Covering Our Butts: Let’s Talk About Underwear

Welcome to Butt Week, friends! An entire week dedicated to butts and butt-adjacent stuff: how-tos, thoughtful essays, original art, pop culture critiques, music and more! You are absolutely not ready for this and yet it is happening to you, right now.Let’s talk about underwear!

Did you hear it’s Butt Week?! It’s true, it is! So we’re gonna talk about what covers (or doesn’t cover!) our butts.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Managing Editor

I generally wear two different styles of underwear: big, preferably high-waisted shorts that cover everything but still make my butt look good OR teeny tiny thongs that cover essentially nothing but are still comfortable and cute. My ideal underwear = a cotton or soft fabric high-waisted and preferably seamless thong, which I feel like might be weird? But that’s what’s all-over most comfortable imo. I am absolutely the kind of person who will wear underwear until they disintegrate into pieces, because once I find a pair that are comfortable and cute, I never want to let go. Lately, I’ve been a little more aware of the general state of my underwear as I have taken to wearing zero pants during the pandemic (honestly, I mostly just wear a bikini at home). So anyway it’s probably time for some new stuff!!!!!!

Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor

The thing about underwear, for me, is that I need it to be comfortable before I care about it being sexy. But I would also like it to be sexy. That’s kind of my whole vibe always — I want to look and feel hot, but absolutely not at the expense of also feeling like I could take a nap in whatever I’m wearing. The other thing about underwear is that I’m fat, and finding something that covers my ass and doesn’t pinch too much at the waist/hips is frustrating. And the other thing about underwear is that I’m really prone to yeast infections and BV, so I absolutely have to wear 100% cotton or else my vagina becomes unhappy. Oh and the final thing about undies is that I hate the word “panties” down to my very core; that’s not really important when talking about what I wear to cover my butt, but it felt important for you to know.

So! What does all this mean? It means when I gained a lot of weight as an adult and no longer fit into the Victoria’s Secret classic cotton bikini (5 for $25, of course) I didn’t really know what to do. I’m actually still looking for the perfect affordable cotton undies that fit fat girls, so if you know the secret, please share! My truth is that I would love the Parade undies that Instagram keeps hitting me over the head with, both algorithmically and also via very hot queer influencers, but I just can’t stray from the cotton vibes because my vagina is really particular and finicky.

My solution for now has been to majorly splurge and buy Natori underwear. So far I’ve only tried the “Bliss Girl Brief” which is their simplest style, but I’ve been eyeing the “Bliss Perfection French Cut Panty” in spite of its horrifying (to me) name. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much these cost – they’re $20 a pair or $48 for 3 – but they are really great quality, they last a long time even if you machine wash them (I don’t put them in the dryer, I hang them up to dry), they’re extremely comfortable, and – they’re actually also quite sexy!

Which, okay, brings us to the sexy part of my underwear feelings, wherein I’m going to share a secret with you: I fucking hate uncomfortable lingerie but I love looking extremely sexy for a date, which is why I like to rely on a little trick called: bring very sexy undies to your date in your purse and right before you fuck go into the bathroom and change into them! Look, maybe there are babes out there who absolutely love thongs (god bless!) or who get off on wearing a tight, lacy, high-waisted scenario with multiple ties and bows during dinner, and I truly salute you. But I am not that girl. I have always brought sexy undies (and full lingerie outfits) in my bag on a date and I always change in the bathroom when we get home. If a date is just a dick appointment I’ll maybe show up actually wearing the fancy lingerie, but I have to know that we’ll be fucking (and taking off the lingerie) within like 10 minutes to make this a reality. In my opinion, extremely sexy undies are for showing off a few minutes before you fuck and also for elaborate photo shoots at home — not for everyday wear and certainly not for sitting uncomfortably in for the duration of a date, no thank you!

I’ve actually had a much easier time finding overtly sexy undies for fat girls than I’ve had finding basic cotton briefs for fat girls (we can unpack that another time!), so if you are looking for that I recommend Gabi Fresh x Playful Promises, Savage x Fenty, and Alexandrea Anissa.

