How to get started with gradual exposure

The problem for me is that I can pee when it's quiet with my pee buddy looking at me sideways on no problem but when I try to pee in a public toilet when it's not even busy I have real trouble starting a flow and I'm not anxious in the slightest I'm just standing there calmly trying to pee, I can feel it almost there but there is something stopping me from fully relaxing my bladder, I don't mean to be a pain with all these questions but I feel quite hopeless as I can't seem to pee in a place that I have very low anxiety and feel quite comfortable in. That's why I'm trying to figure out how to create my own hierarchy for public toilets so I can see if I'm at the wrong stage and maybe a step ahead than I should be. I also find it easier to pee when it's night for some reason and when my urgency is like a 4-5 instead of 8, is that not normal because everything I read it says that the higher the urgency the better? Thanks, Ben

#20 by Ben

HI Ben. Yes being calm, and not getting started is frustrating.

1. Physical relaxation: make sure you are doing the anal sphincter clench and unclench. We are so used to hanging on, that the external urethral sphincter can be closed out of habit.

2. Make sure you whole body is relaxed: loose legs, shoulders, belly.

3. Go in with the mindset that you don’t care whether you pee or not.

4. Give yourself permission to take say 10 or 20 seconds for latency.

5. Some guys who don’t have paruresis find it helpful to think of flowing water: e.g. water coming down a drainpipe and out the bottom.

6. Think quietly and slowly to yourself “pee, pee, pee…” Not as an urgent self-request, but more like you would to encourage a toddler in your care. It also means you can't be thinking other thoughts that may be negative ones.

7. Peeing is like walking a dog. When the dog comes to a lamppost and starts sniffing, you cant make it pee; you just have to stand there and accept it might be quick, or delayed, or not even happen at all. See 3 above.

8. Try faking as explained before. If you repeat as often as necessary, you will get used to standing there not peeing and realise its no issue. You will get bored with it, and will probably come to point where you feel its worth drinking and going for a pee.

9. In all this it is important to have no expectations, otherwise that will create a counter-productive pressure. A fatalistic approach is better: see 3 above again.


#21 by andrew

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for those points, I'm definitely trying to adopt a "doesn't matter if I pee" attitude. Is there anyone I can contact that knows about setting up a hierarchy plan for public toilets and is able to explain the process of how I make one for my own personal situation so I can accurately make a hierarchy plan because it seems to be the first major step in doing gradual exposure and therefore will need to have one if I'm going to be able to desense properly and for my gradual exposure to have some longevity. Thanks for the advice, Ben

#23 by Ben

Should I be able to pee easily in a cubicle if I get to a point where I can reliable pee with my pee buddy looking at me sideways on or does a pee buddy only take you so far and I'll need to do gradual exposure in cubicles with different layouts and busyness until I can pee in a cubicle? What I'm trying to find out is what can I expect to achieve realistically with a pee buddy when using a cubicle, is it just to bridge the gap between an empty bathroom and one that is not busy but occupied? What do people on the workshop achieve from a pee buddy? thanks

#24 by Ben

Hey mate, I had the same problem when I my paruresis was severe. The idea is to goto a cubicle and have someone see your feet don't intend on peeing just stand there and get used to a person seeing your feet after 8 or 9 times you won't care one bit like me. Keep up the good work.



#25 by Dylan

Hey Dylan,
Thanks I've started faking it with people seeing my feet so hopefully, I get used to it. Is it possible for you to explain how you got started with gradual exposure, for example, what public toilet situations did you start out in like were they empty to begin with and then moved on to occupied and if so, how did you make the jump? Did you have a pee buddy that you used beforehand? Much appreciated, Ben

#26 by Ben
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