In traditional terms men’s swimwear has been limited to speedos, as taken from the brand of the same name. These were for a long time the only form of briefs found on men in the sea or in a swimming pool. There was over the year only slight variations in the design that saw thongs and g-strings being worn by more adventurous men. The thongs are basically no more than posing pouches, and g-strings have only minimal coverage of the man’s front and back.
In the past couple of decades less adventurous men have increasingly turned to swimwear described as boardshorts. Originating from countries linked to surfing and boardshorts are larger than normal shorts, they are certainly more comfortable than other forms of swimwear.
Competition wise male swimmers have had a choice between briefs and recent developments in the jammers field of development. Competitors are traditionally always worn briefs as they are the swimwear with the least amount of water resistance. Water resistance is often the difference between obtaining a medal and missing out. Jammers were designed especially to aid the male competitors and cover more leg than briefs. Tests have shown that there are speed advantages from making use of jammers although there is also a greater degree of water resistance. There has also been development in this area with all in one body suits being worn by some male swimmers. This bodyskin form of swimwear decreases drag although many swimmers still make use of briefs when they are swimming competitively.
It is probably therefore a question of taste and purpose when it comes to what swimwear men wear. Those sunbathing do tend to go for briefs as the method to obtain most areas of tan; this is especially true of those wearing g-strings and thongs as well. These people are often described as posers although this is not necessarily true. Boardshorts are much better when it comes to surfing or similar form of activity, and are used by more modest males. Competitive swimmers have a choice between bodysuits or briefs when it comes to getting the best time, a situation where boardshorts would only add to drag.