August 18, 2019

"The Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl is planning to install anti-sex public toilets that would spray occupants with water and sound an alarm."

"Violent movement sensors would automatically open the doors and sound high-pitched alarms, with fine water jets soaking the interior. Weight-sensitive floors would ensure only one user could be in a cubicle at a time, to safeguard against 'inappropriate sexual activity and vandalism.'"

What could go wrong?

From "Seaside town's hi-tech anti-sex toilets will spray users with water/Loos in Porthcawl, south Wales, will feature weight sensors and sound alarms to stop anti-social use" (The Guardian).

Lots of people weigh as much as 2 people. At what point does the "weight-sensitive" floor react. 400 pounds? And what level of "violent movement" is the trigger point? Now, I'm reduced to picturing legitimate excretory maneuvers that could offend the temperamental toilet. And let's say some "anti-social" people are in there going at it. The doors fling open?! That inflicts injury on passersby.

By the way, since when are we calling sex "anti-social"? I remember when a sexually transmitted disease was called a "social disease."

"Anti-social" is defined in my dictionary (the OED) as "Opposed to the principles on which society is constituted." And "antisocial personality disorder" is "a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial (often criminal) and aggressive or violent behaviour, typically beginning in childhood and persisting into adult life, and accompanied by an inability to feel remorse or to sustain lasting personal relationships and often by misuse of alcohol or other drugs." That doesn't sound like sex.

65 comments:

rhhardin said...

Think of it as a bidet.

rhhardin said...

excretory maneuvers

No matter how you shake and dance / the last three drops go down your pants.

stevew said...

Ok, I've got to go read this article to see if I can figure out why this is a problem that has risen to the level that the town needs to fix.

Howard said...

you gotta be quiet like a mouse pissing on cotton

stevew said...

Well, that was unhelpful. Lots of money to fix a problem of untold severity. Is it true that the critics are only concerned about how the system will work, that they've simply accepted that sex in toilets has reached a level that absolutely demands attention?

What a strange story.

Bob Boyd said...

I'm thinking the locals will rise to the challenge of trying to have sex in there without triggering an anti-social reaction from the Puritanicaloo.

Ann Althouse said...

I wouldn't be willing to use a toilet with sensors monitoring my every move and programmed to fling the door open if it decides I'm not doing it according to society's norms.

paminwi said...

“By the way, since when are we calling sex "anti-social"?”
Sex in a public bathroom IS anti-social and no “moderate liberal” is going to tell me otherwise. have your sex in a place where the public doesn’t have to see it.

Tank said...

I'm guessing that there is a certain subset of human beings who would see this as a challenge to either: (1) do "it" without getting caught or (2) do "it" and put on a show. I guess that's really two subsets.

Tank would not be in those subsets.

Bob Boyd said...

I wasn't having sex Officer. I swear. There was a bee crawling on me!

rhhardin said...

Send in two dogs. Water is traditional there. Youtube it. ??? Profit.

Bob Boyd said...

You could build a game show around this concept.

Howard said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

I wouldn't be willing to use a toilet with sensors monitoring my every move and programmed to fling the door open if it decides I'm not doing it according to society's norms.


Are you going into a known male pubic sex toilet? Nothing changes except they get to move to the bushes near the kiddie park

tcrosse said...

Starbucks is interested.

Andrew said...

I was there when Althouse jumped the shark.

Bob Boyd said...

Porthcawl is for lovers.

Glen Filthie said...

Stop clutching at your pearls A-house. Crap in your pants if the thought of a computerized outhouse frightens you.

Being a real man myself... any computerized crapper that wants to get stupid with me...will get the worst of it.

gspencer said...

Maybe the city should send in fellow Brit Peter Fallow to see if it's all true.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Unless public toilets* are waaaay bigger than the ones in the U.S.A. No one who weighs 400 pounds is gonna fit into the stall or be able to close the door.

I am assuming that the "public toilet" means those that are available on the streets and in parks. Like in a public park or porta-poties at a fairs.

Not those bathrooms that are available inside of private establishments that cater to the public. Those facilities have other ways to discourage people having sex in places where others need to use the bathroom. ;-0

Even so, if you are that damned fat or need to have an assistant to help you toilet, you are not the common person and some handicap or obese (which is the same as handicapped ecxept you did it to yourself) toilets can be provided.

Darrell said...

Spray mercaptan in there.

Only Anosmiacs could do the deed, then.

Ann Althouse said...

"I am assuming that the "public toilet" means those that are available on the streets and in parks. Like in a public park or porta-poties at a fairs."

