Science: Saying “Fuck” Makes You Feel Better…Unless You Work at the New York Times


Today the New York Times Freakonomics blog points out that dropping the f-bomb, among other choice delicacies, has an upside: It’s good for you! There’s a new study out from Bellevue that finds that “swearing can also be used as a psychological tool in the service of helping.” In fact, it may even “provide a channel of catharsis for aggressive drives.”

(See also: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. And: Yell, don’t hit.)

Studies like these have been floating around for a while now, which means…they must be fuckin’ true! Among other supposed benefits to cursing: It may even help you withstand physical pain.

So, how much should you dabble? Per MSNBC,

While not everyone swears, field studies indicate that those who do utter 80 to 90 taboo words per day, out of an average of 15,000 to 16,000 words we speak daily.

This is something of a license to curse for most of us, but it presents a moral and perhaps even physical conundrum for the poor New York Times, which has a well-established tendency toward delicacy that involves the use, for example, of “—- My Dad Says” instead of the pretty fucking namby-pamby “Shit.” Which is, you know, both a noun and a verb that even Merriam-Webster sees fit to define. (In fairness, M-W also includes “fuck.” And therefore must be quite relaxed.)

As for the writers at the Times, well, given that the most profane thing hey got to use in discussing this study was “Rex Ryan,” we wouldn’t want to see them get pissed off.