You might have seen this kind of thing on your social media feed - women eating a lot of food and talking about it as they do so. Some people are getting sexually aroused by this, so they are called 'mukbangers.' Considering the immense popularity of mukbang videos on varying platforms, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some viewers might be experiencing sexual pleasure when watching these short but intense clips. So what exactly is mukbang, and why are some people getting off to this type of content?
Watching people eat as an act of seduction
Perhaps one explanation for why people watch mukbangs stems from a well-known concept in psychology: voyeurism. Voyeurism occurs when one person gets sexual gratification from watching another person, most commonly when that person isn’t aware of it. Seemingly mundane activities like walking around town or taking out the trash are suddenly sexually charged through voyeuristic pleasure, mainly because it seems like these activities wouldn’t usually be erotic if you were involved—after all, no one thinks of being naked in public as inherently arousing unless they specifically look for such opportunities.
However, while mukbang might not involve nudity per se, there's still something transgressive about sitting alone while stuffing your face with food while unseen strangers watch you do it online. And yet here we are. A specific subset of pornography caters to precisely these kinds of desires: oral satisfaction of sucking and slurping actions (Strand & Gustafsson, 2020).
Mukbangs are live-streaming broadcasts of people eating large amounts of food. Predominantly, attractive Korean women and men devour everything from pizza to eggs to instant noodles, garnering worldwide viewers. The purpose of these eating shows isn't exactly clear: do they cater to a desire for vicarious eating? Or do they serve a more prurient function? Recent studies suggest that mukbangs may provide more than just a satisfying snack. One study found that food play (watching people eat) increases feelings of hunger while making you less interested in food—and its arousal effects increase as well (Kircaburun et al., 2020).
Is Mukbang feeding your sexual fantasies?
Another reason for mukbang viewing could be its potential sexual use. Researchers have argued that mukbangs can be viewed to satisfy fetishes regarding women eating, further emphasizing why many mukbang hosts are traditionally attractive women. While these shows may seem innocent enough, they may serve to fixate viewers on particular fetishes that become a hindrance to daily life, especially if they find out more bizarre means of self-gratification through increased and more specific viewing of such content. It's important to remember that sex in itself isn't harmful or wrong, and there's nothing inherently wrong with a little harmless fantasizing—it's all about being able to differentiate between what you like to imagine and what you like to live out.
Perhaps a consideration to avoid becoming trapped by your fantasies, it's best to consider them merely as games; once you learn how to master your fantasies, it will not only help improve your day-to-day experiences but will likely make them more gratifying as well. The key is getting what you want without hurting anyone else. To do so requires an understanding of yourself and those around you - including where lines need to be drawn. Understanding this may help you to create a distance between reality from kink.
What if my partner enjoys watching mukbang fetish eating?
Sex between people who enjoy watching other people eat does exist. Many may have a partner with an oral fixation almost to an absolute certainty—someone who likes and enjoys giving head. That's a delicious and excellent thing, as oral sex might be one of your favorite forms of sex. If you enjoy watching other people eat or if you enjoy eating in front of someone else and they enjoy watching you, there's nothing wrong with it at all!
For those of you who do have a fetish for watching someone eat, consider incorporating it into your sex life by visiting sites catering to that interest—it might even help you find more partners interested in sexual contact with eating. But, of course, if you don't want to pursue it further or can't find partners interested in that activity specifically, there's nothing wrong with having that one little private thing for yourself!
Play safe, my friends.
Kircaburun, K., Harris, A., Calado, F., & Griffiths, M. D. (2020, January 6). The psychology of Mukbang watching: A scoping review of the academic and non-academic literature - International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. SpringerLink. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11469-019-00211-0
Strand, M., & Gustafsson, S. A. (2020). Mukbang and disordered eating: A netnographic analysis of online eating broadcasts. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 44(4), 586–609. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11013-020-09674-6