What the differences between how and when men and women shower?
September 23, 2004 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this question, I'm wondering about the differences between men and women when it comes to showering. My boyfriend showers at least once a day...often two of three times. I usually do it every other day or so.

I also wash my hair every time I shower....he doesn't. Maybe that has something to do with it? I don't find that either of us are any stinkier than the other pre-showering....so what gives?
posted by amandaudoff to Grab Bag (53 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Once a day, sometimes twice on a hot sweaty day, wash hair almost everyday, skip maybe once or twice a week.
Male, married 33
posted by signal at 12:53 PM on September 23, 2004

I would say it has something to do with our clenliness-obsessed culture, but I will go with - "because he likes to shower?"
posted by Quartermass at 1:04 PM on September 23, 2004

Although I've noticed that it might be a gender thing...
posted by amandaudoff at 1:11 PM on September 23, 2004

Once a day, or more often if I feel all sweaty and gross.
posted by kenko at 1:17 PM on September 23, 2004

I shower every day. I always wash my hair.

23, Male.
posted by esch at 1:19 PM on September 23, 2004

Daily (unless I'm not doing anything that requires seeing someone I know). Always in the morning (it helps clear my sinuses). Wash hair every time (otherwise it starts looking greasy about halfway through day 2). Female, 26.
posted by LeiaS at 1:20 PM on September 23, 2004

More than once a day is rare for me, although if it's hot or I've done something to get especially grimy I might hop in the water again.

I occasionally skip a day if I'm pressed for time or just lumping around the house, but by the end of the second day I feel pretty grubby,
posted by majick at 1:22 PM on September 23, 2004

Hmm, I'm female and shower every other day, washing my hair every time. I do notice extra stink, but... well I guess I think my smelliness is within acceptable levels. I've had 2 female roommates, one is a neat freak and showers every day, the other showered every other day and didn't use deoderant.
posted by lychee at 1:27 PM on September 23, 2004

Every day, Male, 29. Always have. But then, I'm greasy.
posted by Capn at 1:32 PM on September 23, 2004

I bathe twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. The morning one is really more of a wake-up device than anything else, though. If I've been working out, I take a quick shower afterwards. I wash my hair once every 3 or 4 days - any more often than that, and it gets frizzy and unmanagable. Female, 26.
posted by vorfeed at 1:36 PM on September 23, 2004

Once or twice daily. Usually because I just worked out, though. I think women sweat less than men on average, due to greater surface area to volume ratio if nothing else.
posted by callmejay at 1:39 PM on September 23, 2004

At least once a day, twice or maybe even three times if its a hot icky sweaty Texas summer day. My wife showers every other day or so, and never gets stinky..
posted by mrbill at 1:41 PM on September 23, 2004

I shower whenever I'm dirty.

As a pixel-pusher, I sit on my ass most days and don't feel too unclean. If I go for a hike or do much manual labor, of course, I'll shower. I always wash and condition my (very long) hair when I shower.

I think shower & deodorant obsessed culture in the US is weird sorta weird. It seems like it should be okay to smell like a human vs. some weird fake chemical flower.

I'm 28, married, and male.
posted by maniactown at 1:46 PM on September 23, 2004

If I've been very sedentary, every other day will do. If I've been actively touching dirt or have been sweating, as often as necessary. If I've been pulling poison oak, as soon as possible. I also shower in the winter when I'm cold just to warm myself up.
posted by sageleaf at 1:55 PM on September 23, 2004

I almost always shower before I go to bed. Call it a courtesy. I work at a desk during the day but I tend to work outside a lot at night, or in the garage, or with the dogs, so I just feel better knowing I'm clean. If I work out in the morning I will shower then too, so sometimes twice a day. The morning shower usually does not involve washing my (meager, to the point of being irrelevant) hair. I think I was my hair out of habit. Not only am I losing it, but it's generally cropped shorter than 1/2" so probably not much point.

Male 27 Married
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:55 PM on September 23, 2004

Male, 37 (this "shower question" is better than an A/S/L check---I sense a cunning plan).

