Swimwear Etiquette: Swim Briefs, Bikinis, Thongs, etc

Swimwear Etiquette

This topic idea came about from a recent boating excursion with a friend. It was just a small fishing boat, not really one where you typically would wear swimwear. However it got me thinking about if I was to wear a swim brief should I give some warning of my choice? Should we follow some sort of etiquette when wearing against the norm swimwear. Now, really this shouldn’t be a big topic, but it is depending on where you live unfortunately for us guys. I would say thongs and g-strings would be the women’s suits that would fall into some etiquette considerations.

Let’s start by looking at just wearing them without planning on seeing someone you know. In general for me I think gauging a suit selection for us guys would be based on what the women wear at the particular beach. We should be able to wear a similar size suit as them. My thought is to go a little bit coservative than them to play it safe. I guess there is a little bit of factoring into that thinking we may need to consider. One is what is your age group and the age group of the females wearing the bikinis (I’ll talk about thongs/g-strings in a bit). If it is only teenagers in bikinis should I wear a skimpy bikini like them? Probably not the best idea. Personally I try to find a beach without the teenage and college crowds. I feel they are the ones that most likely will not respect guys in against the norm swimwear. I aim for beaches with a variety of age groups at least. The second thing to consider is who is with you. If you’re on your own or with a friend then probably a good idea to find a beach with a similar age group as you. Guys in swim briefs have a bad rap as it is, so you may get mistaken fitting into one of those stereotypes even if it is not the case. Especially if hanging at the beach that has a crowd younger than you. If you’re with a female or your family you most likely can get away with a variety of different beach crowds. It seems a female or kids with you helps make a swim bikini brief more tolerable along with wearing a bit of a skimpier cut. Or maybe it is just all in my head and makes it easier for me to feel more at ease!

Thongs and g-strings are going to need more consideration when worn. First you need a legal place to wear them. Once you find a place to wear them, do you just plop down in the middle of a crowded beach? I suppose if you see several others wearing them. As I mentioned above, I’d think a similar age range is something to consider. If there are a lot of kids around and no other thong wearers then probably should keep on looking. If I were to wear a thong, I’d aim to find a place away from any crowds. That would allow for it to be other beach goers’ decision to set up near me, which would mean in theory they’re fine seeing bare butt.

Guess some potential swimwear etiquettes would be to try and pick your suit to fit into the particular beach you are going to visit. The goal is to make our suit choice more acceptable as an option not to put more negativity towards them. Another would be when possible set up away from the crowds and allow it to be others’ decision to set up near you. Or get there early to get the spot you want. Act like it is norm swimwear and go about your business as you would in trunks. Don’t try to flaunt it.

How about if you’re going to the beach with people you know, but they do not know about your swimwear preference? Should you give them a heads up? I’m thinking it depends on who at least for me. If it is family then I think it is fine to shock and awe them with swim briefs and bikini cuts. Thongs and g-strings should be free game with adults, but probably a heads up if kids are involved. In general thongs and g-strings should be discussed if kids are involved that aren’t your own. They are a touchy subject with women wearing them let alone men. Swim briefs and swim bikinis with kids of families you know could go either way. Factoring in the skimpiness of the suit should be brought into the equation. Personally, I’d probably give a heads up that I’ll be wearing a swim brief. Gives them a chance to be prepared to answer the kids’ questions about my swimwear. Guess also gives them the opportunity to back out too if they can’t handle it. With adult friends, a surprise should be appropriate too. They should be able to handle it and respect your choice. For me I may try to bring up the subject first. That way I’d be more at ease and not be anxious about it.

Some etiquette ideas when going to the beach with people you know, would be more when kids are involved. Probably more with younger kids and not teenagers for the most part. I’d say a heads up if you are going to be wearing a swim brief or bikini would be an appreciated gesture. Thongs and g-strings definitely should be discussed probably when non adults will be involved.

