Isn’t it kind of weird how the word commando—the term used to describe a soldier trained in doing ambushes—also means going without underwear? If you ask us, we don’t really see the connection. Letting your boys hang loose is nothing like going off to battle. But many would disagree as there is quite a bit of support for ditching underwear altogether. However, we’re here to tell you that going commando is not exactly ideal and wearing underwear actually has a few great healthy benefits.

So, why do we wear underwear, you ask? 

We’ll tell you. 

When Was Underwear Invented?

First things first, when was underwear invented? 

Tightie whities, banana hammocks, undies, drawers, butt floss, knickers, panties (and of course, manties), trunks: When you really think about it, the sheer number of euphemisms we have for underwear shows what an important role they play in modern life. 

In fact, one of the most iconic images in modern fashion history features the stunning Kate Moss posing in nothing but her Calvin Klein undies. Yet, for all the attention they get these days, no one is really quite sure when the trend of covering up your private parts with a special item of clothing actually started. 

There are plenty of historical examples of individuals wearing underwear-type clothing going back thousands and thousands of years, through many different cultures. Art and historical texts show everyone from ancient Egyptian pharaohs and traditional Japanese wrestlers to Native Americans and centuries of Chinese noblemen wearing a version of the loincloth. Believe it or not, there is even a record of Vikings using a sock as a way to keep their, err, “twigs and berries” warm during the cold winter months.   

Subligaculum: The Early Underwear 

Probably the earliest progenitors of undies in Western culture was the “subligaculum.” This was a type of fabric that the ancient Romans wore around their nether regions; it was essentially a glorified diaper. But up through the 1600s, undies weren’t exactly considered a priority. 

Ladies through the middle ages wore a chemise dress, and men wore loose pantaloons or knickers underneath their clothing. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, both men and women started to wear drawers—or bloomers—a loose type of pants or shorts that was a separate item of clothing. Ladies would often wear undergarments as well, including a hoopskirt, corset, and bustle. 

Let’s just say there were a lot of layers happening around this time. 

The Rise Of The Pantalettes

It wasn’t until the fashion industry started to get a little more form-fitting that anything resembling what we would recognize as underwear today actually came into style. Starting in the early 1900s, “pantalettes”—drawers that are shorter and more fitted—became increasingly popular. By the 1930s, pantalettes became even shorter and tighter, as did the name, “pantie briefs” or just “panties.”

Moving forward, the 40s and 50s gave consumers more style and began to use more luxurious fabrics, including silk from parachutes. This was also about the time when undies started to be thought of as oh-so-sexy and something you just might want others to see. 

Trendy Hip-Huggers, Bikinis, Briefs, And More 

The 60s cultural shift included undergarments. That’s when a large variety of styles—hip huggers, bikinis, briefs—began to emerge. The 70s added the thong and the 80s brought us the barely-there g-string and stylish high-cut undies. 

The massive undergarment innovation in the late 90s and early 2000s might actually feel like a throwback for some: shapewear for daily use. Spanx and others reintroduced both men and women to underwear designed to hold in and shape the body.

Okay, so what about now?

Well, today, the trend is all about comfort. Shapewear is still popular, but it is more of a special occasion kind of thing than an everyday necessity. We are also beginning to see a steady decline in the popularity of the itty-bitty thong. Additionally, we are now starting to see more functional undergarments, such as period-panties or underwear for those with an overactive bladder or incontinence. 

The Benefits Of Wearing Underwear 

Many individuals are haunted by their mother’s dire warning to never go without a fresh pair of clean undies on, just in case you happen to get in an accident and EMS might have to see your tighty-whities

Well, not only is this bad advice—if you soil yourself during a bad accident, the truth is that paramedics can care less about what your undies look like—but there are so many better benefits to wearing clean underwear. 

Underwear serves us with two main purposes: fashion and function, specifically to help keep the genital area well-protected and free of germs and bad bacteria. How your undies feel and perform should take precedence over how they look. And whether or not you should wear undies under your gym clothes when you get your sweat on or to bed for a good night’s rest also may depend on your personal circumstances. 

What Are The Health Reasons To Wear Undies? 

Wearing underwear isn’t strictly necessary for good genital health, but a pair of well-fitting undies made of breathable fabric like the ones found at Culprit can provide some real benefits. 

Keep in mind that these benefits listed below only extend to clean, well-fitting underwear that is changed on a daily basis. In a nutshell, don’t expect to get the same amazing benefits from wearing the same old pair of panties four days in a row. 

The reasons to wear underwear are as follows:

You’ll Less Likely Suffer From Chafing Down There. 

Chafing is an extremely irritating skin irritation that occurs when your skin repeatedly rubs against skin or clothes. You are putting yourself at risk of irritating your boys every single time you go commando. The fabric of your favorite pants, shorts, or jeans could be abrasive to your groin. Such clothes are not usually designed to be particularly gentle on this sensitive body part—unlike underwear. 

As a second layer of clothing, underwear also serves as a protective barrier between your groin and the potentially irritating material, ensuring your package remains safe. 

You’ll Less Likely Suffer From Crotch Rot.

“I love crotch rot!”—Said no one ever. 

Officially called tinea cruris, crotch rot is a pesky skin infection caused by wearing wet or tight clothes. As long as you keep your undies clean, wearing them will greatly reduce your risk of getting the dreaded crotch rot. 

Underwear absorbs sweat really well, unlike shorts, pants, and shorts in general, keeping your prized family jewels dry. Some undies are made of sweat-wicking fabric, which absorbs and helps to make sweat evaporate sooner than later. Wearing such underwear will help tremendously to avoid getting this irritating infection. 

You’ll Less Likely Have Particularly Embarrassing Sweat Stains.

Have you seen that one popular meme of how a girl’s sweaty derriere made out the Bat-Signal? Imagine how embarrassing it would be if something similar happened to you. In public. Around that cute girl you’ve been eyeing the last month. Yikes! 

The good news is that wearing good quality underwear like the ones from Culprit will help you to avoid this mortifying experience. Apart from absorbing sweat really well, underwear acts as a second layer of clothing that traps and prevents your stinky sweat from staining your favorite pair of pants. 

You’ll Avoid Unwittingly Flashing Someone.

Speaking of extremely embarrassing accidents—how many times have you ever left your fly open? Probably more than you’d like to admit, huh? If you always wear undies, you won’t unwittingly leave Junior exposed if you forget to zip up.  

You’re Less Likely To Have A Visible Wet Spot.

Okay, guys, how many times have you tried to shake your willy dry but still have a few drops in your knickers? You might have lost count already. There are so many ways to avoid having this accident, but men are still suffering from it—and sorry to break it to you boys, but this will just continue to get worse as you age. The good news is that you can easily avoid the notorious ‘wet spot’ from your front by wearing underwear. Problem solved. 

A Final Word

At the end of the day, we’re all here for comfort and freedom of expression, but we doubt that going commando is a good way to achieve it. It will only put you at a much greater risk of developing an itchy rash near your junk—and who wants to deal with that?

When you’re in need of a great pair of undies to add to your everyday collection, give Culprit a try. American made, sustainable, and ethical—boxer briefs are designed to breathe and contour to your body, resulting in unmatched support, style, and comfort. Whether you’re on a hot date, on a flight, or in a fight, Culprit’s got your back—and, well, your nether regions.