One night last October, Alex*, 22, logged onto Twitter, and found a tweet that I’d made earlier that day:
Alex didn’t follow me, but he DM’ed me anyway.
“I couldn’t give you a wedgie so I gave myself one,” he wrote. Attached was a photo he’d taken of himself from behind, his hand tugging a pair of taut gray underwear above the waistline of his pants.
“I really don’t remember doing it,” Alex later tells me over text. “I was most likely drinking that night; it’s not something I’d normally do. But I guess I’m turned on by the idea of a girl seeing me being given a wedgie, so I’d say that had something to do with it lol.”
Alex had Twitter searched the term “wedgie” and landed on my tweet. It’s one of multiple search terms members of the wedgie fetish community on Twitter — and Instagram, as well as some porn sites and forums — use to find wedgie fetish content. Other search terms include “wedgie slave,” “wedgie buddy” and “wedgie boys/girls.” There are also a number of specialty Twitter and Instagram accounts dedicated to retweeting and distributing wedgie photos and videos: @mrunknown003, @WedgieFetish, @wedgievictim, among others.
Alex wasn’t the only guy with a wedgie kink who found me that day either. Not long after he reached out, I checked my Twitter DMs to discover a message from another user. “What if I was the one to receive the wedgie if you did write your paper?” Patrick* wrote to me. He sent a mirror selfie of himself pulling a pair of underwear tightly up his butt crack. “Do you give good wedgies?” he asked. Later, he sent another photo, this one of him suspended from the ceiling by a harness hooked into his underwear, in what the community calls a “hanging wedgie.”
“Please don’t leave me hanging haha,” he followed up later, when I didn’t respond.
I asked Patrick for an interview, and he seemed game up until the moment I rejected his suggestion that I put him in a hanging wedgie and interview him while he dangled by his underwear.
Alex discovered his wedgie fetish at the age of 11 or 12. His cousins and close friends would administer wedgies while rough housing, and he started to enjoy them without knowing quite why. Then one day, he found an online video of a girl being given a wedgie, and he realized that he was turned on. “When I was very young I’d lay in bed and think about being given wedgies by girls in cartoons. My favorite was Vicky from the Fairly OddParents,” he tells me. “Around the time I discovered online wedgie videos I found different ‘wedgie techniques’ that I could do to myself.”
Like Patrick, he enjoys giving himself hanging wedgies, and timing his endurance (the longest he’s been able to go is 30 minutes). He also likes “Atomic wedgies,” “which is when [the underwear] goes over your head [during a] hanging wedgie,” and “jock locks,” which is when the person is flat on their stomach and given a wedgie, then their legs are bent back and their feet are put through the leg holes so they’re stuck.” Sometimes fetishists masturbate during the wedgie; for others, the wedgie itself is enough to get off.
A robust online forum called Wedgie Haven lists more than 60 different wedgie techniques. There are Melvins (underwear is pulled up from the front); spinning wedgies (the victim is spun around while hanging in the air); and banana wedgies (a banana is inserted in the back of the underwear). The website plays host to more than 6,400 wedgie fetishists — most of them presumably men, at least based on the discrepancy in the number of posts in the “Girls’ Locker Room” and “Boys’ Locker Room” subforums — who trade tips, stories, photos, videos and arrange offline meetups.
It’s the successor of a now-defunct 2002 Angelfire site called World Wide Wedgie that was archived by its owner in 2005. “Some may point out the site did not have very good format or proper code since it was all done in notepad, but yet it does provide material for the public,” the farewell post reads. “The website never did become very popular to no surprise.” A counter on the homepage records a little more than 17,000 visitors to the site since it was first created.
But it wasn’t that the site didn’t have an audience, it’s just that the audience for it had found better, more accomodating spaces online to explore their fetish — Instagram and Twitter in particular, where hashtags make it easy to aggregate posts of niche interests. On Craigslist, too, wedgie fetishists reach out to each other, looking for both givers and receivers. In L.A., one night, a man posts to m4m, seeking a “Dad wedgie.”
“Looking for a dad type to invite me over and put his hands down my pants to give me a wedgie,” he writes. “This can lead up to you bending me over to feel me up and spank me. Looking for White or Latin dads, sorry just what I like.”
Martin, 29, runs one of the biggest wedgie accounts on Twitter, @wedgievictim, with a follower count of around 1,400. He retweets and posts all kinds of wedgie content — givers, receivers, boys, girls. “Since I became a young adult, I’ve always just been, for whatever reason, attracted to that type of bullying and humiliation,” he tells me over the phone. “My interest is in the kink itself, whether that’s a girl dominating another girl, a girl dominating a guy, a guy dominating a girl or a guy dominating a guy.”
Martin’s kinks fall under the broader category of schoolyard bullying, which also includes swirlies and wet willies, although it’s harder for him to find romantic partners with a mutual interest in those techniques. (“When I post something about swirlies, it doesn’t get as much traction.”)
Like some wedgie fetishists, he was bullied as a kid. In the sixth grade, he remembers receiving a wedgie in the locker room that was so aggressive it ripped his underpants. It was around the eighth grade that he realized he was getting off on it. “I started giving myself wedgies, or trying to get them from my friends or my older sister,” he says. “And then it was like, at 17 or 18, I realized it was something sexual.” As a “graysexual,” penetrative sex didn’t interest him — just wedgies.
It’s been a difficult subject to broach with his romantic partners. When he was younger he tried to date “normally.” But not being able to be honest about his fetish made it impossible for him to connect physically with his partner. “Now, I really only date, or try to date, people who are into the kink community, whether that’s wedgies or domination and submission,” he says. Once, he used Twitter to meet up with a man from the community and they gave each other wedgies.
Alex, too, has had the same problem — in at least one relationship, his fetish drove a wedge (lol) between him and his girlfriend at the time. “She would very rarely let me give her wedgies, and would go out of her way to not wear underwear when we were going to be alone,” he says. She tried, unsuccessfully, to accommodate his fetish, but it became uncomfortable for both of them. She resented giving wedgies; he didn’t like how it made her feel. He wanted the wedgies to come naturally; he didn’t want them to feel like a chore.
These stories are common in the Wedgie Haven forums, one of the few places wedgie fetishists have to escape the shame associated with their proclivity and seek companionship. “Sometime ago last year and just this year my parents found ripped underwear of men and females,” writes one poster. “They had me talk to my therapist who I originally see for my depression and anxiety. But now he knows and checks in with my parents.”
In a post entitled “Loneliness,” another Wedgie Haven user writes, “All the men I try to bond with end up leaving me. As a gay guy, I want at least 1 cute boy in my life. I dunno where my love should go anymore. I have so much to offer. People tell me that so I know it’s true.”
“That’s why I’m on this site,” a commenter responds in solidarity. “Wedgies are my whole life.”