The reason? In 2013, research performed on mice found that there is a form of taste receptor in the testes of the rodent. The findings recently resurfaced, so naturally stars of TikTok had to give it a go.
However, you might be disappointed to find out: nup, your testes can’t taste.
“I definitely hate to be another doctor out there ruining everyone’s fun, but no – the facts here don’t support any truth in our testicles being able to taste flavours in the traditional sense,” says Dr. Kieran Kennedy.
“A number of studies have shown that various tissues have taste receptors – including various parts of the gut, the liver and (yes) the testicles. These have largely been conducted, however, in animals, and the study that seems to have sparked this TikTok ‘taste’ trend was performed on mice.”
Kennedy explains that the taste receptors found in the testicles aren’t like what we experience when we eat food.
“The study (or any that have followed) hasn’t shown that any animal can actually ’taste’ via these receptors like we’d taste something from the mouth. There is no scientific or medical evidence to back up any claims that men (of any species) can actually taste things through their junk,” he continues.
“So while the fact that there might be taste receptors in the testicles is pretty damn interesting, it unfortunately doesn’t mean (at least unfortunate for TikTok soy sauce users) there’s any evidence they can actually taste things. “
Although some users claim they could “taste the salt,” Kennedy was quick to dismiss the possibility that they were tasting the sauce.
“The fact that biologically there’s no actual link between taste receptors in the testes and actually tasting things (that we know of yet) means that they’re probably not actually ‘tasting’ soy sauce or salt in a traditional sense,” he says.
“For one thing, the study showed that the receptors were in the actual testes and not the scrotum – in non-doc speak, basically there’s no evidence that there’s any type of taste receptor on the actual ball sac where guys are rubbing the sauce. So in theory, even if we could detect some form of flavour from the testicles (balls), the soy sauce would have to diffuse through the scrotum (sac) and into the testicles – which is largely not possible.”
Kennedy does, however, have an explanation for the flavours they might be experiencing. He suggests that both smell and a mental memory for the taste is cause the sensation in their mouthes.
“When you think about it, even if you imagine or anticipate tasting something salty (like chips) or sour (a lemon), then you’ll notice your mouth water and even a potential hint of a taste. Add that to the fact that these guys are probably getting a big whiff of soy sauce as they ‘prepare’, and it likely explains away any reported ’taste’ experience,” he continues.
Fortunately, for those who have taken part in the experiment, there shouldn’t be any long-term major health complications. But they might have to prepare themselves for a whole lot of ball sac itch.
“Apart from the fact that you’re likely to end up with a crotch full of sticky soy sauce it’s likely that rubbing a little of the stuff down there isn’t going to have any major health impacts. In saying that however, the skin down there can be extremely sensitive and you never know if rubbing something that’s not meant to be rubbed down there might cause irritation or a reaction. Some soy sauces (or other condiments…) can have chilli or extras added – these components rubbed on the sensitive skin of your junk might definitely cause some issues with swelling, pain or worse so I’d recommend your steer clear.”
Kennedy’s last piece of advice? Stick to using it on your food.
“All in all it’s probably best (and recommended) to save the soy sauce for your sushi, and keep it off your balls. Especially if you actually want to taste it!”