Intro & Methods
Results, Part 1: People Taking Cover
Results, Part 2: The Women (and Men) Who Hover
Discussion & Acknowledgments
Supplemental Data: Selected Excerpts from Focus Group Discussion

“You’re sleeping in your crap right now. Out of all the things that happened to you, that was the only real thing that… you know, is— you crapped your pants. I mean it’s a mess out there. I got some on my hands, Morty, then I got it on the dream inceptor and a piece fell in my mouth.”
—Rick Sanchez, Rick and Morty


Focus Group Provides Brilliant Insight

A focus group discussion among a convenience sample of six men indicated that four strongly favored using a toilet seat cover, while two others were super-woke non-utilizers (see Supplemental Data). Participants who favored protective measures indicated a desire to maintain cleanliness as the primary reason for utilizing a seat cover, although a couple participating members also cited the ability of seat covers to prevent watery backsplash. The two plucky bare-bottom practitioners cited comfort and convenience as the primary factors for their choice. Interestingly, some participants feared that manufactured toilet seat covers provided inferior barrier protection when compared to hand-crafted systems built de novo from toilet tissue. Finally, one participant suggested factoring in one’s current level of personal hygiene when calculating whether to deploy a seat cover or not.

Survey Demographics

(Complete survey results can be viewed here)

At the time of publication, there were 248 responses to our survey (see Table 1 for demographic data). To our surprise, the majority of survey participants were female and it became clear that an untold story was being brought to light by our anonymous female respondents (see results section for Hovering). Survey participants were also largely between the ages of 25 and 44, and over 75% had at least a bachelor’s degree. Due to the distribution of the survey among friends and colleagues, a slight majority (52.4%) reported working in healthcare or a healthcare-related field.

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 5.57.29 PM

Seat Cover Indoctrination, Utilization, and Convictions

At the time of analysis, 39.9% of all survey respondents routinely place some method of barrier protection (either a manufactured seat cover or a toilet paper lining) atop the seat when using a public restroom while 44.8% do not. 15.3% report only “sometimes” using a seat cover (Fig. 1). Of the survey respondents who indicated their strength of preference, 54.8% report a strong preference for seat covers when using a public restroom while 25.2% state a weak preference (Fig. 2).

Figure 1

Figure 1. Some do, some don’t

Figure 2

Figure 2. Those who do are passionate

Of the respondents who provided data regarding when they began employing seat covers, nearly half (48.3%) began at or before age 12, with this percentage increasing to 83.5% by age 22 (Fig. 3). Few (4.8%) indicate starting this habit after the age of 30, but of course, most of our respondents were between the ages of 25-34. Still, supporting the notion that people are indoctrinated at an early age, 45.9% of respondents who provided information regarding why they began using seat covers in the first place report having family member who instructed them to do so (see results summary-Q4). Other reasons contributing to the initial use of seat covers include developing an early anxiety about bare bottom contact with a shared surface (37%) and caving to curiosity after seeing paper covers being offered like free candy at a public facility (32.9%).

Figure 3

Figure 3. Kids start early

Figure 4

Figure 4. Be our guest. Put that seat to the test.

All survey participants are asked why they choose to either employ a seat cover or to forego the barrier (see results summary-Q5). The most commonly selected reason for choosing coverage is to maintain general cleanliness (51.6%). 19.4% of respondents indicate an irrational concern for the possibility of getting a transmissible disease. On the other hand, 37.1% feel that seat covers are a hassle and a waste of time. Others decline seat covers for reasons of discomfort (22.2%), and to avoid wastefulness (20.2%).

Finally, the vast majority of respondents do not use a toilet seat cover when they are guests in a friend’s home or at a hotel. However, 8 of 248 respondents (3.2%) report almost always using a seat cover even in this more private setting, indicating a rare and, perhaps, transcendent level of indoctrination (Fig. 4).

Seat Cover Controversy: A Nation Divided

Figure 5

Figure 5. Red seat vs. blue seat.

Surprisingly, the choice of how to orient a seat cover was evenly divided among the 248 responses (Fig. 5). 50.4% lay the cover down with the curve of the “U” facing forward, while 49.6% orient it with the curve of the “U” facing the back of the toilet seat. To settle this controversy, we referenced one distributor’s technical guidelines, seen here. Despite this conclusive evidence indicating that the curve of the “U” is designed to face the back (with the tongue dropping down and forward), debates and misinformation litter the internet, possibly fueled by backward-U deniers (BUDs).


NEXT SECTION: Results, Part 2- Hovering

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