10 Reasons Your Farts Smell Good to You and Why It's Normal
They say that everyone enjoys their own brand. A lot of people feel compelled to deny it, but there’s actually some truth to the saying. As a human being, you’re far more likely to appreciate the smell of your own farts than the odor that comes from any other butt. Then again, we’ve all ripped holes in the ozone that left us gagging at our own stench. So, which is it? Do people really enjoy the smell of their own farts? Is there more to this than another obscure fetish? Does science have the answers? Actually, yes. There are answers to all of these questions, and we’re going to cover them. Here are 10 reasons your farts might smell good to you and why it’s a pretty normal occurrence.
Why Your Farts Make You Smile
Before we get into the 10 reasons, a short explanation is in order. Some things actively make your farts smell good to you. Other things actively make them bad. We’ll split the list into two parts. This first part is explaining the enjoyable components of a fart. The second section will discuss things that turn farts rank and what it means for your health and biology.
The human body is amazing in its ability to adapt to all kinds of situations. Farts are no exception. The simplest explanation available for why you like your own stench is that you’re used to it. If nothing else, acclimatization makes your own gas less abominable to you since you smell your own farts every single day. That could be explanation enough to satisfy some of you, but the truth runs quite a bit deeper.
You’ve been farting your whole life. If you’ve had any level of consistency in diet and health, then your farts today probably have an aroma or two in common with the stuff that came out of your butt as a child. Do you see where this is going? You actually have a sentimental attachment to your own brand. Yes, this is real.
It gets even stronger when you include family ties. It turns out that some components of your unique brand are genetic. That means it’s pretty common for family members to prefer each other’s’ farts to those of strangers.
So, you’re likely to prefer a fart you’ve smelled a lot of times before, but this isn’t the whole story. Acclimatization mostly reduces your distaste for your own farts. It isn’t the entire reason you actually like your scent. But, it is the reason the first one who smelt it probably is the one who dealt it. Really.
Things start to get interesting when you look at how anticipation impacts the psychology of farting. That’s right. Farts have been studied at a psychological level. Anticipation plays two big roles. The first is that knowing the smell is coming takes some of the edge off. Surely, you’ve been struck, unsuspecting and unaware, by someone’s silently but deadly release. You weren’t ready. Since you couldn’t brace for impact, you got a full, unfiltered whiff of what they were cooking, and it was all bad. When you’re the one who dealt it, you know what’s coming. In fact, you can often tell how bad it’s going to be before you ever smell it. The anticipation lets you take countermeasures before the rotten smells are deep inside of you.
The other role of anticipation is actively positive. Being the culprit doesn’t just help you avoid some of the stench. It enables you to enjoy the process. Think about it this way. A giant, gut-renovating ass explosion feels amazing. It can change your whole outlook on life. That sense of relief can create a positive association that actually changes how you think about the smell of your fart. It smells good because it feels good. Human brains are strange.
Now we’re getting deep into the science of flatulence. Understanding farts is not the top priority of evolutionary science, so what we’re about to discuss is more speculation than hard fact. That said, real scientists are the one putting these ideas forward.
The idea of evolution and enjoying your own farts boils down to epidemiology. The gist is that your farts (and poop) can spread disease to other people. In fact, healthy people can get each other sick when they get too close to each other’s posterior expulsions. There are a lot of bacteria in the colon, and plenty of it comes out every time you enjoy a little release.
The other part of this is that every human being has unique microbiota in their gut. Because of this, the microbes in your own farts and poop are far less dangerous to you than the foreign bugs in someone else’s. Thus, we get down to the smell of it all. Your brand of gas smells better to you because it’s less likely to expose you to dangerous infection.
Before we move on, we should cover one little tidbit. While farts do contain bacteria, you don’t need to worry about catching disease every time someone passes gas. The bacteria stick to the moisture discharges in the fart, and those discharges have a hard time getting through clothing. So, silent farts are only actually deadly when everyone is naked.
A Good Fart Gone Bad
Those are the three main reasons you might enjoy a fart. The rest of the list covers things that make them smell bad. In general, an absence of problems will contribute to the pleasantness of your gas, so these are the things you want to consider in order to maintain your enjoyment of flatulence.
We’ve talked about psychology and evolution, but when you get down to it, your diet is going to have a ton of influence over the smell of your farts. While you know this, you might not realize that healthier diets are often smellier. In general, sulfates are the culprit that takes nice, normal gas and turns it into something sinister.
Foods that contain high levels of sulfates include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggs, and lean meats. When you eat a lot of these kinds of foods, the high concentrations of sulfates don’t get digested. They instead become food for the microbes living in your gut. That turns into a feeding frenzy that produces some of the worst-smelling gas humans are capable of producing.
Even if you aren’t eating sulfate-heavy foods, your diet is still the main determinant of the potency of your farts. For the most part, significant changes to your diet will also come with a shift in the scent, and you’ll notice right away. The good news is that if you don’t like your own brand, you can tweak your diet until you find the perfect combo for a fart you just want to inhale deeply. What? It’s not weird.
Yeah, we just mentioned diet as a controller of gas, but there are some specific things people eat or drink that are worth mentioning on their own. One of the most overlooked of those is fizzy drinks. To make a drink fizzy and delightful, manufacturers have to dissolve carbon dioxide into the beverage. While that gives us a pleasant tingle while we consume the drink, it also means that we’re swallowing gas. It has to come out somehow. Some of it will escape through a series of belches, but plenty of that carbon dioxide will make it all the way out the other end.
