A jockstrap (also known as a jock, strap, cup, supporter, or athletic supporter) is an undergarment for protecting the testes and penis during cycling, contact sports or other vigorous physical activity. A jockstrap consists of a waistband (usually elastic) with a support pouch for the genitalia and two elastic straps affixed to the base of the pouch and to the left and right sides of the waistband at the hip. The pouch, in some varieties, may be fitted with a pocket to hold an abdominal guard (impact resistant cup, box) to protect the testicles and the penis from injury.
The word jockstrap has purportedly been in use at least since 1891, a likely contraction of "jockey strap", as the garment was first designed for bicycle-riding messengers and deliverymen, or 'bike jockeys'. The Bike Jockey Strap was the first jockstrap manufactured in America in 1874.
Jockey meaning 'rider', primarily a race horse rider, has been in use since 1670.Jockey itself is the diminutive form of the Scots nickname Jock (for John) as Jackie is for the English nickname Jack. The nicknames Jack and Jackie, Jock and Jockey have been used generically for 'man, fellow, boy, common man'. From the period c.1650–c.1850, 'jock' was used as slang for penis.
The more recent American slang term 'jock', meaning an athlete, is traced to 1959 and is itself derived from 'jockstrap'.
The jockstrap was invented in 1874 by C. F. Bennett of a Chicago sporting goods company, Sharp & Smith, to provide comfort and support for bicycle jockeys working the cobblestone streets of Boston. In 1897 Bennett's newly formed Bike Web Company patented and began mass-producing the Bike Jockey Strap.The Bike Web Company later became known as the Bike Company. Bike, until 2003, was a stand-alone company. In that year, the company and its trademarks were purchased by Russell Athletic. Russell Athletic continued to produce jockstraps using the Bike brand and logos until 2017 when they retired the brand. Russell had become a Fruit-of-the-Loom subsidiary, and Fruit-of-the-Loom is owned by and part of Berkshire Hathaway.
The jockstrap was also influential in early 20th-century medicine with the invention of the Heidelberg Electric Belt, a low-voltage electric powered jockstrap that claimed to cure kidney disorders, insomnia, erectile dysfunction, and other ailments. Today, jockstraps are still worn mostly by adolescent and adult men for sports, weightlifting, medical purposes and for recovery from injury or surgery for such conditions as hematocele, inguinal hernia, hydrocele, or spermatocele.
Jockstraps have also become popular as a form of lingerie for men, particularly among gay and bisexual men.
Jockstraps are fairly consistent in design with variations appearing in details like width of waistband and fabrics. Some jockstraps are designed for specific sports: Swim jocks, for example, have a narrow waistband, and hockey jocks sometimes have adjustable elastic straps and garter clips that hold hockey socks in place while the bulky goalie protector has genital and abdominal foam padding. Windproof jockstraps have a special layer of fabric to protect the wearer from wind and cold in winter sports. Jockstraps are made in other materials as fetish wear.Aside from the aforementioned "fashion jockstraps", the 2000s have seen a resurgence in jockstrap designs and brands.
Alternatives to jockstraps include the jock brief, or support briefs, which have the wide waistband of a jockstrap combined with a full seat and are made of an elastic supportive material. A thong style strap, sometimes called a dance belt , has one narrow elastic strap attached to the bottom of the pouch, passing between the legs and attaching to the waistband at the middle of the back. A strapless garment, called a jock sock or sometimes a slingshot,has only an elastic waist band with an elastic pouch that holds the genitals from the front.
In Europe, from the time of the Middle Ages, undergarments available were limited to a loose fitting trouser-like piece of clothing called a braies. This article of clothing was stepped into and then laced or tied around the waist and legs at about mid-calf and provided no support to the male genitals. This allowed the scrotum unlimited movement under clothing and resulted in injury from carts, carriages with wooden planks for seats or the saddle as the body took all of the force of the motion. The suspensory was developed around the early 1820s as a way to lift the scrotum away from the plank seat and saddle thereby preventing injury while in a cart, carriage or horseback riding. Today the suspensory is used primarily as a medical device after genital surgery to aid in post operative healing. General Custer's suspensory can be seen in the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument museum, near Crow Agency Montana.
