Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Women: 40 years ago did you worry about sitting on a public toilet like you do now?

Asked by JLeslie (59828points) April 27th, 2016 from iPhone

Did the whole paranoia just ramp up in the 80’s because of AIDS? That’s when seat covers really took hold if you don’t know or don’t remember.

So you think about toilet seat germs now compared to 40 years ago? Did you sit on the seat back then? Do you now?

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38 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

The paranoia has been around since my mom was at my age. Mom never touched anything on the toilet and she spread the paranoia to me. And she isn’t afraid of catching AIDS. She is paranoid of every viruses she can think of that haunt public toilets, and I don’t remember AIDS is among them.

But even without all the diseases, I think she would just hate the dirtiness in general.

janbb's avatar

Luckily, I am not now, nor have I ever been paranoid about sitting on a toilet. I don’t like to sit on a dirty one but other than that, when I gotta go, I am glad it is there.

I think that people who are paranoid have always been paranoid and those who weren’t, aren’t.

Inspired_2write's avatar

On uncertain terrain such as campground toilets ,I spread the toilet paper on the seat first as a prcaution.
In the campground there is a possibility of flies spreading germs while resting on the toilet outhouse..hense the precaution.

canidmajor's avatar

I have never worried about these things, not 40 years ago, not now. Nowadays, however, I always check the seat, because so many women hover and pee all over. Because they are afraid of sitting on a soiled seat. Ugh.

zenvelo's avatar

Ass gaskets (toilet seat covers) pre-date AIDS by far. They were around when I was in high school in the late 1960s.

I am not concerned about sitting on an other wise clean seat, There is much less chance of disease transfer by having some gems jump onto my butt cheeks than there is by touching the door handle as you leave the public bathroom..

ibstubro's avatar

So, what, now women are the only ones that sit on toilets? My guy equipment apparently needs an upgrade!

I think the overall paranoia about toilet seats and the like steadily increases in the first world. Because it can.
How many people carried hand sanitizer in the 80’s?
How many grocery stores offered wipes for cart handles?

Forgive me for saying this, but it’s something else to occupy our idle minds and disposable incomes.
That, and I think there is more polarization between the classes now than there was in the 80’s. The “haves” resent the required exposure to the “have-lesses”.

JLeslie's avatar

Clarification: I didn’t mean to imply women today are afraid of catching HIV from a toilet seat. I was only giving the history that toilet seat covers really became a mainstay during the AIDS initial scare of the ‘80’s. Before that most public places weren’t paying to provide them. Now, they have become commonplace. The seat cover businesses jumped on HIV as an opportunity to sell their product back then.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I’ve always been concerned about sitting on public toilet seats. I’m sure I was taught this as a very young child, when my mother, aunt, or grandmother would take me to use the restroom.

I refuse to “hover” in the air. That’s just so awkward and messy. I wipe the seat to make sure it’s dry and then cover it with paper. Yes, I know that thin, flimsy paper can hardly serve as a barrier between my body and germs. But, absent an infection, urine is clean and sterile, and I wouldn’t use a toilet seat that had “the other” smeared on it. I cover the seat more for psychic comfort than for health reasons.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

What @janbb said. I don’t worry about it.

jca's avatar

I haven’t read the previous answers. I sit on them as long as they appear to be clean – that is, not with fluids on them, whether wet or dried.

Coloma's avatar

40 years ago I was 16 OMFG! lol
I honestly do not recall any thoughts about it, either way. I was always taught good hygiene as a child and always used the seat covers and washed my hands but I have never been paranoid about using public restrooms. I also only go pee, I never poo in public. haha I always find it weird that people need to go poo in public, don’t most people go in the morning, at home, after their coffee?

Judi's avatar

I’m still not paranoid. The only time I use the silly paper thing is if there’s someone else in the stall next to me who might judge me for not using it, or if I have to use it to wipe the pee off that someone who hovered left all over the toilet seat

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@Coloma You are lucky you don’t have IBS. When ya gotta go ya gotta go. There’s no stopping it.

Seek's avatar

I was not alive 40 years ago.

However, I learned at a very young age that we have a built-in barrier against germs: Our SKIN.

As long as our skin isn’t broken, there’s very little that thin, porous sheet of biodegradable paper can do that our skin cannot. Just don’t flush while seated and wash your hands when you’re done.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve never been paranoid about sitting down either. Our girly parts don’t touch the seat. I do prefer to put one of those seat covers down though.

All the mess I see on seats, obviously some people are not sitting, plus I know at least some of my inlaws don’t sit. They hold it if they can.

I always said if you could get an STD from a toilet seat a ton of 8 year olds would have them (God forbid) because they aren’t tall enough to hover.

chyna's avatar

I’ve never worried about covering a seat. I do look to make sure there isn’t any urine on it. If there is, I wipe it off with toilet paper.

Coloma's avatar

@dammitjanetfromvegas Oh yeah, I have had a few moments after eating out where I had an immediate issue, thank god that’s not often.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Never worried about it then, and I don’t now, unless the toilet is really obviously dirty. Then I go to another one or wait.

