10 Examples of Guilty Pleasures

Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health is a community of hundreds of top coaches, therapists, and storytellers worldwide. We are here to provide the world’s most extensive, personalized collection of mental wellness content & services.
Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health is a community of hundreds of top coaches, therapists, and storytellers worldwide. We are here to provide the world’s most extensive, personalized collection of mental wellness content & services.
10 Examples of Guilty Pleasures10 Examples of Guilty Pleasures

We've all got them - those indulgences that make us feel a little bit naughty, a little bit naughty, and more than a little bit embarrassed when we admit them to others. They're our guilty pleasures, and we love them despite knowing we probably shouldn't. Here, we take a closer look at what makes a pleasure guilty, and explore some of the most common food, drink, entertainment, and lifestyle guilty pleasures. So go ahead, embrace your inner rebel, and let's dive in!

Defining Guilty Pleasures

What exactly is a guilty pleasure, you might be asking? Well, it can be loosely defined as an activity that you enjoy immensely, but feel guilty about doing or consuming because it goes against your moral or ethical beliefs, is considered lowbrow, or is viewed as a waste of time or money. Essentially, a guilty pleasure is something that gives you pleasure, but also makes you feel guilty or ashamed for enjoying it.

What Makes a Pleasure Guilty?

There are a few key factors that contribute to a pleasure being considered "guilty." First and foremost, the pleasure is typically viewed as indulgent or excessive, something that you do or consume in excess or that is not considered "good" for you. For example, eating a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting or binge-watching an entire season of a TV show in one day.

Second, it's often something that is viewed as lowbrow or unsophisticated - think reality TV shows or cheesy romcoms. These forms of entertainment are often looked down upon by society as being mindless and lacking substance, yet many people still enjoy them.

Finally, it's something that is often kept hidden or secret, for fear of being judged or ridiculed by others. For example, you might not want to admit to your friends that you love listening to boy bands or watching Disney movies, even though you secretly enjoy them.

The Psychology Behind Guilty Pleasures

But why do we feel guilty about indulging in our guilty pleasures? According to psychologists, it all comes down to societal expectations and norms. We're taught from a young age to prioritize certain activities and behaviors over others, and anything that falls outside of those norms is viewed as deviant or wrong. Indulging in our guilty pleasures can therefore feel like a violation of those norms, leading to feelings of guilt or shame.

However, it's important to remember that guilty pleasures are a natural and normal part of being human. We all have things that we enjoy that might not be considered "acceptable" by society, and that's okay. In fact, embracing our guilty pleasures can be a form of self-care and a way to take a break from the pressures of everyday life. So go ahead and enjoy that pint of ice cream or cheesy romcom - just don't forget to balance it out with some healthier activities too!

Food and Drink Guilty Pleasures

Let's start with perhaps the most common category of guilty pleasures: food and drink. We all have those foods and drinks that we know we shouldn't indulge in, but just can't resist. Here are a few examples:

Indulgent Desserts

Who can resist a slice of rich, creamy cheesecake, a warm chocolate lava cake, or a heaping bowl of ice cream topped with all the fixings? These indulgent desserts are the ultimate guilty pleasure, packed full of sugar, fat, and calories - but oh-so-delicious.

Did you know that cheesecake dates back to ancient Greece? The recipe has evolved over time, but the basic ingredients - cream cheese, sugar, and eggs - have remained the same. And while it's certainly not a health food, there's something undeniably satisfying about that velvety smooth texture and rich, tangy flavor.

Fast Food Favorites

Whether it's a greasy burger and fries from the drive-thru or a giant slice of pizza from your favorite takeout joint, fast food is a staple guilty pleasure for many of us. Sure, it's not exactly healthy, but sometimes you just can't resist those golden arches.

Believe it or not, the first fast food restaurant in the world was actually a fish and chips shop in London, England, opened in the 1860s. Since then, the fast food industry has exploded, with chains like McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC dominating the market. And while it's true that fast food can be unhealthy, many chains have started offering healthier options like salads and grilled chicken sandwiches.

