Home // Discussion // Should men put the toilet seat down? An analysis

Should men put the toilet seat down? An analysis

Toad with a load

Should men put the toilet seat down?  It’s a horrible question that we have all struggled with, in our families and relationships.  Here are some points to consider:


  1. For women, and men too, there is a risk of sitting down upon the cold, damp, seat-less toilet, if the seat is left up and they do not notice.
  2. Some men tend to urinate, standing, if they find the seat in the down position, without lifting the seat, often causing a messy seat.
  3. Urinating standing up often leads to splashing, which can be a particular problem when the floor is carpeted.  Men often splash their own trousers, also.  However, splashing can also occur in the seated position.  It has been suggested that men should always sit.
  4. Touching the seat is unpleasant.  There is a risk of germs, or even of getting defecate on one’s fingers or clothes.  However, a few germs can be good for the immune system.
  5. It is usually possible to use a sheet of toilet paper when moving the toilet seat.
  6. Closing the lid before flushing can help avoid getting defecate and urine particles in the air.
  7. If there are more men than women using the toilet, perhaps the default position would usually be up, because that makes it easier for the majority.
  8. Closing the lid can help avoid having rats or spiders crawling up from inside, or hiding out in the bowl.
  9. The feminine argument that men leave the seat in the wrong position holds no water, per se, unless there is a particular reason that leaving it down is somehow better than leaving it up – in the interests of equality, there is superficially no particular reason why women should get their own way rather than men.
  10. However, points 1 and 3 suggest that it might indeed be better, fundamentally, to leave the seat down.
  11. If everybody left the seat and lid down at the end, then this might be fair.  But it would not necessarily be optimal.  If everyone voluntarily chopped off their left hand, this would be fair.  Pure fairness does not indicate the best approach.  Arguably, putting the seat and lid down is unnecessary effort and stress for men and women alike.
  12. Furthermore, in the scenario in point 11, women only have to touch the lid, while men must touch the lid and the seat, which is absolutely not fair, considering in particular that the seat is often much dirtier.
  13. It has been suggested that the only reason that women leave the seat and lid down is to provide backup for their argument that men should do the same.  The fallacy in the woman’s argument is that because she does something, the man should do it too; her argument appears solid (everyone should put the lid down to prevent aerosol germs), but her real reason is revealed here.  If anyone can find a name for this fallacy, please let me know!  I have been searching unsuccessfully on this detailed list of fallacies.

What are your thoughts?  Leave comments and I will do my best to reply to them!

Posted in Discussion, Philosophical posts


  • Ironically, I think I’ve been trained by stand-up comics from the 90s to always put the seat down.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      October 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Can you tell us who you mean? I am expecting it to be Jasper Carrott but I’m not sure. I will have to do a youtube search. Many thanks for your comment!

  • Go for a healthy compromise! Both parties put both the seat AND the lid down! It stops animals drinking from the toilet, stops water spraying everywhere when you flush, and looks nicer!

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      October 25, 2015 at 12:54 am

      Hmm as a man I find that idea quite stressful, I admit. But it certainly does look nicer. Thank you very much for the comment.

  • I’ll say that the lid should be up, not down, that way, women will not have to sit on the splashes that men make on the seat

  • Men put the seat down to be polite. The whole reason why it’s an issue is because it’s about manners. When a women sees that her husband or significant other didn’t put the seat back down, she’s thinking that he didn’t think about her enough to be courteous to her.

  • I always leave out the seat and lid down after I’m finished using the bathroom. I think it is pretty fair. I have to put the seat and lid up in one motion to use urinate. My wife has to lift the lid up with one motion as well. I tell myself I’m not being petty. I’m being fair. It has been working well so far.

  • I feel I must weigh in on this issue.
    My husband and I do, in fact, hold this long-standing debate *however* we happen to stand on opposite sides of the norm. I believe that him putting the seat down for my use is completely absurd (must he really be thinking about me peeing while he’s peeing? Isn’t that a little much?) and he believes that after using the toilet everyone should put both seat *and* lid down.

    His base argument is your bullet number 6; cleaner air as it were. I suppose I can see the value, but isn’t it just a bit outweighed by the whole touching-a-toilet-seat part of things?

    Purely for the sake of argument,I’d like to mention is this:

    You bring up, often, in your points above the unfortunate matter, if a man must put down the seat afterwards, of collecting germs and possibly fecal matter on the hands. What about us ladies? If men leave the seat up, then certainly I, too, must touch the potentially-foul toilet seat in order to do my business, no?

    In turn, doesn’t that mean that the man had to touch it to put it up *and then* the woman had to touch it to put it down, thus DOUBLING the amount of people contaminated with whatever grossness may have occurred?

    On this premise, perhaps it’s best left to one sex or the other to do the dirty business of handling the foul toilet lid — not based on need, in fact, but instead cleanliness.

    Since, statistically speaking, women are more likely to wash their hands, perhaps it should fall to them

    My how the tables have turned.

    • The Most Ordinary Man Ever

      November 12, 2015 at 4:07 am

      I think some of your arguments depend on the nature of the situation. In a busy unisex toilet (they do exist!) there tend to be men who are lazy and just pee all over the seat. Whereas there are neat and tidy households where there is only perhaps one male and a number of females living together as a family. At the end of the day, it’s best to just be considerate. My main problem is bogus arguments used as justification. It’s fine if you are angry in my opinion, but using nonsense logical arguments is just going to frustrate the people you are trying to convince, and that was what I was trying to analyse. I’ll be honest I didn’t understand some of your arguments. But for me, I am happy to respect the requests of other people as long as they don’t use nonsense logic to tell me I’m in the wrong! Thanks very much for your comment, I appreciate it.

  • In my house it’s just not an issue and probably never will be. If I go to use the toilet and I didn’t look 1st and fall in, well the joke is on me but I will be hiding behind the shower curtain next time to get my revenge. It’s easier to enjoy life with my husband and kiddos if we aren’t all consumed with ” did I put the toilet seat down”? The real problem is “who took the time to get a new roll of paper from the cabinet but not take 5 seconds to put it on the dispenser”???

  • I like you, you’re not afraid to ask the real questions! Haha.
    As a woman, I think that it’s better to close the lead, especially when the lavatory is in the bathroom. That way the gross particles won’t fly all over the toothbrushes. Not to mention that I really would hate to see a rat jump out while I was taking a bath. It would be a nightmare come true!
    So, you see, I’m not doing this in order to keep arguing with you guys.

    PS I really love the photo that you’ve chosen. The frog is so adorable! I don’t get people who hate frogs.

  • Well shouldn’t both genders choose to what they’d prefer? I mean yes in some way it looks nicer and is more sanitary, but the way people have been doing it for ages having the toilet lid up and how they wouldn’t like to change that.

  • This was a very indepth look into this social phenomena. I’d say, with personal experience and the points you listed, that it is probably better to just leave the lid and seat up (at least in my current situation, which is a household with 3 men and 1 woman. Fun. This is also good for public (Unisex or not) restrooms, as some men are really really lazy and don’t even really look where they’re releasing???)

  • Well sir, why not if it makes our ladies happy.
    I sure do enjoy these types of topics.

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