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pee hygeiene

A symbol of a man using the restroom and the German flag

A sexist stereotype in America is that men who sit down to pee are less masculine than those who stand while urinating. Some even assume that men who sit down to pee have been emasculated by a woman who wanted to deprive them of their God-given right to pee while standing up.

It’s a little strange that some people’s masculinity is so closely tied to how they use the restroom, but it’s not an uncommon theme throughout the world.

The same stereotype exists in Germany, where men who sit to pee are known as sitzpinklers. However, due to a rapid change in public opinion regarding peeing standing up, most German men now pee sitting down, and being a sitzpinkler is much less of an insult.

Recently, YouGov polled 13 countries worldwide to discover the cultural differences in the sit-versus-stand debate amongst men. The poll found that Germany was, by far, the leader in men who sit while peeing. Sixty-two percent of German men sit to pee every time or most of the time. Sweden came in a distant second, with the country split 50-50 on the issue.

American men prefer standing, with only 23% saying they sit most of the time. The country most likely to stand was Mexico, where 21% sit most time.

Why is it that sitting to pee has taken hold in Germany? It’s become a public health issue, and standing to pee isn’t allowed in some places. This is especially common in areas with communal living, such as an apartment building, because no one wants to clean the pee off the floor. It’s also considered rude by many to stand to pee in another person’s home.

Let’s face it, even men with expert aim are bound to miss occasionally. Plus, anyone who has raised a child knows that even though they are closer to the bowl, they still have a hard time keeping it off the seat and the floor.

In some places in Germany, when a man opens a toilet, an electronic voice (known as the WC-Geist or “toilet ghost” in English) reminds them to please sit while doing their business.

There are some compelling reasons why men should sit down while peeing. A study cited by The Sun found that splashback from urine droplets that hit the hard porcelain and catapult urine up to 10 feet away. Another study from 2021 found that after flushing a urinal, “tens of thousands” of diseased pathogens fly out of the bowl.

A study from The Netherlands found health benefits for men who sit while peeing. In a seated position, men urinate with a greater force, which is beneficial for those with prostate problems and lower urinary tract disease. The greater pressure also means that sitting to pee eliminates the bladder faster and more completely.

Aside from the significant change in public opinion in the sitting-versus-standing debate, more German men may be sitting to pee because it’s easier to look at your phone when your hands are free.