How clean is your anus right now?

OK, it is not a question I would like to ask you, and probably not one you’d like to be asked either. For the majority of us, I guess, since our parents stopped helping us sit on the toilet, what we do behind the locked door has been shared with no-one else, and our techniques are very personal. It has long become something we don’t think about but just do.

The first time you travel to an Asian country, perhaps with the exception of Thailand (excuse the website, but the article is to the point), you’ll see that there are other ways to do these basic things.

Using toilet paper to clean yourself down there makes about as much hygienic sense as cleaning yourself with a towel and imagining you’re rubbing off the dirt. We’ve got a very unhygienic way of cleaning a place of our body that we would like to be very clean.

Worth reading this interview with Rose George:

So that has got the cleanliness thing out of the way. Then there is the ridiculous amount of toilet paper use:

The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country’s love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public’s insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.

I don’t have any data on the size of the average American butt.

None of this really applies to me. Since being in Nepal I am, more or less, a washer again. Fresh as a daisy, that’s me.

What do other people think about this? As mentioned in the first line, I am not going to ask you. But there is a small window on this very personal world in the comments below this article. A lot of people just don’t want to get what the article is saying. Where does this abhorrence of shit and shitting come from?

One thing I am curious about: how much toilet paper do women use compared to men? Is there any data on this?

Update: for those curious about washing, see: – thanks to David for his self-promoting comment below.

4 thoughts on “How clean is your anus right now?

  1. Glad to hear they are doing it right in Nepal, now if we can just get Americans, and Canadians, and South Americans, and Australians and….you get the picture. For those of us who really like to be clean the hand bidet sprayer is the best invention since the toilet. It is so much better than a stand alone bidet and this is why: 1.It’s less expensive (potentially allot less) 2.You can install in yourself = no plumber expense 3.It works better by providing more control of where the water spray goes and a greater volume of water flow. 4. It requires no electricity and there are few things that can go wrong with it. 5. It doesn’t take up any more space, many bathrooms don’t have room for a stand alone bidet. 6. You don’t have to get up and move from the toilet to the bidet which can be rather awkward at times to say the least. Available at

  2. You’re right. Women are a big toilet paper fans. I’ve seen quite a number of times a woman mummifying her hand with it. Once they start, they can’t stop rolling it. But on entering a women’s public toilet you do get (a little) paranoid about hygiene. I’ve recently read an article about it written by an Italian girl and realised that it really is a universal problem. It was about hovering above a toilet seat in a ridiculous and painful position, holding your bag and coat bundled up with one hand and the (usually broken) door with another till you start sweating and your knees seriously shaking… I also fold up my trouser legs like a fisherman to avoid soaking them in a sea of urine. An alternative to this acrobatics would be rolling a ton more paper to cover your seat (maybe that explains why there never is any).
    So women would be in every possible way relieved if somebody would think of a more reasonable and decent solution for public toilets and would finally implement it!

  3. Riggasconi, having lived in Thailand I could not agree with you more. It is truly amazing to me how upset my fellow Americans can get when you suggest that toilet paper is not the most sanitary way to clean your private parts. One might think you were attacking baseball or Mom’s Apple Pie! Don’t get me wrong, I love toilet paper…it’s an amazing invention. But the bathroom bidet sprayer is simply superior in every way. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

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