For many of us, four-letter words are a part of our everyday lives, and without the emphasis they give, stuff just doesn鈥檛 sound the same.聽Imagine if the last words Rhett Butler uttered to聽Scarlett O鈥橦ara at the end of Gone With the Wind were 鈥淔rankly, my dear, I don鈥檛 give a hoot.鈥 So different, right?聽There are a lot of places where you might learn your first bad word 鈥 perhaps from an older kid at school or etched into the wall of a public bathroom, or maybe even from your own parents. In an article published in the Association of Psychological Sciences Observer, psychologists Timothy Jay and Kristin聽Janschewitz found that most kids learn their first curse word at age two and 鈥渂ecomes adult-like by ages 11 or 12. By the time children enter school, they have a working vocabulary of 30-40 offensive words.鈥

The researchers also聽concluded that swearing might not be as bad聽as we previously thought.聽The pair聽studied and recorded over 10,000 instances of public swearing by both children and adults and found that, at least in public occurrences of swearing, taboo language rarely led to adverse consequences. In fact, swearing can actually聽help聽in many aspects of our lives. Some of the findings from the article are certainly verrrrrrry interesting.


1. Raises pain tolerance:聽Cursing can actually raise your pain tolerance. A study published in the聽NeuroReport聽in2000 found that when subjects stuck their hands into icy cold water and either repeated a curse word or a non-curse word, those who said something naughty actually had higher heart rates and lower perceived pain.

2. Makes people聽laugh:聽C鈥檓on guys, you聽know this one is true. For some reason, when you throw in an obscenity or two when you鈥檙e telling an anecdote, it just makes your tale funnier. But okay, if you need scientific proof, in his book聽Why We Curse, Dr. Jay proposes that human behavior is often dictated by something called the Neuro-Psycho-Social Theory: that鈥檚 鈥渘eurological control, psychological restraints, and socio-cultural restrictions.鈥 Placed at the right time in conversation, a 鈥渘ovel and clever dirty joke is the product of all three spheres,鈥 he writes. Basically what that means is when someone swears in public and gets a laugh, it鈥檚 often because they鈥檙e doing something pretty socially smart.

3. Provides stress management:聽Dr. Jay and Dr. Janschewitz also found that Type-A people are more prone to swearing and that聽using profanity can actually help relieve stress. There鈥檚 actually a term for this phenomenon, 鈥渓alochezia鈥澛燼nd, as聽defined by The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, it means聽鈥渆motional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language.鈥 Whoa.聽Next time someone tries to curb your language, throw this word at them.

4. Replaces physical aggression:聽We often correlate swearing with violence, but studies show that swearing can often substitute聽the physical. Dr. Jay also writes in his book, 鈥淥ne positive aspect of cursing is that it replaces more primitive physical aggression. Most would agree that it is better to yell at people than to hit them on the head.鈥 Yeah, that sounds about right.

5.聽Helps you聽relate to others:聽According to psychologist Richard Stephens in his book聽Black Sheep:聽The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad, swearing can actually 鈥渞einforce close bonds between people.鈥 Rather than聽being 鈥渞ude and alienating,鈥 however, potty-mouthing can actually 鈥渂e a shared code and a sign of belonging.鈥 Solidarity, dammit.

What do you think of this study?聽Tweet us聽@BritandCo!

(Photos via New Line Cinema + Getty)