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July 13th, 2009
06:32 AM ET

[BLEEP!] That hurts!

By Caitlin Hagan
CNN Medical Associate Producer

OK America, I confess: Sometimes I can be a little bit of a potty mouth. (Mom, maybe this is not a great blog for you to read.) Yes, I know those dirty little words are unbecoming to some and I really should watch my language (and I really do try!) but sometimes, when I'm walking through my condo and I stub my baby pinky toe on a table leg and the pain takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes and makes me freeze with my foot mid-air in ridiculous pain....well, I can't be held accountable for anything four-lettered I may say. (D**n it!)

Thankfully, Dr. Richard Stephens and his team at Keele University in the United Kingdom just published a study that says swearing actually has a pain-lessening effect. (See Mom? It’s healthy!) When we swear, we increase our threshold for pain, meaning we can bear it longer and don't feel it as much. Stephens is not sure why this happens, only that for some reason, "swearing appears to increase our pain tolerance."

Like those moments when I stub my toe, Stephens came up with the idea to study this after he accidentally whacked his finger with a hammer. "I swore a bit and then around the same time, our daughter was born. My wife swore throughout her labor...and the midwife said don't worry about it, we hear that language all the time." Not surprising, says clinical psychologist Paula Bloom. "From my own experience of giving birth without drugs to a 9 pound, 11 ounce child, I can imagine I had quite the little truck driver vocabulary going on."

For the study, Stephens asked the participants to submerge one hand in nearly freezing water for as long as they could while repeating a curse word. Later the participants submerged the same hand again, this time repeating a word they would use to describe a table. When people were cursing, they kept their hand in the water for 40 more seconds than they could otherwise. So what were the words that made that possible? Turns out they were different for everyone. "We decided at the outset that people would give us their own swear words," Stephens said. "Swearing is quite personal and what one person finds extremely offensive, someone else may not find offensive at all." That being said, the usual suspects topped the list: s**t, the F word and British slang – bollocks!

All joking aside, many people find swearing to be incredibly distasteful, regardless of when or why it happens. Bloom thinks this study may change that. "This removes the morality piece about language. We're so quick to judge and sometimes our judgment interferes with science. We're walking around thinking [swearing] is a bad thing...it's not really." Stephens agrees. "Swearing has gotten very bad publicity– it's a negatively construed thing. But the positive aspect of it is swearing self-regulates our emotions. It can have a beneficial effect."

What do you think? Is swearing helpful or distasteful?


soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Chris, what is a swear word? who defines it? Who has been granted the all-powerful authority to decide which words are "good" and which ones are, excuse the irony, damned?

    Society is a sham, it's a mask we put on to deal with each other, but underneath, every one is an individual who is responsible for themselves and make their own judgments. If you heard someone swearing up a storm in a foreign language, would you be offended? Of course not, when you can't understand what they are saying, it's all a matter of context that these words even have any meaning. Hell, in Britain, the term "bloody" is considered to be "vulgar" but I have no clue why (being an American), so does it offend me? Of course not.

    I wouldn't want someone swearing in front of children, sitting in church, situations where one should show restraint and courtesy, but I can assure you I have spewed out more streams of words not fit for children's ears over the years working on my car and having wrenches slip.

    I think there are two extremes and a middle. One extreme where people cuss in ways that make sailors blush, regardless of where they are, and the other extreme, those who believe that to cuss shows lack of any education and refinement – and then there is the rest of us, who balance between the two. WE are who this report is written for, to let us know that we truly aren't falling into that first group when we let out words that make us feel better when we have experienced pain.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. naoma

    Years ago I worked at a fancy law firm. One of the secretaries said "FOOT" when she was angry. We used to ask: "For which word is that a euphemism?" One day she jumped up and hit her head
    on an open cabinet door, fell to her chair and said "FOOT." Personally, I swear whenever the occasion demands it. It you do not like it, cover your ears. And, yes, I am a woman, who believes I have a right to use whatever word I wish. In my car, with the windows up
    I can be extremely creative with my swearing.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sdh

    Oh yeah – and one more thing. Why the F... do people get so bent over cursing? I've never understood it. It's not like it makes people engage in bad behavior, rob banks or kill people. It's just SOUNDS. I've been cursed at in languages I don't understand and I get the point – and NONE of the words offend me. And I know a few curse words in other languages, and love to use them when I can. I don't know of ANYONE who is offended by them (unless they happen to speak that language). And yet, I'm giving them the same piece of my mind. It's really their connotation of the word which gives it power. So curse away at me, if you will – I don't give a F___ (could be "flip" or "fig" you know – if you think it's something else – I guess that tells us something about YOU :D)

    July 13, 2009 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. sue

    Swearing does help!!!

