Great sex is less important than a clean bathroom, new research finds

Couples favour clean bathroom over sex. (Getty Images)
Do you prefer sex with your partner or squeaky clean surfaces? (Getty Images)

It seems cleanliness wins over sexiness, as one in eight people in the UK would rather have a partner that keeps the bathroom clean over great sex.

And one in five would rather have a bathroom-proud other half than a good kisser, new research finds.

Overall, more than two-thirds of the nation said a partner keeping an unclean bathroom would even be a deal-breaker.

However, while many of us evidently prioritise the state of our bathroom over the heat in our love life, many of us aren't living up to these high cleanliness standards ourselves.

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Female couple brushing teeth. (Getty Images)
The UK's bad bathroom habits include not cleaning up after ourselves and not washing or cleaning our teeth enough. (Getty Images)

The UK Bathroom Habits Survey, conducted by Wilkinson Sword, asked 500 couples across the UK questions on their personal hygiene and grooming standards, as well as household cleanliness, and traits they look for in a partner.

And some of the findings on our grimiest bathroom habits might just make your skin crawl.

Just 34% of men clean up their nail cuttings, compared to 53% of women. However, as many as 66% of women don't tidy up after a shave, while 53% of men don't.

More shockingly, only two in five men wash their genitals daily, while just over half (51%) brush their teeth twice daily.

And around half of people don't shower daily, though men do slightly more than women, with 52% and 46% respectively.

While you may or may not have lent out your toothbrush as a one-off (ew!), one in 20 people actually share their partner's toothbrush or razor regularly.

And while we favour a spick and span bathroom over great sex, it seems we're not exactly practicing what we preach in the hygiene department either.

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Germs on shower curtain in bathroom. (Getty Images)
Are you letting germs fester in your bathroom? (Getty Images)

In fact, most of us (82%) don't clean our toilet brushes enough, letting germs fester for more than a week.

Plus, 67% of the UK won't wash the shower curtain for more than a month, and 71% will leave the shower head uncleaned for the same amount of time.

While neither are perfect, women are found to be generally cleaner than men in this area. For example, only 37% of men change their bath towel once a week, but 59% of women have a clean one ready.

And just 29% of men change their toothbrushes every three or four months (recommended by dentists), while a slightly more respectable 48% of women do.

Hands drying on towel
Is your bathroom a hotbed of germs? (Getty Images)

But while hygiene standards may have slipped after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and working from home, why are some people worse than others when it comes to basic cleanliness?

"People have very different attitudes to hygiene because we all have all been brought up differently and we tend to copy our parents," explains Lisa Spitz, a counsellor and psychotherapist.

Giving examples, she adds, "If, as a male, we’ve never seen our father wash his genitals, then how can we be expected to know to do so? But if we see our parents insist that we have a daily shower/bath then it just becomes part of our routine and we unconsciously just do it."

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Man in bath tub. (Getty Images)
The hygiene habits we have today can stem from the hygiene habits we were taught as children. (Getty Images)

And what does our cleanliness say about us as people? "Poor hygiene can signify a poor sense of self," she says, for example not valuing ourselves enough to care about our teeth by brushing them or visiting a dentist and not creating time to shower because we don't think we're worth the time spent.

"It can come from a place of either being uneducated, i.e. not understanding why these things are necessary and nice, or from a place of neglect."

Spitz suggests hygiene education and self-care could be addressed in PSHE lessons at school so despite what's happening at home, children can learn best practice. Also, if the cause of sloppy standards is due to low self-esteem, then psychological education can help individuals see they do matter, and there is a point in taking care of our hygiene.

She also raises the point that, "When we see children with poor hygiene we often think of neglectful parents, but with the current cost of living crisis the economic price of basic hygiene habits may make it too expensive and create a generation that doesn’t wash or clean their teeth or look after themselves because they feel they can't afford to."

But, bearing in mind not everyone has as much as a choice, prioritising self-care should include looking after both ourselves and our homes. And as adults, this will clearly make us more attractive and help us to keep a healthy love life, even if sex isn't top of to-do list.

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