A week or so ago, I was stuck behind a long line of cars and trucks, waiting to merge onto the freeway. We sat there for quite awhile, feeling the bounce and buzz of traffic in the opposite lane speeding by.
The driver in front of me stuck his head out the window of his pick-up truck and spit on the tarmac. Then a funny thing happened. The driver in front of him—who had not observed the first expectoration—leaned out of his own sedan and spat too. During the ten minutes or so we sat there, edging minutely forward, they took turns spitting, perhaps half a dozen times in all.
Why do men spit? I thought about it as traffic got moving. I was still thinking about it when I exited to get gas. About a block and a half ahead of me, a solitary man strolled with his dog. I stared absently in their direction, not really focusing my eyes. Suddenly the man bent toward the curb…and spat.
Still pondering, I listened to a podcast of Fresh Air. Zack Hample, the guest, was a professional baseball fan (he writes books telling people how to improve their own fandom). The interviewer, Dave Davies, asked him why baseball players spit. It went with chewing tobacco, Hample said, a deeply male activity. Even though relatively few players chew these days, the habit of spitting lingers. Sort of a memento, I guess.
Last night two of my women friends visited. One is a great runner. I posed my question. “Yes, why do men spit?” she replied, equally perplexed. “I stopped running the Bay to Breakers [a San Francisco marathon] because of it. I’d be running between two of them and I kept getting hit in the eye. Yuck!”
My other friend had her mind on different things. She’d had a confusing experience with a man she’d known for a while. When she asked him what it meant, he’d given her a long, complicated, and completely uninformative answer.
“Isn’t that frustrating!” I said. “I don’t get men at all.”
“Neither do I,” she said.
As soon as I began to get exercised on her behalf, it popped right out: “I mean, why do men spit?”
Now this icky image is stuck in my head as the symbol of everything I find incomprehensible about so many of the opposite sex. Help!
I don’t want everyone to be the same, really I don’t. There are so many things I like about men: the way they bend down to a child’s height and make their voices gentle, the way they offer to help you with something heavy, or the way so many of them selflessly take on brutal work as an expression of love and support for their families—not to mention many things inappropriate to a G-rated blog. But there are other things I can’t begin to comprehend, and the more I think about them, the more the gap between Venus and Mars doesn’t seem big enough to contain my bafflement.
So help me out: what is it? Why do men spit? (Not all men, of course, but more than enough.) Do they have more saliva than women? Does something distasteful gather in their throats? Are they marking territory? I really need to know.
I suppose they’re just conforming to others’ expectorations.
WRONG AND PLUS ONLY GIRLS SHOULD BE ANSWERING THIS QUESTION
Well, if you think women should be answering a question about men that they have no idea on, then that’s pretty simple minded if you asked me. Women are asking why, not many know why, so why should it be limited to them answering? That’s like me asking “Why do girls like clothes so much” and then only letting men answer the question.
Both men and women have replied, there’s no restriction on answering this question.
I don’t know but I think it is discusting in this day and age. Also, I believe the protein it the $**? also stains the sidewalks. I see black marks all along the nice sidewalks and have come to the conclusion that maybe they do mark their territory.
My Dad used to use a hanky and so did my grandfather.
I think some do it to assert their maleness, like women sucking in their guts. You see it’s like a bird preening during mating season, or someone strutting to show off their mental state. Like notice when there are a lot of glass windows, women watch themselves all the way, tossing their heads, especially if they are something to look at. Fat women won’t look at their views as often. Men seem to spit more when they feel their territory is being invaded or perhaps to impress a female. Weird, but this is only my perception. I’ve noticed you can tell what the person thinks about themself just watching them walk. Gangbangers sort of strut stroll, and women who think they are hot, kind of have a lot of body motions that make them noticeable. A spitter might be doing that too, howeve disgusting as it is.
IT HS NOTHING TO DO WITH MALENESS. ONLY VULGARITY AND BEING DISGUSTING.WH WANTS TO BE INVADING THEIR TERRITORY? NOT ME.
You are spot on!
Thank you, for the information about . “Why men spit” Sure is a silly habit.