    But I dont think that it must not be abused....
    Use it in case of emergencies and make sure that my grandbabies are not around, please!!!

    They learn so fast...

    July 13, 2009 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RP Barr

    Swearing is never essential, but it is more acceptible at moments of extreme pain. It is not acceptible at any other time, and if not used at other times swearing would not be the first thing that comes to mind when in pain. Any heartfelt expletive would do. (My grandmother used to say, "People!") The primary reason why profanity is bad is that swear words have lost their original meanings and are used in place of many, much more specific words. Swear words have become nouns, verbs, adjectives, expletives, etc. and dumb down the user's vocabulary. There are educated, white-collar executives, academics, entertainers, etc. who think that by sounding like laborers and criminals they convey an image of toughness. Why does society devalue educated people who sound educated? As my father told me, if you're really a man, you never have to prove it, people will know.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Laurie "The Italian"

    Lets get serious... I have been swearing since I learned my first few words, it was well used at home and i quickly caught on. My mom would be so frightened to bring me out anywhere in public due to not knowing what may come out of her strawberry blonde curly haired daughters mouth! This went on through an "Entire" lifetime. I'm approaching 50 now, it certainely has not stopped whatsoever. My favorite uncle described my mouth like "A Siren, which can go off at any time!" Like pain felt during an activity (stibbing toe, hurting fingers , etc, Emotional and mental pain is one in the same to me, I am a firm believer of that. So swear/swear/swear "unless" I am around small children like my sweet husband tells me.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jackie

    It's hard to swear during a mammogram. You have to hold your breath.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. naoma

    Another comment: When my daughter was young, she was ALLOWED to say any word at all IN THE HOME. Outside, she was not allowed to use curse words. Kids would come to the door and ask if this was true. Yes. It worked.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. sande

    I find my partner's outbursts both annoying and disturbing in that most of them are directed at inanimate objects, AND it makes my body respond with the old flight-or-fright syndrome. If swearing could be done under your breath it would only benefit the swearer and not be detrimental to the other person in the room. It's not JUST about YOU!!

    July 13, 2009 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Derka Derp

      Lmao its Fight or Flight and if hearing a word bothers you, you should seek professional help.

      March 11, 2013 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
  10. Corey

    Can someone please remind me why certain words are regarded as distasteful or offensive? While it seems absurd to me that grouping certain letters together and then pronouncing them could offend I still do my part to keep my vocabulary in check around women, children and in the workplace. My parents let me know early on which words were acceptable in the public arena but of course they also led me to believe that a bearded man flying a sleigh with reindeer left gifts for me in the middle of the night on a yearly basis.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Cheryl F.

    I could have told you this forty years ago. After surgery, and being put in my room, I had already been bleeding internally for quite some time (this was early in the morning). By mid-morning I was experiencing extreme pain and yet no one would come to my room. My mother kept going out and telling nurses and doctors I needed help and they kept ignoring her saying they had already given me a pain pill. Several hours went by – I was swearing loudly, continuously and prolifically like a longshoreman. Finally, late in the afternoon when my skin had turned so white it couldn't be seen against the sheet, my mother went out and screamed at the doctors. Late that night I was finally rushed to the ER. My one regret is that I didn't sue that hospital blind for gross neglect and malpractice. But it was cursing that helped me survive. I still have nightmares about that event.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Alfonse

    When you heat up something and it begins to expand and will like pop/explode unless some of the pressure can be vented (water in a kettle for example).

    Cursing is a form of venting for people. It allows you to 'release' some of the pain that might, otherwise, overwhelm you.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. mcs

    What a bogus study.

    What about self-discipline, respect, and control? I admire a person far more who can tolerate pain without swearing than one who has to stoop to foul language in order to be tough.

