Are you living in a financially punishing city that you can’t afford? Does no one give a shit about your art degree? Are you barely scraping by paycheck-to-paycheck only to cry into a pile of bills at night in your tiny apartment? Are you us? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations, you’re fucking broke! And if you’re as broke as we are, let’s be honest: At some point we’ve all been up late at night trolling Craigslist, weighing the pros and cons of getting paid for sexual favors, wondering whether or not if you’re cut out for dat life.
Thankfully, for those who aren’t quite ready yet to take the plunge into selling sex, selling your used underwear seems like a much easier compromise! If you’re a woman with a functioning vagina you already have a reliable supply of products to sell: your panties.* There’s something delightfully subversive about knowing that you are literally sitting on a gold mine. So instead of giving someone else money to get them washed, why not stick them in a ziplock bag, throw them in a mailbox and get paid already?
Rather than put out another “it happened to me” or “sorry-not-sorry I did something sexy” testimonial, we wanted to get some answers to the real question on everybody’s minds: exactly how financially viable is selling your used panties? We asked sellers on Craigslist, Reddit, Twitter, Pantydeal.com (and others) and posted an anonymous online survey, with a total of around 90 respondents.
The results, like anything else in the world, depended on what kind of person you are, and the amount of time and effort you were willing to invest. It will not pay off your student loans. But who doesn’t like a little extra cash, right?
EVERYONE’S DOING IT (SO WHY AREN’T YOU?)
Apparently, those of us with BFAs aren’t the only ones considering the prospects. We heard from law enforcement officers; single moms with exes who don’t pay child support; corporate professionals; sewage treatment workers; married women who enjoy the attention; and one woman who works at an animal hospital and quit her job to become a full-time webcam model. It was heartwarming to see how willing people, cushioned by the anonymity of the internet, were to share their stories with no expectations of gratification. But it was fucking depressing to be reminded how broke everyone is.
Graph: Soyo Hong via Survey Monkey
“I was laid off after the business I worked for closed in October of 2013, and that job was soul-sucking and terrible and they wouldn’t give me unemployment benefits,” a 24-year-old doctorate student described. “So, that kind of pushed me over the edge and finally made me decide that I was going to do whatever I could to establish an income where I worked for myself.”
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PRODUCT
One of the main reasons why people buy used panties is for the smell. Here is a diagram of the three scent zones of used panties as outlined by Amber Nectar of usedpantysellingadvice.com, the most comprehensive guide to selling panties we’ve found on the internet. Who knew that your crotch was such a veritable bouquet of smells?
Diagram: Soyo Hong
As quoted from usedpantysellingadvice.com:
“ZONE 1: Vulva
Encases the clit, labia, and muffy
Can contain gentle yellowish markings
Depending on diet, scent can be flowery, sweet, or peppery
ZONE 2: Vestibule
Directly above the vaginal opening
It is the main discharge/moisture impact zone
Typically a more mild, sweet aroma
ZONE 3: Anus/apocrine
Glandular pheromone epicenter
Much appreciated by the refined dirty pany sniffer
Deeply sweet scented, pungent if perspired in.”
Speaking of smells, as one seller sagely advised, “cotton really holds [it] best.” Save your g-strings and thongs for your Tinder hook-ups. As sexy as that strip of butt-floss looks, the teensy surface area really lacks the ability to capture as much of your money-making pussy essence as possible. Unsurprisingly, standard white cotton bikini-cut panties are the biggest sellers.
CAN THIS REPLACE A PART-TIME JOB?
The short answer is: kind of.
The United State Department of Labor reports median weekly earnings of part-time wage for women ages over 25 in 2014 as $279, so it’s safe to say that $300 per week is a reasonable guesstimate for what many people would consider to be decent part-time income.
Graph: Soyo Hong via Survey Monkey
For the some of the most dedicated sellers this is within reach, but more than half of those who participated in our survey only averaged between $50 – $100 a week, with those earning between $100 – $150 making up about 20%. Only about 14% claimed that they were able to earn more than $300. As of now, $350 is our record-breaker for highest priced pair. Mina, the most experienced seller on PantyDeal.com, reported having sold panties with a video for $1,200.
