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Toward a Grand Unifying Theory of Why Men Pee in the Sink

Last week, women on the internet were astounded and repulsed to learn that a significant number of men regularly pee in sinks. (Like the sinks where you wash your hands and face, and brush your teeth.) If you know a substantial number of men, there’s a decent chance there’s a sink-pisser in your life.

The conversation started out innocently enough: Allure deputy editor Sam Escobar asked penis-havers if they have to hold onto their dongs while evacuating their bladders, only to have said penis-havers open up about pissing in the sink.

A similar conversation occurred here in the MEL office when this author noted that he, too, engages in such behavior on occasion, and that he doesn’t believe it’s that big a deal. The exchange went something like this:

Alana Levinson: Wait, you do this, too?!

John: Um …

Alana: John.

John: It’s a nice change of pace sometimes! Variety is the spice of life, right?

Alana: [Blinks.]

John: I mean, I don’t do it often. I’ve never done it here at work. But sometimes you just, ya know, wanna pee in the sink.

Alana: [Four seconds of deafening silence.]

John: It’s the perfect height for peeing! It almost feels like you’re being invitedto piss in it. Plus, it all goes to the same place.

Alana: [Screams internally.]

John: I’ll be at my desk.

Abhorrent as this behavior may seem to the opposite sex (and to certain other men of MEL who’ve never given it a whirl), I know I’m not alone in my sink-peeing habit.

Official statistics on sink-pissing were unavailable (thanks a lot, “scientists”), but there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest it’s more common than suspected. The world’s foremost sink-peeing advocate is probably comedian and digital media impresario Adam Carolla, who’s championed the practice for years on his signature podcast, The Adam Carolla Show. There are numerous sink-peeing apologists on (where else) Reddit, where debates overthe practice have raged for years.

I studied these accounts hoping to arrive at a grand, unifying theory for why men pee in the sink, and have assembled them below (along with a few of my own) in order of legitimacy.

5. It’s Quieter

Last year, Reddit user “Its-extraordinary” sparked controversy when he admitted he pees in the sink because he has a pathological fear of people hearing him pee. The man may have major hang-ups when it comes to a natural human process, but his tactic does have practical uses, such as peeing late at night. Peeing in the sink spares your roommates the sound of you lifting the toilet sit, clanking it against the porcelain toilet tank, loudly peeing into a standing pool of water and then flushing it down.

Tell us a secret about yourself in 10 words or less. from AskReddit

4. It Uses Less Water

Peeing in the sink is actually the green way to go, so you’re welcome. Instead of wasting 1.6 gallons of water on a flush, you pee in the sink. You then wash your hands in that very same sink, simultaneously washing down the urine and preserving nature’s most precious resource. Efficiency. A yellow-green solution, if you will.

3. We’re at a Party

Ever been at a party, and one dude’s using the toilet, so you decide to just use the sink while he goes because you’ve been waiting forever and no one will ever know — and then the host (who’s a woman) hears about it and is appalled and you say, “Hey, it’s chill. It all goes to the same place,” but she remains displeased?

Me neither.

Drunk me would totally pee in these sinks… from funny

2. We Have a Boner

The most common defense for peeing in the sink is that it’s the best way to urinate while harboring an early morning or post-coitus erection. Peeing while erect can be a messy affair. Unlike a flaccid dong that droops down toward the toilet bowl, an erect one is horizontal (more or less), making it hard to aim the urine stream into its “proper” receptacle. But a sink is higher up and has a nice, large bowl, decreasing the margin of error. The chances of peeing all over the floor are greatly reduced.

1. It’s Fun

I used the following excuses when trying to defend sink peeing to my colleagues:

  • “It’s transgressive.”
  • “It feels like you’re getting away with a victimless crime. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to pulling off a diamond heist.”
  • “Sometimes it just feels good to pee differently.”
  • “Maybe I have some primal urge to mark my territory.”

But those are just different ways of saying the same thing: Peeing in the sink is kinda fun.

Why do men pee in the sink?