Deciding to stop wearing underwear may be even more difficult than choosing between trunks or briefs, hipsters or high-rise. Yes, maybe the ultimate question really shouldn’t be about boxers or briefs, but whether or not you should you wear any at all.
Abandoning your undergarments may not seem like a typical choice, but going commando is becoming a fairly common occurrence. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes, a quarter of us like to skip the underwear altogether. You may be thinking yuck, but before getting your panties in a knot, bare in mind there are many pros when it comes to ditching your drawers.
Aside from the obvious panty line problem, getting some fresh air down there has quite a few health benefits as well. However, if you’ve already been enjoying wearing one less piece of clothing — after all, it is less laundry — it’s important to understand that going without underwear can have a negative impact on your body too. Before completely committing to going commando, read on to find out why your body won’t be the same when you stop wearing underwear.
You could say goodbye to nerve pain when you wave goodbye to underwear
If you find yourself squeezing into a pair of underwear to provide shape and support around your center, you are in for a surprise. You may, in fact, just be setting yourself up for some not-so-fun nerve pain.
Tight waistbands and thick elastics that dig into your skin are capable of damage the nerves underneath — and this damage can run deep. The sciatic nerve, which is a part of your lower spine, can be affected by your underwear. It may sound over the top, but it’s a very real pain bound to get under anybody’s nerves.
While your undergarment may not seem like it’s tight enough to cut off circulation to your spine, it compresses the surrounding muscles, which then put pressure on your sciatic nerve. Longterm effects from your lingerie can even cause sciatica, a repetitive pain that radiates from your lower back down through your legs (via One Oak Medical). If you’re looking for a way to nix your nerve pain, saying no to underwear — or at least going for a looser style — may be the way to go.
You may avoid unnecessary skin irritation by not wearing any underwear
Eczema from your underwear? It may sound out there, but it happens. If you’re allergic to any type of laundry detergent or forget to wash a new garment before wearing it — whoops! — this could seriously mess with your skin. Certain detergents and dyes that come close to your downstairs can cause contact dermatitis, women’s health expert Dr. Donnica Moore explained to Considerable. "The tissues that your panties come in to contact with are a lot more sensitive than your elbows."
Even static cling can cause issues for your delicate skin. Shocking! This buildup of electricity causes friction in the fabric, which can rub up against your bits. Eventually, this can lead to dryness and eczema, internist Keri Peterson revealed on The Dr. Oz Show. The ultimate solution? You may just want to go without any undergarments at all.
You could fall sleep faster sans underwear
For a night full of undisturbed sleep, you might want to consider forgoing underwear — and maybe all of your clothes, actually.
According to Healthline, the ideal temperature for sleeping is a solid 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, even with your thermostat turned down that low, you may find your layers are making you too warm. Yes, between your underwear, pajamas, partner, and however many blankets you hoard on your side of the bed, you could just be too toasty to drift off to sleep. We’re not saying you should kick out your bedmate or throw away your blankets, but you may want to consider ditching the drawers.
"Sleeping naked can help the skin cool off faster, which may help lower body temperature and allow a person to get to sleep sooner," Medical News Today explained. Going undie-less will help if you’re looking to turn down the heat in your bedroom — or, you know, up. You’re not wearing any underwear, after all.
You may experience fewer UTIs if you avoid wearing underwear
A urinary tract infection — that which causes a painful burning feeling whenever you use the bathroom — unfortunately affects about 60 percent of women and 12 percent of men.
Some popular fabrics that our favorite undergarments are made of, like silk or nylon, can keep moisture up close to your body, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. In a world filled with so many pretty panties and snazzy boxers, it’s difficult to keep it basic — but that’s actually best. Cotton underwear is ideal because it helps your bits breathe, relieving you of bad bacteria that can creep its way into evolving into an unfortunate UTI, Alyssa Dweck, a New York-based gynecologist, told Prevention. You’ll want to especially steer clear of "thongs with a thin, chafing G-string" as these "can transfer bacteria," according to Dweck.
One way to avoid this conundrum altogether? Go commando. It will save you some money, some laundry, and some time at the doctor’s office.
