"To Sit or Not to Sit—that is the Question"
"A Cleaner Bathroom"
"Boycott Macho Bullshit: Pee Sitting Down"
"A Myth about Peeing? (How not to Myth)"
It seems that there is a lot of misinformation and folklore circulating about how men should urinate. In an internet article (now removed) one author contended that it was impossible for a man to completely empty his bladder while he is in a sitting position. The article went on to contend that this was the single biggest cause of prostatitis.
Since the article gave no references (and the author simply cited "my doctor told me"), I thought it would be useful to research this.
I discussed this physiological conundrum with no fewer than nine nurses, four physicians, two pre-medical students and an anatomist. Without a single exception, every one of them dismissed this as nonsense (the "my doctor told me" was met with an amused "He'd better find a new doctor"). Very simply put, the position of sitting versus standing does not bear on the man's ability to void his bladder. A man may sit, stand, squat, kneel, or stand on his head and still empty his bladder efficiently (although I'm not so sure about the standing on the head thing, really. And it sounds messy. Better to stick to the more conventional methods, really.)
There is a (tangentially) related myth that European parents (and you may feel free to make whatever "you're a-peein'" joke you feel may be needed at this point. I'll wait.) are irresponsibly teaching their little boys to pee like girls out of some freakish political correctness (the phrase "...not to terrify girls with their ability to pee standing up.." or words to that effect were used in one article. I am not making this up—the author seemed completely serious.)*. The actual reason that many parents (in the United States, Europe, and other places indeed, it seems) teach this has more to do with sanitation than some wacko stab at gender equality. Anyone who has ever cleaned up a little boy's bathroom knows exactly what I am talking about. Yes, a few people do get extremely passionate about this in Europe and in the US. Some people can get passionate about nearly anything, I think.
There seems to be a small (but extremely vocal) group of men who are absolutely horrified by the prospect that a man would ever urinate in a sitting position. I suspect that they may be the same guys who won't hold their significant other's purse, lest someone taunt them with the words "Whoa, check out the dude with a purse!"
For many men with knee or back problems, or who like to read a magazine while answering nature's call, sitting down to urinate is a normal part of life. An informal survey of male friends indicates that about a quarter of men routinely sit down to pee, the number seems amazingly consistent from USA, Europe, and Britain. Rest assured that this presents no threat to your health. Whether it represents a threat to your masculinity or not is up to you to decide.
*Among the many ugly stereotypes which circulate among xenophobes in the United States is that European men are somehow un-manly or somehow effeminate or unmasculine. The urination myth may be fed by that stereotype.
I would like to thank the numerous people I talked to about this subject. You know who you are.