Bidets are seeing a surge in popularity, thanks in part to their numerous universal and objective benefits, but many people are reluctant to use these bathroom devices. Are people just afraid of trying something new? Or is there something else going on?
The Roots of Bidet Hesitancy
Despite the countless advantages of bidets, many people are too stubborn to even try one. Where does this innate stubbornness come from?
Obviously, different people have different experiences and different perspectives, but these are some of the most common reasons underlying bidet hesitancy:
- Lack of awareness ─ Some people have never tried a bidet simply because they don’t know these devices exist, or because they don’t realize how advanced they’ve become over the years. If you don’t know that bidets have an advantage over toilet paper, you might never even think to use one. Most people don’t openly talk about their bowel movements or bathroom experiences for the sake of maintaining decorum, so it’s not common for people to talk about recent changes to their bathroom experiences. As such, it’s no surprise that there are at least some people who don’t even know that bidets are seeing such a surge in popularity.
- Myths and misconceptions ─ Some people hold on to myths and misconceptions about bidets, making them underestimate their potential value. For example, some people believe that bidets use too much water or that they’re worse for the environment; in reality, the opposite is true. People may also believe that the jet of water is strange or uncomfortable, but most people find it much more pleasant than the alternative.
- Fear of the unknown ─ Some people are hesitant simply because they don’t really understand how bidets work or why they’re advantageous. They fear the unknown, and they’re not willing to try new things in general.
- Status quo bias ─ We all suffer from status quo bias, to some degree. It’s human nature to prefer the circumstances and conditions to which we are already accustomed. If you’ve used toilet paper for 45 years, it’s understandable that you would be reluctant to believe that there’s a better alternative out there.
- Social influences ─ There’s also a social element to our bathroom habits. Most of us use toilet paper because that’s what’s widely available; we’ve used toilet paper our entire lives, all our family members and friends use toilet paper, and when we go out in public, toilet paper is widely available. Why would you go against the grain and choose to use something that people in your closest circles have never used?
Overcoming Bidet Hesitancy
Whether you’re overcoming bidet hesitancy yourself, or you’re trying to help someone else overcome their own hesitancy, these are some of the best strategies to use:
- Focus on the measurable benefits ─ Start by focusing on the objective, measurable benefits of using a bidet. Using this device, instead of using toilet paper, is better for the environment since it dramatically cuts paper consumption and uses only a little water. Bidets tend to save money in the long run, since they reduce your need to buy toilet paper. And on top of that, these devices typically provide significant health benefits, such as reducing the prevalence of hemorrhoids and UTIs.
- Cite the history ─ Bidets are widely used in developed countries around the world, but they never quite caught on in the United States (that is, until recently). Why is this the case? There are a few explanations, but some experts believe it’s largely due to connotations with brothels and the fact that standalone bidets aren’t easy to install in existing bathrooms. These days, there are much easier types of bidets to install – and we widely recognize bidets as universally beneficial and hygienic.
- Consider comparative thought experiments ─ Imagine getting hazardous or disgusting material on your hands. Would you feel clean simply wiping it off with a napkin? Or would you want to rinse off with water to feel totally clean? This thought experiment helps you realize exactly why wiping with toilet paper isn’t as clean as most people think.
- Reduce investment ─ If you’re still feeling hesitant, reduce the investment that you have to make. Consider getting an inexpensive bidet toilet seat or using someone else’s bidet to get a sense of the experience before you’re willing to spend more.
- Start with the basics ─ Modern bidets come with tons of options and extra features – but there’s nothing wrong with starting with the basics.
For most people and in most situations, using a bidet is a strict improvement over using toilet paper. Still, it’s understandable why so many people are reluctant to give this historically unpopular device a fair shot. Once you give it a try and experience it for yourself, you might turn into a convert – and your entire bathroom experience could permanently change for the better.