What Are Blue Balls, Really?

Guilt trip or actual health issue? Here's your answer!

blue balls

Oh, blue balls: a topic that seems steeped in legend and myth.
If you’re a woman who sleeps with men, you’ve probably had at least one conversation with a partner about blue balls. You may have even wondered if blue balls are a real thing or just some absurd guilt trip a guy lays out when things get hot and heavy, but she decides, “Meh, I have other things to do,” which, of course, can happen. (Sometimes, there are just other things to do.)

There’s also the name: blue balls. Realistically, can balls actually turn blue? And what sort of blue are we talking about? An azure? If this is the case, is there some sort of mortal danger that comes with it? What should we do if someone we love drops to the ground and yells out, “Blue balls! Blue balls!” Call 911  … or just a wambulance?

“Blue balls are indeed a real thing,” Hashim, 36, a D.C. area writer told YouBeauty. “I can think of a time I was really put out because I gave an orgasm, then someone came over and we had to stop. I wanted to repaint the walls, so to speak, and after the person left, I figured we’d go back to business, but no, she ‘was over it.’ That’s not a good feeling.”

Continued Olivier, 45, a New York musician, “Yes, it’s real. I’ve never noticed a change in color, but there’s definitely a small pain that comes with being aroused and not getting to finish.”

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However, Ben, 32, an art restorer in Raleigh, North Carolina, doesn’t agree. “It’s not a real thing. At all. Not one bit. And I’ve never used it as an excuse to have a girl get me off,” he explained.

Well then.

While Ben may be fortunate enough to not have experienced blue balls, according to Dr. Marianne Brandon, clinical psychologist and sex therapist, the phenomenon is very real. It’s just that not all men end up suffering from it. 

So, What Are Blue Balls Then?

The medical term for blue balls is epididymal hypertension.  “When a man is aroused, blood and other fluids accumulate in his testicles,” Dr. Brandon explained. “If he doesn’t release that fluid by ejaculating, his testicles can become very sensitive because of the pressure build-up.”

When a man gets an erection, blood flows directly to the genitals. It’s the blood that keeps him erect and increases the size of his testes anywhere from 25% to 50%. If an orgasm is reached, then the balls get their release and return to a normal size. If not, blood continues to flow into the testicles, but not being released due to the lack of an orgasm there is a congestion that can create minor a discomfort. Men tend to describe this discomfort as an “ache.”

Do A Man’s Balls Really Turn Blue?

Actually, yes — but don’t expect a bright sky blue or anything that colorful. Instead, the scrotum can turn a slight bluish hue due to the blood that has collected in the testicles that isn’t rich in oxygen. Blood that is fully oxygenated is red while blood that isn’t will be blue in color — hence the reason why your veins are blue. So, there’s no need for alarm, gentlemen! (And yes, we realize that “blue” may also refer to the sadness that comes from not having the big O, but men may notice their testes are really a different color, too.)

How Do You Stop Blue Balls?

The quickest way to put an end to blue balls is — duh — for a man to ejaculate so his testes can get back down to their usual size. Dr. Brandon suggested masturbation, but if that’s not his cup of tea nor does he have a partner who’s willing to lend him a hand, literally, the only thing the blue ball sufferer can do is wait it out. The discomfort passes in less than an hour; he can spread his seed some other time.

Stay strong, boys!

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