Sugary Beverages

Sodas, sweetened coffee drinks, and energy drinks - they're all loaded with sugar and empty calories, but somehow they manage to sneak their way into our diets on a regular basis. There's just something about that sugary sweetness that we can't resist.

Did you know that the average American consumes around 150 pounds of sugar per year? That's more than three times the recommended daily intake! And while it's easy to blame sugary drinks for this, sugar is actually hidden in many other foods as well, like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and even bread. So the next time you're reaching for that can of soda, remember that you might be consuming more sugar than you realize.

Entertainment Guilty Pleasures

Binge-watching TV shows and movies, listening to pop music on repeat, and obsessively following celebrities on social media - these are all common entertainment guilty pleasures. Here are a few examples:

Binge-Worthy Reality TV Shows

From The Bachelor to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, reality TV shows are the ultimate guilty pleasure for many of us. They're often viewed as lowbrow and trashy, but that doesn't stop us from spending hours glued to the screen, watching all the drama unfold.

Reality TV has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years, with shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and The Real Housewives franchise gaining massive followings. These shows offer a glimpse into the lives of everyday people, as well as celebrities, and often feature over-the-top drama, romance, and conflict.

While some may view reality TV as mindless entertainment, others argue that it provides a valuable escape from the stresses of everyday life. For many, watching reality TV is a way to unwind and forget about their own problems for a little while.

Catchy Pop Music

Pop music is the ultimate guilty pleasure - it's cheesy, it's formulaic, and it's often dismissed as being "bad" music. But let's be real - when that catchy chorus comes on the radio, we can't help but sing along at the top of our lungs.

Pop music has been around for decades, with artists like Madonna, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake dominating the charts. Today, artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish continue to produce chart-topping hits that we can't help but love.

While some may argue that pop music lacks substance, others see it as a form of pure escapism. Pop songs often deal with themes of love, heartbreak, and partying - topics that are relatable to many of us. And let's be honest, sometimes we just want to dance around our room to a catchy tune without thinking too hard.

Cheesy Romantic Comedies

Who doesn't love a good romcom? Sure, they're predictable, they're cheesy, and they often perpetuate unrealistic ideals about love and relationships. But that doesn't stop us from curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and losing ourselves in the fantasy.

Romantic comedies have been a staple of the film industry for decades, with classics like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Pretty Woman standing the test of time. Today, romcoms continue to be popular, with movies like To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians capturing our hearts.

While some may argue that romcoms are unrealistic and promote unhealthy relationship ideals, others see them as a form of comfort and escapism. Romcoms often provide a happy ending, something that can be rare in real life. And who doesn't love a good love story?

Lifestyle Guilty Pleasures

Finally, we come to lifestyle guilty pleasures - those little indulgences that we love, but that might not be the best for us. Here are a few examples:

Lazy Days in Bed

There's nothing quite like the guilty pleasure of spending an entire day in bed, binge-watching your favorite TV shows and napping on and off. It might not be the most productive use of your time, but it sure does feel good.

Overspending on Shopping Sprees

We all have that one store (or several) that we just can't resist. Whether it's designer handbags, shoes, or clothes, overspending on shopping sprees can be a major guilty pleasure. You might regret it later when you check your bank account, but in the moment, it's worth it.

Social Media Stalking

Let's be real - we've all fallen down the rabbit hole of social media stalking at some point or another. Whether it's your ex, your crush, or your favorite celebrity, spending hours scrolling through their pictures can be a major guilty pleasure. Just don't accidentally like a photo from 3 years ago - that's a whole different kind of guilt.

The Bottom Line

So there you have it - 10 examples of guilty pleasures that we all love, despite (or perhaps because of) the guilt they bring. Whether it's indulging in our favorite foods, binge-watching trashy TV shows, or social media stalking our crushes, these guilty pleasures are all part of the human experience. So go ahead, give in to your inner rebel - just maybe don't tell your mom about it.

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June 1, 2023
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