Kindly explain other men's urethras please
April 6, 2009 11:09 AM   Subscribe

What's going on with the guys at the urinal who can barely pee?

I've stood next to them, on-and-off, my entire public-washroom-using life: normal-looking dudes who sidle up to the urinal next to me, unzip, and then start gasping and moaning like they're giving birth while squeezing out what sounds like thimblefuls of urine. Today I was doing my business when the guy at the next head starting orgasmically wheezing "Ohhhhh yeah, unnnnhhh . . . " while passing a few dozen pee-molecules at a time and my curiosity finally got the better of me.

What the hell's going on? Do all these guys have prostate problems? They don't appear to cluster by age. Am I the only one noticing that something like one in every ten male urinators seems to have this problem?
posted by hayvac to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I get stage fright sometimes, for no apparent reason. Not much of a gasper/moaner though.

I used to console myself by thinking that the other guys in there didn't notice.

Thanks for taking that away from me.
posted by davey_darling at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2009 [8 favorites]

Sounds like prostate to me.. but I'm not a doc and there could be a lot of different things going on...
posted by MattScully at 11:17 AM on April 6, 2009

Response by poster: I'm not talking about the guys who just (silently) take a while. We normals just snicker and point at them behind their backs.
posted by hayvac at 11:18 AM on April 6, 2009

I have never encountered anything like you describe. Gasping? Moaning? Wheezing?


I too have used urinals all my life. I've worked the last ten years in big office buildings with lots of different people, too.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:19 AM on April 6, 2009

There's such a thing as paruresis, or "shy bladder."
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:20 AM on April 6, 2009

Sounds like prostate to me.. but I'm not a doc and there could be a lot of different things going on...

Stagefright. The equipment down there has little valves to turn pee off and this is isn't under conscious control.
posted by mrt at 11:20 AM on April 6, 2009

The equipment down there has little valves to turn pee off and this is isn't under conscious control.

Practice, grasshopper.

Seconding stagefright.
posted by rokusan at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2009

One in ten seems high. I've definitely seen this, but I've only noticed it as older men, and it's a one in 50 kind of event for me. So I always assumed it was prostate issues, and felt bad for the poor saps.
posted by Grither at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Prostate problems are one possibility, as are a range of bladder problems.

Then there's the possibility that they're borderline exhibitionists who hope that the groaning and carrying on will make you take a peek at their junk.
posted by CKmtl at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Adult male here with a history of peeing in public restrooms; fwiw, I have never once encountered anything like the bizarre behavior the poster describes.
posted by ornate insect at 11:24 AM on April 6, 2009

passing a stone maybe? i've never had to deal with it. overly friendly at-the-urinal convo-while-peeing types, yes, and that is awkward. but not i haven't noticed a lot of guys making noises while having a hard time. not really sure how common passing a stone is, and if that's something the only happens to older guys.
posted by molecicco at 11:24 AM on April 6, 2009

The tone of this question is a bit demeaning to those that struggle with this, especially the poster's comment later of "We normals just snicker and point at them behind their backs."

What's the point here?
posted by HuronBob at 11:25 AM on April 6, 2009

Best answer: UTI? Never had one, but they're supposed to hurt like hell.
posted by jquinby at 11:26 AM on April 6, 2009

Best answer: It could be particularly pleasurable pee shivers.
posted by Picklegnome at 11:33 AM on April 6, 2009

i think jquinby has it right. men i know have had a urinary tract infection and it makes peeing hurt like hell. way more common than stone passing i assume.
posted by molecicco at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2009

Mod note: few comments remoeved - not a great question but you don't need to make it worse. metatalk: still available, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2009

I've encountered this at work. The guys don't seem shy about it at all, they just squeeze out a little bit at a time, with pauses. No moaning, groaning, or any other kind of show of difficulty or pain. Just slow progress with interruptions.

FWIW, I work in an office, and I think every guy I've seen do this was Indian, in his 30s or 40s. There are a lot of Indian guys at my office, however, and not even close to every Indian guy has this issue. But there's definitely more than one who does.

I started paying attention after the first couple of times I noticed this happening. Still no clue what the deal is.
posted by qvtqht at 12:35 PM on April 6, 2009

I notice this often as well.
I'm oddly self-conscious about the sound my pee makes. I have a pretty thin stream going... but, others have some high powered fire hose in their trousers that pummels the porcelain. It makes me feel inadequate. But, this self-consciousness makes me pay attention more to others ... and I have what one might call... a penis fetish.

I'd say 1 in 10 is spot on.
These guys are real. It's not stage fright because there is rarely any nervous body language associated with the episodes, plus I have my own performance anxiety and I don't do the start/stop/start/stop. And it's not "I've been holding this for the past 2 hours and it feels SO good to let the river flow" pleasure moans. It's more of like, effort moans.
It's little squirts or little trickles, and it can take them a long time.

