Following the premiere of the latest series of Orange Is The New Black, in which protagonist Piper sets up a panty-selling ring from prison, registrations to one of the most notable used panty websites, Pantydeal.com, soared from 150 a day to 1,000. The TV programme sparked a conversation around the business, which is experiencing an unpredecented boom.
Selling used underwear used to be the preserve of porn stars, who would sell their panties post-session to mental fans. Now a whole crop of everyday women, who are not typically involved in the sex industry, have started selling their pants online. If you aren’t repulsed by the idea of a man enthusiastically sniffing your "aroma", like some kind of mad, curious dog then it’s probably not a bad way to pay the rent.
We found a panty seller – 23-year old MA student Jennifer* – a woman who sells her gear to people she originally found on Craigslist. We asked her about the industry and why she chose this particular way to make money.
Jennifer: The reason I started was a certain curiosity and mainly that the money was just very, very easy.
Do you hide it from your friends and family?
Jennifer: Kind of. My friends not so much but I did try to hide it from my partner and didn't tell my family. I had to sneak off once to meet a guy when I was out with my mum. My current partner has asked me to stop. Others haven't minded in the past.
Have you ever met any of your customers IRL?
Jennifer: Yes I met one or two of the guys a few times. One of them wanted to take things further and be my house slave which is something I would have done had my partner been ok with it. Another asked to buy my pee.
What's the most anyone's paid for your used pants?
Jennifer: I think about £40? Sometimes foreign customers would buy them from Japan so they would pay more.
Is it weird, empowering or just a good way to make money?
Jennifer: Some of them were married which is worth knowing.. But overall I think it's actually quite lovely when people appreciate human smells. It’s nuts to me that they want to spend so much money but the market is definitely there and I don't think there's anything wrong with it either side of the transaction. Most of the buyers are very rich.