The seven best reasons for swearing!

Up Yours!Swearing may be frowned upon, but can have many unexpected benefits according to research.

To swear, except when necessary, is becoming to an honorable man. —Quintilian

1. Pain relief — Swearing activates the "fight or flight" response, leading to a surge of adrenaline and corresponding analgesic effect. Richard Stephens of Keele University found that people who swear are able to hold their hands in ice-water for twice as long. But this only held for people who swear a few times a day, not "chain-swearers." Presumably chain-swearers are desensitized to their swearing, and so are not particularly aroused by it. It remains unclear whether some swear words are more effective than others. But it seems very likely.

2. Power and control — Swearing can give us a greater sense of power and control over a bad situation. By swearing we show, if only to ourselves, that we are not passive victims, but rather we are empowered to react and fight back. This can boost our confidence and self-esteem and also provide the impetus for further corrective action to be taken. As Mark Twain put it, "When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear."

3. Non-violent retribution — Swearing enables us to get back at bad people or situations without having to resort to violence. Instead of punching someone in the face or worse, we channel and disarm our anger by swearing instead. True, swearing can also have hurtful consequences, but better a few sharp words than a sharp dagger. Swearing can also serve as a warning signal or as a marker of rank and authority, a bit like an animal's growl says: "Watch out. Stop it. Or you're damn well going to pay the price."

The repeated abuse of sexual assault victims

The mistrial of the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby has reignited old stereotypes about rape and abuse. Some new acquaintances of mine, who were unaware of my vocation, commented their satisfaction of the outcome siting several reasons. Rather than argue my position, I chose to listen to a barrage of ignorance and blame casing.

Their comments of “why did they wait so long,” “so what if he is a public figure, they should have told someone,” and “they are just out for the money” were filled with shame for the victims. The judgmental attitude is exactly what keeps many victims from coming forward. What is needed is a better understanding of the process, more safety for the victims, and consistent prosecution of the abusers.