I am a 70-year-old single woman who has always been able to swallow my saliva. Why can’t men? Spitting out in public is as disgusting and unsanitary as drivers emptying their cars’ ashtrays in a parking lot. Nancy
I guess the best answer would be learned from one of the players. I also noticed that most all of them have what I call “chin fuzz.” Whats that all about? It sure does not make them at all attractive even with all of their money.
They are just plain disgusting
I was searching the internet for an answer. I am a guy, but I see so many guys spitting. I saw a guy spitting while I was looking out the window, and I wondered “why?” And that hasn’t been the first time around where I live. Just something I’ve noticed and thought was strange…and gross. I think the person has nothing better to do…like people who “fake” yawn. Do you know what I am talking about? Or people who stay attached to their cell phones when they are by themselves, say, in a grocery store or other place and they are all alone. It’s like they don’t know how to act when by themselves, so they invent something to do…whatever….
I am so glad to have found this page as I just went into the ASK website and asked the same queation. This past week I have seen 5 occurrences of men spitting. The worst was when I was walking behind two men and first one spit and then the other followed and I had to skip my way around the gooey-gobs!! I really don’t think they were making their marks as I am sure they didn’t even realize they were doing it. This habit falls in the same category as to why men sitting @ red lights have to pick their noses!! LOL!!!
I am not arrogant but I understand I am a fairly attractive person. I’ve noticed many many times guys spitting upon my approach. I think they do it because they are a little insecure. It makes them feel more manly especially when they are confronted with a possibly handsome guy in their midst. When I was on my bike the other day, I passed a man on the opposite sidewalk and he coughed up and loud flemmy and it pissed me off, so just after I passed him, I tried to mimick him, just to show the guy how disgusting it sounds. Today driving I passed a runner who saw me and I could see him going through the motions of clamming. It gets me riled and pissed off when guys do this. I though, am guilty of putting my finger in my noise at red lights, lol.
I think you’re right. So many dudes spit when they see me as a subtle “fuck you”
Wow. So secure
I spit. It’s very random though.
Spitting while running is normal. Just go to a running forum and you will see. Running builds up a lot of mucus, you can try to swallow it, but you’ll more likely choke on it.
When I spit at random, I don’t really know why I do it. I just don’t like the taste of swallowing saliva I guess. I’m a good looking guy, don’t smoke/do drugs, it’s just a habit I have. I don’t think its gross. I try to refrain from doing it when women are around me. Other men don’t usually care.
Also, it can be a sign of disrespect to another person. Although, I don’t do this to other people.
I am so glad to see I am not the only one who is absolutely disguested by men spitting. In this day and age of anti-bacterial awareness everywhere, who do men think they are by thinking they can just spit and spew all those germs freely in the air. YUK!! Get some manners.
Yeah I am staying in a motel. My door is right next to my neibor. The guy gets up at 2:30am and starts going back and forth outside opening the door rough to smoke. While he’s outside my door and window he hawks up loogies, fake yawns, moans, stretches and spits and it lands by my truck door where I walk. This been going on for 5 weeks. I couldn’t take it any more. It was creeping me out bad. It was like pleasure for him. Creepy. So I looked it up to see if I was being weird to think he’s gotten off on it. And yes there is a connection to ejaculation and it urination as a pleasurable release. Yikes. So yes I did tell him to stop spitting and please deposit your secretions in your trash, toilet, sink but not our front where we walk. He looked at me like I was absolutely nuts. I stood my ground. Disgusting I knew it.
I have wondered this for years and finally though to check Ask Jeeves. Men don’t spit in the house but they spit as soon as they walk outdoors. Why? What is in their mouths on the other side of the door that is not there when they’re inside? My husband is a very clean person, but as soon as he goes out in the yard, he spits. I’ve asked him, in a nice way, because I really want to know, why he spits. I have yet to receive an answer. I don’t think he has one, although he seemed embarassed when I asked him. But it’s disgusting, especially on a walkway, and it makes you never want to walk in the grass in bare feet again. It can’t be healthy for the rest of us.
I actually had this discussion with my boyfriend. I asked him if it had anything to do with the fact that he was a professional athlete. He is a retired Championship Boxer. He said he didn’t think it had anything to do with sports that it was simply a way of an Alpha Male marking his territory. He said he had been told that by a friend who is a psychologist. I guess I will have to settle for that explanation! God Bless You All.