Without underwear, you could stop having heartburn
If you had your heart set on some adorable undergarments, you should know they could actually set you up for heartburn. Weird, huh? How could your briefs possibly be setting you up for the same bad stomach pain as your fave burritos?
It all depends on the height of your undies, according to Everyday Health. If hipsters aren’t your thing and you opt for tight high-rise underwear instead, the stakes for heartburn are raised. If the band squeezes your stomach, it may be able to push stomach acid back up to your esophagus to settle there — hence the heartburn.
Unfortunately, acid reflux disease is fairly common and even if you’ve never dealt with this uncomfortable condition before, wearing tight undergarments over the course of just two weeks can cause you to develop it, Jamie Koufman, a reflux specialist, revealed to Everyday Health. Nixing your knickers, it seems, may be the most helpful when it comes to putting a halt to heartburn.
You’ll likely have fewer yeast infections if you stop wearing underwear
Wearing underwear is something most people do. and yet your underpants could actually be setting men and women up for yeast infections. Yikes. "Silk and synthetic fabrics are not breathable, which increases the risk of moisture being trapped and retained," women’s health expert Donnica Moore explained to Considerable. Men, too, will want to prevent a buildup of moisture, according to WebMD. With moisture can come redness, burning, and an unbearable itch.
The easy solution to avoid such an infection is exactly what you’d expect: Put your drawers back in the drawer. By not allowing moisture to accumulate, you’ll ultimately win the battle against bad bacteria being built up down there. Although yeast infections aren’t nearly as common in men, three out of four women will experience this irritating infection at some point in their lives, according to Mayo Clinic. So it only makes sense that committing to going commando is the best solution for this issue. When in doubt, air it out!
Not wearing underwear may increase sperm production
It turns out that wearing underwear could be causing your infertility. While, yes, it’s pretty obvious that wearing it isn’t going to help when it comes to getting pregnant, there’s some science hiding beneath the waistband — and it all has to do with sperm.
To produce the best little swimmers possible, temperature is important. "To produce sperm efficiently, the testicles need to stay at about 94 [degrees Fahrenheit]," Healthline explained, which is a few degrees cooler than the average body temperature. Wearing underwear, especially tight boxer briefs, causes your downstairs to heat up drastically while being pushed up against your 98-degree body. This, in turn, can cause a lower sperm count.
While mixed research is out there regarding just how underwear affects infertility, letting some fresh air down there doesn’t seem to hurt. And if you’re trying to grow your family, why not try going commando?
You can avoid this health hazard by not buying underwear
Do you wash new underwear before wearing it? According to an online poll conducted by The Dr. Oz Show, half of us don’t. His team also examined underwear that were being sold at multiple stores and found that a majority of them were contaminated with bodily fluids and bacteria. Ew. Even if no one has ever put on the underwear, people can still touch the garment, or it can end up buried in a bin full of others that have been tried on.
With your underwear being worn so closely to your booty, it’s no surprise that there’s all sorts of bacteria that can be found on the fabric. Sure, we do a good deed by washing our undies — new or otherwise — but this could possibly be making your drawers even dirtier. "If you wash a load of just underwear, there will be about 100 million E. coli in the wash water, and they can be transmitted to the next load of laundry," University of Arizona microbiology Professor Charles Gerba revealed to ABC News. By washing your underwear with other people’s, it can make it even more sickening (via Healthline).
You may be able to avoid E. coli by ditching this kind of underwear
It turns out, thongs may just be plain wrong. Because they sit tightly up against your tush, it’s a breeding ground for bad bacteria. "If you have a little bacteria — E. coli is the most common bacteria in the colon — in the back part of the fabric and you’re physically active, the material may move," Dr. Jill M. Rabin, a urogynecologist, explained to HuffPost. These germs can wiggle and jiggle across the back of the thin thong, bringing bacteria to the front and setting you up for a serious infection. "All it has to do is move an inch or two," she added.
However great you think your hygiene may be, unfortunately, it’s still not good enough. Even if you’re washing your thong every day, brace yourself for this next bit: "There’s about a tenth of a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear," microbiology professor Charles Gerba revealed to ABC News. If those aren’t enough details to make you ditch your drawers, we don’t know what is.
