Is this a ridiculous question? Well, not necessarily. ‘Can you taste with your testicles?’ was actually a widely circulated topic in the press several years ago,and we thought it was worth revisiting. Apparently, the tongue is not the only organ with taste receptors; scientific research from Oxford Academic has found that various other body parts have them, including the testes.
Yes chaps, your gonads do in fact have taste receptors that can taste sweetness and umami (a savoury taste found in cured meats, fish, cheese and mushrooms). Now, you might be thinking, ‘does this mean if I dip my…’ NO! Don’t go there! Let’s not add a whole new meaning to the term ‘teabagging’. You won’t be able to tell the difference between Sauternes and Sancerre using your scrotum, no matter how fun it might be to try. The taste receptors in your testes are not nearly as sensitive as those on your tongue, but they are there and it’s to do with an important role they have to play with fertility.
In an experiment designed to create drugs to help people lose weight, scientists developed mice without these taste receptors in their testes to see if it made them less hungry. Rather than discovering that these mice lost their penchant for cheese, however, they actually found that they became infertile.
Does that mean that if men were to take these drugs they’d become sterile?
Conceivably, yes (no pun intended). In fact, it turns out that the same drugs used in this test are also used for treating high blood cholesterol in humans. So think twice before resorting to medicine to help you lose a few pounds; you could well lose more sperm than fat.
Does this mean we’re on the verge of male contraceptive pills?
Quite possibly, according to research at the University of Washington earlier this year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
So next time you’re in the sack, drizzling honey on your sack isn’t going to do anything more than put you in a sticky situation – your partner will be the only one tasting any sweetness. Stick with condoms and remember: honey-glazed nuts are best for the apéritif, NOT for foreplay.