Horrible news: the Internet isn’t all cute cats and viral videos. Oh, no. It’s full of shock sites with very scary, gross, outrageous, disturbing, explicit, disgusting, offensive, horrible, upsetting, and otherwise gruesome imagery that people are frequently tricked into searching for on Google. If you’re sitting there thinking “what should I Google,” be sure you read through this list first, and help yourself avoid landing on any gross websites that you didn’t even know you weren’t mentally prepared for.
Spend any amount of time on sites like Fark or Reddit, or Internet forums, and you’ll inevitably encounter suggestions that you search for some of the following terms, most of which sound largely innocent when judged by the names. But trust me… DON’T GOOGLE THEM (unless you turn on “safe search” first, that is). Most of these things, once seen, can never be unseen. From shock video sites and the worst shock sites, the Internet is a scary You’ve been warned…
NOTE: This page will remain SFW and informative only. Should your curiosity overcome you and you wish to actually see some of these terrible things, make sure you disable safe search on Google, and… um… happy hunting? Now, check out the list of things not to Google below.
You probably haven’t heard of Sandra Lee, a board certified dermatologist in California. But you might know her by her alias, Dr. Pimple Popper.
She posts videos doing exactly what she advertises: clears out large, pus-filled blemishes (and treats other dermatological conditions, too). It’s objectively disgusting. And yet, Lee has about 2.5 million subscribers on Instagram and Youtube, with over 1 billion views on the latter. You would think that most of us have more pleasant ways to spend our time on the internet—and yet it’s clearly hard for people look away.
There’s actually a psychological explanation for loving these videos—or at least voluntarily watching more of them even when they make us uncomfortable. “People are often drawn to things that bother them,” says Alexander Skolnick, a psychologist at Saint Joseph’s University who studies what is possibly the most under-appreciated emotion: disgust.
Disgust is a feeling we’ve carried with us since our ancient, reptilian brains had to figure out how to keep us alive. We tend to feel it when there’s something harmful around: We know snakes and some insects mean danger. Vomit means something made someone else sick. Poop carries diseases. When we see any of these, we naturally want to avoid them.
Just about opposite of disgust on the human emotional color wheel, there’s curiosity, which draws us into explore. Whereas disgust repulses us, As BBC reports, our brains have made us sponges for learning. We’re wired to collect information when it’s available to us.
Normally, the two feelings have a hard time coexisting. Skolnick and a graduate students are now analyzing the results of an experiment in which they exposed college students to objects both fascinating (holograms, super-strong magnetic balls) and disgusting (a dissected frog, hair brushes filled with hair) And then asked them to fill out surveys designed to rank their overall curiosity and disgust. Skolnick says the two emotions had an inverse relationship: The more disgusted participants were by the object, the less curious they were by it.
Videos, though, are a completely different experience. Watching gross pimple-popping videos on a screen—or even horror movies like those in the Alien or Hostel franchises where you know something gruesome will happen—provides enough distance that both of these emotions to exist simultaneously. “I think it is about experiencing these things in safe ways,” says Skolnick. “It’s gross, but it’s not you…it’s something you can turn off. You have power over it.”
In the space of these videos, we can still be disgusted, but not so much we have to look away. We can be curious and explore the situation more so we can, in theory, learn from it to protect ourselves in the future. If we were so disgusted we looked away, “you’ll miss out on something,” says Skolnick. Call it evolutionary FOMO.
- Gross-Looking Food That You Wouldn’t Want Served At Your Table
- Disgusting looking foods that will make you gag
- Why Do I Hate Watching People Make Out?
- Don’t Blame Bat Soup for the Wuhan Virus
- 13 disgusting things everyone got tricked into googling at school
- If the internet was a country, it would be the worst country on Earth.
- 1. Goatse
- 2. Tubgirl
- 3. Lemonparty
- 4. Blue Waffle
- 5. Harlequin Fetus
- 6. 2 Girls 1 Cup
- 7. Meatspin
- 8. Trypophobia
- 9. BME Pain Olympics
- 10. Kids in a Sandbox
- 11. Pink Socks
- 12. Mr. Hands
- 13. 1 Man 1 Jar
- Who really wants a United Ireland?
- Hit play to hear Carl Kinsella, Ellen Coyne and Dion Fanning on State of Us – Election 2020.
