Don’t Tell Me Not to Swear

While I sat in the comfortable back of a gray Toyota Highlander, I enjoyed singing out loud the dirtiest bad words of the Latin trap song La Ocasión. A relative of mine, as I expected her to react, was shocked that such descriptive vocabulary was coming out of my mouth. Surprisingly, she was most disturbed by the fact that a “pretty and young lady” like me was speaking in such a way. Nevertheless, I proceeded to ignore her because the song was just too good to be missed. After I finished my solo car concert, I realized that maybe what I liked wasn’t the song itself. Instead, I enjoyed shouting the bad, graphics and prohibited words that it said. It made me question why is it that swearing feels so good to do.

When describing my cursing behavior, I consider it to be moderate to hardcore on occasions. Every time I experience an intense emotion, such as anger, irritability, surprise, or nervousness, it's easier for me to express it by swearing. Cursing enables me to understand my feelings and to cope with them. I genuinely believe that, in certain circumstances, it can be a therapeutic practice. Scientific evidence has validated my claims, regarding how swearing helps to cope with one’s feelings. In Neuroreport’s (2009) study, Swearing as a response to pain, the ability of the sampled individuals to withstand pain, while immersing their hand in ice-cold water, were analyzed. The study concluded that “swearing increased pain tolerance” and “decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing.”

Besides helping within the perception of pain, swearing is also useful in creating closer and stronger relationships. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I tend to avoid cursing, out of respect for that person. However, once I’ve created a more intimate relationship with that person, I lose the fear of swearing. In a sense, how much one curses when someone is around is directly proportional to the level of trust between the individuals socially interacting. The reason for why this happens is because using obscene language makes us more honest, allowing us to create more powerful bonds.

To prove whether or not using obscene words influences honesty, the Stanford Graduate School of Business published the 2007 study Frankly, We Do Give a Damn: The Relationship Between Profanity and Honesty. The researchers used a lying scale as well as “profanity and integrity indexes.” The study revealed a positive correlation between swearing and honesty. The results provided evidence, which proved “profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level.”

The use of profanity is not only associated with honesty but it also provides an emotional coping mechanism for people to demonstrate their real feelings. Swearing helps to build new relationships. Engaging in obscene language also increases our ability to withstand pain. While I only listed a few of them, there are an incredible amount of benefits related to the art of cursing. Frankly, I can’t seem to understand why it’s seen as a socially wrong practice. As for me, I’ll continue singing obscene trap songs and screaming all the bad words out loud. Dear mom, next time we’re together in the same car, do not disturb me. Respectfully, you need to understand that it’s good for my health, so, please, don’t tell me not swear.

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