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Several SteadyHealth readers have asked about the pros and cons of both wearing underwear and not wearing any — a practice that is also called "freeballing" when men do it, because the scrotum literally 
"hangs free". 

While it's a task of epic proportions to digest all the research that has been conducted into the effects of underwear of a lack thereof into a short medical answer, I'll try. 

Should You Sleep Naked?

If you like. Sleeping naked may facilitate intimacy between you and your partner (beyond just sex) as you can snuggle up close and feel each other's skin. Much has been written about the psychological benefits of skin-to-skin contact between infants and parents, and there is no reason to assume that some of these findings might not apply to adults in a romantic relationship as well. 

Research finds, however, that men who sleep naked feel most comfortable at a room temperature of 25 degrees Celsius; 20 degrees was found to be too cold by most subjects, in the genital area, and 30 degrees too warm. Thus, if you sleep naked, you will want to depend on a blanket or air conditioning to ensure that the temperature is comfortable for you. 

As for women, those who have vaginal yeast infections may especially benefit from sleeping without underwear, since yeast thrives in warm, moist environments and sleeping naked may counter it. 

Benefits Of Wearing Underwear And Benefits Of Not Wearing Underwear

Men, if you want to "freeball" because you feel good that way, go for it. Underwear provides a protective barrier that keeps your other clothes from becoming dirty of you "drip" a bit, whether it's sweat or urine, or, heaven forbid, cause a "skid mark". Underwear may also lessen your risk of accidentally catching your manhood in your zipper, which is — I hear — rather a lot less than pleasant. If your personal hygiene is meticulous and you don't find the juggling about that may result annoying, however, go for it. If you do, you will want to make especially sure that you wear natural fabrics such as cotton, because synthetics may irritate your genitals. 

However, you will also want to be aware that research revealed that wearing briefs does not compromise male fertility nearly as much as some people would suggest, if at all. Even wearing boxer shorts instead of briefs isn't based on scientific evidence.

Women will almost certainly want to wear underwear while menstruating if they use pads. Their vaginal discharge, the severity of which varies from woman to women, will also factor into their decision as to whether to go without undies. One of the main purposes of underwear is to prevent bodily fluids you don't want to share with the outside world from becoming a public matter, after all. 

What about bras, then? There is no scientific evidence that wearing a bra increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. However, again, if you want to go bra-less, there is no reason that you shouldn't. If you still want to make sure your sometimes erect nipples aren't in semi-plain view through your t-shirt, you can wear nipple protectors for that. 

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