James W. Hicks, M.D.

Blue Balls

In Sexploration* on September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm

If a man has been sexually aroused for some time and does not reach orgasm, he can develop a painful, congested feeling in his lower abdomen and testicles, commonly known as “blue balls.” Surprisingly, this phenomenon is almost completely ignored in the medical literature. Because there has been little medical investigation, we can’t be certain whether the discomfort comes from venous congestion or from the build-up of seminal fluids.

Some consider blue balls a myth that young men use to pressure their girlfriends into sex. I’m sure the complaint has been used for that purpose, though there is really no excuse, since the discomfort is easily and safely relieved by masturbating to orgasm. But some people have a personal or cultural belief that masturbation is sinful or that it depletes masculine vigor. Of course, relief can also come in the form of a “wet dream” in the early morning during REM sleep, when men naturally and involuntarily develop an erection. Or you can fool around with a sympathetic friend with the excuse that you are “horny” and “need relief.”

  1. 116 men took a quick poll on my original blog, and 60% said they had experienced blue balls. The remainder had not. It is surprising that such a widespread phenomenon has not been scientifically studied.

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