Boxers or Briefs

how to watch boxers or briefs

It’s a battle as old as the industry itself: should you opt for comfort and breeze or support and cheek? The heated debate of boxers versus briefs has been happening for a long time, and to tell you the truth, there’s no one good answer - the only reason both styles have stuck around for so long is that they’ve got staunch supporters in their courts. 

So, let’s look at the contenders, set up the field of battle, and figure out which option is right for you, boxers or briefs?

Briefs - Fitted Comfort

Briefs hit the market in 1935 and were advertised as a more modest version of the jockstrap that could be worn in everyday life. They were originally sold by a company called Coopers and were the brainchild of one Arthur Kneibler, an “apparel engineer” for the company. Briefs were immediately popular, too, selling over 30,000 pairs in the first three months of their American launch.

Briefs are, well, brief: they cover only the bare essentials, if you will, in both the front and the back (which is where they differ from jockstraps). Briefs, also called “tighty-whiteys,” are tight-fitting underwear that cut off at the top of the thigh and give solid support to the family jewels. They can come in a variety of cuts, some more revealing than others, but are always relatively close to the top of the leg. Most briefs have a y-front construction for easy access to relief.

Statistically speaking, briefs are more popular with older men. They’re considered more mature in terms of silhouette and outline, and sexier, as most ads for briefs are designed to please (think Calvin Klein or Armani). The supportive design of a brief definitely puts more emphasis on the package, if that’s what you’re looking to do.

Now, this close fit does come with some downsides, the most obvious being chafing. Wearing something excessively tight for an extended period of time can cause chafing, irritation, or, in some cases, ingrown hairs, especially if a brief is ill-fitting. Additionally, a 2018 study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggested that wearing tight underwear can have a negative effect on sperm count. So, if peak fertility is a goal of yours, briefs probably aren’t right for you.

Boxers - Relaxed and Roomy

The name “boxers” comes from the original intent of the design created by Jacob Golomb. In 1925, boxers were marketed as taking advantage of the then-new elastic waistband and a roomier cut to make quick movement such as that needed for boxing in the ring significantly easier.

If the idea of wearing tight undies makes you cross your legs, you might consider boxers. Boxers are the loosest of the loose, and the closest you can get to going commando without actually doing so. Boxers are longer underwear that extend over the top of the leg and, most importantly, are loose-fitting all the way around. They usually have a buttoned access at the front for quick relief and are held up by an elastic waistband. 

Boxers tend to be popular with younger men and boys because of their comfort level. In fact, in some contexts, boxers are considered juvenile or only for children. This isn’t universal, though: some men see boxers as a classic look that pairs well with sophisticated outfits and styles.

Of course, boxers have their downsides, too. The loose construction means that your bits are going to be moving around quite a bit, which can lead to some unfortunate squishing or twisting scenarios. The fabric of the garment itself can also pose a problem: when worn under items like jeans, boxers are especially prone to bunching, which can be both unsightly and uncomfortable.

Should you wear boxers or briefs?

Okay, so you know what boxers are, you know what briefs are, and you know that they can be combined. But what if you don’t want a combination? Should you wear boxers or briefs? 

The choice for boxers vs briefs is, of course, personal and will depend on your unique preferences, but you can consider some of these factors:

  • Comfort. Would you be okay with close-fitting fabric downstairs all day, or would you prefer a little more wiggle room?
  • Support. Your twig and berries may feel more comfortable moving freely or snugly held in by a pouch. 
  • Coverage. Consider whether you’re comfortable with showing more skin, or whether you’d prefer to keep some things private.
  • Body Type. Briefs are typically designed for thinner and leaner bodies, while boxers work well for larger or more athletic builds. Be aware, though, that this can vary from brand to brand.
  • Clothing choices. Tighter jeans may cause boxers to bunch, while briefs under leisurewear like sweatpants may take away from the comfort factor. 
  • Activity choices. Briefs provide support when you’re doing anything that requires a lot of movement, while boxers provide more freedom of movement which can be just right for more leisure-y moments.
  • Sex appeal. As mentioned, boxers and briefs have different kinds of sex appeal associated with them. Boxers are seen as classier, but briefs are seen as more aesthetically flattering.

Luckily, pricing and design variety across styles tend to be relatively consistent, so you don’t have to worry about that as a deciding factor.

Trunks and Boxer Briefs: The Best of Both Worlds?

So, what if you want the support of briefs with the coverage of boxers? Then you might consider a combination of the two, first introduced by Calvin Klein in the 1990s: the boxer briefs. Or, the trunk, which is like the boxer brief, except a few inches shorter down the thigh. Both trunks and boxer briefs are newer cuts to the scene, having been marketed as combinations of some of the best features of both boxers and briefs. The boxer brief was famously popularized in an ad campaign starring Mark Wahlberg, quickly rising to become one of the most common cuts of underwear on the market.

Boxer briefs are close-fitting like briefs, but extend down the leg like a boxer does. The name can refer to any leg length as long as the fit is close rather than loose; it also must come down past the hip joint at the top of the leg. Trunks, then, are the shorter alternative.

Trunks and boxer briefs have their downsides too. Because they’re tight fitting on the leg, the issue of chafing can become more problematic around your joints. They also have the same sperm-count concerns as briefs, and some of the same bunching issues as boxers (though that is less prevalent because of the closer fit).

Is Going Commando a Viable Option?

If neither briefs or boxers appeal to you, you might consider going without underwear at all. Humans went ages without wearing special clothing on their genitals, after all, so surely there’s no harm in that? 

There are some benefits to going commando. Some research suggests that not wearing underwear at all can decrease your risk of developing infections from bacteria that underwear tends to harbor. It’s also obviously the most breathable option, and one that can save you money on underwear long-term.

That being said, there are some serious downsides to forgoing underwear completely. To start with, you’ll need to wash your pants, jeans, and shorts significantly more often due to their exposure to your skin in sensitive areas: dirty jeans pose host bacteria, too. Speaking of jeans, you’ll need to be careful as all hell with the zipper, given that there’s no boundary between your member (or your balls, or your any pubic hair) and those metal clasps. Accidents happen, and they aren’t pretty (see: “About Came Mary”). Additionally, you’ll need to be careful with your movement, as having zero support down there can lead to cases of testicular torsion. 

If you really want to go commando, it’s probably best to reserve it for when you’re sleeping. One virtue here is, breathability is great for getting a solid night’s rest. During the day, you might want to consider picking up a pair of whatever underwear is most comfortable for you.


Boxers and briefs both have their advantages and disadvantages. They both offer a layer of protection between your junk and your jeans, and they both offer a barrier if you’re looking for modesty. Which one you choose ultimately does come down to your personal preference and how each fit factors into your lifestyle.

When it comes down to it, it may be best if there is no winner between boxers and briefs. Instead, you might choose to keep both in your wardrobe and wear whichever option is most appropriate for the situation you find yourself in that day. Hell, it might even be worth it to keep other styles available to you so that you can adapt to a wider range of circumstances.

Not sure what style of underwear you want to wear? Or, what suits you? Consider trying them all! Our subscription box allows you to try a wide range of styles, cuts, and colors from some of the top brands in the industry. You tell us what you’re thinking in terms of style, and we’ll curate a box specifically for you, sent on your schedule. Try them out, find out what you like, and get fresh sets delivered in trending colors whenever you want them.

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