Designs by Andrea Hodgson
Butts have been all around pop culture for decades. From the subject of hit songs to public fascination, they’re equal parts attractive and functional; sexy and sometimes stinky. One thing they are for a fact, though, is interesting.
You may have heard the stories of weird things people stick up their butts, the function your butt serves, and the rise in cosmetic surgeries, but there’s a lot more to butts than you might think.
After all, there are so many different ways to refer to one’s backside!
Keep reading and we’ll tell you 25 of the most compelling facts about butts, including what animal breathes from their behind.
1. The gluteus maximus is the largest, most powerful muscle to work against gravity
You may not immediately think that the butt is the biggest muscle in our body, but when you break it down, it totally makes sense. After all, butt muscles do help move your hips and thighs while helping to keep your torso upright.
2. Focus on strengthening your glutes for back pain
Have back pain? Don’t spend your time focusing on building back muscles, especially in your lower back.
Research shows that strengthening your glutes and hips will do a better job at saving your lower back than spinal exercises.
3. You can’t build a stronger butt by only doing squats
Your glutes are made up of three muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Squats only focus on the gluteus maximus so to build your whole booty, you should do these exercises too:
Weighted squatsIf you feel like squats are too easy, try doing them with weights! Writer Gabrielle Kassel tried this for 30 days and saw impressive results.
4. The popular dance move “twerking” doesn’t involve your glutes
Bret Contreras, PhD, well-known “Glute Guy” on Instagram, took twerking to science and discovered that none of your glutes are involved at all. It’s all the pelvis. Your glutes are just there for the ride and glory.
Twerking originsTwerking is distinctly a black American cultural staple and has been since the 1980s. It went mainstream in 2013, thanks to pop singer Miley Cyrus, and became a fitness craze. Yep, you can take classes for twerking, but try to learn at a black-owned studio.
5. Women have bigger butts than men because of their hormones
Body fat distribution relies heavily on hormones. Women have more fat in the lower parts of their body while men tend to have it in the upper part, brought on by each gender’s level of hormones. This swell toward the bottom is directly linked to evolution, indicating a woman is able and ready to reproduce.
6. Science says there’s an ideal, “attractive” butt curve
Preference should never dictate your self-worth, so take this more as a fun fact. A study published by the University of Texas at Austin looked into the theory of 45.5 degrees as the ideal curve of a woman’s backside.
“This spinal structure would have enabled pregnant women to balance their weight over the hips,” says David Lewis, psychologist and study leader.
Although the focus of the study was on the curve of the spine, it’s clear that a degree can appear higher, thanks to larger buttocks. Technically you could also change your degree by arching your back — but we’re having second thoughts on this number: How much would it change by if women were asked their opinion?
7. Straight men notice the butt almost last
Even though evolution says men crave a bigger backside, a large butt is still far from the first thing more men notice about a woman.
A British survey found that most men notice a woman’s eyes, smile, breasts, hair, weight, and style before they notice her butt. The only other traits that came after the butt were height and skin.
8. Fat storage around the butt might be related to intelligence
According to a 2008 study, women with bigger hips and butts on average perform better on tests than those with smaller. It may sound like a total coincidence, but research says a larger waist-hip ratio supports neurodevelopment. One theory behind this is that the hip and butt area stores more omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown to promote brain development.
9. There might be a correlation to big butts and long lives
We’ve already covered why women have bigger butts than men, but a Harvard study found that this reproductive evolution could be the reason women live longer than men.
In another study, they back this up by finding that those who carry more weight up top, like men, provide more of a risk for fat to travel to other areas like the heart or liver. If the fat’s stored around the butt and hips, then it’s safer to keep from traveling throughout the body and wreaking havoc.
10. The fat around your backside is known as “protective” fat
This phrase originally stemmed from a study in the International Journal of Obesity that the loss of fat in the thighs, hips, and backside increased risk of metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
However, a newer 2018 study found that losing glute fat and leg fat was more beneficial than not.
11. People don’t really know why butt hair exists
Butt hair seems like a pretty useless thing which is why a lot of people are curious as to why it exists.
There are a lot of plausible theories — such as preventing chafing between the butt cheeks as we walk or run — but there’s little to no research. It’s hard to say why humans evolved this way; we just have!
12. Lots of people are having anal sex, men more than women
There’s always been a bit of a taboo that surrounds anal sex, but that doesn’t mean it’s not common.
According to 2011 study, 44 percent of men have had anal sex with the opposite sex, and 36 percent of women have. In fact, it has become so popular that back in 2007, it was voted the No. 1 feature for bedtime activities among hetero couples.
13. Farts are a mixture of swallowed air and bacterial byproducts — and most are stink-free
With a good grasp on what poop is, we were more curious what exactly is a fart and why does it happen? Farts consist of a mixture of swallowed air with nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane.
Chewing gum can make you fartSugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol can’t be fully absorbed by the body, resulting in a less pleasant-smelling fart. These sugar alcohols can be found in not just gum, but diet drinks and sugar-free candy as well. Also, the act of chewing gum allows you to swallow more air than usual.
