5 Weird Things I Learned Selling My Used Panties on Reddit
Nestled in a cozy grey area between "pornography" and "prostitution" is one of the Internet's strangest cottage industries: selling dirty underpants online. It's the new media answer to a fetish that's existed since the invention of panties -- some men enjoy sniffing spoiled thongs, and the Internet has given them a way to indulge their fetish without stealing any hampers.
It's also given a small, creative, and very open-minded cadre of women an opportunity to make a decent living while significantly reducing their laundry bill. This raised many, many questions in our minds, so Cracked sat down with one of these women and asked her to walk us through the business of selling one's underwear online.
There is an eBay for Dirty Panties
I first decided to start selling when my heating bill shot up an extra 150 bucks over the winter. I'm good with budgeting, but even split with two other roommates, I knew that extra expense every month was going to start cutting into my groceries. I work a minimum wage job with as many hours as I can get, but you can't squeeze blood from a stone. You can, apparently, squeeze money out of your dirty underpants.
Like most stories involving the exchange of used undergarments for cash, it started on the Internet. I was browsing Reddit one day and came across a subreddit called "/r/pantyselling." I figured that as long as I could do it anonymously, what would it hurt to try? I took two or three photos and made a $75 sale in one hour. That's more money than I'd make working an entire shift at my day job. I suddenly found myself at a crossroads, where my options were "eliminate what little remains of my free time and double the stress in my life" or "mail my panties to strangers on the Internet when I was done wearing them."
It was not a difficult decision.
I found the whole process to be surprisingly straightforward -- I get paid upfront by an interested party, usually via a Visa/Amazon gift card, and once I receive the payment and the customer's address, I drop my vacuum-packed underthings in the mail and send the buyer a tracking number. After they receive their purchase, they can post onto the forum with a review of my dirty laundry, and I can review the buyer. The whole system is so smooth that it's easy to forget this trade revolves entirely around people paying top dollar for crotch stains.
Now, selling your dirty underwear to random people on the Internet does have its risks (it's kinda-sorta sex work, if you're flexible with the definition). There's always the chance of running into creepy clients who get obsessed with you and try to take things a step too far. I take as many precautions as I can -- I have specific Reddit and PayPal accounts that I only use for selling panties, and I never put a return address on the packages I send out. If I used Craigslist and met my clients in person, who knows, maybe I'd be hidden inside several old freezers by now.
Luckily, none of the buyers I've sold to have ever set off any "terrifying stalker" alarms in my head. For most of these guys, the anonymity is a big part of what's exciting. They want to get off on random women's underwear, not get our phone numbers and friend us on Facebook.
It's an International, Underground Industry
Hawking your dirty booty-slings isn't limited to obscure corners of Reddit. You've probably heard that Japan used to have vending machines that sold pre-worn panties. Nowadays, the Japanese government makes commercials to discourage that trade. Not because it's creepy, mind you, but because a man might've worn those panties.
But an aspiring panty vendor can find unnervingly exhaustive guides online at the aptly-named "sellpantiesformoney.com":
Additionally, you can hop on websites like "pantydeal.com" or "myusedpantystore.com":
So, yeah, it's kind of a used panty gold rush. I'm a student and work a regular 9-5 job in the summer, and I work as much as I can during the school year, but nothing compares to the money I've made auctioning off my laundry pile. I can make between 35-75 bucks a pair, and I don't even have to leave my apartment.
I'm not a Victoria's Secret model, either -- human sexuality is a galaxy of different fetishes, and there's no age or body type that doesn't have a thriving Internet community dedicated to worshiping it. There's even a demand from women for dirty men's underpants, and you'd be surprised how many fetishes there are within the underwear-selling market. Whether your erotic poison is a pregnant woman's bloomers or the tattered old high school boxer shorts of some musclebound Danish dude, you can find it somewhere on the Internet.
But here's where things start to get kind of gross ...
You Do More Than Just Wear Them
The selling process works in a couple of different ways. When I first started, I posted a few pictures of a certain pair of panties onto the forum, and then got an influx of private messages from interested buyers. While I sold that pair specifically as is, I started to develop ongoing buyers who would make requests such as length of time worn, activities done in them (going to the gym, having sex, peeing or leaving skid marks, etc.), and the type and color of underwear. A few even buy in bulk, because sometimes you need to treat your masturbation supply shopping like a trip to Costco.
Notice how polite and, dare I say, professional that whole exchange was? Selling muddy underpants is an honest business. Neither of us was in a position to offer any judgment on the other, and I'm competing in a service industry here. Friendliness pays.