My husband said he does it because he gets a lot of excess saliva in his mouth and he thinks its grosser to swallow it. He also told me an interesting factoid which is that when men stand side by side at the urinals they often will spit one after the other into the latrine! Weird animals we are.
I spit because I won’t swallow my excess saliva. I’ve been doing it since I was about 8 or 9. I remember a female teacher giving me a lecture about it. I blew it off and continued doing what I deemed a natural necessity. I really do not consider it being a gross or disrespectful gesture.
Does your priest spit during mass, or does your doctor have a spittoon next to his desk in the examining room?
It is both gross and disrespectful to anyone around. There is no good reason to do it.
Men do it because they don’t give a care what women think. Same thing with belching and passing gas. A true gentleman would not do any of those things to be noticed…but they are few and far between.
A couple guys have commented about “excess saliva” or “mucus.” This is utter nonsense. And the guy who thinks it’s a necessity? Medication and counseling. After all, you swallow tons of saliva when you’re eating. The saliva is there to facilitate eating and digesting, and to keep your teeth healthy.
Now, about all those guys who constantly adjust themselves…
I’m a guy, and you are absolutely right on both counts. If you have to be “adjusted” do it discretely. If you have to do it often, switch to boxers.
I think the only time I spit is when I’m brushing my teeth. I am a priest, and I know I can get through a whole mass without having someone bringing me a bucket to spit into.
listen to yourselves. one person’s solution is “medication and counseling”. this is becoming ridiculous. my answer to the question why men spit? just deal with it.
Gynocentrists, male-shamers they are… of course men spit. Women do it too. Otherwise we wouldnt be able to use the word as a verb to describe the act. I found this page becauze i am interested in the psychology behind the phenomena, and instead of finding an answer, i see tons of self righteous sexists making nonsensical and hyperbolic judgments against men over a normal HUMAN activity. I think you misandrists need to read P’s comment. Its because youre lazy and never fully work your lungs that you dont spit.
There is no reason for a man to spit. I don’t and feel not the slightest need. When I cycle hard, I still don’t. It’s a habit you picked up as a child from other boys who are trying to look tough. Time to stop now.
I’ve had this question for years. I’m male and can’t remember the last time I spit. I began asking this question when watching baseball with friends. Now it seems there are more and more football players spitting. I am watching the Olymic’s right now where I saw a skier spit before launching himself down a snowy ramp to hurl himself through the air to land on his feet without killing himself. One second prior to launch, he spit. I don’t get it.
My interest in the subject came today when I saw a hockey player spit on the ice. Disgusting!
I would also like to add that there is an increase in M.R.S.A. cases among athletes. Has anyone looked into whether this may be the cause?
Though I am a guy, I´ve become really curious as to why my peers spit. I don´t think it is especially disgusting. It´s just a funny habit I observe in others. I´m more drawn to thinking it has something to do with asserting their manhood, as if to appear less vulnerable. I say because I´ve noticed it in guys who are in competitive activities like sports or flirting. Anyway, I´ll keep an eye open to spot the circumstances where spitting occurs, to form myself a better explanation.
How to stop this? I really want to educate Indians on this. In signals I have seen even educated youngsters spitting and I have told them not to do it. I want to make our city/country a clean place like other places.
[…] few years ago, I wrote an essay entitled “Why Do Men Spit?” It is one of the most commented-on pieces published on my site: nearly four years after […]
[…] few years ago, I wrote an essay entitled “Why Do Men Spit?” It is one of the most commented-on pieces published on my site: nearly four years after […]
For me, the answer is easy: when I’m congested, I sniff and snort all the snot/mucus into my throat. Then, It forms into a ball/”lugey”, which I happily launch from my mouth. In the right conditions, I go for distance, which impresses your friends.
I’ve never bought a box of Kleenex in my whole life. I don’t really blow my nose unless I have bronchitis. Blowing ones nose is not terribly masculine. Am I supposed to carry around one of those mini purse packs of Kleenex?
There, mystery solved.
Back pockets were made for handkerchiefs. Try one.
