Most of us wear them every day, but have you ever stopped to wonder what that little pouch or ‘pocket’ in the crotch of your underwear is, and what purpose it serves?
Sadly, no – it’s not a weird place to store your valuables. It’s not for decoration, or a design feature that offers extra protection from an accidental crotch flash, either. According to The List, it’s actually called a ‘gusset’ and it exists in your knickers for the sole purpose of protecting your genitals.
A gusset is a small piece of fabric – usually a moisture-wicking and breathable one like cotton – which is sewn into synthetic underwear, tights and pantyhose to keep your lady garden dry and ventilated.
This added breathability means there’s less risk you’ll cop a yeast infection or the kinds of inflammation and infection that can come with wearing tight-fitting lace knickers.
However, technological advancements have meant that many sexy, lace and barely-there underwear styles now include a cotton gusset (or underwear pocket) for your comfort.
Speaking to Health, Dr. Melissa Piliang said, “panties made of things like polyester, nylon, Lycra or Spandex sometimes have more stretch and lay nice under clothing and still come with that cotton crotch.”
In an interview with HuffPost, Dr. Jill M. Rabin warned against g-strings. She said, “if you have a little bacteria – E. coli is the most common bacteria in the colon – in the back part of the fabric and you’re physically active, that material may move.”
“All it has to do is move an inch or two and it’s next to the vagina and urethra,” she explained.
“That thong may be depositing colonic bacteria into your vagina or urethra.”
Yikes. Guess that’s reason enough to swap out your cute g-strings for granny panties going forward, hey?
You really do learn something new every day.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.