Q1: As a male to female transsexual, I am wondering if some corsets are better suited to modifying the born-male figure to the desired feminine silhouette?  I would greatly appreciate any advice you could offer. I understand that there are limitations to what may be achieved due to the testosterone-induced proportions I am fighting.  Rachail -- (6/23/00)

A1: I assume you have read my general articles on corseting at the Staylace site, so I will focus on additions to or variances on those articles.

There are specific differences between male and female anatomy, which, as you correctly point out, are hormone-driven and or maintained.

Specifically, the relative proportions of an adult female ribcage are smaller, while the pelvis is wider and lower. Both these are the primary reasons for thier narrower waistline (for similar height). Also the thigh bone is proportionally longer in the female, creating a shorter upper body relative to total height.

The hormonal effects (during puberty) will also enhance bone density. E.g. the ribcage of a 20-year-old male is considerably less flexible than in the female. 

If you are taking hormonal supplements, some of these differences will be reduced.

However to create more female proportions, two major differences would require additional attention: 

First: ribcage / pelvis ratio. The ribcage of the male tends to taper slightly outward, the female slightly inward. By corseting, the female taper can be matched. Note that in a female, the shoulder width is more or less in line with the hips. In a male the shoulders extend well past. Hormonal supplements help.

Second, the female short body-long leg proportion can be helped by two things: In-shoe heel- height adders (a heel adder on the inside of the shoe only), since they only extend the legs; and secondly, by wearing the waist higher. When wearing your corset, get accustomed to wearing it slightly above your natural waistline by one or one and a half inches.

Q2: I've been doing some research on corsetting recently, specifically on  the more permanent effects.
 I am a 26 yeare old MTF transsexual, and I have  been wondering if corsetting would  be a good way of developing a better  figure.
 My current measurements are tentatively 36-28-37, but they may change more in the future as I continue hormone replacement therapy (I've  been on HRT for about 10 months now).  By itself, the waist hip ratio is not that bad, however the contours and proportions don't seem quite right in the mirror.  I am 6'4" and currently about 160 lbs, and do not have a lot of fat padding.

My main concern is the contours around my waist -- my  ribcage seems rather large and descends to about 1, maybe 2 inches above the iliac crest (not a lot of room to work with).
So I guess my question is whether or not a corset will be able to effectively constrict my ribcage to achieve a more feminine contoured abdomen, and whether or not my low rib cage will be a problem when corsetting.
I currently have one custom made corset, but when wearing it I experience a patch of numbness on the anterior aspect of my upper left leg.  Are there any particular styles  of corset you might recommend as well? Ash -- (1/1/05)

A2: Your goal is in common with other MTF TS candidates, and, with diligent corseting, you should be able to get good results. To get a more feminine shape, the key is proportion and waist position. The waist should be at elbow height and not
much more than one to one and a half inch below. For the male, that places most of the constriction at the false and floating
ribs, all of which are trainable, given sufficient time. The existing rules of going slow and lacing without pain apply as always. Duration of corset wear is more important than the absolute tightness of it. Training the space between the floating ribs and ileacs is less effective, as it just "moves" tissue around. For more permanent effects you need to focus on the ribs. Be prepared to go slow as, after a few hours, corsets that are tight on the ribcage can get irritating, so you need to build this up gradually. Oiling and a cotton undershirt and or tube are important. Also, when practicing ribcage training, be prepared for an abdominal bulge, which means that the corset apron (below the waist in front) needs to be long enough to provide support and prevent the abdominal wall from becoming stretched. This type of corset may be more confining than a traditional "waist training" corset, as these tend to be less restrictive overall and focus primarily on waist diameter reduction. However, for a MTF TS, it is more effective to focus on reducing the upper body instead of just the waist. Placing the waist higher will also promote a more feminine and gentle hip/waist curve.



Return to Main Medical Advice Page

Return to LISA's Main Page