What is a G-String?

Heidi Toth

A G-string is a type of underwear akin to a thong. Its most identifying feature is the tiny strip — quite literally, a string — of fabric that runs between the wearer's buttocks and attaches to a band around the hips. A G-string can be worn by men or women but is generally more popular among women. It does not cover much when compared to a standard pair of women's panties, but wearing a G-string gets rid of the dreaded panty line — the line that tells others exactly where a woman's underwear is — under thinner fabrics and tight clothing. Some swimsuits also have a G-string design, with the bikini bottom similar in appearance to that of G-string underwear.

One theory maintains that the G-string owes its name to the violin's lowest string.
One theory maintains that the G-string owes its name to the violin's lowest string.

G-strings started as undergarments for the men in various African tribes. Sumo wrestlers and the fictional character Tarzan also wore variations of the garment. When they started becoming more mainstream, strippers were the most likely people to wear a G-string. The undergarment has since become even more mainstream and popular.

A G-string may be worn to avoid panty lines that are visible beneath tight clothing.
A G-string may be worn to avoid panty lines that are visible beneath tight clothing.

One of the few things the G-string leaves to one's imagination is the origin of its name, though there are a couple theories. The first is that Native Americans called the loincloth-type garment they wore a "geestring." It is believed that, as the English settlers moved in, they altered the name of the garment and eventually took over its use.

Another theory is that the underwear got its name by shortening the term "girdle string." That term was mentioned in a 19th century book as a garment boys wore around their waists, one similar to the loincloth. A girdle was a garment women wore to keep their bellies tucked in tightly. Yet another theory holds that the underwear got its name from the G string, the lowest string on a violin. It compares the underwear to the string's position on the instrument.

G-strings aren't for everyone, but many people say they are comfortable underwear. They are lightweight, and the string in the back is so small that many people say it's like not wearing underwear at all. For some, that's more of a turnoff than a selling point, but others appreciate the comfort and relative invisibility. Other types of underwear that are similar include V-strings, T-strings and the strapless C-string, all members of the thong underwear family. All of them are similar in design, with the majority of the fabric in the front and a only small triangle of fabric, if that, in the back.

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Discussion Comments


@Oceana – You might be surprised at how easy it is to get used to wearing a G-string. Once you get past the initial shock of how different it feels than regular underwear, you can even get comfortable with it.

I hated it at first, too. However, I had been having so many problems with my pantyline showing through my skirts and slacks that I needed to wear one.

This may sound like a weird comparison, but getting used to a G-string is like getting accustomed to tampons. Once you get the hang of it, you don't even notice you are wearing them.

The thin strip of fabric is so small and soft that it almost becomes a part of you. I really do forget that I'm wearing a G-string sometimes.


I've never heard any of the theories on how the G-string got its name, but I had my own idea. I thought that the “G” simply stood for “groin.”

So, I'm probably wrong. Though no one knows for sure where the name came from, one thing is certain. Whenever the word “G-string” is mentioned, everyone gets the same image in their minds.

It is always associated with being risque. I think that if you wear it under your clothing and don't expose yourself in public, then it isn't risque at all. It's just a personal choice.

When I went on vacation to Miami last year, I was shocked by the types of swimsuits women were wearing on the beach. G-string bikinis were everywhere!

At first, I double-checked the sign on the sand to make sure I hadn't wandered onto a nude beach. Then, I realized that they were wearing thin strips of fabric on parts of their bodies.

I'm a fairly modest dresser, so I felt really weird being there in my swimdress that covered everything. I left and went to another beach a few miles away.


Just for kicks, I tried on a G-string in a clothing store once. I wanted to see how it felt to wear something like this.

I could not get it off fast enough. It felt as though I were flossing my buttocks. It just felt wrong!

I am used to wearing hip hugger underwear, which offers total coverage. In comparison, the G-string felt like I was having a wedgie!

I know that some people wear nothing but G-strings, but I really don't see how they tolerate them. I could never get used to that odd feeling.

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