How To Talk About Farting & Pooping With Your Significant Other

Farting and pooping have a unique ability to make people feel
Some Kind Of Way.

This is especially true in the context of romantic
relationships, when you probably want the other person to
think — at least to some degree, and at least for some period
of time — that you’re cool, sexy, and in control. Pooping and
farting are loud, messy, smelly activities…so often they are
the polar opposite of what you’re going for around someone
you like and want to impress.

But in any intimate relationship, you have to decide which
aspects of your messy, imperfect self you’ll share, and which
ones you keep to yourself. And attitudes about pooping and
farting are super personal and also very cultural — so much
of what we consider “OK” with regard to farting and pooping
has to do with what we were raised to believe is “OK.”
Perhaps your parents are a “Together for 30 Years And Still
Blamin’ It On The Dog” couple. Maybe you grew up in a
” household. Or maybe you’ve
always agreed with the famous Marilyn Monroe quote, “If you
can’t handle me at my sharts, you don’t deserve me at my
best.” Regardless, having to re-consider and re-negotiate
these deeply-held beliefs with a romantic partner can be a
huge source of anxiety for a lot of people.

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With that in mind, we asked friends and coworkers for their
biggest deuce dilemmas when it comes to relationships, and
put together some basic guidelines.

The guidelines are informed by personal experience (from two
people who, FWIW, abide by two extremely different Butthole
Bills of Rights in our respective relationships) and the
Golden Rule: You do you…but also, don’t be a dick.

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1. I’m
really afraid to fart in front of my significant other and so
far I’ve been able to avoid it! Can’t I just continue to hide
my farts indefinitely?

You can try if that makes you feel best! But farts aren’t
meetings — you can’t just reschedule them when you have a
conflict. And if it’s causing you a lot of stress, or literal
pain, it’s probably worth just breaking the seal already.
Luckily, your partner is probably just as terrified of
farting in front of you, so it’s not like you are alone in

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2. So how
do I know when it’s OK to fart in front of my SO? HOW DOES

Well, the first time it happens, it will probably be an
accident. Which is actually perfect! When you accidentally
fart, all you have to do is say “excuse me” — it doubles as a
polite apology for your fart AND it lets your partner
graciously acknowledge said fart and move on. Plus, the first
fart is ALWAYS the hardest fart — you will probably still
want to change your name and grow a mustache, but after that,
you’ll know for sure exactly what happens when you fart in
front of your SO.

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3. So
finally farting in front of my SO is… a good thing for the

It’s a really good litmus test. How someone treats a person
they care about when that person feels embarrassed is a good
gauge for what kind of partner they are. If you’re dating a
good person, they will probably laugh, or brush it off, or
kiss you, or do something that makes you feel like It’s All
Gonna Be OK.

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4. I really
like my person and want them to know that It’s All Gonna Be
OK! What’s the best way to “graciously acknowledge” that
first fart after they’ve said “excuse me”?

Laugh and say, “It happens.”

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5. My
partner accidentally farted first, and didn’t say anything.
Can I just ignore it?

If this happens before you two are super comfortable with
each other, it’s OK to graciously pretend like nothing
happened. By the time you ARE more comfortable with each
other, acknowledging the humor will come naturally. Also,
take cues from them as much as possible! For example, if your
significant other never really laughs at fart jokes on TV or
in movies, they probably aren’t going to be as likely to want
to laugh at yours or their own.

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6. I think
farts are hilarious and I have a feeling my partner does too.
At the very least, I’d rather say something funny after a
fart instead of just your classic “excuse me.” Any ideas?

This Reddit thread has some pretty great options, and we
expect all of you hilarious people will share your go-to
lines in the comments!

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7. When I’m
on a first/early date, I get really nervous, which
immediately affects my digestive system. How do I casually
play off a long bathroom trip?

The good news is that in this day and age of smartphones,
your date will probably be so busy checking Twitter they
won’t even notice. Even if you think they did notice, it’s
still OK to just pretend it didn’t happen and move on. Most
people don’t want to venture a guess, and you don’t need to
give an excuse. One exception to this is if your bathroom
trip is over 15 minutes. Then you can blame it on a phone
call from your boss or your mom.

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8. OK,
we’ve been dating for a little while now and are ~officially~
together… at this point, how much information about my poops
should I be sharing with my person?

