Talking Balls with The Rocket Scientist, or The Trials of Men's Underwear
Women have it all, don’t they?
Well, when it comes to underwear choices they seem to, anyway. Wondering what to wear this morning? Why not choose from [deep breath] hipsters, bikinis, boy-shorts, briefs (high-cut, classic or control, nogal), thongs, tangas, strings, a Brazilian or a slip? (I have loved researching this post so far.)
For us boys, there is less of a choice: it’s basically briefs, boxers or that combination of the two – the fitted boxer (aka “trunks”). Yes, there are a few variations on those themes, but broadly, there’s actually not a lot to it. And for most men, the decision simply comes down to a matter of what the individual feels is more comfortable to wear.
But did you know that your choice of men's underwear each day might have an effect on your sperm count and therefore your fertility?
Our testes, whose primary function is to produce sperm, can be found (as you may have noticed) outside our bodies. The reason for this, aside from providing an unwelcome target for all sorts of sports equipment, is because the process of sperm production is most efficient at around 35°C, and the rest of our body operates at 37°C.
This is a massive design flaw.
And it can be exacerbated by your choice of underwear. Wearing tighter underwear means that the testes are held closer to your 37°C core, whereas allowing your balls to hang loose allows them to remain slightly cooler than the rest of your body, enabling better, more efficient sperm production. In addition, the lack of compression also assists with raising your sperm count. Obviously, you miss out on these benefits if you are wearing tighter briefs or trunks. Equally, today’s trend to wear tight, skinny trousers doesn’t help with the numbers either.
Please note that I’m not saying that wearing briefs or trunks is going to make you infertile. That’s simply not the case. Nor is wearing boxers (or less) any guarantee that you’re going to be producing children left, right and centre. But there is evidence that it might make some difference, so if you’re trying for a baby, then maybe looser undies is something that you want to consider. Just remember that sperm take almost 3 months to manufacture though, so it’s already time to start planning for your Christmas celebrations.
So, that’s the business of the bottoms sorted. Oh, and while we’re down there, it would be remiss of me not to remind you that you should be regularly checking your balls for lumps and bumps. Testicular cancer is definitely not to be sneezed at, my friend.
It’s not as if it’s a particularly unpleasant process: a quick fondle of your balls every couple of weeks is a good way to check, and the shower (warm, private, relaxed and wow - hey, you’re already naked!) is the best place to do it. Gently roll each ball between your forefinger and thumb. A smooth, uniform testicle is a healthy testicle. You’re looking for lumps, any areas which cause sharp pain or any sensation of heaviness in your balls. This process is valueless unless you are going to follow it through though. If you find something you’re concerned about, don’t be a baby – go and see your doctor. You might think there’s something ever so special about your bits, but believe me, they’ve seen it all before.
Yes, even that.
And you can check in with your doc on the question of the not-too-tighty-whiteys while you’re there, if you aren’t sure.