Toilet etiquette down the drain: Couples more comfortable using bathroom in front of each other thanks to quarantine

NEW YORK — It appears that the few “bathroom boundaries” couples may have are starting to fade away thanks to living in quarantine for so long. A new survey finds the average American couple has six conversations every month while one of them is on the toilet.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans, living with a partner since at least the start of COVID-19, also probed the other toilet taboos that partners have broken during this time.

While 64 percent of respondents reported that moving in with their partner broke down many of their “bathroom boundaries” prior to cohabitating, the extra time at home together during lockdown may have eliminated the last of them.

Commissioned by Natracare, the study reveals that taking a bath in front of a partner (70%) leads the list of things respondents did for the first time during quarantine. When it comes to using the toilet, 30% admit peeing with the door open for the first time. Even one in four respondents admit to pooping in front of their partner for the first time.

This increase in “bathroom intimacy” hasn’t necessarily quelled all disagreements related to sharing the lavatory however. On the issue of “toilet talk” for instance, 31 percent of Americans say that while they are comfortable talking on the toilet, their partner is not.

Couples are also likely to disagree about what should and shouldn’t be flushed. Nearly half the poll (49%) says they’ve gotten into a disagreement with their partner over this topic. One in two have squabbled over a toilet clog or overflow. Q-tips (14%), wet wipes (14%), intimate wipes (13%), condoms (13%), and dental floss (12%) are among the most divisive items in the flush-or-not-to-flush debate.

“Arguing over what to flush might seem a petty source of conflict between you and your partner,” says Susie Hewson, founder and CEO of Natracare, in a statement. “But flushing stuff down your pipes, that may seem to be OK to flush but truly ought not be flushed, can cause blockages, even fatbergs, which are sure to lead to bigger conflicts in the long run.”

Bonding over the bathroom

Despite the possibility of disagreements, the process of sharing a bathroom also has its benefits. While over six in 10 (61%) say that the bathroom is the most difficult room in their home to share. Sixty-four percent also agreed that figuring out how to set or alter bathroom boundaries with their partner has been an important step in their relationship.

Another 60 percent believe, although it was awkward at first, discussing taboo bathroom-related topics with their partner has strengthened their relationship. Comfort levels with open communication about this did vary by topic, but not necessarily in the way one might expect.

While 51 percent were uncomfortable discussing bowel habits with their partner, only 37 percent felt the same about discussing menstrual habits. When asked to weigh in on the internet’s debate of whether it’s better to wipe while sitting or standing after pooping, respondents were most likely to say that both they and their partner prefer to wipe while sitting down.

“The results clearly show that sharing space with your partner can clearly help to bring you closer,” Hewson adds. “Choosing products that are certified flushable can help take the flushing guesswork out of your bathroom routine, which is one less thing for couples to worry about right now.”

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