Optional cups offer additional protection for contact sports and are made of hard plastic or steel, perforated for ventilation.A more flexible and comfortable soft cup is also offered for low contact sports. A flex cup variation features a hard exterior melded with a soft lining.
A similar piece of protective equipment in the sport of cricket is known as a box . In cricket, a box is usually worn by only a batsman, a wicket-keeper, and sometimes other close-up fielders. For fielders farther from the batsman, the wearing of a box would impede their movement and running (for batsmen the benefits outweigh the disadvantages).
An abdominal guard (also called "compression cup", "box", or "L Guard") is a hard usually plastic cup that is inserted in a jockstrap to protect male genitalia. Some jockstraps have a lined front pouch for this purpose. The abdominal guard is usually constructed from high density plastic with a padded edge, shaped like a hollow half-pear, and inserted into the jockstrap or jockstrap-style underwear of the batsmen and wicket-keeper. This is used to protect the genitals against impact from the ball.
Many sports require the use of an athletic cup. These include cricket, fencing, martial arts, boxing, lacrosse, hockey, baseball, paintball, football and many others.
Fashion jocks often incorporate soft-lined front pouches or they may be designed to bring the male genitalia forwards or upwards. The purpose of these modifications is to enhance the masculine appearance of the wearer. Wearers of fashion jocks may also wear abdominal guards for the same purpose.
Pelvic protectors exist to protect female genitalia, though these are less widespread.
With the decline in the use of jockstraps in sports, the use of the necessary abdominal guard has also declined despite the safety implications. Some see wearing a cup as a taboo topic. Typically cups are worn in the pouch of a jockstrap which may be double-lined to hold the cup, or in compression shorts or sport-specific briefs.
Cups for some combat sports (e.g. mixed martial arts, kick boxing) have a waistband and straps attached directly to the cup designed to be worn over a regular jockstrap or briefs. Some sports such as boxing use an oversized cup and jock combined into a single item which has layered foam padding that protects the groin, kidneys and abdomen.
Cups offer protection for contact sports. They are usually made of hard plastic or steel and perforated for ventilation. A more flexible and comfortable soft cup is also offered for low-contact sports such as soccer. A flex cup variation features a hard exterior cup with a soft cups lining.
The pelvic protector is the female equivalent of the male jockstrap. Ronald Paramore invented the pelvic protector.It is designed to protect the female genitalia from bruising or tearing. The area protected includes the entire vulva, including the clitoris, the clitoral hood and the delicate labia minora which protrude from the vulva in some women and are therefore especially vulnerable to bruising from impact. It is also occasionally nicknamed a "jill" or "jillstrap". Women wear the garment during contact sports or activities. The garment cups around the genitals and is usually reinforced with rigid material.
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A cock ring or cockring is a ring worn around the penis, usually at the base. The primary purpose of wearing a cock ring is to restrict the flow of blood from the erect penis in order to produce a stronger erection or to maintain an erection for a longer period of time. Genital adornment is another purpose, as is repositioning the genitals to provide an enhanced appearance.
A codpiece is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men's trousers, enclosing the genital area. It may be held closed by string ties, buttons, folds, or other methods. It was an important fashion item of European clothing during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In the modern era, clothing devices with similar functions as codpieces are worn in some styles of underwear, in the leather subculture, and in performance costumes, such as for rock music and metal musicians. A similar device with rigid construction, an athletic cup, is used as protective underwear for male athletes.
Cricket clothing and equipment is regulated by the laws of cricket. Cricket clothing, known as cricket whites, or flannels, is slightly loose fitting so as not to restrict players' movements. Use of protective equipment, such as cricket helmets, gloves and pads, is also regulated.
Boxer briefs are a hybrid type of men's undergarment which are long in the leg, similar to boxer shorts, but tight-fitting like briefs. They emerged as a style in the 1990s and are commonly worn for sports and as every-day underwear.