Why do men spit? My grandpa spit, my father spit and now I spit. I remember sitting out side with my uncle, father and grandfather. One leaned to the side and let out a fart that would burn the chair. Next thing I know we were trying to out do one another in the longest and nastiest sounding fart. Gross? Yes!! Fun? Yes!! I spit and sometimes like to see how far I can spit. This can be an art form and competitive. Also if I have the urge to spit. I look first to make sure I am not spitting on someone and then I spit. Recently I learned not to spit while wearing my motorcycle helmet, lol. Most of the time I mindlessly spit and don’t think about it.
With me it’s more of a subconscious thing, I don’t do it to establish my manhood etc. Deal with it.
It is indecent and gross to eject fluid on purpose from your body anywhere you would not otherwise eject body waste. All of us who see this disgusting disrespectful display of not caring about what other people think should start retaliating by blowing buggers out, around spitting people. Just like they do. It’s the same thing, ejecting waste out around where people see it, step in it. Disrespect deserves disrespect. Only creeps spit, lets give it back to these imbecile heathens.
Aside from easily agreeing that it’s a male thing, I do understand that sometimes, in general, one has to spit. It doesn’t make them a spitter. I think both men & women develop habits over time that let’s them subconsciously know that their in a state of mind where they’re free to do certain things & it’ll make them feel more confident & able to be who they ideally want to be. Kanye West has admitted to being a jerk for this same reason. The idea that if you act like you don’t care, you can trick yourself to achieve more.
I’m a young, healthy, educated male adult, and I spit at least 30 times every day and blow my nose like 20 times a day. What I spit is NOT only SALIVA, it is mixed with bogeys from my nose, which sometimes stay in the nose so I have to blow my nose, but half of time it goes down into the throat, probably post-nasal drip that accumulates in the neck area of the throat, and it gets stuck there. Does anyone try to swallow the bogeys from their nose? I don’t think so. Sometimes it is just a little bit, and sometimes it is a HUGE ball of weird sticky stuff. And if it’s already stuck in my throat then it’s obviously not an option to swallow it, since it were just saliva I would have swallowed it without thinking. The problem is that this bogey is too sticky and my “swallowing muscles” cannot make it roll down my esophagus into the stomach. BUT if I take a deep and hard breath, this force WILL make it go down, but it will make it go down the trachea and into my lungs and make me choke. So I have to roll up my throat and eject it into my mouth and then spit it out forcefully to make sure it doesn’t just stay stuck onto my tongue and then I have to brush it off with my finger.
Also, it is not an option to cough it up into the mouth and then try to swallow it through the glotis and into the stomach, since it is very STICKY and it just won’t go down the glotis, instead it will GET STUCK AGAIN in the same place in the throat.
The spitting (and blowing my nose) usually concentrates in the morning when I wake up, whenever I’m working out or in a tense situation where I need to breathe perfectly to perform properly, and for 30 minutes after that; and finally at night when I’m trying to fall asleep.
I actually searched the internet to find out how girls can live WITHOUT spitting. All I have found is a bunch of delusional thoughts about bravado, so I’m going back to my “scientific” approach.
I have read that smokers spit a lot, and I think that might be one of the reasons why I spit so much, although I have never ever smoked anything, BUT my father smoked almost every day all his life, so he probably conditioned my genetically to have mucose problems. I have also stopped consuming “milk products” and “gluten” products 6 months ago, which has improved my health in many ways, but it hasn’t reduced my mucose production yet.
But since most girls clearly don’t spit EVER and most guys spit ALL THE TIME, and the ratio of smokers and non-smokers in both sexes is similar, and diets are also similar, there must be ANOTHER physiolgical reason, and the only one I can think of is this: currently MOST men use their physical strength much more often than MOST women, so they are USED TO TAKING DEEPER AND STRONGER BREATHS, which make it NECESSARY TO clear your breathing vents when there is something stuck in it. Consequently, men will spit even when they are not exercising vigourously just because they are VERY SENSITIVE to their breathing flow, and want to keep it at an optimal level even during everyday activities. On the other hand, MOST GIRLS even gross themselves out if they find out their own body is sweating, so obviously they have NO IDEA what strong physical exertion feels like, and they never breathe hard and deep enough to feel the need to perfectly clear their throats. I am pretty sure this is a valid reasoning, because recently I have seen an INCREASE in the amount of girls working out in an ACTUALLY vigorous manner (even sweating) at the fitness centre, and I DO see them blow their nose AND SPIT into paper towels quite often, which I had never seen until a few months ago.
