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Intimate Insecurities: 85% of Americans Find Some Aspect of Buying Underwear In Person Embarrassing

Shopping for new clothes is a tactile experience. You try on a few different styles and sizes until you find the right fit and look. When it comes to underwear, though, it gets a bit more personal. 

Since underwear shopping is a more intimate experience than say, hunting for new duds, we were curious to see how Americans feel about shopping for underwear. To find out, we surveyed 2,000 Americans about buying underwear in person and their underwear preferences. 

Read on to learn more about America’s intimacy issues when it comes to buying underwear in person, including: 

  1. How many Americans take their underwear preferences personally 
  2. How gender plays a role in keeping panty preferences private
  3. Which aspects of buying underwear in person Americans are most uncomfortable with 

Half of Americans Consider Their Underwear Preferences to Be Deeply Personal 

Everyone wears underwear — at least we hope — but how caught up are Americans on keeping their underwear preferences private? To find out, we asked 1,000 Americans if they consider their underwear preferences to be deeply personal — and 46% responded “yes.” We get it — what lies under the hood is your business, after all.  

Given how accessible technology is these days, the need for privacy is more apparent than ever, so it only makes sense that disclosing those unmentionable details would be off the table. 

Preference Privacy: Why It Matters More to Women

We found that women were more concerned about their underwear privacy than men. In general, men seem less fussed about revealing their underwear preferences, which makes sense considering that men are also more inclined to shop in person than women, according to a recent study

So why are women less transparent about their unmentionables? One reason may be societal expectations for them to aspire to “the right amount” of sexiness. The dread of not “adding up” to a body standard is enough to make anyone cringe, so there’s ample reason why women aren’t as comfortable as men when it comes to disclosing more intimate details. 

Underwear Agoraphobia: Americans Are Uncomfortable Buying Underwear In Person 

Buying underwear in person is a multi-step process: You have to search for your size and style, ask for assistance if you can’t find what you want, and then wait in line to checkout. And that’s if you know what you’re looking for to begin with.

To see how Americans feel about shopping for underwear in store — and determine which aspect of the underwear shopping experience they’re most uncomfortable with — we asked 1,000 men and women which part of buying underwear makes them feel the most embarrassed.

While more people admitted they felt most uncomfortable watching the cashier ring up and bag their underwear, other aspects of the underwear shopping experience — such as picking out a style or standing in line with underwear — were considered equally embarrassing. 

So what is it about shopping for underwear in person that makes people uncomfortable? It could be that shoppers are just hesitant to reveal intimate details in public. While we’re all for retail shopping, buying your underwear online is more convenient and comfortable — especially if you know what type of underwear you’re looking for. 

Not shy about your underwear? Head to our store locator to find a shop close to you. If you prefer to guard your preferences, do yourself a favor and browse our online men’s collections, or check out our new line of bras. You won’t be disappointed, and you can keep the details private. 


This study consisted of two survey questions conducted using Google Surveys. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. The survey ran between September 13th–September 15th, 2019.