There is a common thread between concerts, bars, music festivals, and other gatherings where people have the urge to evacuate their bladders en masse: insanely long lines at the women's restroom. While dudes move in and out of the bathroom like a well-oiled machine, it looks as if the ladies room is in a perpetual traffic jam.
This leads to a seemingly straightforward conclusion: women spend more time on the toilet than men.
But what if we told you that was just a myth? This might be the most shocking piece of news you’ve heard today. How could it possibly be true?
We did some hard-hitting journalism to settle the debate—here’s what we found.
Toilet Time vs. Bathroom Time
Before we dive into the specifics, we have to make a distinction between toilet time and bathroom time.
Toilet time refers to how long your ass is glued to the toilet seat, actually doing your business. Bathroom time, on the other hand, ecompasses all the activities that can be done in the bathroom: bathing, shaving, hair styling, etc.
If your lady friend is shaving her legs and putting on makeup, it’s a no-brainer why she’ll spend a sizable chunk of her evening in the bathroom. But that’s not the issue at hand here: we want to know who clocks more toilet time.
“What’s Taking Her So Long?”
As any guy can attest, the lines at women’s restrooms can be staggering.
“When my girlfriend goes to the bathroom at a bar, I know that buys me at least 20 minutes,” said one DUDE Product user. “I can catch an inning of the ball game, or even order a sandwich.”
In Hong Kong, building regulations now specify there must be 1.6 female toilets for every urinal in public places to balance things out. If you’re wondering where the discrepancy comes from, these three points should clear things up:
1. The design of the bathroom
Bathroom stalls take up more space than urinals, meaning women have a loss less "usable" bathroom space to work with. An average bathroom area can have 20% to 30% more toilets for men than for women (that’s because men’s rooms have a mix of urinals and stalls). Accordingly, male bathrooms can accommodate more people at any given time.
2. The act of going to the bathroom
Studies show men take about a minute to pee, whereas our female counterparts take 90 seconds—50% longer. There are also the practical aspects such as stall doors being opened and closed, more clothes being taken off, and wiping that can elongate a woman’s time in the bathroom.
Women are also more likely than men to wash their hands and to use the hand dryer after using the bathroom—another variable that can result in a bathroom bottleneck.
The combination of these three factors leads to longer lines, especially at crowded venues.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As you just read above, women can take significantly longer in the bathroom than men. This appears to contradict data from researchers who found that men spend 14 minutes per day on the toilet, compared to only eight minutes for women.
Here’s the deal: ladies go to the bathroom more frequently and spread their toilet time across multiple sessions, giving the illusion that they spend more total time squatting than guys. But when men take the throne, they’re much more likely to take their sweet time.
The researchers also determined that 86% of men do most of their reading on the toilet, while only 27% of women say the same. You can think of men’s toilet like binge-watching Netflix: rather than watching an episode at a time, we devote an entire day to catching up.
Putting Potty Time In Perspective
14 minutes on the John might seem like an insignificant blip on the timeline of our lives, but it adds up quickly:
1 hour and 45 minutes per week
91 hours per year
And nearly 92 days over a lifetime.
To put that in context, the average dude will spend as much time on a toilet seat as it took Sputnik to compete the first spaceflight in 1957.
“It’s incredible to think we spend so much time in our bathrooms over the course of our lives, but it just goes to show how important a domestic space it is,” said a spokesperson for the research experiment. “It’s a place to be on your own, to get away from it all.”
Well said. There’s no need to rush off the throne—you might even come up with your best ideas mid-poop. Just make sure you have the right clean-up material handy.