As physical phenomenons go, "blue balls" seems to get undue attention, particularly when it comes to the dangers of letting it go untreated, so to speak. Luckily, Cristen Conger of Stuff Mum Never Told You has stepped in to put that myth — and the idea that it's only a problem for penises — completely to rest.
Of course, the sensation commonly described as "blue balls" isn't total fiction. As Conger explains in the video, its officially known as epididymal hypertension, which occurs when the testicles fill with fluid and blood rushes to the genital regions. It means a man's body is getting ready for sex, which may leave him feeling in pain if orgasm and ejaculation don't ensue.
But what we don't hear very often is: Female-bodied people have to physiologically prep for sex, too. And they do so in about the same way. Blood rushes to their genitals, increasing blood pressure, and causing the vulva, uterus, and ovaries to swell. Conger cleverly coins the term "blue vulva" to describe the process. As she explains, all of this swelling, heaviness, and sensitivity is about as comfortable as "blue balls."
So why don't we hear about this more? Conger points out that "blue balls" may get more exposure, because male orgasms are considered easier to attain — ever heard of the "orgasm gap"? — which can lead men to have an air of entitlement when it comes to, well, coming. Last year's sex survey from Cosmopolitan found that only 57% of women orgasm most or every time they have sex. But if regular orgasms are consistently harder to reach for many women, shouldn't "blue vulvas" be even more of a thing than "blue balls"?
There is one comforting tidbit in the video, though: Both "blue balls" and "blue vulva" don't lead to long-term repercussions, no matter how squirmy and uncomfortable you may feel at the time. Watch the entire video above to learn more about "blue vulva." This month, we're sharing steamy personal stories, exploring ways to have even better sex, and wading through the complicated dynamics that follow us into the bedroom. Here's to a very happy February. Check out more right here.