These are fancy high-tech facilities. Why would you assume they're like porta-potties?!

The fact is, they may a weight-sensitive flooring to detect when there's more than one person inside. Making it so small only one person would fit is a low-tech option.

Quaestor said...

Public toilets exist to address a societal need, namely the fact that sometimes people are taken short, particularly when they spend a good deal of time outdoors, like on a construction site or a seaside tourist town such as Porthcawl, and need a safe, reasonable clean place to do it out of the direct view of passersby. Providing for that need is certainly more social than anti-social alternatives like taking a dump just anywhere, such as a public sidewalk or a private vestibule. (I know what you're thinking, however, discussion of the corollary anti-social nature of San Francisco, Portland, Austin, and other Democrat-controlled cities belong elsewhere.)

To monopolize a public convenience established to address a public health need, i.e. a social good, just to serve one's untempered private lust is anti-social. This should be obvious, and the fact that we are having a discussion prompted by ...since when are we calling sex "anti-social"? is just another example of the Boomer sophistry that is destroying the West. There are many sexual situations that are entirely anti-social.

As for Porthcawl's anti-sex port-a-pees, it's a stupid and dangerous non-solution to a minor aspect of a grave social problem knawing at the very roots of civilization. That being said it would have been interesting if the Oval Office had been similarly equipped in 1993. Much of the agonies of the Left could have been avoided if a drenched Bill and Monica had been dumped unceremoniously into Pennsylvania Avenue.

Michael K said...

the Boomer sophistry that is destroying the West. "Luxury Beliefs" of the rich.

JackWayne said...

Antisocial by Anthrax

You're a train ride to no importance
You're in love with hell existence
Money is all that you desire
Why don't you pack it in and retire
It's common nature you can't fool me
I'm just the money that you can't let free
Rainy day genius clouds your mind
Don't you realize the blind lead the blind
You're anti, you're antisocial
Oh mister time will you ever unwind
Or just rebuild a new design
Your claim to fame is low and order
The rich get rich, the poor get poor
You put a price tag on what you see
This one's for you, that's for me
If that's winning I'd rather lose
Why don't you listen to my senseless views
You're anti, you're antisocial
How do you feel?
You're a train ride to no importance
You're in love with hell existence
Money is all that you desire
Why don't you pack it in and retire
It's common nature you can't fool me
I'm just the money that you can't let free
Rainy days genius clouds your mind
Don't you realize the blind lead the blind
You're anti, you're antisocial
Antisocial

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Public toilets are disgusting. How would anyone feel aroused in a stinky nappy-coochie toilet stall?
Get a room.
There's an idea. Free sex stalls. You tax dollars hard at work.



Howard said...

Blogger Darrell said...

Spray mercaptan in there.

Only Anosmiacs could do the deed, then.


You nailed Mom right through the Ajna Chakra

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

What if the "sex in the toilet" thing is just an excuse? Or, just one small part of the current problem. It could be that the point is to convert to pay toilets ("Visitors will have to pay to use the toilets but the charge has not been decided") to stop them being used for drug use and to cut down on vandalism.

William said...

This is not my area of expertise but don't phone apps obviate the need for public bathroom hook-ups? I can't imagine there anything inherently erotic about public bathrooms. George Michael, I like to think, was the exception and not the rule.... Maybe they should install public sex rooms where people could go relieve their libidinal urges. Don't you just hate it when you're out touring some picturesque Welsh town and one of those libidinal urges hits you and you don't know where to go.

rcocean said...

Just do your jumping jacks outside and you'll be fine. As for the weight, just post a sticker. Weight limit: 350 lbs. Of course, this won't stop dwarf pedophiles like Roman Polanski.

rcocean said...

Why go high tech? Just have a bathroom attendant and a garden hose.

jaydub said...

It's a slow Sunday morning and I've finished the NYT crossword so I decided to look into this story since it reeked of BS. After a couple of minutes of searching I found that this is just The Guardian being The Guardian and using click bait to spread fake news.