You don't want to be near me if I haven't showered in the morning. I like to bathe after exercise too, so twice a day is common. But really, it's all about feeling "fresh". That, and getting to stand under hot water for twenty minutes.
posted by bonehead at 1:59 PM on September 23, 2004

Male, 33, married, telecommuter, real shower & hair wash only every three or four days. But I swim almost every day, and often take a hot bath to relax before bed, so I'm usually not all that stinky. If I'm going out somewhere, I almost always take a shower and shave first. (Which tells you how often I go out anywhere.)
posted by ook at 2:09 PM on September 23, 2004

Male, 30. Once to wake up, once again if I run. About 12 showers a week. I wash my hair with the soap. Don't tell my fiancee.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:43 PM on September 23, 2004

I bathe once a day, sometimes twice in the summer. Anyone who bathes less than once a day is a dirty, dirty hippy.

posted by luriete at 2:54 PM on September 23, 2004

::flaunts filthy knitted dreadsack::
posted by ook at 3:01 PM on September 23, 2004

Male, 30, cohabitate. Every 3-4 days. Always wash hair. Once I found a deodorant that really works, the desire to run 40 gallons of water down the drain every day diminished. Without that particular brand, though, not even 3 showers a day would be enough to tame my stink. I like to camp, travel, and backpack, and I've learned to adjust to some pretty severe shower-dearth. Going a couple days at home is nothing. Going 12 hours without brushing my teeth, now that's another story.

But I do confess to being a dirty hippie :)
posted by scarabic at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2004

Female, 31. Shower every morning, wash hair everyday aswell so I feel fresh and clean and ready to tackle the day. Shower more if very hot, particularly when I've been stuck on a hot and sweaty tube/train commute home from work.

Seems like most of us a clean bunch.
posted by floanna at 3:18 PM on September 23, 2004

Every morning. Hair every day.
Immediately after I go to the gym.
Every night during the work week. Hair included. Office ick. Like the way you feel after a long flight.
When I know I'm getting laid.
After AA meetings because although I smoke a lot, everyone else does too, and I don't want it on my sheets.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:19 PM on September 23, 2004

Shower everyday (or close to it). I don't EVER shampoo my hair -- it's thick and curly, so shampooing dries it out too much. I just use conditioner, and it's just as clean as it ever was when I shampooed it every day, and in much better shape.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 3:22 PM on September 23, 2004

Shower every morning, and then again at night when i get home--if it's hot out, or i have a date, or plans, or anything, or just need thinking time. : >

Hair shampooed every other shower, give or take.
posted by amberglow at 3:36 PM on September 23, 2004

True story: backpacking in Florence, hostel's big and packed, probly 2 hundred people in our wing, get in late, thinking 'oh no, there's gonna be a huge line for the showers', go down there's us 2 Chileans and a Korean guy, and like 197 stinky europeans on the floors above us.
Don't get me started on the Paris metro...
posted by signal at 4:23 PM on September 23, 2004

Female, 36, cohabitate. Once a week is the bare minimum for showering, though when I lived in a house with a good bath I'd bathe every night. Showers make me freezing and I just don't need them unless I'm doing serious exercise or going someplace where everyone's smoking. I'm low on apocrine glands. I've washed my hair twice in 2004; I don't even get it wet if I can help it. Dreads don't need it, mine don't anyhow.
posted by jessamyn at 4:25 PM on September 23, 2004

I used to shower and shampoo daily except when backpacking.

That's when I realized that even after a day of packing, I don't stink. I'll be grimey, surely, but not stinky. (The stink sets in a few days later, when the deo has given up all hope.)

That's also when I realized that my hair is a lot better without daily shampooing. Indeed, it has never felt so fine as it does after a few weeks in the wild. It gets so soft and luxurious and just plain nice.

Which is how I've come to realize that daily showers and shampooing are actually pretty bad for the ol' body.

The problem, as I see it, is that your skin and hair are damaged by soap and detergent, so your body is forced to make more, which you just go and destroy again, so you get stuck in this vicious loop of over-compensation.

Once you break the cycle, though, your body goes back to what it's supposed to do.

So now I shampoo only a couple times a week, and use far, far less shampoo as recommended on the bottle. And my hair is healthier than ever. And I focus my soap-use on the bits of my body that tend to breed bacteria: pits, crotch, face, neck. Give a quick swipe of anti-perspirant when my pits are dry, and I'm good to go for a couple of days: no stinky pits, no greasy face.