Guess my thoughts on swimwear etiquette comes from my goal to try and promote swim briefs and less in a positive way. Trying to respect others and not push the envelope too much with my choice. Hopefully it will start negating the negative image form fitting swimwear has for us guys. So what are your thoughts on swimwear etiquette?

16 Responses

  1. Zane :) says:

    I first started reading this blog because I am a 22 year old gay male who is extremely self conscious about body image and underwear choice, pretty much exactly what this blog is about lol. Being gay has very little to do with my underwear choice, which I recently found the courage to wear jockstraps and thongs because its what I find to give the most support and comfort. When it comes to swimwear I dont really think there can be much debate one what guys find comfortable, because I think that a thong takes first place for a day out on the beach for both genders. Pretty much anything is more comfortable than baggy board shorts so I dont get why we see those at all on men. Ofc women have it easier when getting away with skimpier cuts, but to me its always been about comfort not flaunting your body, it just happens to be a plus side that you get to show off your body to other human beings who should be able to do the same. I dont get how nudity (unless someone is directly provoking you) should be an issue for any age.
    I enjoy your articles and reading other comments about people in the same boat of skimpy underwear and swimwear regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

  2. David_nc says:

    In all the years I’ve been to the beach I have only ever seen one older man wearing a swim brief. I decided to do some quick research for the beaches of North Carolina regarding laws/regulations about swimwear. And like all other laws it is more confusing than you might think. Basically, the state of NC court says that as long as the genitals, the vulva, and the anus are covered it is not considered indecent exposure. However, the court also allows for each town to decide their own level of comfort with skimpier swimwear for men and women. So you would need to check with the local government as to what they consider too skimpy. In fact, Carolina Beach made the decision in 2018 to allow thongs (male or female) because vacationers complained that the female life guards had made their swim briefs into thongs – so the courts ruled thongs to be okay since the anus was not exposed. There are small islands like Shackelford Banks that are only accessible via boat, so if you go there I would imagine you can wear almost whatever you want; there are other areas like this in the northern part of the NC coast. As for me, I wear the dork shorts as others have called them, but I do cut the liner out and wear a Speedo underneath. I’m not comfortable enough to drop the shorts; one day maybe.

  3. Daniel says:

    I totally agree with being a bit more conservative with the age group and children are around. In private however there is magic to a bikini in the sun! In the EU male bikinis are the norm. Stateside at a public larger beach I would stick to standard boxer as to not make a potential confrontation! Great article, thanks

  4. Cingularity says:

    Since the pandemic, I made a personal resolution to worry less about other people’s perception of me. I think the point you’re making here is to try to to be respectful, and I do agree with that but I feel that just like I respect other people choices, even when I don’t agree, that they may have to do the same for me.

    As such, this year I’ve only wore briefs or thongs to the beach and pools. Mostly thongs, especially to the beach. We’ve been to Lake Michigan beaches and some beaches in the Carolinas. While walking the beach in a thong, I have encountered lots of other people and have not heard a single bad thing. In fact, I’ve had several people come up and chat. In fact, a few weeks ago a guy called over some of his family even some of their young kids to discuss some stuff. Totally normal conversation about local history, but my wife and I were both very clearly in thongs. No one made any comment at all. The lack of any negative remarks has emboldened my wife too, she now also wears thongs most the time to the beach and if not a thong a cheeky bottom that may as well be!

    We always make an effort to get away from the crowded areas of the beach, this helps limit the potential to bother people of course, but it also let’s people that come sit by you make a choice themselves. Of course, with covid, there’s no point in being crowded anyways. Whenever someone looks to sit near by I try to make a point to get up and walk around just so they can see that I’m in a thong. So far, it hasn’t stopped anyone from sitting nearby and doing their own thing.

    It’s been a good summer!

    • David_nc says:

      Cingularity you mentioned beaches in the Carolinas, just curious which beaches in the Carolinas you visited and wore a thong. Thanks

      • Cingularity says:

        Sunset Beach / Bird Island. On Bird Island is where we chatted with a family for a while. Lots of walkers and all positive, we walked plenty too. One late afternoon we walked down to Sunset Beach and stripped to thongs right near the pier. My wife surprised me with that, typically we walked far away from people. In any case, even right in the middle of the late afternoon crowd everything was just fine.

        Regarding representing in a positive way, I’ll admit that each of us wear “traditional” thongs. So, not “modest” of course, but not the extreme suits some folks wear. I’m not against the extreme suits by any means, but when trying to earn acceptance by society I feel it’s best if thongers try to keep it a bit tame depending on the situation.

    • The Bottom Drawer says:

      My goal is to represent swim briefs or swim bikini briefs in a positive way when I wear them. I’m tired of the negativity I read about them and them being used to get a laugh. They are a respectable swimwear choice that we should be able to wear anywhere just like females can. Like you I have not heard or noticed anything negative towards my swimwear choice.

  5. RJ says:

    I agree with the broad principle of knowing your environment when heading to the beach, but only from the perspective of choosing which style of bikini I will wear. Only in the most “conservative “ of environments will I wear a bikini with a one inch side, which is my absolute maximum size. Occasionally I will hear, or get, some snide comment, but really don’t care. In the vast majority of environments, I prefer to wear my micro string bikinis to maximize the tanning potential. Never too shy to hide, and will walk or swim in plain view of everyone. On a number of occasions, have also worn my micro g-strings on some of the more tropical beach destinations I have visited, and have never had a negative comment. If anything, plenty of admiring stares from both women and men. Just goes to show that you have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  6. IOANNIS says:

    Hi !! My name is John ( in english) and i am 43 years old.I live in European Union , Greece in particular and i enjoy very much this blog!!! I am full time thonger , my wife the same.Also for underwear and swimwear.First of all, i want to say that for Europe is just normal to wear swim briefs.And , sincirely i cant understand why the swim brief is a big issue in USA.I can understand that is more revealig than a short pant , but ,from the other hand is far more easy to swim in a brief than in a shorts.its common sense! Really i feel very sad when i read big conversations about wear or not , in which circustances etc etc the swim brief….As for the thong, well is not sooo common, i must admit.Among the women population is a very very common choice.As for the men.. well its 40% brief, 40% short shorts and 20% boxer brief….Well among the men is very rare to see a greek guy in a swimthong, although the sales of thong underwear for men are high.But, in our beaches -and this is the same for all the EU beaches- we dont have any rules.you can wear anything without a issue or just being naked.That goes for both sexes.Usually in the same beach there are people who wear some type of swim clothes or just naked.Yesterday we were in swim thongs, next to use was a family, and right next to the family was a nude couple with a small girl.Nobody said nothing.

    • T says:

      Hello Ioannis.Enjoyed reading your comments, especially the difference in attitudes towards brief swimwear and nudity in Europe compared to the USA(and in my case,the UK). I am currently on holiday in Sicily where speedos are still popular and worn by men of all ages.
      Had a rather unfortunate encounter yesterday at the nudist zone here which fits in with the whole beach etiquette theme of this post.

