Why you should @#$!*% cuss


Maya Avelar

Swearing is simply a natural part of life that has been suppressed by our social constructs.

Matthew Godfrey, Writer

All of humanity has experienced the painful instance of stubbing their toe. While not the worst pain possible, the sharp stinging discomfort stirs certain foul language in our heads that wants to burst out. So should we hold back these urges to use profane language, or is it healthy for us to let the whole world hear the pain we are in?

Contrary to what your parents may want you to believe, cursing is indeed very healthy for you to use. While screaming your favorite four-letter curse word in public might not be the ideal location to use it, there are some places where you should let loose like the mouth of a sailor.

How about gyms? Should they become a place where bad mouths are welcomed? According to numerous experiments, yes.

An experiment by Richard Stevens at Keele University asked participants to stick their hand in ice cold water. One group was asked to say connotatively-neutral words like “walk” and “backyard” while the other group was allowed to say any word they desired, including swear words. They found that participants who were allowed to swear were able to endure pain for 50 percent longer than the amount of time that the kind-mouthed participants could.

A similar study had participants riding stationary bikes while researchers measured their hand grip strength. Like the last experiment, one group was allowed to cuss and the other wasn’t. The researchers found that participants were able to keep a stronger grip on their bike and pedal longer while saying their expletives.

Simply put, swearing both increases your heart rate and gives you a surge of adrenaline that raises your pain tolerance.

Swearing is known for empowering friendships. When someone swears, it usually indicates that they have a higher emotional attachment to what they are talking about and to whom they are talking to. So, when a couple of friends make jokes with each other while cursing, they are demonstrating that they are both trusting in their friendship, even though they aren’t using polite language.

Workers at a soap factory in New Zealand were given full reign over their language at work. While no one took the opportunity to cuss out their boss, the workers did note that it helped them alleviate stress, cut tension and bond with their coworkers.

Swearing is simply a natural part of life that has been suppressed by our social constructs. But why do we have them? In nature, humans are not the only primates who have been seen to swear.

In Project Washoe, the primatologists wanted to teach wild chimpanzees sign language and potty train them at the same time. In nature, chimpanzees use their excrement as a foul object, and this didn’t change while being studied. Chimpanzees started using the sign for “dirty” the same way that humans would use our profane excrement word.

The primatologists did not teach them this; it was merely a natural reaction. The chimpanzees started to use this sign when they wanted to express anger. This resulted in them calling other chimpanzees “dirty monkey” and their trainers “dirty Roger.” The chimpanzees internalized the taboo language and passed it down through their generations.

So let loose with your expletive vocabulary. Don’t censor yourself with “shoots” and “fudges.” Just make sure that you check who is home and that your windows are rolled up before you “alleviate stress.”

What do you think?