Disclaimer: This article references sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Do not read if you are uncomfortable with these topics.
Everyone has different comfort levels when taking it to the bedroom. But some people end up compromising their own feelings due to pressure from the other party. “Blue balls” is a medical slang term that is used to describe the feeling when someone leads you on and then stops advancing, leaving you sexually frustrated and in physical pain. Is it a myth used for sexual manipulation or a medical fact — or both?
Not all sex is fulfilling or, more importantly, consensual. Considering the mounds of horny teenagers and young adults that flock to the University of Miami, we must acknowledge how forms of sexual slang like blue balls are not as innocent as they seem. Sex can still be steamy without coercion — we suggest you try.
“Are ‘blue balls’ real?” It’s a simple question that continues to leave millions of people puzzled. Despite the common assumption that the term “blue balls” was invented as a sexual phenomenon for men to complain about their testicular agony, the condition is in fact bona fide. Not only are blue balls real, but the catchy phrase even has an official medical diagnosis.
According to a survey study published by the International Society of Sexual Medicine, epididymal hypertension refers to scrotal pain, most of the time minor, that occurs due to the absence of ejaculation at peak sexual arousal. You might have first heard the term blue balls from an older sibling, investigating on a site like Urban Dictionary or even from the lips of a male romantic partner convincing you that the pain left in his testicles will send him to his death bed if not immediately relieved.
In most cases, the mentioning of blue balls causes one to associate male-bodied persons with the term. I mean how could you not? The word “balls” is literally in the name. The term blue balls is so snappy that even medical professionals are aware of its existence. Knowledge of the term in the United States dates back to the early 1900s and continues to be widespread in popular culture today. Whether the term is used for good or bad is still up for discussion.
Busting Open the Truth
The science behind epididymal hypertension is not difficult to comprehend, and with a brief explanation of the term, you can see just how unalarming the condition is. Epididymal hypertension occurs when the drainage of blood in the testicles is deferred during sexual arousal. The pain, most likely minimal, begins to arise when the blood present in the testicles is not released via orgasm.
Think of testicles like two balloons. During an erection, blood swells the genital structures, causing them to physically increase in size. As the balloons are “blowing up,” blood flow remains constant and venous release is limited due to compression of the emissary veins, causing the balloons to grow to their limit, ready to burst. One would assume that to diminish the overwhelming amount of pressure, the balloons must be “popped.”
This is not necessarily true. Ejaculation isn’t the only suitable option. Recall how the balloons were blown up in the first place — now put that action in reverse, releasing the air slowly. To do this, divert your mind from the pressure in your penis through various activities such as taking a shower or reading a book. If absolutely necessary, picture your grandmother wearing a crop top. However, make sure you do literally anything except persuade your sexual partner that this penile pressure is somehow their fault. The pain, if you even want to call it that, is most likely miniscule, so it shouldn’t take long for this fleeting feeling to differ from displeasure.
Although the discomfort resulting from epididymal hypertension is usually miniscule as well as temporary, more uncomfortable situations can occur. In the unlikely case that the symptoms of blue balls are more serious, the pain most likely results from other testicular health issues. In these circumstances, a healthcare professional should be consulted.
How To De-Blue
When it comes to most instances involving blue balls, the condition can be treated in three simple ways. Take note that each option does not include ejaculation or orgasm. The first option is a cold shower or cold bath. Limit your lust with the help of cold water to assist the circulation of blood flow in your genitals. If a chilly shower isn’t your cup of tea, then try sipping on a cup of tea. Or find some other relaxing type of past time and distract your mind from the matter period.
Mental distraction such as partaking in a meal, watching T.V., listening to music, or working on a current project will also do the job just fine. Even whip out a board game if necessary. Try playing a mean game of Monopoly, so long as your partner is up to it.
Lastly, physical exercise is a very suitable option for treating blue balls. A light jog around the neighborhood can leave you feeling better in no time. Maybe you can lift some weights and get a nice pump in. Or if you’re feeling something a little more Miami style, a dip in the pool can make you forget all about your balls and how sad and blue they were. Brownie points if the pool is cold, in that case you’re killing two birds with one stone. If none of those options excite you then there is always the tried-and-true masturbation method. Some of the best orgasms are achieved from a one-man band.
If masturbation does not seem appropriate since a sexual partner is present, you might consider asking them for assistance. Although, acknowledging your partner in the situation does not mean you should be tossing them all the blame. A partner does not know what you’re physically feeling and most likely can’t help it if unintentional discomfort arises. In the possibility that a partner is hesitant to assist, skepticism does not allow for efforts of persuasion to increase. You would know when someone is clearly willing to assist; consent is always clear.
Consent is Sexy
An anonymous It’s On Us ambassador at UM clarified the common misconceptions of consent when saying, “Consent is not the absence of a no; consent is an enthusiastic yes.” There is a likelihood that a partner is willing to aid in recovery from blue balls, just not in a physical manner. If a partner agrees to help, converse about an agreeable solution that is consensual on both ends.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are still oblivious to the effects of sexual coercion and how it can be used, even without intention to cause harm. For example, attempting to convince a partner to treat a case of blue balls is a form of sexual manipulation. Sexual coercion displayed in verbal form can have an impacting effect. So, when a male-bodied sexual partner says something like, “Come on, you’re going to give me blue balls,” note that this is a tactic of coercion.
Besides opening a gateway to sexual coercion, the term blue balls itself adds to longstanding sexist beliefs that go hand-in-hand with what happens in the bedroom. We have acknowledged the fact that blue balls are not a myth, yes, but it must be noted that the condition does not only pertain to males. Female-bodied people can also experience pain due to sexual arousal not followed by an orgasm. Now what’s the likelihood members of society are as familiar with a term like “blue vulva” or “blue bean” as they are with the notorious blue balls? The chances are slim.
The unnecessary stigma that women can’t experience pain after a sexual peak comes from outdated, androcentric beliefs that men’s sexual needs are the priority. Dr. Claire Oueslati-Porter, the director of the gender and sexuality studies department at UM, explained the negative contributions of a saying like blue balls by dissecting bigger ideas that tie into the term.
“An orgasm gap exists in heterosexual sexual relationships, where there is so much more centrality placed on the male bodied person’s climax and female body people may not orgasm at all,” said Oueslati-Porter, describing that there was the larger problem at hand. The inappropriate use of a word like blue balls only aids in widening that gap.
To dismiss the negative connotations that surround sexual statements like blue balls, society must acknowledge how to adjust the use of the term solely in an appropriate and enlightening manner.
“The term [blue balls] encapsulates how women are normally adapting to the sex drive of men instead of men adapting to the sex drives of women,” said an anonymous female undergraduate student, justifying the bad behind blue balls.
In a perfect world, all sexual relationships would be equally pleasuring and of course, consensual. We as a society can take one step closer to perfection with small advancements like erasing blue balls as a scapegoat for unwanted acts. Instead of using blue balls as an excuse for sexual intimidation, prioritize balance and mutual pleasure — your balls will end up thanking you.
words_remi turner. photo&design_lizzie kristal.
This article was published in Distraction’s Winter 2023 print issue.
Follow our Social Media: