Ladies: can I tell you a secret? I don’t wear underwear. Like, ever. Unless it’s that time of the month or I’m wearing a flowy dress (and yes, I learned that the hard way on a windy day).
Part of it is that I like to hang around in boxers at home as a freelance writer, so there’s no need for clingy underwear — let alone pants. But the other part of it is that I simply don’t like to wear undergarments. I don’t like the visible panty lines (VPLs), the wedgies, the weird lumps caused by elastic waistbands or the need for a separate gentle cycle on laundry day. In short, women’s underwear is totally overrated. Period.
I stopped wearing underwear about ten years ago after deciding thongs would just never be comfortable, and I have yet to go back. Plus, it turns out, science says I might be onto something with my underwear embargo.
Here are eight benefits of going commando all the time:
1. Going commando won’t lead to infections
Turns out, your mother was wrong about this one. There are exactly zero scientific studies that prove that going commando will lead to an infection like bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection, according to Dr. Jillian Jean, Planned Parenthood New York City’s associate medical director of clinical research and training. In fact, “If you have an infection, it’s better to air things out,” said Jean. “Use common sense.”
And if you’re worried about not having an extra layer between your lady bits and that dirty park bench, don’t be. “As long as what you’re wearing is thick enough so you don’t get any bacteria that’s on a seat at the gym, [going commando] is sanitary,” says Dr. Raquel Dardik, a gynecologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. Looks like panty-free is the way to be.
2. Going commando can actually prevent infections
If you thought thongs were safe, think again my friends. Dr. David Elmer says that thongs actually draw bacteria from the backside straight to your vagina and urinary tract. “[Thongs] are usually tight fitting and tend to slide back and forth while you exercise,” says Dr. David Bank, another specialist. “All of this friction and heat can lead to UTI’s (urinary tract infections) and vaginal bacterial infections, regardless of the fabric.”
And Dr. Bank isn’t the only one who thinks so. Dr. Alyssa Dweck, co-author of “V Is For Vagina,” says that ditching your underwear can keep infections at bay, especially if you’re prone to yeast infections or chronic vaginitis. “If [the area] is constantly covered — especially by a fabric that’s not moisture-wicking or absorbent — moisture collects,” Dweck says. “That’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or yeast.”
3. You’ll feel less irritated down there
Since underwear hugs so close to the skin, your hoohah may be more prone to irritation from laundry detergents, itchy G-string fabrics, and ill-timed chafing, even from something as simple as walking around. And if your underwear bunches in weird places, you may end up with unsightly marks or bed bumps. Without underwear, there’s no need to worry about these problems. Speaking from experience, my jeans and yoga pants never cause irritation.
4. You can wear super tight jeans and dresses
Have you ever noticed that celebrities on the red carpet don’t have a single underwear line beneath their couture gowns? That’s because going commando is an old Hollywood trick, especially for star-studded events like the Oscars. So, if you’re going to a party and getting ready to rock a hot little number, take inspiration from the A-listers and leave your bikini briefs at home. You may even consider ditching your bra next, but hey, that’s another story…
5. You’ll save money
You can stop waiting for those buy-three-get-one-free sales, now. Underwear is not cheap, anywhere from $5 for a pair of poorly made lace shorts (hello, itching) to $200 matching lingerie, which you’ll use once. In fact, if you really think about it, it’s kind of amazing how much a teeny tiny piece of fabric can cost the average consumer. And if your weight goes up or down by five pounds, you’re toast. In any case, save the cash and spend it on something the world will actually see instead, like jeans, shoes, or fuel to burn your bras.
6. Your clothes will fit better
This is for all you skinny jeans-lovers out there. For how thin underwear can be, it sure feels like a thick, unnecessary layer when you’re trying to zip up your favorite trousers and they just won’t budge. When you ditch underwear, you’ll instantly notice how much roomier your clothes feel.
7. You’ll feel more confident
Admittedly, this hasn’t happened to me in awhile, because the novelty of not wearing underwear has worn off after a decade. But I remember in the beginning how much confidence it gave me. I felt rebellious for finding yet another to way to ditch social convention, and also liberated by the now-simplicity of my dressing routine. Do you remember the first time you realized you could run errands without hauling around your huge purse and iPhone every time? It’s a lot like that.
8. You’ll have a better sex life
If you’ve ever told a partner that you’re not wearing any underwear while out on a date, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if not, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Trust me, that’s all your boo will be thinking about for the rest of dinner. At the very least, it will spark some interesting conversation. And when you get home, there’s one less layer to undress. Enough said.
Just go for it
I remember the first couple of times I walked around without any underwear. I was convinced that everyone could tell. I felt paranoid, vulnerable and certain that at any moment someone would expose me in a dramatic display of public humiliation for my panty prohibition. “She’s not wearing any underpants!” a stunned onlooker would shout, and the crowd around me would gasp.
Fortunately, that never happened. And all these years later, I can say one thing for certain: no one will be able to tell you skipped the skivvies — pinky promise. It’s a fun secret between you and your pants, because you’re the only two that will ever notice. Enjoy your newfound freedom, ladies! You’re welcome.