Are Watersports Dangerous? Here’s What the Medical Professionals Say
While some people may enjoy being peed on or drinking urine as a form of sex play — sometimes referred to as watersports, or golden showers — it turns out that this aqua vita doesn’t have any proven health benefits. Sure, we’ll sometimes hear about earthquake survivors drinking their urine to survive, but the professional consensus is largely that there are no health benefits to drinking urine, no matter how much you might enjoy it during sex play.
The only time you should ever drink your own urine
Although the Biblical verse Proverbs 5:15 encourages people to “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well,” emergency room physician Dr. Travis Stork says, “Earthquakes or being lost at sea is the one time where I could recommend drinking your urine.”
“Since it’s 95% water if you are absolutely stranded in the middle of nowhere, and all you have is urine, it’s better to drink urine than die,” he says.
And yet, if you type the words “urine therapy” into Google, you’ll get 38 million results. Type it into YouTube, you’ll get 103,000 videos about urotherapy’s “healing effects.” Could there be curative aspects to urine that Dr. Stork doesn’t know about?
Does it have any healing elements that make it worth drinking?
Mr. Zaki Almallah, a consultant urologist at BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham, England, says there are no studies proving any health benefits of urine, whether swallowed or applied to the skin.
Additionally, Jutta M. Loeffler, a researcher of proteins and kidneys at the University College London, wrote that apart from water, urine contains mostly bodily waste materials like urea and uric acid, as well as trace amounts of various other non-active proteins, enzymes, acids, hormones, sugar and vitamins — all of which are better consumed in non-urine forms.
“Urine is sterile where it is produced in the kidney,” Loeffler writes, “but once it has left the body, it is usually contaminated,” thanks to airborne germs and nearby pollutants. She adds, “Most of the time there are better or tastier ways to improve one’s health.”
What about watersports? Are watersports safe?
Russell J Stambaugh, a retired sex therapist specializing in alternative sexualities, says that in a worst-case scenario, being urinated on can potentially cause hepatitis B and cytomegalovirus, a virus that can cause flu-like symptoms or cause more serious digestive tract issues in people with weakened immune systems. He adds, though, that in order to contract these viruses, “you’d have to get contaminated pee in your face or in an open wound.”
Dr. Hunter Handsfield, the Chief Medical Advisor for the American Sexual Health Association, adds that sexual watersports are unlikely to spread sexually transmitted infections because the liquid is incapable of carrying the “large amounts of causative bacteria and viruses needed.”
“The little bit of sexual secretions or concentration of virus that would be in urine if you were exposed this way would be unlikely to cause disease,” he says.
And while you might’ve heard that peeing on a jellyfish sting can ease the pain, Scientific American says that can actually worsen a jellyfish sting because its high water concentration can cause the poisonous cells left by jellyfish on the skin to release more venom. (They suggest rinsing jellyfish stings with saltwater and using an oral pain gel to soothe the pain instead.)
Well, there you have it. The facts about watersports and urine health.
This article was originally published on April 4, 2018. It has since been updated.