      Myself and a fellow nudist were relaxing in a quiet part of the nudist zone, discreetly hidden from view above by a large rock. A fully clothed older couple appeared, with the husband leading the way, and even though as they got closer they could clearly see we were both naked, they came right past us and set out their towels and sun umbrella literally right behind our heads. Then their two grown up daughters appeared but took a different direction away to our right, and therefore didn’t see our genitals. My Italian companion began talking to the couple and to my amazement put on his speedo. I understood enough Italian to realise that they were not happy about us being naked and thought we should cover ourselves up. I was so angry, and steadfastly remained naked, reminding my companion that we were here first! It wasn’t as though we were walking about showing off our penises.
      I happened to look over my shoulder and was met by the following sight, which enraged me even more! The Mother was wearing a thong swimsuit which barely covered her butt crack. The Father was wearing a clip sided baggy swim brief that exposed his butt crack. When I looked over at the daughters, the younger slim one was wearing a tiny thong bikini. Only the much heavier older sister was wearing a conventional one piece swimsuit. Now as followers here will know, I will defend the rights of anyone, no matter their size, age or shape, to wear what they like, but the sheer hypocrisy of these parents had my blood boiling. I wouldn’t dream of stripping off right next to anyone who was already settled and obviously not naturists. As Nate has mentioned in the past. If he wears a swim brief in a quiet area, and others choose to set up right next to him, that’s their decision, and they can’t then turn around and complain about his skimpy attire. My companion eventually got dressed and left, and thankfully the annoying hypocrites followed soon after, leaving me to sunbathe as nature intended. Sorry if this turned into a rant, but my example would be equally relevant in a swim thong/bikini situation.

      • DonS says:

        T, can you expand on this please. You say this was at a nudist zone, so aren’t people who go there supposed to be nude, i.e., no swim wear of any description. I thought this was policy designed to stop the perverts giving women and teenage girls a hard time at these places, regardless of where in the world you are. Those types are less likely to be there if they have to be naked themselves. So why was a dressed (to varying extents) family there and causing grief.

        • T says:

          Hi DonS. To reach the zone, you have to walk up a long, narrow, steep path along the cliff edge until you reach a lighthouse. When you pass the lighthouse there is a big rock with the words Zona Nudista in white paint. This is repeated several times on large rocks in the area. It is not specifically for nudists and is not an official zone like you would see in a magazine with people shopping or playing sports naked. The terrain is very rocky, and you risk serious cuts if you slip on the razor sharp edges. No sandy beach, and the sea can often be too dangerous to swim in.
          It is not uncommon to see a group of people in the same spot, some naked, some in speedos, chatting together and happy to coexist. Usually if someone is uncomfortable about nudity, perhaps a young guy and his girlfriend, you will see them stop on the path above, checkout the scene and turnaround .

          I have met policemen, lawyers and even a judge there all enjoying the freedom of being naked, so all walks of society are represented, and being naked is a great leveller in that respect.

          The problem with that particular family, who were perfectly entitled to wear swimsuits, was that they chose to set up right next to myself and the other guy, even though they could see from a fair distance that we were naked. If they had been there first and we had come along and stripped off right next to them(which I would never do), then they would have had every right to complain. The fact that the Mother and daughter wore thongs and the Father’s swimsuit exposed his butt crack just seemed to add to their hypocrisy(lol).

          Hope that answers your question?

          • DonS says:

            Yes it does thanks. Even worse would be if they were locals (I suppose we’ll never know) who therefore should have been aware of the situation at that zone.

            • T says:

              Hi Don. I can’t say for sure if they were locals,or holidaymakers from another part of Italy,but I remember coming across them a few days earlier in the same spot and the Father raising his voice and saying something in Italian which I didn’t understand and couldn’t be certain was directed at me. I should point out I wasn’t completely naked at that point(I was wearing a g-string),and I had put down my towel and bags behind a rock that was out of their field of vision. I will certainly recognize them if I see them again next time I’m there(lol).

  7. CrossFithong says:

    Well at this point, I don’t hesitate my speedo every where I go, it’s become a norm for me, so I don’t need to think twice about wearing it,
    People may think speedos are weird but they get over quickly.
    When is about thongs (my favorite swimwear) I try not think to much about it, but still be careful about wearing it everywhere , I try to wear it as much normal as possible but Not being Super muscular or athletic, people may find them offensive, but I always act normal as possible no bothering people

    • T says:

      Even if you were ‘super muscular or athletic‘ there would still be people only too willing to take offence at your thonged butt, so don’t let that stop you from expressing yourself in this way!

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