Sunday, June 19, 2022

Question from Laurence - Toilet privacy

This may be a strange question, but one I just need to get out and in the open! Did the people in this era have shy bowels or bladders; aka; parcopresis or paruresis? Because often when I'm in public I find it hard to do #.2, or even #.1 in the restroom stalls. So, did people back then simply not have the expectation for privacy we do now, or were there still some people who had trouble going if there were other people around them?

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Howard said...

Just as I mentioned in another more recent post, (complete) privacy/alone time to urinate/defecate, or even have sex; etc,. didn’t used to be an expectation. In fact, up until the reign of Queen Victoria, the groom of the stool / lady of the bedchamber (female equivalent) was the one who would’ve chatted with him/her, while they were relieving themselves. It also would’ve been a great honor for the groom with kings, and the lady with the queen (or even queen consort), to have been able to talk to his/her majesty, in such a “vulnerable” position.

Just Your Average Historian said...

LOL! Was this even a question?! Heck no, toilet privacy or even sex privacy did NOT exist for centuries and centuries! Why do you think the concept of a “sex Ed” class for preteen aged kids didn’t even exist until the last several decades? Both in England, and later, in the 13 colonies, most families didn’t live in very soundproof homes, (even in ones that had separate rooms). That’s how little boys and girls probably “learned” about sex/reproduction, they ended up witnessing their parents doing “it” after the candles were blown out! In England, at least, the 1800s were probably where the concept of personal privacy started, however, in pioneer families like on “Little House on the Prairie” I doubt, judging by their rooms, that Charles or Caroline Ingalls really had an expectation or concern about privacy, either, as well as the fact they had four daughters. Thereby, I also think that WW1 trench soldiers really didn’t have as much of an expectation for privacy, either, as their WW2 counterparts did/expected, later on, but this is just my take on it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, while it is true that Victorian England society became more private and prudish about their sex lives, compared to like, their early 19th century, or earlier ago counterparts, the amount of “prudery” modern websites describe sex as, from in the late 1800s/early 1900s is rather exaggerated. “Lie back, and think of England” is/was mostly a myth/misconception, I highly doubt that just all of a sudden, people would just suddenly go from being completely open about sex, one century, to completely repressed, restrictive, and stuffy about it, just a 100 years later! It just doesn’t seem that logical to me, personally, yes I realize, times/values definitely could change that much, but it just seems unlikely. Besides, Queen Victoria, herself, (for lack of a better word) was a highly sex-crazed maniac! She openly loved sex, off-color jokes, and had an overall macabre sense of humor. She and Prince consort, Albert would often give each other very risqué, X-rated gifts! (By Victorian era standards, anyways).