Look: everyone has things about themselves they find gross. Who hasn't loudly declared that something stinks only to sniff their pits and realise it's them, or received oral sex from someone and thought, as a day of sweat and filth is licked clean from their genitals, 'Rather you than me, mate.'
But that's the thing – sometimes there are things about us that we find disgusting but our partners or lovers are actually really turned on by. These are some of those things. Some names have been changed for obvious reasons.
Shoulda Put a Ring On It
VICE: What gross thing about you did your ex find attractive?
Grace: I'm from the country and we have dogs, chickens, cats, tortoises and a horse, and I used to get ringworms quite a lot from the animals – I think it was the horse. My ex was fascinated by it – like he used to sketch it and shit.
What. How did that make you feel?
It was perversely romantic to me – I thought that maybe we were just so in love that even my ringworm was attractive to him. We were young and everyone was beautiful, so maybe his attention was more captured by gross stuff? But then I met his ex and found out that she was obsessed with fungal infections, so maybe it was more to do with her than it was me.
Did he have some kind of fascination with fungal country girls?
He was from the city, so maybe. We've actually just got back together.
Oh woah. Has he come back for the ringworm?
I don't have fungus currently, but I think it lives under your skin forever probably.
Sideburn Named Desire
VICE: What's your story of unconventional attraction?
Lea, 24: I'm – for want of a better word – a hairy girl. I've particularly hated my sideburns my whole life and used to bleach them or get them threaded until I met my former partner, who was obsessed with them.
How did he bring up these feelings?
We'd just started dating and were lying in bed together watching TV when he started touching the side of my face, and then proclaimed, "I love your sideburns." I was mortified! I nearly went home.
Did he ever tell you where his love came from?
I don't know – I thought it was weird as fuck, but he just insisted they were beautiful and made my face soft. He would stroke them every time he got the chance. Sometimes I couldn't help but wonder if he liked them more than he did the rest of my face.
Did you go back to threading them?
I actually didn't! I still don't see them as a beautiful feature, but I've accepted them a bit more, I guess.
VICE: What disgusting thing about you did your lover find attractive?
Nellie, 21: It's actually me that found the disgusting thing attractive. My first ever boyfriend had broken both his collarbones when he was younger and I was obsessed with digging my hands under them.
The bones hadn't healed properly, so they were slightly raised? I'm not sure of the exact science behind the whole thing, but I could hook my fingers into them, which I thought was super hot, especially during sex.
It just felt really intimate – like I was inside his body, inside his skeleton.
"If there is a hair in it then it's even better."
Vice: Okay, hit me.
Hamed, 26: I guess it's not that uncommon, but I love popping my partner's spots – the grosser the better. My wife has two reoccurring blackheads just below her temple on her cheek, and I absolutely love squeezing the pus out and showing her. She puts up with it but she thinks I'm disgusting, and I always have to convince her into letting me do it.
What's the attraction?
I used to have teenage acne and would pop all the disgusting whiteheads – I used to love the splatter they made on the mirror, like a crime scene of pus. Maybe it's a hangover from my unfortunate pubescent skin.
How deep does this obsession go?
I love doing it. I love inspecting the pus afterwards – if there's a hair in it then it's even better.
Is it sexual in any way?
No, it's just a deep sense of satisfaction. Like, I'm not sexually attracted to people with acne and I don't sit around watching those YouTube videos of cyst extractions and stuff. It's mostly to do with the lead up to the act – the persuasion and the trust involved in it.
The Rim Creeper
What's your tale of grossness?
Emma, 30: As a black woman I've generally experienced that every white boy I hook up with loves eating my booty for various and obvious reasons. Which is whatever. But there was one guy that I was seeing for a while that really took ass-eating to a whole different level.
How do you mean?
He was obsessed, and the more um, fragrant, it was, the more he seemed to like it. Like, if I hadn't washed in a couple of days, or if we'd come back from a night out and I was super sweaty.
Were you into it?
At first I was like sure, whatever, OK. But eventually I had to tell him that it was fine but also that I'm not super into butt stuff. After a while I started to get pretty grossed out by it and tried to quietly end the relationship.
The big question. Would you kiss him afterwards?
No fucking way.