You may experience more irritation by not wearing underwear
Going undie-free may sound like a foolproof plan, but it could just rub you the wrong way. "No underwear causes a whole host of other problems, particularly because clothing doesn’t tend to have a liner," New York University Professor Raquel B. Dardik explained to Considerable. The bulky seams and raw stitching from some clothing (think: denim) can be downright uncomfortable on your delicate area without the added barrier of underwear.
In fact, this wear and tear down there can even be enough to cut you. Because the skin is so thin, "wearing no panties and tight jeans can lead to abrasions," Maria Sophocles, an obstetrician-gynecologist, told Women’s Health. And with waxing and shaving being a thing, you’re provided no natural padding and protection at all. Wearing underwear may be irritating to some, but going without it could actually be causing you even more irritation than you anticipated.
Without wearing underwear, you’ll smell differently down there
Something nobody ever wants to talk about is body odor, but if you’re regularly wearing certain kinds of underwear, it could quickly become something you smell on a daily basis.
Underwear made of silk or other synthetic fabrics can trap sweat up by your tush. As this sweat builds up over the day, so can the stink. Your silky panties or boxers may lead to unpleasant odors that can be absolutely embarrassing instead of making you feel attractive like you anticipated.
Going completely commando is one way to keep odors out as it’ll help to air you out (via Healthline). However, going bare in the fresh air may not be the best if you’re wearing a dress. To avoid flashing your fanny, cotton underwear is another option you can try before committing to commando. They’re the best undies at absorbing sweat and other smelly stuff and wicking it away from your body (via Women’s Health).
By not wearing any underwear, you won’t have to deal with any butt acne
Acne is embarrassing enough when it’s on your face, but when these bumps begin to appear on your booty? Not fun. Going without underwear, then, can be a game changer. It’s important to note that those annoying zits on your other cheeks aren’t actually the same kind of acne you find on your face. These inflamed hair follicles have a fancy name: folliculitis.
Folliculitis "has a hair in the center of a red pimple, and the white material associated with the bump is often dead skin and white blood cells," Dermatologist Morgan Rabach explained to Cosmopolitan. It can be caused from sweat or any friction on your fanny. So if you’re wearing any undies that cause these things, you probably will experience this unpleasant "acne."
Luckily, you probably won’t need any special creams to clear it up. Simply ridding your wardrobe of underwear and wearing looser clothing instead can help out your skin in this sensitive area. Who knew that pimples could be caused by your underwear?
Without underwear, you won’t have to worry about compressing your bladder
While you may wear some pairs of form-fitting underwear in order to, well essentially shape shift, you could actually be causing a lot of internal issues. Believe it or not, you may be compressing your bladder. In fact, this could be why you constantly find yourself constantly bolting to the bathroom over the course of the day.
When your undergarments are way too tight, they can squeeze into your stomach. This can turn into feeling like you frequently have to pee (via Rebalance Physical Therapy & Wellness). "Thongs, underwear, and shapewear that are too tight can lead to nerve irritation and damage in the vulvar region and this can lead to pain vaginally, rectally, and all around the pelvis," the practice explained. By 86ing your underwear, you could actually keep yourself from unintentionally causing harm to your body.
You may just gain body confidence by going commando
There’s nothing quite like the confidence boost you feel while showing off your favorite outfit. However, while it may be the cutest one in your closet, what you’re wearing underneath could be completely ruining how good you feel about yourself.
According to a survey conducted by ShopSmart magazine (via PR Newswire), 25 percent of women said they would be embarrassed if anyone knew what some of the undies they wore looked like. A quarter of women also said they’ve had their "mood affected by wearing an ill fitting or unattractive pair of underwear." Additionally, some 47 percent said they feel sexier in a specific pair of underwear. Now imagine how confident they could feel going commando.
Yes, not wearing any underwear at all could make you feel great. "It may just boost your libido," New Jersey ob-gyn Maria Sophocles told Women’s Health. In fact, many medical professionals recommend at least sleeping without undies on, stating it can lead to better hygiene and health and, uh — how to keep this PG? — lead to other things if you’re in the mood. If confidence happens to be something you’re after, going commando may just be the way to go.