For @justanothersagger, planning a new feed post is a fully thought-out process. “What colors do I want to wear today that work together? Ripped jeans, and why? Or would joggers be better? Boxer shorts or boxer briefs?” Once he locks down the jeans, belt and underwear combo, the 32-year-old takes to Instagram to share the look with his newfound community. Validation ensues. “Your sags always hittin bro,” one commenter says. Fire emojis and drool faces flood his notifications. Whether it’s him sagging while sitting in a chair, strolling through the forest or doing laundry, fellow gay saggers hype him up in the comments section, applauding the color combos and effortlessness of his low sag that day.
“There’s a lot of humanness among others here, which I treasure,” he tells PAPER. Based in the Midwest, the niche micro-influencer explains how finding a community of like-minded gay saggers helps him after years of feeling like an outcast for being LGBTQ+ and autistic.
He’s not the only one. @sagger_cjs90, who is also autistic, flaunts his daily sags with ease. He’s partial to American Eagle underwear and often “double sags” by layering basketball shorts with denim jeans and boxer briefs of his choosing. Elsewhere within the community, Ethika brand underwear are particularly popular due to their vibrant designs and signature look. Some guys are devoted to Hollister. And almost all of them choose to not show their faces.
Most of the boys I talk to started their pages just within the past two years or so, and delight over the post-COVID internet aspect of it all, trying to find community amidst all of the loneliness. “I feel proud and fortunate that I’m able to be a part of a community,” says Nikolai, who is 24, lives in Virginia, and is non-binary and neurodivergent. He will post Instagram stories from his office before coworkers arrive, showing off his colorful sag in front of the large printers.
Others, like bisexual Wisconsin native @sagging_joe_13, flaunt their Ethika, denim jeans and Converse combo in their bedrooms. Donning a ski mask, he does a spin for the camera, with Ariana Grande’s Positions vinyls plastered firmly on the wall behind him.
And then there are the wet saggers. @kiffeau dives fully clothed in swimming pools, explores remote streams in France and rolls around in muddy forest floors for the camera. He’s insistent on remaining fully anonymous. “I just like swimming fully dressed and don’t want hate,” he tells me. The signature wet look seems to be more of a European thing, with other wet saggers like Austria-based @satinsk8er splashing around in the mud wearing Everlast boxing shorts.
Many of them, like @chris.saggs, meet up with other gay saggers IRL and claim ownership over one another. They swap sneakers and share updates about their lives. They take walks together and rub each other through their Ethikas. Some of them have OnlyFans accounts and film content, while others simply just want to build friendships. @justanothersagger says that he’s never hooked up, period. I’m told that it really just depends on the sagger. “I met up with another sagger recently, and we were able to talk about what sagging meant to us, which has helped me normalize my fetish.”
For these boys, sagging is also comfort — both physically and emotionally. And while interviewing various gay saggers, I found an innocence that leads me to believe that #gaysagging may be more of a gateway into finding pure connection rather than a purely sexual fetish. In trying to find willing interviewees for this piece, @justanothersagger reached out to his vast network of gay saggers and generously sent them my way. “I know a sagger from Iran and multiple from Eastern Asian countries,” he says. “I’ll be honest, I was really glad you reached out and asked. I have wanted to vocalize this for years, actually.”
Sagging has been historically taboo and controversial. In 2010, then New York state senator and current mayor Eric Adams took to billboards in Brooklyn to decry saggy bottom boys: “Stop the sag!” During his initial campaign in 2008, President Obama weighed in on the peculiarly relevant issue of the moment. “Brothers should pull up their pants,” he told MTV. “You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What’s wrong with that? Come on.”
In the early 2000s especially, the pant-sagging trend seemed to strike a nerve with congressmen and state legislatures like never before. Ultimately the trend’s origins all lead back to prison. When an inmate first gets to prison, they get their shoestrings and belts taken from them. In comes sagging, which inevitably became a way of showing other inmates who was available for sex. This tie to prison and gang culture is what’s maked sagging so perpetually contentious as it’s evolved and taken on new meaning, from its proliferation in hip-hop culture in the ‘90s to the 2000s where it became more of a mainstream male style trend. Tupac sagged his pants as an “F U” to the police. Middle school boys in the 2000s sagged to feel cool.
“It really started when I was in high school,” says Nikolai. “There were a few boys who sagged, but there was one boy in particular who sat in front of me in my math class. I still remember some of the Ethikas he wore.” I, too, vividly remember the straight boys in middle school who would sag their gym shorts under their jeans. I always felt perplexed at how homoerotic the style was yet how willing these boys were to participate in it. Obviously, sagging has been around forever, but this iteration of gay saggers on Instagram is fairly new and specifically tied to this core collective memory. Perhaps it’s a reclamation of a style that was, at the time, associated with hypermasculinity.
“Gay saggers are constructing a fantasy while normalizing it,” @chris.saggers explains. “The details are associated with texture, color, belts, wallets, fades and shoes that create a look, a fantasy.” He’s right. Having immersed myself in the community, it stands out to me how truly fantastical an expression of self these gay saggers are constructing through their looks. It makes me curious and excited to see how they’ll evolve the art of sagging next, and I’m convinced that major fashion houses will be copying the #wetlook in their campaigns in a few years’ time.
In the meantime, their faces will remain blurred out. Given the supportive nature of the gay sagger sphere, maybe some of them will develop a newfound confidence to start showing their faces in their posts, but maybe the anonymity is what adds to the lore. “Within the gay community there’s already a lack of trust, so I think exposing yourself little by little is how gay saggers do it,” @chris.saggs says. Perhaps there’s less fear in being faceless, enabling gay saggers to hone in on the design and color story of it all — the details in the fabric.
“Yes, this is art,” @justanothersagger iterates. “Definitely.”