Why Do Wedgies Hurt? (5 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

Everyone has heard of wedgies, even if you hopefully have not experienced one. Not only is this an embarrassing experience, but they can also potentially be very painful.

It is normal to wonder why exactly wedgies are so painful. Keep reading to learn more about why this juvenile prank can hurt so much.

Why Do Wedgies Hurt?

1. It Is A Sensitive Area

The first and most obvious reason why wedgies hurt is because they are targeting a very sensitive area of the human body.

Both for males and females, there are a lot of parts of the human anatomy that do not respond very well to the pressure of a wedgie.

When a wedgie happens in this area, it is much more painful than if clothes on a less sensitive area, such as your feet, were pulled.

2. The Fabric Can Pinch

Underwear is typically made from a variety of materials that can all be very irritating to the human body. This includes the following:

  • Polyester
  • Elastic
  • Cotton

While all of these fabrics are an important part of constructing good quality underwear, they can inflict damage on your skin if they are pulled with a lot of pressure.

For example, elastic’s stretching properties are great for underwear’s fitted aspects, but its stretch and release means that they can really pinch the skin.

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It can also be very painful if you are wearing an underwear fabric that does not stretch, such as cotton. Because it does not have any give and take, it becomes extremely tight on your skin.

Basically, there is no perfect underwear material for avoiding a painful wedgie, as all can severely pinch your skin if pulled with enough pressure.

3. Gravity Works Against You

Gravity Works Against You

Beyond the already substantial pain of a normal wedgie, there are also wedgie variations such as the “atomic wedgie” that involve hanging underwear on a person’s head or other place.

This is an extremely dangerous prank because of the sheer amount of pain it can cause. When a person is hanging by their underwear, most if not all of their bodyweight is channeled into their underwear.

Realistically, these pranks do not often happen because most underwear materials cannot support a person’s full body weight and end up ripping or tearing.

However, even experiencing a few minutes of these types of wedgies can be extremely painful and result in serious damage to the affected area that could potentially be long-lasting.

Some people who receive a severe wedgie may end up having skin damage, such as bleeding or scarring, or even damage to the internal organs that are in that area.

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4. Underwear Is Usually Tight

There are many different types of underwear, but most of the time underwear will fit somewhat closely on the body for maximum comfort and ease of movement.

Although this is very good for everyday use, it can spell disaster if you get a wedgie. Already tight underwear will become even tighter, creating nearly unbearable pressure.

If you suspect you might be the target of a wedgie, it may help you to choose looser-fitting underwear, like boxers, instead of a tighter style.

This is an especially difficult situation for girls and women because their types of underwear are more tightly fitted and there are fewer options for loose-fitting styles.

5. Someone Else Is Inflicting It

This last reason has more to do with psychology than biology or physics. Wedgies are often painful because someone else has control over the situation and can exert a lot of force into the wedgie.

Although this seems obvious, it is a big reason why wedgies are so painful. It also explains why people who try to give themselves wedgies might find that it is not actually that painful.

Also, if the person who is giving you the wedgie is very strong, they are going to exert a much more powerful wedgie and this will result in more pain.

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Psychologically, you may also be very fearful of the experience, which leads to a heightened sense of the pain you undergo.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why people pierce their nipples, why people pierce their tongue, and why you like being naked.


Nobody likes a wedgie, and this childish prank that might seem funny can actually cause a lot of pain and even injury. The reason why its painful might seem simple, but has several causes.

The pain of a wedgie usually comes down to the materials of your underwear in combination with the gravity and force associated with the experience. Overall, it is not a fun time.


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