You’ve been wearing the same banana hammock for as long as you can remember. They’ve been fine for years. No beefs. Then, all of a sudden, like a left hook outta nowhere, you are trying to have kids, and the issue comes up: boxers or briefs? Which is better for fertility?
The Underwear Tradition
According to online surveys, traditionally, men wear the same type of underwear their fathers wore. And, by habit, they stick with the same underwear model throughout their lives. As for demographics: 71% of men wear briefs, 7% like tight boxers, and 7% prefer boxers. It’s not clear from the survey what the other 15% wear (or don’t) but I’ll let you guess.
Feeling the Heat with Tighty Whities
For half a century, it has been touted that loose underwear keeps scrotal temperature down and maintains fertility. Hang low sweet chariot. As a consequence, doctors of all kinds have routinely advised men to wear boxers instead of briefs to maintain their fertility. And just as men buy sexy lingerie for their women, women buy the most bizarre boxers for their men: from kitten covered cotton to stylized silk. But is any of this true? Or is this just another genital shell game?
The Skinny on Boxers and Briefs
Believe or not, a “controlled” trial was published that compared boxers to briefs in infertile men. This study was designed and run by, you guessed it, urologists, my fellow stream team buddies. It involved 97 male volunteers and showed that there was no difference in scrotal temperatures (taken from 3 areas!) in men wearing boxers and briefs, even when they switched from one type of underwear to the other. Although fertility was not measured, this clearly showed that scrotal temperature does not correlate with the type of underwear that men wear.
I commented on this study when it was published and noted that this fertility myth had been debunked, and rightly so. So go ahead and wear what works for you. For your health and those you love, I would only qualify comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s advice to “don’t ever change,” to say “don’t forget to change” underwear regularly.