Why We Don’t Mind The Smell of Our Own Gas

It’s no secret that one fart can clear a room of people in seconds. But have you ever noticed that when you’re the one who “dealt it”, it’s really not so bad? In fact, we actually kind of enjoy it. We don’t seem to mind the smells of our own bodily functions, but we can’t stand it if it comes from anybody else in the world.

So why is this?

Well, it’s also no secret that the sense of smell is the sense which is most related to our memory. The reason for this is the primary olfactory cortex is connected (I’ll spare you some details here) to the limbic system which is responsible for both memory and emotions. This is why when you smell a a fragrance that your ex used to wear, it not only brings back memories of that person, but resurrects some old feelings as well.

Now, back to farts. When you pass some gas, or even have a bowel movement, the emotion that is usually most prominent is relief. You felt uncomfortable, you released something out of your body, and now you feel better. Over the course of your life, your brain has now associated these smells with feelings of relief. The reasonable part of your brain understands that this is a bad smell, objectively. But the emotional part of your brain subjectively enjoys the smell because every time you’ve experienced it, you’ve felt pretty damned good.

So don’t feel crazy the next time this apparent phenomenon happens to you. Enjoy your own odors. Just don’t expect the rest of the room to share in your enjoyment.

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