Is it really such a crime to enjoy ourselves? Indulgence is a well-earned part of life, and we shouldn’t always be embarrassed about it – and yet, here we are talking about it. Guilty pleasures are things we enjoy that we’re ashamed to admit to, because they’re silly, embarrassing, frivolous, gross, or considered a waste of time and money (or all of the above). We’ll talk about them among our closest friends (because we know they’re guilty of them, too), but we’d never raise our hands to admit to them in public.
It seems crazy to be so secretive about stuff we all do, but we’re so used to worrying about what other people think, it’s a no-brainer to keep our mouths shut. Or, we’ll laugh it off, acknowledging how silly we are to enjoy such things, but we’ll never stop doing them. It can be trash TV, or garbage food, or popping pimples, but you still get some satisfaction out of your indulgence – and that’s okay! This list is here to remind you that most guilty pleasures are things all women do, too! We’re in this together! If it makes you happy and doesn’t hurt anyone else, then what’s the problem? Let your freak flag fly. #noshame
15 Reality TV
Say what you will about reality TV – it’s stupid, it’s a waste of time, it’s filled with untalented people trying to make a buck, it glorifies excess – and you’re totally right.
That doesn’t mean it’s not awesome.
There’s something undeniably satisfying about indulging in a so-bad-it’s-good reality TV show. Whether you’re more into romance-focused ones (The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Married at First Sight), elimination and game-style shows (Big Brother, Survivor), or home decorating ones (Love It or List It, House Hunters), it’s a really great way to spend some quality time with you and your couch. Even scripted reality TV (hey there, The Hills and Laguna Beach!), with a formula that’s easy to figure out, reality television is a form of escapism that doesn’t require your full attention and is still chock-full of watercooler gossip. Sometimes TV is just like candy – you know it’s garbage, you know it’s no good for you, but man, is it fun to enjoy.
14 Eating Junk
On the subject of eating candy, no girl can deny her love for junk food. I don’t care if you’re a super sexy fitness model who’s making the big bucks on Instagram – you still have a junk food vice, be it cheese or chocolate. So much of our time is spent worrying about how we look, so it feels so damn good to just put on some sweats and order that pizza with pepperoni. You can be healthy and well-balanced most of the time, but digging into a big bag of Starburst is pretty much unparalleled bliss.
It’s scientifically proven that indulging in our favourite comfort foods (think carb-heavy items like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and fried chicken) is usually due to high stress levels, which is a direct result of our intense work drive and have-it-all attitude. This guilty pleasure can be unavoidable, but there are definitely ways to combat it (if you want to), like switching to healthier versions of your favourite foods.
13 Blowing Off Plans
You were supposed to get together with a friend for after-work drinks, but Netflix was calling your name. You were supposed to hit up a party with a few people, but bailed to finish a good book or enjoy a night of doing nothing.
Bailing on plans is one of the best feelings in the world, but it can also leave you with a ton of guilt. Are you letting people down? Will you stop being invited out if you blow them off too often? Sometimes it’s hard to resist the seductive call of the TV and pajamas, and you’re starting to really embrace your grandma status. Once you get past the out-all-night times of your early twenties, staying in can become your favorite thing to do, and that’s not always a bad thing. This guilty pleasure can give you the mental rest you need to refresh yourself and attack what lies ahead. Just try and hang out with your buds a little bit from time to time, okay?
12 Doing It For The 'Gram
I have this pose that I like to call my “mirror face”. It’s a little bit pouty but not to the point of duckface, it’s wide-eyed but not psychotic. It’s a good look, and one I exclusively use for my profile pictures.
I know I’m not alone.
We’re all guilty of making our friends or S/O wait to eat so we can snap a photo of the table, or have taken tons of shots to make sure we look just right – sexy but not too sexy. We’ve artfully arranged our coffee cups or makeup hauls to show off on social media, and you may feel like a bit of an idiot while doing it, but it’s for your followers! I’m all for documenting some of the awesome times in your life but this guilty pleasure is also a good reminder to live in the moment, not just for the photo of the moment.
