Ever had blue balls?

Much more common in American than British slang, blue balls refers to the condition where a guy reports pain in his testicles associated with a lack of a sexual release. The jury is out, however, on whether or not the condition actually exists. Is blue balls a real (and painful) condition? Or is it just a guy's way of complaining when he hasn't gotten off?


Nine out of ten doctors say:

Medically, there is an element of truth to the existence of blue balls, but with plenty of artistic license. Firstly, balls do not literally turn blue. The only way that a scrotum would turn blue would be either through bruising (which would be more of a purple color) or through the liberal application of some paint. The blueness is associated rather with the idea of pain through the lack of release.

Secondly, there is no evidence that lack of sexual release is associated with extreme pain. Although it's important for all of us (men AND women) to get off on a regular basis, it is not possible to be hospitalized or to die from having blue balls. The solution is simple, according to American medical journals: "sexual release.” And a guy can cure this condition all on his own. No one has ever, to our knowledge, died from blue balls.

The build up of seminal fluid in the male system is known as vascocongestion. There is some evidence that this can cause pain in and around his testicles. This pain is not reported by all males, and some people have never reported pain in the testicles after a buildup of fluid. This leads us to think that blue balls may be as much psychological as physical:  some men love to moan about blue balls, while other people tend not to mention this at all.

In a further medical review of the condition, urologists have referred to a condition known as "epididymal hypertension". This condition can be viewed to be part of the urinary system, which may impact upon the lower half of the body. However, compared to other urinary conditions it is minor and of no serious medical consequence. This could cause similar symptoms to men suffering from blue balls.

Because blue balls, are, well, innately kind of funny, people tend to underestimate how serious the pain can be. Localized, lasting pain may be a sign that something is indeed wrong much serious than blue balls. This can even be a symptom of testicular cancer. If pain does not seem to be normal then you should always make sure that you see a doctor.

Unlike blue balls, cancer is no laughing matter.


The linguistic view

Interestingly, blue balls has been with us for a long time, at least in terms of language. Blue balls, as a term, was thought to have originated as early as 1916 in the United States. It was originally a term used in working class communities. It is not known if it was the First World War which was, in some way, responsible for the term, although it is not difficult to see how such a term could originate if there was military service.


The psychological view

There is no doubt that lack of sexual release causes a range of psychological behaviors in men. Many men report feeling anxious, even aggressive if they go a long time without release. This can cause a lot of difficulties, but often men overestimate this response. They use ‘blue balls’ as a way to manipulate their relationships, instead of having an honest conversation about their sexual needs.

In the long term, there are no known harmful consequences of ‘blue balls’ although lack of intimate relationships can cause difficulties for all of us. There is an obvious solution for blue balls, and it does not require therapy. If a man decides not to cure his own blue balls, nature will eventually take its course and he'll wake up to a surprise.


blue balls


Our view

Talking to men, they report that blue balls are indeed a true phenomena. Although they report that their balls have never actually turned blue, they talk about it as being like a tightness within their testicles that can intensify over time. However, this feeling is not constant and almost seems to change depending the time of the day. At some times the tightness can seem to be intense and painful, at other times it can seem to be almost pleasurable, or even non-existent so that there is no pain in that area at all. Some men say that they have never experienced blue balls, whereas others say that they feel it all of the time.

Perhaps a better name for blue balls would be ‘tight balls’. That is certainly the way that it seems for most men who experience this type of tightness, almost like a pulling, in this area. It can seem like a pressing on the ball area which can also feel like a tickling sensation.

Talking to women, they say that they can sometimes feel a difference in the testicles when their partner says that they are experiencing blue balls. They feel that the ball area is slightly swollen and tender. They also say that when a male reports that they have ‘blue balls’ it is sometimes used as an explicit reason for them to ask for sex. Some women say that it is almost a turn on to think about their male having swollen testicles as they are full of desire for them.

Medically, there is no proof that blue balls can cause any real physical damage to a man. There is no way that blue balls can kill a man, or even cause any real kind of physical harm. There is a simple cure for blue balls, and a doctor would not even need to write a prescription for it. Pain in the testicles, though, is something that should always be investigated. So take care of your blue balls!

photos by Cristiano Corsini and Valerie Everett via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license.




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