Question: Binders and Sagging?

A reader asks…

I don’t like my boobs, but I’ve heard that binding will make them saggy in the long run. And I don’t really want that either. Is this true, and if yes, then what can I do??

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on January 17th, 2011 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 41 comments »

41 Responses to “Question: Binders and Sagging?”

  1. Topho

    With a binder you can push them up and out to the sides or down and out to the sides. I’d pick up and out, to avoid the sag.


    Anonymous replied:

    Pushing your boobs around could cause damage to the tissue, don’t listen to them? ^^


  2. S

    I am afraid of this, too. I just try to not wear my binder a lot. I wear it once every couple weeks. You can wear larger clothes and layers to try and conceal in other ways.

    Boobs will get “saggy” as you age, anyway. Even if you never bind.


  3. Samson

    I have never heard that, and I can’t really see how it would work–binding compresses the tissue, but shouldn’t actually destroy it or stretch it out, right? However, I have heard that the compression can cause problems with cysts (is THIS true?).

    And speaking of binding in general, some good safety tips:


  4. Anonymous

    Binding has definitely made my boobs sag. I’ve been binding every day since September 2007… and they definitely have lost volume and sit a lot lower than they used to. I haven’t had any issues with cysts, but pushing them down has certainly made them look different.

    You probably won’t experience any significant change unless you spend the majority of your day wearing a binder, and if you do that for a year or two.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve found that a plaid or striped button-up shirt worn over an undershirt *really* minimizes the appearance of boobs. As in, if I can’t wear my binder for some reason, it doesn’t look out of place with my relatively large (C) chest to skip binding.


    Chris replied:

    I wore a plaid button-up with a vest over it, and I had a friend ask me if I was binding that day. Seeing as my parents are not supportive of me even wearing men’s clothes, I’m hardly able to bind and I was glad it had the appearance of binding. Then again, I’m nowhere near a C, so I’m sure that had something to do with it. But I’d say it’s a pretty good bet for you.


  5. Alex

    If you are binding tightly, it doesn’t matter whether you bind down or up/out/to the sides… The compression will eventually result in your body breaking down some of the tissue, resulting in sagging.

    Your options are pretty much a) not binding tightly (on the order of a tight sports bra should be ok) and/or b) surgery. Alternating binding methods may help, but you’re unlikely to find anything but anecdotal evidence – it may help, it may not.


  6. Anonymous

    About cysts: I have poly-cystic breasts and the few times I’ve tried binding, even though I was just using a tight sports bra, it made my boobs swollen. I’m not sure if that’s common or just what my body does, and I don’t know if it had anything to do with the cysts. I do know that the pulling and compression of it made me very sore for a while, and I’m pretty sure that had something to do with the cysts.

    Also, if I remember correctly, cysts are caused when the ducts in boobs don’t drain very well and cause scar tissue. I would imagine binding would make this more likely to happen.


  7. gil

    I used to wear real baggy, stretched out bras: I would always put off buying new ones because going to the mall and dealing with my boobs freaked me out (!)… so I think my chest sagged more *before* I started binding (plus I kind of bind them up, not down…).

    also, doing pushups and getting stronger pectoral muscles has made my chest decisively *less* saggy. it’s strange, I can feel the pec under the looser breast skin, it’s like a premonition of where my male chest will/would be… so it makes it that much more real to me… at the same time as it makes my boobs look more “perky” & boob-like. go figure. totally worth the trade-off though, exercising is saving my life recently….


    Jace replied:

    I hear ya. I\’m doing school sports and am so much happier/fitter than ever. My curves and boobs are shrinking I\’m so happy


  8. Keir

    I’ve been binding for a couple years and haven’t had any problem with sagging. As commented before, time and gravity will do the job no matter if you bind or not. I do try my hardest to wear my binder as little as possible (I’d sleep in it if I could!) but that is more for my own physical comfort than anything else. I have noticed my breast tissue is softer and more “elastic” if I’ve been binding all day or multiple days in a row. I suppose you could call that sagging, but I don’t think of it as that. As gil commented, doing push-ups helps to keep things in good condition in your chest area and therefore less saggy. If you are worried about changing the tissue on your chest, I would suggest only binding when necessary and not every day, all the time. Best of luck!


