Ah, TikTok. The hot new(ish) social network full of wholesome memes, viral dances, and people dipping their balls into soy sauce to see if they can taste it.
Recently, a study from 2013 resurfaced and went viral on Twitter. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that – how to put this delicately? – your balls have taste receptors.
It's true. In fact, taste receptors have been found elsewhere in the body, including your stomach, lungs, brain and – oh god – your anus.
"[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," Bedrich Mosinger, a researcher involved in the study told Business Insider at the time. "For the most part, though, full function of these extra-orally located taste receptors is unknown."
The study found that taste receptors, including taste proteins for sweet and umami flavors, are present in the testicles of mice and have a role in their fertility. Without these receptors – when they were taken out of the mice – the rodents became infertile. Their sperm struggled to swim and their testicles became malformed.
So, that's your science (more to come later), let's move on to the question of why people are now teabagging condiments.
Well, it appears to have come from one user of TikTok – Regan – who demanded some goddamn answers.
"Did you know that when a man puts his testicles in soy sauce he can taste it? HE CAN TASTE IT," she said in the video. "I wish I was kidding but I am not. If you have testicles, please dip your balls in something – it's for science and I must know."
Men – it will not surprise you – obliged.
YouTube – the original home of people putting their balls in stuff for views – were not to be outdone by TikTok and got in on the action.
"I can totally taste this, this is so weird," YouTuber GayGod told his followers, before getting it off his testicles as quickly as he could. "I can taste like I had soy sauce, like when you burp up soy sauce. It does kind of sting afterwards, I'm not going to lie."
Several TikTok users and Tweeters agreed that they could taste the flavor. "Hold on now, oh my god I can taste the salt," said one user whose cojones were covered in soy sauce at the time. "That's ridiculous."
So, are they actually tasting the soy sauce they're so delicately teabagging? No. They've been squatting over / slathering upon themselves perfectly good soy sauce for no good reason whatsoever.
"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," Dr Kieran Kennedy told Men's Health Australia.
"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."
It's why you never see the judges plonk their testicles in the pudding on Masterchef.
The taste receptors studied in the research, we should add, were found in the testicles and not the scrotum. So what these dippers are doing would be like trying to taste soy sauce by dabbing it on the outside of your cheek.
While we're here, I'd like to add that nobody seems to notice that these receptors are also found in the anus, and yet you don't walk around tasting sh*t in your mouth the whole time, making your scientific "tests" pretty redundant indeed.
Those that claim they do taste it are probably getting a whiff of it as it splashes against their scrotum, and mistaking this for smell. After all, around 80 percent of what we taste actually comes from smell.