What Is a Panty Fetish? Sex Experts Answer All Your Questions

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Everyone has different sexual preferences, and as long as those preferences involve two (or more) consenting adults, you should absolutely feel empowered to explore those interests. Especially if you're experiencing more intense desires, like a panty fetish.

A panty fetish, for example, is a sexual interest that can mean something different for every person that identifies with it. And while some sexual fantasies are talked about more than others, it doesn't make something like a panty fetish any less valid.

"A panty fetish is highly individualized and varies from person to person," sexologist Rhiannon John tells POPSUGAR. "Some people may get off from the texture of wearing latex panties, while others may get off on their partners wearing latex panties. Others may get turned on by the smell of used panties from people they don't know. While other people might get off on masturbating while wearing panties of another gender. The possibilities are endless."

Whether you're entirely new to the topic of panty fetishes or are a proud member of the panty fetish community, here's some additional info on what is a panty fetish and how to explore one, according to John.

What Is a Panty Fetish?

A fetish is an intense sexual fixation on something — be it a particular object, body part, or experience — that creates arousal and orgasm. So, a panty fetish is a sexual attraction or interest in panties or underwear. However, there are many facets to a panty fetish, as it can look different person to person. "The fascination can involve various aspects like the texture, style, smell, or the act of wearing or removing them," says John. "People with this fetish might feel sexually aroused by looking at, touching, or smelling panties."

This also means that one person's panty fetish might manifest in an entirely different way than another's. Some people are turned on from collecting underwear, some people are turned on from wearing underwear, and other people are turned on by incorporating underwear into their sex life.

"Some people may have a preference for specific materials like silk or lace while others might be more focused on the overall look or the sensory experience linked to panties," John adds. And though the fetish is often associated with straight men, it's actually not specific to one gender or sexual identity, John adds. Anyone can experience a panty fetish.

Why Do People Have Panty Fetishes?

Just like there are different types of panty fetishes, there are likely different reasons behind why someone may be sexually aroused by panties. Think about it like this: some people like chocolate ice cream. Some people like vanilla. Some people don't like ice cream at all. There's not necessarily a reason or right answer as to what the best ice cream flavor is, it's just based on preference. The same can be said for your likes and dislikes in the bedroom. You don't have to explain why you're into something or have a reason as to why it turns you on. If it brings you joy, that's enough.

There is one theory, however, that certain fetishes or kinks are linked to times during puberty when you became aroused. "If a specific item brought pleasure or stood out during early sexual experiences, it might become linked with arousal," John explains. However, again, that might be true for some and not true at all for others.

Do Panty Fetishes Overlap With Other Fetishes?

Not necessarily, but they can. For example, it's easy for something like a latex fetish to overlap with a panty fetish, since "some people may be drawn to the tactile sensations and unique textures associated with both latex and certain types of panties," John adds. But just because you have a panty fetish doesn't necessarily mean you'll be more likely to have another fetish.

How to Explore a Panty Fetish During Sex

If you're personally interested in incorporating panties into your sex life, take a deeper look at what exactly arouses you. Is it the smell? Is it wearing them? Is it purchasing used panties? Once you decide on what it is about panties and underwear that interests you, consider exploring those desires through masturbation. You can wear the panties while pleasuring yourself, smell them, hold them, or do whatever that will get you going. Also, don't be afraid to explore the fetish with "like-minded communities" or through sex parties.

If you have a partner and want to involve them in your panty fetish, start by having a conversation with them. "Discuss your fantasies, boundaries, as well as [your] comfort levels," John says. "This will ensure that all parties are comfortable and that boundaries are set and kept."

If they're down to explore, there are a few ways you can add your panty fetish to your sex routine.

According to John, "one fun way that you can introduce it to your partner is by shopping in a store or online for some panties. This will allow both partners to be on the same page about what type of panties turn them on." We personally love the Lorals Latex Underwear ($30 for a pack of four) or this high-waisted lacy underwear set ($15-$19 for a pack of five).

Another way to explore your panty fetish with a partner is by wearing the underwear during sex. John suggests "either pulling to the side or stimulating the genitals over the underwear." (Of course, both of these ideas can be done by yourself, as well.)

On the other side, if you find out that your partner is the one who has a panty fetish, have an open, honest, and curious chat with them. If you're interested in exploring the fetish after they tell you more about their interests, go for it. But also, remember that you don't have to be. While it's not the move to kink shame, it's important to understand your comfort levels and speak your truth too — whether that means you're down to try something new or would rather your partner explore the fetish solo.

"Approach the topic with an open mind, avoiding judgment, and allow your partner the time to express their sexual preferences," John says. "Share your own sexual preferences and boundaries to explore ways you both can find pleasure while incorporating panties."

Remember: sex is supposed to be fun. Enjoy yourself, and tap into what fuels your sexuality – panty fetish or not.