And the reason why I often spit on the road is because I have to spit hard so the bogey-saliva mix doesn’t stay stuck on my tongue, so I need a new tissue ALMOST every time I spit; because if the tissue has already been used it is less robust and also crumpled, so my spit can actually break through the tissue and make a mess in my hands. So I would go through at least 2 packages of pocket tissues every day, which in my opinion is much more harmful to the planet than spitting on the road (where the cars go, not on the sidewalk nor pedestrian crossing) or into a bin, so people should not have to step on it.
As a final note, of course some men spit “with social intent” and some spit in inappropriate places, but they would have to spit anyway. It’s just like peeing, every animal hast to pee anyway. Dogs could just pee in a dedicated spot every time if they wanted to be polite, or they can also use it to mark their territory, but that has nothing to do with the actual physiological necessity to pee at one time or another in the day.
The whole point of not eating boogers is because you don’t want to put that in your mouth. So why would you want to spit it out of your mouth if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth?
Spitting it out means that you pulled it from your throat and forced it through your mouth to spit it out. You might as well have eaten your own boogers because they still went in your mouth.
Whether they come out of your mouth or they go in your mouth they’re still in your mouth. So the idea that you’re doing it to avoid consuming it makes little sense since it’s already gone down to your throat. Most people don’t eat their own boogers because the idea of putting boogers in their mouth grosses them out.
What drains from your sinuses into the back your throat still goes down your throat and into your stomach whether you spit a lot of it out or not. So there really is no need to spit if that is your argument to spit. One way or the other you are still consuming your own secretions.
The best way to deal with this and certainly the most polite way to deal with this is to simply take a drink from something that helps you swallow better.
And if you have that much problem with your sinuses perhaps you need to see a doctor or at least try some sinus medication or an antihistamine.
Most guys spit because it’s a learned behavior. It’s seen as macho or even psychologically marking your territory or showing dominance. It rarely ever has anything to do with any real need. I’ve been a man for 44 years and I’ve never had to spit on a routine basis.
It’s disgusting and says a few things about you- It says you have no consideration for others. It says you don’t have manners. And it says “don’t kiss me because I’ve had snot and sinus goo in my mouth”.
The habit of spitting in public has baffled me for years. I find it a very bad-mannered and disgusting thing to do.
How is it that women never feel the need to do this? Even those who run… I have run for years and never ever – with the exception of the time that an insect flew into my mouth – have I spat.
I believe it is a combination of macho behavior, bad manners, as well as a subconscious thing (like nose picking).
Today I saw a guy whom I had a secret ‘crush’ on for a while, spit when he walked by. I don’t think he saw me as he surely wouldn’t do it if he knew I was there. However, I am instantly cured of my crush and glad that I saw him do it rather than find out later that he wasn’t all that well-mannered as he seemed to be!
I find myself spitting every so often. I never do it for the sake of it, only when I have a significant amount of phlegm that I don’t want to swallow. I try not to do it in front of people, and never do it on pavements. I can see that it is selfish and disrespectful, but I don’t care enough to stop. In my opinion, it’s better than spitting gum, or littering (which I don’t do).
its always men who spit, 99% of the time , im considered an attractive woman and i notice when some men see me they spit, its like there shooting semen at you, its completely offensive as most of them are very ugly they enjoy the violation , thats just evil, what sort of human being wants to cause suffering? these men have power problems with certain woman its absolutely sick why dont they piss on the road where does it end? it makes things worse and they seem to like this just another sh*tty thing in a cruel world
I don’t know, I’m a guy and I never spit and from what I see where I live other guys don’t, either. I only saw it in a baseball game on TV. Maybe it’s a baseball player’s way of saying he’s rich, that if he expectorates fluids he can afford to buy more fluids to replace them. Or it might be a way of feeling lighter i.e. saliva does have a weight, if very small, and expelling some would make someone a hair lighter weight-wise. Or saliva does tickle in the mouth, so if you expectorate and have a dry mouth, perhaps you’re not being tickled by saliva in your mouth and can pay more attention to the baseball tasks at hand.
