Feature Archive

Boxers vs. Briefs: Increasing Sperm Count

Boxer shorts and loose pants can boost sperm count.

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith

For about one-half of couples with fertility problems, experts say low sperm count is the cause. But maybe something as simple as changing the kind of underwear a man wears can make a difference.

In the Breeze

The temperature of the testes is at issue: In order for testes to produce sufficient quality and quantity of sperm, the temperature of testes must be lower than the core body temperature.

"That is why [testes] are located outside of the body," explains Celia E. Dominguez, reproductive endocrinologist, Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. "Testes were made to be out in the breeze."

Testes can overheat when a man wears brief underwear. If the testes are too hot -- several degrees above where they should be -- they are not able to produce sufficient sperm, resulting in low sperm count.

Just be aware, it takes 10 to 11 weeks for sperm to be produced -- so plan accordingly, says Amos Grunebaum, MD, director of clinical maternal-fetal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Weill Medical College.

"You can't just wear boxer shorts the night before romantic date, and expect it to work," he tells WebMD. "Anything you do that damages sperm will affect them for the next 10 to 11 weeks."

Optimizing Testes

To keep testes at optimal temperature:

  • Don't wear tight pants -- particularly during sports activities. Wear loose clothing, especially if you sit for long periods of time.
  • Wear boxer shorts at all times. "Of course, they just don't work under tight pants," says Grunebaum.
  • Stay away from saunas and hot tubs.

Another tip: When you're at home, take off your pants, says Grunebaum who is also medical director of the WebMD Fertility Center. "It will not only help reduce testes temperature, but it might also turn her on."

But first things first. "The first test I suggest is a sperm count," Grunebaum tells WebMD. "It's a simple test, cheap, it doesn't involve anything invasive, plus, it's the only test I know that guarantees an orgasm."

Published Feb. 3, 2004.


SOURCES: Amos Grunebaum, MD, medical director, WebMD Fertility Center; director, clinical maternal-fetal medicine, New York Hospital-Cornell Weill Medical College. Celia E. Dominguez, reproductive endocrinologist, Center for Reproductive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 7:33:42 AM