Just this weekend I was at the mall, walked into the restroom and saw a guy (late 20's) at the urinal. I had to do the 2 so I hopped into the only free stall which was next to him. I'm actually self conscious about doing that too so I figured I'd wait until he left. 5 minutes later he's still standing there barely peeing out any drops and I'm clenching praying for him to leave.
Another 2 minutes later I give up and let go.
I finish, wash my hands, and the dude is still standing there pissing out these tiny squirts.
I just felt bad for him. He didn't look like he was in pain or nervous, just bored and tired.

The grunters, I've noticed, tend to release a little with each grunt. Similar to the moaners. I've always thought kidney stones, but, prostates and UTIs make more ense.
posted by simplethings at 1:01 PM on April 6, 2009

You're no doubt young and healthy and have no idea of the various problems (other than the commonly-known prostrate problems) that people can develop with age and injury that can cause this. People rarely talk about bathroom problems, and unless you develop one yourself or are close to someone who does, you have no idea how many people struggle such personal issues. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries are just a couple of things that can cause this problem. Even if the person seems normal to you, they could be affected in this way without being paralyzed. I think that diabetes can cause this, and possibly kidney disease.

It's not fun to deal with things like this - peeing is a pretty essential part of life, obviously, and if it's difficult or time-consuming, it can be inconvenient at the very least. But believe me, if it ever happens to you, you'll regret those snickers. As far as the moaners and groaners - I hardly know what to say except that a lot of guys don't care what anyone thinks of them.
posted by onemorething at 1:29 PM on April 6, 2009

I think the inability to pee in public is fairly common! Ironically, I had this issue only while young, and it wasn't really conscious fear, like another said, the "valve" simply did not open.

I finally got tired of this phenomenon, as I was a regular at Wrigley Field in the 60's and later. The urinals then (and maybe still) were 50 foot long troughs. Men stood elbow to elbow with a crowd of folks waiting behind. I got "tired" of this fear, and like so many other things in life, simply "decided" that it was ridiculous and trifle. I could pee in front of the Pope today...
posted by private_idaho at 3:05 PM on April 6, 2009

The gasping and moaning thing happened to me once. I thought he was trying to hit on me.
posted by pointilist at 3:37 PM on April 6, 2009

Response by poster: For anyone still interested in this topic, someone privately directed me an old Savage Love column, apparently available only in Google's cache, that deals with this.

I have recently started working in an office building that is filled with straight men. Now that I am surrounded by straight men, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon and there's something I have to ask: Dan, what's up with all the grunting, groaning and loud exhalation when straight men piss? Every time I use the toilet in this joint, there is some straight guy making all kinds of noise taking a piss. What gives? I never notice this at my happy little homo gym. Are these guys all ravaged with gonorrhea? Do they have prostates the size of grapefruits? What causes straight men pain when they piss?
Gonna Get Me Some Earplugs

The noisy pissers you work with, GGMSE, are not in pain. In fact, there's nothing wrong with them at all--no, there's something wrong with you. You see, for straight boys, bathrooms at school or work are extensions of the boys-only tree houses they frequented as children. Young straight boys in tree houses--and then in locker rooms or on camping trips--tend feel awkward about their bodily functions, which they compensate for by boldly burping, insisting that farts are funny and making a production number out of a piss. Then the boys grow up, become men and while most stop farting in public (in case there are women around they might wanna fuck), they go right on making a piss a production when they're alone with the guys. As boys, GGMSE, most gay men were excluded from tree houses and locker rooms and camping trips. Consequently, we missed out on the farts-are-hilarious/listen-to-me-piss socialization that our straight male counterparts subjected each other to. I don't know about you, GGMSE, but personally I'm glad I was at home memorizing the score of Cats and not trapped in some filthy tree house learning how to light farts or gulp air and belch at will. The straight guys at work aren't making those noises because they're in pain, GGMSE, but because they're reenacting childish male bonding rituals that you, as a budding young faggot, were excluded from. What to do? If you're not out to your co-workers, play along or risk a swirly. If you are out, well, then mockery is called for. When a straight male co-worker comes in and starts "ah, yeah"-ing his way through a piss, join in: "Ah, yeah. Feels goooooooood. Oh, yeah, urinal. Take my hot piss, all of it, ooohhh, yyyeeeaaahhh." That should shut 'em up.

posted by hayvac at 3:56 PM on April 6, 2009

That Savage Love column is bunk. I'm a straight male, have 3 brothers, and plenty of straight male friends who have no need to grunt and moan when we take a leak.

Farts are funny. My favorite is letting a silent-but-deadly in the car and then asking my brother if he's wearing cologne and sniffing in an encouraging, curious manner. And yeah, we try to avoid it in front of chicks, that's just proper manners.

You're probably just drinking more water than your office mates. Most people are under-hydrated.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:40 PM on April 6, 2009

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