  9. Anonymous

    this is one of the reasons I’m afraid to bind! I still use sports bras, loose shirts and the hunch. Thanks for asking this, and thanks for the responses! Does it depend on how old you are when you start binding? e.g. a 15 year old and someone in their mid-20s?


    Levi replied:

    Binding as a younger teen, when your bones are still growing, can lead to very bad stuff. I won’t tell you not to, but please be careful.

    I hear that binding up rather than binding down helps. Another thing I hear helps is treating them with stretch-mark-reducing cream, although that won’t stop the tissue from breaking down. I have no personal experience with either.

    Also keep in mind that the most deflated boobs you see out there often belong to people who are also on T, which shrinks the mammary gland tissue.

    I was worried about this too, when I started binding. I compromised by limiting how often I wore it (every other day maximum) and dressing in looser clothes other days (I’ve been DD through G; it does work). But I also found, surprisingly, that I didn’t mind the sagginess. It makes them less a part of my body in a weird way, and easier to ignore. I can see my pecs better. Binding is a LOT more effective (for a relatively small increase in sagging). And when I want boobs, I can always put on a supportive bra.


  10. Jessica

    Medically speaking, the effect of binding depends on several factors:
    * Your age and body type
    * The size of your breasts
    * The degree to which you bind.

    Note: Wearing a bra is a form of binding. Recent studies indicate that the majority of women in the US wear the “wrong” size of bra.

    Gravity is the enemy of youthful appearance. This is true everywhere, including your breasts. Some binding, that gently restricts the free movement of your breasts, will help reduce the amount of sagging you will experience, but can never eliminate it entirely.

    Binding too tightly can damage the breast tissue and the connective tissue of the upper torso. This can very definitely have adverse health effects. These effects can include:
    * infections
    * cysts
    * misshapen/asymmetrical breasts
    * damage to the respiratory system
    * and, yes, sagging.

    How do you know if you are binding too tightly? Does it hurt? Do you experience any numbness or bruising? Do you see persistent changes in the skin color or persistent roughness of the skin (persistent means: take off the binder, wait 4 hours of normal, unbound activity, examine upper torso – if it looks like you just removed the binder 5 minutes ago, these are persistent changes). Also, never bind with anything that does not breathe. Cotton or other natural fabric to which you are not allergic is probably best.

    Depending on your age, body type and breast size, you may need to bind too tightly to achieve the effect you are going for. If that is true and you are certain that you do not want to appear to have breasts, then a healthier alternative may be surgery, to at least reduce the size of your breasts. The bad news is that some women’s breasts are stubborn and will return to their former size even with fairly radical reduction surgery.

    Disadvantages of surgery, assuming it is done properly and nothing goes wrong, include:
    * Some women lose feeling
    * Scar tissue ages differently than normal tissue, this can result in misshapen appearance or even “hard” spots
    * Some procedures can compromise the ability to breast feed.

    So, the good news is: binding safely and not too tightly will not adversely affect your breast health. And the bad news: nor will it result in the appearance of not having breasts at all, in most women.


  11. Anonymous

    I never bind, but have failed the “pencil test” since I was 12.


    Jessica replied:

    It always amazes me that there is virtually no part of the human condition that is not equally disliked by some and envied by others. It seems like we’re all too tall, too short, too big, too small, too butch, too fem…

    And that’s not even considering the people who think there’s not enough change or too much change, or the fact that there is nowhere you can live where it’s not too hot or too cold, too wet, too dry…

    David Attenborough called us “the compulsive communicators” but sometimes I think we’re “the compulsive complainers.”


    Anonymous replied:

    are you even kidding me


    Anonymous replied:

    This isn’t people complaining about their appearance, this is people trying to reduce dysphoria.


