Remember that time Shailene Woodley copped to giving her “vagina a little vitamin D“? Yeah, someone just topped that suggestion. In a big way.
A wellness micro-influencer named Metaphysical Meagan set the internet on fire when she posted a photo of herself sunbathing. And no, people were outraged by the fact that she was tanning, despite the skin risks. It was, er, her pose, and her explanation for it, that grabbed everyone’s attention. She was in some variation of happy baby. Totally naked. Because she was tanning her perineum.
Technically speaking, the perineum is the area between the anus and the scrotum or vulva. Metaphysical Meagan’s post originally appeared on her feed last month, but it turned up on Twitter the other day in a viral tweet with the caption, “People out here butt-chugging sunlight.”
Meagan would describe the practice a little differently. The caption to her original photo reads, “30 seconds of sunlight on your butthole is the equivalent of a full day of sunlight with your clothes on!” She includes a whole list of the benefits of taint tanning: more energy, better sleep, a boost in creativity… Honestly, she makes a convincing argument.
Like everyone else on the internet, Metaphysical Meagan’s post led me down a wormhole, where I ended up 56 weeks deep in various perineum tanning advocates’ feeds. And after that experience I can confidently say: In certain corners of the internet, corners that I’ve never been before but that are somehow incredibly popular, this is certainly A Thing.
“In a mere 30 seconds of sunlight on your butthole, you will receive more energy from this electric node than you would in an entire day being outside with your clothes on,” says another influencer who goes by Ra of Earth. His tribute to perineum sunbathing includes him and three friends heading outside naked and laying down to soak up some rays. (At press time, the post has more than 38,700 views; Ra has 23.9k followers.) Another perineum-tanning advocate Troy Casey (42.4k followers) says your butt can keep on soaking up the sun for up to five minutes.
Both Meagan and Ra appear to be influenced by Taoism, which the BBC describes as “an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview.”
After her first perineum post went viral on Twitter, Meagan expanded the origins of the practice in a new Instagram photo. “Perineum sunning is an ancient Taoist practice that originated in the Far East,” she said.”In Taoism, the perineum or Hui Yin is called the ‘Gate of Life and Death’. This is a gateway where energy enters & exits the body.” (It’s the gateway of… something.)
Close-minded Western doctors are not convinced of the benefits of butthole bronzing (yet). “There is no evidence that sunbathing in this way has any effect on physical wellbeing,” Dr Diana Gall from Doctor-4-U told Insider. “Yes, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and getting your dose of Vitamin D, is beneficial for mental and physical health, but you don’t need to damage your skin in the process from sun exposure.”
And while Metaphysical Meagan and the rest of the gang dedicating to soaking up rectum rays claim it’s basically impossible to get a sunburn from this particular practice, that’s not an experience I’d wish on my worst enemy.
So if you’re trying to get your vitamin D fix, the current medical consensus is that putting your perineum in direct sunlight probably isn’t the best option for your overall health. Next time, it might be better to just take a walk in the sun (fully clothed).
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