Sex may permeate our popular culture, but conversations about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian households. As a result, most individuals dealing with sexual health issues or trying to find information about sex often resort to unverified online sources or follow the unscientific advice of their friends.
To address the widespread misinformation about sex, News18.com is running this weekly sex column, titled ‘Let’s Talk Sex’. We hope to initiate conversations about sex through this column and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance.
The column is being written by Sexologist Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain. In today’s column, Dr Jain explains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about blue balls.
If you’ve ever gotten super turned on for a prolonged period of time, but weren’t able to have an orgasm, you may have experienced some mild pain and discomfort in your testicles, informally referred to as Blue Balls, or scientifically known as Epididymal Hypertension (EH).
Blue balls occur when an erection lasts for an extended period of time without an orgasm. While most cases of blue balls occur in overly stimulated people with testicles, especially younger people, this can occur at any age and to anyone. It can be uncomfortable, but it is usually not serious.
Let’s take a look at what blue balls are, how to treat them and when to be concerned that the pain in your testicles might be something more serious than EH.
WHAT ARE BLUE BALLS?
The constricting, painful experience in the testicles is often referred to as blue balls because the trapped blood can sometimes cause discomfort and a slight bluish coloration. Epididymal hypertension is not a diagnosis in and of itself, but rather another term for pain in the scrotum caused by prolonged sexual arousal without ejaculation.
To understand what really happens with ‘blue balls’, you first need to understand how erection works. When a man is sexually aroused, there is increased blood flow to the penis and testicles. The expansion of blood vessels is what causes the penis to become erect. After orgasm, the excess blood is released and the penis returns to its normal state.
A man gets blue balls when he has prolonged sexual arousal and couldn’t release the tension.
This causes fluids to get trapped in the epididymis. And when that happens, a man can experience pain or discomfort in the testicles. It occurs when a man fails to reach an orgasm during sex or when a man is aroused and couldn’t find a way to ejaculate. The pain will typically last a couple of minutes. Although in rare cases, it can go on for hours.
Getting rid of blue balls is simple, you just need to have an orgasm. This will cause the unpleasant build-up of blood to leave your genitals.
It’s not something you’d normally have to go to the doctor for, unless you’ve been experiencing other sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. But there are things you could do the next time you experience blue balls:
Orgasm: Having an orgasm will release blood from the penis and relieve you of testicular pain. If you don’t have a partner, masturbation will achieve the same result.
Exercise: Physical activity will redirect blood flow to other parts of your body.
Distract yourself: Any distraction that will free you from sexual frustration will do. Your goal is to move away from a state of sexual arousal so that the penis returns to its normal state.
Cold shower: A cold shower will restrict the blood flow to the male genitals.
Warm compress: Warm compress will help you relieve blue balls.
IS IT DANGEROUS?
It’s perfectly normal for teens and young men to experience blue balls, especially if caused by sexual frustration. However, when the pain in one or both testicles is constant regardless of what situation you’re in, it could be caused by another medical condition.
If that’s the case, you should consult a medical professional as quickly as possible. Your painful symptoms might come as a result of a more serious problem.
Here’s a list of other possible causes of pain or discomfort in the testicles:
Kidney stones: Aside from testicular pain, you’ll also feel a burning sensation while urinating as well as nausea and vomiting.
Testicular cancer: This occurs when malignant cells develop in your testicle’s tissues.
Orchitis: This happens when there’s an inflammation in one or both of the testicles.
Diabetic neuropathy: This is a type of nerve damage that occurs when someone has diabetes.
Epididymitis: This occurs when the tube behind the testicles (epididymis) gets swollen.
There’s also testicular torsion which is a medical emergency that might require immediate surgery. This is caused by a quick twisting of the testicles, cutting off blood flow to the testicles.
IS IT A SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION?
Blue balls is not a sign of impotence or sexual dysfunction and should not be treated as such. It is not a condition that requires medical attention. It goes away on its own once the excess blood remaining in the penis recirculates back to the rest of your body.
But if you want instant relief, you can try masturbating or having sex to achieve an orgasm. If that’s not possible, you can try taking a cold bath or taking your mind out of your state of arousal through exercise or any other physical activity.
If the pain persists after achieving an orgasm or if it occurs even if your penis isn’t erect, it’s best to consult a doctor as it might point to another condition.
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