This Discussion Board is for men who
find it difficult or impossible to urinate in a public or social situation. Women should use the women's Board.
The Board is maintained and moderated by the
U.K. Paruresis Trust. Registered Charity no: 1109541.
further information, visit our website, or contact us at
Hi, I have had a long-term interest in privacy in male toilets since the mid-1990s when Sir Michael Marland contacted me at the Department for Education. Sir Michael was a headteacher with a Muslim community that was asking for greater privacy when their sons showered, changed or used the toilets and I was a policy officer in the Government's Architects and Building Branch. Because of Sir Michael's lobbying, I changed the guidance accompanying The Education (School Premises) Regulations to encourage greater privacy in new build projects. However, I also suffered from not being able to urinate in almost all public situations.
However, when I went to Florida a few years ago, to my surprise I found walking into busy toilets and using urinals to be without problems. Since then (although not always), I have found that things are much easier for me if I enter upon a busy place, rather than if there is just one person already there or people entering from outside when I am already inside. Over time, the pattern of my experience suggests that my difficulties have had more to do with confidence; walking in on others, I feel in more in control and can 'go'. This seems odd to me if my condition is actually based in shyness or similar.
One further thought, when viewing the model of good practice published by the Trust showing high quality, and large, dividers between urinals, it got me to wondering why, if we need to go to those lengths there, do we stop there? Why are men expected to be visible at all? For me, it's never been about people seeing my genitals, so the dividers don't address my own issue. It's been more about standing there, visible.