I tried selling my dirty undies online

WORDS BY Sienna Barton

“A 58-year-old man from Brisbane asked if I could sell him a pair of my ‘everyday undies, that would be found at the bottom of my laundry basket’.”

As a freelance writer/artist and full-time master’s student (in the arts, a field deemed unworthy of Austudy), I’m very much used to the feeling of finance-induced nausea. I would say that money is the biggest stressor in my life.

Financial insecurity is the reason I wake up every day with a stomachache, why I’ve put off getting a root canal that I was told to get over a year ago, and why I still live at home with my family.

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That being said, I’m also a fucking idiot when it comes to spending what little money I have, as the rush of buying something new and beautiful feels wonderful before it gives way to total self-loathing.

I’ve often joked that I should “just start selling my undies online”, the same way that many straight women offensively joke that they should “just turn lesbian” (as if it were a choice!), but I’ve always reasoned that I wasn’t that desperate for money, yet.

As a person that fully believes in the legitimacy of sex work, that dissonance was interesting to me. Why did I think it was legitimate work for some people but not good enough for myself?

It became clear to me that the only reason I hadn’t tried selling my undies online was that I thought it was somehow beneath me, which it isn’t, so I decided to embody the Nike swoosh and ‘just do it’.

The marketplace

A quick survey online showed that Etsy was the top place to sell worn underwear, followed by eBay and Facebook Marketplace (though these products are technically not allowed to be sold on the two latter platforms).

Even though these were the top three sites, I worried that there just wouldn’t be enough of a safety buffer between my online knicker seller persona, and the me that likes Simpsons memes and regularly favourites Etsy listings of bootleg Crocs Jibbitz.

I didn’t want any of the people who purchased my undies to be able to find me in real life, lest they stalk and eventually murder me, as so often happens in Law and Order: SVU. Jokes aside, it was really important for me that any selling platform keep my identity anonymous, which is how I landed on the online panty marketplace Snifffr.

Boasting three ‘f’s and no ‘e’, Snifffr allows sellers to go by their online usernames only (but many don’t) and has inbuilt chat and marketplace platforms. Basically, it’s a one-stop-underwear-fetish-shop. 

Getting paid

As for payment, they allow sellers to get paid via Snifffr coins or any other method you choose. My understanding of Snifffr coins is that they work like virtual money and you can cash them out once you’ve made at least $10USD. For whatever reason, many sellers and buyers don’t like using Snifffr coins, so I chose to set up a Beem It account.

The obvious payment choice would have been PayPal but my email address for that account uses my full name, thus destroying the precious anonymity I’d worked so hard for. Beem It is an Aussie service that allows you to pay anyone else with a Beem It account, using any of your existing debit or credit cards.

Most importantly, when you request payment from someone on Beem It, you can choose not to include your name and have only your username and profile picture visible. I went with a plain pink circle for my profile picture and a username that was a jumble of letters followed by my birth year. 

Getting the lay of the land

When I set up a Snifffr account, I was struck by how cheaply some of these people (mostly women) were selling their worn underwear. The top sellers had their underwear listed for sale at $15 to $30USD, which I personally think is too low, but I suppose these sellers are going for a high-volume approach to selling.

It makes financial sense to just buy a stack of cheap undies and sell worn pairs for a lower price, but because I was on the fence about the whole experience, I probably priced myself out of the market.

I made two listings: a worn but freshly washed G-string for $20USD and a worn G-string for $50USD (postage not included for either). Prior to setting up my profile, I would have expected to sell my underpants for a higher amount, but I didn’t want to completely exclude myself from the experience. 

First impressions

I’ve always been told that being identifiable in any kind of nude or risqué photo is possibly the worst thing that can happen to a woman’s reputation. It’s something I can remember learning in high school, as adults advised us not to send nudes but if we absolutely had to, then to never include your face or anything unique to your body (like a birthmark or tattoo).

This was a message that was only compounded during 2014’s ‘The Fappening’, where hundreds of A-list celebrities had their nudes leaked online, and nearly everybody had their own take on it. With this, and my wish to remain anonymous, in mind, I chose to crop my photo (a mirror selfie) so that it only showed the parts of my body immediately surrounding the G-string: my hips, some of my torso and the tops of my thighs. 

I normally hate being fetishised based on my body type, as I wrestle with my own body-image insecurities, but because the whole concept of selling one’s underpants online is built around a literal fetish, I thought it best to embrace some stereotypes. I found myself typing words like ‘thick’, ‘curvy’ and ‘BBW’, which I think is a definite niche, and it worked.

Multiple big girl enthusiasts found my profile and promptly commented on my photos, saying things like “Look at that fat kitty” and “Love those hips and doughy thighs”. I also received a shit tonne of messages from men who claimed they could “take care” of me, and even more messages asking “How are you going, baby?”. It felt revolting.

My experience

Within a few hours, I was having pretty steady conversations with two users, both men in their fifties, but it became increasingly clear that one of them just wanted free sexting (he told me that he wanted to lick my arsehole). If I am expected to just send explicit messages to men for no money, why wouldn’t I just reactivate my dating app profiles?

The second user, a 58-year-old man from Brisbane, asked if I could sell him a pair of my “everyday undies, that would be found at the bottom of my laundry basket”. Mr 58 didn’t want anything made of polyester or synthetics, and much like Goldilocks, he’d only settle for underwear that was just right.

He said that I was a treat and only cotton full briefs could capture my “delicious aroma”, asking for the best way to pay me. I sent him my Beem It details but I never heard back – it’s been two days.

The downsides

Other than the obvious barrage of unsolicited dick pics and infantilising messages from strange men, there are a few downsides to the Snifffr platform. The whole website is very clunky and hard to use. It also appears very dated, and like Facebook of yesteryear, you can even ‘poke’ other users.

Other than issues with functionality, Snifffr doesn’t allow sellers to review other members until they have been a member for at least seven days or once you complete a rigorous identity check. This was an issue for me, as a man sent me an aggressive message on my first day of usage, and I wondered how many times that had happened.

Users are listed on the Snifffr homepage as being ‘newly joined’ in the activity feed. So theoretically, someone could repeatedly keep sending harassing messages to new users, knowing that there won’t be any repercussions for at least seven days (if the victims still remember by then).

Another cheeky Snifffr feature is that they advertise that they don’t take a commission on underwear sales, but sellers have to pay a membership fee (at least $10USD for one month) to be able to view any of their messages. 

Final thoughts

To put it simply, the market is completely over-saturated. There are thousands of women selling their underpants on Snifffr, many including their own names and photos of their faces in their profiles. Users crave an experience where they feel like they know the woman behind the panties, which is just something I’m not comfortable giving them.

My advice is that if you’re interested in selling your underwear online, then you should think about it like it’s a job (because it is). It’s not just a fun little romp. It requires a real sense of business-savvy and hours of time spent talking to potential customers.

I do think that going for a high-volume, low price point approach is probably the best way to go, as I got a few complaints that my prices were too high (my response: just don’t buy them then!).

After giving it a try, I’ve realised I probably don’t have the disposition required to sell my underpants online: I don’t suffer fools, I’m impatient and I hate time-wasters.

It’s very clear that many of the men on these websites want to see how much they can get from you for free, whether it’s naked photos or steamy conversation, and I just can’t be bothered. For now, my knickers are staying in my laundry basket.

For more on selling your underwear online, try this.

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