Boyshorts and Girltrunks 101: Your Queer Underwear Guide

This post was originally published in 2013 and was recently updated for 2020.


This post was originally published in 2013 and remains wildly popular — but also, riddled with dead links to non-existent products. So, let’s start fresh with new links and new styles for 2020 and the future, if there is a future or whatever.

I’m very passionate about always having cute underwear in general and this specific style of underwear, especially these days when a solid boxer-brief can completely eliminate the need to ever wear pants! My underwear drawer is half thongs and half “girl trunks” — two styles that also meet my other intimate need, which’s no panty lines.

Now, as a lesbian, I find myself often surrounded by others with similar preferences for boxer-briefs and boyshorts because LGBTQ Women and non-binary people have, historically, been especially inclined to wear boys/men’s underwear or “boy” cuts from the women’s section — and these days, unisex items produced by gender-expansive clothing brands. Back in 2015, we asked our readers what style of underwear they wear: 12% said boxers, 22% said boxer-briefs and 33% said boyshorts. I have no data to compare this to but I feel like this is probably more than the heterosexual and/or cisgender population.

What are Boyshorts and Girltrunks?

For years we’ve seen boxer-briefs or “Girltrunks” made for people who are not adult cis men (as in; no pouch for external genitalia) consistently get discontinued, but a new awareness of the market for this style has transformed the field in recent years. Especially of course TomboyX.

Also, I know that gender is a spectrum and a solid quarter of you likely don’t identify as female, but those words will come up a lot in this post because that is how fashion describes itself!

Underpants who identify as “boyshorts” run the gamut, especially with respect to coverage, so when I say “girltrunks” I’m referring to “boyshorts” (and sometimes men’s boxer-briefs) that cover your whole entire butt and then some. Here, I made you a graphic to explain the different types of underpants!

As you know, we like to diversify the imagery as much as possible here, but unfortunately underwear vendors prefer to focus on skinny white cis girls exclusively, even when modeling plus-size underthings! So that’s how that is.

Let’s begin!

Traditional Medium Coverage Boyshorts

The most common style of boyshorts stops just short of full ass-coverage. What makes this style different from traditional women’s underpants is the cut — they generally reveal less of the thigh and ass than traditional women’s briefs and have short, straight-cut legs and usually a lower waist. They’re exceptionally flattering and also very sporty/sexy. Sportysexy, if you will.

High Coverage Boyshorts

Depending on precisely what you’ve got going on w/r/t your body and butt size, these boyshorts might cover up your whole damn butt!!!

Girl Trunks / Boxer-Briefs for All Bodies

But the fullest coverage of all — a pair of underpants that will encase your entire butt and encircle the tops of your thighs — are boxer-briefs. For centuries, intrepid lesbians have been scouring mens/boys underwear offerings in search of something that’ll do the trick. In addition to being super comfortable and nixing bunching up or panty lines that divide your buttcheeks on a diagonal plane, this style enables you to safely slip on a banana peel in a dress without letting the whole world know whether or not you wax your bikini line. Over the years, many women’s takes on this men’s classic have come and gone, mostly from Hanes and Calvin Klein, but it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and we’ve got plenty of options.

At the top of the pack is, of course, lesbian-owned TomboyX, who sells the exact style of underwear I’ve always dreamed of in a variety of colors and cuts. But they are not the only horse in the race anymore!

Mens / Boys Boxer Briefs

Prior to TomboyX entering my life, I got my underpants from the H&M boys section (size 12-14Y) because they’re completely a men’s style, but were spandexy enough to wear under leggings. Unfortunately H&M appears to be OUT OF STOCK of this item. Other longstanding favorites from the other side of the aisle, like Uniqlo’s seamless boxer-briefs and Target’s Mossimo boxer-briefs, have vanished from the earth. American Apparel had a very popular boxer-brief situation we even printed our own words upon, but apparently under new ownership, quality has degraded, and the new owner’s shop is currently sold out of the item. But we’ve still got American Eagle boxer-briefs, a consistent staple of a masc lesbian wardrobe, remains tried and true!

Some styles of men’s boxer briefs basically count as shorts as long as you never leave the house (which, these days, well). Depending on your between-the-legs situation, you may or may not be looking to avoid a generous penis pocket. I personally eschew boxer-briefs that offer “enhancing” or “sculpting” or even “support,” which means I generally stick to 95%-100% cotton boxer-briefs. Again I tend to loot the boy’s section for these (Fruit of The Loom), but here are some grown-up sized options:

1. Hanes Men’s Boxer Brief with ComfortFlex Waistband ($15.95) S – 2XL Mens
2. American Eagle 3″ Classic Trunk Underwear ($22.46) XS – 3XL Mens
3. Tommy Hilfiger Cotton Boxer-Brief 3-Pack $23.70 (These colors of that style of boxer-brief goes up to size 5XL for $29.63 for two pairs.)
4. Old Navy Soft Washed Built-In Flex Boxer Briefs 3-Pack $19.97 XS – 3XL Mens
5. Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Stretch Low Rise Trunks (assorted sizes and colors, $19.99 – $64.50) Mens Small – XL
6. American Apparel Men’s Baby Rib Boxer Brief ($14) S – XL
7. Lucky Brand Moto Multi Boxer Briefs $36.50 S – XL Mens
8. H+M 3-pack short boxer shorts ($9.99) XS – 2XL Mens

Funderpants

Who doesn’t love fun? Everybody loves fun, and that’s a fact!

