Urophilia, also known as "golden showers" or "watersports," is a sexual variation where people derive pleasure from urine or urination.1 The arousal is associated with smelling, feeling, or tasting urine, as well as urinating on someone or being urinated on by someone else. Sometimes, the pleasure derives from the physical urine (i.e., the warmth and the smell). Other times the person associates the urine and urination with intimacy, closeness, and trust. Urination can play a role in sadomasochistic activities, where the sadist will demonstrate dominance by urinating on the masochist. Some women find that their orgasms are more intense and pleasurable when they have a full bladder, or when they urinate during orgasm.2
People who take part in urophilia are referred to as urophiliacs. Although urophilia encompasses a variety of behaviors and sexual practices involving urine, researchers have identified three primary functions of urine for urophiliacs:
- Urine serves as a fetishistic object.
- Urination is used for humiliation in sadomasochistism.
- Urine is used for ritualistic or ceremonial purposes.3
Common Variations and Subtypes
There are different forms of urophilia. Urolagnia, for example, refers to a sexual pleasure that a person receives when they pee in their own pants. Urolagnia also describes pleasure caused by watching another person wet him or herself. A common variation of urophilia called “omoashi” exists in Japan. “Omoashi” involves suppressing urination until the need to urinate is urgent, making another person suppress urination, or watching another person with an urgent need to urinate.4
Other urophiliacs may enjoy bathing in urine, smelling people in urine-soaked clothes, and/or partaking in urophagia1 (i.e. drinking urine). Interestingly enough, urophagia is not necessarily sexual. Many people who drink urine do it for reasons other than sexual pleasure, such as ritualistic and ceremonial purposes. Some people even believe there are health-related or cosmetic benefits to drinking urine, and therefore engage in “urine therapy.” When consuming urine for sexual pleasure, a partner usually urinates directly into one’s mouth.
For many urophiliacs, urine serves as a fetishistic object.3 Fetishism is a form of paraphilia in which a person is sexually aroused by inanimate objects, materials, or parts of the body.5 A researcher named Denson coined the term “undinism” to describe cases of urophilia where urine interest is a fetish. Denson also claimed that urination may serve masochistic purposes, when a person is urinated on, or sadistic purposes, when a person urinates on their partner. He labeled these cases “uromasochism” or “urosadism.” However, because urine is used for humiliation in these cases, uromasochism and urosadism may be categorized as sexual masochism or sexual sadism, respectively.3
Urophilia is listed as a “paraphilia not otherwise specified” (PNOS) in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The term paraphilia describes a condition characterized by atypical sexual desires, including sexual behaviors that society may view as displeasing, unusual, or abnormal. It is important to recognize that urophilia is not always considered paraphilia. As with all paraphilias in the PNOS category, diagnosis is only made if the sexual urges, fantasies, or behavior cause significant distress or impairment in social and occupational functioning. Fantasies, objects, and behaviors are considered paraphilic when they are obligatory, result in sexual dysfunction, involve non-consenting partners, lead to legal complications, or interfere with social relationships.6 Experiencing interest in sexual activities considered to by atypical — such as urophilia — does not qualify as a disorder. Urophilic desires are only problematic if they cause distress or pose a threat to other individuals. Experimenting with “golden showers” is healthy, as long as it is between two consenting partners and appropriate safety precautions are practiced. The key to this type of sexual activity is communication. One never knows if their partner is open to new sexual experiences unless they ask!
There is little scientific research on the frequency of urophilia. Unfortunately, the limited data that does exist is problematic because of the methods used to collect it. Jennifer Eve Rehor, a graduate student from San Francisco State University, found that unconventional sexual behavior (outside of criminal trial or clinical cases) is under reported because the involved individuals do not typically seek professional help. Rehor surveyed 1,764 females who have participated in unconventional behaviors (mostly in relation with BDSM) in 2010-2011. Based on 1,580 valid responses, Rehor found that “urine play” is relatively infrequent; only 36.52% of respondents reported having urinated on a partner or having been urinated on by a partner. In comparison, 93.99% of her sample reported spanking or being spanked by a partner, while 61.96% reported having used feathers and/or fur during sexual activities. Although it is impossible to extrapolate upon this data to form a general conclusion about the general population, Rehor’s study does provide information about the prevalence of urophilia within the North American BDSM community.7
Media outlets have reported a few celebrities engaging in “golden showers.” In an interview with the music magazine, Blender, Puerto Rican popstar Ricky Martin admitted that he enjoyed “golden showers.” Actor Andy Milonakis, host of MTV’s The Andy Milonakis Show, said in an interview with People Magazine that he liked the feeling of warm urine on his chest during intercourse. Many believe that Havelock Ellis, a prominent human sexuality researcher, was also an urophiliac. Passages from his autobiography indicate that he was sexually aroused at the sight of a woman urinating.8
Health and Safety
If you are considering experimenting with urine, it is important to consider the potential health concerns. Urine is only sterile when a person is healthy. Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections can be transmitted through urine. Transmission primarily occurs when urine comes into contact with an open wound, such as a burn or scrape.
A major health concern of urophilia is hepatitis. Those afflicted by hepatitis B can transmit the disease through their urine, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms. Similarly, genital herpes can be transmitted through the urine of an infected individual who is not exhibiting symptoms or open sores. Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that produces flu-like symptoms, is easily transmitted through urine. Chlamydia and gonorrhea may be transmitted to the throat if urine is ingested. Although it is theoretically possible to transmit HIV through urine, there are no known cases of HIV transmission through urine. Regardless, it is incredibly risky for those already infected with HIV to participate in “golden showers” because of the possibility of contracting a life-threatening disease such as histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, or coccidiomycosis.9
Urophilia is a sexual activity whereby people derive pleasure from urination or the smelling, feeling, or tasting of urine. Though there is little research on the frequency of urophilia, multiple celebrities have openly discussed their urophilic tendencies. In practice, it is commonly held that acting on these desires is healthy as long as both parties consent, and attention is given to both health and safety concerns. The most important factor will always be communication, especially since one may never know whether their partner is open to a particular sexual activity unless they ask.
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Last Updated: November 29, 2016