A handgun holster is a device used to hold or restrict the undesired movement of a handgun, most commonly in a location where it can be easily withdrawn for immediate use. Holsters are often attached to a belt or waistband, but they may be attached to other locations of the body. Holsters vary in the degree to which they secure or protect the firearm. Some holsters for law enforcement officers have a strap over the top of the holster to make the handgun less likely to fall out of the holster or harder for another person to grab the gun. Some holsters have a flap over the top to protect the gun from the elements.
A slip is a woman's undergarment worn beneath a dress or skirt. A full slip hangs from the shoulders, usually by means of narrow straps, and extends from the breast to the fashionable skirt length. A half slip hangs from the waist. The word "petticoat" may also be used for half or full slips.
Cycling shorts are short, skin-tight legwear designed to improve comfort and efficiency while cycling. They:
A dance belt is a kind of specialized undergarment commonly worn by male ballet dancers to support their genitals. Most are similar in design to thong underwear.
Sportswear or activewear is clothing, including footwear, worn for sport or physical exercise. Sport-specific clothing is worn for most sports and physical exercise, for practical, comfort or safety reasons.
Briefs are a type of short, snug underwear and swimwear, as opposed to styles where material extends down the thighs.
In ice hockey, players use specialized equipment both to facilitate the play of the game and for protection as this is a sport where injuries are common, therefore, all players are encouraged to protect their bodies from bruises and severe fractures.
Tucking is a technique whereby an individual hides the crotch bulge of the penis and testicles so that they are not conspicuous through clothing.
Compression garments are pieces of clothing that fit tightly around the skin. In medical contexts, compression garments provide support for people who have to stand for long periods or have poor circulation. These come in varying degrees of compression, and higher degree compression sleeves, such as sleeves that provide compression of 20–30 mmHg or higher, typically require a doctor's prescription. Compression garments worn on the legs can help prevent deep vein thrombosis and reduce swelling, especially while traveling.
Protective equipment in gridiron football consists of equipment worn by football players for the protection of the body during the course of a football game. Basic equipment worn by most football players include helmet, shoulder pads, gloves, shoes, and thigh and knee pads, a mouthguard, and a jockstrap or compression shorts with or without a protective cup. Neck rolls, elbow pads, hip pads, tailbone pads, rib pads, and other equipment may be worn in addition to the aforementioned basics. Football protective equipment is made of synthetic materials: foam rubbers, elastics, and durable, shock-resistant, molded plastic. Football protective equipment has remained consistent in use for decades with some slight modifications made over the years in design and materials. The assignment and maintenance of football gear belongs to the team equipment manager.
Undergarments are items of clothing worn beneath outer clothes, usually in direct contact with the skin, although they may comprise more than a single layer. They serve to keep outer garments from being soiled or damaged by bodily excretions, to lessen the friction of outerwear against the skin, to shape the body, and to provide concealment or support for parts of it. In cold weather, long underwear is sometimes worn to provide additional warmth. Special types of undergarments have religious significance. Some items of clothing are designed as undergarments, while others, such as T-shirts and certain types of shorts, are appropriate both as undergarments and as outer clothing. If made of suitable material or textile, some undergarments can serve as nightwear or swimsuits, and some are intended for sexual attraction or visual appeal.
The thong is a garment generally used as either underwear or as a swimsuit in some countries. It may also be worn for traditional ceremonies or competitions.
Underwear fetishism is a sexual fetishism relating to undergarments, and refers to preoccupation with the sexual excitement of certain types of underwear, including panties, stockings, pantyhose, bras, or other items. Some people can experience sexual excitement from wearing, while others get their excitement when observing, handling, or smelling the underwear worn by another, or watching somebody putting underwear on or taking it off. Some may steal used underwear to get satisfaction. Not only does this include physical contact with the garment(s), or their wearers, but also includes arousal by printed or electronic image with depictions of underwear.
Personal protective equipment serves an integral role in maintaining the safety of an athlete participating in a sport. The usage and development of protective gear in sports has evolved through time, and continues to advance over time. Many sports league or professional sports mandate the provision and usage of protective gear for athletes in the sport. Usage of protective gear is also mandated in college athletics and occasionally in amateur sports.
Midway briefs are a hybrid type of men's undergarment which are longer in the leg than boxer briefs and tight-fitting, like all kinds of briefs.