I’m completely disgusted by the habit. We had many foreign men at my college, they would see American men spit, and said they see it as unmannerly , unhealthy and low life.
In many cultures, spitting is viewed as low class , also as not respecting oneself or the personal space of others.
Also pissing in public. You hear the splashing and see the stream and the idiot aims at stuff Keep your whizzer behind your zipper till you get home.
I’ve never pissed in public, sure nobody needs to see my p@%!s or hear my stream. Never spat ever.
Especially now, during this COVID-19 pandemic it is inexcusable. I’ve just instituted a “no shoes in the house” rule precisely for this reason.
But a thought comes to mind in the “excess saliva” argument…How does one know they have excess saliva? Does one have a “Salivometer”? The needle gets into the red and you gotta spit regardless of where you are or who is watching? What if you have been producing too little saliva and your body says let’s up production to get rid of these bacteria or to help digest that 22 ounce steak this Heman just masticated?
Discomfort is not an excuse to be selfish and rude.
All the men I remember to have seen spitting in my life (since secondary school) were without many exceptions all very low IQ, boorish, extremely hetero-normative, stereotypical macho types and half-apes. Usually coming from a very uneducated, unintelligent working class background. They excelled in sports and were only able to talk about women, cars and football, nothing else. Extremely simple and vacuous. They were very handy with fixing stuff (like cars), but could hardly read, or write or master even basic grammar or God forbid read a book. There’s nothing wrong with being working class, or coming from an unsophisticated non-academical background. I am just describing the men I remember seeing spitting and continue seeing spitting to this day, occasionally. You’ll never see an intelligent, educated gentleman doing it. It’s retarded and uncivilized and makes you look very vulgar and low class. Imagine Prince William spitting while let’s say playing golf. Or a doctor, a scientist, a university teacher, etc. And why some men do it? Well, for the reasons above, they are vulgar feral idiots, and do not know themselves why. Why do stupid teenagers blow bubble gum bubbles of of they mouths? Because they can and the think it makes them look cool. It’s probably the same with spitting, those men think it makes them look cool, macho, strong and fearless.
In China quite some “petty” Men spit on purpose in front if or behind the back of attractive men, to show their profound displeasure and frustration at other men being “superior” to them. Yes, they spit out of pure jealousy. They hate to see any other men “standing out” in their vicinity, they resent those guys for stealing the limelight. These insecure pathetic SOBs feel so threatened and intimidated they turn to their rawest instinct to show anger: to spit, just like an alpaca does. All you have to do is to ignore them. Take it to heart and you lose.
In China quite some “petty” Men spit on purpose in front of or behind the back of attractive men, to show their profound displeasure and frustration at other men being “superior” to them. Yes, they spit out of pure jealousy. They hate to see any other men “standing out” in their vicinity, they resent those guys for stealing the limelight. These insecure pathetic SOBs feel so threatened and intimidated they turn to their rawest instinct to show anger: to spit, just like an alpaca does. All you have to do is to ignore them. Take it to heart and you lose.
in re Kamala Harris, Downtown Willie Brown said, “Sure, nobody likes her personality but there’s something to be said about a woman who doesn’t spit.”
My boyfriend spits all the time. Not only that but the skin crawling sound of hocking loogies. Its a ritual everytime he walks out the door. Public restrooms and repeatedly in his own bathroom and shower. OMG the farmer’s blow!!!! At first I thought I didn’t want to be a prude, he had redeeming qualities I’ll give him a chance. Possibly, he had something wrong with sinuses and is a singer who liked to clear his passages. Now, through the pandemic and out in public I can’t take it anymore. Not only is it disrespectful he is clueless to anyone around him. Im no longer attracted to him. I heard the familiar disgusting sound near my business door, whipped around to see who disrespected my property and it was his dad! Obviously he was brought up this way and its turned into a habit to where he doesn’t notice the vulgar sounds. I told him how that incident made me feel. He said he’d be more cognizant but not much has changed. Im going on vacation with him it will probably be the final straw spending day and night like this.