Health

How Sick Can You Get From a Golden Shower?

And how sick are you for wanting one?

by Alexandra Ossola
Jan 11 2017, 10:46pm

Image: Shutterstock

The scenario: Your friend has either been reading up on politics or reading through R. Kelly's rap sheet, and has expressed some interest in golden showers recently. What does it say about you your friend that he's curious, and what are the germ implications of trying this?

The background: Peeing on someone for sexual pleasure isn't a common fetish—experts estimate that less than 1 percent of the population has done more than just try it. Clearly it taps into some stigmas around power, kink, and cleanliness. Engaging in water sports is considered to be on the BDSM spectrum, says Russell J Stambaugh, a retired sex therapist and advocate for people with alternate sexualities. Some people enjoy the relief that comes with releasing urine, the freedom of peeing in the president's bed, or the pleasure of a body-temperature liquid on their skin. For others, the appeal might have more to do with power than any physical sensation. "It doesn't have to have a sexual motive at all—it can have a primarily aggressive motive," Stambaugh says.

The worst that could happen: Other than the risk of getting blackmailed by Russia, engaging in urolagnia, as it's called, could expose you to hepatitis B, cytomegalovirus (CMV), or bacteria that can cause infection (though it's mostly water, urine isn't sterile, contrary to what you may have heard from survival stories). But it's not very common to pass diseases through urine, and you'd have to get contaminated pee in your face or in an open wound in order for that to happen.

And like with anything on the BDSM spectrum, there's always the risk of not having proper permission. If a partner pees on another without consent, the submissive partner could be traumatized, and the dominant partner could end up in legal trouble. "Peeing on someone without their permission is rape," Stambaugh says. "It might not be a sexual rape, it might just be assault. In most cases it's against the law to pee on someone against their will." Good to keep in mind.

What will probably happen: Pee is unlikely to get you sick. Just make sure you don't have any open sores, and avoid the facials.

If you have a partner, or a president, who is into golden showers, he or she has likely had to overcome a lot of shame and stigma to tell you so, Stambaugh advises. He suggests a moderate, open-minded approach to discussing this kind of kink with a friend.

Update 1/11/17: A previous version of this story included a quote from Stambaugh that was taken out of context; it has since been removed.