Back in 2014, some unusual baking experiments were happening in a kitchen laboratory in Sydney Australia. Wax was being melted, glycerin was being mixed with gelatin, a microwave was exploded, and by October a stand to pee prototype that would come to be known as theEZP, had finally been hatched.
We talked to Alex about the past, present and future of Transthetics
So how did Transthetics come to be?
Frustration really. As the saying goes “necessity is the mother of invention” and I needed some kind of stand to pee device that was discreet, comfortable, natural looking, easy to use and allowed me to get on with my life, which is a very active one. I needed to be able to ride a bike, go rock climbing, go hiking, swimming and scuba diving and there just wasn’t anything on the market that allowed me to do all those things and not constantly be aware of a large silicone bulge in my pants.
As far as actually making it happen, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I’d never worked with mould making or silicone products in my life. I just knew that I needed this, so, I just decided to start experimenting and make it myself.
It was never really meant to become a business. It was me just solving a very real problem I had. It certainly took a LOT of trial and error, but once I was happy with my initial prototype, I pretty much just thought, ‘awesome, problem solved.’ It was only after a trans friend of mine requested that I make one for him as well that I thought maybe this was something that more people really needed, so I started thinking about how I could potentially consistently replicate the production process, which again took quite a bit of trial and error, but that’s pretty much how the EZP was born.
In the almost two years that the EZP has been around now, it has proved to be a huge hit in the trans community. It’s certainly true that it has been the subject of many rave reviews on the internet. What’s next in terms of other products you see Transthetics coming out with?
It’s all still very new, but I’ve also just launched the second product, the Rod. Once again, it was something that I personally needed to get around situations involving nudity, such as public showers. And again, I thought if I need this, perhaps others do too, and I also wanted to see if there was a way that a prosthetic could easily enhance the experience of trans guys that have had meta, that may still have issues with being able to pee standing.
So far it’s been really well received. This one was a bit of a scary one to release, as there’s a lot of anatomical variables at play, and I wasn’t sure if it would actually work for a larger population, and I won’t lie, it is very disheartening when it just doesn’t end up working for someone for whatever reason, but it seems that for the majority, it does seem to be working well, and there’s been really encouraging initial feedback. Hence I’ll also be releasing the big brother of the Rod, the Hot Rod in the near future, which is essentially just a larger, firmer version of the Rod, that will also have an ejaculation/lubrication reservoir at the tip and can be used for solo and penetrative sex, as long as you’re comfortable enough with your partner that you can laugh about it if your willy inadvertently falls off in the throws of passion.
I actually love the story behind why the Rod is named, the Rod. The erm… cock model’s name was Rod, which couldn’t have been more perfect, so of course I HAD to name it after him, and even more awesome that it translates so well to the Hot Rod. Sometimes reality really is so much better than fiction.
Then there’s also another product, the Bono, which I’ll be announcing a release date on very soon, that I think will again have a really universal appeal, even beyond the transgender community. Like the Hot Rod, it has an ejaculation/lubrication reservoir but also an inbuilt vibrator which really does make it (at least according to my product tester girlfriend) even better than the real thing. I hope Bono doesn’t mind. For me personally, this is my absolute must, go to. As a trans man in a relationship with a heterosexual woman, this is an incredibly important device for me as it allows me to be with her the way I really want to, and vice versa. And yes, without getting too x rated here, by that I do mean being able to orgasm during penetrative sex.
It’s also really important to me that none of my products require a harness. The Bono relies on either making a small adjustment to existing underwear involving sewing an elastic loop into the crotch, or using it in conjunction with Transthetics custom underwear which is specifically designed to be used with the EZP and the Bono and will be released very soon.
And what’s been the most rewarding part?
It really is amazing to get emails from people telling me how these products have improved their lives in a very immediate and tangible way. In all the incredibly rewarding interactions I have with the trans community since the inception of Transthetics, the thing I find most heart warming, is the emails I receive from parents of transgender kids.
It’s been so amazing to see the social shift from when I started this business, when young trans men often emailed me telling me to “please, please make sure there is absolutely no way anyone could tell what’s in the package, because my parents would absolutely have a fit if they knew” to now being regularly emailed by parents of trans kids asking me whether I think the EZP would be suitable for their sons. Though sadly such understanding and supportive parents are still by no means the norm, it’s very encouraging to see that families are beginning to shift in this direction.
So in response to many requests by parents, I will be releasing the EZP junior, the little brother of the EZP very soon. It is identical in material, look, shape and function, but 80% of it’s size, coming in at an overall length of 12cm or 5″ end to end, which makes it perfect for younger and smaller trans guys who want to pack discreetly.
That does sound great! So what does the longer term future hold for Transthetics?
Ah, the future is bring! What I’m really excited about is getting the ball rolling on a really high end prosthetic that would mimic a natal male anatomy more closely than anything that’s ever been available. A bionic penis if you will. I’ve been in talks with some prototyping and engineering studios and it all sounds really encouraging in that all the technology that would be required, essentially already exists, but just hasn’t been applied in this way before, but it’s pretty early days on this yet.
Ooh that does sound exciting! Can you tell us more about this holy grail of willies?
Well, I’m thinking I’ll call it the Bionic, as that’s essentially what it will be. The thing is, so far any kind of mechanical devices that have addressed the problem of creating erect and flaccid states, have all been designed for natal men, who are anatomically very differently equipped to transgender men. The challenge for us is being able to create a device that can change between erect and flaccid states and have that correlate between stimulating and not stimulating the wearer, being able to actuate these states quickly and easily as well as then also being able to function as a reliable stand to pee device. A lot of the specifics are still being worked out, and this one is looking a ways into the future, but what I’m hoping is that I can create something that is as close to a natal penis as it’s possible to get, without the need for $80,000 plus, highly invasive and risky surgeries that have in my mind, unacceptably high complication rates, then I think I will make a lot of transgender men very happy indeed, myself very much included.
Absolutely! If you can pull that off, I’ll be the first in line!
Ha! No actually I will. I think a big part of the reason Transthetics has done so well, is that I understand the needs and desires of a lot of trans men, seeing they are my needs and desires. I NEED the Bionic, and currently it doesn’t exist, so I guess someone had better get out there and make it. I’d actually be really happy for that not to be me as it’s going to be a hell of a lot of work, time and money. If someone else beats me to it, I’d salute them. Bottom line is, this product needs to be brought into the world.
How do you go about financing something like that?
Up until this point, it’s all been funded by sales of the EZP and the Rod, which has been awesome, but as just the design and prototyping for the Bionic will be well into the $300,000 mark, I will probably need to start looking for donations on this product. I haven’t set up anything yet, as I also need to prioritise the more immediate things already in the pipeline, but I would definitely love to hear from anyone interested in donating and I can keep them in the loop on when I will actually be starting to take donations.
But if you’re not in the financial position to be able to donate anything, or you’re doing your darndest to save for an EZP or a Rod, then know that by purchasing any Transthetics products either for yourself or someone else, you will essentially be donating towards the Bionic as I am re-investing funds from Transthetic’s sales into product development, so by buying a willy, you are also giving back to the community longer term.