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Old 05-21-2019, 05:12 AM
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Is it an universal that the smell of other adult people‘s sh*t is more nauseating than one‘s own?


An observation I made from being infrequently involved in the care of my late parents, and now of my father in law who needs a pit stop before and after we take him from the nursing home for a wheelchair excursion:

Handling someone‘s full commode stool bowl or adult diaper makes me gag, badly. I am hard put to keep my stomach where it belongs.

Now my own excreta I consider disgusting too and best rid of soonest (sometimes one cannot simply flush, as when hiking), but I never gag at the smell.

Is that an observation made by others too?

(My wife does not gag but then she is a nurse).

Last edited by Mops; 05-21-2019 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:36 AM
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It's not just shit, but every other odor that comes out of people. My own doesn't stink. Or at least not offensively.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:21 AM
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Sick people's shit smells different than healthy person's shit.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:28 AM
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It's not just shit, but every other odor that comes out of people. My own doesn't stink. Or at least not offensively.
Got it in 1!

Not just shit, but farts, belches, BO, foot odor, dirty laundry...

And not just odors, but dandruff, loose hairs...

I'm perfect - the rest of youse guys are disgusting!
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:18 AM
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Sick people's shit smells different than healthy person's shit.
I don't think I'd care to change a healthy person's diapers either.
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:21 AM
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If someone has to wear an adult diaper are they really healthy?
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:23 AM
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Is it an universal that the smell of other adult people‘s sh*t is more nauseating than one‘s own?


Wasn't this the rejected first line to Pride and Prejudice?
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:26 AM
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Seems so from my observation, but also I notice so many other's bowel movements are very noisy.

We have a large bathroom where I work, and every time I'm in there to urinate and/or wash up ( it's a place where the nature of the work one gets their hands dirty often ) there are always some people in the toilet stalls doing their thing. Apparently my GI system leads a charmed life, so quiet and effortless are my own excretions. Seems so many others have either bad diets, problematic GIs or both. I overhear lots of grunting, plopping sounds, or explosive movements that sound so messy that these people don't need a roll of toilet paper; they need a hose and a mop head.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:27 AM
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Well in my case it's true because my shit don't stink.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:33 AM
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If someone has to wear an adult diaper are they really healthy?
Well, there are folks that just like wearing them, if you get what I'm sayin'.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:38 AM
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No, it's not a universal.
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Sick people's shit smells different than healthy person's shit.
Also, old shit that's been sitting around smells worse than fresh shit.

But when I've smelled other people's fresh, healthy shit (usually my husband, but something other people in public restrooms) it doesn't really bother me more than the smell of my own healthy fresh shit. I mean, I don't like it, but it's not a horrible smell, just, shitty, ya know?

Of course, the smell of shit in an inappropriate place is horrible. I'm talking about smelling someone else's shit when I happen to be close to them in a restroom.

Now, y'all may find other people's shit worse than your own. But I don't, so it's not universal.

Fwiw, my shit usually isn't too bad, but some foods make it more offensive, and a stomach bug can make it really vile.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:55 AM
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Sick people's shit smells different than healthy person's shit.
^ This.

And, good lord, chemotherapy shit....! Not only is it a peculiar toxic-chemical reek on top of sick-person stench it actually IS toxic. I bought special chemo-resistant gloves when caring for my dying husband. Held my breath a lot. Oh. My. God.

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If someone has to wear an adult diaper are they really healthy?
There are people with nerve damage who can no longer control their bowels but would be considered healthy otherwise. Some of them are even athletes. But such people can usually change their own diapers. Unless they have so much nerve damage they can't move their arms.

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But when I've smelled other people's fresh, healthy shit (usually my husband, but something other people in public restrooms) it doesn't really bother me more than the smell of my own healthy fresh shit. I mean, I don't like it, but it's not a horrible smell, just, shitty, ya know?
That's where I am. I don't like the smell, it's unpleasant, but it doesn't usually make me gag. I don't know if I have a higher tolerance for stink or a poor sense of smell or what. Maybe it was those five years I worked at a horse farm in exchange for a reduced price on lessons - I shoveled a LOT of horseshit in those years (good prep for internet flame wars).

