Is cursing good for you?


M. Stone

Censoring his mouth, junior Michael Stone drops the f-bomb. Swear words only have power because we try to keep them out of polite conversations, but cursing can have many benefits such as relieving stress and building trust with others.

Margaux Hunter, Features Editor

  Throughout your life, your parents have probably told you not to curse because it is vulgar or inappropriate. Yet, I am sure many of you still use these swear words in your daily lives with your friends, co-workers, or teammates. Cursing can be inappropriate in formal settings, but many people use them to show trust, and there is even scientific evidence that suggests that cursing can be beneficial to your health in many ways. 

  This is the fact: curse words are just words, and the only reason they are considered inappropriate or rude is that we are told that they are from a young age, which perpetuates this idea from generation to generation; it is cultural. They are only powerful because we attempt to censor them from everyday polite conversation. 

  Research has been conducted in Australia and New Zealand which demonstrates that using swear words with friends displays a sense of trust and camaraderie among them. Swearing shows that you know the right words to use to make a friend laugh or to prove a point without offending them. In addition, it builds trust because using profanity with each other is like sharing a secret that makes your bond stronger. Friends who curse together stay together!

  There is a misconception that those who use expletives have a lower intelligence or a smaller vocabulary, but psychologists at Marist College proved that wrong. They tested verbal fluency by asking volunteers to list as many words as they can think of that begin with a specific letter in one minute. Then they asked them to list as many curse words as they could in one minute. They found that those who scored high on the verbal fluency test also scored high on the swearing fluency test. This shows that cursing is not a sign of a small vocabulary or low intelligence, but rather a means of effectively communicating with each other. Junior Michael Stone jokingly commented, “Whilst I sip my tea with my fellow AP students, it seems to please my senses to curse. I don’t know one intellectual who doesn’t curse. I mean, what dumb*** doesn’t curse?”

  Using swear words can also increase one’s pain tolerance. Richard Stephens, a behavioral psychologist at Keele University in the U.K., tested this by having people hold their hands in ice water and recorded whether they were using profanity or neutral words. He found that those who were swearing could keep their hands in the water fifty percent longer than those who used neutral words. 

  Utilizing profanity can also be cathartic, as it relieves stress, anger, and aggression. By using seemingly aggressive language, one no longer needs to act in a violent fashion because they can let their feelings out through their language. Communication, in general, is cathartic and cursing acts as the essential oil of the language world. 

  Although profanity may be regarded as impolite or vulgar in formal situations, especially around authority figures, cursing also has many benefits, including but not limited to building trust with friends, increasing one’s pain tolerance, relieving stress and anger, and can be a sign of a higher vocabulary. So, use profanity appropriately in your life!