What Is Blue Balls?
Blue balls is a condition often described by sexually frustrated dudes as a painful tingling in the balls accompanied by a slight blue tinge of the scrotum skin. It’s caused (or at least claimed to be caused) by a buildup of unreleased semen. But is there any truth there, or is it a tall tale concocted by guys who just really, really want to get laid? Dr. Paul Turek, MD, a board-certified men's health and fertility urologist, answers all your questions.
1. To understand what really happens with “blue balls” you first need to understand how ejaculation works.
Dr. Turek explains that the first part of ejaculation is called emission. "That's when the sperm is being pumped from the scrotum through the vas deferens and into the prostate," explains Turek. “The second part of the process is termed, appropriately, ejaculation.” Think of it like a sneeze. Emission is the moment you’re rearing your head back and shutting your eyes, and sneezing is ejaculation. And with that in mind, have fun thinking about ejaculation the next time you sneeze.“Unlike a sneeze though, you can stop this reflex up to the point of true ejaculation,” explains Dr. Turek.
2. At its worst, stopping that process of semen expulsion can cause very mild discomfort.
So there’s a point of almost no return for the semen as it gets loaded up. If it’s not released, that’s where the whole blue balls sensation comes from. “It is typically not overtly painful, but simply bothersome or unpleasant in nature,” says Dr. Turek. So while an unreleased orgasm can cause some mild discomfort, it’s nothing a guy can’t handle. Certainly, it’s no reason for you to feel guilted into lending a helping hand.
3. No, the balls don’t actually turn blue.
There’s no real evidence that all this unreleased semen actually turns the skin on the scrotum blue. That’s not to say a guy’s balls couldn’t turn blue, but if that actually happens, you better get him to a doctor immediately. “Although ‘blue ball’ discomfort is not associated with discolored testicles, the use of any blood-constricting devices or toys on the scrotum or simply twisting the testicles more than 360 degrees in any one direction could impair blood to the testicles and turn them blue,” says Dr. Turek.
4. And while blue balls won’t end with him writhing around on the ground, there are other reasons he could be experiencing pain.
But again, these are all reasons to rush him to the ER, not finish him off.“Typically it can be due to pelvic muscle spasm, prostatitis, infections, ejaculatory duct obstruction, urethral stricture, varicocele or even a hip joint issue,” says Dr. Turek. “There are about 60 muscles in the pelvis that do one thing or another, so musculoskeletal issues are probably the most common cause.” These issues could be anything from a (relatively) mild bump to the balls he got earlier in the day up to STDs. And for what it’s worth, Dr. Turek does mention that “heavy, aggressive manipulation” can still cause problems, as could some extreme cases (we’re talking really extreme) cases of edging for hours. So even though you can’t really “blue ball” him, it’s still not a great idea to be rough with them or tease him for too long.
Video: What are BLUE BALLS ? -Science FACTion Show - #BLUEBALLS
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