Can We Talk About Crotch Sweat?

If you are like me, you have witnessed yourself go through a rollercoaster of fitness motivation over the past nine months—from feeling like Jane Fonda in 1982 to 24/7 potato status and back again. In lieu of making the splurge on a Peloton to stay active, I have admittedly spent the last few months searching for fitness inspiration in all sorts of nooks and crannies on the internet and social media.

One of my more notable finds includes an Instagram account ran by Emma Golden, the blogger behind EmmasThing, who has undergone her own fitness revolution over the past year as she recovered from BBG burnout and shifted gears towards a more sustainable strength training routine.

I’ve found Emma inspiring for many reasons, but when it comes to fitness, I love how she keeps it real—and I mean really real. She talks to her audience the way I talk to my closest friends; she is certainly not afraid to get a little awkward. I have joined several of her bi-weekly live strength workouts (written by her trainer, MegMo Fit), which usually include guest appearances by: cute puppies, a few solid 90s R&B hits, plenty of breaks, a few (sometimes more than a few) cuss words, and casual banter about taboo fitness topics like crotch sweat.

 Yes, crotch sweat. Are you as uncomfortable reading that as I am typing it? Cool.

I’ll be honest: when I first noticed Emma posting about crotch sweat on her story, I was stunned. “Wait, did she just go there?” Yes, reader, she did.

Emma Golden workout
Photos courtesy of Emma Golden

See, I had recently purchased some fancy new, colorful workout gear to get me through the pandemic, and shamefully noticed that some things *ahem, crotch sweat* are much more noticeable in a bright orange pair of leggings than in my usual, gym-going black pair. I had never really noticed it so much before, and it quickly became a cause for concern. Was this normal? [Spoiler alert: yes, very]. Or am I an especially gross human?

At the end of a particularly sweaty workout, I started to find myself feeling embarrassed. Yes—embarrassed(!) in a pandemic, in front of nobody but myself, in the privacy of my own home. When I Googled “is crotch sweat normal?” (yes, I did that), I found most articles admitted it was natural, but often focused on how to prevent it instead of accepting it. And here was this woman, casually chatting about her crotch sweat on her Instagram for all to hear. I was stunned, and then intrigued, and then—as one does—I decided to reach out to chat about it. 

Below is an excerpt of a Q&A with @EmmasThing herself, and I hope that you find her as inspiring as I do. And, at the very least, I hope this conversation helps us all #normalizecrotchsweat. [Can we get that trending?]

Emma Golden

Q: I love following you because of your realness and confidence; does it come natural for you to be so open about (most) things?

It really does. It’s not a put-on. I’ve always been an open book to a fault, and I truly believe that’s the most fun way to live life. What’s the point of living and experiencing life’s ups and downs if you’re not going to tell people about them! It comes so naturally to me to say and do whatever I’m thinking, in fact, that I have to watch it or it could get me in trouble. I mean, I am an Aries and we’re super impulsive, so it makes sense!

Q: When it comes to sharing about crotch sweat specifically, was this ever something you were embarrassed about? 

OMG, yes. I was mortified for years. I remember one time, I got wild and bought navy leggings instead of my typical black. I was so excited to wear them to the gym, but literally one rep into a chest press set (not even a leg day!), the crotch sweat started. I legitimately teared up and left on the spot. Crotch sweat used to make me feel like such a disgusting, dirty person!

Q: Why did you (and do you) decide to share your experience with crotch sweat with your followers?

I can’t say there was an exact moment that I decided “F THIS!” but that’s what happened. Every little thing I’ve shared about myself and my life online has always been met with an “OMG ME TOO” response, and I just knew that suffering from crotch sweat would be no different. In fact, I figured sharing it would 100% garner “me too!” responses and ultimately make me feel much better and normal, and that’s exactly what happened! 

Emma Golden fitness

Q: How do followers react when you share content about crotch sweat? 

They always laugh and thank me for being “real.” They also definitely lament and admit their own crotch sweat suffering to me. In fact, one follower told me to check out a few fitness stars who proudly displayed their own crotch sweat while wearing bright, bold-colored leggings, and that’s what really encouraged me to just own it! I’ve worn only black or heavily patterned leggings as long as I can remember, but during 2020, I’ve gotten super experimental with colored leggings. I’ve sweated in every single one of them, out in public on walks, and I couldn’t care less. It makes me so happy to wear bright colors, and I wear my crotch sweat proudly now, like an earned badge of hard work!

Q: If a friend confided in you that she was embarrassed about her crotch sweat, what would you tell her?

I would tell her I totally get it and empathize with her, and that she should keep wearing black bottoms if that’s what makes her feel confident. But I would also tell her and show her how so many women suffer from the same thing, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re a sexy, strong, hard working woman who happens to show that via her crotch. So what, who cares?!

Q: Anything else you want to mention (crotch sweat-related or otherwise?)

Some advice my sister always reminds me of no matter the situation is, “no one is thinking about you as much as you’re thinking about you,” and it really helps. I would offer the same advice for crotch sweat—yes, you see it and feel it and others might notice it, too, but I can promise you they’re not leaving the gym and going home to tell everyone about a random girl’s crotch sweat. It’s natural, it’s organic, let it happen. And keep kicking ass!

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About Cass Gunderson

Cass hails from the southwest suburbs as a proud White Sox fan and a graduate of University of Illinois. By day, Cass is a full-time student at the University of Chicago's Booth Graduate Business School. Before deciding to throw away all her money to go back to school, Cass worked for a private equity firm that buys technology companies. Raised as the youngest in a family of older brothers, Cass grew up a tomboy and remains active in sports. To her mother’s satisfaction, Cass learned how to embrace her feminine side in college and has developed an interest for fitness activities that require spandex as opposed to knee-length basketball shorts. In her spare time, she runs a lot because it is cheaper than paying for real therapy. Cass has completed four marathons and one ultramarathon (she claims she'll never do this to herself again, but that's TBD). She can still be found on the basketball courts in Lincoln Park wearing knee-length basketball shorts.

4 thoughts on “Can We Talk About Crotch Sweat?

  1. The crotch sweat is real! I became a black pants only in class person but when I run it’s a free for all of looking like I peed my pants… I mean who knows, maybe I did pee my pants? But I’m also all for normalizing this because it is normal!! It’s so embarrassing when it’s you but we all sweat!

  2. Hell yes to this! I’ve also found that my Knix leakproof underwear are great for heavy workout days like in the case I’m zooming off to something else after the gym.

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