& Spencer and Prostate Cancer UK poll airs the nation's dirty
- Almost a third of men don't change their underwear every day,
compared to 10% of women
- One in every forty men will wear their pants for as long as
they possibly can
- Nearly one in five (19%) Brits don't change their underwear
after every wear
- Over one in ten Brits own a pair of lucky underwear for going
on a date or job interview
- One in seven Brits (11%) have worn their partner's
The British public is saying 'pants to change'; with one in five
(19%) admitting to wearing their briefs more than once before
changing them, a study delving deep into the nation's underwear
habits has revealed.
The new research by Marks & Spencer, the UK's leading purveyor
of pants , and Prostate Cancer UK asked
the nation to take a long, hard look at their underwear habits to
mark the start of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, launching today
(Friday 1 March).
The research finds some stark differences between the sexes and
ages when it comes to the garment most people put on first every
Men were the worst offenders for adopting a 'til pants do us
part' attitude, with nearly one in three (29%) admitting to only
putting on fresh pants after wearing their old pair two, three or
more times - whereas only 10% of women do this.
Shockingly, one in every forty men will wear their pants as long
as they possibly can, highlighting that it's more a case of
over-worn than underwear.
Despite such disregard to underwear
hygiene, we are a nation of sharing, with one in seven (14%)
admitting to having worn their partner's underwear before.
One pair of underwear that should always be worn clean is our
'lucky pants', with one in ten (11%) admitting to pulling on their
favourite undergarment for a date or a job interview.
The research also found that over one in ten Brits forgo undies
all together when getting dressed and prefer to "fly free" under
their skirts or trousers, with 6% of women and 15% of men admitting
Prostate Cancer UK and M&S are joining forces to call on
British men to think about prostates as well as their pants during
March. There is also a serious message behind the poll, which
revealed a lack of awareness and prioritisation of health issues
The survey shows that more than two thirds (69%) are not
prioritising their health and only see their GP when it's urgent.
Men over 50 are more at risk of developing prostate cancer, yet the
poll found that three out of five (62%) men aged 45 or over
admitted they did not monitor their health and only saw the GP when
Almost half (47%) of men in this age group said they did not
know there are often no symptoms of prostate cancer. Yet prostate
cancer kills one man every hour and the number of men with the
disease is rising at an alarming rate.
This Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Prostate Cancer UK is
determined to wake the nation up to the disease and treat it as the
priority that it is. The charity is calling for men to find out
more about their prostate and what can go wrong, and for women to
support the men in their lives to do so.
As well as helping the charity to raise awareness of the
disease, between 1-28 March, M&S will donate 10% of the retail
selling price of selected* men's Autograph underwear to Prostate
Cancer UK to support the charity's specialist nurse-led
helpline; the only UK-wide telephone and email helpline service
dedicated to prostate cancer and prostate problems.
Scott Fyfe, Director of Menswear at Marks &
Spencer, said: "We're proud that our long-standing partnership
with Prostate Cancer UK continues to support this valuable service
which clearly helps so many.
"Whether you wear boxers or briefs or nothing at all - we just
want this poll to get the nation thinking about how the simple act
of putting on the first, and quite possibly, the most important
garment when we get dressed can make a difference to so many."
Dedicated Prostate Cancer UK supporter and comedian David
Schneider said: "The thing about men is that we'll moan about those
little illnesses (see under: 'manflu') but when it comes to the
really big stuff we'll go and hide our head in the sand. And
head-in-sanding isn't good for our health.
That's why I'm supporting Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Marks
& Spencer is the place to buy pants this Prostate Cancer
Awareness Month, and without going into details of just how raggedy
and old some of my underwear is, boy, do I need some new ones.
We men shouldn't be taking a chance with our health. This is all
about getting our collective heads out of that sand and facing up
to the fact that this is a cancer that over 250,000 men in the UK
are living with right now. We need to find out more about it.
And get some better pants. In my case anyway, I can't say whether
that applies to all men. Anyone who buys a pair of these pants will
be helping to fund even more calls to the fabulous specialist
nurses on the Prostate Cancer UK helpline. And they'll have some
Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK,
said: "It's no surprise that some men would think nothing of
recycling their underwear, and the contents of their top drawer may
not be the finest or the freshest. What's far more worrying is that
the majority of men seem not to be looking after their health.
"Prostate cancer kills 10,000 men every year - that's one man
every hour - and often there are no symptoms. We would urge men
across the UK to find out more and talk to their GP if they have
any concerns about their prostate, and women could encourage the
men in their lives to do so. There's no harm having a joke about
blokes and their pants habits, but prostate cancer is truly no
Pants Poll research
- Nearly a quarter (23%) of men don't mind if their partners
didn't change their underwear after every wear. However, such
"generosity" isn't returned by more of the opposite sex, with 87%
of women expecting their partners to only have the freshest pair of
- "Going on a date" (46%), "Job Interview" (38%),
"Watching/Playing sports matches" (25%) were the top reasons named
for wearing lucky pants.
- Brits aged 35-44 are more likely to "fly free" (ie. go
pantless) under their trousers.
- Both genders prefer comfort over style: men prefer to wear
Boxers (57%) and women prefer full briefs (49%).
- 35% of men don't buy their own pants, with partners cited as
their ultimate source for underwear (26%).
- One in four shoppers choose M&S for men's pants (24.5%
- Most popular men's pants at M&S: Trunks, Boxers, then
- Blue is the most popular colour (not including black and
- M&S sells one pair of men's pants every two seconds
- M&S sells approximately 15 million pairs of pants per
- Every one in four pairs of women's knickers bought is from
M&S (25.5% volume share**)
- Most popular women's knickers at M&S: 1) Low rise short 2)
Brazilian 3) Full Brief
- Pink is the most popular women's knicker colour at M&S (not
including black and white)
- M&S sells approximately 60 million pairs of knickers per
Prostate cancer risk
Some men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than
others. This includes men over 50, African Caribbean men and men
whose father or brother has had prostate cancer.
- Age: Risk increases with age. Three quarters of prostate cancer
cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 and over
- Family: Men are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop
prostate cancer if their father or brother has had it
- Ethnicity: African Caribbean men are three times more likely to
develop prostate cancer than white men of the same age .*
*Excludes socks and vests
**Source: Kantar Worldpanel Fashion 52 w/e 20 Jan 2013
 M&S is the leading
pants retailer (25.7% value market share)
 Ben-Shlomo Y et al (2008)
"The Risk of Prostate Cancer amongst Black men in the United
Kingdom: The PROCESS Cohort Study" European Urology53:
*Things have changed since this was published. Find