Men’s Underwear Preferences: What Men Hide Under Their Pants?

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With over eight billion humans walking around the planet, I believe someone somewhere has already performed whatever crazy idea I develop. Take writing a men’s underwear blog as an example. When I first started, my husband and I thought – and my therapist! – I was the only guy weird enough to enjoy writing about men’s underwear. It turns out plenty of other guys – and girls! – love talking about men’s underwear. Then again, who doesn’t enjoy telling the world about their amazing new pair of undies?

Yet, I have not discovered a fantastic resource with data on what guys prefer in their underwear. Not just the cliché “boxer or briefs” question, but specific, detailed questions on what guys look for when purchasing and wearing underwear. I know many companies have this data, yet they do not share it with the public because they are also running a business. As a genuinely curious person, I find the lack of public data disappointing. Readership Preferences – 2024

As a blog dedicated to men’s underwear, polling my readers on their underwear preferences is natural. Whenever someone signs up for my monthly emails (I am looking at you!), they can let me know their men’s underwear preference. It is not required, but it helps me know what kind of guides and reviews to write about.

However, it is also cool to know what guys love to wear. Below is a chart showing my email subscribers’ preferences as of April 2024. Briefs and boxer briefs are the two largest categories, with briefs being preferred by around 38% of my readers and boxer briefs by 21%. However, if we include trunks in the boxer briefs category, 34% of my readers prefer this style – almost as much as briefs. This shows that men’s preferences are changing, and not all guys wear boxer briefs!

I also love that 12% of my readers like thongs and around 8% like jockstraps, showing the diversity of men’s underwear preferences. In fact, more guys prefer thongs and jockstraps to boxer shorts!

And if you would like to partake in this poll, it is very simple! Just sign up for my monthly emails:

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I also ran a poll on my YouTube channel, and the results are below. The results are a bit different than those of my blog readership, with trunks and boxer briefs getting 49% of the vote on YouTube compared to 34% with my email poll. Thongs also came in at only 4% on YouTube, compared to over 12% with my email poll.

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Google Results on Men’s Underwear Preferences

Before going further, let’s examine the public data. While there isn’t much data, it is a start, and some is pretty interesting to read.

Underwear News Briefs (UNB) – Reader Poll 2022

I had the honor of being invited by Tim to appear on UNB’s Underwear Podcast in 2023 – you can listen to my interview here. I had an amazing time talking about men’s underwear!

Like myself, UNB is dedicated to covering the world of men’s underwear, both through its blog and through its podcast. As such, they sent out a reader’s survey in 2022 asking readers about their underwear – you can read the full results here.

As a note of caution, I suspect that UNB’s readership is genuinely excited about men’s underwear and thus far more into less mainstream styles than most other guys. I note this because the survey says that 28% of readers preferred thongs over any other type of men’s underwear. While men’s thongs are becoming more popular, I can assure you that 28% of the general male popular do not wear thongs on a regular basis.

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43% responded that they preferred briefs – either regular briefs or bikinis – while only 9% said they prefer boxer briefs. Again, I believe these results are very much skewed by the differing demographics of UNB’s readership compared to the general public.

Yet, that doesn’t make the results any less valid. In fact, it shows that guys who aren’t afraid of talking about and exploring men’s underwear shift towards shorter and skimpier styles. Over the years, I have gravitated towards shorter styles too. Whereas I was 100% boxer shorts in high school, I then became 100% boxer briefs, and then shifted to trunks, and now I wear all sorts of styles – including briefs, bikinis, and jockstraps.

Metro’s 2021 Poll of Manchester Underwear Preferences

Metro – a British tabloid – surveyed 2,000 people in Manchester, England, about men’s underwear. The poll was straightforward: what kind of pants (underwear) do guys wear? Surprisingly, 51% stated that they preferred tighty-whities compared to only 26% preferring boxer briefs. YouGov’s 2016 poll shows that older British men overwhelmingly prefer briefs. At the same time, younger guys are trending towards shorter styles, such as trunks and briefs. Thus, results might be pretty accurate across the male British population.