Abeni Jones, Contributor

I have a penis. So “women’s” underwear doesn’t fit. No matter what! But, I wear it anyway, because I also sometimes want to “tuck,” which is terrible, but I bought a bunch of panties that are a size too small so that it kind of can help with tucking. But it doesn’t really? But “men’s” underwear would be useless, and also I wear leggings every day, so they have to be tight so they don’t like, bunch up under there. And tucking only like, works in fabrics that don’t have that much stretch. And the gusset has to be wide. I don’t really get how cis women, even, wear a lot of these panty brands, because… the gusset is so narrow is it like, a front thong? Aren’t your lips like, hanging out of these tiny little panties? Maybe they’re only for people with “innies?” I don’t know.

Anyway, though, because of my dick, my panties are always falling down my ass, which is the worst. The only solution I’ve found is high-waisted panties, and I FINALLY found a pair that I like from Gap, and I bought four pairs, but in grey, but I really want them in black, but they have been sold out in all colors in my size for months! I have spent so much money trying to find panties that work since my transition. Literally dozens and dozens of pairs from different brands (I do like Aerie) to find the right ones.

I am finally going to get bottom surgery sometime soon, and it’s POSSIBLE that the only reason I’m getting bottom surgery is so that I can stop having to tuck and can have underwear that fits! OK, that’s definitely not the only reason, but still. It’s in the Top 5 for sure.

Riese , Editorial & Strategy

TomboyX 4.5” Boxer-Briefs. I’ve dreamed of and hoped for this precise product all my life — they’re long enough to go over my entire butt and then some. What a delight. A+++ Five stars would shop again. If I’m not wearing those, I’m wearing Calvin Klein thongs. Thongs and trunks forever!

Ro White, Sex & Dating Editor

I bike year-round for transportation in the Midwest, so I need underwear that doesn’t bunch up, doesn’t drench my butt in sweat and dries quickly in the event that I’m pedaling through rain or snow. I tend to go for function over fashion, so I exclusively wear briefs and boxer briefs, which serve both my cycling needs and my boyish(?) aesthetic. And I don’t mess around with those “cheeky briefs” — I need full ass coverage to feel comfortable. I’m a relatively compact human, but I do, indeed, have a prominent ass, and I don’t want it flopping around. I hate shopping for underwear, so I order mine in bulk from MeUndies, always in black (I’m a bleeder). I deeply appreciate “sexy underwear” on others, but I’ve never worn it myself. I like how I feel in my boring, black briefs, and I’ll probably keep wearing them for the rest of my long, gay life.

Shelli Nicole, Culture Editor

I spend way too much money on underwear and bras and lingerie than I need to but I won’t be stopping anytime soon. I was the girl at the mall who headed straight into Victoria’s Secret to hit up that 72 pairs of panties for $5 table. I have since stopped shopping there but my mother buys me their panties every Christmas so I still have plenty of them in my drawers. I love everything from a high waisted cotton white brief to a lacy boyshort where my cheeks are peeking out and I even love a thong!

Everlane has the panties that I go to for when I am on my period — they are comfortable, soft, still pretty cute and breathe well which is perfect for when I am bleeding. I wear a 14-16 and the XL fits really good but are a little tight when it comes to the bikini cut.

Remember when every other podcast was being sponsored by ThirdLove and talking about their bras? I don’t actually know how the bras are but the panties are pretty damn dope, their Lacy High Waisted briefs in XL are wonderful. Some of my newer favorites have been from Free People and that’s wild because they can be a hit or miss, but these in black in an XL have been comfortable and cute to lounge around in.

So, Panties. Undies. Drawls. Pants. Whatever you want to call them – I love them and even though my wallet might not be happy with my obsession, my ass is and that’s all that matters.

Drew Burnett Gregory, Senior Editor

When I was first coming out, I googled around for the best “women’s” underwear for trans women. The internet resoundly told me to buy from Maidenform. I got a mix of boyshorts and more conventional panties and was expecting them to still not work and was surprised that they actually sort of do?? Look, wearing “women’s” underwear with a penis when you don’t tuck is choosing to wear underwear that slightly doesn’t fit, but the Maidenform underwear is close enough. In fact, I’d say the boyshorts fit pretty great — the panties less so. I really only wear the panties if I’m going on a date or wearing short shorts and I have to be careful I don’t have the worst version of a nip slip ever a.k.a. the testicle slip. It’s only happened a few times, but one of those times was at A-Camp and I still wonder if anyone saw. Dear Seventeen Magazine, I lived it! My balls slipped out of my panties at summer camp in front of my crush!

The most recent Savage X Fenty show has me wishing that I had some proper lingerie — something extremely elaborate and hot and drag. So maybe I’ll buy something soon! Who knows! Could be fun!

