Teens' Questions On Blue Balls, Period Sex & More, Answered

Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
When we asked our teenage and young-adult Snapchat users for their sex questions, we found they led to answers with something for all ages — and so we're publishing them both here and every Saturday on our Snapchat Discover Channel. Got a love or sex quandary? Send it to snapfeedback@refinery29.com.
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I'm a girl and haven't "lost it" to a guy, but I've gotten close. One thing that my ex told me was that he got blue balls. I get that guys get that when they're turned on and don't come, but is it actual physical pain? Do they have to come for the pain to stop? Is there anything else I can do to help my partner with blue balls (besides having sex) and I guess just anything else important that I should know?
“Blue balls” is more than just a manipulative reason dudes offer for why you should sleep with them, although it can absolutely also be that. It’s a sometimes-painful physical condition that occurs when blood flows to and builds up in the penis and testicles during sexual arousal, making the testicles ache if relief isn’t achieved through orgasm. (The technical term for this is “epididymal hypertension,” should you want to inject that into your bedroom discourse: “Let me take care of that epididymal hypertension for you, babe!”) The testicles are called “blue” because the blood inside has little oxygen and is therefore a bluish color. Not all people with penises experience it, and those who do can always bring themselves to orgasm (it needn’t be through intercourse!) or wait it out, since blood will naturally flow out of the penis and testicles as arousal subsides.

What many people don’t know is that female-bodied people can experience something similar: Arousal sends blood to the vulva, which can also become engorged and ache. (This is different from pelvic congestive syndrome, chronic aching in the pelvic region that should be checked out by a doctor.) Remember: You don’t “give” a partner blue balls (or blue vulva, for that matter), and it’s not your responsibility to “take” them away. If anyone plays the blue-genitals card to pressure you into sex, tell those balls bye.

Can you get pregnant if you have sex on your period?
Yes, but it's highly unlikely. A brief menstruation refresher: When ovulation occurs — on around the 14th day of a 28-day cycle, which is the average — an egg leaves the ovary through the fallopian tube, where it can live for 24 hours while it awaits fertilization by sperm. Sperm can live for three to five days (and, in rare cases, even seven days) inside a female body. So if you have sex on the last day of your period and then ovulate early, there could be a time frame during which both sperm and egg are alive inside you and meet.

I'm in a relationship with this guy and we haven't had sex yet, so I'm not sure what he's like in bed. Do guys tend to mind the odor of the vagina or do they understand?

When I read the first half of your question, I thought, perhaps wishfully, that it was going to be about how to tell if someone will be a sensitive, skilled sex partner. But I understand: It’s natural to be anxious about exposing body parts that we’re often told are unclean or repulsive. It’s also natural for your vagina to have its own odor, which can shift slightly over the course of your menstrual cycle. Other than body wash used during your regular baths or showers, you don’t need any special products to change it (and please, no matter what Gwyneth Paltrow says, no douching). If your vagina’s smell is very strong, however, it could be a sign of a condition such as bacterial vaginosis or the STI trichomoniasis; ask your Ob/Gyn if you suspect that the odor is off.

If you have a healthy vagina, I can’t speak to whether your particular partner will adore its odor. Some people love the smell and taste of a vagina. Some people don’t, but they love interacting with it in other ways and they’ll still give their vagina-owning partner head, perhaps with the help of some delicious-tasting lube. Or, at the very least, they won’t give their partner a hard time for having a vagina that smells like a vagina. Vagina hate is real, and even (perhaps especially) people who want to stick their dicks in one internalize it. But a good sex partner (and/or decent human being) will never body-shame you.

Follow me on Twitter at @hlmacmillen
or email me at hayley.macmillen@refinery29.com — I’d love to hear from you!

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