[Two Pronged] My panty-sniffing habit
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer:
I love to sniff the panties of my girlfriends, especially the ones that are already used. But if I cannot get hold of any used panties, even washed ones are okay with me.
One time, a girlfriend of mine caught me when she walked into the bathroom without knocking. I cannot forget her look of disgust. She broke up with me soon after that.
But I also had a girlfriend who did not mind this habit of mine. We even joked about it sometimes. We broke up after two and a half years but over something else. How I miss her openness and acceptance.
Do I have a psychological, sociological, or anthropological problem? I started doing this when I was 12. Now I am 26.
FYI, I do not smell the panties of any of my family members. Ayoko ng gano'n (I don't like doing that).
What can you say about my behavior, Dr Holmes? Mr Baer? Please answer my questions. I would like to get married someday but I am worried no one will love me enough to overlook this habit of mine.
I will wait for your answer.
Thank you for your email.
While possibly unusual, your predilection does not seem in any way illegal or immoral and therefore should not cause you undue worry. Admittedly it is not exactly mainstream in the Philippines but it is a significant business in Japan and perhaps there is a market niche here for a true connoisseur to exploit.
For all those who are truly interested, there seems to be a veritable treasure trove of information available on the internet, which confirms that one of the most common types of panty fetishes does indeed involve used panties. With the advent of the internet, a "used panty" industry has sprung up to cater to this fetish, consisting primarily of women selling their used undergarments. Sellers tend to charge for the number of days for which the panties or other garment are worn, and prices generally increase with time worn. In Japan, this industry has a long-established brick-and-mortar presence, known as burusera shops. Outside Japan, such shops exist only on the internet and are generally run by individual women, as opposed to registered businesses. See also:
• "The economics of pricing used panties" (retrieved on February 16, 2014)
Whatever the truth about Japanese or indeed other nations' panties, you have had a girlfriend who not only tolerated your predilection but even joked about it so there is every reason to suppose that you will find more whose reactions will be similar. Should the Philippines not prove a fruitful source, you could also consider Japan where your supposed "problem" will not be considered a problem at all.
A word of caution is perhaps appropriate. There are those who obtain underwear by covert or underhand methods which may cross the line and constitute trespass and/or theft. You may therefore wish to limit the acquisition of your prizes to legitimate means.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. I feel Mr Baer has dealt with all your concerns (and then some). Thus, with your permission, I will deal with your panty fetish merely from a psychological perspective. I love that you want a broader perspective on this, so I hope others with a more sociological and/or anthropological and/or, indeed, any other interesting perspective can share their views in the comments section.
First of all, you are not sick and there is no reason you will have great difficulty. Though admittedly, in some circles, you may have a wee bit more difficulty than other people who do not have your underwear fetish, in finding a love that loves you back without reservation.
But isn't that, therefore, more of their problem than yours?
Susan Wright, MD contributed an article titled "Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism" in the December 20, 2010 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior (Volume 39, Issue 6, pages 1229–1230).
Essentially, Dr Wright underscores that: "Fetishism can be a natural variation of one's healthy sexual expression as long as it doesn't cause distress to the individual and/or the relationship or cause disruptions and impairment to the daily functional areas of one's life."
Dr Wright adds and I concur: "There is a thin line of distinction between fetishism and one's sexual preferences. On one end there is 'the person who uses a sexual aid or may be particularly aroused by certain body parts, but does not depend on those things to achieve sexual satisfaction' and at the other end is the compulsive, fixated fetishist."
In it, an analogy to Dr Wright's distinction is the joke: What is the difference between erotic (fetish) and sick (fetish disorder)?
Answer: Erotic is a feather; sick is the entire chicken.
It is not 100% clear to what category you belong, Michael, but it seems that it is to the first group of fetishists, the "erotics." Your fetish does not cause you significant psychosocial distress or have detrimental effects on important areas within your daily life, even if you occasionally worry about ever finding a significant other.
Even your very own experience proves that your worry is baseless, Michael. Women can love you enough to overlook this habit of yours. You had a girlfriend who "did not mind this habit…(to the extent that you) even joked about it sometimes."
In other words, in terms of having a loving relationship with someone, the problem is not so much this "habit" of yours. It is more finding a woman with a broad enough perspective to realize that panty-sniffing per se is not necessarily a problem.
In addition to Mr Baer's pragmatic suggestions, what might also help are the two following considerations:
For others, the choice of owners of the panties they get pleasure sniffing may also be a problem. Your ability to discriminate which women are appropriate and which are not (e.g. family members) serves you in good stead. Excluding women who are unwilling for you to smell their panties is also necessary.
There is a time and place for everything. Perhaps it is best if, at most, only your significant other and/or one or two trusted friends know of your predilection. Thus, choose when and where you decide to indulge. If you use a bathroom, best to lock the door.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.