Turns out the public toilet issue has been going on for at least a year after their operation and maintenance was passed to the local town councils by the county. The towns in the county that now operate the county's six free public toilets don't have the money to pay for the attendants that maintain and clean the toilets; so, they're either being replaced with pay toilets (50p per use) like in Griffin Park or town councils are paying select local businesses 500 pounds per year to allow the public to use the business's toilets. The attendants are apparently required to keep people from "roughing" (sleeping) in them, to prevent vandalism and also to discourage sexual activity. The BBC reported the story this way "Plans say people would be able to use the cubicles for a set time to deter rough sleepers, dousing equipment would be installed to prevent smoking and drug-taking and walls and floors would be graffiti-resistant." The weight limit is apparently intended to 1) keep multiple from entering at the same time, hence avoiding payment of the 50p, and 2) to ensure the self cleaning spray system from activating with someone in the toilet (for cleaning the toilet is locked for ten minutes while the spray system does the cleaning.) It is not explicitly stated but the opening of the doors and alarm sounding appears to occur at the time the weight limit is exceeded on entry, not while conducting one's business. But BBC also used the click bait headline "Porthcawl public toilet plan includes anti-sex measures." Anyway AA readers will be happy to know that this Guardian story is mainly a bunch of crap. Who would have thought it?

Narayanan said...

Calls for Missionary Impossible scenario.

Tom Cruise for the caper.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I would be more concerned with the high pressure floor and wall washer going off by mistake. A public toilet that automatically hoses itself down does seem like a bright idea. Sensors to make sure no one is in it when it runs is a next logical step. But programming the sensors to hose down the undesirables, that’s diabolical. But if you come upon the toilet and it’s too dirty to use, and a little jumping up and down sets it off ... I can see how some people might get off on that.

Fernandistein said...

Cool people have sex in toilets in Swansea, not in yucky Porthcawl.

...Guardian story is mainly a bunch of crap. Who would have thought it?

I trust the Mirror to deliver timely and accurate giant rat news.

Fernandistein said...

accurate giant rat news.

"Huge RAT causes chaos in restaurant as diners scream in terror"

"Huge" is a British-English term meaning "ordinary" in the US, and "scream in terror" is a British term for "laugh". You just have to know how to speak British.

Narayanan said...

Just you wait.

I'm telling on British media to Snopes.com

Ice Nine said...

Before I can even get very far contemplating this new nanny toilet, someone has to explain to me who on earth would have sexual intercourse in a public toilet. And, porta-potties? Good god, really? Geez, I find them to be generally revolting for doing what they are designed for in them. Is it just me? I can't get past the placement of the receptive partner's face, for starters...

Skeptical Voter said...

Fifteen years ago I stepped into a public restroom in a park in Exeter England (we were on vacation). There was some strange blue lighting in the men's room. A sign on the wall said the lighting was there to discourage anti-social behavior.

Sounds like the authorities have had to up their game.

But it still puzzles me as to how that blue light was supposed to affect behavior.

Ken B said...

Who paid for these? The Hotel Owners Association?

Original Mike said...

"I wouldn't be willing to use a toilet with sensors monitoring my every move and programmed to fling the door open if it decides I'm not doing it according to society's norms."

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Fernandistein said...

All this talk about sex and spraying...

"A monster 21-inch long rat found behind a row of shops is thought to be the biggest ever caught in the UK." (w/tail not aligned to end of tape measure)

Whereas the non-monster sized rats are normally a minuscule 20 inches long.

Oso Negro said...

@ rhhardin - I think two dogs is exactly the problem in question here. It’s not a pair of bitches or a dog plus a bitch.

jaydub said...

LBOTC: "But programming the sensors to hose down the undesirables, that’s diabolical. But if you come upon the toilet and it’s too dirty to use, and a little jumping up and down sets it off ... I can see how some people might get off on that."

You'll be happy to know neither of your concerns is valid. The spray is for the self cleaning mechanism; a mist is used for the anti smoking/over-staying-the-time-limit notification. I can't find any reference to the weight sensors being used to prevent sexual activity - they're there to prevent jumping the turnstile, the cleaning system activating with the people in the unit and vandalizing of the toilets which is where the violent movements would come about. I think people are just assuming that's part of the program because that was one role of the physical attendants that are being replaced, that's what the click bait infers and that's what was needed to get you worked up. Relax it's the Guardian.

jaydub said...

AA: "Anti-social" is defined in my dictionary (the OED) as "Opposed to the principles on which society is constituted." And "antisocial personality disorder" is "a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial (often criminal) and aggressive or violent behaviour, typically beginning in childhood and persisting into adult life, and accompanied by an inability to feel remorse or to sustain lasting personal relationships and often by misuse of alcohol or other drugs." That doesn't sound like sex."

You'll be pleased to know the term antisocial behavior was being applied to acts of vandalism, roughing and the like and not to sex acts. Don't take this as criticism but less time parsing the OED and more time investigating the click bait headlines might have shown that to be the case. I do always learn something from the OED squirrel chases,so I appreciate the side trips.