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Fwiw, my shit usually isn't too bad, but some foods make it more offensive, and a stomach bug can make it really vile.
And this - diet can make a dig difference. People with lactose intolerance who insist on consuming dairy can generate war-crime levels of stink, for example.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:01 PM
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I have an unusually good sense of smell, for what it's worth. So tolerating the smell of shit isn't just about not being able to smell it.

(and heck, dogs LOVE to smell shit. and they have an amazing sense of smell.)
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:08 PM
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Wasn't this the rejected first line to Pride and Prejudice?
Post of the month.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:32 PM
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Wasn't this the rejected first line to Pride and Prejudice?
Yes, I also quite enjoyed this post!


Perhaps surprisingly, I have no opinions on the smell of shit, as I have no sense of smell.
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:45 PM
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The only time I can remember the smell of shit nearly making me vomit was when one of my dogs had puppies.* After they were weaned, they slept in a crate over night. Since they'd had not house training yet, there was a certain amount of clean-up in the mornings. I had to hold my breath or mouth breathe when I was bundling up the pee pads and cleaning out the crate. DisGUSTing.

* She was a rescue with health issues, so she wasn't spayed by the rescue organization when we got her. We were treating her and building up her strength for surgery. Surprise! We had puppies before the surgery happened.
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:48 PM
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Everyone likes their own brand.
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:53 PM
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Seems so from my observation, but also I notice so many other's bowel movements are very noisy.

We have a large bathroom where I work, and every time I'm in there to urinate and/or wash up ( it's a place where the nature of the work one gets their hands dirty often ) there are always some people in the toilet stalls doing their thing. Apparently my GI system leads a charmed life, so quiet and effortless are my own excretions. Seems so many others have either bad diets, problematic GIs or both. I overhear lots of grunting, plopping sounds, or explosive movements that sound so messy that these people don't need a roll of toilet paper; they need a hose and a mop head.
Usually my bowel excretions are pretty quiet. It is also something I try to avoid doing in a public restroom. Usually that is rather easy, as it is something I do once a day, in the morning.

If I have to use a public restroom for this purpose, there is usually something wrong. I’ve been stricken with a fast-acting illness, like the flu can be. Or I ate some bad food. So on the rare occasion when I’m “doing that” in a public restroom, it is more likely to be noisy and stinky.
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Old 05-21-2019, 05:51 PM
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If it is universal, then is it chemical (the olfactory is somehow tuned to not reject your own body products) or psychological (proven through double-blind studies)?
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:05 PM
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And to piggyback: is it possible for people to poop without peeing? I know I can't. Even if I didn't feel like I needed to pee some still always manages to come along for the ride, so to speak.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:15 PM
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Yes, I also quite enjoyed this post!