Buttonstc's avatar

Hovering seems like the apex of silliness to me. And anyone who took even five minutes to educate themselves about HIV transmission knows that you simply don’t catch it from a toilet seat.

As long as the seat isn’t wet, I sit down, do my business and leave. If it’s wet, (from the ridiculous hoverers) I’ll either dry if off or go to another stall. It’s not really that I’m afraid of catching something from someone else’s urine, I just don’t like getting my ass wet :)

JLeslie's avatar

Again, I don’t think anyone is worried about HIV and toilet seats these days. They do worry about other germs though. When I think about it, which I generally don’t, I wouldn’t drop my pants and bump my butt and thighs against a naked stranger’s naked butt and thighs, which is basically what is happening.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, you can’t get disease from bumping hips and butts with people, either!

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ Hip- and butt-bumping can be rather pleasant, if they’re the right hips and butts. :-)

Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah, I don’t see a problem with bumping butt and thighs either (as long as it’s unbroken skin on both parties involved).

About the only thing that can be fairly easily passed through minimal contact is the Herpes virus. But, butt and thighs are pretty damn unlikely locations for either cold sores or other types of Herpes outbreaks, so not unduly worrisome.

I just don’t like either my butt or thighs getting wet (whether from toilet flush overspray or pee) Uncomfortable :)

You might never have excountered people who feared possibly getting HIV from toilet seats but I have. Granted, not that many, but for those who do express that, theres no way of talking them out of it. I’ve tried.

jca's avatar

I can never understand how or why a person would leave pee on the seat. I don’t see why people can’t take a glance at the seat and if it has pee on it, give it a quick wipe. It takes two seconds. I know some toilets have a splash when they’re flushed, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about going into a stall and seeing yellow pee on the seat. I would be embarrassed to walk out of a stall leaving it like that.

janbb's avatar

@jca Agree, and I feel the same way about people leaving the toilet seat protector on.

si3tech's avatar

Actually, yes, I did.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t mean to interrupt the girl talk, and I don’t mean to sound too naive, but how can you leave one of those paper seat protectors on the toilet seat??

I’ve never used one, but if I did, be assured it would be like peeling the protective layer off of a new appliance.
I can’t the the only one with butt sweat.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ The seat cover includes a large flap, in front, that falls into the toilet bowl water. When the toilet’s flushed, the entire cover should get flushed away, along with everything else. I do believe that paper, even flimsy paper, should overcome your manly butt-sweat. (I say this as a someone whose sweat is no match, at all, for paper.)

MooCows's avatar

I never sit on a toilet seat…lets just say I have strong legs!

ibstubro's avatar

Well, I’ll be darned! You mean that punch-out thing is supposed to go in the toilet before you sit? How was I supposed to learn that?

I have a humid metabolism, @Love_my_doggie. I’m telling you, in nothing flat it’s going to be like pulling the backing off of contact paper. During the summer I stick to the toilet seat if it’s hot in the BR.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

As long as the toilet looks clean, I am not worried about germs and I wasn’t in the past.

dxs's avatar

I’m surprised to hear how many people don’t cover the seat when they sit on it. I can’t imagine not doing it. The seat must have a ton of germs. Urine, backsplashes that may contain feces, some people stand on the toilet seats. I don’t want any of that coming close to one of my most commonly covered up areas.

@ibstubro Let me save you some time and frustration. If you try to put the punch-out thing into the toilet before sitting on it, the whole thing falls into the water because it’s paper thin. Those things are garbage. I use toilet paper.

Buttonstc's avatar

As @Seek said at the beginning of this Q (and I think it bears repeating ) We are born with a natural barrier protecting us from germs. It’s called our SKIN.

How are these mysterious germs going to get inside you to cause any damage if they can’t get through your skin?

And haven’t you seem any of the feature stories done on the comparison between germs found in other common places we touch everyday? Let me break the suspense here: after taking swabs and culturing them and counting both the numbers and varieties of germs, the cleanest always came out as toilet seats. The germ counts through the roof were found on 1.) cell phones
2.) computer keyboards
3.) Kitchen sponge
4.) money

And this included findings of fecal coliform as well as several types of Strep.

And these are all things we touch with our hands (which, unless washed immediately, go into our mouths, touching eyes etc.) You know, the susceptible areas with sensitive mucus membrane tissue providing a handy place for stray bacteria to attach.

I’m honestly far less worried about what my butt cheeks (covered by unbroken skin) come into contact with because it’s a long way from there to my mouth or eyes.

I always always wash my hands first thing upon coming home and especially after shopping where I’m handling money. A whole lot more germs likely there than on any toilet seats I’ve encountered.

Judi's avatar

Did my answer with the link about why the paper is useless disappear? Here it is again

Buttonstc's avatar

Here’s a professor of Immunology and Microbiology from the Keck School of Medicine. If anyone should know about this stuff, he would be a logical one, don’t you think?

Buttonstc's avatar
Things that are dirtier than your toilet seat. Enjoy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Buttonstc Thank you for that. When are we going to stop freaking out?

sigh. Sit on the seat girls. I promise you won’t get pregnant or get an STD.

JLeslie's avatar

If everyone sat down them the seats wouldn’t have pee, blood, and crap on them. The fear of germs is what adds the germs.

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