  12. Anonymous

    in my experience, yes. been binding every day for two years. while i didn’t have a lot going on there to begin with, it’s definitely made them flatter and more “elastic”. it’s also made them easier to bind.

    i don’t mind, since i don’t plan on keeping them for the long haul, but if you’re not interested in top surgery, maybe only bind part of the time, a few days a week instead of everyday. and don’t wear it when you don’t need to.


  13. Anonymous

    I don’t like them anyway, so it doesn’t matter (for me) if they sag or not. If anything, that would make them easier to hide.


  14. Maximillian

    I’m 23, wear a binder full time and have the tits of a 35 year old…it happens, and it’s just a case of deciding what’s the most important – binding or good breasts.


  15. Anonymous

    i agree with the exercising the pectorals with push-ups to help prevent sagging. of course this helps mainly those with average cup sizes.
    gravity is there.


  16. Anonymous

    I’m 13 years old and want to bind (with a proper binder) but my mum and I are worried about the dangers health wise. Is there any tips, recommendations or information you can give?


    Anonymous replied:

    there aren’t any dangers to using a binder unless you get a binder that is in itself bad for you health. there are brands out there that can cause damage. some ones to consider are underworks or

    btw when putting on the binder fold it up before slipping it over your shoulders, then FOLD DOWN overtop of your breasts and pull the rest down past your ribcage and stomach. after this arrange your breasts in such a way that its comfortable or creates the shape you are looking for if the binder hasn’t done that already.

    other than that remember to breathe, cough, stretch and try not to wear over 8hrs straight!


    Levi replied:

    Not true—no binder is healthy in the long term. Ask anyone who has been using binders daily for more than 3-4 years: eventually problems with the back, ribs, breathing, or nerves tend to accumulate. Women who use sports bras don’t have these problems, but then most women don’t wear sports bras every single day and sports bras are looser than binders.

    Binders aren’t a long-term solution if you plan to wear one every single day. But a decent binder isn’t going to hurt you immediately, especially if you give your body a few days’ break whenever you start to get lingering pain from it.


  17. Anonymous

    Hey, I’m 14 and an FTM. I don’t have a binder, unfortunately. I’m either a large A or a small B, luckily…I wear two sports bras, one on backwards over the other. I look pretty flat.
    Is anything wrong with this? Any damage, danger, etc? I don’t care about those things aesthetically…I hate them whether they’re firm, droopy, small, big, so…

    I only strap down my chest during the day. I go completely bare at evening and night, and while I don’t like those things bouncing around, I don’t want health problems either…

    Oh, and can binding hold back on growth at all? I don’t want those fat-bag tumors getting bigger.


    Anonymous replied:

    Hey there, as to health problems, you are using sports bras no health affects should occur as they are made to support breasts. Since your breasts aren’t large either it should be fine, and if you got a binder (one that is your size and not too small) it won’t do anything negative. However, as to them getting bigger, if you are still going through puberty there is a chance they could increase in size.


  18. Anonymous

    Iv been binding for less than a year and my chest has gotten REALLY saggy. If im naked and rais both arms my chest doesn’t move at all. I can pick up my skin like its separated or something. I had size D before


  19. Matt

    Hey, so I’m 18 just turned this month and have been homemade binding for about just over a month and a couple of days ago I received my first ever proper binder from Amazon ( I was very disheartened when I first got this binder as I thought it would not bind me at all however I am very ovewhelmed and pleased by the way it actually does bind my chest which is 32DD and I order the XXL which is UK size 12 and it fits really well, extremely breathable, no harm done and I would’ve thought it would be a lot healthier to wear this than two-three items of material pulled and wrapped and tied around my chest? However I have a slight dilemma, my girlfriend is not happy with the binder at all and refuses for me to wear it because at this moment in time it is too much to handle however for me it has in a very short amount of time gave me a great deal of satisfaction, confidence and greatly decreased my anxiety and disphoria which I would’ve thought would’ve been a positive. My main question is basically, how on earth do I help my girlfriend accept/allow me to freely wear this new binder? How do I help her understand? I think she’s worried about health issues and also the emotional/physical side of seeing me with a flat chest which I do try and understand but how do I get her to compromise with me? Surely it’s better to bind this way and properly than with DIY materials of thick tights and boob tube?
    I really hope someone here has some light to shine for me, I would be very greatful, thanks in advance!


