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12th Mar 2024

Why do we secretly love cheesy pet names? The answer is wild

Anna Martin

pet names

Princess, muffin, sunshine, the list of cheesy pet names goes on

Though we might roll our eyes when we hear other couples in the wild using them, most of us will admit that there’s a part of us that loves being called one.

Even if you’re folding your arms and rolling your eyes right now, you’ve definitely at least sung along to one in a random pop song – they’re every second word after all.

Yet why do these goofy names we never want to be called in public make our stomachs do that funny flip-flop thing?

Turns out there’s a science behind it and it might make you feel just a wee bit uncomfortable.

According to Cate Campbell, a sex and relationship therapist, it all comes down to attachment and recreating the sense of safety we crave from our parents.

pet names
Credit: Getty

“The terms of endearment and pet names used by parents and other attachment figures with young children are soothing and often unique to that relationship,” she said during an interview with Cosmopolitan.

“It’s hardly surprising, then, that we find ourselves using pet names and baby talk when we’re in a close relationship as adults.

“Though this is usually an unconscious response, it nonetheless marks the relationship as special and is consequently reassuring.”

Though it sounds a bit strange on paper, it does make sense.

Then why do we feel so icky when we hear other couples use them? I’ll be honest if I caught someone calling their other half ‘pookie’ I think I would want the floor to open up and swallow me.

Apparently, it’s because we feel like we’re being given information that we shouldn’t be privy to, the therapist explains.

pet names
Credit: Getty

On another level, it can also remind us of our childhoods, making us feel infantilised – a feeling that most adults aren’t big fans of.

It’s a bit odd to think that we like pet names because it brings us back to being young but don’t like hearing other people use them as it might bring up buried memories.

Yet there’s also a satisfaction that comes with pet names, the fact that you can be vulnerable with your partner.

So whether you’re “baby,” “pookie,” or even just your first name, we’re not here to judge.