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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Youngstown chapter.

My aunt is my biggest role model. She has played an integral part in my life, my personality traits, and my passions. Growing up, she went to college nearby and spent a significant amount of time at my parent’s home playing with me, making music with me, talking with me, and laughing with me. As I continued to develop into the independent woman I am today, I’ve acquired several of her quirky traits and lifestyle choices. One of these is often going commando.   

Putting on underwear is a natural part of our routine. We put on a fresh pair after each shower and workout session. Over the years, we accumulate our infamous “period panties” that numerous blood stains have defamed. Every time we place an online order, we throw a pair or two into the cart so we can reach the free shipping threshold. However, have you ever asked yourself why we wear underwear? Dr. Elizabeth Eden admits that it’s a societal norm, but as someone who enjoys defying standards, I question our conditioning of automatically using this clothing accessory. Is it truly necessary, or could we live without it?   

Everyone’s reasons for going commando differ. Some find it more comfortable while others just don’t want to mess with panty lines under their leggings. Wearing underwear certainly has benefits, but not wearing it has just as many. What are some of these benefits? I’m so glad you asked:

It reduces our risk of developing UTIs and yeast infections.

I don’t need to tell you that both of these experiences aren’t fun. They’re incredibly uncomfortable and oftentimes debilitating. Dr. Mini Mai says that “panties trap excess moisture and microbes.”  Underwear can be linked to causing UTI’s because certain shapes and cuts – particularly thongs – spread bacteria from the rectum to the urinary tract due to little fabric.

It reduces irritation and chafing.

Tight underwear can generate friction and therefore produce irritation, creating unnecessary pain throughout the day.  When we exercise, the constant movement contorts our briefs and can therefore trap moisture from perspiration faster.  This can cause more sweating and faster odor production.  You may find increased mobility and flexibility without wearing underwear during your workouts, especially on cardio days when you run or spin.  Just make sure to wear soft, breathable sweats or leggings to reduce your risk for micro-cuts.  If you’re going to wear jeans, you should obviously wear underwear.

It eliminates allergic reactions.

Some panties cause localized rashes called contact dermatitis, which is our skin’s reaction to certain chemicals such as harsh colorful dyes.  Other materials such as lace or latex can cause these painful reactions.  Laundry detergents are also often culprits of contact dermatitis.  The lining of our underwear collects suds in more concentrated amounts than other clothing such as shirts and pants.  The crotch seam of your pants is less likely to collect as much detergent as your underwear, making it scientifically safer to go without underwear.  

It lessens discharge.

Vaginal discharge is a strange combo of bacteria, skin cells, mucus, and fluid.  Underwear may prevent proper ventilation, meaning you’re not allowing enough air to naturally clean out the gunk.  Note that discharge is normal, so no need to be ashamed of it or grossed out by it.  However, if it concerns or frightens you, know that wearing underwear may help alleviate this stress by producing less.

It improves circulation, limiting digestive issues.

Wearing tight underwear, tights, and/or Spanx places abnormal pressure on the stomach, which can cause numerous annoyances such as tingling, deep lines on your skin, and acid reflux.  Meralgia paresthetica occurs when there’s too much pressure on groin nerves.  This condition causes tingling and numbness in your thighs, which can sometimes become permanent if you don’t change bad behaviors.

If you’re uncomfortable with the thought of going commando during your day-to-day life, consider not wearing it at night.  Dr. Lisa Masterson says our organs are “most happy and healthy when they have a chance to breathe.”  Letting our lady parts air out overnight keeps us from trapping moisture while we sleep, therefore leaving the area dry and clean for the next day ahead.  Stay cool, stay hip, and stay fresh.

Hannah Shively

Youngstown '22

Hannah Shively is a senior pursuing her bachelor's degree in instrumental music education from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. She's very passionate about a lot of things: Jesus, music, coffee, fruit snacks, dogs, the cello, and being barefoot. She adores traveling, especially to the beach. You can often find her hanging out with friends, making music, eating delicious food, and going on new adventures.