- Check out our reviews of all of this week’s new big screen releases!
- Hit PLAY!
- There’s a Reason Why We Like to Click on Gross Stuff on the Internet
Gross-Looking Food That You Wouldn’t Want Served At Your Table
Visually-appealing foods are enticing and they make you drool just by merely looking. But what about gross-looking food? Would you give it a chance and hope it tastes better than it looks? Or avoid them all together? In this Instagram-age where food photography is across the board, presentation is more substantial than taste. But what if a food looks so awfully disgusting? Well, it doesn’t mean it’s going to taste horrible just because it looks horrible. And some people may claim to actually like them. But if you really care about the appearance, you’ll probably feel sick when you see these meals. Check out the pictures of gross-looking food that you wouldn’t want served at your table and prepare to gag.
This jelly and vienna sausage combo doesn’t look so appetizing. And I don’t even want to imagine how they taste together.
If this is your idea of a party food, I’m sorry, but I’m not attending any of your parties.
Someone tried to make a pancake and miraculously created a Frisbee instead.
I don’t intend to make it worse, but this is called stinky tofu due to its revolting smell. Looks bad, smells bad, but tastes great!
You may not know it, but Colgate actually produced frozen dinner to encourage people to brush their teeth after eating. But it was a big flop so the production immediately stopped.
Disgusting looking foods that will make you gag
Anyone can go creative when it comes to cakes. Someone made a litter-box cake and those tiny brown things are… never mind…
No, frog eggs are NOT edible! These are actually basil eggs that some people claim have a mild taste. Ew!
These are pretzels dipped in white chocolate and tipped with sugar sprinkles. The only downside is that they made it look like cigarettes sitting on an ashtray.
Why would anyone want to eat a unicorn?
Snickers and pickles are working together for this?! What sorcery is this? Vom.
We all know that kids are not fond of sauerkraut. But it’s a different story when they use it to build a snowman.
So if the watermelon rind is the womb, and the red juice is the blood, what are those fetuses made of? Why am I even asking? This is so disturbing in many ways.
A person’s character, more so than their actions, determines whether we find immoral acts to be ‘disgusting,’ according to new research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
“We wanted to know why moral transgressions can be disgusting even when they don’t involve the kinds of things that typically disgust us, like body products, insects, and rotting foods,” says psychological scientist and study co-author Hanah Chapman of Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. “We found that what drives moral disgust seems to be the character of the transgressor — who they are more so than what they do.”
The worse someone’s character is, says Chapman, the more disgusting people typically find them to be.
The research was prompted by differing findings regarding how our judgments of moral violations evoke specific emotional responses: anger and disgust.
Anger and disgust are often felt together when we think about someone else’s wrongdoing, but the emotion that predominates can shape how we act. Previous work by first author Roger Giner-Sorolla of the University of Kent had shown that violating taboos is likely to elicit disgust, while violating people’s rights tends to elicit anger. But work by Chapman and others had shown that people sometimes report disgust more so than anger in response to acts that violate a person’s rights.
Giner-Sorolla and Chapman decided to collaborate and test the idea that focusing on a person’s bad character might be what leads us to feel of disgust in response to harm and other rights violations.
In an online study, 87 American adults read and evaluated two scenarios. In one scenario, a man finds out that his long-term girlfriend has cheated on him and he beats her. In the other scenario, a man finds out that his long-term girlfriend has cheated on him and he beats the girlfriend’s cat.
The participants evaluated the nature of the act, rating which act was more immoral, which act should be punished more severely, and which act deserves more blame. They also evaluated the nature of the two men, responding to questions gauging which man was more likely to be sadistic and which man was more likely to be empathetic.
Using both photos of facial expressions and verbal descriptions, the participants rated their relative disgust and anger.
In regards to the act itself, people tended to judge the act of beating the cat as less morally wrong than beating the girlfriend. But they tended to judge the moral character of the man who beat the cat as worse than that of the man who beat his girlfriend.
And the emotion ratings indicated that such negative character evaluations were associated with greater disgust, but not greater anger.
In two additional studies, participants read a series of different moral scenarios that varied according to whether the main character wanted to hurt someone (a sign of bad character, regardless of the outcome) and whether someone was actually hurt. In line with the first study, when the main character wanted to hurt someone, participants reported feeling disgust more than anger, even when no actual harm was done. And when the character caused harm unintentionally, participants reported more anger than disgust.
