Skirting the Issues: Panties

Ellen Krug. Photo by Mike Hnida
Ellen Krug. Photo by Mike Hnida


There, I wrote it. For some, it’s a titillating word. Even scandalous.


For others, it evokes a rush of emotion, excitement, embarrassment, or imagination.

Except for most gay men, who couldn’t be less interested.

I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. Hey, did you clean the cappuccino machine last night? 

On the other hand, if you’re a straight guy (and I don’t expect that many are my readers, but then again, one never knows), “panties” is code for something quite wonderful. All of that Lycra—or if you’re rich, silk—in magnificent pink or royal blue or jet black or virginal white, along with exciting lace, is pretty packaging—think gift wrap—for the prize, the goods, the jackpot, whatever you want to call it down there.

Most hetero dudes see panties as a delightful obstacle to navigate before getting to the real business at hand, so to speak. They’re a libido-sparking barrier, not an end in themselves. Yet, men love thinking of a woman in panties.

How utterly enticing and inviting! 

Straight women have a little different take on panties. I know this because sometimes—but not always, mind you—I consider myself straight.

I once read that the most purchased item by American women are panties; they buy like a dozen and a half thongs or bikinis a year.

Which may explain why some lingerie chain stores do so well.

My observations and empirical research (we’re talking women’s magazines, television shows [Sex and the City has wonderful scientific value, you know] and multiple Chardonnays with women aged twenty-two to sixty-two) suggest that straight women love their panties.

And, as some men will attest, many straight women aren’t easily separated from them.

Panties are also a woman’s big freedom secret. I’m thrilled to report that they can make you feel sexy and desirable when there’s nothing—or no one—else to brighten your day.

Why’s the quiet, mousy woman over in account processing smiling so smugly today? 

A hot pink, black-laced Brazilian cut panty.

Trust me. It’s all about the freedom to be your hot and sexy self.

When I haven’t been a straight woman, I’ve been a lesbian.

I’ve found that many lesbians, in contrast to straight chicks, don’t wear panties.

They don underwear. 

In other words, it’s about a person’s mindset.

I’ve had several girlfriends. Only one actually wore pretty panties, and mostly that was because she wanted to make sure I didn’t lose interest.

Another forty-something girlfriend with an absolutely gorgeous body wore only grandma panties, circa 1910. Bloomers. Enough cotton to sustain a small farm just north of Birmingham, Alabama.

Then there was the girlfriend who was fond of wearing what looked like biker shorts.

Boring undergarments equate to boring sex. That, dear gentle readers, is another proven scientific fact. Because I say so.

As if you’ve not had enough by this point, let me disclose one more detail.

For most of my male life, I had this thing about panties. I began prancing in front of mirrors wearing my sister’s daisy-print underwear when I was eleven years old. By the time I was in law school, I had graduated to high quality big name department store lingerie.

It was my little secret that I kept from the world, not to mention my long-time girlfriend turned wife. Eventually—twelve years into our marriage—I confessed to Lydia that I loved to wear pretty panties. Reluctantly, she gave in and let me trade tighty whities for lacy bikinis. In retrospect, it was nothing more than a holding action on my part; I thought that if I wore something female under my pinstriped suit with Jerry Garcia tie, it’d be enough to keep me from dealing with my real gender issue.

I was wrong. Wearing panties was a symptom of something much bigger, like change-your-gender bigger. Lucky for me, I got there.

Panties helped set me free to be me.

I’m not alone. Often, transgender folks start out with underwear cross-dressing. It’s safe and discreet and allows you to catch your breath before taking the next step in your gender journey.

As I’ve often said, much of everything that’s important in life is incremental. You start with panties. Two dozen steps later, you’re wearing an exquisite Jackie-O knockoff with white pillbox hat and purse.


It’s another word for panties.


Ellie Krug is the author of Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love,  Honesty and Gender Change. She welcomes your comments at [email protected]

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