Is Pooping the Secret to a Happy Relationship?
By June Henner
To poop or not to poop at your honey’s home: that is the question. And oh, what a loaded (ahem) question it is. Obviously, everybody poops. As my friend Jenna puts it, “Pooping is involuntary and no big deal.” But yet talking about poop or actually pooping around a significant other can provoke anxiety for some people. What gives?
Pooping in the same room as your partner “[can] certainly take away from romance,” notes Sherry Amatenstein, licensed clinical social worker and relationship expert. My friend Beth, 31, waited two or three months before going Number Two in her new boyfriend’s bathroom. “I’m not squeamish about poop,” she claims. “But it’s not like the smell is especially sexy. I didn’t want him smelling my business.” (Helpful reminder: Poo~Pourri helps to nix those odors even before you’ve sat down; she might want to try it next time.)
For some couples, bodily functions like BMs can serve as a bonding tool.
But others feel that pooping around their partners helped solidify their burgeoning relationships—some friends even said those experiences helped them seal the deal and truly fall in love. Sarah, 37, makes a habit of talking about her bowel movements with her partner—and they regularly use the toilet with the bathroom door open. “One of the things I appreciated most about Mark was how open he was to talking about poop; both his and mine,” she says. “He was never grossed out by it, or by anything else having to do with my body. That indicated a level of body confidence that I found super-attractive, and it helped me feel more comfortable opening up to him in other ways.”
Ben, 40, shared similar sentiments about his now-wife, Annabel. “The fact that she was comfortable pooping around me after just a couple of dates actually helped me fall in love with her,” he says. “She made no apology for it, which was actually pretty sexy. I found her honesty so refreshing.”
Karen, 32, also attributes her comfort with pooping around her girlfriend to the moment she realized their relationship was the real thing. “I knew it was love when I felt comfortable pooping around Jennifer,” she said. “That happened after a month or so, and my willingness to ‘go there’ really revealed to me how close we’d gotten and how much trust was between us.”
Jason Sklar, producer of the new documentary “Poop Talk,” which aims to demystify the poop taboo, believes today’s selfie-obsessed, super-visual culture has done a number on how people view poop—both their own and their potential paramours.’ “We have become a society of people who only want to show other people our very best side at all times,” he says. “Pooping is us at our most ... vulnerable. It [can be] hard for people to want to share that side of themselves.”
While making “Poop Talk,” Sklar met a number of “private poopers” who preferred to hold back from showcasing or discussing their bathroom habits with their partners. “[One man] ... spoke about a woman who, in the early phases of dating, was so open about her pooping that she invited him in while she was going so she could continue her conversation. For a private pooper like [him], that was the beginning of the end of the relationship,” Sklar recounts.
Sherry Amatenstein acknowledges that in the early days of a new romance, it’s perfectly OK to feel a bit shy about dropping a bathroom bomb. “Really early [into a relationship,] if you can hold off, it’s fine.” (Of course, do what you’ve gotta do; never hold in those bowels too long! Use a spritz of Poo~Pourri if you want to freshen things up.)
But for some couples, bodily functions like BMs can serve as a bonding tool—or “levelers,” as Amatenstein puts it, helping to bring them closer together. “If we can understand that pooping is a healthy part of the life cycle and a grand equalizer, then maybe we can come together on other issues,” Sklar notes.
That’s the case with most of the folks I spoke with for this story, who saw their willingness to be open about poop as a sign of their willingness to be vulnerable with their partners in other ways. Poop as a path to love? We’ve certainly heard stranger things.