Suspenders and garters: a matter of language

– I’m intrigued by the different effect on me of the word ‘suspender’ and the transatlantic ‘garter’. If I read, or especially hear from the woman, the word suspender or suspender belt, I get a strong erotic charge, just from the sound. I don’t, however, get the same feeling from garter or garter belt – even though they are the same thing. I guess the sound and the meaning become woven together early on in life. What do others think?

– Same here! I know just what you mean. For some reason the word ‘garters’ or ‘garter belt’ just don’t do anything for me, even though I know exactly what they mean. On the other hand, the words ‘suspenders’, ‘sussies’ or ‘suspender belt’, whether in print or spoken (particularly by a woman) cause me instant and intense arousal. I’m glad you’ve brought this point up, because I thought I was the only one. Any more comments on this theme, anyone?

– I agree with both of you. Mention of suspenders, suspender belts and sussies quickly turns me on, but garters and garter belts only produce mild “excitement”. I also agree that it is even more of a turn on when the various references to suspenders are spoken by women, or written by women in postings here or in the chat zone.

I think the phrase which has me feeling erotic in an instant is “my stockings are very heavily suspendered”. Thoughts of stocking tops stretched heavily by extremely taut suspenders immediately invade my imagination. Funny that “my stockings are very heavily gartered” don’t have the same effect!

– To me, I’d always heard the term garter belt. I had never heard the term suspenders until a British lady working in a lingerie shop in Phoenix introduced me to the term. I thought wow, that’s different and I guess appropriate. But I like the term garter and garter belt best.

– Can you imagine being “turned on” when a women tells you she’s wearing braces? Probably not. But, here in the USA, suspenders are what you call braces in the UK.

We in the USA recognise the term for the article of lingerie which holds up a woman’s stockings as a garterbelt. On the other hand, we recognise the term for the accessory which holds up a man’s pants as “suspenders.”

“Sussies” is a uniquely British term and it seems to me only natural that hearing it (especially from a woman) would stimulate the imagination (and some other of the nether regions) of an Englishman. However, to my American ear, a beautiful woman telling me that she is wearing suspenders only brings to mind a somewhat masculine image of a woman wearing what you call braces. Decidedly unerotic wouldn’t you agree?

I know that when I have read British erotica and have encountered the term “suspenders” it has had a somewhat cooling effect. Not the effect I was hoping for. I imagine it must be the same for my counterpart on your side of the pond when you read American erotica and in the middle of an especially heated passage find the term “garterbelt”

Someone once observed that the English and the Americans were two great peoples separated by a common language. I don’t even want to tell you of my problems with “knickers” and “waspies!”

– I’m a Canadian with a British lover. Always I have heard the term ‘garterbelt’. But since my lover is practically in love with stockings and suspenders, I’ve probably heard this term far more times in the last year and a half than I’ve heard ‘garterbelt’ over all the years prior.

I now find that I often use the word suspender when I’m in Canada and end up constantly having to translate myself! I will admit I love the sound of the word ‘stockings’. It feels a bit like saying the word cabernet or syrah. With these one can almost taste the word. With stockings one can almost feel them. I have to bail on ‘sussies’ though. It seems a pet name to which this foreigner is not entitled.

– For me, a garter suggests the old-style elastic around a leg, and so that reduces the erotic effect of the word. As for the US dislike of ‘knickers’, I would point out that for us ‘underpants’ is extremely non-erotic, since over here it means a man’s underwear. Here we could compromise on ‘panties’, I suggest. But I part company with my fellow Brits in disliking the word ‘sussies’. Too flimsy a word, making me picture a bit of elastic round the waist with thin, ribbony straps. A woman can’t be ‘heavily’ or ‘tautly’ suspendered (a turn-on, I quite agree) when she’s wearing sussies!

– Like some of the other US-based posters, the term garterbelt was all I heard when growing up. There was something illicit in saying the word, let alone thinking about it. I am too young to recall when they were the norm, so therefore they were a racy item. Since I have been posting here, I have gotten used to the term suspender belt, but find it a little off-putting.

As for knickers, they are what little boys used to wear before being old enough for long pants. A shortening of the word “knickerbocker”. Also a long lost term for residents of New York, if I remember my early American history. They were also a horrid fashion fad for women in the early ’80s. Ugh. Now, I think of tap pants when I think of knickers.

And maybe I’m a bit prudish here, kids, but I can’t stand the word ‘panties’! Just saying it makes me feel a little fruity! I’ll stick with underwear, or undies, for short.

– You are quite right about the American sense of the word “knickers”. I would remind readers here in the USA that the most common use of the word these days is as the name of an American basketball team, the New York Knicks (short, as pointed out, for knickerbockers ie new yorkers).

My problem with the term “knickers” is that, when I read or hear it, somewhere in my consciousness I am plagued with mental images of seven foot tall African-American males taking layup shots while wearing panties! This is, at least for me, a disturbing rather than erotic image.

