I’m a Trans Woman, and This Is What’s in My Sex Bag

Three years ago, I quit being a man for mental health reasons. I spent the pandemic occupied with my changing sense of self and emerged a vibrant and secure young woman. I rewrote my whole life. Everything from the intricacies of my personhood to the pragmatics of casual sex needed work.

I’m settled into my new body and things that used to make me nervous — like packing for a sexual sleepover — come naturally again. I’ve actually ironed it down to a single backpack. Whether I’m popping over for a short tryst or spending the night, I have a list and a bag ready to go.

Here’s what’s in it.


I’m a non-op trans woman and quite happy with this arrangement. Estrogen has made my fertility a rounding error, but condoms are still very relevant. Low fertility isn’t close enough to ‘zero’ for comfort, and condoms are mandatory for STI prevention. I’m also non-monogamous so regular condom use protects my partner, too.

My preferred penile condom is latex, smooth, and unscented. I had the (dis)pleasure trying several satisfactory types before settling on the basics. Despite the small risk of allergies, latex condoms remain the most accessible. Smooth condoms are a preference based on partner feedback. And unscented? My girlfriend has sensitive skin and has abolished scented skin products from the house.


A travel-sized bottle of water-based lube goes on all of my sexual excursions. Slippery stuff is equally useful on toys, appendages, and partners. I default to non-scented here for the same reason as the condoms. I don’t want to gamble on bringing something scented that a new partner hates. Strong floral scents make me gag, and I wouldn’t inflict the same on someone else.

Hygiene Essentials (germaphobe edition)

I have the profound misfortune of being a germaphobe who is very into anal sex. Yes, I’ve demanded compensation from Earth’s manager. No, I didn’t get a response.

The hygiene portion of my backpack is fastidiously chosen. A sensitive skin soap (unscented, of course) is gentle on the nether regions and also serves as harm reduction for my germaphobia. I wash my hands far more than necessary, and stronger soaps damage my skin. There are wet wipes and surface disinfecting wipes. The former is for bodies. The latter is for objects. There’s even an antibacterial skin cream for the occasional scrape.

For overnight stays, there’s always shampoo, conditioner, and contact lens solution. Everything is available to share with my partners — my germaphobic self could never deny anyone the desire to be very, very clean.

Adorable Plush Cat

I’m the anxious, neurodivergent sort. Experience has taught me I sleep better when I bring a bit of home with me. Typically, this is a plush cat I can snuggle after sex. As a victim of sexual violence, I have a high need for security before I’m comfortable enough to consent. Comfort objects provide that necessary security and happen to be good conversation starters.

A plush toy can even be used as a sex cushion for better positioning, but I always turn mine away when the activities begin.


Inspired by Cam Smith’s article, I also bring lots of disclosure. Potential partners are informed well in advance that I’m a non-op trans woman. If there was sexting, they’ll also know some of my positional preferences and kinks. A prerequisite conversation about boundaries, recent sexual history, and the use of protection is also mandatory. Non-communicative dregs shall not spread these legs.

Good disclosure and communication go both ways in my non-monogamous relationship. I keep my girlfriend aware of who I’m seeing and I make myself available to her input. It may not be something physical I pack, but I can’t conceive of sex without discussion.

Reflect Twice, Pack Once

I cultivated my sex bag based on my experiences and needs. It came from a place of pragmatism and evolved into a reflection of how I have sex. My idea of happy sex is well-considered and safe. In contrast, I’ve met lovers who dropped a toothbrush into their handbag before turning up at my door. Others arrive with a whole duvet and gaming laptop. Seeing how people pack for sex is a privileged thing. It’s a look into their comfort zone.

My bag gets adjusted from time to time. Sex toys and restraints appear as needed. My lesbian lovers are incredibly fond of my home-mixed massage oil. Its bag changes with my sexuality; I once found a thin, dusty spider web connecting two zippers after a particularly long dry spell.

But there are always energy bars in it.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Summer Tao

Summer Tao is a South Africa based writer. She has a fondness for queer relationships, sexuality and news. Her love for plush cats, and video games is only exceeded by the joy of being her bright, transgender self

Summer has written 39 articles for us.


  1. “Non-communicative dregs shall not spread these legs.” Love this!

    I wish consent was explained more by schools, parents, etc. It would be helpful if it was shown more via TV programs.

    In my ideal world, consent would go beyond the physical, sexual acts and incorporate other forms of autonomy… Like if a small child is not hungry, don’t force feed them.

    Instead we go from one extreme to another. In childhood, we get avoid at all cost messaging juxtaposed to TV’s even strangers will know how to please each other sexually instantaneously with no discussion.

    • Agreed on that. Also consent for social stuff – if someone says no to an event, don’t try to persuade them. If someone refuses a drink, don’t badger them about it. If someone says they’re allergic or intolerant don’t badger them over it.

  2. I loved the bit about the plushie (and the range of things that people bring)! As a fellow neurodivergent, it’s comforting to read that other people bring a plushie to new places as well and that this could apply to sex partners too.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!