Boxers or briefs?

Originally Published: December 23, 1994 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: February 8, 2013
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Hey, Alice!

I just found out about you, and you're the perfect avenue for finding out the answer to a question that a lot of my friends have been wondering about: What are the health-related pros and cons associated with wearing different types of men's underwear: briefs (tighty-whiteys) and boxers? A lot of men seem to prefer the tight ones, but there's some concern that it's more healthy to hang loose.

We'll appreciate hearing your answer.

Curious About Underwear

Dear Curious About Underwear,

Boxers? Briefs? Boxer briefs? Boxers on Monday, briefs on Tuesday? Sure, why not. Rest assured that you (and your friends) should feel free to choose your skivvies based on comfort and personal preference. The physiological characteristics of guys' genitalia lead many to think that there is a difference between boxers and tighter, form-fitting underwear, particularly in terms of sperm count; however, the effect is actually minimal at best.

There is some debate among researchers as to whether or not boxers or briefs are best for male fertility, but the consensus is that tighter more restrictive styles of underwear slightly reduce the number of healthy sperm that a man produces — though, not by very much. Men who sport form fitting skivvies may also be more likely to experience jock itch or irritation due to chaffing. For those who experience itching or irritation, you may want to consider sticking with boxers in the name of comfort. For those without reproductive concerns or irritation, it’s all a matter of personal preference.

Hang loose,

Alice