I’ve been thinking lately about why people wear underwear. I haven’t worn any for a very long time, except when going to the doctor’s or when I believed I’d have to take my pants off in (non-nudist) public. I don’t plan to start any time soon and failing to find any reasons to do so, except when it’s medically necessary, I asked Google to think for me.
What I found was silly enough to share and debunk.
The first thing I checked out was an article on a well-known men’s web site which I’m not going to advertise because it advertises enough for the lousy content it offers. It made me click through all “top 5” reasons underwear matters only to find that the only reason it matters is because there is the word “buy” on every single page. Even though I didn’t see it, I’m sure each of them is placed right beside an underwear ad which my AdBlock promptly blocked. Oh, that was one of two reasons actually – the other was so that it arouses women who are aroused by fashionable underwear brands when they see them. Maybe it would be enough to just show them, without actually wearing them?
Another reason given was because when bending over, it is possible your underwear would show, so you’d definitely want something stylish popping out of your pants. I’m still too dumbfounded by this reason to wear underwear to comment, so I’m hoping that you will all see the circular logic in that one.
On a forum, a poster answered the question I asked Google with
The main idea for underwear is to protect the much more valuable outer clothing and to save the work and expense of laundering, dry cleaning and pressing those outer clothes.
I’ll grant that if one wears suits then underwear is necessary. I’m mostly a sweatpants and jeans kind of person. She goes on to explain that clothes nowadays are mostly cheap, however, and so is the washing process, which actually annulls the reason.
I generally have no troubles with dirty jeans even though I don’t wear underwear, and it’s not because I wash them often, but because I wash myself often. For example, I’ve completely stopped using toilet paper in favor of water, with the exception of places where I have no other choice. Using water is by far more sanitary than toilet paper and I don’t think I’ll ever understand why this isn’t the norm.
Some reasons defeat themselves. Here’s one from an M.D. I’d never like to go to.
“Bacteria and yeast love a moist and warm environment,” says Doerthe Brueggmann, M.D., of Health Goes Female. “So a very effective and simple protection is to wear any underwear under your workout gear to catch sweat and developing moisture. This is why it’s not a good idea to go commando!”
So, let me get this straight – bacteria and yeast love a moist and warm environment. That’s why it’s preferrable to wear underwear which will keep all the moisture and all the warmth around your groin – to not wearing underwear, which will let the moisture evaporate and ventilate out along with excess warmth. Brilliant, I’m glad we got that straight.
One that made me giggle was from a Cosmopolitan article about Christina Aguilera who said she hated underwear (you go, girl!). It says,
If you’re wearing a skirt and then sit on a lice-infested towel, they have a direct path to your privates.
I mean… how often do people sit on lice-infested towels? Is it because I’m not a very outgoing person that I don’t know that there are lice-infested towels normally sprawled on chairs out there in the world? Seriously, next time I see a lice-infested towel in a public place, resting on a surface intended for sitting, I’m going to stop blogging and start going out more, because I clearly don’t know enough about this world to blog about anything.
[…]undies — especially for women — were developed, in part, as a Victorian attempt to control and hide genitalia and physique. All the baby talk nicknames that are still substituted for underwear — scanties, snuggles, skivvies, and smalls, to name a few more — are another indication of our ongoing discomfort with the contents of our underclothes.
Her answer to an asker’s question is perhaps one of the most balanced accounts on the matter I was able find, which is why I linked to it above. But to know that underwear is a product of shame and that it didn’t die out like a fad is quite disturbing.
A Christian website went out of its way to explain how “the foremost reason of clothing is to cover up those parts of our body which are involved in sex” failing to realize that our entire body is very much involved in sex (in fact some of them should realize that their mouths are quite involved in sex too, and cover them up as well occasionally). If that’s the main purpose of clothing then maybe we should all wear burquas and sunglasses at all times.
Granted, it did give one good reason to wear underwear. Because it is usually made of softer material than outerwear, it protects the skin from the rough material of the outerwear. Of course, that makes it even more sensible to ditch clothes altogether and only wear it in special conditions, like cold weather. Instead, we’re adding clothes to our bodies because of our fear of exposing “those parts […] which are involved in sex” when we don’t really need to, which necessitates adding even more clothes to our bodies, to protect us from clothes we added first. Am I the only one who finds this absurd?
A person asked on Debate.ORG “Is it disgusting to not wear underwear?” Answer “No” is leading with 61%, which is a nice thing to see. However, the opposition seems vocal and invokes concepts (like morality) which it clearly doesn’t understand, to shun the practice of wearing nothing under your outerwear. I’m listing some below, with explanations of why I think they’re wrong.
- You are less protected against viruses or bacteria that could easily infect you without proper clothing… – Well, clothing is not known to protect from viruses. As for bacteria, they are harmless with proper hygiene. In fact, it is riskier – in regards to bacteria and funghi – to don yesterday’s clothing, than spend all day in the buff, if we wash our bodies regularly.
- It’s probably really uncomfortable to not wear underwear. – No, it isn’t, but from what I’ve seen, this is probably a personal preference. I can’t understand people who won’t even try it, though.
- To me, it is offensive and hateful act. Consequently, it should be discouraged. – So, it should be discouraged because this one person said on debate.org that they find it offensive. Sadly, nowadays someone’s offense seems to be taken as a moral imperative on others in topics much more important than just clothing. As for being hateful, I really don’t see why anyone who hates someone would stop wearing underwear. Maybe out of spite? I wouldn’t know. If someone chooses to see that as hateful, then so be it. Just go around me in a wide circle if that’s the case.
- Your private parts are more sensitive to the cold so it is important. – Yes, they are sensitive to cold, but they are more sensitive to warmth. In fact, heating the testicles by just a few degrees can damage or even prevent sperm production, causing sterility, or at least difficulties in trying to conceive. Lower temperature also means less sweating, which means less bacteria and less funghi, which means better hygiene. In fact, women with UTI or yeast infection should probably try it (and change outerwear at least daily).
- Some people have a bit of an odor And i don’t want to be smelling that. – I’ve never smelled a naked person from a distance, but I have smelled a clothed person from a distance. (And it wasn’t a lovely smell, if you catch “the” drift.) I don’t want to be smelling that, so should I declare it disgusting to be clothed?
Of course, even better than not wearing underwear is not wearing clothes at all, except during bad weather conditions. In this winter cold I tend to wear as little clothes as possible and now it’s March and a bit warmer, I often wear only sweatpants and T-shirt. While my mild allergies do make me cough a bit (as they do no matter what clothes I wear), I haven’t caught cold this winter, unlike most people I know.