Believe it or not, bidets have been around for a long time, with the original bidet being created in France during the 17th century and has since spread all over the world.
Over the years the bidet has received much acceptance in different continents such as Western Europe (France and England), Asia (Japan), and South America (Argentina, Venezuela).
In Asia and South America, the bidet is seen more as a necessary product of hygiene than a luxury, and most households have them. Even in Europe, the bidet is widely accepted with over 50% of households in France having one installed, and it being a law in Italy to have at least 1 bidet per residence.
The bidet is not yet well-established in the United States; therefore, many people are unaware of its advantages. They have not been urged or taught how to use it.
But... Why do Americans still reject the bidet?
The History of the Bidet in the United States
During World War II, when troops were stationed in Europe, many American soldiers discovered bidets for the first time. Troops would associate them with sex work because they were found in brothels that they would frequent. Also, troops considered everything European to be dirty and unsanitary, so this was the original catalyst for Americans’ aversion to bidets.
After some time, companies began selling standalone bidets in the United States. Bidets were seen as a foreign luxury or an upper-class item and were mostly found in hotels and high-end homes.
It wasn't until the late 1960s and early 1970s that bidets made a major debut in America with the first bidet toilet seat which could be attached to a current toilet bowl. Despite the debut, it did not gain much popularity.
Currently, there are several brands and different types of bidets in the U.S. market. With the increased availability and affordability of bidets, widespread use in America has been growing slowly but steadily. Although there are both manual and electric versions of the bidet, the electric models are becoming more popular because of all the many features and benefits it has over their manual cousins.
Why has the U.S. Resisted the Bidet?
There are several theories as to why this is the case, but the main possibility is that Americans simply don't know about bidets and how to use them. The good news is that this changing rapidly.
Another possibility is that Americans are resistant to change, and the idea of using a stream of water to clean oneself after going to the bathroom is simply too strange or unappealing. Some even considered the whole idea taboo.
Some people think that using a bidet is unhygienic because it might spray around contaminated water. But if you think about it, it's actually more hygienic than using toilet paper because you're not wiping your body with a dry piece of paper and spreading bacteria.
There are a few other reasons why Americans have been slow to adopt bidets:
#1 Lack of Awareness About Bidets
One of the main reasons is the Americans are not familiar with them. Most people in North America grow up without ever seeing or using a bidet, so it's not surprising that many people don't even know what they are.
It is true, that many people do not know about the existence of bidets as it just isn’t an integral part of society. Americans may not be using bidets simply because they are not aware of them. Bidets are not common in the United States, therefore many people simply don’t know they exist. As the old adage goes, “out of sight, out of mind”.
#2 Most American Bathrooms are not set up to Accommodate an Electric Bidet
The GFI outlet necessary for an electric bidet is not usually present in an American bathroom, and having one installed by an electrician can be costly and time-consuming.
Although a dedicated GFI outlet would be ideal, it is not required. Simply using a properly-rated extension cord and plugging it into a GFI outlet is completely acceptable and recommended.
#3 Many Americans feel that Toilet Paper is Sufficient
Many Americans feel that toilet paper is a perfectly adequate way to clean oneself after using the restroom, and many Americans see no reason to add a bidet to their bathroom. Although, if you really think about it, toilet paper smears bacteria around. Plus, when you’ve been using toilet paper all your life, it’s difficult imagining using something as foreign as a bidet as a replacement. Change can be a difficult thing for many people.
#4 Wet Wipes as an Alternative
In recent years, wet wipes have become increasingly popular as an alternative to toilet paper. Wet wipes are usually made of paper that has been soaked in water and then sealed in a package. They are often marketed as being gentler and more effective than toilet paper, and many people find them to be a convenient option for cleaning themselves after using the restroom.
Although, what many wet wipe users don't know is that most contain scents and chemicals that can dry out or irritate the behind. Also, wet wipes tend to clog up plumbing very easily, which can become one of the worst headaches you can possibly have. Clogging your septic tank and having it fixed can be disastrous.
#5 The Cost
Another factor that may be preventing Americans from using bidets is the upfront cost. Manual bidets are more affordable than electric ones, but they lack the features and benefits of the electric versions. Electric bidets range in price from around $200 for a basic model to several hundred dollars for a high-end model. In comparison, a pack of toilet paper costs around $18.
But if you think about it, never having to buy toilet paper again adds up in savings and also helps the environment.
#6 Many Think Bidets are Only for Women
There is a common misconception that bidets are only meant for women. This is not the case, as bidets can be used by anyone, regardless of gender.
In fact, many men find bidets to be more efficient and effective than toilet paper, as men tend to be hairy down there, and all men know how challenging it can be to wipe effectively with toilet paper.
Why should you consider purchasing a bidet?
There are several reasons why you might want to consider purchasing a bidet.
Bidets can save you money in the long run
If you're tired of spending money on toilet paper, a bidet can help you to save money in the long run. In addition, if you're concerned about your impact on the environment, a bidet can help you to reduce your use of toilet paper and save trees. Although it may not seem like much in at first, after a while, your savings from not buying as much toilet paper will start to add up considerably.
Electric bidets are easy to use
Contrary to popular belief, bidets are actually very easy to use. All you need to do is adjust the water temperature and pressure to your liking and aim the stream of water at your body. Electric versions are even easier to use with everything being automated and functions available at the press of a button.
Bidets are suitable for everyone
Bidets are suitable for both men and women, and they can be used by people of all ages. Whether you're young or old, a bidet can provide you with a clean and refreshing way to clean after using the restroom.
Bidets are gentler on your skin
If you have sensitive skin, a bidet can be a gentler option than toilet paper. Additionally, if you suffer from hemorrhoids or other anal conditions, a bidet can provide relief.
Bidets are better for your health
Bidets are also thought to be better for your health than toilet paper. This is because they can help prevent hemorrhoids and UTIs. When you use toilet paper, there is a chance that you will wipe too hard and cause irritation. But with a bidet, you can control the pressure of the water, which can help reduce irritation.
There are many reasons why you might want to consider using a bidet. From saving money to being gentler on your skin, a bidet can provide you with a number of benefits. If you're looking for a clean and refreshing way to clean after using the restroom, a bidet is definitely worth considering.
If you are still a staunch toilet paper supporter, don't worry. You can wash quickly with a bidet and apply a few dabs with toilet paper after to make sure you are clean and confident!