LET'S TALK ABOUT TOILETS!
If you're a woman, you won't care about this page. If you're
a young man you might not care either -- but if you live long
enough, you will!
You see, as a man gets older, things droop. And when things
droop far enough, this particular dimension will quite suddenly
become vitally important:
Teabagging yourself when you sit on your toilet is not
a pleasant experience!
For purposes of this discussion, I am defining "scrotum clearance"
as the vertical distance between the water level in the bowl of
the toilet and the rim. It's easy to measure: First
make sure the bowl is as full as it gets; you can just pour
water directly into the bowl, it'll rise to spillover level
and no farther. Then put a
straightedge across the rim, and measure from the
straightedge down to the water level.
Technically what's important is the
vertical distance to the seat, but most seats are
reasonably close to the same thickness, adding about an inch to
the measurement described. There are spacers available as
well as special seats that are thicker -- often to meet ADA
requirements for seat height without having to buy a whole new
toilet -- but such seats are not really an acceptable
solution. Some of them are just gross.
If you search online for "toilet water level" you'll get a
thousand hits talking about the water level in the tank.
Yes, the water level in the tank is important for proper flushing,
but it's also easily adjustable. Remove the tank cover;
you'll probably be able to figure out how to adjust the water
level in less time than it took to read this sentence.
Unfortunately, this has zero impact on the water level in the
The water level in the bowl is not easily adjustable. In
fact, it's not adjustable at all. It's a built-in
characteristic of the design of the toilet.
That spillover in the outlet passage is cast into the bowl
itself. You can't change it.
Ideally, you'd want a scrotum clearance of 6" or more.
Anything less than 5" is just cruel. A toilet with a scrotum
clearance of 4-5/8" inspired this page. Why would any toilet
manufacturer ever make a toilet with less than 8" of
scrotum clearance? Ya got me. If you run into a toilet
designer, be sure to ask him!
After each flush, the bowl is refilled by a tap in the valve
assembly that is refilling the tank. So, can't we just
fiddle with that tap so it doesn't fill the bowl quite so
far? Well, yes, you could, but you shouldn't.
First off, it may interfere with proper flushing action. But
also remember that anything that lands in that bowl after that
will raise the level -- and that cold water surprise doesn't get
any better with those additives!
Toilet bowls typically come in two
different rim heights, 14" (Standard) and 16-1/2" (Chair).
So, just buy a toilet with a higher rim height! That'll
fix it, right?
Unfortunately, no. When the rim gets higher, the water
level gets higher right with it! It's almost as though the
designers want everyone to have an equal opportunity to enjoy
you're having to "hover" over the seat to keep your nutsack
dry, you're going to want to replace that toilet before you
get any older. Just run right down to Lowe's or Home
Depot and select a toilet with a scrotum clearance of 6" or
more. Well, that'd be a good plan except that toilets
for sale at Lowe's or Home Depot have a schematic that lists
all the important dimensions -- and scrotum clearance isn't
one of them. And you can't determine the scrotum
clearance mathematically because they don't divulge the water
level in the bowl in any way. The only way to
accurately ascertain the scrotum clearance on a display
model toilet would be to fill the bowl with water and
measure it. Good luck with the helpful staff at
But don't despair! Here's a
tactic that might work for you: On most toilets
(not all!) you can plainly see the outline of the outlet
passage on the exterior of the ceramic toilet. You won't
know exactly where the spillover is within this outline
because you don't know how thick the ceramic is, but you can
get a pretty good idea. Borrow a measuring tape from the
tooling department and either measure the distance from the
rim down to the spillover directly, or measure the height of
the spillover above the floor and subtract that measurement
from the rim height.
Looking over the selection of toilets at Lowe's and Home Depot
in 2019, it quickly became apparent that someone at Delco
listened when grandpa complained. Delta toilets appear
to have more scrotum clearance than any other model on
display. Some of the other models seem to have very
little scrotum clearance at all, like they were designed for
women only. A Delta Foundations toilet was purchased
from Home Depot, and once installed and operating the scrotum
clearance was measured to be 6-3/4". By the time my junk
sags that far, I'll probably be too senile to care.