Think about how you like to relax at home. After a hard day’s work, maybe you flop down on the sofa, fire up Netflix, kick up your feet… and slide your hands down your trousers.
That’s just what guys do. Many men naturally reach for their nether regions both in private and in public without batting an eye. This includes fully submerging your hands in your underwear, occasionally reaching down to adjust your package, or even just playing a little pocket pool.
So how come you do it? These three surprising reasons might explain why.
1. It Protects Your Package
Lodging your hands betwixt your thighs and protecting yourself from the potential hazards of the outside world makes you feel comfortable and safe, says Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Human Lie Detection and Body Language 101: Your Guide to Reading People’s Nonverbal Behavior. Guys subconsciously default to this position when they relax because they feel more at ease with their essential organs out of harm’s way.
2. It Eases Your Nerves
About to make a big pitch or close a deal? Rubbing your stomach or other body parts in a non-erotic way triggers the release of oxytocin, a calming hormone, according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
That may be why touching your junk can be soothing. But since massaging your groin in a board room could get you fired, Van Edwards often tells nervous public speakers to stroke or touch their arms or the backs of their necks to reduce anxiety. In private, man. Honestly.
3. It Helps You Assert Your Dominance
Facing a business rival with your hands in your pants could mean you’re consciously or subconsciously trying to establish who’s boss, says Rob Kominiarek, founder of the Alpha Male Medical Institute.
Telling other guys to back off by pointing to your groin helps you mark your territory, he says. Evolutionarily speaking, he who mates the most wins – even if these days, that means landing clients and accounts rather than producing offspring.
By: Cindy Kuzma
A version of this article first appeared on menshealth.com