Guilty pleasures are those things that we love to do, but would never—ever—tell anyone about. Often, these guilty pleasures are embarrassing and utterly weird, so we keep them to ourselves or pretend we don’t do them. However, these are what make us a little happier each day.
[Read: What are you passionate about? How to find and own your desires]
Psychologically speaking, the term “guilty pleasure” is quite an oxymoron. It mixes a positive emotional response *pleasure* with a negative one *guilt*.
Cognitive dissonance theory, introduced by Leon Festinger in 1957, comes into play here. This theory suggests that humans experience discomfort when they hold two conflicting beliefs or attitudes.
So, you like watching trashy reality TV, but you also think it’s a waste of time—bingo, cognitive dissonance. You end up labeling it a ‘guilty pleasure’ as a way to resolve this mental tug-of-war.
Then there’s Social Comparison Theory, brought to us by Leon Festinger again *busy guy, huh?*. We evaluate ourselves based on social norms and societal judgments. So, if society says eating an entire cake is “bad,” but your taste buds scream “heaven,” you’re caught in a cycle of comparison and self-evaluation.
So, to sum it up: guilty pleasures are like the jalapeños of life—spicy yet satisfying, and they leave you wondering if you should’ve indulged in the first place. They’re wrapped up in psychological complexities like cognitive dissonance and social comparison, making them a real mind game that’s oh-so-fun to play!
Here are some of the most shameful, embarrassing, outrageous, and—let’s admit it—wonderful dirty, guilty pleasures you may share with other people, even if no one will admit to them.
You know those fantasy romance titles and book series meant for teens? You love them! But you wouldn’t admit it.
You have a stack of those books under your bed and you cry, laugh, and fall in love with the characters on the pages, even if they’re not really meant for you. [Read: Dating a bookworm like you’re in a romance novel]
When you’re alone in the kitchen, you pretend that you have your own cooking show a la Gordon Ramsey. Inspired by Emeril Lagasse, you even created your own signature flourish when you top your food with garnish.
Whether it is doing the rain dance in the shower, pretending that there’s actual rain, or just simply dancing in the shower, you have your secret shower moves that you’ll never let anyone see.
Aside from dancing, you belt out the high notes in the shower, too—something you’ll never do for karaoke. [Read: Shower sex – 18 sexy bathroom secrets to get wet, make love, and not slip]
From Gossip Girl to Love is Blind, you have this thing for television series that you only watch in the privacy of your own room.
In fact, you quickly change channels when someone pops in—but we all do it, so watch those guilty pleasure shows with confidence!
You just can’t get your morning toilet ritual going in the right direction without that additional deed you’ve just got to do, like reading a magazine, answering a crossword puzzle, playing Sudoku, or building your defenses in Clash of Clans.
No matter how much your mom or the dermatologist tells you not to, you can’t help it—you just gotta pop that zit!
What’s even better than that? Watching pimple-popping videos on TikTok. Now that’s a real guilty pleasure. [Read: Why you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you do for beauty]
You like to pretend you’re Daphne from Bridgerton or any other character from pop culture. When you’re alone in your room, you perform a litany of impersonations—and boy, it feels great!
You wouldn’t admit it to your friends, but you actually like to watch reality shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In fact, you also watch the Real Housewives show.
And the thing is, you’re a guy. [Read: Masculinity vs. femininity – 27 traits, stereotypes & the unique strengths]
No matter how much you try to stick to your paleo diet, you can’t wait for your cheat day. When it arrives, you binge-eat junk. ALL DAY.
You like looking over strangers’ shoulders and reading their text messages or emails. You hover over people with the most interesting conversations and quickly turn away when they look at you, looking at their phone.
You have that one movie you watch and end up crying through. Either you just can’t help but cry when you watch it, or you watch it because you want a good cry.
Whenever you feel tense or down, you put on your sweats, get in bed, shut out the world, and eat your stash of chocolate like there’s no tomorrow.
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, you secretly hope that none of your friends have a peek at the accounts you’re following. Because some of those are just embarrassingly trash!
But you love seeing the celebrity gossip or salacious headlines on your feed, so you continue to pray that no one clocks on to your guilty pleasure.
Every morning, you have a sexy, sultry monologue in the mirror to boost yourself up.
Often, this includes you rehearsing how you’d flirt with that guy from the bar, or that girl who always takes the same commute to work as you. [Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]
From Beyoncé to Taylor Swift, you have a playlist of all the girl groups and singers that you like and you secretly sing along to.
You’re a guy, so sharing your playlist is definitely taboo, but that’s not gonna stop you from blasting heartfelt breakup songs.
You’d rather die than admit you’re a big fan of some celebrity. You follow them on all social media accounts, have photos tucked secretly in your computer folders, and also keep track of all news and celebrity gossip about them.
Valentine’s Day is coming and to cheer yourself up, you buy yourself flowers. You even add a cute, heartfelt note to yourself. Even when it’s not V-day, you still do it—and your office mates think you have a secret admirer.
Whenever you’re alone in the house, you take off all your clothes and walk around naked. You even do a little jig when you feel like it. [Read: Naked at home – why it’s good and 20 things best done in the nude!]
