I have loved wearing sexy underthings since my purity ring was still firmly on my ring finger. My first boyfriend who knew I was a virgin was shocked when he first laid eyes on a pair of lacy pink panties. A good girl like me hiding sexy garments beneath my hippy skirts, who could imagine such a thing? Turns out a lot of women like to wear lingerie, even when it’s for their eyes only.
Lingerie comes from the Old French word line, which means linen. While the term today brings to mind images of long stockinged legs, six-inch black heels, and lacy push-up bras, lingerie has had a varied, sometimes painful history. From a bust boosting female figurine discovered in Crete dating to 2000 BC to bikini models in ancient Greece, women seem to have always worn fabric in ways to make the body sexy (Ewing 1972).
Of course, what was considered sexy has not remained constant. In Medieval Europe, corsets were designed to flatten breasts while petticoats accentuated the hip region. The corset shaped every woman’s body into a perfect hourglass figure. Arguably one of the more heated topics in women’s history, the corset was later deemed an instrument of male dominance (Steele 2001).
Over time, the corset evolved into the brassiere, which augmented breasts instead of flattening them. The fabric used was softer. The 20th-century brought with it girdles, cone-shaped bras, bra burning, and padded push-up bras. Corsets are still found in strip clubs and fetish balls. Lingerie of all shapes and sizes can be found everywhere, even your local Target.
There is a common misconception that women wear lingerie for men. However, this is not the case. A woman will lament to her co-workers the morning after a sexy purchase that her partner immediately stripped her of all the lace before she even had a choice to enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong. Part of the fun of lingerie is watching someone else become aroused at the sight of you in silk and lace. However, even without an audience, the scant pieces of fabric have a power all their own.
For me, even the process of choosing the pieces is exciting, especially if they are for a special occasion because it adds a heightened level of anticipation. Wearing lingerie underneath regular everyday clothes makes me feel like I have a dirty secret I can’t wait to share. While I cannot wear them for more than a few hours, the sensual sway encouraged by a pair of heels boosts my confidence.
Undergarments have not always been a source of female empowerment, and I am grateful to live in a day and time where I don’t even have to wear them if I don’t want to. Thanks for reading!!
Ewing, Elizabeth. 1976. Underwear: A History. New York, NY: Theatre Arts Books.
Steele, Valerie. 2001. The Corset: A Cultural History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.