Satisfaction can come in many forms: A sip of water to moisten a dry throat; singing overtly loud in the shower; the first sip of tea on a fresh morning; watching your kids grow up to be decent human beings you’re proud to call your own.
It’s also just a fart.
And look, by “just a fart,” I don’t mean to lessen this most natural bodily miracle—it’s just that as anyone who’s ever farted knows, like all bodily discharge, some evacuations are simply more successful and satisfying than others. Some seem to think that the most glorious anal salute comes from atop the porcelain throne, not only because of the echo, but also because you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions to ensure that whatever collateral (or colorectal) damage occurs, it does so in a proverbial test site. “I especially like it if it sprays a little bit. That could have been in my pants,” writes one redditor.
Others are of the impression that the greatest satisfaction comes to the farter who holds it in until they’re alone and free from judgement. “But then, after four long hours of clenching your butthole tighter than a nun’s at an adult convention, you are finally home again. Safe. Alone. You can let go now, and you do. It’s a triumphant release which makes you smile and giggle like a proud, and slightly mentally challenged toddler,” writes another guy on reddit.
According to BuzzFeed’s definitive ranking of farts, the best is the quietest and least intrusive to your olfactory receptors. “This is the fart we all dream of having. (Unless you’re some sort of fart FREAK.) Unobtrusive and gets the job done—no questions asked, no one needs to know. Rare and elusive, the silent but also not deadly fart is the best fart,” they report.
But all of these, while perhaps true to their fart assessment officers, have no basis in the governing laws of science. And since we desperately seek to find scientific answers to questions that others are too embarrassed to ask of experts who wish they hadn’t taken our calls, this matter could be no different. “It’s very subjective,” says Marc David Makhani, a gastroenterologist at L.A. Digestive Health and Wellness. “Different people can have different sensations about what they interpret as feeling very gassy or bloated. So their sense of relief and ‘satisfaction’ is going to be different.”
Does that mean that nothing can, scientifically speaking, distinguish a mediocre fart from, say, a fart that makes you feel like you may have untapped superpowers?
“Based on my practice, I find that patients who aren’t struggling with intestinal issues like SIBO [small intestinal bacterial overgrowth] or IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] and who aren’t struggling with excess gut bacteria and instead may have some temporary mild food intolerance are more likely to feel satisfied after they release gas,” says Makhani. This, he says, is because someone who is suffering from chronic digestive issues and who feels gassy all the time isn’t going to feel the same level of release as someone who knows that ripping a fart is the first step toward gastro placidity. “Theoretically, that would make sense,” says Makhani.
There you have it: The most satisfying fart is largely subjective. Unless you have bad intestinal issues, in which case, a fart is a fart is a fart.