Graph: Soyo Hong via Survey Monkey
But for the rest of us who are sadly lacking in the magical pussy department, $35 – $39 seems to be the competitive rate for the average vagina. 20% of sellers we heard from price their wares for over $50, citing reasons such as in-person transactions, extra wear, and complimentary phone sex upon receipt for the price hike.
Graph: Soyo Hong via Survey Monkey
The Labor Department also defines the average part-time work week to be between 1 to 34 hours. Almost 50% of sellers disclosed that they devoted about 1 to 3 hours a week; optimistically speaking, at least half of those who participated in the survey are making at least $30 an hour. Not bad right?
Graph: Soyo Hong via Survey Monkey
Maybe. Mostly, people reported just slight lifestyle upgrades, like buying nicer make-up, air humidifiers, and better groceries than they would’ve gotten otherwise. “It doesn’t pay my bills, [but] it lets me feed my Magic the Gathering addiction,” one seller said. Student loan debt was also one of the big items that people put their hard-earned panty money into, so when you’re riding the high off your first successful panty transaction, just remember: you’ll eat all of your fancy-ass gourmet groceries in a week, but student loan debt is forever.
And depending who you talk to, the industry isn’t exactly booming in the way that, say, porn is. “This isn’t actually an “on-the-clock” business,” Mathias, a staff member at My Used Panty Store, told us. “Sales have been very low in recent years and they only ever offer enough for gas money, unless a seller is popular. And sales are always inconsistent, never guaranteed, and buyers often flake on payments and try to get ‘freebies.’” (The site was recently sold off to an unnamed Bulgarian company).
DEALING WITH EXTRAS
As we’ve seen above, the average flat fee for panties is somewhere between $35 to $39 dollars. But what happens when someone wants more than just the standard 24-hour day wear? Over 80% of sellers we surveyed said they receive “special requests.”
Photo: Soyo Hong via Survey Monkey
“I always charge more for extra days of wear,” an anonymous seller told us, “but the amount can be anywhere from $5 – $20 a day depending on how much I like him. I call it the asshole tax.” Here’s a structured price breakdown from a seller who asked to be left unnamed:
- One-day wear: $40
- Two-day wear: $50
- Three-day wear: $65
- Cummed-in wet panties: an extra $10 surcharge
- Pee or raunchy butt smells: an extra $25 surcharge
Whether or not you decide that infusing your unmentionables with raunchy butt smells is something that you’re comfortable with, you can see that dealing with customer’s oftentimes strange requests is pretty much going to be a given.
There is a whole dessert menu to choose from, but here are some of our favorites:
- Commonly requested bodily fluids, including but not limited to: urine, menstrual blood, ejaculate, ovulation discharge (cervical mucus).
- Specific activities: working out at the gym, masturbation, sex.
- Mildly gross: skid marks, creampies
- Plain weird: “I’ve had a request to soak the panties in sweet tea before I wore them.. [it] was super sticky and uncomfortable and NEVER AGAIN.”
- Stuffing: Shove a whole pair of knickers into your box and let it soak in that fresh young pussy smell!
- Pussy pops: Use candy on a stick as a dildo then sell it back to the pervy masses! Not yet quite sure as to how much pussy flavor this would actually impart to the candy.
- Ass flossing: Giving yourself a wedgie in the ass, supposedly to impart a stronger butt smell.
- Pussy flossing: Similar to ass flossing, but with your pussy.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
The overwhelming answer to what sellers thought the biggest mistake newcomers in the industry made was that they didn’t put enough thought into it. To help save you some time, we picked out some of the most helpful tips:
- Turn off the geotag on your phone. This one is pretty self-explanatory; don’t leave digital breadcrumbs for bad people to find.
- Don’t half-ass your pictures. “I have to make sure I look presentable and trimmed and I have to [try out poses], then use a timer to recreate my pose properly,” said one seller. “For every photo I release as a finished product, I take probably 5.”
- Don’t be afraid to be different! As one seller noted: “Nothing against those white college girls! It’s just that I think that those who don’t fit the bill definitely stand out, and therefore instantly have an edge.” Put more effort into your listing and personalize it a little bit. Are you a dancer/barista/MILF/librarian/etc? Include that in your title! Or invent a good fantasy hook: “My boyfriend runs my ads for me and meets the customers. He tells them that he steals his girlfriend’s underwear to sell for extra money and that seems to get a lot of attention!”
- Know thyself. One seller told us: “I once ended up wearing panties for a week for $20. It’s a bit of a struggle in the beginning to learn how to price different things and how to deal with customers.” Do your homework and don’t let buyers push you around. Undercutting your competition to get more sales will only ruin things for EVERYONE by creating a race to the bottom. Why should anyone else benefit from your hard work? Make sure you (and your pussy) get what you deserve.
- Don’t cut to the chase too fast. “If a lady cuts right to the deal without giving me a sense of who she is,” a PantyDeal buyer told us, “I am immediately suspicious because those are the ones who have ripped me off.”
- Cultivate your online presence. “Everything is important,” the same Pantydeal customer noted. “Drawing [buyers] in with provocative pictures, showcasing their wares, listing any special services as well as showing off [your] personality! Many ladies screw this up and their lack of success ends up due to being a lack of effort in setting up their space.”
- Cross-advertise. “Selling used panties is all about exposure. You want to be everywhere,” Zoo Keeper, the founder of Panty Zoo, told us. “There is no bad place to have an ad showing. Every website has traffic and indexing by search engines, and if you post an ad for your panties anywhere it is allowed, people will see it.” In addition for pay-to-play sites like Panty Zoo, he listed free resources like Twitter with the #UsedPanties hashtag, Pantysphere, Reddit’s used panties subreddit, Facebook, and Used Panty Blog.
- Don’t jump the gun. Always, always always confirm payment before wearing in your panties. Ever run for 6 hours to sweat it out in a pair of knickers only to have the buyer back out? Yeah, it’s a letdown.
- Have fun. “Every girl is attractive to someone, so even if you have low self-esteem and body issues, someone out there wants you and thinks you’re perfect. Take pics in many different poses, show off everything confidently, bite your lip, and show that you’re having fun!”
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY?
Now that you’re ready to go forth and start promoting your fine ass and the cotton that clothes it, all you need to do is figure out where. Should you pay to play just like your buyers? Or are you more comfortable going DIY? Take a look at some of these websites and see which digital hood is good for you.
Photo: Sabine via Flickr
PROS: The anonymous nature of Craigslist is both a gift and a curse. Your buyer won’t know much more than what you’ve detailed in your post, but neither will you until he contacts you. Registration is easy, and its clinical layout may be attractive to some.
CONS: The only website with the dishonor of having more than one killer, its limited HTML support means that you can’t do much to personalize your listings. Craigslist technically doesn’t allow the sale of panties (though many still post anyway in the sales section), so be prepared to have your posts flagged and removed frequently.
PROS: There is already a huge audience for sellers; /r/usedpanties and /r/pantyselling have over 15,000 and 3,000 subscribers respectively. Most sex work related subreddits are moderated closely, so make sure to read the rules and FAQ of your desired subreddit, get verified, and start selling!
CONS: Reddit isn’t just limited to being a community of panty sellers so you should pay attention to how much personal information you divulge. Not unlike Craigslist, the layout easy to use but pretty bare-bones. Cliques can also bury any posts they don’t agree with by downvoting it to oblivion.
PROS: I want this to be my new Facebook. Messaging and friending is essential to navigate the site; like Uber, a peer rating system guarantees friendly behavior. Within minutes, women were spilling life stories. I chatted with buyers for a full 30 minutes before getting asked about my underwear – light years in panty sites. There’s also a large customer base.
CONS: $19/month for full access to selling, video, and review options.
My Used Panty Store (Paid)
PROS: The site bans sellers from using services like PayPal, which bans adult-themed transactions. A feedback system also helps to filter out trolls and time wasters; if any buyer gets a 1-star rating twice, they are banned.
CONS: MUPS’s Web 1.0 interface is filled with confusing dead ends: the “chat lobby”, and “birthdays” section, for example – almost blockading human interaction. You also have to sign up for an annual subscription of around $25 before even getting into the site, a guaranteed barrier.
Panty Zoo (Paid)
PROS: Free to register, certain services available for a nominal fee, webcam enabled
CONS: Very similar to My Used Panty Store, nearly impossible difficult to navigate. Free to get in, but you have to pay to post ads.
GETTING THAT PAPER
Here’s the tricky part: how do you cash out on your earnings? You can use PayPal but adult transactions are banned by the Acceptable Use Policy and the service will not hesitate to screw you if they find out. Err on the side of caution and consider these alternatives:
PROS: Flexible; you can use it as a universal gift card or cash out via direct deposit or check.
CONS: It can take up to 4 business days to clear and sellers reported sometimes having transactions cancelled even after redeeming their balance.
Green Dot MoneyPaks
PROS: Doesn’t require a bank account. Customers can use Green Dot MoneyPaks to top-off other prepaid debit cards online and at retail locations across the country for a small fee.
CONS: After 90 days your MoneyPak is automatically charged a fee of $4.95 a month
Pre-paid Visa gift cards
PROS: Technically a stored- value card but functions like a debit card and you can use a pre-paid Visa or Mastercard anywhere.
CONS: Requires your personal information and offers very little anonymity.
PROS: One of the easiest and most secure options available. Personal information is kept confidential for both sellers and buyers. You can maintain a wishlist that customers can buy from in exchange for services, or have them send you an electronic gift card via email.
CONS: Though you can literally buy almost anything on Amazon, it’s impossible to convert your gift card balance to cash.
PROS: Fast and convenient for in-person transactions (just swipe!). Buyers can leave you an added tip.
CONS: piss-poor customer service and common complaints include random fund-holding and account deactivation, and chargebacks with no recourse. You should proceed with caution when meeting anyone off the internet, but take some time to vet your buyers and maybe reserve in-person exchanges for regulars you are familiar with in general.
PROS: Payment is instantaneous and virtually untraceable.
CONS: Initial set-up may be difficult for new adopters. Not having the option to back out of payment last minute may turn off skittish buyers, but conversely this may help you weed out time-wasters from serious buyers. It is also susceptible to inflation.
LIFE AFTER PANTIES
Despite financial struggles, most people seemed optimistic. Along with the desire for self-sufficiency, there wasn’t a single person who didn’t envision better things for the future. Many aspired to attend grad school while others wanted to expand their sex work/regular careers. More than one stated wanting to help people. For many others, panty selling proved to be a safe and creative outlet to explore their sexuality, often with their partners: “My husband knows I do this. Our sex life has never been better!” A lot of women also described feeling a sense of well-being and improvement in their personal lives in general.
“[Panty selling] has given me the freedom to work from home and spend time with my family that would’ve otherwise been spent at some depressing minimum-wage job,” one seller divulged. “I’m also so much more comfortable with my body now that I’ve had to take pictures of every nook and cranny. Before I sold panties, I seriously didn’t have a clue what my butthole looked like. I used to be really insecure about stretch marks, but now it’s like.. well, I’ve made thousands of dollars with those stretch marks, so they must not be that bad!” Not bad indeed.
Special Thanks to Panty Robbins, Mina, xxxmormongirl, Sweet Natalie, Nixxy, Belle Femme, Satin, Minx96x, Mathias, ThickSnowBooty, Little_Myn, English Rose, Belle Femme, Lamia Salina, Jamaica Pleasure Pantease, Tiny Leticia, /u/allthesidesofme, /u/velauria, /u/noreallyididnt, [email protected]
*Ed. note: Nearly 100% of sellers on the surveyed sites were women.
(Image: Soyo Hong, Rhett Jones/ANIMALNewYork)