The Dirty Panties Black Market: Porn Stars Make Big Money Selling Their Underwear to Superfans

Popular porn performers can rake in close to a thousand dollars a month selling their used drawers to fans—and the trend has even spread online to non-pros.

06.13.15 4:01 AM ET

I’ll admit it: the first time a guy asked to buy my used panties I was little uncomfortable with it. It was a common request and I knew girls that made hundreds of dollars a month selling their old pairs. Yet I felt awkward about it. My underwear was very personal to me, so instead I bought brand new ones, donned them for a quick photo, scented it with perfume, and sent them along. Little did I know I’d missed the point entirely. The fans that were interested in my used old underwear wanted the real thing—sweat and all. It was hard to comprehend at first, but panty connoisseurs like them dirty. Sometimes the dirtier the better.

Renowned adult star Tanya Tate had a similar experience when she sold her first pair of panties. She wore them, sprayed them with a bit of perfume, and shipped it off to her fan. “I’ll never forget it, the guy responded back, he said I really like your au natural smell and I really like the panties, but you don’t need to spray them with perfume,” says Tate. “It was then I realized they want to smell my personal scent. I suppose it’s part of their fantasy to not only see and hear you on the screen but also to smell you.”

Tate frequently takes requests from fans—some asking for regularly worn panties, while others put in requests for a post-orgasm pair. After the panties are worn, Tate seals them in a Ziploc bag before sending them out—an industry-wide standard procedure for this sort of thing. “Some of the guys have said they’ve never taken them out of the baggies because they didn't want to lose any of the scent.”

Perhaps just knowing they own a whiff of their favorite star is enough.

Panty sales are such big business, some porn stars have invested in personalized packaging that goes beyond the standard Ziploc. Cindy Starfall explains how she uses the packaging to further establish her brand as a star. “I don’t just use a Ziploc bag, I have a special Starfall package: it’s a small clear box shaped like a Chinese takeout box with the little metal wire on top,” says Starfall. “I thought the idea for Chinese panty takeout would be fun because I’m Asian.”

Fans do more than just collect memorabilia; some take it a step further and use the worn panties to act out their fantasies. Starfall says some of her fans use the panties she sells in role-playing scenarios with their significant others. “A fan sent me photos of his girl wearing my panties,” says Starfall. “He said he fantasized about having a threesome.”

While the use of worn panties is only limited by the imagination, fetish model turned porn star Casey Calvert suspects there are primarily two types of people who buy used panties. “The first kind are guys who like it as memorabilia and want specific panties that were worn in a certain scene. It’s more personal than an autograph and it’s his way of owning a piece of that moment,” says Calvert. “The second type of guy is the one with a panty fetish, the guy who wants to wear them, smell them, touch them, maybe even use when he's pleasuring himself.” Considering the myriad requests she receives, Calvert considers the desire for used panties to be on the tame side. “Frankly, it’s fairly benign compared to some of the other things I get asked for.”

Collecting worn panties may not be any different than collecting a signed baseball to some fans. Nick, a self-professed superfan, suggests that aficionados want something tangible, a touchable item that connects them to their onscreen fantasy. Nick’s collected a great number of things from his favorite stars, and lingerie is certainly among them. “I’ve bought a piece for a scene, had it worn for me and sent back after it was worn. The allure is to have something personal, something only for you,” says Nick. “I think fans always look to own something small from a performer they like. If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money, you want something special.”

However it isn’t just fans that are buying used porn stars’ dirty laundry; some men enjoy buying well-worn panties from anonymous women on the internet. While some meet on subreddits like r/usedpanties, the largest current online platform for this sort of business may arguably be Pantydeal.com. With over 25,000 members the site claims to be the “biggest used panty network there is.” According to company spokesman Paul Richter, one of the features that sets them apart is their assurance that all anonymous members have been checked out internally. “The anonymity of our members is number one, some girls post their profiles with a face, some don’t,” says Richter. “We make sure our members are real, so buyers can avoid scam artists. It’s not like Craigslist or Reddit where everyone can sell completely anonymously, we have an internal verification process to make sure everything is real.”

It may come as a surprise, but the majority of these sellers are non-porn stars. “This niche is getting more and more popular,” says Richter, noting that sellers range from young to old. And, while most sellers and buyers are located in the U.S. and U.K., they have clientele from all over the world. As one might suspect, it’s primarily women selling their worn underwear to interested men for prices they negotiate. Prices vary, all dependant on how many days the underwear is worn—the more days the higher the price, according to Paul. “I don’t know exactly how many panties are sold, but for many girls the profit is around $400 to $700 a month,” says Richter.

Who knew dirty laundry could be so profitable?