From getting it, to eating it, to having it, welcome to Ass Week, MEL’s weeklong exploration of the body part du jour.
There’s a rule u/VoyeurofBliss tells people: Three out of 10 times, if it takes more than one square of toilet paper to wipe, you need more fiber. “It will change your life,” he promises.
The 35-year-old had a period of reflection three years ago. “I decided that I was going to take major steps to take care of my body,” he tells MEL. “I wanted to better support my wife with a longer and healthier life, and be a example of what a fit human man could be.”
So he started with fiber, trying several types of supplements before settling on psyllium husk products. Eventually he was near WebMD’s recommended daily dosage of 37 grams of fiber, consumed throughout the day.
The first week of his new diet, he ran into “gas trouble.” But he also found “an incredible benefit: consistency and ease of my poops.”
Gone, he says, “was the fudge factory. Soft-pellet production began.” Then, a week later, he had a movement that shocked him when he cleaned up: “a streak-free, one-square wipe. I thought it was a fluke, so I tried again: clean TP. This would eventually become normal to me.”
Today, VoyeurofBliss (or VoB, as he calls himself) hangs out on Reddit, preaching the blessings of his new diet.
“Diet for most of us varies, so being perfectly regular isn’t something I tell people to expect,” he tells me. Most of the time we poop, he says, “at least seven of those times should be a simple and clean experience,” requiring — at most — three squares of TP. But often fewer!
“If you are having more trouble than that, such as a mess almost every time, you should take a hard look at your nutrition or possibly talk to your doctor,” VoB advises. “The last time I talked to my doctor, she was also on a fiber supplement plan, almost exactly the same as I was.”
So I followed VoB’s advice and asked a doctor. Theoretically, could one judge his health based on how many wipes it takes to get a clean butt?
“Uhhhhh… no,” Dr. Marc Leavey responds. While the consistency of your stool does depend on “what you have eaten, particularly the fiber content, how much fluid you have consumed and, perhaps most importantly, your own bowel function,” he says, “various changes in your state of health, such as viruses or other infections, can also change the nature of your stool.”
Fiber is great for you — but it isn’t the only one-way ticket to a clean ass.
For example, Leavey says that though soft stool taken through fiber might seem easier to clean, “a firm, compact stool may be evacuated with little residue as well.” So, in short, “just as stool consistency is variable, so is the ease, or difficulty, of post-defecation cleansing.”
The doctor adds that the most important thing “is to clean thoroughly, without irritating the perianal tissues.” He’s right — most of us are wiping too much, and too hard, and hurting ourselves rubbing until we reach that perfectly clean wad. In that sense, One-Square Crusaders like VoB aren’t totally off base: It is a good thing to get properly clean with as little wiping as necessary.
To find out more about the One-Wipe lifestyle, I talked to some guys who bumped up their fiber intake and haven’t looked back.
An Ass You Can Eat
VoyeurOfBliss, 35: Something that really triggers the “ew” factor when it comes to butt cleanliness is sexual acts that happen down there. If it seems like an insurmountable task to clean up your butthole and not worry about staying that way long enough to enjoy a session with your partner, you might want to take steps to improve your health! A nice clean poop and healthy wash should be all it takes to prepare for any activity you might want to try.
Today, my routine is usually having a fruit smoothie every other day that has a tablespoon of off-brand psyllium husk product mixed in, thought I often branch out from my normal diet [to something like] Mexican cuisine. Once in a while it will be a treat, and my body is not always accustomed to what I consume. This can make for a cycle of faster or messier poops, but as long as the fiber supplements remain, they are manageable.
If I poop so much I’m getting sore or have to wipe and clean enough for the process to be bothersome, it usually is a sign of a stomach bug or poor diet.
My family is prone to stomach issues, and most of us know the wonders of fiber supplements. Some actually get fiber from their normal diet, but most of us have to take something. I frequently recommend it to friends with dieting issues, and it is not well received because of the stigma that [needing fiber] is a sign of genetic issues or “wimpiness.” You shouldn’t consider nutrition just as you get older — you should be taught it when you’re young, so you never encounter issues at all.
Eat Your Vegetables
James, 25: I come from a upper-middle-class Australian family of three, and my parents raised all of us vegetarian, despite Australia being pretty meat-obsessed. Throughout school, I had a handful of observations, the first of which was that toilet paper went almost unused, if unnecessary, most of the time.
I’ll do a courtesy wipe, but it’s frankly unnecessary a lot of the time. I never realized people actually have [the problem of wiping more than once]. I just thought they were jokes.
Being a vegetarian, toilet smells are barely noticeable, and to this day do not understand why people need so much time to use a toilet. I grew up in a house were the bathroom didn’t have a fan, there was a window but it was closed during winter to keep the heat in.
It was immediately noticeable when we had guests over, but not a problem for a house of five vegetarians. I didn’t learn what the toilet lid was for until I was well into my teens. Again only a problem when I was in poor health. I’ve seen the jokes about reading the back of shampoo bottles but honestly the entire process for me could be counted in seconds on your hands most of the time.
Go Completely Paperless
Redditor u/VMCLA: I was plagued with hemorrhoids. Pooping became a major dread each and every day. Plus, I had been eating a lot of carbs, which means very messy stools. Very messy.
After a couple of minor operations to relieve the hemorrhoids, I met a gastroenterologist who said, first thing, “Do you know about Metamucil?” He was the one who told me about the potential for no paper. With a higher protein diet and fiber, I would become very regular and worry-free about pooping. Everything he told me was correct. I have not had a ’roid in seven years.
Pooping is stress-free. I usually [go] only once a day, and as advertised, many days won’t wipe after a check to make sure, [because I] don’t need to. One glass of Metamucil at the same time each day works so well that frequently, I don’t need to wipe. I’d never have believed it either, but that’s how it rolls.
You’ll use paper ’cause you won’t believe what’s happening even after you see for yourself. It’s human nature to wipe in order to make sure about cleanliness, so you’ll use some paper, think, Oh, this could be used as a napkin… this can’t be right. Wipe again. Same result. You will probably leave the bathroom elated, if you’ve experienced your fair share of messy holes. It takes a few days for the system to adjust, but once it does, your bathroom torture is over.
Here’s how I think of it: Metamucil organizes my stools. It forms them into one or two impressive pieces that are very well formed and easy to pass swiftly. This doesn’t happen overnight, as your system has to adjust to all this unexpected fiber.
By the fourth day, your system should be producing some of the most beautifully formed turds you can possibly imagine. And on a regular basis, too. For sake of knowing you’re clean, nobody will ever be able to go without using even a single square, but you will go from many rolls of paper a week to one!
Give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain if you are a heavy toilet-paper user with a ragged hole.