Letting some of it trickle out while trying to soak it all in

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Do you pee in the shower results

 I know it's been a long two weeks for some of you, waiting for the answers from our important survey. Sorry for the delay and thanks for your patience. Thanks to your outreach, we had an impressive response with 203 participants split equally between the sexes. For results this exciting and with such serious implications, you want to be sure you've double checked everything before publishing.

So, do you pee in the shower? The short answer is, yes you do (or at least it's very likely that someone who shares your shower does). Only 7% of survey participants reported never having peed in the shower and 59% said they urinated "often" or "always" while showering.
Figure 1. The distribution of responses classified by shower peeing frequency. Numbers 1-6 correspond with the following responses: 1. I have never peed in the shower 2. I have on occasion peed in the shower 3. I sometimes pee in the shower 4. I often pee in the shower 5. I almost always pee in the shower 6. Since urine and shower water are the same temperature and make the same sound, I don't know if I have ever peed in the shower.

To analyze the results I coded the shower peeing frequency responses 1-6 (definitions in the Figure 1 caption). The average of all responses was 3.7 (between "I sometimes pee" and "I often pee") with a standard deviation of 1.3. A whopping 37% of respondents reported always peeing in the shower (surprising even to me, a frequent shower pee-er). Also surprising was the lack of significant differences between sex, age, and relationship status (Figures 2, 4, and 5). The results suggest that we are all equally likely to pee in the shower.
Figure 2. Comparison between female, male, and unknown (not reported) sample groups. The black line at the center of each boxplot represents the average. There were 97 male responses, 98 female responses and 8 responses where sex was not reported. Though the mean response for males was slightly higher, the difference was not statistically significant.

Figure 3. A word cloud generated from the text entered by participants explaining their reasons for peeing or not peeing in the shower. The size of the word represents how often it was mentioned in survey participant's responses.

There were also some surprises in the reasons why participant's did or did not let loose in the stall. By far the most common justification for shower urination was some variant of, "Why not!" or "Because I can." People just like to be able to do what they want to do. Though we didn't ask about nationality, anecdotally several of the self-described "never" pee-ers were European, which raises the question if their reticence to exercise this quotidian liberty comes from an underdeveloped sense of freedom, dulled by years of oppressive socialism.

The top reasons to pee were:

  1. Why not? (often followed by, "It's all the same pipes")
  2. Convenient
  3. Feels good
  4. Conserves water
  5. Saves time
  6. Treats athlete's foot

The top reasons not to pee were:

  1. Gross
  2. Inconsiderate to others
Other justifications were sometimes contradictory:

  • "It's gross and if I do, I do it carefully. If you pee on the wall you are sick though."
  • "I like to see how high I can pee."
  • "Just to try it.  Only at home though."
  • "I was in a hotel room and I figured 'what the heck, it's not mine.'"
  • "It's like a full body bidet."
  • "Mostly convenience, I also like the challenge of getting into the smaller drain. It is so easy to get in the toilet but getting it into the small drain is really a treat."
For the record, there doesn't seem to be any medical support for the claim that this practice treats or prevents athlete's foot. If you are curious, here is the link to see the full list of responses. 

Figure 4. Shower peeing frequency by age.
Figure 5. Shower peeing frequency by relationship status.


  1. This is Awesome Ben!!!
    Thanks for doing the survey :)

  2. Oppressive socialism! I knew that one day that would explain something important. Thanks Ben - you truly are an impressive researcher!

  3. I don't understand your charts. Words, though, I understand those.

  4. finally! i've been holding my breath for the results, worried that i might be a perverted outlier. looks like i'm (im)perfectly normal.