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Hunk Underwear’s 2020 Underwear Preferences Poll

Hunk Underwear published the results of their 2020 poll regarding men’s underwear. Like Bang & Strike, Hunk has some real hotties modeling their underwear. Unlike Bang & Strike, Hunk is out and proud in showing they cater to gay guys: one of the poll questions is, what do you prefer seeing on other guys? Let’s get to their results:

  • Starting with what guys prefer to see on other guys, briefs won with 43% of the vote. Jockstraps and boxer briefs were nearly tied, each with around 20% of the vote. For me, trunks are the hottest on other guys, followed by briefs and boxer briefs equally as hot.
  • Respondents preferred briefs slightly more for day-to-day wear than boxer briefs, 43% vs. 36%, respectively.
  • Yet for gym wear, while briefs still beat boxer briefs – 34% to 27% – jockstraps were quite popular with 19% of the vote. I don’t find that unexpected since jockstraps are associated with a gym environment. I could never wear a jockstrap in public – at least at the moment – however, I know several guys that do so.
  • What I found surprising about the gym wear question was that 11% of respondents stated they go commando at the gym. I feel like the gym is when you most want to wear underwear, between being in close proximity to others and moving your body in all different ways. And 6% admitted to wearing boxer shorts.

Hunk’s remaining questions are unique and exactly the type of data I seek!

  • Hunk notes that 83% of respondents stated that underwear is sexually exciting, with 73% of these guys noting that “underwear accentuates the male body.” Honestly, I couldn’t have said it better myself!
  • Around 65% of respondents said they spent less than $20 per pair of underwear, while 6% spent more than $30. I agree with this. $15-$20 is the sweet spot of men’s underwear while spending more than $30 means you are committed to some high-class underwear. It is not wrong to spend more than $30 per pair, but generally, I find waiting for sales on these higher-end brands pays off (it certainly has for me!).

  • I loved that Hunk asked what the most important factor in purchasing new underwear is. 33% stated color and design, while 22% went with brand and 20% went with comfort. For me, comfort is my top factor, followed by color and design. I don’t care which brand I buy purely for the brand name. Instead, I tend to buy a lot of the same brands because they make comfortable and appealing underwear.
  • Finally, Hunk notes that only 6% of respondents stated they don’t buy underwear at least once yearly. I’m not upset by this. Good pairs of undies will last for years if you buy high-quality underwear and treat it well. Plenty of my underwear collection is a few years old yet still performing well.

Bang & Strike Pants (Underwear) Survey

For my American readers, Brits strangely call underwear pants and pants trousers. Hence, British underwear company Bang & Strike published an underwear survey called “Pants Survey.” I’m not sure why Brits call underwear pants, but considering how hot Bang & Strike’s underwear models are, I’ll let it slide.

While the publication date is unknown, the Bang & Strike poll is very informative. I especially like how Bang & Strike separated the results by sexual orientation, as I believe gay and straight guys do not view men’s underwear the same way (on average, ok!). Here are the key results:

  • Around 45% of straight guys responding to the poll preferred boxers, compared to 50-60% of gay and bi men preferring briefs. This makes sense to me, although, as I mentioned earlier, I believe all guys are moving towards shorter styles. Thus, if the same poll was taken today, I believe a higher number of straight guys would prefer briefs.
  • 92% of respondents bought their own underwear. Contrast this finding with Ron’s comment above from The Underwear Expert poll noting his belief that men’s female spouses purchase their underwear. I believe the truth is in the middle.
  • 20% of male respondents noted that they had worn the same pair of underwear for more than two days. I believe it. Especially now, with many working from home, there is less of a need for daily showering. I have gotten lazy in this department, switching to showering every other day. Better for the environment!
  • Finally, Bang & Strike noted that respondents stated the average price paid for a pair of underwear was £5 to £10 (around $7 to $14). I believe good men’s underwear starts in the $10-$15 price bracket, so the poll sounds about right.