So my recommendation to all you clean-freaks is this: cut back. Use a good, gentle soap, and cut way back on the hair-washing. It might take a month for things to settle out, but when they do I think there's a good chance you'll have healthier hair and skin.

I'm appalled that so many of you shower a couple times a day. Ferchrissakes, what a waste of water... and a lot of you are living in places where water is going to be the #1 issue over the next decade or so. Give it some thought.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:34 PM on September 23, 2004

Ideally, every day. (A lot more baths than showers these days because I can take the baby in with me.) At least every other day, because I smell and get oily if I don't. Wash my hair every time I shower; it's thin and gets greasy quickly.

In the summer more every day than not; in the winter I go a little longer because I dread getting wet and then being cold. I really need a routine with it, which I only get while I'm visiting people; unless I'm going out somewhere it's pretty much catch as catch can. Female, 27.
posted by Melinika at 4:42 PM on September 23, 2004

Female, 23, married, Alaska. Once every morning (unless I oversleep) where I wash my hair. Immediately after working out where I do not wash my hair.

My husband, 24. Once immediately when he gets home from work where he washes his hair. Sometimes in the morning before work.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:43 PM on September 23, 2004

As a guy, for me, it depends. Sometimes every day. Sometimes every other day. RARELY every 2nd day. NEVER every 3rd day (even if I'm sick in bed).

I always wash my hair with my shower. With a bar of soap. Why not... it's only 3/8" long.

I agree with five fresh fish. Washing too much is unhealthy.
posted by shepd at 4:44 PM on September 23, 2004

Every day, or every other day if I didn't do much. Always after gym or physical activity. I found (and read somewhere) that you shouldn't always shampoo your hair everday, for many people it overdries it (which caused bad flaking for me). I Condition every day or every other day, and shampoo as needed (once or twice a week).

Make sense?
posted by madmanz123 at 4:49 PM on September 23, 2004

Shower everyday during the week. On the weekends, I won't shower at all unless I've got something important going on.

And yet I still look dirty most of the time, somehow.
posted by jonmc at 4:56 PM on September 23, 2004

Hair Wash and shower every day, but over the weekend, I give my body and hair a rest. My hair gets unnaturally greasy if not washed every 24 hours. I stopped using deoderant about 10 years ago, and there's no bad smell (I hope). 35 M
posted by seanyboy at 5:14 PM on September 23, 2004

28, male, not married. Hot shower every couple of days, with shampoo. However, any strenuous physical exertion is followed by a shower. Antiperspirant gives you Alzheimers (aluminum absorbed easily near sweat glands). Sentence fragments? You bet.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:38 PM on September 23, 2004

My hair gets unnaturally greasy if not washed every 24 hours.

No. Your hair gets unnaturally greasy because you wash it every 24 hours.

If you didn't do that it would get naturally greasy, but probably not as quickly as all that.
AFAIK, there is no reliable indication of an aluminum/alzheimers link. And so it should be: aluminum is the most abundant metal in/on the earth. You can't get away from it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:15 PM on September 23, 2004

F, 26. I bathe most days, but skip a day or two pretty often. I take baths about as often as I shower.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:59 PM on September 23, 2004

Scarabic - What kind of deodorant?

I'm 29/Male/Cohabitator. I shower every morning without fail. It takes me weeks to wake up if I don't shower. My hair is mostly gone, but I wash it about once a week.
posted by willpie at 7:39 PM on September 23, 2004

fff: I'm not taking any chances.
"Aluminum, the theory postulated, becomes concentrated in the characteristic lesions (senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) that develop in the brain during the course of the disease. At first, medical scientists thought this theory was absurd. Aluminum, they believed, accumulated merely as a result of a destructive process caused by some other factor.

In recent years, however, the aluminum hypothesis has been gaining respect. For example, studies have discovered a direct association between the level of aluminum in municipal drinking water and the risk of Alzheimer's dementia. One study found aluminum in drinking water was related to only this specific type of dementia; another found that the probability of the association being due to chance was only 1 in 24, with a 46 percent increased risk for people drinking water with the highest aluminum levels.