    This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. matt

    Chris, your arguments are highly subjective and rely heavily on the premise that all people either currently have, or at least should have your same moral compass. Not everyone agrees on what constitutes a "bad" word. As to being an indicator of education, your argument fails. Profanity is used by the read and the unread. My parents were both University professors for over 25 years (my old man had 4 different law Ph D's) and both are capable of very BLUE language. My family has never shied away from exercising their American duty to speak their mind, free from the influence of others. I would warn you to be careful how you judge others based on your own narrowminded, constrictive hangups. Also, the report does not judge what is acceptable or unacceptable, only the findings of the experiment. Adherence to an old world value like omitting profanity without understanding why the value is important in the first place does not show societal advancement. That behavior would show fearful stagnation of the human spirit and the end of thoughtful moral development. I encourage you to tear the verbal burkha from your poor, oppressed psyche, chris, and invite you to open your mind. The only true "bad" word is the neccessary one that is not spoken.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Raised Eyebrow

    So Cranky Uterus,

    Because your womb is a desert of lifelessness, we should all feel compassion towards you, even though the article was about how swearing supports pain tolerance. I don't see how "swearing online with my fellow infertile myrtles" has anything to do with this topic.

    If you could restrict your pity-stories for your infertile myrtles, we'd all greatly appreciate it.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Paul

    Just because something is helpful, does not make it right or morally acceptable. This applies to many areas, not just swearing.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. eamon

    If you actually belive in hell,then that where you efn well deserve to go

    July 13, 2009 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. John Njoroge Mwakenya

    Swearing does more bad than good and people should not do it. Even cigarette smoking is good in its ways – nicotine might bring alertness of the mind. Such benefits are outdone by the harm cigarette smoking could cause. Similarly, swearing appears uncooth and should not be encouraged.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Johnny

    I think the study's conclusions are premature.

    I don't curse when I hurt myself, such as stub my toe, but I tend to pray audibly... as I jump around in pain. It helps.

    I like to believe it is the prayer that helps, but... scientifically speaking... It may also be that allowing one to make spontaneous audible sounds of their own choosing is what helps physiologically block the pain signals.

    The study should've included people who automatically say things of their own choosing when they get hurt that are not curse words. It may be that prayer is more effective than cursing. Not only does it seem to help reduce the pain for me, but also helps me maintain a peaceful perspective.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mickey

    It's merely a science of intentionality... Holy scripture has said that to he who is pure, nothing can be profane... We interpret and express our realities on individual levels, but it is our responsibility to calibrate as a community. Blogs like this show that our society is now making baby steps in recovering the clarity with which a people are meant to perceive themselves both objectively, and in contextual interpretations of experienced awareness. There is actually humor to objectionable words, but they have been widely exploited by our repressed cultures around the world. Profanity is malicious and intentional, but what slang words are inherently adopted by the beings who are cultivated to communicate to any given structure of linguistic sensitivity cannot be held in such contempt. Yes, we must learn to refine our speech and our word usage in respect for attention and honor for our our own reputations as characters of integrity, but we shouldn't ever allow ourselves to be predisposed to cues for offense to be taken in any sense of intimidation or instigation of conflict. Because words have been stigmatized, many people are provoked by them in ways that they are unable to fully reconcile, therefore we have regarded our own language as something prone to contamination... That contextual subtlety will play itself out conceptually in the world of relativity, much to the detriment of the collective population of local animate energy in generative evolution of organic resonance. Swearing is ultimately open to perception, but this article is a testament to how easily people are persuaded to focus on the symptoms, rather than the causes of whatever discomfort they are willing to acknowledge. Logic and reason do not depend on artificial prognoses to sustain their transcendence of variables and/or conditions. The truth is that human beings are very sensitive to the intentionality of any given expression. Often a swear word, can convey a broad range of reactivity, that does diffuse the pain of an accidental moment or shocking occurrence. In it's purest form, it can be humorous, where no real harm has been suffered.
    If one uses "foul" language threateningly with rude implications, their words are nothing in comparison to whatever conduct is being cast to anticipation. Ultimately, words are not bad... like guns, words are impotent without human intent.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Chupacabra

    All ye who falsely believe you will "go to hell" or that cussing shows a "lack of education" are just the same type of people us "potty-mouths" love to offend. We love to see you get your high-strung, judgmental panties in a wad.

