Culture

Junk Explained: Why Are People Dipping Their Balls Into Soy Sauce?

FFS, we actually got a doctor to explain exactly why you can't taste things with your testicles.

Dipping balls taste test explainer tiktok

Welcome to 2020, the year where men are trying to taste things with their balls instead of their mouths.

If you’re wondering why your social media feeds are full of men talking about dipping their balls into various liquids, you can thank a recent TikTok trend for that. So why exactly are males partaking in such a strange, strange activity? Well, let’s dissect.

What The Hell Is The Balls Taste Test?

The idea to convince men to dip their balls into sweet and salty substances was started by a girl on TikTok named Regan. Regan made a simple video to alert the masses of her discovery that the scrotum allegedly has taste buds.

“Did y’all know that if a dude puts his balls in something, he can taste it? He can taste it! I wish I was kidding. I wish I was, I’m not!,” she said to camera. “If you have testicles, please dip your balls into something. It’s for science and I must know.”

In the video, Regan uses the Green Screen feature to show where she gathered her information from. As a source, Regan used a Daily Mail article from 2013 titled “Testicles have taste buds that can detect sweet flavours – and they’re vital for fertility”.

The article claimed that “despite being a long way from the mouth, taste receptors on the testicles and anus can detect the savoury taste of umami – the amino acid in soy sauce.”

So, in response to Regan’s request for those with balls to start dipping, people started filming themselves doing exactly that. Alx James, a verified content creator on TikTok, decided to experiment with soy sauce, the particular liquid the article referenced.

After rubbing a dot of soy sauce on his balls, Alx excitedly claimed that the soy sauce taste test was successful. “Hold up now! I can taste the salt! That’s ridiculous,” he confirmed.

One man tried the challenge with cranberry juice to see if the scrotum taste buds extended past only salty flavours. This man claimed that beyond the drink being cold as hell, he could only “kinda” taste the juice. Another budding scientist on the app then tried the test with sugar water, and confirmed that his ball taste buds could definitely taste the sweetness.

However, most of those on Twitter who have come across the trend have dispelled the idea that ballsack taste buds are a thing. Using soy sauce, sugar water and even BBQ sauce, some men claimed that the test simply doesn’t work.

So Do Testicles Have Taste Buds?

As a woman with no testicles, I had to speak to a doctor figure out whether there were any truth in the claims.

When Sydney GP Dr Brad McKay was asked about the current events unfolding on the internet, he simply told Junkee: “No, you won’t be able to taste soy sauce if you dip your scrotum into it. So please don’t.”

But that isn’t to say that the original Daily Mail article was false. Dr McKay explains that while similar receptors to those in the cell wall of taste buds are located in other areas in the body, they don’t have the same tasting abilities.

“Similar receptors have been found in other human tissue, including intestines, lung, brain, testicles, and sperm cells,” Dr McKay shared. “But this doesn’t mean that you’re able to have a sense of taste from all these areas around your body — that would be rather distracting. It’s more that these cells are utilising the same type of receptors for different purposes.”

“Even if your testicles had ‘taste buds’, they are nicely protected by your scrotum,” Dr McKay continued. “The receptors found were within the testicular tissue, not in scrotal skin. It would be like standing outside with your tongue covered in a PVC raincoat and saying you could taste the rain.”

Dr McKay also clarified any confusion people may have had over any spots that looked like actual taste buds appearing on the scrotum itself. Any spots found on the scrotum are not taste buds, instead they are sebaceous glands and fordyce spots that are totally normal and totally useless in the tasting department.

“If they were taste buds, you’d be tasting your sweaty ball sack all day,” Dr McKay clarified.

So yeah, no more dipping your balls in soy sauce, please.