Heather Hogan, Senior Writer + Editor

Like everything else I wear, my underwear has to be: 1) comfortable and 2) gay. And so it’s TomboyX Iconic Briefs for me. First of all, they’re cozy as heck. Second of all, you can get them in dinosaurs or bright orange or rainbow patterns, and having cheerful colors and prints on my butt contributes a little bit of joy to my days and we all need all the joy we can get right now. I have always been a tomboy my entire life, and all clothes, especially underwear or bras, that are super feminine-looking have always made me feel itchy, but I wore that stuff for a long time just because I thought that’s what girls had to do. Also because my parents made me wear really stereotypically girly clothes when I was younger. The first time I saw myself in some TomboyX briefs, I was like, “Yes, exactly!” Another thing I love about them is they’re kind of expensive, for me, for underwear. Before I bought my first Iconic Briefs, I always just bought like six-packs of cotton underwear in the most masculine colors I could find from Target or whatever. But then when I sprang for a $20 pair of briefs, I felt like a dang prince! And I liked feeling like a prince, so I built up a collection! (I know in the grand scheme of underwear and lingerie, $20 is probably not very expensive at all, but for me, it was a lot! I have four indoor cats and a colony of outdoor feral cats to feed, you know!) Most recently, I have purchased for myself the Witches Brew ones, obviously.

KaeLyn Rich, Writer

I prefer not to wear underwear. That’s the godhonesttruth. Once in my early 20’s, I was getting out of my mom’s car as she was dropping me off at the airport. I was wearing a cargo mini-skirt. (It was 2000.) As I walked away with my luggage, my mom yelled to me out the window, “KaeLyn! Will you please put some underwear on?” So anyway, yeah, now I’m a mom who yells at their child to put their underwear on. Between my toddler being under-skirt height and my general choice of wanting people to consent to seeing my genitals in public, I begrudgingly wear underwear. Specifically under dresses and skirts. And I like to wear dresses and skirts year-round.

I don’t like the look or feel of underwear under my clothes, so I want loose-fitting seamless-looking styles that don’t compress or dig at all. I also can’t deal with readjusting my undies all the time. My body shape (small hips, round belly) means pants and undies fall down on me and I’m always hiking them up. One of the reasons I like a dress with pockets is so I can adjust my undies and leggings discreetly. Like truly, my underwear will fall off my body as I’m walking if I don’t pull it up. My only success in finding underwear that doesn’t fall down and that is also soft and comfortable are Aerie high waist 100% cotton briefs. Unfortunately, the specific style I love is no longer available. I keep hoping they’ll bring it back! These Eyelash Lace High Waisted Boybrief Underwear are almost as good and only slide down a little. The XXL fits like a dream with enough stretch to fit someone in a larger size easily. I’d argue they’re even a little sexy!

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  1. Agree w/ Vanessa that Natori is so good (how is their fabric cotton, but also better than cotton, and light and durable at the same time?). I have had some luck finding discounted pairs at Nordstrom Rack, although one might have to check repeatedly to find the right colorway and size.

  2. I recently discovered WOXERS which despite the incredibly stupid name are my ideal undies. Extra crotch space in “men’s” boxer briefs never bugged me, but a roomier thigh and waste band are refreshing after years of wearing boxer briefs that pinched my sides and rode up my legs. They’re very similar to tomboyX but just a little more comfy.

  3. After 30+ years of commando, I decided to try underwear again. Quickly settled on low-rider briefs. They might not fit perfectly due to my junk, but they’re comfy. Also, they have a little pocket in the crotch, which I guess if for extra cash? Weed stash? Spare key?

  4. Just gonna say as an ex-seamstress, if you can buy underwear that involves a living wage, that’s not something to feel embarrassed about, and thank you!

    I was really sad that the local gender affirming and diversity celebrating underwear store closed this year, but they are still selling a small selection online, made in Canada (youropencloset). I’m hoping maybe one day they’ll be able to open again…

    Meanwhile I’ll keep selling fancy Swiss undies at work and getting a free pair every so often to cover my bottom line I guess 😜

  5. Abeni’s question about the “front thong” of women’s underwear is hilarious and true! I am AFAB agender and those style undies do not work on my body at all. They must work for some folks because they’re so prevalent but idk! Gonna call them front things from now on. I mostly wear short style ones without a center seam (why the fuck is there a center seam on so many?? how is that comfy…) for this exact reason.

