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What are “blue balls?”

When a person with a penis is sexually excited but doesn’t ejaculate (cum), they can get an achy feeling in their testicles and lower abdomen. The slang name for this is “blue balls.” This happens because the blood that has rushed to the genitals to cause the erection takes time to move back out of that region. The name comes from the myth that a person with a penis’s balls will turn blue and fall off if he doesn’t ejaculate. It might be uncomfortable to have aching testes, but there are no long-term health risks. Eventually the erection goes away, or the person ejaculates and relieves the pressure.

People with vaginas can get a similar feeling if they don’t have an orgasm after sexual arousal. It may be a less severe feeling, but since people—regardless of their sex assigned at birth—respond to sexual excitement, it makes sense that it would happen to people with vaginas too.

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