Overall, the findings suggest that we tend to feel more disgust when we judge someone to be a “bad person,” but we tend to feel more anger when we evaluate someone’s “bad actions.”
Despite these overall trends in the data, the researchers note that the findings were complex and warrant further investigation.
Ultimately, the research “can help us understand why we feel these emotions,” says Giner-Sorolla. And it shows “that two scholars with opposing ideas can get together and work out a way to resolve them.”
Why Do I Hate Watching People Make Out?
You’re standing at the bus stop minding your own business when you notice a couple sucking face—and they’re going at it, practically dry humping. You look away, but you can still hear the sound of their smacking lips, like an old man eating chili. Your body cringes with revulsion. Instead of thinking, “Ah, young love!”, you’re completely disgusted.
While you try and keep down your lunch, a part of you wonders why seeing public displays of affection makes you as uncomfortable as watching a sex scene with your parents. Are you a prude? Or just a bitter single person who can’t be happy for other people’s love?
First, it’s not just you—but it’s also not everyone, either. People vary widely in their response to others’ PDA, says Karen Blair, assistant professor of psychology at St. Francis Xavier University and the director of the KLB Research Lab. “Some find it sweet, some find it gross, some don’t even notice,” she says.
It’s worth noting that PDA is a relatively new phenomenon. Heavy petting and necking were once more behind-closed-doors activities. The first on-screen kiss wasn’t until 1896 and it’s only been since the 20th century that we stopped thinking anything more than hand holding was an all out scandal. Before the 1900s, PDA was taboo, and sometimes even illegal (punishable by fines, jail time, and in some extreme cases, death). These chaste beginnings can continue to have an influence over our modern day thoughts and behaviors.
For instance, at least one survey of university students that looked at work ethic and views on sexual norms found that traditional Puritan values about work and sex still influence Americans today. Context also matters, Blair says. People tend to be more accepting of PDA when it’s done in appropriate settings. She explains that we have a higher tolerance for PDA in places where people commonly greet or say goodbye to each other.
“There is never a shortage of PDA at airports, and indeed, often it is more gratuitous than what you might see in any other place, and people don’t seem to react negatively. In those situations, people empathize with the process of saying goodbye or hello to an important loved one and therefore give more space acceptance to expressions of affection,” she says.
As Charles Hill, a professor of psychology at Whittier College, wrote in a New York Times article back in the ‘80s, one reason PDA might be less acceptable in places where it’s not the norm is because it forces people to become an unwilling audience member—and that can be uncomfortable.
More from Tonic:
Another factor is who is doing the kissing: One 2014 study found that 95 percent of heterosexual participants were fine with a hetero couple kissing on the cheek, but only 55 percent of them approved of a gay couple kissing on the cheek. Another study, conducted by Blair and her colleagues, found that men who were more prejudiced towards gay people were more likely to rate man-on-man PDA as “disgusting.”
“We also found that these same men with a past of aggressive behavior were more likely to show facial expressions of contempt in response to images of two men holding hands and facial expressions of disgust in response to images of two men kissing,” Blair adds. This might explain why same-sex couples ares less likely to share affection in public.
Even without social and cultural influences or homophobic/racist leanings, however, how you react to PDA also has a lot to do with your personality. As Gwendolyn Seidman, a psychology professor at Albright University explains, we each have personal tolerance levels for disgust.
“People differ in their level of disgust sensitivity, the extent to which you find different types of things disgusting,” she says, explaining that being grossed out by one thing—such as bodily fluids—means you’re likely to be grossed out by other things, like insects, spoiled food, or sexual taboos. “So people higher in disgust sensitivity might find visual displays of PDA to be especially disgusting.”
Meanwhile, Blair suggests that your attachment style—how you react in relationships—might also might have something to do with how you feel about PDA. “Even though attachment style relates to how we feel about our own personal relationships, it may influence how we view others’ relationships as well,” she says. Therefore, she adds, if you have an avoidant attachment style, you may be less likely to respond positively to displays of affection by other couples, perhaps seeing them as unnecessary or ‘over the top.’
