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Public Urinals Stress Men Out

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Men tend to get stressed out about using the urinal in a public restroom, according to a recent study from the University of London. Etiquette seems to dictate that, in a side-by-side urinal setting, merely making eye contact can lead to a fight.

Researchers say that men, more so than women, suffer from insecurity and fear when faced with using a public restroom. “I was really surprised by how ­stressful public toilets can be for men,” said Dr. Sarah Moore, lead author of the study. “Quite a few of our ­participants reported feeling so intimidated and nervous in certain bathrooms that they were ­physically unable to use the facilities.”

Researchers found that most men will do everything possible to avoid drawing attention to themselves while using a public bathroom, because a deviation from the unwritten code of lavatory standards may be enough to incite a brawl.

The situation is quite different in the adjacent bathroom. “For women, public toilets are often ­convivial places, offering up the ­possibility to make friends and socialize,” said Moore. “But for males, the most significant problem was the co-presence of other men and the possibility of violence if a breach of toilet ­etiquette occurred.”

Researchers say nearly 7 percent of the public suffers from paruresis, a toilet anxiety commonly referred to as stage fright. Incidentally, this condition is just as common in women as it is in men.

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