Are Those Disgusting Food Hack Videos a Sex Thing?

Internet users are speculating that a new genre of internet video is fulfilling an erotic fetish known as "sploshing"

June 8, 2021 9:07 am
Hot or harrowing?
Hot or harrowing?
David Malan, TikTok, Twitter

If you’ve been noticing a profusion of bizarre, messy and simply gross “food hacks” or recipe videos on your Facebook, Twitter and TikTok timelines over the last year, you’re not alone. It seems every week the internet is in harmonious disgust at a video of a woman covering a mac and cheese ball in ground beef or spreading peanut butter, jelly and other fixings all over her countertop with her bare hands or stuffing another slab of ground beef (this time soaked in Coca-Cola) into a soda bottle as a “summer BBQ HACC.”

Last month, food and dining publication Eater published an investigative piece on the person responsible for all of these nauseating (not to mention super wasteful!) food videos. Turns out the man behind the curtain is professional magician (yes, magician) Rick Lax, who runs a pretty large content network predominantly on Facebook Watch. Lax’s official Facebook page has 14 million followers, and on it, you’ll find endless weird and entirely scripted prank videos, from fake military reunions to suggestive magic tricks to a deluge of conventionally attractive women demonstrating messy food hacks. But as Eater notes, these videos have seeped outside the confines of Facebook Watch to TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, where they are now tormenting the rest of us.

Lax made it clear to Eater he is not a foodie nor a food expert, but would object to those calling these gross recipes “gross.” After noticing videos of food stalls and street food vendors were doing well on Facebook, Lax figured it might be due to the visual impact of large quantities of food spread out in front of a camera, and brainstormed with his network of creators about how they could put their own spin on the trend.

Getti Kehayova, a friend of Lax’s who you might know better as the women who put spaghetti and nerds in a burger, told Eater “that her videos are all spur-of-the-moment things meant to be fun and entertaining.”

“It’s nothing that people should do,” she said. “We’re entertainers. We’re just trying to put smiles on your faces.”

But some internet users have had a different, more NSFW theory about what these repugnant recipe videos — along with some other videos from Lax’s production company — might be masquerading as. On TikTok and Twitter, users are speculating these videos might fulfill some kind of erotic fetish.

In one TikTok video posted by user @adhdalli, there is a recording of one of these food videos from Facebook. Though it’s unclear if this video is somehow connected to Lax, it shares a similar vibe with his oeuvre. There’s a (thin, white, camera-ready) woman handling raw meat then doing something insane with said raw meat while a man eagerly films her. But the really unnerving part of this particular video arrives when the woman squeezes a lemon onto this weird raw-chicken kebab, lets out a moaning “yes” and then asks if viewers “See that juice?” as the camera zooms in on the oozing lemon.

“You guys know these weird Facebook videos right? Where the girl is always nicely manicured and she’s always playing with food and it gets everywhere,” @adhdalli says in the TikTok after showing the Facebook video. “Now this is a very tame example but I’ve seen some [videos] where they are literally sticking their whole hand in a jar of frosting to like ice a cake. I’m fully convinced and you cannot convince me otherwise that these videos fulfill a very specific fetish.”

“I’m 100% sure this crap started as a fetish thing but now that folk clocked on to the high engagement due to the general ridiculousness of it they’re just cashing in hard,” wrote one Twitter user in response to the video of a woman spreading peanut butter all over her countertop. “I’ve just learned that apparently this is for a fetish where people like to see women handle messy food and say how good it looks (despite the contrary),” said another.

For those unacquainted, the fetish many are speculating these videos might be fulfilling is called “wet and messy fetish” or “sploshing,” which encompasses an array of sexual desires.

“Sploshing is a fetish where people enjoy being inside of, covered in, sitting on, etc. jelly-like or food substances. This can include food play — such as cake sitting, being covered in frosting during sex and all that good stuff,” explains certified sex coach and sexologist Gigi Engle. “It can also include non-food substances like shaving cream, Jell-O, large amounts of lube, paint, etc. Basically, it’s when you get a lot of sexual enjoyment from copious amounts of wet messiness during sexual play — whether you’re actually having sex or not.”