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Huffington Post/Ask Men (HP/AM) 2016 Poll of Underwear Preferences

To further illustrate the lack of public data regarding men’s underwear preferences, I did not find this 2016 underwear poll on The Huffington Post or AskMen’s website. No, I found it on fellow blogger BosGuy’s website.

The HP/AM poll notes that 58% of respondents wore boxer briefs, with only 22% stating they wore briefs. Only 2% said they wore thongs. Since boxer briefs have long been men’s preferred underwear since the late 2000s, 58% preferring boxer briefs is more reasonable than only 27% a la The Underwear Expert’s 2014 poll below.

More interesting about this pole were the other two questions it asked. When asked what type of underwear “makes you feel more like a man,” 43% stated boxers, while 40% selected briefs. I am shocked that 40% favored briefs, especially back in 2016. Today and into the next few years, I can envision 40% of guys choosing briefs with briefs’ surge in popularity. In 2016? Not so much. Also interesting is that although 40% stated briefs made them feel like a man, only 22% wore briefs. I am curious to know why there is such a significant difference.

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The last question HP/AM asked was, “Do you wear underwear to feel sexy?” Sadly, 54% of respondents said no. I want to cry. :'( Guys, no reason not to feel sexy and confident by wearing a pair of fantastic underwear. And today, with so many brands developing new men’s underwear styles, it is easy and inexpensive to wear sexy underwear proudly.

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YouGov’s 2016 Poll of British Men’s Underwear Preferences

YouGov’s August 2016 survey focused on British men and found that overall, 37% of respondents preferred boxer shorts (“loose boxers”), 27% preferred briefs, and 25% wanted boxer briefs (“tight boxers”). I love comparisons, and with YouGov and HP/AM polling men in the same year, these two polls directly compare underwear differences across the Atlantic Ocean. While the numbers for boxer briefs are all over the place, it is striking how consistent they are across the past three polls: around 1/4 of respondents always preferred briefs.

YouGov adds a nice touch and breaks down these results by age group. The results are clear: younger guys prefer boxer briefs to briefs, and older guys prefer briefs to boxer briefs. This split by age group isn’t surprising for a poll performed in 2016. Today and over the next few years, I feel younger guys will shift more towards briefs following my 40-year underwear cycle analysis. Also, note that when YouGov asked women what they prefer men to wear, women far desired boxer briefs to briefs by a four to one margin. Briefs get an unfair bad rap!

I want to call out one sentence of the blog post: “And 3% of men mysteriously opted for “Other” underwear than boxers, briefs or none. The mind boggles.” That the blog post writer can’t imagine men’s underwear styles other than boxers or briefs – such as jockstraps – is another sign of the stuffiness of men’s underwear. Granted, in 2016, men’s underwear hadn’t quite blossomed into what it is today. Nonetheless, I want a world where men’s underwear is just as essential and discussed as women’s underwear. I feel the momentum building, and I am very excited about the future of men’s underwear!

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The Underwear Expert’s 2014 Poll

When The Underwear Expert was on Kickstarter in 2014, they polled 45,000 readers on their underwear preferences. Remember that The Underwear Expert’s readership probably would have been gay-leaning then. While gay guys have some of the best taste in underwear – it’s true – gay guys also are a small subset of the universe of guys. Hence, some results don’t represent the entire men’s underwear market. Nonetheless, here are the key findings:

  • 27% of respondents preferred briefs, 22% preferred boxer briefs, 17% for jockstraps, and 15% for trunks. I believe the guys responding to this poll were ahead of the curve. It wasn’t until 2021 that briefs picked up momentum as mainstream men’s underwear again.
  • 80% of respondents purchase underwear at least once per year, with 30% even claiming once per month. Of course, if you are reading The Underwear Expert, you are already into underwear, so no surprise that 30% bought underwear monthly.
  • At the time of the poll – November 2014 – only 9% of respondents bought underwear through Amazon. My hunch is that this number is far higher today (see my Guide to the Best Boxer Briefs on Amazon for a start).
  • Black and blue were the most popular colors—each favorited by around 20% of respondents—followed by red and green. Blue is my favorite color, making up a large portion of my underwear collection, although I am adding red pairs to spice it up.

