Does Wearing a Thong to Bed Have Downsides for Your Downstairs?
When you step into any clothing store, you realize how ubiquitous thongs are. The societal pressure to seem effortless and pristine—avoiding a VPL, or visible panty line, at seemingly all costs—has forced many people to train themselves to feel comfortable wearing a thong.
While they can be a flattering piece of lingerie for the backside, it would be irresponsible to ignore the uncomfortable fact that cloth is flossing your butt cheeks. Is wearing such floss all day, and possibly all night, healthy for your genital region?
Is it bad to wear a thong as your usual underwear?
Keeping the string clean is the most important aspect of thong-wearing safety.
"On its own, a thong does not have any higher risk of migrating bacteria from the anus to the vagina versus any other type of underwear," said Corey Babb, an OB-GYN practicing in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. "Anorectal bacteria is typically expressed with bowel movements, so as long as proper hygiene is utilized following a bowel movement, the chance of bacterial spread is limited."
Researchers believe sexual behaviors and hygiene choices are riskier factors than underwear choices. With that in mind, tight-fitting clothes and undergarments such as thongs might cause skin irritation and abrasions that increase your chances of infection. The jury is still out for sure, but it might serve you to err on the side of caution.
Babb also suggested changing your thong if it becomes wet for any reason. Like any kind of underwear, moisture can create issues such as unwanted irritation.
Can we sleep in them?
When it's time to hit the hay, Betsy Greenleaf, D.O., recommended going commando or wearing pajamas with no underwear—but not a thong.
"Wearing underwear for an extended period holds bacteria and yeast closer to the skin and keeps things dark and damp," said Greenleaf, the owner of the Pelvic Health Institute at Greenleaf Health and Wellness and CEO of the Pelvic Floor Store in New Jersey.
"As much as you might not want to wear underwear that causes panty lines, panty lines are much healthier than butt bacteria getting into your bladder," Greenleaf continued.
When you wear underwear, you want breathable fibers so your vagina can stay as dry as possible, which reduces bacterial growth. Cotton is also a gentle fabric, compared with itchy lace, so your comfort levels will be higher all around.
"As long as the thong is made of breathable material, [such as] cotton, linen, etcetera, there's not an issue with sleeping in one," Babb noted. "That said, if you cannot wear underwear while sleeping, that's even better, as it fully allows your genitalia a chance to 'breathe.'"
Keeping that string clean is really the most important aspect of thong-wearing safety.
However, cotton can also get wet easily and stay wet, for instance, when you're working out or on a hot and humid day. In that case, switch out your undies when they're starting to feel damp and uncomfy.
While they may look sexy, thongs made out of satin and lace can create a particularly moist environment where bacteria thrive. Wear one for sexy time if that's your thing, but not for sleep or the rest of your day, if you can. If you must wear a thong, change it out sooner than you would regular underwear.
In a related way, some thong wearers wonder if wearing a thong has given them hemorrhoids, when the veins lining your lower rectum and anus become swollen and distended. Hemorrhoids can happen internally and externally and can be extremely uncomfortable, especially if blood clots and creates tender lumps around your anus.
Wearing tight-fitting thongs can aggravate hemorrhoids, but the G-string is likely not the culprit of the hemorrhoid itself. For the most part, constipation and pregnancy strain the area, causing the blood vessels to pool and become enlarged.
If wearing a thong makes you feel sexy and you don't mind the cloth floss, go for it. Just try to balance thongs with more breathable, looser cotton boyshorts or briefs. Who knows? You may end up ditching the thong for good.