Vogue recently declared that 'big butts are in', to general hilarity. For once, the trend-setters were a few hundred years behind the trend. Because really, we've always been utterly fascinated with the rear end. There are songs written specifically about this particular body part – perhaps more than any other body part out there. Baby Got Back sings about the joys of big ones, other rappers sing about backing them up, while pop stars like to shake their posterior every chance they can get. And who can blame them? Most people seem to agree that butts are sexy, and the bigger the better.
But there really is more to the behind than meets the eyes. After all, it's not simply there to look good; our buttocks serve several important purposes, and they're one of the key features in the mating process. While we can all aesthetically appreciate the rear end, the following are seven facts about butts that give a little more - ahem- depth to the issue.
7 It's healthy to have big butt
Many people think all fat is created equal, but that's not true. In fact, not only are there different types of fat - where you store that fat can determine how healthy you are. Having a big belly can lead to an increased risk of diabetes and other ailments including dementia, but storing that fat in your thighs and buttocks might actually mean you're less likely to suffer from these same health issues – even if you weigh the same as someone with a beer belly. Since women are more likely to have ample posteriors, it's believed that could be the reason many of them live longer than their male counterparts.
6 'Twerk' isn't actually a word
Thanks, Miley. Not only did the popster make the world cringe with her infamous VMA performance, she also helped dumb down the English language... Okay, maybe it's not nearly as dramatic as the media makes it sound. The word actually has been around for a lot longer than Miley has been alive, but “twerk” - which describes a dance move entirely based around shaking your butt - never made it into the official Oxford Dictionary despite the rumours.
While we all like to discuss the downfall of the English language every year when the list of new words come out, one thing to make a note of is that twerk – and other words like selfie – didn't actually make it into the official dictionary. Those words simply made it into the Online Dictionary, which sounds like the same thing, but in actuality, it's nothing like the real dictionary at all. Why? Because slang words are added and removed easily, not like with the real dictionary, which sets a much higher bar for entry.
5 Glutes are part of one of the largest and most powerful muscle groups.
Who knew that the muscles we sit on day in and day out were some of the strongest muscles in the human body? Well, now you do. The gluteus maximus, otherwise known as the glutes or the buttocks (or other less savory terms if you're creative) is connected to several surrounding bones and is responsible for movement of the hip and thigh. Without the glutes, you wouldn't be able to rise from a seated position, climb stairs, or many other things you'd probably rather not do if given a chance. But hey, movement is part of life, and without the butt, we likely wouldn't be able to get anywhere. We also wouldn't be able to sit and that sounds entirely unpleasant.
4 Buttock lifts and implants are one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries
In case you're one of the women – or men – who weren't blessed with an ample rump, there's no need to fret about what you were, or in this case, weren't born with. It's not just the boobs that get to have all the surgical fun – butt implants and lifts are totally a thing. And thousands of folks choose to go under the knife to enhance their backside every year. In 2011, 1,149 butt implants and 4,546 butt lifts were completed in the U.S alone. Of course, this doesn't include the many underground procedures carried out unofficially, but be warned – even if you're looking to save some cash while pumping up your rump, it's not a safe way to go. A Miami woman infamously died a few years ago after a questionable doctor injected her butt with an equally questionable substance.
3 'Spankophilia' is the act of spanking another person for sexual arousal.
We might have 50 Shades of Gray to thank for popularising this one. Nowadays, everyone and their brother seems to be an expert on BDSM. And while it may not be a bad thing that people are more open to experimenting with some bondage and spanking, there are still plenty of misconceptions about it going around. What's so exciting about being spanked during sex? Part of the allure are the endorphins that are released whenever we experience something painful. You see, when something hurts, our brain sends feel good chemicals to help us feel better. And when the pain happens during physical intimacy, something that already feels pretty amazing, it can heighten the pleasure even further. Hence, spankophilia.
2 Some turtles breathe through their butts
Mother Nature must have the sense of humor of a 13-year old boy. Or at least she did when it came to turtles: They're already odd looking critters whose only talents seem to be getting stuck upside down and getting run over by cars on the road. On top of this, some turtles have another talent, one you might wish upon your worst enemies. That is, some turtles breathe through their butts.
Okay, maybe that's an oversimplification because their rear end isn't exactly comparative to the one humans have. The turtle butt is actually a cloaca, an opening in which they excrete waste and lays eggs, and in some cases, actually breathe. The reason? Because turtles don't have ribs like us, and because of how they're built, it takes a lot of effort to breathe. And with the complex chemistry going on in a turtle while they hibernate, they really don't have a lot of energy to spare. Sacs near the butt (err rather cloaca) easily expand, making it easy to take in oxygen through the blood vessels down there. Thus, they're breathing out their rear end – and the rest of us get to laugh about it.
1 Mooning has been around a lot longer than you might think
Who hasn't mooned someone at one point or another? But did you know this insult goes back to at least the 1st century A.D? It's believed the act of showing your butt as a form of insult originated with the Romans, which isn't entirely surprising when you think about it. They seem like the type who'd enjoy inappropriate, tasteless humor as much as the rest of us – after all, they did give us the vomitorium!
The first case of mooning is said to have happened when a Roman soldier bared his buttocks to an audience of Jews celebrating Passover. Though, it was later discovered that perhaps he wasn't mooning the crowd, but rather passing wind towards the group. Ick. The first historical act of mooning (or farting on a crowd) turned ugly however, when it's said thousands were killed in the riot that followed said mooning. Who knew such a childish act could have a brutal and bloody history? Think about that the next time you have the urge to fart on your brother.