    By the way, geniuses, sh*t, p*ss, f*ck, and all the most colorful curse words are every-day words from the "vulgar peasants" native Anglo-Saxon tongue. This of course, was due to invasion (William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066) and French aristocrats and the new ruling class spoke Latinate or Romanesque language instead of the local stuff.

    Go ahead, prescribe to that if you will, you are missing out on getting to say some good old fashion peasant words for everything things. (Is to say "urine" BETTER than saying "p*ss"?) Only because of something that happened way back in 1066?

    July 13, 2009 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Karen

    I wonder what a recipient feels after a swear word is used towards them? Does it help the person who is angry/jealous etc. to relieve the pain they are feeling at the expense of the other person? Seems pretty one sided to me.

    I agree with others that have said it is more likely that yelling (or just showing the emotions of the pain) increases the pain tolerance and that the words used do not matter. Neither physical or emotional pain should be held in. In America it is a sign of strength if you do not show emotion (perhaps many other countries as well, but certainly not all). I belive just the opposite. It is a sign of weakness if you can't show your emotions. Forget the cussing, it is just unnessesary.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Jim in Atlanta

    I suspect that swearing as a pain reliever may help those people who do not swear as part of their normal routine. More study should be done to see what effect swearing has on the pain of those who always swear habitually... probably none.

    My loud-mouth ex-neighbor used to swear constantly and loudly, especially when she was on the cell phone (which means always). One day she fell down her condo stairs and broke her leg and was swearing and screaming in pain... my wife and I heard her but it was no different from the barrage we heard normally so we just ignored her as usual. Had her cussing and screaming been out of the ordinary we'd have immediately summoned help so her swearing actually prolonged her pain (as opposed to a civil and honest cry for help).

    I do know for a fact that moving away from that loudmouth swear-factory definitely relieved OUR pain !

    July 13, 2009 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. bababooey

    they should repeat the study but in the reverse so that they are first submerging the hand without swearing and then with swearing. the decreased time may have nothing to do with swearing but to do with the hand having already been pained by being submerged in freezing water

    July 13, 2009 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. M.Vic

    I often find that I can release my pain more quickly by kicking my dog than by swearing. Maybe some scientists should do a study on this; then the abuse of animals won't seem so "taboo" anymore.

    Or, I could learn some self-control which, in a variety of circumstances, could benefit me, my family, my friends, my work, and even my pets.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Karen

    Jim in Atlanta, that is hysterical. What a great point!

    July 13, 2009 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Laura

    Chris said

    … swearing is distasteful, rude, and shows a lack of education.

    So what you're saying is that any time any person swears, it means they lack education. So later today, when I'm sure a swear word will fall out of my mouth, that will automatically indicate that I have no formal education.

    My father will be terribly upset to hear that my 8 years of under- and post-graduate schooling didn't really happen. He's probably going to want his money back.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mike

    I think that this is kind of a cop-out. Even if you accept the statement that "swearing increases our pain tolerance" you're saying that by giving in to our base emotions we are overcoming, or at least making it easier to overcome, obstacles that are otherwise insurmountable. I'm sure that by giving in to such things we might make things temporarily easier on ourselves but the truth of it is whenever we choose not to swear we rise above those base instincts that would otherwise have us act little better then animals. I'm not saying I'm perfect and don't swear, I'm just saying that to do so because it's the path of least resistance isn't necessarily a good thing and there are other "therapeutic" avenues we could explore before we unleash a string of expletives on our friend/family/co-workers/unsuspecting bystanders.

    July 13, 2009 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Bianca

    Absof***inglutly! Great article! Unfortunatly cursing is in my everyday vocabulary. I feel like I get my point across when I curse and relieve tension at the same time. I know it sometimes affects the people around me, but to be honest, I don't care too much. I know this sounds ignorant but this is me. I can help, but I choose not to. Love it or leave it!

    July 13, 2009 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. DHK

    This is interesting.

    I grew up in a non-swearing household, swore like crazy all through college, and now swear as an adult but not in front of my child or anyone else's child. I get really angry when people swear in the presence of children; it's simply not necessary.

