What Happens When You Get Blue Balls?


The term “blue balls” describes the physical and mental frustration from prolonged periods of sexual arousal without an orgasm. But is it even real, and if so, what actually happens?

Whenever you’re sexually aroused, your body experiences a lot physiological changes. In men, the arteries of the penis and testicles dilate, meaning more oxygenated blood flows through them. At the same time, veins constrict, preventing deoxygenated blood from leaving. This increase in blood flow and pressure results in an erection, but what you may not realize is that testicles expand up to twice their regular size. Yep that’s right - the balls grow.

Now, a common misconception is that deoxygenated blood is blue, but it’s actually a dark red colour. Veins often appear greenish-blue on your arms due to the skin above them, because red light has a longer wavelength than blue light, and as a result can be absorbed deeper into the skin. Blue light, on the other hand, ends up being reflected before it’s absorbed by deeper veins, making your blood appear blue. When it comes to your balls, since more red light is being absorbed, the veins here can appear blue as well. And if arousal is prolonged, the deoxygenated blood builds up in the testicles, creating more of a blue tinge.

Do women get "blue balls"?

But it’s not just a condition that men experience, as blood rushes to the vagina during sexual arousal too. The increased blood flow to the vaginal wall, clitoris and labia result in an analogous condition sometimes called “blue vulva.”

The good news is that relief can be right around the corner. It can be easily alleviated through orgasm, or by just decreasing sexual arousal with no lasting side effects or damage. It has also been suggested that applying an ice pack can relieve some pain if you want to go that route.

Essentially, blue balls and blue vulva can happen all of us. It is a legitimate physiological response from prolonged sexual arousal; however, it is easy to turn off this unusual colour by getting your mind out of the gutter...or just masturbating.

Mitch Moffit