    • Yes! I’m also baffled by how narrow the front and crotch part of some underwear is, as that’s just not as comfortable to me. I like the fruit of the loom hipster style because they seem a bit better in that regard, but that might just be because I may have bought them a size bigger than necessary. (Shrug)

  6. FWIW my go-to fat girl cotton briefs are Cacique. I don’t tend to shop at Lane Bryant for anything else–their styles never seem quite modern enough?–but I like these underwear. (You will not be able to avoid the word “panties” on their website, be warned!)

  7. man between tomboy/butch aesthetics and having Bad Skin that leads to the formation of super painful cysts anywhere that my clothing chafes, i’ve become somewhat of an undies connoisseur

    on the list of bad: tight waistbands, elastic waistbands that aren’t covered with cotton (why is this so common in men’s underwear? y’all know you don’t have to have that right?), tight legs, boring patterns

    on the list of good: waistband that sits halfway down my paunch instead of actually at my waist, patterns that ms. frizzle would approve of

    sadly my favorite brand (target’s store brand mossimo) stopped making the fun cute $6 boxer briefs, so now i suffer through plaids and solids while dreaming of the day i can spend more than ten dollars a pair

  8. Okay totally relate to the tiny gusset problem like hello. What is that even about…wanting to have a teeny tiny pussy? Idk. But my favorite 100% cotton super comfy undies are from a brand called Knickey! They’re also Reasonably affordable like 5 pairs for $55. SO soft and a wide gusset and no tightness anywhere! They’re super breezy and soft and also come in cute colors!

  9. Vanessa you are my hero! As someone who also has a finniky vagina I can’t beleive that the ‘pop into the bathroom and change into sexy lingerie’ has never occurred to me! You continue to be a legend ✨

  10. For Your Consideration: Uniqlo’s Regular Rise Boxer Briefs:
    – 100% cotton
    – Very soft
    – Not too big a pouch
    – Reasonably priced
    – Fun-ish patterns
    – Very stretchy, but don’t bunch
    – Fit nicely over my thighs and waist which are larger and differently proportioned than most men’s
    – The waistband is high enough and sturdy enough that my belly doesn’t make it roll over on itself all day

    I have a size 36 waist and wear a size L.

  11. I like Harebrained Period Panties (not replacements for pads/tampons). They’re 95% cotton/5% elastane. The designs amuse me, but most importantly, they’re comfortable. They are my all-the-time underwear. The briefs cover everything I want covered, with the legs sitting high enough that they don’t cut in, and the sizing goes from S-4XL.
    I’m fat, and these are the most comfortable undies I’ve found in years.

  12. Okay, so I recently went looking for a new brand of underwear after my original go-to brand suddenly changed their style/fit and I suddenly hated them. I’ve always worn boxer-briefs at work because they’re more comfortable under my stupid uniform, but now I wear them 24/7 since finding a new brand to love. I shall share my process…

    I scoured the Internet and narrowed down to 3 companies: Woxer, TomboyX, and… Jockey.

    TomboyX is very expensive and I live in Canada which makes it even more expensive. Nonetheless, the fit was good, but I didn’t feel the need to write home about them.

    I’d never heard of Woxer until a targeted “you’re a gay woman shopping for underwear” ad came up. So I Googled them looking for reviews. I did not find reviews. What I found instead was a new recommendation… Jockey. The Woxers ended up being way too big despite the fact that I used their size chart with my exact measurements. Go figure.

    The Winner: Jockey Rapid Cool No-Fly Boxer Briefs! They sell these in my local department stores. They’re fairly priced. They’re polyester which I personally love (though I know it’s not for everyone). And they fit like a dream. I stocked the f*ck up. They are now all I wear under my clothes.

  13. Woxers are life. Took me a long time to press go on a pair but now I’m never looking back nor buying anything else. I’ve replaced every single pair I owned with a pair of Woxers. They breathe, super soft, don’t muffin top, come in fun colors and most importantly for me, don’t ride up.

  14. TomboyX 9″ boxer briefs are the best for me (especially the new First Line ones so I don’t have to wear a liner or pad). I had no idea that underwear could feel RIGHT until I switched to them.

  15. Vanessa you are my ideal! As somebody who additionally has a finicky vagina, I can’t believe that the ‘fly into the restroom and change into provocative underwear’ has never happened to me! You keep on being a legend

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