Should we encourage men to pee sitting down to be more inclusive?

Standing while urinating for most men has always been a no brainer and this posture has never been questioned especially in the western world. However, with the recent changes, acceptability, and popularity of the LGBTQ movement, this position has been called into question. This is because the male gender has been expanded to also include the trans gender men. These men cannot urinate standing and it can be pretty awkward for them in a male public urinal. There are increasing calls for provision of private stalls in public urinals to accommodate such men, or better still, why can’t all men be encouraged to pee while sitting down? This may send a message of inclusiveness to the trans men.

It is also interesting to note that in Islam, men pee squatting or sitting down. According to a Muslim question and answer website, while it is not compulsory to do this, it is strongly recommended, reasons given are to prevent exposing of genitals and splashing of urine that can occur if one urinates while standing up, especially in a urinal. So sitting while peeing is not entirely a new thing for men.

Below are the pros and cons of urinating in both positions for men.

Why do men traditionally urinate standing up?

The anatomy of the male urethra which is located outside the body, just in front of the pubic bone, with the scrotum dangling below it, is pivotal in the urination posture of men. This makes it very convenient and easy for men to simply bring it out and urinate, unlike the female whose urethra is located in an integral part of the body.

What are the pros of urinating standing for men?

The main pro for urinating while standing for men is convenience. It is easy to simply whip out the penis and urinate without going through the hassle of undressing like the female.

Urinating while standing can also make it easier to notice if there is a problem with the urinary stream. Poor urinary stream in children is usually caused by the posterior urethral valve while an enlargement of the prostate is a common cause of a weak stream in the adult male. These conditions are best noticed early and treated to avoid complications.

Lastly, though it has not been substantiated by research, there is also a feeling of ‘brotherhood’ and social cohesion the occurs when men pee standing up, a sort of validation of their ‘maleness’.

What are the cons of urinating while standing?

Increased splash back. Urinating standing up, allows the urine to come at a higher velocity, leading to higher chances of splash back of urine. According to the BBC science news, a research by a group of urologists and physicist reports that the male urine stream breaks up about 6-7 inches outside the urethra exit, and by the time it hits the urinal, it is already in droplet form. And these droplets are the perpetrators of the puddles and residue of urine left on the floor especially of public urinals. This is both unsightly and unhygienic. It can also drop on clothing. The urine/water combination that lands on floors and walls, can also cause corrosion of the surfaces and the malodor problems found in men’s restrooms.

The splash back is worse especially in older men who have tremors, eye sight issues and cannot ‘aim’ accurately. Children also often aim wrongly and are more prone to messing the bathroom.

Social problems. The splash back associated with urinating standing occasionally causes social problems with the female partners of the males especially if they do not raise the toilet seat up. A study done in 2007 among married men reported that 42 per cent of married men sat down to pee, mostly to avoid problems with their wives!

Urinating standing especially in a public urinal usually exposes the penis and can also be  associated with a condition called paruresis (shy bladder syndrome) where a person finds it difficult or impossible to urinate when other people are around  for fear of public opinion.

What are the Pros of Urinating while sitting?

Urinating while sitting has been associated with better voiding. This was concluded by a study which stated that in men with lower urinary tract symptoms, the sitting position is associated with a trend towards a more favorable urodynamic profile: increased urinary flow rate, reduced residual urine in the bladder after urination, and reduced time spent urinating, than in the standing position. This effect was however not found in healthy men where it was reported that the urinating posture did not make any difference.

Better sexual health. The improvement of prostate health associated with sitting while urinating also extends to the sexual health. A reduction in the symptoms of enlarged prostate leads to better sexual functioning in men.

Reduced splash back. The sitting position has also been associated with reduced chances of a splash back and its attendant unpleasant consequences.

Higher chance of privacy. Urinating while sitting also increases the chances of privacy while urinating.

More inclusiveness. This position for all males will also foster a better sense of inclusiveness for the trans males. There are increasing calls for this by the LGBTQ community to reduce stigma for the trans males.

Convenient for men that cannot stand for long. Men with gait or joint issues, especially the older men who cannot stand for long would benefit better from sitting while urinating than standing.

What are the cons of urinating while sitting?

The main issue associated with urinating while sitting is its lack of convenience for men. However, if it is considered that women also sit while peeing, this may not be such a strong point.

The other issue associated with sitting while urinating is that is not very socially acceptable in some climes, and may lead to feelings of isolation and occasionally bullying, especially among young people.

In summary, choice of position to take while urinating is basically a personal one and the debate still rages. However, choose one that makes you most comfortable, with less issues.