There are a few things we can thank Meghan Trainor for introducing into the modern conversation, like knowing we’re all about that bass (and what exactly that means), and, recently, what it’s like to poop beside your partner. Last month, Trainor admitted on the “Why Won’t You Date Me?” podcast hosted by Nicole Byer that she and husband actor Daryl Sabara have side-by-side toilets where they have pooped and urinated next to each other. While she said they wouldn’t poop together again, Sabara will “hang out” out with her while she’s pooping because “we’re soulmates.”
And now, of course, we have to ask: Does pooping with your partner mean you have a more united relationship? Or does it actually kill the romance? After all, didn’t OutKast say, “But lean a little bit closer, see that roses really smell like poo-poo-oo”?
Sarah Melancon, Ph.D, a sociologist and clinical sexologist, tells SheKnows for some couples, having an “open door policy” can enhance a sense of intimacy by letting their partner see all.
“We don’t typically go to the bathroom in front of others, so keeping the door open for our beloved can feel intimate, like pulling back the curtains to see behind the stage,” she says. “If you’re in the middle of a great conversation and want to keep things going, so long as both are comfortable, why not?”
“If you’re in the middle of a great conversation and want to keep things going, so long as both are comfortable, why not?”
For other couples, there may be practical aspects to keeping the door open. Similar to Trainor, who said she had the two toilets installed so she and Sabara could both pee in the middle of the night while up with their baby, Melancon says in her house with two young children, “It’s often easier to keep the door open than to deal with whining and crying at a closed door.”
In other cases, some people may have physical ability or health issues that reflect their openness to bathroom duties. Michelle Cehn, founder of World of Vegan and author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, tells SheKnows dealing with Ulcerative Colitis helped her “come out of the poop closet.”
“I had two choices—I could allow this to be a permanent source of stress and discomfort in my personal life, or embrace it wholeheartedly with humor and exuberance,” she says of her urgent rushes to the bathroom as a result from the disease. “The moment I made light of my bathroom visits, and moved the party to the bathroom in my relationship—it was liberating.”
She says she and her partner quickly became comfortable pooping with the door wide open and even handing each other a glass of wine “in the library.”
“It was one more wall that came down between my partner and myself and brought us closer together. We find great joy in turning potentially awkward moments into some of our favorite belly-laugh-filled memories.”
Chris Pleines, dating expert from Datingscout.com, says having an “open door policy” shows unconditional acceptance and a high level of trust in relationships. “Couples who have achieved this certain comfort with each other are most likely to stay together. These kinds of relationships are based on love and trust, with a generous sprinkle of unconditional acceptance. We are in one of our most vulnerable and awkward situations when we’re pooping – and so, couples who don’t mind showering or just generally inside the bathroom while the other is pooping means that they are very comfortable with one another.”
“It was one more wall that came down between my partner and myself and brought us closer together.”
Furthermore, Pleines believes pooping next to your partner a la Trainor isn’t a sign of codependency but “rather it shows a high level of trust.”
Just be mindful of what it means for you and your partner long- and short-term
However, Melancon says pooping together can also certainly be a manifestation of codependency within a partnership. “An ‘open door’ policy won’t cause codependency, but may reflect a pre-existing pattern. In a healthy relationship, we’re able to spend time apart to take care of ourselves. If going to the bathroom alone causes anxiety, that may be something to address with a therapist.”
Caroline Madden, PhD is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, says she “absolutely” advises against using the bathroom in front of your partner.
“It is difficult to go from seeing and smelling your partner defecating to then going to the bedroom and wanting to put your mouth down there. Couples find themselves in my office wondering where the spark went. It is that they stopped caring about your appearance, stopped courting each other. If a couple is pooping in front of each other on a regular (non-emergency) basis they are giving up on seeing each other as separate, sexy people.”
But Melancon points out that it entirely depends on the couple. “Everybody poops, but plenty of couples would rather not know about it. Others may feel more neutral, while for some it may actually enhance the mood. It is also worth noting that some people have a fetish for various bathroom activities. While an open door’ policy may kill the mood for many, for some it strikes the mood quite precisely!”
For those couples interested in more openness in the bathroom, Melancon says communication goes a long way. “Try asking your partner, ‘Have you ever left the bathroom door open when you’re in a relationship?’ Vet out their feelings on the subject. Maybe they don’t actually care, but figure you do!”
She also suggests testing the waters slowly and gently. “Leave the door open a crack and see what happens. Yell for them to bring you more toilet paper, and watch their reaction when they enter.”
Or you can always bring up Trainor and Sabara to broach the subject — although, we might suggest saving that conversation for after dinner.
Before you go, check out some of the most outrageous celeb-approved products we found on Goop: