"If a man doesn't feel particularly manly or is satisfying his woman, he might just decide that he'll get her something to spice things up," he explained. "But out of anger or resentment, it's possible that he'll decide to steal it instead of spending money on it."
Women who steal lingerie are often driven by loss substitution, meaning they're looking to replace something that's been taken from them.
In studies Cupchik conducted in the 1980s and repeated in 1997, he found that almost three-quarters of shoplifters were dealing with a personal crisis, like cancer. "Stealing bras is an invasion of the department store, and cancer can be considered an invasion of the host body."
One of his patients was a woman in her 40s who was a compulsive thief. She told Cupchik that the first thing she stole was lingerie, even though she didn't wear lingerie. The kleptomania occurred just as her husband suffered from prostate cancer and became impotent.
"My hypothesis was that she stole lingerie because it's supposed to turn men on," Cupchik said.