Paruresis (also known as pee-shyness) is a type of phobia where the sufferer can't pee in the presence of other people, usually in a public restroom, or a jail cell.

Just The Facts

  1. Paruresis is also known as bashful bladder, bashful kidneys, stage fright, pee fright, urophobia, pee-shyness, public piss syndrome (pps), shy bladder syndrome (sbs), and air-blockage.
  2. 7% of the public, or about 17 million people suffer from this condition.
  3. The poop equivalent of Paruresis is called Parcopresis.


The term Paruresis was coined by Williams and Degenhart in 1954. They surveyed 1,419 college students and discovered that 14.4% of them admitted to having difficulty peeing in front of others. The other 1,215 students were assumed to be suffering from the opposite of Paruresis, known as Falldowndrunkitis, where the sufferer is unable to refrain from urinating in public.

Things are about to get very unpleasant for the people underneath him.

Paruresis is becoming more and more recognized as a legitimate condition. In the United Kingdom, it is finally being accepted as a valid excuse to not participate in drug testing. In the United States, it recently became accepted as a valid reason for jury service excusal. In short, admitting you have Paruresis can basically get you out of anything you hate doing.

"Foreplay? No, thank you. I've got Paruresis."

The condition has been recognized by the American Urological Association. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has classified Paruresis as a form of social phobia, putting it in the same league as Deipnophobia (fear of dining or dinner conversations) and Euphobia (fear of hearing good news). Paruresis has also frequently become the topic of advice columns, such as Ann Landers.

Do you really want this lady telling you how to pee?


Paruresis varies greatly from person to person. Some people only experience mild Paruresis in stressful restroom related situations, such as when a line forms behind them at the urinal, or when some douche bag decides to ignore all bathroom etiquette and take the urinal directly next to you.

"No, no, you're doing it all wrong."

However, for some people, the effects of Paruresis can be much more severe. The worst cases of Paruresis sufferers can only urinate in their own home when they are alone. Some different forms of Paruresis have been reported, such as people who are terrified of letting other people hear the sound of their urination, or people who are unable to urinate while in a moving vehicle.

If only the guy on the left had had Paruresis. The ensuing embarrassment could've been avoided.


There are a variety of treatments for Paruresis, ranging from excrutiatingly painful to hilariously innappropriate (sometimes both!) Here is a list of the most popular, taken from the Better Health Channel's website. All of these fall under the "Graduated Exposure Therapy" technique.

  • Make a list of your urination locations across the nation. Rank them from easiest to pee at, to most difficult. Slowly work your way up the list.

Someday, God willing, you may be this man.

  • Choose a person whose friendship you don't mind losing and designate them your "pee partner". Have them accompany you to the restroom every time you go, and gradually have them stand closer and closer to you as you pee.

If they get to this position and you can still pee, you pass.

  • Drink liquids.

This step is optional.

Celebrities with Paruresis

If you have Paruresis, fear not! You are not alone. In fact, thousands of successful celebrities have feared the golden shower at more than one point in their lives. Here are three of the most famous:

  • Howard Stern

  • The fictional character Calvin from the 2005 film Waiting...

  • And of course, the writer of this article, Andrew Martin.