As Eater notes, Lax and the creators of these viral food videos may have taken note of how well “mukbang” videos do on the internet. Mukbangs are essentially videos of people eating large quantities of food on camera, but also have a history of being related to a fetish. “Many of the most popular mukbang influencers are all thin, beautiful women who eat large quantities of, oftentimes, very messy food. One could argue that Rick Lax and this endless rabbit hole of gross food women have used Facebook’s algorithms to create a uniquely American mukbang,” writes Eater. In other words, ogling attractive, polished women while they play with messy, often phallic foods with their nicely manicured hands might scratch a certain itch for some.

Sploshing is a pretty niche fetish, notes Engle. “Data on the prevalence of this fetish is pretty sparse — not exactly shocking considering scientists probably aren’t too keen on doing widespread research on people being
smothered in jelly during a bang sesh. While lots of people incorporate food into the bedroom (think chocolate sauce, etc.), the desire for this play as an actual fetish is a different story. A fetish is when someone requires, needs or really really wants a certain thing in order to have full sexual arousal and/or enjoyment. Making the distinction between what is a ‘fun thing to try’ and a fetish is important when talking about all sexual behaviors, because people have myriad reasons for liking what they like and why,” she explains.

Now if you’re not into sploshing, you might be curious what its appeal is.

“There are so many reasons people love what they love and the only people who can truly answer this are sploshers themselves. But, the appeal seems to be the tactile feeling of the substance and in the case of food, [and] also the tasting of things — it’s really an extreme form of sensory play in some ways,” says Engle.

And while many of us might look in horror at sploshing-related videos, as Engle says, “it’s important not to yuck anyone else’s yum.”

“Human sexuality is complex and we shouldn’t judge anyone on what they like — as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult and the play is safe,” she adds.

Some have argued that while fetish videos are totally fine, they should be on the appropriate platforms — and maybe not TikTok, a platform frequented mostly by teenagers. If you scroll through the comments of a video from one of Lex’s fellow content creators (like Anna Rothfuss) or of a video discussing these kinds of videos, you’ll find a slew of comments from users expressing how uncomfortable, anxious and creeped out the videos make them feel. And it’s less about the obnoxious food mess than it is the general vibe of the video. Often the videos seem rushed (as if the actors are going to get caught by someone), there are obvious visual allusions to sexuality (like putting a stick of cheese into a sandwich hole) and the man filming the sequence always seems a little too excited about what he’s witnessing.

Of course, these are all just theories. As some have suggested, these videos may also be popular for their sheer shock value, which garners clicks and therefore money. In this version of events, their resonance with any particular kink community may simply be a happy accident.

I subjected Engle to a few of these viral food videos (mac and cheese ball, the absolutely revolting summer BBQ “hack,” raw chicken kebab and the peanut butter countertop) to get her sexpert take on them. The first three just look like gross recipe videos, she tells me. “But to someone into sploshing, they may take something different from it. It’s really all in the eye of the person watching it.”

“The first three don’t appear to be intentionally kinky. The last one, though, looks to be done on purpose to be kinky,” says Engle, referring to the peanut butter/jelly/chocolate/pickle atrocity.

“This looks a lot like the content made on OnlyFans for sploshers. The woman is spreading the peanut butter on the table and smoothing it out and then carefully puts the jelly, Nutella and other things in a pattern, mixing them all together in a kind of artistic way,” explains Engle. “It reminds me a lot of well-done cake-sitting videos — which I’d highly recommend, as cake-sitting is often done as performance art, as well as kink.”

So it seems the beauty of these gross viral food videos is in the eye of the beholder. Clearly there is a market for these videos given their perpetual virality and Rick Lax’s 14 million Facebook followers, not to mention they’re killing the game in outrage clicks and shares. So whether you’re retching at them or getting off to them (or both?), expect to see even more women shoving ground beef into soda bottles and spreading nacho cheese, peanut butter and whatever else all over their countertops for the foreseeable future.

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