Fact Check: Posts Claim Men's Testicles Have Taste Receptors. It's Not as Nutty as It Seems

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Men have taste receptors on the testicles in their scrotums.


Rating: True
Rating: True

On May 14, 2024, a Reddit user posted a screenshot of a social preview for an article claiming men have taste receptors on their testicles.

The article's headline read: "Men Are Dipping Their Balls Into Soy Sauce After Learning Their Testicles Have Taste Receptors."

Another Reddit user posted a similar screengrab that same day and amassed more than 26,000 interactions before being deleted. However, this post was screenshotted and posted on Facebook on May 15.

A similar post also appeared on Facebook. The caption read: "I know I certainly don't have the balls to find out if this is true or not. Any takers?"

Numerous related claims popped up elsewhere on social media, including another on Facebook, in multiple Instagram posts, and on X in January and April 2024.


Other X users were less convinced by the claim. One wrote: "Can't wait to see the amount of idiots who also dip their balls in soy sauce. Morons. You don't have taste buds on your balls."

"You can't actually taste with your balls tho lmao. The taste receptors are inside your nuts, and they don't connect to the part of the brain responsible for taste. (I'm not an expert tho)," another said.

It was not the first time the internet went nuts for the claim. It appeared on Reddit in August 2023 and went viral on TikTok in 2020 when people tried tasting food with their nether regions.

Although it is not possible for people to taste food with their testicles, two experts told Snopes there are taste receptors inside the scrotum on men's testicles, and numerous scientific papers have been published on the topic, which is why we have rated this claim as "True."

Professor Alice Luddi of the University of Siena's department of molecular and developmental medicine and author of multiple scientific papers discussing taste receptors on sperm and testes, told Snopes taste receptors have been found throughout the body, including on testicles, which suggested they have broader physiological functions.

Recent research has shown these receptors are present during various stages of sperm development and in mature sperm in both mice and humans. This implies that sperm may "taste" their environment in the reproductive organs, which could influence their function and maturation. Supporting this idea, studies have linked certain genetic deletions [a type of mutation] and variations in taste receptor genes to reproductive issues in male mice and human infertility.

There are two types of taste receptor families: Type 1 (Tas1s) and Type 2 (Tas2s). Tas1s detect sweet and umami (savory) flavors, while Tas2s sense bitter tastes, Luddi explained.

"All 35 bitter receptors have been found in mouse testes, suggesting they could help identify harmful chemicals affecting the testes," she added.

Explaining their potential function, Luddi said taste receptors on sperm might help them sense their way to the egg and ensure successful fertilization:

These findings highlight a fascinating overlap between taste, smell, and reproduction, indicating that taste receptors could be key players in guiding sperm and ensuring reproductive success.

For example, Luddi told Snopes the hormone progesterone attracts sperm using a complex signaling process involving many of the same molecules found in sensory neurons, which suggests sperm "use a sophisticated system to detect and respond to their environment."

Associate Professor Jonathan Kirk of Loyola University Chicago's department of cell and molecular physiology echoed Luddi, telling Snopes multiple studies had shown some taste receptors "are expressed in the testicles and on sperm in humans and other mammals."

However, he said they differ from taste buds found on people's tongues. Taste receptors on testicles are located on the plasma membrane, or outside membrane, of cells and respond to stimuli in the environment, whereas taste buds on tongues have a more specific role:

Taste buds, on the other hand, are structures on the tongue that contain cells with taste receptors. This is a specialized structure to facilitate taste on the tongue, and as far as I am aware, they are only located there.

Although Kirk said the function of taste receptors on testicles was currently unknown, he told Snopes they are likely important because some single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, or mutations) in taste receptors are associated with male infertility. However, he did say there is "some evidence that taste receptors are somehow involved in testosterone synthesis."

When asked whether men could use these taste receptors to taste food or drink, Kirk simply replied: "No."

Finally, Dr. Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon, responded to the claim by creating a Facebook Reel. The video started with an unknown man, who said: "There's a bunch of science literature saying that if you dip your testicles in certain juices or liquids, you can actually taste what type of liquid that is."


However, Youn rebutted the claim:

Believe it or not, there are freaky dudes online who are dipping their scrotum in soy sauce and claiming to taste it. So what's going on?

It is true that there are taste receptor cells in your testicles. But there's no evidence to show that these taste receptor cells can actually taste food, and they're not grouped in actual taste buds. So, most likely, these freaky guys are smelling it, not tasting it.


Feng Li, 'Taste perception: from the tongue to the testis'. Molecular Human Reproduction, vol. 19, issue 6, June 2013, pp. 349–360. https://doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gat009.

Governini, Laura, et al. 'Expression of Taste Receptor 2 Subtypes in Human Testis and Sperm'. Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 9, no. 1, Jan. 2020, p. 264. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9010264.

Luddi, Alice, et al. 'Taste Receptors: New Players in Sperm Biology'. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 20, no. 4, Jan. 2019, p. 967. www.mdpi.com, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040967.