Nearly every young man has had the experience of intense sexual stimulation and an aching sensation in his testicles. It is common in young men just experiencing sexual activity and has been a source of pain and discomfort for nearly every man who embarks on his sexual career.
Blue balls is a slang term referring to testicular aching that may occur when the blood that fills the vessels in a male’s genital area during sexual arousal is not dissipated by orgasm and ejaculation.
When a man becomes sexually excited, the arteries carrying blood to the genital area enlarge, while the veins carrying blood from the genital area are more constricted than in the non-aroused state.
The good news is that this uneven blood flow causes blood to be trapped in the two chambers of the penis resulting in the penis becoming erect. This increase of blood supply to the testicles and the trapping of blood around the testicles because the outflow of blood has been decreased causes vasocongestion or engorgement of the testicles resulting in an increase in size of the testicles by 25-50 percent. This distension of the testicles results in the pain and discomfort referred to as blue balls.
If the male reaches orgasm and ejaculates, the arteries and veins return to their normal size, the volume of blood in the genitals is reduced and the penis and testicles return to their usual size rather quickly.
If ejaculation does not occur there may be a lingering sensation of heaviness, aching, or discomfort in the testicles due to the continued vasocongestion.
The condition usually does not last long and the level of pain associated with blue balls is usually minor and can be exaggerated. Most men have been socialized to ejaculate when they get an erection during sexual activity. Failure to ejaculate and to feel orgasm often adds frustration and disappointment to the reality of the physical sensation.
Men who believe that they should ejaculate every time they have an erection are likely to exert pressure on their partner to proceed with sex without taking her feelings into consideration.
Some men find that masturbation is a viable solution and are realizing that ejaculation is not a requirement in every sexual situation. This attitude allows both men and their partners to relax more and to learn that pleasure and meaning can exist without having to reach ejaculation and orgasm during every sexual encounter.
It’s nice to know that men are not alone with this problem as it impacts both sexes. Both men and women experience the discomfort of unrelieved vasocongestion. Women’s genitals also become engorged with blood during sexual arousal and, like their male counterparts, women can experience pelvic heaviness and aching if they do not reach orgasm.