Seidman adds that how you see yourself acting in a similar situation can influence what you think of PDA. “People tend to use themselves as a source of comparison to other people,” she says. “They judge others based on themselves.” In other words, if you’re the kind of person who would never make out on a bus, then you’re going to judge whoever does do that more harshly. And this is especially true if you think that couple is being extra about their displays of affection.
“It does appear that there’s such a thing as too much PDA,” says Lydia Emery, a graduate student in the psychology department at Northwestern University. In Emery’s research, she has found that people are seen as unlikeable if they are extra gushy about their relationship in their Facebook posts. She says the same could be true for couples who are all over each other in public, but more research is needed to see if the dislike for TMI Facebook posts also hate real life extreme PDA.
As for why people are so quick to hate on over-the-top PDA, Emery hypothesizes that it might be because people can pick up on the motivations of the couple. People engage in public displays of affection for a number of reasons, yet according to a University of Kansas study, which asked 349 college students about their engagement in PDA and the reasons behind it, the number one reason people did it was “to enhance their image or status by proving they were capable of making out with a particular person.”
“People don’t like it when others are bragging or showing off, or at least if they perceive it as such,” Seidman says. In another one of Emery’s studies, she found that people share more information about their relationship when they’re feeling insecure about their partner’s feelings. So people might actually be reacting negatively to the fakeness of the display of affection, but Emery stresses that more research is needed.
On a positive note, it seems that hating PDA has nothing to do with your relationship status. “Single people and people in relationships appear to dislike excessive PDA on Facebook an equal amount,” Emery says. But whether or not you think PDA is gross, you have to admit that you’re lucky you now live in a place—and a time—where that couple feels comfortable enough to make out in public at all. Just try not to sit next to them on the bus, and maybe put some headphones in.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of Tonic delivered to your inbox.
Don’t Blame Bat Soup for the Wuhan Virus
As news of the Wuhan virus spread online, one video became emblematic of its claimed origin: It showed a young Chinese woman, supposedly in Wuhan, biting into a virtually whole bat as she held the creature up with chopsticks. Media outlets from the Daily Mail to RT promoted the video, as did a number of prominent extremist bloggers such as Paul Joseph Watson. Thousands of Twitter users blamed supposedly “dirty” Chinese eating habits—in particular the consumption of wildlife—for the outbreak, said to have begun at a so-called wet market that sold animals in Wuhan, China.
There was just one problem. The video wasn’t set in Wuhan at all, where bat isn’t a delicacy. It wasn’t even from China. Instead it showed Wang Mengyun, the host of an online travel show, eating a dish in Palau, a Pacific island nation. Sampling the bat was simply an addition to the well-trodden cannon of adventurism and enthusiasm for unusual foods that numerous American chefs and travel hosts have shown in the past.
At a time of heightened fear over a viral pandemic, the Palau video has been deployed in the United States and Europe to renew an old narrative about the supposedly disgusting eating habits of foreigners, especially Asians. Images of Chinese people or other Asians eating insects, snakes, or mice frequently circulate on social media or in clickbait news stories. This time, that was mixed with another old racist idea: that the “dirty” Chinese are carriers of disease. Many Americans long believed that, as the New York Daily Tribune wrote in 1854, Chinese people were “uncivilized, unclean, filthy beyond all conception.” Today, those same ideas have often been transferred to other groups such as South American refugees, yet they still persist in the way some Westerners think about China.
These prejudices can fuel fear and racism. As the Wuhan virus spreads, the Chinese as a group are more and more likely to be blamed for its incubation and spread. In countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where there are already clashes around ethnic Chinese, those sentiments could turn nasty. In the West, especially under the Trump administration, it could fuel both government and public prejudices.
To be sure, the treatment of wildlife may be at the root of the virus. Wet markets where live animals are sold, mostly for food or medicine, still exist in most Chinese cities, and the Huanan Seafood Market was originally believed to be the source of this outbreak. The Chinese government has banned the wildlife trade until the epidemic is over.
But as it turns out, the market may not have been the cause of the outbreak at all. A new study shows that the early known victims had no contact with the market. And although the virus, at present, does seem to have originated in bats, it’s unclear how it made its way to humans. It’s quite likely no chowing down on the creatures of the night was involved.