Checking out your ex’s, or former friend’s, or hated coworker’s social accounts is a guilty pleasure almost every girl can admit to. We scour their Instagram and Snapchat for what they’re doing and whom they’re doing it with, we read between the lines of every Facebook status update or Tweet. We even get our friends in on the action, having them check in if the accounts are private.
This can only really go one of two ways: One, they’re having a miserable time and you can feel vindicated for no longer being in their life, or two, they’re having a great time and not spending their days hating on you or worrying about what you think. I hate to tell you, but the second one is usually how this whole thing pans out. Hate-stalking is short-term gratification, and not something you should let yourself get too wrapped up in at the expense of your own well-being.
It’s good to treat yourself, but you’re treating yourself all the time! Instead of saving your money for rent, bills, or investments in your future, you’re throwing your cash at whatever you want. Dinners out? Check. New shoes? Check. Racking up a lengthy bar tab? You betcha! You’ve maxed out your credit card more times than you can count, because it feels like free money to you that you’ll get around to paying eventually. Retail therapy can be a girl’s favorite vice, and even though you know you shouldn’t give in, that new jacket/dress/book was just calling your name.
It’s a guilty pleasure that I’m all for indulging in occasionally, but if your wallet is feeling a little light, consider if you really need whatever it is you’re looking to buy. If you wouldn’t pay for it full price, is it really worth it now that it’s on sale? Maybe steer clear of the stores and treat yourself to a relaxing night in instead.
Naps are great. Why did we hate these as kids? I would go back and tell my younger self to enjoy all the naps because they are few and far between as you get older. Naps are the chance to recharge your batteries, and if you’re feeling really exhausted you know caffeine just isn’t going to cut it.
There’s no shame in indulging in a nap, especially if it means you’ll work better and be happier (just try not to nap for too long and screw up your sleep for the night). I will nap in bed, on a couch, in a chair, on the train, wherever, because napping is amazing. It’s one of the simplest, purest pleasures to just grab a bit of shuteye in the middle of the day, especially because so many of us are stuck working. Napping is decadent and luxurious, it’s basically what Sundays are made for.
8 Drinking Too Much
You’ve had a bad day, or a stressful time at work, or you’re celebrating something, and usually alcohol is involved. (Sensing a theme here in these guilty pleasures? They’re all about comfort!) Soon, two glasses of wine with coworkers becomes a bottle, a couple beers with friends devolves into shots for the table, and before you know it, you’re stumbling into an Uber at two in the morning. You only have your blurry Snapchat story to remind you of what you did last night, and sometimes that can be more than a little cringeworthy. Like most guilty pleasures, it can be an indulgence that gives you temporary happiness, but that fades once your hangover starts kicking your butt.
That whole moderation thing people talk about? It’s actually pretty good advice. Not only will you save yourself a hangover (which get way more wicked as you get older), but you’ll save cash and the risk of possibly embarrassing yourself.
7 Texting People You Shouldn’t
Why do you do this to yourself? You know you’ll get hurt, or be disappointed. You know it can’t end well. This guilty pleasure is usually a direct result of the guilty pleasure above (see: alcohol). Maybe you text an ex for some late-night comfort when you’re feeling low, or a guy you were sort-of seeing for confirmation that you really are hot AF. If we’re being honest, these people you shouldn’t text are almost always people you’ve slept with, or wanted to sleep with.
Texting people you shouldn’t can definitely be fun for a while, and then it comes crashing down. That brief high you enjoyed is now deflated by the crippling embarrassment and shame that often follows. Just don’t do it! Don’t text these people. Save yourself and remove their number, block them, change them to a poop emoji in your phone, whatever you need to do. I believe in you.
