There are many reasons people feel stressed about sex, blue balls being one (or two) of them.
While the term sounds almost like a crude joke, it is in fact an actual condition, despite the sex myths that you might've been led to believe. Known in the medical world as epididymal hypertension, this occurs when men have prolonged sexual arousal without release. And no, it is not the be-all, end-all of an intimate encounter.
While it can lead to a few awkward moments, and it might make your partner feel less inclined to talk about sex—which the pros say is necessary for a relationship—it's not a catastrophic occurrence. Some sexperts even claim that we've been thinking about the term all wrong.
What are blue balls (epididymal hypertension)?
According to Pippa Murphy, the sex and relationship expert at condoms.uk (opens in new tab), "If orgasm does not occur, the increased blood flow can cause achy or pain in the testicles. In some cases, the scrotum may appear bluish in color due to the pooling of blood. The symptoms may vary from person to person but is most commonly a dull ache in the testicles and lower abdomen, as well as a general feeling of discomfort."
The equivalent for those with a vagina would be the "pink pelvis," in which the abdominal area turns a pinkish/red shade, which people equate to a sign of sexual frustration. Murphy insists there are no scientific factors that indicate this is so. The pink pelvis is often used interchangeably with blue vulva, which is something entirely different.
"Blue vulva is a condition where the vulva (the external female genitalia) turns blue or purple. This is often due to a lack of oxygen in the area, which can be caused by a number of factors," she says.
Can blue balls help with orgasms?
While epididymal hypertension a.k.a. blue balls is something that should be addressed by a medical professional, should the condition be persistent, Murphy says it actually has some benefits.
"For one thing, it can increase sexual stamina by teaching men to control their arousal," she says. "Some men also find that the increased blood flow to the genital area can lead to more intense orgasms. In addition, blue balls can also be a sign of good sexual health, as it indicates that the testicles are receiving adequate blood flow."
So, essentially what you thought was so problematic is actually not. (And hey, orgasm control is a trendy new approach now anyway.)
The bottom line? As sexperts insist, the end result of an intimate act shouldn't be the focal point. As long as you and your partner are happy, healthy and in agreement about your boundaries, that's what matters!
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)