Are you a brief aficionado, or a boxer bandit? It’s one of the age-old debates facing mankind, and one of the big issues we’re willing to tackle here at MH HQ.
When it comes to fertility and testicular health, briefs get a bad wrap. And the reason is that because they give your testes a... bad wrap. In order to produce sperm, the testes need to be kept below body temperature, and wrapping them in tight fitting underwear counteracts this purpose.
"That is why [testes] are located outside of the body," explains Celia E. Dominguez, reproductive endocrinologist, Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine when talking to WebMD. "Testes were made to be out in the breeze."
Dr. A. David Soleymani, a Chicago dermatologist and founder of DERMIO.com, backs up the case against briefs, suggesting that the hot and humid conditions created by nut-huggers not only halts sperm production, but creates optimal conditions for fungal growth. Gross.
“Increased moisture can lead to infectious skin issues like tinea cruris (jock itch),” Soleymani says when talking to Thrillist.
So case closed. It’s obviously best to opt for boxers, right? Hold up.
While letting your balls fly free and cool may be good for fertility and staying fungus-free, wearing boxer shorts when working out or living an active lifestyle can lead to chafing, bruising, or much, much worse, testicular torsion. Testicular torsion is a condition where the testies rotate, twisting the chords responsible for the blood flow to the scrotum, and essentially cutting off blood supply. The painful condition can be reversed through surgery in an effort to save your junk.
“Boxers can be bad, especially for sports, because of friction leading to chafing. Testicular torsion is also a concern for athletes due to a lack of ball support,” explains Dr. Soleymani.
Wow. So looks like we’re reduced to a choice of fungal-ridden infertility, or twisted balls. This is probably not the feel-good article you were expecting to read. Well the good news is that experts have suggested a happy medium could exist.
Try wearing boxers for everyday life, and tighter fitting briefs for working out, to minimise the risk of all negative impacts, whilst optimising sperm health at the same time. Or, you know, just throw caution into the wind and wear whatever feels comfortable for you.
And if your mind is still at a loss, and we don’t blame you really as both options seem to suck, take some tips from the opposite sex. Sixty-two percent of women think boxer briefs are a guy’s best pick. Boxer shorts came in second - another classic fit. If these are your go-to, stay away from kitschy patterns or lame logos - your underwear is not the right place to express your love for The Simpsons according to the poll.
Whichever way you go, one thing was unanimously agreed upon: steer clear of tighty-whiteys. Sorry lads, the results speak for themselves.