The use of aluminum-containing antiperspirants--but not the use of antiperspirants and deodorants in general--has also been associated with a risk of Alzheimer's dementia, with a trend toward a higher risk corresponding with increasing frequency of use. This relationship does not extend to aluminum-containing antacids, which may simply be evidence that the aluminum in antacids is not absorbed--the process of absorption through the gut mucosa is quite different from absorption through the skin. "
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:48 PM on September 23, 2004

I would have thought this would vary more with upbringing than gender. Namely, we do what our parents do. I'm on the same shower plan as my parents, which is once a day. I'm not sure about my sister, but I think she might be too.
posted by advil at 7:59 PM on September 23, 2004

gross, gross, gross. i bathe once in the morning to wash my hair and shave and once at night to relax.
posted by centrs at 9:26 PM on September 23, 2004

Suddenly, the "great unwashed masses" takes on new meaning for me... :::shudder:::
posted by rushmc at 9:46 PM on September 23, 2004

Once a day, in the morning, to help me wake up.

Male, 25
posted by drezdn at 10:35 PM on September 23, 2004

When I wake up, to wake up.

After work, to be clean enough to get between my sheets.

If I do a lot of yard work in between, one more time, if I have to go into work that day.
posted by kamylyon at 11:14 PM on September 23, 2004

Female, 37, married - I shower once a day, every day. Hair is washed with every shower. I may shower a second time if I've been doing sweaty work. My husband, who is 53, does the same.
posted by deborah at 11:34 PM on September 23, 2004

For me it depends on the climate & season: in an Italian summer I'd usually shower or bathe twice a day; in a Swedish winter, every other day seems plenty. 35, male, married.
posted by misteraitch at 2:55 AM on September 24, 2004

I'm appalled that so many of you shower less than once a day. What a bunch of stinkies. Question to the males here with a hairy bum, I hope you also use a bidet style toilet. The thought of all that crap getting matted in the hair and turning dry and crunchy is really disgusting.
posted by Meridian at 7:03 AM on September 24, 2004

F 33 - shower and wash hair every other day, though I sometimes also take baths to unwind when I get home from work. Obviously also shower after sweat-inducing activities.

To all those of you who are freaking out that people are showering less than once a day - get a grip and stop buying into consumerism, and quit wasting all that precious water!
posted by widdershins at 7:36 AM on September 24, 2004

Anyone who bathes less than once a day is a dirty, dirty hippy.

gross, gross, gross.


I'm appalled that so many of you shower less than once a day.

Why anyone makes a fuss about how often someone else showers [if they don't smell and you're not trying to get in their pants] is beyond me.
posted by jessamyn at 8:12 AM on September 24, 2004

My husband gets really, really rank if he doesn't shower once a day. I don't sweat all that much so I can go a couple of days without a shower as long as I apply deodorant. We're both 25. It definitely has to do with how much we sweat.

I only wash my hair once a week. More than that and it just gets weird. I do know some people who don't wash their hair at all with shampoo and I tried that for a while, but my hair became way too thick for me to handle.

If you think it's gross, well, that's your own business.
posted by lynda at 10:11 AM on September 24, 2004

Every morning (to wake up), including shampoo, etc.

Some evenings when I get home, particularly if it's hot out and the subway ride has left me feeling gummy and gross.

29-year-old male greaseball.

(My 34-yr-old girlfriend washes her hair every other day, and sometimes showers more often than that, depending again on weather, etc.)
posted by Vidiot at 11:21 AM on September 24, 2004

This is a tricky question because there are so many factors.

1) Cleanliness of the bed sheets. Showers are mandatory for both of us when the sheets are clean and fresh. Towards the end of the week...that's another story.

2) Level of activity. If I have been gardening, depend on it-- I am filthy with mud and sticky from mosquito spray and sun screen. If he has been biking, he needs a shower, because the biking clothes leave him smelling funky. Tennis less so.

3) Companionship factor. Usually, if one of us takes a shower, the other will take one too, even if not required.

Having said that, I doubt we average one shower a day-- call it 5 a week, maybe even less in the winter. We prefer each other's natural smell, and can never be too ripe. The only limitation is having to interact with others and the tackiness of dried sweat.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:20 PM on September 24, 2004

Degree - One or two swipes and it's like being 12 again.
posted by scarabic at 12:07 AM on September 27, 2004

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