Perhaps surprisingly, I have no opinions on the smell of shit, as I have no sense of smell.
A Dung beetle is suppose to appreciate poop.
***
As a Mom I knew the very minute my baby needed to be potty trained. When you gag at your own baby's poo-poos it's time for the toilet talk and a trip to get big girl panties.
So poop being a bad smell? I have to say it's universal. IMO
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:34 PM
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I can say that I was not as thrilled changing my sons diapers post-solid food as I was before...yuck.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:30 AM
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And to piggyback: is it possible for people to poop without peeing? I know I can't. Even if I didn't feel like I needed to pee some still always manages to come along for the ride, so to speak.
I work in radiation therapy and all our prostate patients have to have full bladders and empty rectums. I don't know how the poor bastards do it, I know it would be hard for me.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
And to piggyback: is it possible for people to poop without peeing? I know I can't. Even if I didn't feel like I needed to pee some still always manages to come along for the ride, so to speak.
Yes it is. It's one of the things in which I'm on the same side as 1.SiL's Mom, while my Mom and 1.SiL are on the other side. So, from the one time it came up in conversation and from the follow-up research, I can confirm that it is quite possible and for some of us, routine; for others, impossible. It might have something to do with the area's muscles or something like that.
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Last edited by Nava; 05-22-2019 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:18 AM
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But when I've smelled other people's fresh, healthy shit
I just decided that English needs another word to distinguish between active and passive smelling, because I can’t quite decide if you were leaning over the bowl with intent or just passing by.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:55 PM
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Wasn't this the rejected first line to Pride and Prejudice?
IIRC, that draft was titled Poop and Prejudice
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:11 PM
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If it is universal, then is it chemical (the olfactory is somehow tuned to not reject your own body products) or psychological (proven through double-blind studies)?
Are you suggesting that it's possible you could not distinguish your own poop from somebody else's poop in a blinded test? The reaction is so visceral that I'm skeptical that this could be the case, but for Science I suppose a group poop-sniffing session in total darkness is called for.

There are obvious reasons why there would be strong natural selection for an olfactory repugnance for other people's germ-laden shit, more extreme when they are ill. And a milder aversion to our own shit, since it's less harmful but still doesn't belong in our upper GI tract.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-22-2019 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:58 PM
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Are you suggesting that it's possible you could not distinguish your own poop from somebody else's poop in a blinded test? The reaction is so visceral that I'm skeptical that this could be the case, but for Science I suppose a group poop-sniffing session in total darkness is called for.
I'm suggesting that we should find out whether the repugnance is chemical or psychological. Many people have psychological reactions to things that otherwise have no organic cause, such as fainting at the sight of blood, which is itself a pretty visceral reaction. People may not mind the smell of their own shit for the same reason that people can't tickle themselves. I'm not suggesting what's possible so much as not ruling anything out. The answer should be sought through science.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:25 PM
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I'm suggesting that we should find out whether the repugnance is chemical or psychological. Many people have psychological reactions to things that otherwise have no organic cause, such as fainting at the sight of blood, which is itself a pretty visceral reaction. People may not mind the smell of their own shit for the same reason that people can't tickle themselves.
Just to clarify, since the brain is obviously part of the olfactory system, the distinction you are drawing with a "psychological" reaction is a differential reaction that's based solely on knowledge of whether the poop is your own, correct, not the smell itself? In other words, a reaction that you define as "psychological" would not differentiate between self and non-self poop in a blind test.

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The answer should be sought through science.
Of course. My point was that a priori it would be surprising if the reaction turned out to be purely psychological. There are obvious reasons for strong selective pressure to be able to detect the presence of foreign poop. We already know that many other animals can do this, and it doesn't require any sophisticated mechanism of self tolerance at the molecular level like the immune system - just learned familiarity with the smell of one's own poop.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-22-2019 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:27 PM
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I just decided that English needs another word to distinguish between active and passive smelling, because I can’t quite decide if you were leaning over the bowl with intent or just passing by.
:lol: the only time in "intentionally" smelled someone else's shit was when I changed the diapers of my babies. And sometimes I could tell by the odor that the kid was sick. But I guess even then, it wasn't so much intentionally smelling as intentionally handling diapers in a way such that it was impossible not to smell it.

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...Of course. My point was that a priori it would be surprising if the reaction turned out to be purely psychological. There are obvious reasons for strong selective pressure to be able to detect the presence of foreign poop. We already know that many other animals can do this, and it doesn't require any sophisticated mechanism of self tolerance at the molecular level like the immune system - just learned familiarity with the smell of one's own poop.
My guess is that most people can't tell the difference. What you CAN tell is whether that smell is because "I JUST did that" or whether you smell shit in any other context.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:15 PM
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It is such a commonplace that there is apparently a saying in German: "Eigener Dreck stinkt nicht" (ones own shit doesn't stink) that Einstein is reputed to have comment on seeing a poor article on physics.
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