There’s a big difference between “I think I ate something
bad, I’m really not feeling well,” and announcing “I just
gave birth to the world’s biggest raisin!” and then stringing
it up on a flagpole. Information about how you are
should always be welcome. Information about any
possible fecal world records you are working on breaking is
wholly dependent on your SO’s past interest in other fecal

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10. That’s
not a helpful answer at all!

It’s because there are degrees: There are couples who only
pee with the door closed, but there are also couples who are
OK with having the door slightly cracked, couples who are OK
with one person using the toilet while their SO is in the
shower, and couples who just pee with the door wide open to
the world. And also there are tons of other couples with tons
of other types of arrangements.

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11. How do
I know if I’m in a couple where leaving the bathroom door
open is OK?

If you want to be able to hear your SO while they are talking
to you, or if you have one bathroom and need to both be able
use it at the same time, or if the bathroom gets incredibly
hot and leaving the door closed is like locking yourself in a
sauna, then it might make sense to leave it open. If one of
you would prefer not to, even for the above reasons, you guys
will find the workarounds. Bottom line: Under normal
circumstances, your doors are only as open as the shyest
person in your relationship wants them to be!

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12. So
leaving the door open just for the sake of leaving the door
open isn’t a good idea?

Everyone’s relationship is different, and if yours means
being open with each other about everything, then that’s
great! But it’s definitely something to have a conversation
about, not something you just do and assume the other person
will be cool with, like: ‘Surprise, here where’s all the beer
I just drank is going!’

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13. You
know what I’m going to ask next, yes?

Indeed. On the matter of pooping with the bathroom door open,
the same rules apply, with the added caveat that you should
DEFINITELY have a conversation with your S.O. first. It can
be as simple as “Hey, if you’re in the shower and I really
need to use the bathroom for more than just peeing, would
that be alright?” or “This bathroom gets incredibly muggy,
and I might be in here for a few minutes, would you mind if I
cracked the door?” If the answer is no, you can work
something else out that will solve the same problem.

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14. I’m
really shy about my SO hearing my bathroom activities. Can I
just run the faucet to just drown out the noise?

A lot of people run to the water every once in a while when
they’re in a strange person’s home and they find themselves
needing to go No. 2., but it’s not good to make a habit of it
— it IS kinda wasteful, you know? And if it’s in YOUR home,
there are ways to create white noise that aren’t as wasteful,
and won’t leave you feeling clenched and uncomfortable all
the time.

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15. My SO
and I have been together for five years and have been super
polite about farting and pooping up until this point — we’ve,
uh, never actually acknowledged in word or in deed that it’s
a thing that either of us do with our butts — and it seems
like crossing that line now would feel even weirder. Maybe we
can grow old together and just never —

Maybe, but part of being a ride-or-die partner is the
willingness to run to the drugstore at 3 AM when your
significant other really needs Pepto — and having someone who
can do that for you makes life better and easier. So, the
easiest way to poop that cherry is probably just to
acknowledge whenever you aren’t ~feeling well~ and to stop
going to extremes to hide what’s going on down there.

Need to poo? You can use the nearest bathroom, not the one at
Burger King down the street. Is holding in a fart literally
causing you pain and there’s no bathroom in sight? Take some
steps down wind, pass the gas, and excuse yourself. You
aren’t being rude, you are being human, and the right person
totally gets that.

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16. I’m
thinking about texting my partner a photo of my poop. It’s
REALLY cool and we’ve been together for a long time and I
think they’d be into it…

This seems like a great time to remind everyone that consent
is a beautiful thing, and the best way to find out if someone
is into something is to just ask.

You: OMG, I just took the most righteous dump!!!

Them: OMG lol

You: Do you want to see a pic?

If they say yes, send that shit. If they say no, write back
“YOUR LOSS” and then never speak of this again.

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17. Sooooo
I am at my SO’s place and just clogged their toilet with a
pretty monster turd and they don’t have a plunger and oh my
god what do I do? WHAT DO I DO?!?!??!!

OK, first of all, every bathroom in a household should have a
plunger so that this doesn’t happen. If this is not currently
the case in your living quarters, please remedy
that situation right now. We’ll wait.

OK, moving on! If the water is currently rising and you’re
starting to panic, here’s what to do. First, know that this
is such a universally-dreaded situation that the person’s
first reaction is likely going to be sympathy. (TBH, if they
react with anything but sympathy, you may want to reconsider
your interest in them.) So the best course of action is just
honesty. Shut the toilet lid. Shut the bathroom door. Then go
directly to them and tell them what happened: “Hey this is
SUPER embarrassing but I’ve clogged your toilet. Do you have
a plunger somewhere?” Offering to handle this yourself
without making the other person deal with the actual evidence
is the kindest thing you can do for all parties involved.

