A talented Wisconsin-based fashion designer named Arthur Kneibler received a piece of mail in 1934 that would revolutionize the male undergarment industry. It was a small postcard from a close friend visiting the French Riviera, which depicted a man wearing a snug, short, almost bikini-esque bathing suit.
That image alone gave Kneibler an amazing idea for a new type of men's underwear—the first-ever pair of tighty-whities: Legless undies featuring an overlapping Y-front fly.
This innovative design was welcomed by men at the time, many of whom were still sporting incredibly uncomfortable knee-length flannel knickers well into the 30s. But while tighty-whities remained popular for a few decades, they began to lose much of their appeal in the 70s and 80s when underwear transitioned from something that men traditionally hid underneath their pants into flashy—and often fun—fashion statements.
In today's society, tighty-whities act almost solely as a hilarious punchline. When beloved actor Bryan Cranston asked Breaking Bad writer Vince Gilligan why his character sported tighty-whities while stumbling through the hot New Mexico desert, his response pretty much summed up the current cultural opinion toward these outdated undergarments: "Tighty-whities are funnier than boxer shorts." Plain and simple.
But despite being stigmatized as both incredibly dorky and even childish—two qualities that most men don't exactly want to be associated with their, err, junk—some guys defiantly continue to wear them—but why? And should you be wearing them too?
Everything You Need To Know About Tighty Whities
In 2016, AskMen partnered with HuffPost to discover what type of undies guys prefer. Here's the breakdown of responses:
58% wear boxer briefs
18% wear boxer shorts
16% wear colorful briefs or bikini briefs
6% wear tighty whities
2% wear thongs (so, apparently, men's thongs exist…)
It's good to note that guys aren't always discriminatory when it comes to undies. Different scenarios demand different underwear—it's situational. For example, many guys won't wear the same underwear for working out at the gym as they do for lounging. And everyday wear is not conducive to rough and tough workouts. These days, most dudes go back and forth between boxer briefs and boxer shorts.
Nevertheless, good ol' tighty-whities are barely hanging onto their position in the market by a (white) thread.
Okay, but why are some guys still wearing them?
If tighty whities dominated the underwear market for four decades, they must have at least one or two redeeming qualities, right? You can't deny a best seller! If you're anti-tighty-whities, here are a few fun facts that might end the stigma:
They Are Cheap as Hell.
Tighty whities are definitely not the most stylish of skivvies, but if you were living on a shoestring budget that consisted of 99 cent ramen every night, they might be your saving grace. A pack of tighty whities will run you as little as ten dollars. They are also not bad to have as backups in case of an embarrassing shart attack.
Less Material, More Support
Kneibler may have been onto something when he designed undies that featured the support of long johns without all the excess fabric. Guys are no strangers to sweaty thighs in the hottest months of the summer, so a pair of tighty whities can be a decent option if you want to let your legs breathe while still keeping your balls securely cradled.
Why You Should Not Wear Tighty Whities
Those two benefits really wrap up all the reasons why guys are still wearing tighty whities. So without further ado, let's move onto why you should NOT wear tighty whities.
They Make You Look Like An Old Man
Gentlemen… if you are stripping down in front of your lovely significant other, the last thing they want to be reminded of is the underwear that their dad—or worse, their grandpappy—wears. Retro may not be their thing.
They Show Unsightly Stains.
Tighty whities are, well, white. That means any foreign substance (like your nasty scat stains) is going to stick out like a sore thumb. And we already know you don't separate your dark and light laundry, so you can forget about keeping them as bright-white as they look in the advertisements.
They Lower Your Sperm Count
Do you remember that one episode on Seinfeld where Kramer's doctor tells him to switch to boxer briefs to spare his dwindling sperm count? Well, there is actually some truth to that.
A study done in 2018 found that men who love to wear tight-fitting undies like tighty whities have a whopping 25% lower sperm count than men who wear boxer briefs. In another study done in 2012, a group of 25 to 35-year old men tested the effect of heat on sperm production and sperm quality. The men were asked to wear special underwear for 14 to 16 hours a day for four months. The undies were really snug tighty-whities that kept the scrotum and testicles very close to the body, causing their "boys" to naturally heat up.
The men in the study provided a sperm sample leading up to, throughout, and after the study, at which point they returned to wearing their normal undies. By the third or fourth week, the sperm count and quality had declined significantly. And what's even more shocking is that by the end of the four-month study, the sperm count for the men in this sample was virtually zero. ZERO. Not one single sperm to be found.
While the nature of this experiment was a bit extreme, the proof is there—tight underwear like tighty whities most definitely affects sperm count and quality. Kind of shocking when you really think about it!
Well, What Do Women Think About My Tighty Whities?
Back in 2016, GQ asked 200 ladies what type of men's underwear they found to be the most attractive, and for those of you still rocking tighty whities, we're sorry to inform you that that type of underwear came in dead last. But why?
Well, in a nutshell, tighty whities often remind ladies of their dads or grandfathers running around in a pair of crisp white undies that barely cover their twigs and berries. Not really a great memory to be reminded of when you're trying to get jiggy with it, don't ya think?
Okay, so what type of underwear is best?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to preference, but personally, we can't get enough of boxer briefs.
The Advantages of Boxer Briefs
Boxer briefs may share part of their name with boxers, but the truth is that they are very different beasts. While boxes are loose-fitting and provide very minimal support, men's boxer briefs conform with your body and provide a firm foundation for your dumplings. Many men feel boxer briefs are the perfect medium between tighty-whities and loose-fitting boxers. They are not as tight and constricting as traditional tighty-whities, and they are not as loose as a pair of boxers.
Additionally, you can choose from a wide variety of fabric options. With boxer briefs, you can dress for performance or comfort with moisture-wicking technology. You can choose boxer briefs spun from the softest micromodal fabric like the ones found at Culprit, or you can stick with traditional boxer-brief material, cotton.
Boxer briefs are like lean shorts that give your legs that extra appeal and your boys extra support.
A Final Word
Underwear has come a long way since its creation hundreds of years ago. And although we are now in the 21st century with a plethora of underwear options, men are still choosing to wear undies that were created in the 30s.
Tighty whities are snug, bright-white, crisp undies that are legless. Back in the day, they were all the rage, but today, only roughly 6% of men still wear them.
Everyone is entitled to their own undergarment preference, but the truth is that your favorite pair of traditional tighty whities might be doing more harm than good.
The next time you're in the market for a fresh pair of bloomers, consider purchasing an awesome pair of boxer briefs from Culprit. Not only are they made using the softest micromodal fabric, but they come in some of the freshest prints and patterns that are sure to have your significant other saying, ooh la la!
Designed to breathe and contour to your unique body, resulting in unmatched support, comfort, and style. Try Culprit underwear and feel the difference luxury undies can make in your life today!