The first time I tried to pee standing up, I was trekking in the Tanzanian bush. Right before my trip, the local government in Dar ramped up their anti-LGBT activities. People were being jailed for befriending queer people on social media. I knew that while I was there I would be in some situations where bathroom privacy was not guaranteed. Worried for my safety, I bought a hard plastic STP (or stand to pee device) from a camping store and packed it in my carry on.
Knowing nothing about STPs, I didn't even attempt to use the one I bought until the actual moment I needed to use it. Miraculously, everything went off without a hitch. Over the two weeks I was in Tanzania, I used the STP several times with no issue. When I came home after that trip, I packed the plastic device in my "travel supplies" box and forgot about it.
Fast forward several years when I was introduced to the world of FTM STPs. After watching a couple of YouTube STP packer reviews, I decided to try one out.
I first bought a Number One STP and was shocked to discover that success this time around didn't come as easy. In fact, I went through several models (and dollars) before finding one that worked for me. And even then it took lots of practice to perfect.
Using an STP can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Of course, a handful of folks have zero issues and are able to pee successfully right out of the gate. Most people however, need a lot of practice. It's not uncommon to become very frustrated after weeks of failed attempts.
Once I finally got the hang of it though, the thrill of being able to stand to pee was a revelation for me. Even if sitting to pee doesn't trigger your dysphoria, standing to pee can be very empowering. Plus it's an awesome skill to have when you are hiking or camping.
Through all my trial and error, I learned quite a bit about the world of STPs. I also scoured the internet, looking for every actionable STP tip I could find. This article is the full list of every helpful hint out there. I hope that it helps you with your STP journey.
May you one day write your name in the snow.
1. Locate Your Urethra
Your pee hole is uh... not the same as any other holes. If you've never taken the time to get to know yourself down there, the location of your urethra may come as a surprise. As much as this may trigger your dysphoria, it's important to know where it's located. It's the only way you'll know how to position your STP in the right place. If it helps, pretend you're Encyclopedia Brown and do a little detective work.
For those who just can't bring themselves to look, know that it's generally located about an inch *behind* your "little guy" (LG). This is further back than most people think and a huge reason people fail at using an STP. People often place their STP so the shaft is directly in line with your LG. But the shaft should actually be in line with your urethra.
Once you locate your urethra, you'll have a much better idea of where to position your STP. Nothing is worse than missing your device completely. It's the standing-to-pee equivalent of an airball. But maybe even more embarrassing.
2. Practice at Home
For a lot of folks, successful STP use requires lots of trial and error. If you don't have thick or muscular thighs and don't have a fast and hard pee stream, you might be one of the lucky few who has no trouble using an STP on the first try.
However, most folks need quite a bit of practice before they can go without making a mess. We recommend that you practice in the shower first. We also recommend that you leave the shower off when you are practicing so you can easily identify a spill as a spill and not just more water from the shower head. Being in the shower makes clean up relatively simple. Trust us on this one, cleaning up pee off your bathroom floor royally sucks.
3. Graduate Slowly
Once you've mastered the shower, you may feel tempted to try out your STP in public right away. We strongly encourage you, however, to take your time with this process. If you take baby steps towards your goal, you're less likely to have an accident once you finally do take the show on the road.
After you've successfully STP'd in your shower with zero spills 5 times in a row, you can safely assume that you are ready to move to the next step. For this next period, try using your STP in your home toilet. While you get the hang of using your STP at an actual commode, we recommend taking off all of your clothes at first.
It may be a pain to completely undress every time you pee, but it's a lot more of a pain to have to change multiple times a day because you got urine on your clothes. Also, rest assured that this is only temporary. Once you've nailed peeing naked, the next step is trying with only your underwear on. Then finally, for the last stage of your practice, try using your STP in your bathroom fully dressed.
Once you are regularly using your STP fully clothed in your own bathroom, you'll be ready to move to the public domain.
4. Build The Right Muscles
If you're having trouble moving through this process, there are a couple of things that you can do to troubleshoot potential issues. The first of these is building the right set of muscles in your body to help you control your urine stream.
Using an STP is like pouring liquid through a funnel. It can get backed up and overflow if the funnel isn't wide enough for all the liquid you're trying to send down it at the speed with which you are trying to send it. If you are noticing that you have consistent backflow issues, you may have a stronger than average pee stream.
This is the category of people that I belong to, and ultimately, why so many of my early STP endeavors had failed. Enter Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises are exercises to help you control the flow of your pee and they work by strengthening your pelvic floor. To locate these muscles, next time you are relieving your bladder, try to stop the flow of urine midstream. That part of your body that clenched is the area that you are going to try to strengthen. Once you have identified where the muscles are and how to flex them, you can do these exercises when you are not peeing to greater effect.
Once a day, contract these muscles for 5-10 seconds, then relax, repeating 10-20 times.