Here’s what’s interesting. Carbon dioxide has no smell. So, when fizzy drinks make you fart a bit extra, they might not smell bad at all. Of course, there are other things in the drinks that can add unpleasant gases to the CO2, but for some people, a fizzy drink just leads to a few extra, odorless farts.
We’ve talked about microbes and diet, but there’s another biological contributor to the smell of a fart. That boils down to general gastrointestinal health. Ulcers, legions, infections, and even cancer can all alter the smell of your gaseous releases. In fact, doctors who specialize in gut health often focus on the smell of farts to help patients identify significant changes to their health. If you’re suddenly repulsed by the stench of your farts, and you can’t chalk it up to the extra-spicy jalapeño and broccoli burrito (why would anyone do this?), then it might be time to let the doctor run a few tests.
On the flip side, enjoying the aroma of your toots is a great sign that everything is happy and healthy on the inside. It’s not the only indicator of good health, so don’t take it as an excuse to skip your annual checkup, but this should give you a little extra reason to enjoy a pleasant fart. Go ahead and take a deep whiff of your next gut bubble. It’s important to appreciate your good health.
Steering back to diet for a minute, sugar is a complicated animal — especially when discussing fart odors. Let’s start with a more commonly known issue: lactose intolerance. When someone struggles with lactose, it’s because they no longer produce enough enzyme (lactase) to digest the sugar that is naturally found in milk. Since that sugar isn’t absorbed in the small intestine, it makes its way to the large intestine. Once their, it feeds the microbes and they produce a bunch of new gas as a byproduct. This gas is extra-smelly, and it can be quite painful. Worst of all, some estimates suggest that 60 percent of adults suffer from lactose intolerance. It stands in the way of so many people enjoying their butt stuff.
What a lot of people don’t know is that all sugars have the potential to create this same problem. Sucrose (table sugar) and fructose (the sugar in fruit) are the two most common sweeteners in the world. They’re in just about everything. While most adults produce some of the enzyme that breaks these sugars down, it’s very easy to consume more than your body can handle. When you do, it’s just like lactose intolerance, but cutting dairy will have no impact.
Other foods have more complex sugars that are even more rarely digested. Beans are a perfect example. The enzymes that handle these sugars (RFOs) are pretty much never found in human adults. That means pretty much everyone is “bean intolerant,” and it’s why beans mess with your insides. It doesn’t mean that you should entirely give up on beans. Just eat them with water and consider taking a little Beano to go with them (it has RFOs to help with digestion).
If you’ve ever gotten serious about running, you’ve probably heard about carb loading. It’s a common practice to make sure you have enough sugar on hand in the blood for a long or intense run. What you might not know is that carb loading can wreak havoc on the digestive track. Carbs are typically low in fiber, and when fiber levels drop below a certain threshold, you get constipation. This isn’t just a generic digestive problem. Constipation typically causes your body to produce extra gas, and it doesn’t smell as good as the usual stuff.
On the flip side, too much fiber can have the opposite effect. It can lead to pooping a bit too much. Fibers typically slow digestion (and this is a good thing to an extent). When digestion gets slowed too much, you just stop absorbing the food in your food, and it all comes out the other end. This brings us back to the lactose intolerance effect. Unabsorbed food is always the enemy.
So, when your farts smell pleasant, it’s a great sign that your fiber intake is around where it should be. Either that, or your diet has been broken for so long that you’re just used to really rancid gas.
Illegal drugs probably do weird things to your gut, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Instead, over-the-counter and prescription medications can both do weird things to your insides. A really good example is antibiotics. Do you remember how we talked about microbes dictating the smell of your farts? They do more than that. A significant portion of digestion that takes place in your tract isn’t done by you at all. It’s done by those microbes. When you take antibiotics, you aren’t surgically striking the ones making you sick. You’re nuking the whole biome. When you kill off a bunch of digestive bacteria, it seriously messes with the process. You’ll produce some truly rank stuff until you finish the treatment.
Plenty of other medications can also impact your gut and farts. Once again, good-smelling farts are a sign of good health. It often means you don’t need medications that completely upend your digestive system, and that’s always a win.
Well, here we are. It’s the final reason your farts smell good to you. It can be related to all different aspects of biology and psychology, but at the end of the day, there’s one last explanation. You might not have pleasant farts. They might not be indicative of good health or any of that other stuff we just mentioned. It’s uncommon, but some people like the smell of methane and sulfur. There’s a very real portion of society that has a fart fetish.
If you’re in this group, you won’t just like your own farts; you’ll like most farts. For some people, the smellier the better. Science is still a long way from explaining all of the different fetishes that pop up in society. So, instead of trying to explain a fart fetish, we can all look at it this way. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone, there’s no harm in having an abnormal fetish. Chances are that we all have some kind or another. If farts are your thing, embrace it. No one here is interested in being the fart police.
There you have it. Enjoying your own farts is perfectly natural and normal. In fact, it’s a sign of a lot of good things in health, diet and lifestyle. Then again, your enjoyment of farts could be rooted in something else entirely. None of it really matters. What’s important is that you keep track of your health and live your best life. If that includes huffing a little of your own product, go for it.