Are Boxers or Briefs better for the Boys?

Men's boxer shorts and men's briefs hanging on a clothes line

While there can be a variety of factors which can affect how strong a man’s swimmers are, a new study believes it has found a correlation between men wearing tight briefs and their fertility.

The testes (which are only found in male mammals) hang away from the body and it’s thought that this is because mammals are warm blooded and that sperm can be kept 2-3 degrees Celsius cooler with this design feature. Sperm stays healthier if the testes are “feeling the breeze”. 

Before boxers or briefs men wore flannel drawers with a button up front and rear flaps called “access hatches” – very sexy, not! In 1925, designed by Joseph Golomb founder of the Everlast boxing company, and inspired by the elasticised shorts worn by boxers, the boxer short made its first appearance. Then in 1935 apparel engineer Arthur Kneibler designed the Y-front inspired by a postcard of men’s bathing suits in the French Riviera. 30,000 pairs were sold in the first 3 months after their nervous launch on a cold day which “called out for long johns” and they were later renamed to Jockey as they offered the type of jock strap support worn by sportsmen that boxers lacked.

Although boxers vs briefs has been a controversial topic among men, and women, it turns out it could also be a health issue. 

Researchers have known for several decades that men working in jobs where they are exposed to high temperatures can be at risk of developing fertility issues. Even a job where you are sitting for long periods, such as a truck driver, can mean you are at greater risk. The theory is that higher temperatures caused by body-hugging underwear interfere with the testicles' ability to produce sperm, a process called spermatogenesis.

In our article about sleeping in the nude we mentioned that wearing loose underwear during the day and sleeping naked could result in a 25% increase in sperm quality. And it turns out this recent study backs this up. 

The study was conducted over 7 years by a team in Boston and semen and blood samples of 656 men were collected. The men had to report if they had worn boxers or briefs more frequently in the 3 months leading up to the study. Researchers found that men who mostly wore boxers more frequently had a 25% higher sperm concentration and 33% more swimming sperm in a single ejaculate than men who typically wore tighter underwear. 

“We found that men who wear tighter underwear have lower sperm counts. High scrotal temperatures have been associated with the alteration of [the] production of sperm,” Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, the lead author of the study, told HuffPost. Allan Pacey, Ph.D. an expert in sperm science said, “This study confirms my long-held belief that men with poor sperm quality could potentially improve things by wearing looser underwear and keeping their testicles as cool as possible.”

But don’t go rushing out to change your undies just yet. Researchers were keen to stress the findings showed a correlation not a causal effect. 

Of course the other consideration is what do women find sexier? Back in 2016 Men’s Health asked 1,000 women what they wanted to see when the pants came off (other than your obvious enthusiasm for seeing them naked). For a start, women rated uncleanliness and neglect as the biggest underwear mistakes a man can make. But as for design, 62% of women said that briefs were sexier and boxer shorts came in second.

So there you have it guys! You either keep the ladies happy or keep the boys happy. Or throw caution to the wind and wear whatever style you feel comfortable wearing. 

And ladies, enjoy the video. We promise you there is something for everyone so watch right to the end.

4 comments

  • 1DoorMan

    1DoorMan

    More than a month ago

    Commando the only way to go free and easy that's the way we males are created. LOL

    Reply
  • Zamboon
    Online status icon

    Zamboon

    More than a month ago

    I know the theory but in truth I like my jewels tucked up fairly tight - that way they don’t jiggle about and my member behaves itself by staying in place - 2 healthy kids means that the tightness and the heat generated did not affect my potency- unless they are someone else’s ? Hmmmmm ....

    Reply
  • Pleasuremywife2

    Pleasuremywife2

    More than a month ago

    Good article - even if it's just to make men aware that there are 'issues' with clothing choices. Unfortunately we are driven by our culture and peer pressure, more so for women than men. For example, there is a strong correlation between bra wearing and breast cancer. Many papers have been written on the subject. Perhaps AMM could write about it in a future article.

    • AMM.Editor

      AMM.Editor

      More than a month ago

      Hi, our research articles are usually prompted when we see new data released but I like your suggestion and will add it to the list if we see anything hit the news about the topic, perhaps in October.

    Reply
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