Birkel said...

What's to stop some miscreant on the outside from shaking the structure?

Marc said...

How is the use of public toilets for purposes other than that intended not anti-social? While I understand that 'anti-social behavior' io a not-necessarily well-defined category, perhaps susceptible to misuse, that's no reason not to identify some acts that clearly are.

'Boomer sophistry', maybe, although Althouse's observations about the operating issues aren't that. Amongst a certain population it may be, however, that there is a presumption that this sort of thing is targeting 'already persecuted' homosexuals. But the Guardian article doesn't raise that consideration (or non-consideration).

Michael K said...

someone has to explain to me who on earth would have sexual intercourse in a public toilet.

San Francisco prostitutes (Sorry, "Sex Workers.") who used the public toilets that were placed as an experiment. Having avoided SFO for the past ten years, I can't comment on the present situation.

bagoh20 said...

The speed and innovation with which the homeless will figure out how to overcome these features will once again prove that homelessness for many is just a choice.

WK said...

It will become a destination for people who have a “having sex while being sprayed with water while alarms sound” fetish. Attractive nuisance.

tcrosse said...

These will never be allowed in the USA unless they are wheelchair-accessible.

James K said...

Making it so small only one person would fit is a low-tech option.

I don't know about Wales, but here the ACA probably requires them to be wheelchair accessible, hence large enough for two people. Hence the potential for hanky-panky.

jaydub said...

Here is the wheel chair accessible version installed in NYC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Msxahf5iN1E


madAsHell said...

Why am I suddenly reminded of this?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

“Now, I'm reduced to picturing legitimate excretory maneuvers that could offend the temperamental toilet.”

I’m glad you can picture them because I can’t. And I’ve heard some strange and terrible things emanating from the stalls of Wal-Mart and rest area bathrooms. Hell, even urinating at Wal-Mart seems to be a task that, for some, requires an elaborate series of groans, sighs, and at least one expectoration. It’s all part of the general decline of the public space. Toileting as neck tattoo.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

I've used public toilets in Europe that had automatic spray-downs - but they weren't activated until after the user(s) left.

AA: By the way, since when are we calling sex "anti-social"?

What could be more pro-social than a couple (or better yet, a group) of people going at it on your front lawn on a fine summer afternoon?

But I know you're trolling us here. [Insert lawyerly trolling on public accommodation vs. private property...]

But lol at the people here who think it's "puritanical" to object to people having sex in public facilities that other people want to use for their intended purposes.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

William said:
" I can't imagine there anything inherently erotic about public bathrooms. George Michael, I like to think, was the exception and not the rule.."

Actually, it's pretty common for gay men to have sex in public bathrooms. I remember hearing that the men's room at Union Station in DC was quite a hot spot. And yeah, I can't imagine a less erotic setting for sex.

I also don't get how exactly one goes about finding a stranger to have sex with in a men's room in Union Station, given that plenty of straight men use it as well. First, you have to make sure that the man you want to have sex with is gay and then you have to make sure that he's interested in having sex with you in a bathroom stall. Do you just walk up to the guy and ask him point-blank? Or is there some sort of "nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean?" code? The gay men I knew in DC never elaborated on this.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

AA: Now, I'm reduced to picturing legitimate excretory maneuvers that could offend the temperamental toilet.

The existing technology for motion-activated automatic flushing seems to be pretty wonky (walk in the stall: flush; shift weight slightly to reach toilet paper: flush; leave stall: flush...), so I imagine that the automatic operations described here have great comic potential.

LTC Ted said...

Has anyone notified Orwell's "Junior Anti-Sex League" of its victory?

Michael The Magnificent said...

Apparently, anonymous sex in public bathrooms is a gay thing:
Cottaging

Witness Larry Craig

ALP said...

Theory: most women are not into having sex in dirty public bathrooms. And don't try and tell me these are exceptionally clean bathrooms. So - this is really about deterring male/gay public sex - but they just aren't being up front about it.

Mark said...

Making it so small only one person would fit is a low-tech option.

Wouldn't work for those who have "a wide stance."

ken in tx said...

Blue light in the washroom is thought to make it harder for drug users to find their veins. Also, ALP is probably correct.

traditionalguy said...

It's Wales, Jake.

stlcdr said...

This is Britain at the height of civilization: as they, and those that hate the US, are constantly trying to remind us, they are better than us. Whelp, here you go.

Marc said...

We didn't really mean to install these; we really didn't. We were 'misinterpreted'.