What should I be looking for if I want to wear a cup everyday?
July 26, 2012 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about wearing a cup everyday. I figure if I can do it without it being noticeable, why shouldn't I? The thing is, I don't know anything about them.

I never played sports in school, so I don't know what I should be looking for. The information I've found is kind of confusing, and it looks like I could waste forty bucks if I buy the wrong size. That still leaves the issue of what kind of underwear to wear with it. I've never worn a jock, so the compression shorts look more appealing to me, but I'm open to whatever will work best. This is just in case I ever get hit in the nuts; I don't play any sports, though I plan on learning martial arts in the future.
posted by vash to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A plastic cricket cup (the only kind I have personal experience of--but I imagine the same thing is available for other sports) will stay in place pretty happily tucked into briefs. I can't imagine bothering though. It gets a bit hot and sweaty (hard plastic doesn't breathe) and will look distinctly odd (not "wow, he must be hung" odd but "hmm, is he smuggling something/have some weird medical condition?" odd). I cannot remember the last time I got hit in the nuts without some kind of advance warning that such a thing was a possibility.

Although: if you have a small kid around the house whose head is exactly nuts-high and who likes careering blindly about the place, that's another kettle of fish altogether (I still wouldn't wear it outside the house--but it might actually serve a purpose inside).
posted by yoink at 6:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]

I think extended wear is going to generate unhealthy micro-climates.
posted by carter at 7:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [21 favorites]

You absolutely do not need a cup if you are not playing sports. If you want one buy the Under Armor Compression Shorts in your waist size that has a pocket to insert a plastic cup. This is what my kids wear and they report it is the most comfortable.
posted by Fairchild at 7:13 PM on July 26, 2012

You can get a cheap pair of mcgregor sliding shorts at Walmart, and a cheap plastic cup to go in them. Wear these around the house for a week or so and then make adjustments, so to speak. An athletic gear catalogue like eastbay will help you find decent gear at low prices once you know what you want. But yeah, you are gonna sweat.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:23 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I were going on a date, I probably wouldn't wear it.

The only times I've been hit in the nuts in my adult life have been when girlfriends climbing into my lap for snuggling or making out accidentally knee me in the balls. In other words, unless you lead a very odd life, I don't think there's much chance of this helping anything, and a large chance that someone is going to notice and find it odd.

But hey, buy a cheap cup at a sporting goods store and try it out, why not? Other than chafing and maybe a case of swamp rot, I don't think there's much danger to it, and who knows, maybe you'll enjoy it.
posted by Forktine at 7:24 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Having been a baseball player until a couple years ago, I tried but never felt like the pocket in the sliding shorts kept the cup adequately in place. I always opted for the basic jock strap over the cup and the sliding shorts and baseball pants over those.
posted by Rafaelloello at 7:27 PM on July 26, 2012

If I can't do it without it being noticeable, I probably won't do it, but an explanation of why it will always be noticeable or personal anecdotes are more helpful than just telling me I'll look silly.
posted by vash at 7:31 PM on July 26, 2012

figure if I can do it without it being noticeable, why shouldn't I?

* Because the additional sweat makes a moist environment that is much more likely to grow bacteria and fungus on your skin, leading to bad odors and possible skin problems.
* Because sperm production requires lower temperatures than actual body temperature, so holding your testicles close in an insulating plastic cup directly circumvents the dangly solution so conveniently devised by evolution and can impair your fertility.
* Because everyone who has ever worn one says they're uncomfortable.
* Because finding one that you like seems like an expensive and complicate proposition, if it's even possible.
* Because it offers no benefit, given the extremely low risk of getting hit in the junk in day-to-day life.

Honestly, it comes down to costs versus benefits. You're sort of trying to get around the costs, but I think we're all have a hard time imagining what benefits you think will accrue from this plan.
posted by vytae at 7:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [26 favorites]

I don't think you can do it without it being noticeable.

You'd get less push back if you explained why you want to do this, by the way, at least if you have a reason.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Even though it's unlikely to happen, once is enough to cause permanent injury, and I don't understand why I shouldn't prevent it if I can without interfering with other areas of my life. Not only do I never want to have children, but I have read some people say that they actually think find cups comfortable.
posted by vash at 8:05 PM on July 26, 2012

figure if I can do it without it being noticeable, why shouldn't I?

It would certainly make using a urinal more difficult.
posted by mhoye at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

[Folks stick to answering the OPs questions please?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:19 PM on July 26, 2012

If you're really committed to this, make sure you get a friend to assess the noticeability in various different pairs of pants. I have never spotted a potential cup-wearer in jeans (I ... suspect there aren't many of them) but in looser, thinner pants like karate gi pants they're obvious as hell. They bulge in ways people just don't bulge, and they don't move like flesh. I would imagine that khakis and dress pants would have similar problems.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:34 PM on July 26, 2012

My perspective on this is atypical, because I am a trans gender guy, but if you want to wear something in your shorts every day, that's your choice, and people telling you your choices are weird are not providing much that's helpful, so here goes.

