- StandardToilet, a U.K.-based company, has reportedly developed plans for a sloped toilet seat that aims to limit users to less than five minutes of toilet time.
- The decreased angle of the toilet specifically strains the quad muscles, according to the company, tiring toilet users out.
- Twitter was flush with opinions when the news broke.
Sit! Stay a while! Unless you’re on the porcelain throne, that is.
A company from the U.K. called StandardToilet has reportedly developed plans for a toilet that slopes down at a 13-degree angle. The steep angle, the designers say, strains users’ quadriceps, meaning most people won’t last more than five minutes on the toilets, which cost as much as $600.
The design firm believes the uncomfortably sloped design will help cut down on time spent on the John, increase worker productivity and, therefore, save companies money.
“Its main benefit is to the employers, not the employees,” StandardToilet developer Mahabir Gill told Wired UK. “It saves the employer money.”
StandardToilet told Wired that it’s already received inquiries from local councils and motor service stations. The British Toilet Association, which advocates for more efficient lavatory use in Britain, has also backed the idea. Gill lodged a patent for the tilting toilet back in July.
When news of the toilet broke online, Twitter united in fury, lambasting the company for its crappy idea.
Some Twitter users speculated that news of the sloping toilet was little more than a prank.
Gill told Wired that the toilet wouldn’t cause any significant health concerns—just mild discomfort—but physiologists don’t find the ploy Charmin.
“Just from a completely non-medical standpoint, that just seems messed up,” gastroenterologist George Saffouri of the University of California, Riverside, told Popular Mechanics.
We humans have a complicated relationship with the act of emptying our bowels. “Evolutionarily, there’s this concept that we, as a species, have evolved defecating in squatting position,” Saffouri said. “As you squat, you have this thing called the rectal-anal angle—essentially the angle between your rectum and your anus—and squatting sort of straightens that out.”
Still, the angle at which we should poop is still largely a mystery. “No one truly knows how the angle of sitting or defecation actually promotes or works against a healthy bowel movement,” Saffouri said. Over the years, there have several attempts to straighten out this messy business. Unsurprisingly, research into the area can be challenging.
In 2011, a Utah family, who was “in a pinch,” invented a popular stool called the Squatty Potty, which raises the legs to simulate a squatting motion. (Sauffori notes that there haven’t been any peer-reviewed scientific studies studying the lasting effects of Squatty Potty use.)
Saffouri notes that one small benefit granted by the angle of this sloping toilet is that it could actually bring relief for those suffering from hemorrhoids. “Gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons will not uncommonly tell their patients with hemorrhoids to not sit on the toilet for a very long,” Saffouri said. Sitting and straining on the toilet for longer can potentially worsen hemorrhoid flare ups. “All that stuff is difficult to tease out,” he cautions.
Curiously, our bodies often look out for us, ensuring we don’t get ensnared in an endocrinological faux pas. There’s an inner sphincter—different from the outer one we can control—that releases material into a chamber and analyzes it to see whether it’ll end up a fart or, well, a shart, and will control movement accordingly.
For some, dropping a load can feel like lifting a load off the shoulders. We feel more comfortable going #2 in the comfort of our own home, The Atlantic reported in 2017. And pooping stimulates the vagus nerve—which stretches from our brainstem all the way down to our colon—and triggers a warm, fuzzy feeling that one gastroenterologist dubbed “poo-phoria.”
But that poo-phoria may be a fleeting feeling after all, thanks to StandardToilet.