By: Aaron Capener
When you think of FTM binding, the first thing that comes to mind is usually binders. But what if I told you that's not the only option? In this article, I can show you how to bind with tape and also some of the common issues you may run into while binding with tape!
How To Bind With Tape
I can hear it now, "I thought it was unsafe to bind with duct tape?" That is definitely true, however, that's not the tape I'm talking about. When learning how to bind with tape, first it's important to know what kind of tape I'm talking about. Duct tape is the OPPOSITE of safe and was used before we had kinesiology tape designed to wear on the body. Evolving from kinesiology, there is now a company that designs tape specifically for transgender individuals to bind with - TransTape. When you learn how to bind with tape, the most important aspects are application and removal.
Step 1: Prepare the Skin
Be sure that your skin is free of any oils, moisturizers, and deodorant. You may need to shave hair if excessive (quarter-inch trim is okay).
Step 2: Protect Your Nips
You're going to want to start by protecting your nipples and areola. The last thing you want to experience is pulling adhesive off one of the most sensitive areas of your body. There are a variety of ways to create guards, like using gauze or toilet paper folded into squares or a large bandaid. You are essentially creating a barrier to be sure that the adhesive doesn't come into contact with your nips.
Step 3: Choose Your Tape
TransTape or KT tape is the most popular option that people use when first learning how to bind with tape. There are a variety of videos on YouTube that compares the two, however, I prefer TransTape simply because the skin tone variety, different size options, and there is no logo to have on your body. If you are bigger-chested you are going to want to get wider strips of tape and if you are smaller then the thinner pieces of tape will work great for you.
Step 4: Apply First Strip
Create a handle by folding the first half of the protective paper back and leaving half on the tape so that you don’t touch the sticky part. Push your breast tissue down and back with your hand as you apply the tape. Gently lay the first 2 inches of tape on your skin and lightly rub to activate the adhesive. Taking your time, line up your breast tissue so that it will all get tucked into the tape. Be sure that the tape lays as flat as possible without any wrinkles. Those ripples will cause your skin to become irritated over time and can affect your skin health.
Step 5: Apply Second Strip
If you are larger chested, you may need to apply a second strip on the same side to tuck in the remaining tissue so you don't have "dog ears". Take your second strip and prepare it like the first. Apply the second strip staggered from the first and overlapping to create flatness. Again, push the tissue out of the way with your hand and secure the tape. Note that often times, the tape will not stick to itself and will curl up easily if not attached to the skin properly.
Step 6: Secure Other Side
Repeat this process on the other side. Comfort is the goal. Make sure you can breathe and move comfortably, and if you cannot, something was done incorrectly. Be careful not to overstretch the tape when you apply it. Usually, the tape is already stretched on the paper backing, so an effective stretch can be achieved even when applying with zero-tension. The tape should not be pulling the skin, just assisting it to stay in place. You should be “hiding” your chest COMFORTABLY on your body (such as under your armpit or down your torso) then using the tape to smooth out the appearance and secure it into place. Typically, the larger the area being taped, the less additional stretch is necessary during application.
Step 7: Removal
After 3-5 days, the edges of your tape might start to peel and wear after multiple showers and activities. This is usually when it's time to remove the tape and retape your chest. It's HIGHLY recommended to remove by rubbing the tape with oil, letting the oil sit for 5-10 minutes, and removing slowly. This is usually easier to do in the shower because I apply the oil, get in, start my routine, and by the time I'm ready to get out, I remove the oil and wash my chest.
I hope this article and these images can help you learn how to bind with tape effectively, and if you have any tips or tricks feel free to let us know in the comments below!