Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] Is sniffing ladies’ panties normal?

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer

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[Two Pronged] Is sniffing ladies’ panties normal?

Raffy de Guzman/Rappler

'I started this at 13 years old, and now that I'm past 40, I've started wondering if this is normal for a man'

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 three 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.

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,

Just asking if sniffing ladies’ panties is normal?

I do it when I can, except to my mother, sisters, and other female relatives. Even if a woman is ugly or older, if I sniff their panties, I feel satisfied with them.

I started this at 13 years old, and now that I’m past 40, I’ve started wondering if this is normal for a man.

I’ve also been married to a woman for 19 years, and I no longer get as excited to sniff her panties as I used to when I was much younger.

Thank you for your response.

Dear Al,

Thank you for your letter.

You ask if panty sniffing is normal. Normality is a concept that is sometimes a tad overrated. Categorizing certain behaviors as normal, kinky, fetishistic, etc. may often be helpful, but in your case surely that is, I would suggest, much less important than establishing whether said behavior is injurious to your well-being. Indeed, our 2017 column on panty sniffing quoted Dr. Susan Wright: “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” and this is the measure therefore by which you should consider your behavior.

As for your lost excitement when it comes to your wife’s underwear, most long-term marriages undergo changes as the years pass and the question here is really whether this loss actually impacts your relationship to any significant degree. Is this just an isolated element of a relationship that otherwise is in good shape or emblematic of a larger problem? If the former, perhaps it can be viewed as simply one of those adjustments that come with time. If however you see it as essential to the well-being of your marriage, then therapy may be the best way forward.

All the best,
JAF Baer

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Dear Al:

Thank you very much for your letter. Thank you too, Mr. Baer, for answering Al’s questions regarding normality and to my mind, unstated concern (concern because you strike me as not only honest, but also loving and kind and thus wants to be reassured that you are not giving your wife a raw deal).

You aren’t, Al, as Mr. Baer so adequately explained. Passion is not something that can be dictated by reason or, alas, even because you want to, with all your heart. Many people would like nothing better than to remain in lust with their partners. Among other reasons, sexually desiring one’s partner helps tremendously in avoiding deceit, pain, loss of intimacy, and heartache.

In my clinical experience, most men (as, alas, research shows that it is mostly men who are unfaithful, although women seem to be “catching up,” minimizing the gap between sexual infidelity among men and women, but the gap between them has not yet fully closed – not that that is necessarily something to aspire to). 

To continue, before I so rudely interrupted myself (my excuse is that the above “interruption” explained something important) most sexually unfaithful people WANT to be faithful/honest/undivided in their attention to their families but, alas, for whatever reason, are unable to follow up this desire with action.

You are “blessed’” with a built-in radar that lets you know exactly the women you sexually desire; that radar is your wanting to sniff their panties. I daresay wanting to sniff her panties and even actually doing so, is not exactly being unfaithful to your wife — based, admittedly, on my rather “broad” definition of what sexual/physical infidelity entails.  

My advice is to revel in your good fortune of having such a laser-like radar, and thus saving yourself from lots of angst wondering if you do, or don’t, actually desire a woman (of course, to some men, this uncertainty is part of the thrill/chase, and feel free to write us again if that is your experience).

So…celebrate this gift/blessing of your ability to discriminate between desire or non-desire and, perhaps, with such a blessing, it will be easier to gift her with your physical fidelity (if that, indeed, is what you hope to do).

All my very best,
MG Holmes


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