    I had a terrible labor and delivery, and never swore once during it. It just didn't occur to me to swear. Screaming was much more satisfying.

    July 13, 2009 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Suze

    There really is a difference going into a situation you know ahead of time is going to be painful (childbirth or a medical procedure), and what comes out of your mouth when you have even a minor accident. It's not voluntary, no control factor at all if that's what your brain says to do as a reaction. Maybe it's a primitive brain response to a perceived threat, a way to chase off an enemy or predator before you have time to process what's happening?

    July 13, 2009 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. kathy

    I find swearing very offensive and I believe God's word instructs us on what is right and what is wrong.

    July 13, 2009 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Safado

    Swearing is only unacceptable to people who have not evolved mentally.

    These people who are afraid of "words", tend to lean towards censorship, limiting free speach, and also believe in the Boogey Man, sorry, I mean God.

    July 13, 2009 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. AnnieP

    Well, it sure has been interesting reading all these comments. Come on everyone–what did I say when I got a letter telling me my insurance coverage would cost $1148.16 a month to continue it after I lost my job? Care to venture a guess? 58 years old, unemployable (H E double hockey sticks yes, there is age discrimination), and uninsured. Just see the big blue cloud in the sky for your answer. I could just F@%^ing die!

    July 13, 2009 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. ryan hoekstra

    I highly doubt that it is the swearing that actually does it. Maybe you could just try and scream ouch or make some loud noises. Try screaming I LOVE LAMP. I bet it would have the same "pain dulling effect". It seems to me the "scientists" who performed this study left out a very important blank experiment. Dr. Stephens if you expect to retain your title as a scientist learn how to actually run a full experiment not just one experiment to try and prove your point. This is not science this is propaganda.

    July 13, 2009 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Louis

    I didn't expect to find an example supporting my previous supposition to be posted here, but the case of 'Jim in Atlanta's neighbor is an example that suggests exactly why cussing regularly could make one less fit to reproduce. Can you say 'Darwin award'? Again, this article makes a lot of sense from the perspective of natural selection.

    July 13, 2009 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bryan

    You people who use curse words here, elsewhere, when you're in pain, or when you're not in pain are the most moronic, uneducated, idiots I have ever not had the pleasure to meet. You must have been born to trailer trash and suckled by pigs and laid in a trough for your daily nap. Unrepentant, unconcerned, selfish, and wholly inconsiderate of others and especially children, you curse on like a blithering idiot. Grow a brain. Grow some empathy. Respect others and their desire not to hear words that describe things like sex and excrement that we don't usually talk about in nice company. Most of all, just grow up!

    What?? Didn't like my rant?? They's just words....

    July 13, 2009 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. The Oblivious Prattler

    I hate swear words. I have cursed before a few times, but each time I felt so embarrassed and filthy it bothered me for the rest of the day. When I stub my toe, bump into something, etc., I say "Ouch!" or nothing at all.

    However, I think I might understand how swearing increases pain tolerance: adrenaline, perhaps?

    July 13, 2009 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. The Oblivious Prattler

    Looking back on the comments again, I find it ironic that the people who advocate swearing are also using asterisks, percent signs, hyphens, and terms like "F-bomb," instead of the actual words. If curse words are perfectly acceptable, what's holding you back from saying them? You hate censoring, but you're censoring yourselves! 2 + 2 doesn't equal 22–the math is off somewhere.

    July 13, 2009 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Rhonda

    Awesome. I have a tendancy to swear. Mostly, when I am agrivated. However, when I do hurt myself and swear immediatley after, I find that I calm down. In my opinion, this study has merit.

    July 13, 2009 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Julia

    Hmm... why am I not surprised? And yet, to those many people who are saying that cursing should be widely accepted and not seen as anything anymore (including a more recent comment made by Safado), if swearing is only just saying words, then what makes it different from describing a table? The fact that we treat it as such. If there's no resistance to using the words, then they just become words. And if we use them all the time, wouldn't that logically decrease their impact and thus magical pain-tolerance helpfulness?

    I'm not saying it's morally wrong or that it's evil or that you're untouchable if you curse. Just that the only reason they have an impact is because we chose to set aside that formation of sounds for stressful or painful moments. And using them more often means that they loose that impact, and then what reason do we have to say them? Besides, using curse words often can come off just like using a childish vocabulary with adults; unintelligent and boorish.

    And, while I'm talking, you can insult me and my views all you want, because I don't plan on checking back.

    July 13, 2009 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Vivienne

    I have often wondered why it is referred to as "cussing like a truck driver" or "swearing like a merchant Marine".......obviously these cliches were made up by people who had never been in a labor and delivery room during a difficult birthing. If anyone had heard me calling my husband and the doctor pretty much anything but a human, it would forever be described as "swearing like a F#%@^*g B#$@h in Labor" LOL......finally someone gives legitimacy to my potty mouth!

    July 13, 2009 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jim

    This is foolishness to a believer in God. Of course cursing is a feel good thing. The Bible admits sin feels good, temporarily at least. But scripture also says it is the road to hell. Try crying out to God for help, for mercy, for patience. It works just as well and has eternal benefits. But such a research project would not be as much fun would it?
    I read an interesting article once about an air tragedy, where two large passenger jets collided on the runway in the Canary Islands, I think. Witnesses said there was a lot of swearing and cursing of God then. Surely it gave a temporary respite, until those cursing went up in smoke!

    July 13, 2009 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Davie

    After going thru a full knee replacement, I will swear on my mother's grave that swearing helps get thru the pain. And I'm forwarding this to my mother (who is still alive btw) so she can forgive me for my vulgar language.

    July 13, 2009 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Guidley

    I'm amazed and delighted that so many people have so much to say about swearing I think it's true that the value of swearing diminishes with frequent use. I think we need to find new and sustainable ways of cussing in order to preserve natural resources. Maybe we could try pilfering from other cultures, say, learning to swear in Russian or Chinese. (Just thinking aloud here).
    Or maybe we could try recycling some of the old stuff. Personally, I like Dagnabit (thanks JAC). I mean, there's got to be a goldmine of cussin in those old John Wayne films. Hey, it's cool retro. Pesky is good, off the cuff. Anyway, if we all work together, I think we can preserve the value of this time honoured practice for the benefit of future generations, without any reduction in its analgesic benefits.

    July 13, 2009 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Carol

    I swear all the time, every chance I get. I wasn't raised to do it and was told it wasn't lady-like, but what the F-. I tell my mom, they are only words and have meaning only when the person hearing them gives it. So, swear away.

    July 13, 2009 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Shyster 7

    WTF are you talking about? Such BS>.. ouch....papercut,,, F%$#%!... Hey it worked!

    July 14, 2009 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Hamrick

    Damn was the most common adjective/verb used by my family. It may not be the best social form, but it really helps in most painful and frustrating situations.

    As is commonly stated by my contemporaries, we did not know that Yankee and damn or g__-damn were two words until we came adults.

    July 14, 2009 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Bud Goble

    This article reminds me of my stance against that problem in my work place before I retired. I would always question those offenders with, “Why is it that so many of you obviously intelligent, educated an experienced workers use foul, if not filthy, language to express yourselves?” Then I would chide them with, “No one, who would pause for a moment to consider its source, would use such language.”

    Foul language was banned it in my office and, after some discussion, all concurred that the English language is one of the most expressive languages in the world. They also concurred that it is a sad commentary when so many graduates from our schools, colleges and universities are unable to express themselves effectively without stooping to the filth of the gutters using foul language to get their messages across to others.

    Whether used in jest or in anger, this form of communication reflects a mental squalor that society should be absolutely ashamed of; and, in my opinion, it is unacceptable.

    July 15, 2009 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Sue

    Swearing is distasteful and unnecessary. It is quite possible to use other words which are much less offensive (i.e., "oh shoot!" or "crap" or krikey!") and still get one's meaning across. As a middle school teacher, I am bombarded daily by examples of bad language. It is so commonplace that it comes out of students' mouths automatically because they hear it EVERYWHERE.

    I've also had professionals tell me it has no real value or place in a professional setting. Using such language with a buddy or friend is one thing, but spewing such filth at the work place is entirely different.

    Let's hear it for civility and decorum!

    July 18, 2009 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.