Men love to complain about women hogging the bathroom to do our hair and makeup, but have you ever timed them when they hit up the bathroom for a number two? They go in for a seemingly quick trip and emerge what feels like hours later with no explanation for where the time has gone other than to say that they had to, erm, relieve themselves. So what’s really going on here? A few experts have weighed in on what’s really behind men’s lengthy trips to the restroom.
- The issue is pretty well-documented on social media. Women have been remarking for years on men’s habit of spending ages on the pot, so if you’ve wondered if you’re being unreasonable with being frustrated when your husband/partner/brother/male colleague disappears for hours to the point that you wonder if he’s fallen in, you’re not.
- Surprise! He’s probably not pooping the whole time. As Dr. Niket Sonpal, assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, told Cafe Mom, it doesn’t take men any longer than women to defecate, so if a guy’s spending hours on the bog, he’s likely not doing his business the whole time. “There’s no evidence that says men take longer [to poop] than women or women take longer than men,” he said. “In fact, by epidemiological standards, it’s approximately equal in the rates of constipation, with a little more constipation favoring women.”
- So what are they doing? According to Sonpal, it’s likely that guys are on their phones or just chilling out. “For fathers, this may be the time when they can shoot off an email or reply to a text or finish reading an article,” he explained, adding that some guys really just want time to themselves and feel the bathroom is the best place to get it. “I have a lot of patients who are men and who are fathers who have simply just told me it’s their few minutes of peace,” Sonpal said. “So a lot of the time that feeling that men take longer tends to be because of social issues — that they’re getting that few minutes alone.”
- Women need time alone too, so why aren’t we spending so much time in there? New York-based psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert believes it’s because women are more likely to be encouraged to indulge in self-care and guys just aren’t, so they’re more in need of safe spaces. “I do think there’s more support out there tailored to moms, but it probably just speaks to men being generally perceived as or expected to be the ‘strong’ one and not to rely on people as much. That might be coming into play,” he told Cafe Mom.
- So how long should you be spending on the toilet? According to what Sonpal told Romper, no longer than five minutes if you want to reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids. “If you have a proper diet with good fiber and enough water intake, your bowel movements should be a very short occurrence,” Sonpal said. “You should be able to sit down on the toilet (with minimal straining, if any), and within a few minutes you should be done going to the bathroom.” If not, you need to seek medical help.