'Sitzpinklers': Where in Europe do men sit down, or stand up, to pee?

A man sitting on the toilet.
A man sitting on the toilet. Copyright Canva Stock Images
By Euronews
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Arguments are growing that men should sit down to urinate - with some experts saying it is good for health and the family toothbrushes - but where are they heeding this advice?

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Data from YouGov has shed light on where in Europe men are most likely to sit down to pee. 

The British polling agency surveyed 13 countries to find out men's peeing preferences, revealing a stark divide between the sit and sit-nots around the world.  

YouGov says it was prompted to correct a "glaring omission" in its data, after a journalist called it out for not having any data on how many British men sat down to urinate. 

That's despite a number of claims surrounding the benefits of the practice for mental and physical well-being, besides more amicable relations with women in the house.  

YouGov's data found that German men are the most likely to sit down to pee, with 62% saying they do so "every time" or "most times". Sweds are the second most likely European men to do so. 

In Germany, these men are known as "sitzpinklers" meaning somebody who sits while urinating. 

There are debates inside the country about whether men should sit or stand. Some toilets have signs forbidding standing up, though the term sitzpinkler implies it is not masculine behaviour. 

Some of the worst offenders were in Poland and the UK, where only 27% and 24% of men peed sitting down. 

Studies have shown that the practice is better for men's health. Researchers from Leiden University Medical Center found in 2014 it helped the bladder empty faster and more completely - something which is beneficial for those with lower urinary tract problems and enlarged prostate.

“The sitting voiding position is preferable to the standing,” they wrote. 

There are many arguments that sitting down is also better for mental health, giving men time to pause and reflect in a quiet space. 

The YouGov data also looked at countries beyond Europe in places like Asia, South America and Oceania. 

In its data, Mexican males were the most likely country to say they "never" sat down at 36%. However, Europe mean were runners-up, with 33% of British men saying the same - tied with Poland. 

Viewing places where men "always" sit down to pee, Australia is the next most enthusiastic adopter after Germany, where 25% of men do so. 

The practice is better for a household's health and hygiene, eliminating the chance of urine getting on the floor. 

Quoted in the Guardian newspaper, Tadd Truscott, an American mechanical engineer, says there is also a risk urine can end up on nearby toothbrushes, due to "satellite droplets" splashing off at "very large angles". 

While urine is mostly sterile, he says "droplets are quite capable of harbouring bacteria", such as E coli from faeces. 

And the trend is rising in some places too. Beyond Europe, a separate poll from 2020 shows that 70% of men in Japan sit - up from 51% five years ago. 

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YouGov said its results produced some "noticeable generational differences". 

Older German men aged 55 and above are particularly likely to always sit down to wee (49%) compared to 28% of 18-34-year-olds.

In the UK, the pattern is reversed. Older men are much more likely than their younger counterparts to say they "never" sit down to wee, at 40% vs 23%. 

The same is true in Australia (38% vs 24%) and the USA (35% vs 21%).

Some in feminist and left-wing circles say sitting down to pee is more respectful towards women, believing ideas of patriarchy encourage men to behave more inconsiderately in the bathroom.

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Those on the right may claim the practice represents a domestication of men, with their more "masculine" traits suppressed at the expense of more "feminine behaviours".

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