Woman talking to camera(l+r), Man riding mechanical bull(c)

The New York Hall of Science/Flickr @laurageddess/Tiktok (CC-BY)

‘We used to bleach that thing’: Bar worker says careful riding mechanical bull—you can get an STI on it

‘Omg new fear unlocked.’


Stacy Fernandez


People have long wondered if they could contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from a toilet seat. And while it’s practically impossible to get it from a public toilet, there’s a bit more of a chance when riding a mechanical bull.

The question of whether you can get an STI from riding a mechanical bull—a question we couldn’t predict we’d be asking—recently came up during a podcast episode with TikTok star Alix Earle.

During her first year at the University of Miami, Earle went to a tailgate party that had, lo and behold, a mechanical bull at its center. Excited, she rode the bull multiple times in her skirt, “thinking it was the coolest thing anyone’s ever seen,” Pedestrian recapped.

The next day, Earle sees red lumps all over her thighs and immediately worries she has the “bull riding STI” since she’d heard a girl in high school claim she got an STI “all over her legs” after riding a mechanical bull in shorts.

Turns out it likely wasn’t an STI. Earle and her friend ended up self-diagnosing her with rug burn (or saddle burn) from the chaffing of the saddle.

“I 100% I believe this is a thing,” said former country bar worker Laura Geddes in a stitched clip.

Geddes explains that the staff at her bar bleached the mechanical bull before health inspections but didn’t share if it was cleaned with regularity outside of that.

“The amount of people I saw ride that thing and like show it all. Show it all, they’re wearing a dress and they’re not wearing anything else. I am 100% convinced that could be a thing,” Geddes says.

A doctor mostly debunked this in an interview with Pedestrian. He said that while the chances of getting an STI from riding a mechanical bull are low, it’s possible it can happen if someone had a bad case of crabs and transferred it to a hairy saddle.

The other way would be if a rider got on an unsanitized saddle, got tiny abrasions from riding the bull, and someone with an STI and open wound (or who was sweaty) rode it before them.

But this is highly unlikely to happen, the doctor said.

@laurageddess #stitch with @Hot Mess with Alix Earle the things you learn working in the nightclub i dustry #mechanicalbull #kitchenerontario ♬ original sound – Laura Geddes

Geddes’ video has over 1.3 million views and nearly 400 comments as of Wednesday morning.

“In Public Health… can confirm this is a thing at gyms too… boys and girls please wipe down your seats after you sweat on them,” a top comment read.

“Omg new fear unlocked,” a person said.

“This is why I have said I’d never ride one. Who the heck knows what’s on there,” another wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Geddes for comment via Instagram direct message.

The Daily Dot