I'm sure that there are a few ways a seller could cheat when putting an order together (like spitting in your underwear to make them extra, uh, crusty), but it isn't worth the risk of getting a bad review. If word gets out on Reddit that your product is anything less than genuine, you could get banned. If someone wants me to pay me to wear panties for 48 hours straight, I wear those sons of bitches for 48 hours straight.
So who in the hell is buying this stuff? Well ...
The Customers Are Surprisingly Not-Creepy
It turned out that most of the guys out there buying used underpants are quite sweet, and seem relatively normal (with the obvious quirk of loving the smell of musty crotch). The messages I get are generally short and professional.
Sure, there is the occasional guy who just wants to talk dirty to me and doesn't really want to buy anything, but I do most of my business on Reddit, so if a guy isn't following the rules or gains a bad reputation with the sellers, we can talk to the moderators and have that person banned for being scummy. I've only ever turned down two requests: one guy asked to see my full face, which for the sake of privacy I will not do, and another guy wanted a pair of panties that a man had ejaculated in "at least ten times," with a picture documenting each, um, round. My boyfriend doesn't mind my side business, but he had absolutely no interest in helping me fill that order.
There's a certain amount of trust that goes into a transaction like this. I usually take payment in the form of Visa/Amazon gift cards, so my end is fairly safe, but I have the addresses of guys with undie fetishes from here to Greece, and the men want to stay as anonymous as I do. Just like the buyers, a seller has to be verified by the moderators, and can be banned for misusing that information. But there's still an enormous amount of good faith involved in giving a strange woman your home address and the electronic equivalent of cash in exchange for a used pair of her underwear. If you can't trust the girl charging you $45 for a pair of striped pink panties she ran six miles in, who can you trust?
Yes, I'm basically letting anonymous fetishists pay my student loans. I'm not exactly proud of it, but I'm certainly not ashamed. The way I see it, it isn't any more exploitative than having to work at Taco Bell until 4 a.m. every night to put myself through college. But being part of this big market of panty-slingers means you've got to work extra hard to find the customers who want to buy your particular "brand" of dirty underwear. And that means ...
You Have to Market Your Junk
It feels weird knowing that people want to own your panties, and want the pictures to prove that they are yours, specifically, but that's the thing -- you have to know what unique quality you possess that's going to trigger someone's fetish, and then advertise the shit out of that. Even if it involves literal shit.
You really do have to get good at knowing your own body, and what types of lighting and angles are the most flattering. Many times, to make a sale, I also have to include pictures that I didn't post to Reddit. I keep my face out of the shot, of course, but it's still not easy having to make amateur porn for strangers that they may or may not keep forever on their computers as the necessary precursor to getting my paycheck. But again, it's still better than Taco Bell.
The nice thing about this, uh, business is that you build up a stable of dedicated clients rather quickly. I've only actually posted nine or ten pairs online -- the majority of my buyers now are people I've dealt with before who message me privately when they want to place a new order. It's weird to have that kind of "relationship," where you maintain regular contact with a person just because they like to masturbate with your used underwear, but in a way, it's less personal than porn acting. Your face and name aren't necessary. Only your sweat and other unmentionable personal stains matter.
After a while, you start to notice bizarre trends (beyond the obvious "people will pay money for a pair of used panties"). For example, there's a lucrative market for the middle-and-high-school underwear of adult women. My first thong, which I bought in the 7th grade, went for $100. There are a lot of terrifying implications in play here, not the least of which is the fact that me selling my old middle school underpants might have prevented a crime.
By far, the most sales I've made have been to guys in Boston. I'm not sure if that's merely a coincidence of my own experience or if there is a panty fetish epidemic on the East Coast, but I probably get four or five requests a week from eager Bostonians looking to score some female understains.
Christmas-themed underwear with little bells on them sold pretty well for me this past year. They were a little embarrassing to wear, though -- I would jingle with every step I took, like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Fulfilling that sort of request feels weird at first, and then one day someone asks, "Do you do pairs with skid marks?" and you find yourself saying "Sure do :)" without feeling even a little bit weird. "Heavy skid marks?" Of course, I'm a goddamn professional here. I get a lot of requests for period and skid mark panties (I guess some men really enjoy the idea of a girl with the personal hygiene of a shop towel):
Boom. I just made a week's worth of groceries by wearing underwear for two days and being a little slapdash with showers and wiping. A lot of people do that for free.
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Horrifying Ways an Ex Can Ruin Your Life With Nude Photos and 7 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless.
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