Panty Play for Men and Women

Underdares: Making it a little harder to get what's beneath
photo: Christopher Berg

I own more underwear than any other clothing item. When I go shopping, I often carry home bags bulging with panties. Most are plain cotton, but I have my share of lacy playthings and thongs. I'd never thought about my panties' erotic appeal until I co-edited the anthology Ultimate Undies: Erotic Stories About Underwear and Lingerie, which highlights the sexual power we hold beneath our clothes. Instead of getting naked immediately, these characters tease and taunt, bringing their underwear fetishes to life.

The right pair can get your day off to a sexy start, either because they remind you of someone or rub against you maddeningly. You can lick your lovers through their drawers, teasing them and making the underwear part of foreplay. Panties make a great gag if you want to muffle loud moans or screams (consensually, of course). Panties can also be used to bind ankles, either for masturbation or as part of a bondage scene. You can describe your undies over the phone to a lover, or mail him or her a pair you plan to wear when you're together. They don't have to be crotchless or wispy, either; sometimes, plain white ones can be the hottest thing of all—especially if you're bending over for a spanking.

Selling used panties online is a booming business for porn stars like Justine Joli and many regular girls who saw a niche market and rushed to fill it with their filthy knickers. U.K.-based Anna ( promises the panties she sells will be worn for 24 hours straight and masturbated in at least once "so that you may enjoy my lovely pussy smell." The entrepreneur even charges more the longer the panties have been worn!

Jennifer, who runs Pretty Panties ( and Lingerie Dreams ( finds straight porn "boring" so decided to become a model to showcase her panty lust. She recommends lace panties, especially if you want them ripped off your body in the heat of the moment. She also likes boyshorts because "they can be taken down nearly to a girl's knees in the classic spanking position before she's taken from behind," as well as standard whites, "which are often sexier because the girl feels comfortable."

Thong power
photo: Paul Sarkis

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Panties aren't just for women, either. For guys who want to keep their feminine side hidden, tucking their cocks into girlish panties, especially under a business suit, is their naughty, and arousing, secret. Panties are a simple start for the budding cross-dresser; privately engaging in this taboo can enhance your arousal. One married man prefers women's intimates because they're cheaper, come in better colors, and feel sexy: "I'm not looking to enhance my package, I just like the way women's underwear fits." He buys his own, since his wife prefers granny panties, and so far, he hasn't told her about his fetish.

Even as thongs peek out of jeans and underwear becomes more visible, especially in summer, many are seeking undies that cover more than they show. Ariel Schudson of retro-styled Pin Up Girl Clothing ( credits "sexy nostalgia" with her success. "From the ruffle panties to cherry-print negligees, we cater to the looks popularized by Alberto Vargas and Bettie Page. Our goal is to make any woman feel as sexy as a pinup girl in a way that modern lingerie just doesn't do."

On August 9, Fresh Pair will celebrate National Underwear Day ( in Times Square by sending 4,000 "underwear ambassadors" out to tempt you into trying on a new, free set. Spokesperson Thomas Onorato claims, "For many people, their underwear is linked directly to their personality." I agree, but you can't figure someone out just by their unmentionables. The slutty girl may prefer prim-and-proper panties, while the geeky computer guy may pack zebra-print briefs.

Laura Leu started her Underdares line ( because she thinks undies are underappreciated. Each pair comes with a slogan on the crotch such as "Pretend your penis is a puppet and perform a skit with it" or "Tie me up, Boy Scout." Says Leu, "Underdares' purpose is to make guys work a little harder to get to what's beneath them, because it shouldn't be easy—even if the girl is. I've had boyfriends rip off my panties so fast it was like they were competing in a Real World–Road Rules challenge." Indeed. You can savor sex longer by teasing your lover, stroking his cock through his briefs, or tugging her underwear upward against her lips.

Of course, some people opt not to wear panties, either because they don't want them to show through their clothes or they just feel freer and sexier without them. Going commando can be a fun surprise for a date, but I've felt too self-conscious when I've attempted it, sure everyone around me could tell. I'd rather slip someone my damp panties under the dinner table or in a movie theater and let them feel how they've turned me on.

When I'm not having sex, choosing special skivvies reminds me to respect my arousal, not ignore it because I'm sleeping alone. Putting on my panties can be an erotic act in and of itself. I'm saving my new hot-pink silk pair—with "Cupcake" written on the back in crystals—for my next lover. I sometimes fondle them, caressing the soft fabric, looking forward to the day when someone else will do so as they cover my ass. They were a gift from my best friend, Heidi, who used to run the fabulous panty blog Hottpants ( and has one of the finest underwear collections I've encountered. I hope when I finally put them on, they're worth the wait.

Bottom line: You never know someone's panty preferences until you see them for yourself. Leu credits this mystery factor with underwear's ongoing appeal. "I love underwear because it allows people to be something completely different than what they appear to be. A woman in a stuffy business suit could be wearing crotchless panties, or a leather-clad biker dude might be wearing a red satin thong." Remember that next time you mentally undress the person next to you on the subway.

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