unlike a traditional binder where you're limited to how many hours you can wear it, you can wear TransTape safely for up to 5 days.
For many, that's a full work week with one less thing to worry about and I think that's incredible.
And yes, this does include showering, exercising, and sleeping!
TransTape is waterproof, sweatproof, and well, life-proof in my eyes.
Now that we've had our proper recap, let's get to that juicy technique I was telling y'all about.
Gather the necessities!
Here is what I recommend for this tutorial:
1 Roll of TransTape, any color, size or pattern
1 Pair of Nipple Guards
1 Pair of scissors, sharp enough to make clean cuts
TransTape Repairing Salve
Cotton Balls/Rounds or Tissue
I almost forgot!
Before you scroll by and continue, it's time for the test strip!
If you have experience using TransTape already and know it's safe for your skin, feel free to continue to Step 2!
If not and you are brand new to TransTape, that's totally cool, but please stick around!
This is an incredibly important step that you really shouldn't skip if you're a first time user.
I know, I know. You wanna try it now, I get it.
But the reason for the test strip is so that you know that TransTape is safe for you.
TransTape is made with high-quality materials but it's still possible that your skin may have a reaction. Sensitive skin or not, play it safe and use a test strip.
So go ahead, grab your roll of tape and cut off a small piece, about 2"x 2".
After you have your small piece cut out, pick a spot where you intend to apply the TransTape later on.
Once you've decided where, pull the backing off and apply it with zero tension.
You don't want to have tension in the test strip so that if there is a reaction, you know it's not from overstretching and TransTape just may not be for you.
After you apply the tape, leave your test strip on for a minimum of 24 hours.
After 24-48 hours, safely remove your test strip with oil. Once removed, inspect the area where it was for anything abnormal and you should have a good idea if it's okay to continue using TransTape.
If you experience ANY pain, severe itching or extreme discomfort, remove the tape as quickly and safely as possible.
Before we get into cutting and sizing our strips, we need to make sure our skin is ready for application.
For the best results possible, you want to start off with fresh, clean skin.
Natural oils from our body, or even oils from our fancy body washes, can affect the adhesive and its ability to bond to our skin.
If you are doing this straight out of the shower, make sure to dry yourself off completely and not to apply any skin care products that you may use to where you plan on taping.
That does unfortunately include your favorite lotion.
If you are applying at another point in time, you can use some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or tissue and wipe down your application area.
Wait for it to dry completely and your skin should now be free of any oils and ready for application!
Another thing to consider before applying is your body hair.
Personally, I'm a little on the hairy side so I make sure to buzz down the hair on my chest down to around a 1/4" where I apply my tape. A close shave could result in discomfort after application, so it is not recommended to use a regular razor.
This makes the removal process a lot easier later on and even gives a rough guide on where to place your tape when reapplying next time.
How's your skin feeling? Naked?
Great! It's time to start cutting our strips.
I recommend starting off with about 3 sections of tape and adjusting based on your needs from there.
Everyone's body is different, so if you feel the need to lengthen or shorten your sections, don't be afraid to do it.
If you have a larger chest, you may need to use 5 sections or more and that's perfectly fine!
For this specific technique though, I will be using a total of 4 strips of the medium TransTape.
Each side, for me, will have one 2.5 section piece and one 3 section piece.
Again, you may have smaller or larger sections and that's fine!
The purpose of having one strip longer than the other is so that when applied, the longer piece will overlap the small one and make contact with your skin on each side of it.
TransTape will not adhere properly to itself.
A lot of finding the right size strips and technique for yourself is trial and error, so don't feel discouraged if it takes you a few applications!
Don't forget to round your corners!
When you're wearing tape, those rounded corners are going to help it stay in place for longer.
With sharp edged corners, the tape is more likely to peel up from constant and consistent activity.
For example, when you're walking, your arms brush against your sides at times and that motion will catch a sharp corner much easier than a rounded one.
Now we're really getting started!
Go ahead and grab that repairing salve and your pair of nipple guards.
Typically, I'm all about freeing the nipple, but in this case I'm all about protecting the nipple.
I only applied TransTape one time without nipple guards and it was also my last time.
If you don't have nipple guards, you can make your own by cutting two pieces of TransTape big enough to cover just your nipples and some space around it.
You're also going to want something in between your nipple and the tape, so you can use toilet paper or even a small piece of a cotton ball.
You have made your own
Once you have your guards ready, go ahead and add a little salve to them, avoiding contact with any adhesive, for the sake of your nipples.
Then take some more salve and apply some directly to yourself.
After, place your guards over your nipples and you're ready to rock!
How Are You Feeling?
Are we excited?! I sure hope so!
Being in the right mindset for applying TransTape, especially for the first time, is so important.
Keeping a positive attitude throughout your application can help prevent you from overthinking your placement and create a better experience overall.
We're not trying to be perfect, we're just trying to be ourselves.
So now that we are a shining beacon of light, let's get to it!
Before actually placing the tape on my body, I take my hand and make a slight cupping shape with it.
Then, I apply pressure to my chest at a slightly down angle like I'm applying my tape to see how my tissue moves. This is so that I can pick a good starting point that helps shape my chest how I like.
Every body is different and most people will likely have different starting points and that's okay!
Even after applying probably 100 times or more, I still do this.
As we change, our bodies naturally change with us and sometimes you might have to switch up the placement a little to accommodate and that's perfectly normal.
For me, this is a good way of checking in with my body for changes.
Once you think you've got a good idea on where you're going to place your first strip, go ahead and make a handle on one of your two smaller strips.
To do this, tear the backing paper down the middle without peeling it completely off or damaging your tape.
Then, peel off only one side of the backing paper.
The exposed side will be your anchor and the other side will be your handle for when you're applying.
With this technique, your first strip on each side should always be smaller than the second strip to ensure there's an overlap.
Being careful not to touch the exposed tape, to avoid bothering the adhesive, place your anchor down where you decided it would work best for you in the previous step.
For my first piece on both sides, I typically place it lower and in-line with the crease of my chest.
It may be helpful to visualize a triangle or "V" on yourself.
Starting at the center of your breastbone, visualize lines to each of your shoulders. If you keep tape out of the space between the lines and use that slight angle as a guide, you'll be wearing open-chest shirts in no time!
After you place the anchor down on your skin, smooth it out and rub it like your life depends on it.
This helps the adhesive bond to your skin!