What is a Bidet? A Short Bidet Definition
In most cases, a bidet toilet seat looks like a low fixed bassin. People in certain countries use it to clean their genitals, anus and feet after using the WC. In this traditional type of a bidet (hip bath), lukewarm water can be allowed to enter, while the person is almost sitting on it like on a toilet seat. Then, he can clean certain areas by hand. After using the bidet, its important to clean it carefully.
Another type of bidet looks like a small shower and is mounted next to the toilet. A strong water jet makes sure, that everything is neat and clean after the visit to the toilet.
A Short Bidet History
A romantic story says that in 1959, Marita Ilona Lorenz – instructed by CIA and mafia – should kill her lover Fidel Castro with poison. But out of love, she threw the pills into nothing else than a bidet.
Bidet is an old french word and means “horse”. Its said that the first versions of them were so high that people felt, they had to mount on the back of a horse. The hip bath-type of bidets like we know them from today, were already invented in the 17th century. It took around 200 years more until it found its place in peoples bathrooms – before that, the wooden bidets were placed in the living room. Even long time before that, women used bidet-like washing seats to clean their vagina after any sexual intercourse. This technique was used even until 1960. Then, the hip bath-bidet had a water jet, which squirted directly into the vulva.
In Which Countries is the Bidet Common?
The bidet shower (bidet sprayer) is mostly common in East Asian countries. These include Thailand, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Turkey. The bidet in the traditional style is common in South European Countries (for example Italy or Portugese). Bidets are also standard in Middle East (for example in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Iraq or Qatar) and South America (for example Brazil or Chile).
In some countries like for example Pakistan, a hand held bidet is also called a “muslim shower”. This term is used since almost 30 years. The muslim shower is important to keep the whole body clean 24 hours a day. Here, the bidet is used in a religious connection. Instead of utilizing a bidet, it’s also common in many countries to use vessels, filled with water.
The bidet is not common in Germany (and for example also not in Great Britain and North America). Many foreign people, who visit one of those countries often think, that people there are unhygienic and wrinkle their nose about that. An old survey from 2004 revealed that only 9 % of all German households have a bidet, while 5 % were planning to buy one the next years. A lot of Germans don’t even know a bidet exactly is or how to use it. In some cases, people think, that the hip-bath is only for cleaning the feet while the bidet shower is only for cleaning the floor. Instead of water, Germans like to use toilet paper. It’s available in 2 layers, 3 layers, 4 layers, in waste layer version, in different scents – the most common is chamomile or wet ones for on the road or babys.
An interesting fact: Germany is a country with one of the most holidaymakers in the world (according to UNWTO it was “holiday world champion” until 2011) and more than half of all citizens travel to another country every year with Rome – Italy (where almost 100 % of people have a bidet in their bathroom) as their favourite destination.
Arguments for the Implementation of Bidets in Germany
- Germany is an “aging society” with a life expectancy of 81 years and a presumbly proportion of 37,6 % people above 60 until 2050. A bidet hip-bath or bidet shower in the own bathroom is much easier to use and safer than going into the shower or bathtub for keeping the lower part clean. Older people wouldn’t have to worry about slippery areas in their own bathroom and thereby keep their independence and privacy for a much longer time.
- More than 25 % of women above 45 and around 15 % of men in the same age group suffer from haemorrhoids – due to the lack of exercise, mostly people in developed countries. Symptoms are among other things itching and burning. Water in this area after the visit to the toilet can help. Experts in general always give the advice, that lukewarm water is the best way to clean the anus.