Many Chinese people certainly like tucking into dishes Americans would consider unusual, though a lot of this is confined to very high-end or weirdly macho audiences, such as Beijing’s penis restaurant. But the standards of what animals we do and don’t eat are culturally arbitrary. Vegetarianism is morally consistent, but deploring the eating of dogs while tucking into companionable and intelligent pigs isn’t. (I myself have eaten many things others might find gross: dog soup, insects, Chicago deep-dish pizza.) And it goes both ways: A lot of East Asians, for instance, find the taste of lamb disgusting. The range of tastes inside China is as great as it is outside; the Cantonese habit of eating “everything with four legs save the table and everything that flies but the airplane” is a standing joke in the rest of the country.
And when it comes to disease, it’s not what’s being eaten that matters as much as the conditions—such as the standards workers are trained to meet, the lack of barriers at markets, and the absence or bribing of regulators and health inspectors. The H1N1 virus, after all, started not in any uncommon species, but in pigs.
And that’s where China really does have issues. The country’s food safety standards are notoriously bad, despite numerous government-led initiatives to improve them. Food scandals are common, and diarrhea and food poisoning are a distressingly regular experience. Markets, like Huanan, that aren’t licensed for live species nevertheless sell them. Workers are undertrained in basic hygiene techniques like glove-wearing and hand-washing. Dangerous additives are commonly used to increase production.
China’s conditions are not unique. It looks, in fact, a lot like the United States did in the past, before muckraking exposés led to the creation of modern regulation systems. Even today, the United States can lag behind best practices on such issues as antibiotics in feed, cattle slaughter, or poultry washing. And, as with the American public of the 1900s, the Chinese citizenry badly wants change. Seventy-seven percent of the public ranks food safety as their single biggest concern.
As with so much else in China, politics gets in the way of sensible policy. Exposés of the kind that drove reform in the United States have a hard time finding traction in China’s censorious media environment, where the interests of billion-dollar corporations and their party backers often override those of the public. When the author Zhou Qing wrote a groundbreaking exposé, What Kind of God, on the Chinese food industry in 2006, two-thirds of the book was removed before publication and its success eventually forced him into political exile.
Part of China’s problem can be attributed to the power of traditional Chinese medicine, which is responsible for much of the trade in wildlife. Many wild animals in China are killed not for culinary reasons but for essentially magical ones. Whether it’s tiger paws or pangolin scales, quack cures persist on a vast scale—even in cases like bear bile where a real active ingredient existed, has been discovered, and can be produced in labs without animal cruelty. The government has been heavily promoting traditional Chinese medicine, especially under President Xi Jinping’s new nationalism, and while officially pharmaceutical companies following this model eschew the wildlife trade, the propaganda around TCM in general helps ensure belief survives.
If the fallout from the Wuhan outbreak changes anything for the better, it may be that it gives a vital push to reform and more teeth to regulation. But as with so many past disasters in China, it could also mean a brief period of change before profits and power take precedence once again. Whatever happens, amid the current moment of fear and panic, support for the Chinese public will make a bigger difference than culinary judgments or racism.
13 disgusting things everyone got tricked into googling at school
If the internet was a country, it would be the worst country on Earth.
Locals would come up to you and say, “Hello, traveller. Welcome to Internet. Have you been to visit the great Blue Waffle? It is one of our country’s most important and impressive heritage sites. You must go!” And off you toddle, off to see the great Blue Waffle, and oh Jesus fuck what have you done.
There’s a lot of fucked up shit on the internet, but some of it is hidden behind behind seemingly innocent names. So when someone told you to look up “Blue Waffle”, you looked up “Blue Waffle”, because what could be so bad about a blue waffle?
Turns out, a lot could be bad about a blue waffle.
If you’re not into reading descriptions of gross shit on the internet, this is where you should stop reading.
What you thought it might be: An affectionate nickname for a goat.
What it actually was: A man stretching his anus wide open.
What you thought it might be: Just a girl hanging out in a tub, or maybe a cruel name for a slightly overweight woman.
What it actually was: A photo of a woman lying in a bath with orange diarrhea gushing onto her face. Arguably the worst picture on the internet.
Photo: Tony Hisgett
What you thought it might be: A dating network for socially awkward people, or just a bunch of lemons having a great time.
What it actually was: Three elderly gentlemen having a threesome. Perhaps more surprising than gross (especially if you were expecting a bunch of lemons having a great time).
