What would we do without TikTok?
If you’re reading this and thinking “what’s TikTok?” then congratulations, you’re officially not young anymore! For the uninitiated, it’s a social network full of iconic videos and memes from (mostly) gen-Zers.
This week, a 2013 study about testicles went viral on Twitter. The study, from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said that testicles have “taste receptors”.
Yes, that’s right, balls can taste things.
Who needs a tongue when you’ve got a perfectly good scrotum? For clarity, taste receptors have been found in other areas of the body, including the stomach (duh) but also your anus.
Bedrich Mosinger, a researcher from the study, told Business Insider in 2013:
[The] function of taste receptors and signaling proteins outside of taste system is still unclear... [in some areas] they seem to be part of the chemical sensing of sugars or amino acids
For the most part, though, full function of these extra-orally located taste receptors is unknown.
In response to the study, people have taken to TikTok to stick their balls in soy sauce to see if it works, because of course they have.
Yes, they’re tea-bagging (or soy-bagging) soy sauce.
Regan – the TikTok user who started the trend – posted a video to demand more info, saying that she “must know” whether it’s true.
Thankfully, people across TikTok and YouTube responded in their droves.
Several people agreed that they could taste the flavour...
But is this actually legit?
According to Dr Kieran Kennedy, these people are either lying or convincing themselves that they can taste the soy sauce. He told Men's Health Australia:
The study (or any that have followed) hasn’t shown that any animal can actually ’taste’ via these receptors like we’d taste something from the mouth. There is no scientific or medical evidence to back up any claims that men (of any species) can actually taste things through their junk.
So while the fact that there might be taste receptors in the testicles is pretty damn interesting, it unfortunately doesn’t mean (at least unfortunately for TikTok soy sauce users) there’s any evidence they can actually taste things.
Why isn’t it working?
The key difference seems to be that people are confusing the scrotum with testicles. Testicles are kept inside the scrotum and while they can taste things, the skin on the scrotum can’t. So really there’s zero chance that the soy flavour is actually being picked up. Either that, or people could just be smelling the soy flavour. As IFL Science's James Felton points out, studies have shown over half of our sense of taste actually comes from smell.
Maybe people should try tasting the soy through their anus instead? Because that might (genuinely) produce actual results.
H/T: IFL Science