Why do dudes feel compelled to spit when they urinate? It’s a common process. You’re in the restroom and the only other guy in the whole place nuzzles up to the urinal next to you. You hear the guttural clearing of his throat phlegm just before you witness his expectoration just as the urine starts to flow.

Even for men who do not consistently spit, the act of spitting before you pee is not an uncommon occurrence. It is more common to spit in circumstances where phlegm is more naturally produced (e.g. exercising ). But, spitting before peeing breaks the mode of what is expected although it still appears to be a very normal and typical reaction for many a man.

In my experience the urinal spitter does so subconsciously. The process of spitting into the toilet is more reactionary and natural than it is a conscious decision.


Once you start noticing men spitting when they pee, you will start to notice it again and again. You can’t ignore it. You will start to see it everywhere (regardless of cultural or socio-economic differences), but why?

Let’s brainstorm for a moment for some of the possible reasons men expectorate into the porcelain throne:

  • It represents a marking of the territory–some latent evolutionary trait that–in a bygone time was associated with the scent of urine marking the territory.
  • Perhaps the act of urinating aids in greater phlegm production that not only conveniently occurs at the time of urination, but which is perhaps initiated by the thought of doing so.
  • Perhaps men need to clear out and spit and because doing so on the sidewalk or other public areas is unacceptable, they subconsciously save the expectorating for the restroom.
  • Perhaps there is an element of peer pressure in the process of spitting when you pee.
  • The restroom is a convenient, socially-acceptable and sanitary place to spit.
  • Perhaps we enjoy the clean feeling of a freshly cleared throat and mouth.
  • Maybe it’s a way to break up the silence that occurs between the time you stand at the tank and start the flow of urine. This could be another means of decreasing the “stage fright” problem that so often impacts men in public restrooms.
  • It may be a subconsciously learned skill passed from father to son or, more simply, from man to man.
  • It may have something to do with the relaxation that is either needed or caused by taking a leak.
  • Men are pigs. Plain and simple. Pigs do nasty things, like spit.
  • As a very manly act, both urinating and spitting are a sign of manly aggression or a subconscious way of signalling to other alpha males that it’s time to “back off.”
  • Spitting in the restroom helps to clear the rank odor of a rank activity.

If you explore various posts on the web, the comments are as varied as the people. Some detest the practice while others claim no such activity exists for the male sex. In some cases, women (and sometimes men) showcase a very negative response to this very primordial ritual of spitting in the urinal.

While the topic is taboo in some circles, it is certainly difficult to avoid and not a question that we would be the first to search out the answer to.

If you look at the problem from a scientific perspective, the explanation may become a bit more clear.

In mammals, the production of saliva is stimulated by the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The saliva produced by the sympathetic system is ticker than that produced by the parasympathetic. Thicker saliva produced by the sympathetic is typical done in the process that aids in respiration while the more watery parasympathetic system aids in digestion.

Perhaps our bodies produce a bit more thick sympathetic saliva in the expectation that the smells we encounter when urinating will be unpleasant and we may want to avoid them by holding our breath more than normal. That’s a least one small explanation.

Why do you spit when you pee? 

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