How the jockstrap went from functional to fun
Certain cultural milestones determined which age group or generation you belonged to. Where were you when JFK was shot? Were you there for the Y2K panic? Which version of Madonna’s face did you grow up with?
But now, to understand a man – his generation, how he grew up, etc. – is to ask him about his jockstrap.
Scientific? Perhaps not. Forward? Maybe. Accurate? Always.
Men of a particular generation will have associations with the jockstrap that are far from sexy. They’ll remember awkward teenage hormones, communal locker rooms, and hitting the shower after gym.
Jocks were there solely to keep the boys in check – and your coach made damn sure you were strapped up, or you’d be forced to wear one of the leftover pairs from the Lost and Found.
But if you ask another demographic of men, the jockstrap isn’t just a go-to choice of underwear whatever the occasion – work, working out, or twerking it at the clubs -
Supporting – and often enhancing – the chaps while framing and presenting the cheeks, the jockstrap has become part of someone’s sex life – from fetishes to foreplay.
Much like a gentleman’s derriere in a jockstrap, we will expose the evolution of the humble undergarment from athletic equipment to aesthetic essential.
What is a jockstrap?
A standard jockstrap is a type of men’s underwear with a supportive front panel held in place by two elastic straps and an elastic waistband. The rear end is left open.
Most jock straps have a pouch in the front to hold a hard plastic cup, which can prevent serious injury in contact sports.
Who invented the jockstrap?
Even if they seem relatively modern – booming in popularity throughout the 1980s – the jockstrap was invented in 1874 and marketed towards Bicyclists, or “Bike Jockeys” at the time. These men needed support from the bumps and blows that occurred while riding on cobblestones, and the name “Jockstrap” was the perfect way to reach the bicycling community.
History of the Jockstrap
As pointed out, jocks were designed for athletes, so it was sometimes best known as an athletic cup.
Other names for the jock included groin guards, cups, and pelvic protectors.
Functional. Direct. Manly.
Forgive the outdated gendered term, but it’s the elephant in the room. Jockstraps were for – on the surface – straight men who did straight men activities. Jocks.
A jock was an All-American male. Groin guards were marketed exclusively to these jocks – straps to keep their chaps safe – so they became almost a symbol of straight masculinity.
But this very masculinity could be why jockstraps have evolved into underwear for men.
Reclaiming and repurposing an aesthetic has long been a ‘thing’ for various communities. The rugged biker look of the Hell’s Angels et al. became a subculture of the LGBTQ+ community – turning the leather hats, gloves, and thick mustaches into a specific kink.
A jockstrap, for many, might represent a type of man they were never allowed to be. If you weren’t athletic enough to wear the jockstrap on the varsity teams, could wearing them today be fulfilling some personal fantasy?
Or do people like having a relatively prominent bulge and a breeze on their backside?
Both are valid.
Jockstraps today: who wears them and who sells them?
While jockstraps used to be primarily made from white cotton – absorbent, easy to spot when unclean – today, the jock can pretty much be anything.
Everyone from Versace to Calvin Klein now sells their version of the athletic cup. Jocks are also made out of various luxury materials like leather, silk, or PVC, to name a few.
Body Aware caters to the modern jockstrap audience, subverting what to expect from the classic style.
Body Aware’s new line of Satin Jocks has kept the exposed rear – but added sumptuous satin to a tried and true form factor.
Do people still wear traditional jockstraps – and do you need one?
To put it simply – it’s a preference.
Many athletes today opt for compression shorts. It’s not a stretch to say that – even with more sexual liberation – some areas of life remain conservative. Public nudity or any sort of exposure leaves some unsettled. Cubicles have replaced open showers in the modern locker room. Shin-length compression shorts that smush down any hint of bulge have replaced the once-normal picture of a sea of men all in jocks.
But that’s not to say you still can’t wear a classic jock. The old-school kind is still widely circulated, and some men prefer them. The support is unrivaled, and there was a reason they were ubiquitous for decades.
While you might still see some functional jocks amongst the fashionable straps, there aren’t many serious athletes engaging in high-contact activity with one underneath their uniform.
You are probably more likely to see jocks being paraded around at your local Pride festival, in an Instagram post on a smoking bod, or on yourself because you are a discerning person with fabulous taste!