Let's Talk About Spit Kink, Shall We?

So look, I’m afraid I’m not much of a Harry Styles gal. (Please don’t come for me—it’s nothing personal, the guy’s just not my type. I decided I was too cool for One Direction in high school and it’s too late for me now, you’ll have to carry on without me.) But when a certain video of the pop superstar, uh, sure, “not” spitting on Chris Pine at Venice Film Festival took over the internet last week, I was confused and a little bit alarmed to discover that the whole thing was…kind of hot?

I really didn’t know what to make of this strange and beautiful moment that had unexpectedly blessed our timelines. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Harry Styles to spit on *me* next, or if I just wanted him and Chris Pine to kiss. (Okay, I definitely wanted them to kiss.) All I knew was that the sheepish little grin on Chris Pine’s perfectly chiseled Hollywood face as he looked up at Spit Zaddy Harry Styles made me feel, as they say, some type of way.

Fortunately, I was very much not alone. Once footage of Spit Gate dropped, it did not take long for the internet to do what it does best: make it a sex thing. But why, exactly, were we all so horny for Harry’s spit? What about this iconic, confusing moment was so…erotic?

Let’s go ahead and get the obvious out of the way. Yes, duh, it’s Harry Styles and people have been stroking themselves to literally everything he does for years now.

“People are really obsessed with Harry Styles’ sexuality—especially when it comes to sexual relationships with people other than women,” says Gigi Engle, certified sex educator for 3Fun. “Also, people are obsessed with sex, whether they’ll admit it to it or not.” Essentially, “People thought it was about sex because they wanted it to be about sex.” Point taken.

Then of course, there’s the spit part. IMHO, the reason it was so easy for us all to turn the spit thing into a sex thing is because it is one. Even outside the context of spit kink, (which we will be getting to, don’t you worry) spit is inherently erotic. It is, after all, a bodily fluid—just like all those other wet and wild liquids that get shaken up in the beautiful, sexy cocktail we call lovemaking. (Just kidding, obviously no one calls it that. Or they shouldn’t, anyway—no offense.)

Even if you’re not into spit, like, as a kink, chances are pretty high it still finds its way into most of your sexperiences one way or another. Like, for example, if literally anyone’s mouth is involved in anything you’re doing. It’s also often used as lubrication, as Zachary Zane, a sex columnist and sex expert for Momentum Intimacy, points out. (Though, of course, if lubrication is what you seek, actual lube is always your friend, never forget.)

Meanwhile, “there’s an element of foreplay to it,” adds Zane. “If someone spits on your penis, you’re (likely) about to get some head or a handjob. If a person licks her fingers and puts them inside her vulva, she’s (likely) going to ask you to fuck her. So it’s knowing what comes after the spit that makes it so erotic.”

So yeah, whether or not spit is your thing sexually, it is a thing sexually, pretty much by default. That said, if spit is your thing, there are kinkier ways to explore it in bed—or, say, at a film festival with your co-star in front of the entire internet.

“A spit kink is a part of D/s degradation play. Spitting on someone is a way for a Dom to assert their dominance over a sub, in a consensual way,” says Engle. “Being spat on is degrading. It is socially considered to be one of the most horrifyingly disrespectful things someone can do. And that is why it’s so hot. We’re turned on by the taboo.”

It’s this D/s dynamic that horny onlookers like myself seemed to pick up on in the Harry Styles spitcident (that—okay, yes—technically, maybe, “officially” didn’t happen).

“There was a collective Daddy fantasy wherein Harry Styles was showing his dominance over Chris Pine—who, if the fantasy were real—would have loved this form of degradation,” says Engle.

And while this PDS (public display of spit) may have been a mass hallucination—at least according to Chris Pine’s reps—it makes sense that so many people’s minds seemed to go there immediately.

For one thing, spit isn’t a terribly uncommon kink. Research from Justin Lehmiller’s book, Tell Me What You Want suggests that roughly 43 percent of men and 35 percent of women have fantasized about spit during sex.

“Clinically, I can say it’s very common. I know this might come as a surprise to some people, but people are into spitting,” says Engle. “This is quite an accessible kink, so if you’re into degradation, this can be a great way to explore it.”

Also, this wasn’t the first time spit kink entered the chat. As Zane notes, “Saying ‘spit in my mouth’ has become a thing among Millenials and Gen-Zers.” While it may have started out as one of those kinda tongue-in-cheek phrases meant to express general horniness on the internet, “I think if you start saying something long enough, eventually, you want to try it out.”

If that’s you, please take this as your formal invitation to go forth and live out your slobberiest spit fantasies—you know, consensually, of course. Meanwhile, if anyone needs me, I will be blissfully refusing to accept a reality in which Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine at Venice Film Festival. We saw what we saw, and it was hot.

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