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From: (Steve Harris
Subject: Re: Tastebuds on my butthole? Hot chilli
Date: 25 Jan 2004 19:33:49 -0800
Message-ID: <> wrote in message news:<>...
> jmbay@Stanford.EDU (Joseph Michael Bay) writes:
> > writes:
> >
> >
> > >How the hell is it that hot food burns on the way out?  How
> > >is it that we can taste heat with our anuses?
> >
> > Heat's not *tasted* really.  It's felt, with the capsAIcin
> > BINDing to the reCEPtors and HEY it's BURNing, m-hey!
> >
> > Mucus membranes such as the butthole are good at picking
> > up the burn.  Similar places you'll feel it if it gets
> > on ya are the eyes (ouch), the inside of the nose (ouch)
> > and the genitals (OUCH) but yeah.
> But the intestines and rectum aren't mucous membranes, then?
> Why is the burning only during the act of pqqping and not
> during digestion?


Fair enough question. And the answer is that the anus (not the whole
rectum) has receptors for hot and cold and touch that the rest of your
gut doesn't, until you get to the throat at the other end. About an
inch into the anus the type of tissue changes, and much beyond that
the only sensations available are what the rest of your intestines are
sensitive to, which is basically only pressure and pain. BTW the same
is true for the vagina, and again is associated with a marked change
in type of receptor as "internal organ" type tissue makes a transition
to "external orifice and skin" type tissues (I'll spare you the
medical names). These types of tissues have different embryonic
origins to go with their different enervations.

Now, it's not quite true that the interior gut is totally free of
substance P type receptors which interact with capsaicin. Very hot
foods eaten will produce a vague feeling of internal warmth, though
usually no pain (until getting the other end <g>). There is some
speculation that this causes a release of endorphins without the
"penalty" of the real pain that is produced with pepper spray to the
eyes or mouth. Perhaps one of the hidden attractions of spicy-hot

There is a story of a man who is being immersian-taught Mexican
culture. His hosts feed him very hot peppers.

"Ow!" He says. "Water!!"

"No," his hosts tell him. "Tortillas and salt will work better for the
pain. But you have to ask us to bring them to you, in Spanish. ¡Aye!
¡Tráigame las tortillas y las sal!"

So the guy does, and they do, and it works, and he survives.

But next day, his hosts hear a sudden scream from the bathroom: ¡Aye!
¡Tráigame las tortillas y las sal!


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