The optimum way to browse Reddit is with a can-do attitude and with your capacity for critical thinking set to zero. It is my sincere belief that every unhinged story to ever grace the pages of /r/AmITheAsshole is a lie, cooked up to accrue imaginary internet points, while the loudest ‘experts’ on any subreddit are all parroting advice they read on those same boards three years ago. Nobody knows anything and everyone is a fraud, but Reddit is a thoroughly enjoyable experience if you assume the opposite.
But there’s one thing Reddit is genuinely pretty good at, and that is gauging the feelings of thousands of bang-average Americans under the age of, let’s say, 40. Like a massive multiplayer game of Family Feud, /r/AskReddit has fielded vibe-checks on almost anything you can imagine, asking more than 29 million users to provide their opinions on pop culture, unsolved mysteries, and, importantly for us, which everyday encounters are actually extremely hot.
Taking to Reddit overnight, one intrepid user trundled out an old /r/AskReddit favourite: What non-sexual thing feels very sexual?
The answers illuminate the quiet desires and untold horn of middle America. Take the top comment, for instance, which posits that theme park ride attendants have an unexpectedly sensual job.
“The guys strapping you in on a roller coaster,” writes /u/Baabaabagels. “Are we gonna kiss? Why are you giving me that eye contact?”
Moving on, other answers speak to the countless ways someone’s mere physical proximity can be hot. “Physical therapy for a busted leg felt weird at times,” writes /u/SchnappKracklePop, which I sincerely hope isn’t a reference to the joints being physically therapised; /u/puzzlingpuffling says their physio administering a jaw massage was a little more full-on than they’d anticipated. Same goes for back scratches, scalp massages, and that moment when you lean over someone as they work at a computer, bringing your face level with their own.
Broadly speaking, though, I’d say most of the top answers cover things that are explicitly sexual, regardless of the appendages and orifices involved. “Making eye contact with someone at the grocery store around your same age” is, quite obviously, laden with sexual energy. See also the claim that “Certain phrases are very sexually charged, “make me” or “what are you gonna do about it,” which are so rich with fuck magic that they can’t be used in non-sexual contexts.
“When someone gives you a hand to help you up from a boat to the dock” is specific, but nautical nonsense is explicitly sexual, while “Sitting on a overloaded washing machine during the spin cycle” makes me wonder how many people think vibrators are the only appliance which vibrates.
I am no expert on sex – like I said before, I am far too well acquainted with Reddit for that – but if you feel like surprising yourself with the chaste innocence of strangers, you can view the full thread here.Image: Morsa Images / Getty Images