I have no problem with the word “panties”. From my earliest memories I can recall the mystery and excitement, the forbidden image of panties. Lace, satin, sheer, white, cream-coloured, baby blue, open crotch, tied at the side with satin bows, black and bewitching, red and slightly dangerous, panties were the holy grail. When I saw them on an attractive girl by accident the stimulation was powerful and immediate. When I was shown them by an attractive lady on purpose softly nestling against her treasures I was in heaven. In my mind panties and stockings go together like cigars and cognac, wine and roses or Mercedes and Benz.

“Undies” is the term my grandmother used for her laundry. “Underwear” is too masculine for me to use when referring to women’s lingerie. It conjures either my mother telling me to “pick up your underwear” or the men’s sections of countless retailers. Ah, but “lingerie” now there’s a word that starts the blood racing: lingerie. How it flows from the tongue… lingerie. Probably France’s greatest contribution to our culture since the can-can. I could wax poetic about women in fine lingerie.

Its clearly a matter of conditioning, probably dating from our early childhood, with a clear and marked transatlantic divide. When I hear or read Americans referring to women’s ‘underpants’ the effect is ghastly, as I am sure all British and Australian contributors will wholeheartedly agree. ‘Panties’ is acceptable, but, without doubt, to my ears ‘knickers’ is far, far more erotic. In England, ‘knickers’ is far and away the most frequent expression. I have never once heard a woman refer to her underwear as anything other than her knickers. The question is, ladies, what do you call yours?

Women who still wear girdles

Women who still wear girdles“Do any ladies out there still wear girdles with stockings and suspenders (garters)? I have always been absolutely fascinated with stockings and suspenders, but especially with girdles. If any ladies out there still wear girdles, I would love to hear from you!”

“I am a 40 year-old bi female. I have an extensive collection of girdles. I grew up in the era of stockings and garters. We always wore them to school everyday. I never stopped. Girdles and garters are very erotic for the wearer and spice up your love life. Men love a glimpse and it’s surprising the women who also are excited by seeing them! I love the way they shape my rear and they hold up my nylons wrinkle free. More women should try wearing one but make sure you are properly fitted. Go to a good department stores foundation section and get a knowledgeable sales lady. Believe me a good foundation garment can add pizazz to your figure and sex life!”

“You’re absolutely right, there’s a lot of work in getting the right clothes, fit and type of stockings and making sure they are comfortable! After all, there are at least three moving parts that have to work together – and maybe six! Maybe some of us should do a tutorial and start a college on how to do it right!

“I think it’s important that if men would like women to come back into wearing stockings again that they try to understand the woman’s point of view. I’m afraid not many men think that way, so we need to educate the men as much as the women on this.

“I have no idea why you chose to, but congratulations on never having given up on stockings! You are certainly in a minority, but a valued one!”

“I am a 32 year-old female, married, and I have recently discovered girdles. I tried garter belts with my stockings, and didn’t feel right. When I got my first girdle, it was like coming home. Now I wear one every day with my work attire, and enjoy the ‘held in’ and firm feeling I get. You might be interested in checking out a web site called ZONA, which is a lovely paean to girdles and ladies who girdled. I cannot think of the URL right now, but just type in ZONA and see what you get. The site will hopefully get updated soon, with all new information. Enjoy!”

“My wife of 30-plus plus years wears open bottom girdles (obgs)- in fact she has them in all colours thanks to the magic of RIT dye. I love her in pink or in light chocolate colour. She seldom wears seams, but really likes National brand 400 which are close to the stockings we loved in the early ’60s.

“Girdles not only keep a woman’s tummy in and aid posture, but I firmly believe that they help keep the man in also. I’ve never lost my interest in my wife. I call it the awesome power of nylon!”

“I’m a 25 year-old red head who hails from MA and I’m a big voluptuous gal with freckles and I love stockings and garter belts and open bottomed girdles. I also wear high heel sandals and slides since they feel better on my feet than flat shoes. I also hate the manly shoe styles of today.

I’ve been wearing stockings and gbs and obgs since I was 18. They hold me in and make me feel very feminine (and yes, a little naughty!)

“I’m a working girl and mainly wear skirts + or – 2″ at the knees. I sometimes wear jeans – but always with stockings, and appropriate foundations, and slides or sandals.”

“The reason I wear stockings is that I don’t like pantyhose. They always ‘cut’ me and never fit properly – no matter how cheap or expensive the brand. I also had other problems with infections that the gynaecologist said were caused by too much of a hot, moist environment for bacteria. Not as sexy as it sounds! So I started wearing stockings and gbs and obgs and loved them. They fit. I liked the way they held me in and improved my posture and my feet are not comfortable in flat shoes. I prefer a 2-3″ heel and the more open the better. I don’t try to be sexy or kinky or anything. I like to feel attractive and comfortable and so I wear what I wear! It me. It’s who I am!”