After you've gotten the hang of it, you can stop the flow of your pee any time you think you might be close to overflowing the bowl of your STP. When I use certain STPs I literally have to start and stop 5-10 times so that my pee has enough time to drain and doesn't backflow all over my pants and legs. Apparently, this isn't good for your urinary health over time, so I try not to use my STP packer if I can tell that my bladder is really full.
5. Buy the Right STP
Starting and stoping your pee midstream is doable, but honestly not great for your bladder health. To avoid having to do this too much, I recommend buying an STP that can handle your pee at the outset. For fast pee-ers, this means one with a bigger bowl or a wider hole in the shaft. The STP Freely XL and The Lou are models that are designed to handle heavier pee flows.
I know aesthetics are important to a lot of folks, and that it is tempting to buy an STP based mostly on looks. For this reason, I've recently seen a lot of STPs with a pee hole that is closed in the resting position and has to be squeezed to open. This does indeed look more like a cis guy's dick... but friends, please trust me when I tell you that using an STP with this feature is HARD. Like level 11 Stand-to-pee Skill Level. You are already likely using one hand to position the STP against your body and another to aim the shaft into the toilet. Having to also squeeze the tip of the shaft significantly increases your chances of peeing on yourself.
AND, unless someone's head is eye-level with your crotch and facing you, the other people in the bathroom cannot see the size of the pee hole in your STP. I promise you, the size of this hole will NOT prevent you from "passing" in the men's room. Literally no one is inspecting the width of your pee stream.
6. Widen The Pee Hole Of Your STP
7. Wear Underwear With A Fly Hole
The number one reason to wear underwear with a fly-hole is that it hides any harness you might be wearing.
I personally don't normally do this, but I also very rarely use the urinal. When I do, however, having the fly hole is an absolute must. Some people say that pulling the shaft through a fly hole can help to stabilize your STP.
Also, as Alex from Transthetics says, "Another good trick as far as side slit underwear goes, is to cut a small hole in the layer that sits against your skin, where the shaft sits and actually pull the shaft through this first layer. This helps with keeping the STP in place and makes using it that much easier as it doesn’t have to bend around two separately directioned pieces of material."
Though the fly-hole makes discretion easier, if you only own fly-less underwear, you can still use an STP. We polled several cis guy friends regarding their bathroom practices, and most of them report to actually prefer pulling their waistband down. Pulling your dick through a hole in your underwear can be a bit of a hassle, so for ease and quickness, pulling down your waistband is common practice.
Truthfully, it's really only common practice for folks to use the fly if there's a really good reason to. For example, EMTs often have cumbersome, weighted belts that are hard to take off and on every time they have to go. Same goes for people who wear dress pants with a belt, clasp hook and inside button. For everyone else, it's way faster to just drop trou.
8. Or Buy STP Compatible Underwear
While packing underwear options are becoming more and more widely available, there are still very few solid options for STP underwear. That said, Cake Bandit's STP Boxer Briefs are great-looking and are designed to work seamlessly with the STP Freely and Freely XL.
9. Wear Loose Pants
10. Go Before You Need To Go
11. Visualize for Success
12. Be Patient With Yourself
As much as we wish there were a perfect STP, every body's body is different. What may work for you, may not work for someone else.
For me, once I finally figured out how to use an STP, I was able to go back and successfully use STPs that I had failed with before. Sometimes you just need to try something different and then it will all click into place.
If your prosthetic STP just isn't working for you, pick up a pStyle. They're consistently rated among the easiest STPs to use and won't cost you an arm and a leg. (Also, shout out to pStyle for being a badass company with a trans-feminist ethic. Unlike almost every other hard plastic STP on the market, they intentionally removed the gendered language from the packaging so buying one won't trigger your dysphoria.) Think of the pStyle as STP training wheels. Once you have success with the pStyle, go back to your prosthetic. What happens just might (pleasantly) surprise you.
13. Overcome your Pee Shyness
The last hurdle for some is getting over pee shyness. As you've likely been sitting down to pee your entire life, it can take some time for your brain to tell your body that it's ok to release when you're standing up.
Your brain's pee reluctance can be compounded by any number of common anxieties that trans people have in public restrooms. Am I passing enough? Is the guy next to me wondering why I haven't started peeing yet? Do they think I'm a weirdo who hangs out in bathrooms for fun?
According to SelfHelpo.com, "The urinary sphincter must be relaxed in order for urine to flow from the bladder down the urethra. Anxiety about urinating overstimulates the person’s nervous system and ‘clamps’ the sphincter shut. Failure to urinate heightens the person’s anxiety, particularly if the bladder is uncomfortably full. "
If you are having trouble, try closing your eyes and picture yourself sitting down. Also, avoid negative self-talk when trying to urinate. You can even go the opposite extreme and pump yourself up. Tell yourself, "I am freaking awesome." Do it over and over again until you actually feel it. If you are still unable to let it rip, and are determined to stand-to-pee, cognitive therapy is often cited as the best cure for pee shyness.
I hope you found these tips useful and that you are excited to try out your first STP. If there are any other tips you've heard and want to share, please leave a comment below and help your fellow trans folks out!