Your hands are probably pretty gross essentially all of the time. Sure, going to the bathroom adds an extra layer of ick to them, but I can’t imagine most people’s hands are perfectly germless beforehand. Considering most of us feel rather precious about our genitals, does that mean we should be washing our hands both before and after we do our business?
To be honest, I certainly don’t. Then again, I’m not actually putting my bare hands in direct contact with my bits. People with penises, however, are placing their greasy paws all over that thing. It almost feels disrespectful. Buuuuuuuut, the Centers for Disease Control feels otherwise: According to its guide on handwashing, we need only wash our hands after going to the bathroom.
Their guide does indeed list several occasions in which washing your hands before and after is appropriate. While preparing food, for example, they even recommend washing your hands during. You should also wash your hands before and after eating, before and after treating a wound and before and after caring for someone who is sick with gastrointestinal symptoms. During COVID, they offer the additional recommendation to wash before and after touching your face, mask, frequently touched public surfaces and when entering or leaving a public space.
- Read Next: Just How Gross Are Baths?
Before going to the bathroom isn’t on that list, though presumably most medical experts would agree there are exceptions. If your hands are visibly gross and dirty, yeah, maybe you should wash your hands before making your peen gross and dirty, too. If you, for whatever reason, were just in contact with a set of genitals currently infected with a transmissible sexual infection, again, you might wanna rinse off.
For some reason, this whole topic went semi-viral in 2016, specifically pertaining to whether women should wash their hands before going to the bathroom. One woman wrote on parenting forum Mumsnet that her husband believes she should be washing beforehand, but I’ll be damned before I let the husband of a woman I don’t even know on a parenting forum I don’t even utilize dictate my life.
Bottom line, under most circumstances, you don’t need to wash your hands before using the bathroom. Yes, your hands are covered in germs, but your genitals are probably going to come into some contact with germs regardless by virtue of being next to your butt. Generally, they can handle it.
Now, if you’re going to be masturbating, that’s a different story.