Even though farts have a reputation for smelling bad, 99 percent are actually odorless. The sneaky 1 percent that slip out are thanks to the hydrogen sulfide. This comes when bacteria in your large intestine acts on carbs like sugar, starches, and fiber that aren’t absorbed in your small intestine or stomach.
14. Yes, farts are flammable
This may sound like some funny joke, but it’s a true reality of the world. Farts can be flammable due to the methane and hydrogen. With that being said, don’t try to set any on fire at home.
15. Most people, on average, fart 10 to 18 times a day
The absolute average is about 15 times a day, which some may argue seems high, while others may feel is too low. This equates to about 1/2 liter to 2 liters of farts per day. This is true for both men and women.
- You produce more farts after meals
- You produce less during sleep
- Farts produced at a fast rate have more fermented gases and bacterial byproducts
- A fiber-free diet can reduce your carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and total fart volume
16. The scent of farts could be good for your health
Yup, a 2014 study suggested that there are possible health benefits of inhaling hydrogen sulfide. While the smell of hydrogen sulfate is dangerous in large doses, smaller whiffs of this scent might provide therapeutic health benefits to people who have conditions like stroke, heart failure, dementia or diabetes.
17. The rate of butt lift surgery rose 252 percent from 2000 to 2015
A high demand for butt lifts in the United States has grown with all of the butt-related plastic surgery.
Even though it’s not the most popular procedure, it’s seen a notable steep increase according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). In 2000, there were 1,356 procedures. In 2015, there were 4,767.
18. The Brazilian butt lift is the most popular butt-related plastic surgery procedure
According to a 2016 report from the ASPS, the most popular rear-end procedure in the United States is a buttock augmentation with fat grafting — known as a Brazilian butt lift.
Instead of adding implants, the surgeon uses fat from selected areas like the abdomen and thighs and inserts it into the butt. In 2017 there were 20,301 recorded procedures, a 10 percent increase from 2016.
19. Butt implants were the fastest growing plastic surgery trend in the United States from 2014 to 2016
The treatment consists of inserting a silicone implant in the gluteal muscle or above on each side. Where it’s placed depends on body shape, size, and doctor’s recommendations.
Butt implants were so rare in 2000, it wasn’t even recorded by the ASPS. But in 2014, there were 1,863 butt implant procedures, and in 2015 there were 2,540. This number dropped to 1,323 in 2017, a 56 percent decrease from 2016.
20. Almost anything will fit up your butt
People stick things up their butts for various reasons beyond casual understanding. Some of these things have even traveled so far that they’ve been lost in people’s bodies.
Some of the quirkiest things doctors have found in people’s butts are a flashlight, a peanut butter jar, a phone, a lightbulb, and a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Just goes to show how wondrous and flexible the human behind is.
21. One of the largest butts in the world is 8.25 feet around
Mikel Ruffinelli, a 39-year-old mother from Los Angeles has the one of the world’s largest butts, with her hips measuring 99 inches.
She appeared on a reality show about her record-breaking figure and isn’t ashamed of it. “I’m extreme, I have an extreme physique. I love my curves, I love my hips and I love my assets,” she told VT.co.
22. Some turtles breathe out of their butts
Whether this is cute or not is up to you, but it’s very true.
Certain types of turtles like the Australian Fitzroy river turtle and the North American eastern painted turtle breathe through their hindquarters.
23. There’s a little Caribbean mammal with nipples on their butt
A solenodon is a little shrew found only on the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. It’s a cute little nocturnal animal with this one weird quirk. Typically, females give birth to three offspring, but only two will survive because she only has two nipples on her backside.
While there has yet to be a person with nipples on their butt, it’s not improbable. Although rare, nipples can grow anywhere.
24. Dead butt syndrome is a real thing
As more and more people work desk jobs, “dead butt syndrome” is becoming a more and more common thing. Also known as gluteal amnesia, this condition happens when you sit for long periods of time. It can also happen to runners who don’t do any other form of exercise.
Over time, the muscles weaken and cause lower back pain when you’re sitting.
The good news is: Dead butt syndrome has an easy fix. Work the muscles that activate your glutes with squats, lunges, bridges, and side leg exercises.
25. We can thank evolution for the existence of the derrière
According to an anthropological study, researchers found that running was instrumental in making us anatomically human. As a result, we can also thank the history of running for the shape and form of our butt muscle.
As for the size of butt cheeks, it’s a safe area to store fat. Humans are one of the fattiest primates but keeping this fat storage towards the lower end of your body keeps it away from key organs. Not to mention, big butt cheeks make sitting much comfier.
Emily Rekstis is a New York City-based beauty and lifestyle writer who writes for many publications, including Greatist, Racked, and Self. If she’s not writing at her computer, you can probably find her watching a mob movie, eating a burger, or reading a NYC history book. See more of her work on her website, or follow her on Twitter.