At some point or another, all my friends and I have complained about how long it takes our husband to poop. Why is it that they’re in there for 45 minutes and we’re in and out? Is there any biological evidence supporting their need for more time? Or are they just hiding in there, as I suspect?—FF
Bonus question! I talked about this on Instagram last year, and it proved quite popular.
Basically, you are right.
Men appear to be more likely to do other stuff (mostly reading) in the bathroom. We see this in a study of Israeli adults. A 2014 survey reported by the Daily Mail in Britain (okay, look, there is not a lot of literature on this) showed that men spend more time than women in the bathroom (1 hour and 35 minutes per week on average, versus 55 minutes for women). They are, of course, reading. In that survey, 86% of men said the toilet was where they did most of their reading; 39% of them said the bathroom was a good opportunity to spend time alone.
One argument you might hear is that men need more time to actually poop. However, research on mammals ranging in size from cats to elephants shows a very consistent poop time of 12 seconds. That’s right — 12 seconds.
Conclusion: If you are a mammal somewhere in size between a cat and an elephant, you should be able to poop in an average of 12 seconds. Any time beyond that is probably phone scrolling.
(After I talked about this on Instagram, I met a woman who told me that as a result of that story, she and her friend group all bought their husbands poop timers as stocking presents. I love that woman.)