Guys with tighter-fitting pants also had higher levels of a hormone that encourages sperm production - likely to compensate for all the seed that gets fried in their high-temperature unmentionables, researchers said. These men were found to have sperm concentrations that were 25% higher than the men who mostly wore tighter-fitting types of underwear, and total sperm counts that were 17% higher.
Men who wear tight-fitting briefs have sperm counts that suffer in comparison to men who wear boxers, according to results from the largest study to date on the controversial topic.
The team of United States researchers examined data on 656 men who were part of couples seeking treatment at a fertility centre in America between 2000 and 2017. They were given the choice of "boxers", "jockeys", "bikinis", "briefs", or "other".
There have been several studies of late that show that there is a steady decline in sperm counts.
"Since men can modify the type of underwear they choose to wear, these results may be useful to improve men's testicular function", lead researcher, Dr Lidia Minguez-Alarcon, a research scientist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said.
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It's no secret that heat in a fella's nether regions reduces his potency, and tighty-whiteys tend to run hotter - but past studies comparing different underwear styles' effects on sperm production were "inconsistent", researchers noted.
Professor Allan Pacey, of the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the study, said: "This confirms my long-held belief that men with poor sperm quality could potentially improve things by wearing looser underwear and keeping their testicles as cool as possible".
The levels of follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH was found to be higher among men who wore briefs regularly.
Firty-three percent of the men said they usually wore boxers. It was published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction.
The study strongly also does not prove that there is any connection between tight boxers or underwear and low sperm count. "Additionally, the differences in hormone and semen analysis parameters were not different enough to be identified as the primary cause of infertility".