You know all the musicals and can sing along to each of them. And, when you’re alone, you dance that number from Moulin Rouge and pretend you’re Nicole Kidman’s character, Satine.
As cliché as television and the movies make it seem, it’s always nice to just sit in bed, pop on a favorite movie *or go for a Grey’s Anatomy marathon* and gobble up a tub of ice cream.
From time to time, especially in the wee hours of the morning, you “peek” at your ex’s social media accounts, just to see how they are and what they’re up to *or if they found someone new.* [Read: 25 signs your ex wants you back and just can’t stop thinking of you]
You like picking your nose in private and you especially like it when you get something extra big and gooey. You hold it between your fingers and examine its texture before “throwing it away.”
You keep a secret blog or throwaway account on Reddit where you post all your wildest fantasies and just about every thought and opinion you have about everything in your life.
You would never, EVER let anyone know your blog URL, or that you comment on Reddit as KittyHammer, but you won’t ever give up this guilty pleasure. [Read: Male sexual fantasies – 16 top dirty desires every guy has in mind]
Pancakes, waffles, and every sinful junk you can cook in the microwave. You eat it. The whole box. Are they nutritionally beneficial? Absolutely not.
But are they a fun guilty pleasure to indulge in every once in a while? Absolutely yes!
You actually subscribe to a porn site and masturbate under the covers in your room. Sometimes, you even light a few candles, dim the light, and make a night of it. [Read: How to masturbate – 30 solo orgasm and female masturbation secrets for girls]
Although you would never admit it to your partner or your friends, you haven’t actually quit nicotine. When you’re alone in the house, especially in the toilet, you smoke a stick or hit the Juul.
Speaking of smoking, you also like to get high and just lie on your bedroom floor, naked. You get a kick out of pretending like you’re floating.
You’d rather die than admit you have a thing for rednecks. You watch the series just because you like listening to how they talk. Often, you wonder how it’d be to grow up in a redneck household.
No matter how much of a grown man you are, you still have your collection of Pokemon characters in your room and, sometimes, you play with them while singing the soundtrack. [Read: How to get a nerd to like you & win over the intellectual badass]
There’s something about watching people with very personal and embarrassing problems go on very public shows like Maury, Jerry Springer, and Dr. Phil. You even find yourself rooting for an unlikely character.
You sing and dance along with K-Pop groups, although you have absolutely NO IDEA what they’re saying. You even try to dress like them—but you’d never let anyone see you outside your bedroom.
You know it’s weird, but you just like smelling people’s perfume or shampoo on the subway or in line at the deli. You find a sick sort of satisfaction in knowing which one in the crowd smells good and which one is just—eek.
If anyone asked you how often you had food delivered to you, would you tell them the truth? Absolutely not! You’d tell them that you much prefer cooking healthy meals at home, all while kicking the takeout boxes behind the bin.
You have an important task to do for work or an annoying chore that will take seconds to complete, and yet you’ll find any excuse to push it off to the last minute.
Looking at your nails, searching for split ends in your hair, refreshing your email inbox—all somehow better than actually taking a few minutes to do something productive!
Opening up TikTok is just about the worst thing you can do for your productivity. You know you need to get up and get things done, but your finger just can’t help but scroll to the next video. [Read: 36 secrets to motivate yourself to achieve anything your heart desires]
You absolutely loved your favorite film when you were a child, and as it turns out, you still love that film! Even if it’s the SpongeBob movie, you still get a kick out of watching it.
Our favorite films from our childhood don’t get worse with age, so you keep watching them well into your adulthood. And what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what DisneyPlus was created for?
You’re home alone, so why bother dishing your meal onto a plate or pouring your drink into a glass? You’re going to chug that Coke from the 1L bottle and you’re going to enjoy it, dammit! Plus, you have less washing up to do later, so more time for your other guilty pleasures.
Anyone who says that they are able to take the perfect picture on the first try is really hiding a photo album full of selfie duds. The perfect profile picture was never taken on the first try, and it never will be. [Read: How to take a good selfie and look cute every time you snap a photo]
Your time on the internet has exposed you to some… niche topics. Especially weird is your Youtube watch history.
You don’t know why you have to watch so many true crime videos, or why you had to find out the entire FNAF timeline at 3 AM *despite never playing the games*, but you just had to.
If only you felt brave enough to share your weird and niche information at parties. But for now, those information nuggets you probably shouldn’t know about are tucked safely in your head.
It’s the small things in life that make all the difference. When we are having a rough day, when we feel down, when we go through a breakup, or we get fired, we all have something we do that gives us a little pick-me-up.
They may be weird, embarrassing, or utterly disgusting, but these deeds and pleasures make us who we are. We may go to absurd lengths to keep them hidden, but these guilty pleasures just make our life a little more awesome.
Part of the fun of them is the fact that we’re almost ashamed of them.
There’s something about having parts of our personality that we wouldn’t share with anyone, that we keep purely to ourselves, that’s exciting. So go ahead, enjoy your weird guilty pleasures. And don’t tell a damn soul!
[Read: 55 secrets & self-love habits to build confidence]
From K-pop to popping pimples, the Kardashians to Mr. Phil, we all have guilty pleasures that make us who we are. However, these are closely guarded secrets and, we admit, we’d rather keep it that way!
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