Going back to my take that this survey focused more on gay guys, “Ron” notes in the comments section of the blog post summed up my feelings quite well:

I have to agree with Ben. I suspect that the readership of this site skews towards gay, fashion-aware, and upmarket. There are a whole lot of men out there whose wives go to Target and pick up the first multipack of their husband’s preferred style. I’d be willing to bet that for Hanes and Fruit of the Loom, white briefs and boxer shorts are an absolute majority of their sales.

Ron, January 15, 2015, Comments Section

My Instagram Polls

Although I found the polls above, the results are all over the place. And other than the “boxers or briefs” question, only Hunk’s and Bank & Strike’s polls asked innovative questions. I want to know how guys choose their underwear and what problems men face. Yet, it wasn’t until recently that I realized I could poll guys directly through social media.

Since then, I have created several Instagram story polls asking various questions. Flip through my polls so far below and let me know your thoughts in the comment section. And if you want to partake in the fun, follow me on Instagram @mensunderwearguide.

What do we truly know about men’s underwear preferences?

After examining all of these polls, what can we conclude? Not particularly much, unfortunately. One theme across all votes is the death of boxer shorts. I have written previously about my experiences as a millennial growing up in a world of boxer shorts. Twenty years later, boxer shorts are dead.

Saxx, a popular underwear brand in the US and Canada, has 13 different collections of underwear. Yet only one collection features boxer shorts; even then, they are slim-fit boxers. Even look at the Instagram poll above in which I asked what “boxers” mean. Half – half! – of all respondents thought they meant boxer briefs. My high school self – and my high school friends – wouldn’t even recognize boxer briefs!

As an analytical person who believes in Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” I find the market the most accurate of all polls. How have men’s underwear companies catered to changing underwear preferences? What are the marketing trends in men’s underwear? For example, we want to know if guys are purchasing more or fewer briefs today. We need to look at men’s underwear companies and see if they are selling more or fewer briefs:

  • American Eagle – a popular clothing company for teens and college students – started selling briefs a couple of years ago. Yet in January 2022, they stopped, only to resume again in May 2022. (My Instagram followers heard about this first – see my Instagram polls above.)
  • On the other hand, other popular underwear companies such as Bn3th, Saxx, and Shinesty, all have started selling briefs.
  • My conclusion: Briefs are becoming more popular; however, American Eagle’s halt may mean younger men aren’t sticking with the trend. [Update March 2024: American Eagle sells limited styles of briefs again.]

We can do the same for any trend we want to examine: prices, colors, fabrics, fly type, etc. However, it is almost impossible for me to perform data analysis on this topic without cold, hard purchase data. I have to resort to anecdotal evidence, primarily by reviewing company websites. Nonetheless, this kind of research is still essential and provides valuable data.

As such, I’ll end this blog post on one shining example of public data research answering the “boxers or briefs” question., the largest U.S. retailer, sells many men’s underwear. I typed “men’s underwear” into the search bar – in an incognito window to prevent skewed results – and saw what came up. Fifty pairs of underwear appeared on the first page, not including sponsored results. How did they break down? 30 boxer briefs (60%), 10 briefs (20%), seven boxer shorts (14%), and three trunks (6%).

Based on the results above, do I believe that around 60% of men wear boxer briefs? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I think. Amazon’s high-powered computers aren’t dumb; they listen when buyers speak. Because ultimately, money talks, even when discussing men’s underwear.

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Eric is the creator and writer of He loves boxer briefs and trunks, exploring the new world of briefs, the soft feeling of modal and the lightness of mesh microfiber, and of course writing and researching the world of men's underwear.

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