I personally wear a prosthesis, commonly called a "packer" by trans men, every day, so I can report that people are not kidding when they warn of the discomfort that can arise if you're wearing an athletic cup against your skin in a warm area of your body. You don't want fungus to flourish there, as your skin will crack, which won't be fun. Your skin needs something that will breathe to insulate it from a cup, if you're going to be wearing it for more than a few hours a day. As people who have to deal with this issue, trans men have come up with a number of solutions. One of these that could work for you are "packing shorts," underwear with a pouch in the front of them that can hold, in your case, an athletic cup. Here is an example. This will ensure that fabric is between you and the cup, which will make extended wear of a cup a lot more plausible. A cheap alternative solution would be simply to put a thin, soft, cotton sock over the cup before putting it in a pair of briefs.

As for the issue of the cup looking strange and being noticeable, I can speak from personal experience that people rarely give your crotch more than a very swift glance. A modest variation on what people expect to see will rarely go noticed in casual company. If you tell people about it, or if word gets around that there's something unusual in your pants, then people will indeed check out your package, but otherwise, it's actually less of an issue than one might think.
posted by DrMew at 9:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]

I would really be concerned about junk funk. You probably heat up more than you think in that area. Make sure you have some Tinactin and some talc at the ready.
posted by amanda at 9:49 PM on July 26, 2012

There are athletic shorts that seem to do the same thing as those shorts.
posted by vash at 10:00 PM on July 26, 2012

Even though it's unlikely to happen, once is enough to cause permanent injury, and I don't understand why I shouldn't prevent it if I can without interfering with other areas of my life.

I totally understand where this is coming from, but I agree that this a very tricky logic. Please go ahead and find and wear a cup 24/7 if makes you comfortable, but recognize that there may be outsized fears here that influencing your risk analysis. If the key concern is minimizing possible permanent injury to your body without it being noticeable, is there a reason that your AskMe isn't "What are the best non-noticeable ways to protect myself against the greatest risks of permanent injury?" From an actuarial standpoint, the answers might be knee braces, shinguards, a bulletproof vest, a weight-lifting belt, or the highest-coverage sunscreen....

I'm just thinking that, despite what is a perfectly understandable (and undoubtedly widespread) desire to avoid getting hit in the nuts, wearing a cup every day is an approach taken by a percent of the population that approaches zero. If urologists thought that this was a wise approach, for example, wouldn't you think that they would be doing it themselves and advocating the practice publicly?

I think the best way to answer your question of "why you shouldn't prevent it if you can" is to actually talk to your GP and/or a sports doctor. He/she is also probably the best qualified to help you evaluate what type of cup will help you optimize groin-area-protection benefit versus the health risks of fungus etc. mentioned above.
posted by argonauta at 10:08 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

I suspect the risks caused by the cup will outweigh the protection. Sweaty junk and hot balls sounds dangerous to me. Fungus in the boys will not be pleasant.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

To not answer: if you, as stated, never want to have kids, what type of injury do you envision being a problem? Just something to think about

To answer: comfort: Do you ever cross your legs? Maybe sit in a funny position, one leg stuck under your butt or something? I know I do. If you wear a cup, forget about it. Easy to imagine why. As an example, in sports where cups are "required" (baseball, lacrosse, etc) many players don't wear cups because they're really that horrible. They'd rather take a nut shot.

actual injury risk: Your nuts are actually very, VERY reisitant to damage. You can imagine the evolutionary advantages for this. It takes really severe force to harm your testicles. Like, a bullet comes to mind. Someone deliberatelh punching you as hard as you can probablh wouldnt cause long term damage. Also, a cup doesn't offer the level of protection I think you believe it does. It's a very, small amount of plastic. If you take a shot to the balls with one, say someone throws a fastball out of no where(assumkng these things happen?)it's going to hurt like hell. I'm not sayings they're useless, they're just not gonna make your crotch invincible.
posted by Patbon at 11:26 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm going to address the "why shouldn't I" with: a) you should wear what makes you feel comfortable. b) I don't think cups are designed for long-term comfort. They are hard plastic and normally worn only for sports. I would be concerned that the risks of fungus plus chafing would outweigh the benefit of prevention of an unlikely event in everyday life.

Your evaluation of risk vs reward and mine may differ from mine, and that's fine. If you are going to wear a cup, for comfort, the ones I found with the query 'flex cup' on Google look like they would be good candidates to check out.
posted by zippy at 11:45 PM on July 26, 2012

I guess I haven't really researched much. What's the worst thing that can happen if you get kicked in the balls?

Are there any stab-vests that cover the groin?