And as a general rule, a humble and honest approach is ideal
for communicating any gastrointestinal problem in life.

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18. I have
an illness that affects when/how I use the bathroom — when
would be an appropriate time to talk to someone I’ve just
started dating about this?

You probably don’t need to bring it up on the first date, but
if you put off talking about it too long, you run the risk of
ending up in a situation where you’re forced to address it.
We suggest treating it like you would any other possibly
embarrassing health- or body-related thing (like “I have
really heavy periods and get awful cramps” or “I sweat
through my shirt in five minutes as soon as the temperature
hits 60 degrees”).
Also, it might help to frame sharing
this information in the context of something good — as
in, “I like you and I’d like to spend a LOT of time with
you…” — and then just be honest and straightforward. Start
with the simplest explanation (“So, I have X condition which
means Y might happen from time to time…”) and then keep an
eye on their reaction to decide how much detail to go into or
how much humor to use.

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19. I’m
going to be having surgery/am ill and will need help taking
care of business. How do I discuss this with my SO, and what
do I do if they freak out about it?”

Be honest and be sensitive to the fact that people can be
weird about bathroom stuff. It also might be helpful to offer
examples of past related experiences (like: “ex-partner used
to do this for me and it actually turned out to be NBD even
though we were both pretty anxious about it at first” or
“ex-partner was really uncomfortable with doing this, so this
was the workaround I found which was/was not a great
solution”) if they are relevant.

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20. I’m
actually on the other side of this. My SO has a health
problem and sometimes needs help in the bathroom, but it
makes me super uncomfortable. I’m not sure if that makes me a
monster… is it OK to opt out?

You shouldn’t force yourself to do something that makes you
really uncomfortable — but also be aware that this is part of
your partner’s life, and they’re equally allowed to be
upset/hurt and feel unsupported by you for that decision.
If you do want to opt out, it might be helpful to approach
it from a constructive place of “This doesn’t work for me but
you are important to me; what are some other solutions we can
Even better: research the specific issue in advance
of this conversation and come with a few potential solutions
that might work. If there isn’t a workable solution, that may
be a sign of incompatibility. But if you care about this
person, it’s probably worth both of you putting in effort and
finding a compromise.

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21. The
other day I was doing laundry for our household and I noticed
some skid marks in my partner’s underwear and I feel weird
about it. Do I say something? Do something? Am I a jerk for
being kind of grossed out? HELP.

You’re not a jerk for being grossed out. A lot of people
wouldn’t want to come across their own dirty underwear
sunny-side-up, let alone someone else’s.

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22. So is
it OK to refuse to wash my significant other’s streaky

At many points in every long-term relationship you will do
gross shit for each other. That’s basically the definition of
love. BUT: If there’s a semi-regular issue bothering you,
it’s OK to be like, “Hi, when streaks are happening, would
you mind taking care of it? Thanks!” That way, you preserve
your peace of mind, and your SO doesn’t feel pressure to be
perfect. If you’d rather not get into the specifics, you
could also go with a casual, “Yo, I love you a lot, but I
don’t love having to wash your underwear and I assume you
feel the same about mine. Let’s start separating some of our
laundry / dividing the chores differently / some other
solution I’ve already figured out.”

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23. What
are some ways to make my bathroom friendlier to a new (or
old) love interest?

Besides keeping it clean and stocked with basic necessities
(obvs), the best thing you can do is give your SO the tools
to help themselves in the event of a bathroom emergency: a
plunger, candles, Poo-pouri,
and/or an air freshening spray, plus extra toilet paper.
Basically, anything that keeps your SO (or any other
guests!) from having to crack open the bathroom door and ask
you something makes you an A+ partner.
If you want extra
credit, you could have a white noise machine of some kind (if
your bathroom fan is very quiet), a Squatty
Potty, or some feminine hygiene products (if you know
your SO’s preferences).

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24. What if
my live-in significant other and I don’t agree on which way
the toilet paper should be mounted on the roll?

Regardless of whether you are on Team Over, Team Under, or
Team Why Does This Even Matter Please Shut Up, the most
important thing is that the toilet paper roll gets changed
when the old one is used up.
If you do this, you have
fulfilled your toilet paper roll changing responsibilities,
and may peace be with you.

