For men, deciding between boxers and briefs may be about more than just comfort — men's underwear choices may affect their sperm health, a new study suggests. Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at Sheffield University, has published two large studies on the factors that affect sperm quality and found similar links to tight underwear. But men who wore boxers had 25 percent higher sperm concentrations, and 33 percent more swimming sperm in a single ejaculate, on average, than men who wore tighter underwear. Furthermore, all of the men were in couples seeking fertility treatment, so it is unclear whether the findings reflect what would be seen in healthy men in the wider population. By Jamie Ducharme August 8,
Some styles of underpants bring the scrotum nearer to the body, thereby causing the testicles to warm up, while others, such as boxer shorts, are loose and cooler.
Are Tighty-Whities Bad for a Man's Sperm Count?
However, other experts said they wouldn't make a flat-out recommendation for men to switch to boxers. Hot baths and Jacuzzis, however, could pose potential problems since heat is known to degrade sperm quality. The process of producing new sperm—called spermatogenesis—takes approximately 90 days, she adds, so a lifestyle change like swapping your skivvies wouldn't likely make an immediate difference. Dayo Ojerinde A recent study has suggested that wearing looser underpants could be a simple way for men to improve their sperm count and the hormones that control it. Chan School of Public Health, says that this theory requires confirmation by further research, and that the study only shows an association between underwear style and sperm count, not a cause-and-effect relationship. The study does not prove that tight underwear causes sperm counts to fall.