Would anything stop a projectile like in that shitty jason bateman movie?
posted by vash at 11:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

At risk of (A) being deleted for not sticking to answering the OP's question, and (B) stating the obvious...

OP, you come across to me as being unwilling to explain WHY you want to wear a cup every day. That's your prerogative, and I'm not calling on you to "explain yourself immediately!"

However, it seems obvious to me that most responders here (myself included) can't imagine that anyone would be willing to trade
• the physical discomfort
• likelihood of hygiene/medical problems
• logistical hassles
• potential embarrassment at being "found out"
against the negligible (?) benefit of wearing a cup every day.
(i.e. nobody can understand why you want to do this)

If you could (in a way that is comfortable to you) more clearly suggest why you believe you need to wear a cup , I believe others might be more equipped to help you.

(just my 2 cents)
posted by segatakai at 12:39 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have OCD, and I think it might make me more prone to what others would consider irrational fears.
posted by vash at 1:29 AM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think this might be something you want to talk to your therapist about, if you have one vash.

The overwhelming majority of men go out every day of their waking lives without wearing any kind of body armour. Unless they go looking for a fight, getting kicked in the groin just isn't something that happens to people, to a first or even second approximation.

Personally, I was last kicked in the groin when I was 12. Since then I've managed to go nearly thirty years without anyone taking a shot at me. I promise you that this really isn't something that normal people worry about.

If you were (say) working the front door of a nightclub, a reasonable risk analysis might support wearing one (I wouldn't know, having never done that job), but in ordinary daily life? No.

(This thread is going to be a candidate for this metatalk thread isn't it.)
posted by pharm at 2:20 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Let me give you a user's report. I umpire baseball. A number of times, wearing a cup on hot days, for just a couple of hours, I've come home with a rash I needed diaper cream to treat. Now, I'm standing behind unreliable youth catchers with 60 or more mph baseballs coming at me, so that's the tradeoff I'll gladly make. I can assert that I never wear a cup going down the street on a regular basis. I can also assert, as was stated upthread, that you don't exactly shake off a nut shot because of these, more that it reduces the pain a category, and provides some measure of catastrophic protection. Note that being shot in a bulletproof vest is likely to still break your ribs.

Now, if you must, a number of umpires I know swear by the Nutty Buddy. I've considered a conventional cup adequate for the level of ball I do, but some of those who work games with older, harder-throwing kids use it.
posted by stevis23 at 3:04 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hadn't really thought much about how the fact that I'm childfree makes this less important before now. I still was expecting some people with more experience with things like the nutty buddy or chock doctor. I am awware that traditional cups are not comfortable, but the newer ones are different. I remember reading somewhere that some police wear cups all day long.
posted by vash at 3:31 AM on July 27, 2012

Just a question- why is one of the tags "police"?
posted by KogeLiz at 4:52 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

To be honest, I think you're way way more likely to damage your soft bits and reproductive future by wearing the cup all day than you are to be hit there out of the blue. As mentioned several times in this thread, you're increasing your risk of fungus and rashes by a lot, you're not letting the area breathe (which isn't good for everyday hygiene), and unless you have the exact right size you're just asking for a number of erectile and sperm count issues. As for the whole childfree thing, I've never seen any evidence of any lasting damage from a headbutt or wildly swinging limb. My friends with kids get nutshots occasionally, and yet they've been able to produce healthy normal babies afterwards. It's just not something that causes problems at the level that you're worried about.

At the very least you should talk to a urologist or two about this and get their professional medical opinion on all-day, every-day use. And if your OCD is convincing you its necessary, it might help to talk to someone about that as well.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:58 AM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I really think that you'll end up with rashes, constantly adjusting yourself in public, yeast infections, fungus, body odor, etc.

I think maybe you could benefit speaking with a therapist regarding your OCD issue (if you are not already). I remember your other post regarding your issues with spaying/neutering and the vets that perform them. Which may or not be related to the irrational fear of damage to your own genitals.

Good luck!
posted by KogeLiz at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you ever had jock itch? It is the. worst. thing. ever. I've had it once, and as the pantheon of the internet is my witness there is nothing I won't do to prevent a future bout of itching, burning, junk with cracking skin. Nothing. This is the best way I can think of to get jock itch.

Even though it's unlikely to happen, once is enough to cause permanent injury, and I don't understand why I shouldn't prevent it if I can without interfering with other areas of my life.

So why not wear a flak jacket all the time? Or steel toed boots? Or safety glasses?
posted by cmoj at 11:00 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you do wear one, put it in the top rack of the dishwasher to wash it, and have a few to switch out.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:31 AM on July 28, 2012

[Please skip grilling the OP on other safety gear he might or might not choose to wear; previous comments on this have been deleted.]
posted by taz (staff) at 2:22 AM on July 29, 2012

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