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25. But
wait a second, we have a kids/pets/an RV, and if the toilet
paper isn’t rolled under, it’s going to get it all over the

Then, in these cases, it’s OK for the expectation to be that
you both hang the paper in a way that minimizes the chances
of some sort of adorable-if-it-wasn’t-happening-to-you
explosion happening in your bathroom.

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26. OK,
none of that applies to me, but…it makes soooo much more
sense when the paper is dispensed OVER the roll, that way you
don’t have to reach behind the roll and get germs all over
the —

Look, it’s toilet paper, in a toilet room, where toilet
things happen. Trying to micromanage the process to minimize
the inherent toilet nature of it all is not going to keep bad
things from happening to you in life. So, barring any
extenuating circumstances (see above), the person for whom
the orientation of the toilet paper is a life-or-death
scenario is responsible for mounting it the way they want it.
Making sure the toilet paper is on the roll the way your
SO likes it is a nice thing to do — it’s a way to show
someone you love them — but it’s not an expected thing
to do.
Meaning, you can’t yell at someone for not putting
the toilet paper roll on the way you like it when the only
reason is that it’s your personal preference — that’s veering
into abusive, controlling behavior. And if one of you is Team
Over and the other is Team Under, and you are both willing to
torpedo your entire relationship over it, you may need to
step back and consider if there are larger issues at play
besides just poop paper.

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27. I
really like using butt wipes but my partner insists they are
destroying our plumbing / the world and wants to ban them
from our household. Isn’t that rude?!

partner is correct. If you insist on using butt wipes, a
Genie could be the compromise you’re looking for. (It’s
also good for tampons, which are also not a friend to the
plumbing.) If you can afford expensive butt wipes, you can
afford a Diaper Genie. You can also throw said butt wipes in
the trash, with the expectation will be that the trash will
be taken out IMMEDIATELY afterwards. Like: Do not pass go, do
not collect $200, do not stop to watch a DVR’d episode of
UnREAL — and that could lead to a lot of trips to the
Dumpster. But whatever solution you choose, you do need to
stop flushing those things.

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28. I’m
doing my best to be courteous, but my SO is making me feel
embarrassed and bad about my farts and/or my poop.

Unless these things have dramatically changed in such a way
that a doctor might need to become involved, no one
automatically has the right to comment on their partner’s
every bodily function, unless you both agree that it’s your
established dynamic. For some people, turds and toots are
not debutantes; they don’t need to be publicly introduced
into proper society.
(And really, you shouldn’t be making
someone feel bad about their gastrointestinal tract; it’s a
feature, not a bug.)

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29. I know
I sound like a prude, but I’m not a fan of farts/fart
jokes/talking about poop — my own or anyone else’s. Is that

Totally! Yes, everyone poops…just like everyone bleeds
and vomits and blows their noses and secretes various things
from their front-holes. It’s perfectly acceptable to have
varying degrees of comfort with these things. So just like
it’s OK to say “I don’t like blood, so I’m going to look away
when you have blood drawn,” it’s OK to not love fart and poop
stuff. Love is patient, love is kind, but love does’t have to
love all bodily fluids and functions equally.

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30. Ugh,
you’re so right! But whenever I tell my SO this, they just
laugh it off and tell me everyone poops and make me feel like
I should just get over it. How can I let them know it
actually bugs me?

This sounds like a case of Mismatched Pooping Attitudes.
Unless your SO is actually just a self-centered, uncaring
person, it’s likely that what they are trying to do is
low-key bond with you over bathroom stuff. Think about it:
Who else can you really talk poop with besides your #1 main
trusted human? Weird as this is, when they hear “I don’t
want to talk about bathroom stuff” what they might ACTUALLY
be hearing from you is “I am rejecting your attempts to bond
with me/I find you gross.”
Which isn’t at all what you
mean! Regardless, it’s totally OK to tell them something
like, “Hey, I’m totally OK with your human bathroom habits,
and your enjoyment of them, but let’s talk about something
else — how was your horrible boss today?”

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31. Hey! My
SO doesn’t like when I fart in front of them or talk about
pooping in front of them. But everyone does it! I think they
just need to LIGHTEN UP!

Hi. Listen. Farting and pooping are weird things that our
bodies do, and our feelings about these things can be
ingrained pretty early on and be tied to a bunch of
psychological stuff. But regardless, if someone has said
they don’t like talking about or participating in something,
take them seriously

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