You're probably wondering what I could possibly tell you about going to the bathroom that you don't already know. I mean, you've only been using the potty like a big kid since your pre-school days, right? You go. You clean up, you get on with your day. What bathroom habit mistakes could you possibly be making?
Well, maybe none. But maybe you're guilty of one or two (or three) of these common toilet-time sins, and you're about to have a serious AHA moment. I wouldn't judge. In fact, as a Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified through Planned Parenthood, I've heard some things about people's overall genital maintenance that nothing makes me cringe or change my trademark compassionate, non-judgmental face. So whatever you think is weird about your situation, trust me, I'll probably think it's rookie stuff.
My point is, we all have weird habits and pieces of mis-information floating inside of us that we picked up along the way. There's no instruction manual. Even nurses and doctors get things wrong in their own lives. So consider this the toilet 101 guide you never wanted but you're glad you stumbled upon.
1. Not Peeing After Sex
Getting up and tip-toeing to the bathroom for your post-sex pee may not be the sexiest maneuver in the world, but it's a lot sexier than feeling like you're peeing razor blades. If you're prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially with new partners, then skipping your post-sex piddle could be to blame. Better to brave the cold night air and flush those bacteria away from your urethra.
2. Being Too Clean
You really just need to wipe (front to back, of course, as not to introduce fecal bacteria to your vaginal opening) until you feel clean and dry. For me, that's just a couple of times, and sometimes, only once. When you introduce scented wipes, cleansers, and excessive wiping, you're actually messing up your vagina's natural environment and increasing your risk for a vaginal infections. You're not gross or dirty if you don't sanitize your body every time you go. It's just not necessary (or healthy).
3. Playing On Your Phone
Science is pretty united about that fact that you should definitely keep your phone out of the bathroom, but let's be real. You do it. You're going to keep doing it. Pooping is boring. There are some things you need to consider, though. First, sitting on the toilet for too long is bad for your bum. It puts pressure on places that don't like excess pressure which makes you more prone to hemorrhoids. Not only that, but the average phone already contains hazardous levels of bacteria. Adding potential fecal contamination is just playing with fire.
4. Sitting & Straining
Humans, before the advent of toilets, squatted to go to the bathroom, which is a more open positions for the colon to release its contents, according to famous Proctologist to President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Michael Freilich. Squatting instead of sitting reduces straining, which is purported to be better for your overall health by releasing more toxins at once, reducing straining and preventing pressure on both ends of your colon.
5. Not Washing Your Hands
The CDC doesn't play around when it comes to hand washing. They consider it one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of disease. If you're a handwashing skipper, just know that it's not only your body's bacteria that you're leaving on your hands, but that of everyone who has touched anything that you've also touched. It adds up to a lot of unnecessary illness that could so easily be avoided. And if you won't do it for you, do it for the kids, immunocompromised people, and elderly folks who can die from common illnesses.
6. Covering The Toilet Seat
You're wasting your time if you cover the toilet seat with one of those paper liners or if you artfully build a sculpture of toilet paper on top of the seat. They don't do anything to prevent coming in contact with bacteria. They're basically just there to make you feel more comfortable. Also, you can't catch diseases from toilet seat. But if it makes you feel better, by all means, go to town.
7. You Ignore The Floor
Your bathroom floor is dirtier than your toilet seat, according to ABC News. If you walk around in your bare feet, you're going to pick up all kinds of bacteria (as many as 2 million per square inch). In fact, most people worry about the toilet seat, but never pay attention to the even more dangerous floor. So make sure your feet are covered instead of the toilet seat if you're a germaphobe.
Congratulations. You can now consider your toilet game officially 100 percent on point.