We got to talking about the kinds of questions we’d like to answer on this podcast. Something that came up, initially seeming like quite a simple one, was embarrassing things happening during sex – like farting while receiving a blowjob. We decided to widen this out to cover the whole topic of toilets and bodily functions in relation to sex and relationships. It became rather deeper than we’d expected.
We kicked off, as always, by considering our cultural messages around this area, and potential personal experiences within that. For example, many of us hold trauma and shame around bodily functions, or using the toilet, because of things like family messages, school bullying, shaming and ridiculing in the media, or simply being poorly informed about norms and diversity in this area (for example, people fart on average 5-15 times a day, this is important information which should be shared!)
It’s important to remember that bodies need to pee, shit, and fart, and many also have periods. We need to be mindful of those needs in ourselves and others. Can we find ways to enable ourselves to check in with our bodies before and/or during sexual encounters to make sure that we’re comfortable, and take a break if needed? Can we find ways to enable partners – who might be embarrassed or uncomfortable – to do the same? It’s great to check bodily comfort as a kind of ongoing consent along the same lines as checking that somebody isn’t getting uncomfortable in a certain position, and that they have water/snacks if needed in a long encounter.
Bodily functions can be anything for people on a scale from deeply unerotic or a turn-off, through pretty neutral and fine, to deeply erotic and a turn-on. In ongoing relationships it can be good to check in where you – and the other person – are on that, and figure out how to navigate areas of difference. It’s really important not to impose kinks on other people, or to shame people for their kinks (something that can happen around golden showers, scat play, and fart fetishes, for example).
In wider relationships it’s also good to communicate about how okay we are with seeing/hearing bodily functions and having them scene/heard, again rather than making assumptions, and without shaming people either for being super okay about it, or super not okay. Euphemisms can be helpful for navigating this if the words themselves are uncomfortable for anybody.
It’s good to consider a balance point here. While it’s not okay and objectifying to insist a partner is bodily-function free like some kind of robot, it’s also not great to have no care for a partner (e.g. belching and farting with abandon around somebody who isn’t okay with it, or not washing parts of yourself they’re going to be up close and personal with). Finding ways to be comfortable with our own, and others, bodies, and considering areas of separateness and togetherness is great here.