Boyfriend Wears Women’s Underwear

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years. He lied about having ED and a panty fetish for majority of relationship. I asked a lot of questions and he always denied until I found a receipt for $80 in women’s underwear while putting away his laundry. He lied and said he uses them to masturbate. A month later he told me the full truth, that It calms him to wear women’s underwear when he has anxiety or panic attacks. He doesn’t want anything to do with my underwear, doesn’t turn him on. His mother is very codependent on him and one of the first stories she told me when I met her was when my boyfriend was a kid and sick he wouldn’t sleep without having one of her nightgowns. Question is, am I valid in thinking his need to wear women’s underwear to comfort him comes from his mother?

A: Sure. I’ts possible that his mom’s nightgown was a comfort to him as a child. Many, many children take a mom’s nightgown or sweater or something with them to nap time. The clothing is soft and best of all it smells like mom. As people grow, the connection with mom usually falls to the wayside. It’s more that the item in connected with comfort. I wouldn’t make too much of his childhood habit.

The larger issues are the co-dependency with his mother you describe and your discomfort with his fetish. I suggest you stop looking for causes and start thinking about whether this is the man for you. You’re not going to change him. Only he can deal with his mom, his ED and his anxiety. His fetish isn’t hurting anyone so I’d leave it alone. But if it turns you off, it may make it difficult for you to be completely intimate with him.

Whether or not you stay with him, I hope he gets the help he needs to deal with his issues. He really doesn’t have to live with anxiety and panic attacks for his whole life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Boyfriend Wears Women’s Underwear. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/01/boyfriend-wears-womens-underwear/