Love Sriracha? Penn State Study Reveals Why Some Men and Women Like It Hot

Surprise: There are gender and personality differences when it comes to hot-sauce preferences.

Photo via Flickr/Seth Anderson

Photo via Flickr/Seth Anderson

Ah, hot sauce. The endlessly versatile condiment that adds lots of flavor for zero calories. It’s no wonder so many health nuts are obsessed with it. But they’re not the only ones: Researchers at Penn State have obsessively studied hot sauce preferences for the past few years and have come to some interesting conclusions.


The most recent study, which NPR reports on this week, builds on a previous study which looked at how personality traits influence whether or not a person likes hot sauce. Not surprisingly, thrill-seekers, which includes everyone from adventure-sport enthusiasts to people who like action movies, tend to get a kick (get it?) out of hot sauce more than non-thrill seekers: They’re about six times more likely to enjoy the burn.

The new study by the same Penn State researchers dives deeper into gender differences. Women who like hot sauce simply seem to enjoy it for the throat burn, while men who down the stuff do it because they think it’s manly: “The machismo factor — the idea that tough men should be able to withstand the heat — seems to play a role,” NPR reports.

Be still my heart.

If you’re dying to become a hot-sauce convert because it just feels too wimpy on the other side, NPR has suggestions for how to ease yourself into the thrill of the burn.

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