4. Blue Waffle
Photo: Evan Swigart
What you thought it might be: A waffle made with blue food colouring; a novelty breakfast treat, perhaps.
What it actually was: A photo of a diseased/infected vagina.
5. Harlequin Fetus
What you thought it might be: A spin-off from the popular DC Comics character where Harley Quinn is a… fetus?
What it actually was: A photo of a baby with a rare and horrible skin disease (harlequin-type ichthyosis) which causes scale-like layers of thick skin to form, as well as disfiguring of eyes and appendages.
6. 2 Girls 1 Cup
What you thought it might be: Two girls arguing over who gets to use the last cup at a party.
What it actually was: Two girls pooing into a cup then playing with it, then vomiting as a result.
Photo: Isabella Auer
What you thought it might be: Some kind of beef-related gameshow.
What it actually was: Two men having sex while the man in front’s dick swings around in circles.
What you thought it might be: The fear of tripping? Honestly, who knows when it comes to phobias.
What it actually was: Trypophobia is an unofficial phobia of patterns of small holes or bumps. On paper that doesn’t sound so bad, but if you look at images associated with Typophobia, your skin will start to crawl and you’ll feel very uncomfortable indeed.
9. BME Pain Olympics
Photo: Lars Baron / Getty Images
What you thought it might be: Some kind of sporting competition involving French bread.
What it actually was: A video of two guys castrating themselves. Literally cutting their dicks and balls off. The worst.
10. Kids in a Sandbox
What you thought it might be: Surely just some kids playing in a sandbox? Please, tell me it’s just some innocent kids playing in a sandbox.
What it actually was: A video of a woman jabbing a vibrator down a man’s urethra until his dick nearly splits in two.
11. Pink Socks
Photo: star athena
What you thought it might be: A lovely pair of pink socks.
What it actually was: A slang term for a kind of anal prolapse where withdrawing from anal sex too quickly pulls the colon inside out and protrudes from the body.
12. Mr. Hands
What you thought it might be: A guy famous for his incredible hands. They could do anything, those hands.
What it actually was: A video of a man being sodomised by a horse, who later died as a result. The man, not the horse.
13. 1 Man 1 Jar
What you thought it might be: The story of one man’s adventure through the wilderness, with only his best friend Jar to keep him company.
What it actually was: A video of a man putting a mason jar up his anus, which then shatters inside, causing a lot of bleeding and audible suffering.
We’re so sorry for what you just read, but trust us, it’s better than seeing it with your eyes.
Who really wants a United Ireland?
Hit play to hear Carl Kinsella, Ellen Coyne and Dion Fanning on State of Us – Election 2020.
Check out our reviews of all of this week’s new big screen releases!
This week: Jack Whitehall: How he made peace with being posh
Barry Murphy and Andrew Trimble are joined by Jerry Flannery, Eddie O’Sullivan and Ali Miller in Reardens, Cork as House of Rugby sets its sights on the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
The FAI reach the end of the road, Arsenal’s Arteta gamble and Ancelotti’s charm
Hit play for The Football Spin 🌪
- Share article
- Read more about:
There’s a Reason Why We Like to Click on Gross Stuff on the Internet
The internet allows you to effortlessly look at things you might never be able to see IRL, like the Taj Mahal, an old Rachel McAdams audition tape, or a kitten playing with a hedgehog. Then there are the images you’re not as quick to share on Faceook-the infected wounds, burst cysts, broken bones sticking through skin… Ew! And yet we just keep clicking.
Checking out freaky things on the internet can make you feel alternately nauseated, anxious, ashamed…and kind of excited. What’s going on with this impulse? There’s a clear psychology to this act, experts say, as well as a biological imperative. The explanation might make you feel a little bit better about your browser history.
Compared to happiness, sadness, fear, and anger, disgust shows up fairly late in a baby’s developmental process, says Alexander J. Skolnick, Ph.D., an assistant psychology professor at Saint Joseph’s University. “Around age two, parents use disgust when a baby’s being toilet-trained,” he says. “They’ll say, ‘Don’t play with your poop, don’t touch it, it’s gross.'” The same shaming concept is applied to peeing in their diaper, putting food in their hair, trying to eat dirt, and so much more. (Such as, eating food after you drop it. Speaking of, find out What Science Has to Say About the 5-Second Rule.)