    Anonymous replied:

    I would personally be wary of binders bought on Amazon tbh, the quality generally isn’t good nor is it healthy in the long run. However, if everything is fine so far then keep wearing it, but be mindful of ANY PAIN you get while wearing it. It can seriously damage you if the binder isn’t a good one.

    As for your girlfriend, just tell her exactly what you wrote here. It alleviates your dysphoria + anxiety + makes you happy + it increases your confidence! She should be happy for you and supportive! However, if she is still upset with the idea of you binding I don’t know what to say honestly. I don’t you should leave her but if she is really adamant it might be better for you.

    Personally I know what you’re going through because as a binding non-binary my previous partner did not like the idea of my gender identity or binding, I made the choice to leave her, but that doesn’t have to be your choice of course. If she manages to understand or let you wear it freely after explaining then wonderful! In the event she doesn’t though, maybe ask her what about binding is making her upset. Find the exact problem versus your personal speculations about what she thinks, and try to work around that.


  20. Levi

    I have a question, if I’m still developing, will it damage the development of my breasts and cause health problems?


  21. Anonymous

    There are many reports of breast tissue being damaged from binding. The muscle & connective tissue weakens over time from binding. It creates sagging, droopy breasts. Sort of like an underworked muscle shrinking from non-use. I don’t have any problems with it if that’s what you want to do, but if you think you may not want to wear a binder *forever* then you definitely shouldn’t use it. Especially if you are still developing. Think of the position the breasts are in when you put on a binder– they are eventually “trained” into that position & will stay that way– flat & sagging against your chest even when the binder is off.


  22. Phillip

    I wouldn’t really care about the appearence, but I heard that if your boobs are too saggy, the results after the surgery to take it off are worse, can someone tell me if this is true, please?


    Akiva replied:

    If your chest was small enough to be eligible for peri or keyhole before, it’s possible that you wouldn’t be anymore after binding long enough for the shape of your chest to change. A lot of people aren’t eligible for those surgeries in the first place, though, and others prefer the look of other surgeries anyway (e.g. double incision, T-anchor). You can get equally good results from double incision no matter what your chest looked like before, binding isn’t going to affect that as long as you’re not using tape or ace bandages, which can leave scars all by themselves.


    Phillip replied:

    Thank you so much for your answer, that question was bugging me for quite a while now.


  23. Shayne

    I’m a B or C and I’ve found that the most effective way for me to bind is to wear one sports bra folded over so the band is in the middle of my breast and one over it regular style. Can someone please tell me if this is dangerous?


  24. riviersonderend

    ok that may be semantics but people speak of cup sizes on so many sites as if they were static. obviously a 36D is miles bigger than a 28D. while a 28 B can be a small breast a 36B woudn’t be that small would it?
    By the way what about binding already saggy breast? Mine end at my last rib bow… it is like they even start just at the lower end of my pecs. ( my pecs are quite high in range from collar bone to armpit height…)


  25. Anonymous

    I’m nonbinary, only bind maybe once (maybe twice) every other month for the last six months, and I’ve already noticed more elasticity. Also, got my first cyst. But over all my tits still look awesome, especially once I’ve been back on normal bras for a while. (age 23, cup size B)


  26. Anonymous

    I’m scared of this. I’m non-binary and sometimes experience dysphoria but sometimes I actually like my breasts so I really don’t want them to sag. I would only wear a binder those times when I hate my breasts but I’m also reasonably large at a 10DD.


  27. Anonymous

    I’m thirteen and i want to wear a binder but my mum won’t let me because she said it would make my breasts sag, not that i could care much. Is this true?


  28. Anonymous

    Ive been binding for about a year and a half with my size of binder, I used to sleep in it and wear it for too long. My chest is very saggy compared to before, and its harder to bind now. So yes, at least in my case


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