Lingerie 101

“Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable?”

I remember sitting in my marriage preparation class in college, listening to my professor talk about lingerie. I was on the edge of my seat excited to get married and to wear sexy outfits for my husband. However, I looked over and saw my best friend scrunched up in her seat looking horrified. “I am never going to wear lingerie,” she told me.

When it comes to lingerie, people can have a variety of reactions. You may have grown up closing your eyes walking past Victoria Secret. Or you may have known your mom had a “secret drawer.” Or maybe you are very comfortable wearing underwear that is more than utilitarian. Whatever your previous attitude, adding lingerie into your marriage can bring more spice, love, and intimacy. And while it is usually women who wear lingerie, this post is not just for wives! Husbands too can get involved in the lingerie experience and help their wives feel special and sexy. 

Why Try Lingerie

Lingerie should be about feeling sexy and empowered as a woman. You should find shapes and colors that help you feel good about your wonderful body! At the same time, it can feel very comforting to know that you are wearing something your husband thinks is sexy already. In general, men want mystery and teasing in their sexual encounters; women usually need cues to engage their minds. Lingerie can both add mystery and be a cue to both spouses that it’s sexy time. Lingerie adds a lot to the foreplay part of sex and may be a motivator to take it slow. 

A lot of women may feel a bit ridiculous putting on lingerie if it comes off minutes later. But think of it this way, why do parents stay up on Christmas Eve wrapping presents that are just going to be torn into the next morning?  Because the wrapping paper is pretty, it adds to the experience and the aesthetic, and it sets the mood of Christmas time. Plus, it’s really fun to rip into :). The same is true of lingerie! It helps set the mood, it can help a wife feel sexy and desirable, and it can help cue her husband that it is time to pay attention to her. 

Getting Involved as a Husband 

Many husbands may feel hesitant to be involved in the process of shopping for and using lingerie. They may feel nervous about it, they may be uncomfortable looking at photographs of models, or they don’t want their wives to feel objectified. Those are all understandable concerns, but it is possible to get involved and help your wife feel even more respected and loved. 

A lot of women feel like they are doing all the work by researching, deciding on, buying, and wearing lingerie. Husbands can work with their wives to find lingerie, show support for their wives’ sexual self, and let their wives know in a respectful way which styles they like the best. (PS: keep reading for a list of websites that sell lingerie without models!) This may be especially well received if she counts gifts as one of her love languages. Here are a few tips for you husbands out there:

  • Talk with your wife about how she feels about you buying lingerie. Ask her to help you understand how to make her feel empowered and not objectified. 
  • When she wears lingerie, compliment her (not just the clothing)!
  • Don’t guess her size. Ask for measurements (hot tip: the Intimately Us app has a section to add your measurements so your spouse can access them at any point for a surprise gift). 
  • Don’t over focus on the lingerie. It is still her choice when and where to wear it. And when she does wear it, give her genuinely felt compliments.
  • Work with her the first few times, then once you get a good idea of what you both like, try surprising her.

Hold Ups

Like I said above, there are a variety of comfort levels when it comes to lingerie. Here are a few common hold ups that couples have, and a few tips to help you overcome these obstacles. 

Feel Uncomfortable Shopping

It can be really uncomfortable to look at models wearing lingerie. Women may feel self conscious and be tempted to compare their bodies to what they see. Men feel uncomfortable seeing that much of a woman who isn’t his wife. Luckily, a lot of people feel the same! For instance, our podcast guests Alex and Kadi discovered this issue and started their own brand of lingerie called EveryLoveIntimates where they keep a classy environment with no models on their site. Other model-free websites include Mentionables, Honoring Intimates, or EnGedi Lingerie (for our Canadian friends)! (Hint: Check the products we love section of the Intimately Us app for discount codes and deals at these sites!)

Too Overwhelmed to Start

It can be a lot to start looking for lingerie. Walking into stores may make you uncomfortable, as well as being involved in the measuring process. You may need to try a few things before you find what makes you feel sexy, and that can be disheartening. You can combat this fear by starting your shopping online, where you or your husband can do the measuring. Shopping online also offers privacy. Shop around, and give yourself permission to try out a few different kinds to see what you like the best. Try having a fashion show with your picks and see what makes you feel the most confident!

Comparison and Confidence Factor

Even with a model-free shopping experience, it can be hard to not compare your body to what you feel the ideal is. You may feel disheartened when pieces don’t look like you imagined, or if your sizing isn’t what you hoped. But remember that lingerie is about celebrating your unique body.  Without unique bodies there wouldn’t be anything to celebrate! In your bedroom, all that  matters is what she likes and what he likes. Husbands, it can be a huge confidence boost to your wife to know you’re excited. Don’t be inauthentic, but also don’t be shy with your compliments!

The Basics

To help with any anxieties, we are going to go over some basics. Hopefully, with this post in hand you can feel confident exploring (appropriately) for the lingerie that will give you confidence as a wife, and drive the spice up to 100%!

Types of Lingerie

Babydoll: This type of lingerie is a dress style. It has a tight bra on top, with fabric that flows out and usually barely covers the butt. This can feel very flowy and flirty. A lot of women like that it shows off their assets while being a bit kinder to the tummy. 

Chemise: Similar to the babydoll, but less structured. Think like a camisole or a small nightgown. 

Bodysuit/Teddy: This piece looks similar to a one piece swimsuit. They usually have a very fitted bra, show some cheek on the rear, and can have cutouts or straps that up the spice. They can be very sexy and empowering. 

Bralets: These have become popular options in recent years, even to be worn under a shirt to give a hint of lace. They are similar to a bra, but usually less structured and provide a bit more coverage. Most of them are lacy and are typically very comfortable. 

Panties: There are a lot of options when it comes to panties. 

  •  G-string: usually a triangle of coverage, held together with strings.
  • Thong: A bit thicker than a g-string, but still leaves the whole butt exposed.
  • Cheeky: More similar to a normal pair of panties, but cut to show part of the butt cheeks.  
  • Crotchless: These panties don’t have a crotch, which could add to some exciting play in the bedroom without needing to remove your clothes

Sets: Lingerie can also come in sets. A 2 piece set is typically a bra and panties. A 3 piece set might include a garter belt or a robe or some additional item. A garter belt contains a garter (like the kind thrown at weddings) as well as straps that connect the garters to the belt and/or underwear. 

Go Shopping!

That’s the basics, but there is so much more to lingerie! It can include any variety of ruffles, strings, and lace. Pay particular attention to fabric, you are going to want something with some elastic to give it a good stretch. You can add other clothes on top; like a skirt, short shorts, or even your husband’s button down. Get creative, and include the clothes that make you feel confident! If you’d like some ideas on how to have fun with your lingerie, read our post on doing a strip tease

Lingerie can help women feel sexy and confident when done right. Husbands, you can help (in a very respectful way) in the process! Talk with your wife about how involved she would like you to be. And as always, shower her in compliments when she does reach outside her bubble of comfort. Ladies, lingerie is just as much (if not more) for you as it is for him. It can be an important step in learning about and loving your sexual self. 

Written by Amanda Severson with Get Your Marriage On!

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<h3>Amanda Severson</h3>

Amanda Severson

Hi, I'm Amanda! I'm a grad student on her way to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I'm a wife and a sex enthusiast. I am a psychology nerd whose life goal is to help every couple find the absolute joy of sharing your life with someone else.

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