“The evolutionary idea is, what’s functional about disgust? It keeps us safe,” Skolnick continues. “Rotten food has a sour, bitter flavor, and that’s a cue to us. We spit it out.” The weird taste and nasty smell protect you from eating bacteria that might make you sick. Photos or videos of wounds serve a similar purpose. Skolnick often kicks off one of his psychology classes by encouraging students not to Google image search “recluse spider bite”-though, of course, they do, and you might right now. “Sometimes we’re disgusted when we see someone with red rashes or welts. We don’t want to stand next to them. That disgust keeps us safe from contagious elements.”
So if that explains why we need disgust, why do we like disgust (you know you’ve clicked play on at least one cringe-inducing video that’s popped up on your Facebook feed)? Clark McCauley, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Bryn Mawr College, has some ideas. “It’s similar to why people go on roller coasters. You feel fear, even though you know you’re safe,” he says. “You get a big arousal value out of them.” Of course, physiological arousal doesn’t just refer to sex; think of all the different activities that get your breath pumping and heart racing. “Arousal has a positive component, as it hits this reward track,” he explains. (Which explains all The Weird Reasons You Love Amusement Parks.)
Skolnick also compares Googling gross stuff to watching a scary movie. The whole point is to freak yourself out in a completely controlled, secure environment-you’re never really in danger. The internet, of course, makes it even safer-all you have to do is close out of a window and the scary thing disappears. Plus, no one ever needs to know you chose to look in the first place, provided you scrub your browser history.
We’re not all fear-seekers, or freaks for that matter. Skolnick believes that this need to Google can also be chalked up to genuine human curiosity. “We want to know what’s gross out there, what’s awful out there,” he says. When it comes to odd sex fetishes, “you don’t want to watch the sexual acts, you just want to know what’s out there,” Skolnick explains. (Learn more about Your Brain On A Sex Fetish.)
If you’re still feeling worried about a generation raised on infected wounds and bizarre porn, rest assured that the internet may be new, but the need for gross stuff is not. “People aren’t more immoral,” McCauley says. “They’re not different, but their accessibility is.” So even if you’re obsessed with reading creepy stories on Reddit, know that your great-grandmother would have been wired the same way. The only different is you know to ‘clear history’ after you indulge.
So…I stumbled across this Reddit thread started by u/youknowthatimnot, who asked, “Men of reddit, what is the most disgusting thing you do in private?” before adding, “Only asking because my brother (a grown ass 24 yr old man) is currently in the bathroom taking a dump while eating a bowl of lucky charms…” and the update: “He literally came out of the bathroom asking if we have a plunger.”
Well, friends. I learned a lot. I hope you do too, but be forewarned: you may never look at your fellow humans the same way again, as demonstrated by the following testimonials (Reddit comments):
“After reading this thread, I am no longer disgusted by what I do in private anymore.”—LogicReddit
“1/3 of you are normal, 1/5 are questionable and 1/2 of ya’ll are f**king disgusting, and I don’t even care that my math makes no sense.—Citizen01123
I haven’t met anyone so far that didn’t think peeing in the shower was gross. I’m sure they’re liars but still. I also blow my nose in to my hand in the shower and just wash it away.—Dynasty2201
Use wet wipes to finger my a**hole after pooping to get it as clean as possible Update: huh, and just like that my top comment is about fingering my a**. Update: Well I guess I’m getting a bidet now.—warewolfjesus
I jack it in the work bathroom sometimes. Sometimes you just gotta jack it before you can get back to work.—emartinoo
Probably pick my toenails, sometimes I do it with my teeth—LEGORomanSoldier
Enioy the smell of my farts. I guess it’s true everybody likes the smell of their own brand.—gratefulphish420
Eat my disposable contacts when I’m done with them I guess. I don’t think it’s gross but last time I mentioned it people wigged out.—TheBlueberryPirate
Not me but my friend removes the drain grate and poops in it when he showers.—wiggy2g
I sometimes piss in empty water bottles. I have no clue why.—allmoneyin
Pee exclusively in the sink when I’m at home.—musicalspheres
I have a “punish towel” in my bed side table for late night or early morning cleanups. Wash it every couple weeks or so. It’s easier than socks and whatnot—justtwiggy