Fun Patterns and Graphics: Trunks and Boxer-Briefs

1. Mens Multi Tropical Leaf Print Trunks 3 Pack ($12.50) XS – XL Mens
2. Tomboyx 4.5″ Cry Freedom Trunks ($25) XS – 4XL
3. Paul Smith Dog Print Low-Rise Boxer Briefs ($30) S – XL Mens
4. Nick Graham Floral Boxer Briefs ($18) 2XL – 3XL Mens
5. MeUndies Women’s Boyshort in Slater ($16.99) XS – 4XL
6. Zine Art Boxer Brief ($14) S – XL
7. DC Batman Boxer Briefs 3-Pack XS – 2XL Boys ($36)
8. AEO Bolt 3″ Flex Trunk Underwear ($11.16) XS – 3XL Mens

Funderpants: Boyshorts Edition

Rainbows!

 Okay what are you waiting for, TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS!!!!

obligatory-kc-danger-without-pants

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2838 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. I believe that the caption under Mens / Boys Boxer Briefs is incorrect (as it is the same as the Funderpants one below it, and the descriptions don’t match the photos)

  2. I’m reading this sitting in my high-coverage boyshort, which is a thing I’ve just learned.

    Are there more European stradlers around? Any tips on local-ish shops? (Shipping from the US can be pricy.) I especially like all the rainbow ones, but I’m poor so I’m not in the market for the fancy brands.

    If anyone is in north-west Europe, and has got a HEMA store near them that sells underwear, this is my personal fave: https://www.hema.nl/dames/lingerie/slip/boxer/damesboxer-naadloos-met-bamboe-zwart-1000001782.html

    Seamless, 80% bamboo viscose. Sizes s-xl (plenty of stretch – my hips are 122 cm and I fit in the XL easily). €8,50. Boring, functional underwear. It comes up to my belly button so it doesn’t get stuck under my belly which is the worst. Most comfy thing I own.

  3. Given that TomboyX has had problems with their treatment of transmasc models as recently as March, their inclusion on this list should at the very least come with a huge asterisk, if not struck entirely. Three months is a bit soon to see if they’ve actually changed their tune.

  4. Oh I wish you hadn’t introduced me to the MeUndies brand boyshorts. Insta-love for the ‘soymates’ happy sushi pants, and my geek heart grew three sizes when I learned that yes, there is such a thing as Ewok undies. I could see this becoming an expensive obsession.

  5. For UK peeps I can recommend British Boxers if you\’re into hipster briefs – no patterns but a lovely shade range, very comfy, full coverage, and they do a \”lucky dip\” of 4 for the price of 2 (and they take colour requests if you have a particular hankering!). They\’re a small company and I\’m still not sure how I convinced Google to cough them up, but totally recommend.

  6. For UK peeps I can recommend British Boxers if you’re into hipster briefs – no patterns but a lovely shade range, very comfy, full coverage, and they do a “lucky dip” of 4 for the price of 2 (and they take colour requests if you have a particular hankering!). They’re a small company and I’m still not sure how I convinced Google to cough them up, but totally recommend.

  7. Fam, do not buy from Girls Will Be Boys. I loved their product but the last time I attempted to buy from them two months passed with nothing communicated to me. They wouldn’t issue a refund till I filed a claim with paypal. Save yourself some time and go elsewhere.

    • Hey Audrey,
      This is Michelle from GWBB. I am so sorry about your experience. We recently changed over management due to these types of issues and are working hard to make sure this never happens again. We would love if you would give us another shot. Email us at marketing@gwbbclothing.com and we will hook you up with a discount. Again, so sorry you experienced this.

  8. Just came here to sing the praises of American Eagle horizontal fly boxer briefs. HORIZONTAL FLY. It is a game changer. I don’t have a penis, but my wife does occasionally and since they’ve purchased these, I cannot understand why all flys are not horizontal flys.
    In terms of functional logistics? Way easier to whip out and more secure for a packer.
    In terms of sexy time? It’s like a runway for your hand—regardless of genitalia!
    Plus they are stretchy AF, so if you’ve got hips and thighs and prefer to have your blood circulate normally, these are for you.

  9. For plus size men’s trunks/boxer briefs, ASOS has a limited but very comfy selection! They are now my go-to undies. Nice light weight stretchy cotton, much breezier than TomboyX, which I find to be way too hot.

  10. I am so sad that first Mossman and now 2xist have just given up on the non-lacy women’s underwear. Both were so great. Sorry, just wanted to share with people who also are sad because these sort of styles are lost to the world.

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