Individuals with tendency for such sexual indulgence may have condition bordering on mental illness: Expert

PETALING JAYA: Believe it or not, there is a growing fetish among some Malaysians who are buying unwashed women’s underwear on social media platforms at prices ranging from RM1,000 to RM5,000.

In a post shared on X, a surgical nurse claimed she sold her unwashed underwear for RM5,000.

“After an eight-hour surgery in the operation theatre, I would remove and store my underwear in a plastic zip-lock bag to retain its scent. Some love it and are willing to pay a lot of money to get their hands on my underwear. It’s sold on a ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ basis,” she said.

Another seller said she posted her unwashed underwear for sale at RM1,000 and received a response from a man who wanted to make a cash-on-delivery payment.

“After I handed over my underwear, the buyer took a picture of me and ran away. Despite being cheated, I obviously cannot go to the police to complain. How can I tell the police that I attempted to sell my unwashed underwear for RM1,000 and the buyer ran away?”

Psychologist and Malaysian Psychospiritual Well-being Association deputy chairman Dr Adnan Omar said the practice of using unwashed underwear for certain types of sexual fantasies has been prevalent in the country for some time.

“However, it is a very odd, perplexing and confusing issue. Why would someone buy used underwear for RM1,000, let alone RM5,000? Nevertheless, when it comes to sexual fantasies and kinkiness, some of those involved may border on certain mental illnesses.”

Adnan said from a psychological perspective, underwear used in sexual situations are “paraphilias” of persistent and recurrent sexual interests, urges, fantasies or behaviours of marked intensity involving objects, activities or atypical situations.

“This includes voyeurism, fetishism, bestiality, necrophilia, sadism and exhibitionism.”

Adnan said while it is currently a fashion trend to repurpose worn items such as jeans and shirts for a stylish and renewed look, the practice of selling unwashed underwear stands out as strange and unusual.

“However, some of the sellers of unwashed underwear may not have issues of mental health or paraphilia but may be selling them for financial reasons or sexual satisfaction. They may also feel intrigued by the idea that a buyer is using or showing interest in their (underwear).

“But for the buyer to spend that much money for unwashed underwear indicates that he may be suffering from some form of sexual deviance, especially paraphilia, which is why he is more likely to seek out such objects.”

Adnan said individuals have been known to derive sexual gratification and interest from non-sexual objects, including fruit, food, technical equipment, clothing items and in this case, underwear. Some may videotape their or another person’s sexual act for personal gratification or use image enhancing devices such as binoculars or a telescope for voyeurism.

On the case of the surgical nurse, several individuals expressed disgust, saying her behaviour was “strange”. Some questioned the authenticity of her claims while others acknowledged the possible existence of individuals with a fetish for smelling used underwear.

Adnan said exposure to unnatural sexual behaviour may escalate in the future, as the internet seems to normalise such conduct.

“With such deviant exposure, some individuals may even end up having problematic sexual urges or relationships and find it difficult to embrace natural, acceptable sexual behaviour. So, they may use other methods such as paraphilia to gratify their sexual interests.”

Adnan warned that engaging obsessively in paraphilic actions could potentially impact work or study performance as it may consume a significant amount of time, attention and mental energy.

“If one continues with such behaviour during a sexual relationship with others, such as in a marriage, it may lead to significant problems, including sexual assault and divorce.”

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