If you've ever heard a guy complain that you've "given him blue balls," you may have wondered what the fuss is about a man's balls. Are blue balls actual, or is that just something that's said to make people feel guilty about flirting without having sex?
The truth, of course, is a little more complicated.
What Are Blue Balls?
The term "blue balls" is slang that refers to a medical condition called epididymal hypertension. It refers to a sensation of pain that people can get when they've been sexually aroused for an extended period without feeling relief.
No one is exactly sure where the term "blue balls" came from. Some people claim that the testicles may turn a slight blue, but this has not been proven scientifically. Another theory is that people may end up feeling bruised down there, and the phrase "blue balls" may refer to feeling black and blue.
What Happens When You Get Blue Balls?
When a person is stimulated, blood rushes to their genitals. After orgasm, the blood naturally leaves the area.
So what causes blue balls? If you're aroused and don't orgasm, the blood can linger. This can be uncomfortable.
That being said, epidydimal hypertension — the medical term for blue balls — is pretty rare. Most people don't experience it every time they get aroused. And, even when blue balls happen, it's not life-threatening and won't cause any long-term harm.
Some people think blue balls are similar to sexual frustration. The difference is that sexual frustration is mainly emotional, while blue balls have physical symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Heaviness in the genitals
- Pain or discomfort
Can Women Get Blue Balls?
Although the term "blue balls" would tend to suggest that this sensation is unique to people born with testicles, people born with a vulva can have a very similar ache after prolonged sexual frustration. This ache is called vasocongestion for those with a vulva, though it has recently been nicknamed "blue vulva."
How Do You Get Blue Balls to Go Away?
The solution is pretty simple if you're trying to figure out how to relieve blue balls. Since the pain is caused by sexual tension, orgasming is the easiest way to make blue balls disappear.
But just because orgasming can help relieve blue balls doesn't mean you have an excuse to give your partner a hard time for "giving" you blue balls. Any orgasm can alleviate the tension, including an orgasm from masturbation. So, if your partner isn't in the mood to have sex, you can handle the situation yourself.
If you're not able to orgasm for some reason, you may find some relief with ice packs. Or you can wait for the blue balls to go away on their own. This will usually happen as you become less aroused, and you can help the process by taking a cold shower or thinking about something you don't find sexual.
How Long Does Blue Balls Last?
Although blue balls haven't been studied extensively, most medical professionals seem to agree that blue balls are caused by unreleased sexual tension and that the sensation goes away pretty soon after you release that tension. If you've had pain in your testicles long enough that you find yourself googling "how to get rid of blue balls," you might be dealing with something more severe.
When Should You See a Doctor?
You should see a doctor if you think you have blue balls, but the pain is horrible or doesn't go away soon after ejaculation.
Painful testicles or pain that doesn't disappear is probably not blue balls. People may think they have blue balls when they have a more severe condition like:
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney stones
- Testicular cancer
- Diabetic neuropathy
Blue balls are also relatively rare. If you often find discomfort in your testicles during sex or stimulation, you should check in with your urologist to ensure nothing else is going on.
And, while some men claim slight discoloration of their testicles when they have blue balls, if your balls are ever truly blue, you should go to the ER immediately. This could signify testicular torsion, which is much more severe than blue balls (and not cured by achieving orgasm).
What Are Some Common Myths and Misconceptions Regarding Blue Balls?
Unfortunately, because talking about sex is so taboo in our society, blue balls often don't get the attention they need. As a result, myths and misconceptions about blue balls can circulate in locker rooms or behind closed bedroom doors. Here are just a few worth addressing.
Your Balls Turn Blue
The most common myth regarding blue balls is that your balls turn blue. While slight discoloration could happen if the oxygen supply to your testicles decreases — while wearing a cock ring, for example—sexual frustration alone is not enough to turn your testicles blue. If that happens, you probably see a doctor.
Having Blue Balls Hurts
Does having blue balls hurt? This may depend on your pain threshold. But the sensation is most often described as a discomfort, ache or heaviness. If you're experiencing severe pain in your testicles, check in with a doctor before thinking it's blue balls.
Guys Get Blue Balls Every Time They Don't Orgasm After Stimulation.
If this were true, boys going through puberty would be in a near-constant state of having blue balls. The truth is that most guys rarely experience blue balls. And, when it does happen, it's relatively easy to take care of the problem.
You Have Blue Balls Because Your Partner is a Tease
The attitude that blue balls result from your partner being a tease is one of many unfortunate side effects of rape culture in America. This culture has 1 in 16 women in America losing her virginity to rape. Your partner is perfectly within their rights to flirt, tease, suggest, and then change their mind at any point in your sexual encounter.
You were wondering how to prevent blue balls? It is a relatively rare issue, but if you want to avoid it from happening, go ahead and masturbate when you feel turned on. This not only prevents blue balls but can also prevent you from repeatedly asking your partner to have sex with you or insinuating that they should after they've said no.
What Should You Do If You Have Blue Balls?
It's important to remember that blue balls are just a colloquial term for that heaviness or discomfort everyone occasionally feels after being aroused for a long time. Blue balls aren't life-threatening and are not your partner's fault.
The best thing you can do if you have blue balls is to take care of yourself. Find a quiet place to masturbate and relieve that sexual tension. And take comfort knowing that, even when people delay orgasms.
5 Best Products to Help You Avoid & Relieve Blue Balls
- Fanta Light Pussy Pump
- Moto-Bator Blow Job Simulator
- Frixion Lube
- Vibrating Masturbator
- Deep Throat Sucker
Blue Balls. (November 2016). Cosmopolitan.
Women can say no anytime: Flirting scenarios that don't lead to sex. (August 2015). Chicago Tribune.
The Myths and Facts About "Blue Balls" (Epididymal Hypertension). April 2021. Very Well Health.
Guide to Epididymal Hypertension (Blue Balls). (May 2017). Healthline.
Is blue balls a real condition? (April 2019). Medical News Today.
Is Blue Balls Real? Kinda, But You'll Be Okay. We Promise. (July 2020). Men's Health.
Testicular torsion. (April 2020). Mayo Clinic.
Rape Culture is As American as Apple Pie. (September 2019). The Guardian.