Perineum sunning: Real woo, social media clickbait, or both?

Here in the US, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. As a result of the holiday, I’m going to take a blog break until Monday. As far as things to be thankful for this year, I have regained my health after having surgery for a cervical radiculopathy. I’ve lost 30 lbs since this time last year through a combination of calorie restriction and exercise and am now at pretty close to my optimal weight. I have my wife, my family, my career, and my readers and am still capable of skewering quacks. I hadn’t planned on writing much more than this, but I did come across something yesterday that led me to ask a question. When is a form of quackery actually really believed by people or more a result of social media influencers looking for clicks. This question occurred to me when I saw this Tweet about perineum sunning:

The recent blowup on Twitter and other social media appears to be the result of an Instagram influencer posting this image last month:

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🌞Perineum Sunning🌞 For the past few weeks I have included sunning my bum & yoni🌺 into my daily rising routine. • ☀️Many of you have been asking about the benefits of this practice: ⚡️30 seconds of sunlight on your butthole is the equivalent of a full day of sunlight with your clothes on!⚡️ Taught by @ra_of_earth & @certifiedhealthnut (This is an ancient Taoist practice that’s been around for a while!) Things I’ve noticed personally In my reality since I’ve implemented this: 🌞Surges of energy almost immediately! 🌞Better Sleep 🌞Better connection to my Sexual energy & control of my Life Force⚡️ 🌞So much Creativity flowing through my life!!🧡 🌞Attracting my desires & intentions with ease. 🌞Attracting soul tribe & people who are on the same frequency and wavelength as me. • ☀️I’m spending a maximum of 5 minutes in the morning doing this. @ra_of_earth teaches that 30 seconds is more than enough sunshine exposure down there! ☕️This is truly more energizing than slamming cups of coffee and is a great alternative to consuming neurotoxic coffee & caffeine that can disrupt your adrenal gland health.☕️ 🌞This is such a simple game changing practice!! ⚡️Try it out & let me know your experience⚡️ ☀️You can do this any time the sun is out… I prefer early in the morning!☀️ #NakedInNature

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Having achieved the aim of all social media “influencers” of having her Instagram photo go viral, @metaphysicalmeagan decided to try to go one better and posted a Photoshopped version of the same photo:

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☀️Perineum Sunning PART 2☀️ 🍑I was recently interviewed for an article on this, so I thought I’d share more: Perineum sunning is an ancient Taoist practice that originated in the Far East. In Taoism, the perenium or Hui Yin is called the “Gate of Life and Death.” This is a gateway where energy enters & exits the body. I first learned about perineum sunning through my studies of Taoism and Tantric practices. Mantak Chia speaks about this in his work, as does my friend @ra_of_earth . 🍑The benefits of perineum sunning include: 🌞 •It brings in prana or solar energy from the sun into the organs within the body which strengthens the organs. 🌞 •Perineum sunning prevents against the leakage of chi or life force energy from the body. This in turn sustains health & longevity of the physical body. •Increases creativity and creative output. •Aids in a healthy libido & balanced sexual energy. •30 seconds of sunlight on the perineum is equivalent to being in the sun all day with your clothes on. •It regulates the circadian rhythm and promotes deeper sleep. •Grounds and connects you to the Earth. •Increases your personal magnetism and amplifies the auric field. •Better focus & mental stimulation. •Regulates hormone function in the sex organs. ⚡️ 🍑My experience with perineum sunning has been profound. I have been practicing this for a few months now. I start my day with 5 minutes of perineum sunning & feel energized for hours. I no longer rely on coffee for energy to start my day because I am getting my energy from the sun. I also am experiencing better sleep and require less sleep due to boost of overall energy. • 🍑I would highly recommend this to anyone who is seeking optimal health & wellness and to those looking to connect with their sexual energy in a balanced way. • 🍑The main advice I have that this practice is meant to be done in the time of 30 seconds to 5 minutes MAX in the sun. 🌞 •‼️‼️THE INTENTION OF THIS IS NOT TO TAN YOUR BUTTHOLE‼️‼️ • 🌞 Sunscreen is not required & all you really need is 30 seconds of sun exposure. The ideal hours of the day to do this are between 7-9 am. #ButtholeSunning #SexualHealing #TaoistPractices

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One thing I noticed about @metaphysicalmeagan is that she likes to post a lot of nude photos of herself, tastefully cropped so as not to violate Instagram policies and not to show anything that shouldn’t be shown on a family platform. That aside, her claims for the the practice of perineum sunning are quite ridiculous, unsurprisingly. Think of this as Your Friday Dose of Woo two days early because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

First, off, imagine my relief to learn that the object of perineum sunning is not to tan your anus. Of course, your perineum is not your anus, which is why the term “butt chugging sunlight” is not really accurate, nor are all the stories and social media posts referring to it as sunning your butthole are not quite right, albeit amusing. Your perineum is the name for the area between your. All of the above claims are, of course, absolutely ridiculous. There is no “life force” or “life energy,” and nothing enters or exists via the perineum. The only thing that comes out of the perineum is sweat and skin oil, and the only thing that exits near the perineum is feces and, in the case of females, urine, and, every now and then in females, the perineum is stretched massively by the passage of a baby through the nearby vagina.

Of course, this clickbait worked even better than anticipated, as @metaphysicalmeagan made the New York Post:

Who really got the practice noticed? Apparently it’s someone by the ‘nym Ra of Earth:

They’re soaking up some rays where the sun don’t shine.

The hottest trend gripping wellness die-hards is tanning their cans, or “perineum sunning,” as influencers are calling it.

“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 an influencer, who goes by Ra of Earth. In a viral video that has racked up more than 35,000 views, he gestures toward the sun as three naked men lie down, point their backsides to the sky and make sounds of pleasure.

Ra of Earth has also posted a step-by-step “Sun Worship exercise” pulled from “The Tao of Sexology: The Book of Infinite Wisdom” by Dr. Stephen T. Chang that says the practice can help keep the area “healthy and free of germs.”

I must confess to laughing out loud when I saw “Ra’s” how-to illustration on Instagram:

I laughed even harder when I watched his video:

And Ra is not alone:

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Butthole sunning! – – According to @ra_of_earth via @johnnyknoxville story…30 seconds of direct sunlight injection to The anal orifice is equivalent to being outside in the sun ALL DAY! – – SUN= NUTRITION as long as you have the proper antioxidants and fats. If your body is loaded with PUFA’s, sunlight can be very damaging to the tissues! – – Therefore CLEAN UP YOUR DIET, everybody will do WAY better on my Organic Superfood nutritional program, it feeds the cells and satiate the tissues with materials that replicate your eyeballs, spinal cord nose hairs and epidermis … All the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, fats, carbohydrates in a bio available predigested micro nutrition presentation. 💯 satisfaction guaranteed! LINK IN BIO

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So. Many. Questions. For one thing, these are men doing the perineum sunning, which brings up the indelicate question of what they do with their…well, their junk…while their “buttholes” are supposedly soaking up the sun. That’s some delicate skin there! Of course, the perineum is also covered in delicate skin, and the skin around the anus is also quite delicate. That might be why you don’t want to sun it for very long; it’s likely to burn more easily. Second, these influencers can’t get their stories straight. In this case, Ra is claiming that he is, in fact, sunning his anus, not his perineum. Obviously, it’s totally at odds with physics and human physiology to claim that sunning the anus or perineum or whatever part of your anatomy where the sun don’t shine for 30 seconds will provide you with more “energy” from the sun than hours of sunning your entire body. I am, however, amused that apparently the butthole or perineum is such a magical part of the human body that it acts as some sort of super energy-sucking structure. It’s also completely unscientific to claim that 30 seconds of sun will disinfect the area. It won’t. The bacteria down there will be just fine after the exposure. I suppose 30 seconds of perineum sunning might briefly evaporate any stinky sweat that might be down there, but that’s about it.

But is perineum sunning really a Taoist or traditional Asian medical practice? And who is Dr. Stephen T. Chang? Naturally, Chang has his own online store selling herbal formulas, his books, skin care products, and “Taoist consultations.” He claims to have doctoral degrees in medicine, law, theology and philosophy, which strikes me as quite an accomplishment if true. He’s definitely heavily into woo like acupuncture and other traditional Chinese medicine. I was also unable to determine whether “perineum sunning” is a real Taoist or traditional Chinese medicine practice or not.

In the age of social media “influencers,” I’ve noticed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell what is real quackery that’s been around for a while and what’s a practice that was just made up to get clicks and followers, which are the almighty currency on social media. Perineum sunning is so obviously nonsense that I immediately wondered if it were something made up by one influencer or another and then adopted by others because it allowed them to take nude photos of themselves doing it and garner clicks. On the other hand, breatharianism is an actual belief that I’ve written about a few times (the first time way back in 2006), and it’s just as ridiculous, or even more so, given that it’s the belief that you don’t need to eat food and can exist on air and sunlight. There are people who claim you can “eat the sun.” It’s called sungazing, and it involves staring into the sun at sunrise or sunset, when it won’t burn out your retina. The idea is that you can exist solely on the energy from the sun, even though human beings don’t have chlorophyl or any mechanism to directly convert energy from light into chemical energy. Certainly, your retinas don’t do that, other than the tiny amount of energy in the chemical signals your retina sends to your brain to perceive the light. Perineum sunning appears to be just a really bizarre variant of this idea that makes even less sense.

I realize that by writing about this I’m doing just what these social media influencers hope for. They don’t care that I’m mocking them for their sheer ridiculousness. They just want the clicks. Still, in this age of social media, I just couldn’t resist, given that there’s a large question: How much woo is based on real belief, and how much is just ideas that make for photos that people will link to and share on social media. It’s getting harder to tell these days.