6 Doing Nothing
What’s better than doing something? Doing nothing. No plans, no obligations, no responsibilities – just nothing. The reason why this is a guilty pleasure us girls enjoy is because we’re almost always committed to doing something. We work, we go out with friends, we take care of kids or pets or plants, we get dressed, we clean, we drive, we work out, we cook, we do so many things that the few moments we have where we don’t have to do anything feel like a mistake. We equate being busy with being productive, and they’re just not the same thing. Sometimes you need to take a mental rest for the rest of your time to be used effectively. This is a guilty pleasure we need to stop feeling bad about, because we’ve totally earned it. So just chill out, relax, and do absolutely nothing. If you haven’t tried it already, trust me – you’ll love it.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat down at my computer to work and then fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube. I’ll watch videos of sweet old couples dancing, cats cleaning dogs, animals playing with other animals, news broadcasts, makeup tutorials, music videos. Then, before I know it, it’s been hours and I haven’t done anything I was supposed to do.
YouTube is a major time-suck. It’s a vortex where time disappears and you only look up when you notice your battery is running low. It isn’t even just YouTube – it’s the Internet in general. You’ll refresh pages you just left for new content, you’ll take online quizzes because you’re bored, and you’ll scan the comments section to see if anyone else noticed that thing you noticed. It’s basically the digital extension of doing nothing, while giving the illusion of doing something – and it can be funny and entertaining as hell!
4 Being Gross
Why do people still believe girls can’t be as gross as guys? Every girl I know (myself included) takes pleasure in being all kinds of disgusting, from popping zits to tweezing ingrown hairs to smelling their own noxious gas emissions. There are some levels of gross we won’t even admit to (except in private), like picking noses and sniffing armpits, or re-wearing underwear and peeing in the shower. That last one is obviously all about conserving water and going green. #ecofriendly
Being gross is a pleasure for everyone (just look at the popularity of those Dr. Pimple Popper videos), but it seems to only be a guilty pleasure for girls, which is totally unfair. On behalf of humans, I think we should embrace our grossness, talk about our disgusting habits in public (though maybe not around food). People can be icky, and we should just enjoy our collective ickiness together!
It's all about that Netflix, baby! I am not ashamed to admit that I have crushed full seasons of TV shows in a weekend (what up, Orange is the New Black!), or had to switch to unlimited Internet because my Netflix addiction was killing my data. In my opinion, one of the biggest insults Netflix can do to me is ask if I’m still watching a certain show. Yes, Netflix! I’m just too lazy to press the buttons! Let me live!
Spending your whole day (or days) with just you and Netflix is one of the best ways to enjoy some quality me-time. If you need to catch up on a show that everyone is talking about, or watch a series you’ve put off for forever, Netflix is the answer. I didn’t even blink when they increased their subscription price, because my addiction is that intense. Let’s be honest here – binge-watching isn’t wasted time, it’s time well wasted.
Everyone else was shocked about the Brangelina split, but you’d been suspecting it for weeks because of your endless supply of trashy magazines. Keeping Up with the Kardashians may give you a bit of a look inside America’s famous family, but the gossip mags give you a whole lot more controversy.
You know they’re kind of a waste of money, especially since you can find most of the information online if you wanted to, but there’s something about settling down with a copy of Us Weekly and a coffee that gives you so much pleasure. You consider yourself a smart, independent, free-thinking woman, but you fall for the tabloid trash every time – you can’t help it! You eat up reports about celebrity cellulite and cheating rumours because even though they’re terrible and mean-spirited, they are fascinating! It’s gossip without anyone you actually know getting hurt, and therefore pretty much harmless.
Masturbating had to be the last guilty pleasure on the list! Whereas it’s totally okay and expected for dudes to give themselves a little self-love, it’s totally taboo if a girl does the same! It’s so secret, in fact, that most girls kind of stumble upon making themselves feel good more or less by accident. Even in closely-knit girlfriend circles, masturbation is kept pretty hushed up because we get embarrassed about getting off.
I’m sure every Cosmo article has already told you this, but let me repeat: it is totally normal and natural to be feeling yourself (literally). It is the definition of a guilty pleasure for so many women, though, because they feel ashamed while doing it (don’t be), and because it feels so good! Masturbation has been proven to contribute to a healthy sex life, because you feel more at ease with your body and know what works for you, and your brain, because of those o-inducing endorphins. So wave sayonara to that guilt and enjoy!