Play Ball!: Getting to Know Your Testicles

There's probably a lot of jokes we could tell here about about gay & bisexual men and games or sports with balls....but we'll leave that to your imagination!  In all seriousness, though, let's take a deeper look at a set of balls that are very important to all men:  the testicles.

The testicles are the firm egg shaped organs that hang just below the penis.  They are a tightly packed cluster of tubes that feel like a solid ball or mass.  On the top and/or back of the testicles is a bumpy soft tube called the epididymis. Within the testicles two important biological functions occur.  The first is the production of the hormone testosterone; which plays a role in everything from control of sexual functioning/arousal to body development to body hair growth.  The second major function of the testicles is the production of sperm cells that are then stored in the epididymis and released in semen during ejaculation.

Another important feature of the testicles is their involvement in sex.  They fill with blood and often grow in size during arousal and usually rise up into the body just before and during orgasm.  Constriction of the testicles, manually or with the use of a cock-ring, can help delay ejaculation.  For most men they are also very sensitive part of the anatomy and stimulation of the testicles can be very pleasurable.

Unfortunately, the testicles can also be a source of pain and health problems. Some temporary minor tenderness or pain in the testicles (at times for no apparent reason) is actually common and harmless.  Persistent and/or serious pain, however, may be an indication of a problem. 

At times pain in the testicles is caused by a trauma or other external factor.  Most men know that being struck or kicked in the testicles is extremely painful.  In some instances blows to the testicles may actually lead to swelling, bruising, or internal bleeding.  Another problem that can be caused externally is torsion---twisting of the spermatic cord that provides blood to the testicle(s).  This can occur from too vigorously stimulating/handling the testicles during sex or from the use of a cock-ring that is too tight. This can lead to pain, nausea, vomiting, and in extreme cases may completely cut off blood supply and require the removal of the testicle!

Other problems in the testicles are the result of infections or inflammations.  Most of these infections are not serious and can be treated easily by a doctor.  Epididymitis, inflammation of the epididymis, is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections and can result in pain, swelling, and nausea.  It is treatable with prescription antibiotics.  A hydrocele occurs when an abnormal quantity of fluid is created in a pouch below the testicle that is supposed to cushion it.  It may be drained or the fluid pouch may be removed altogether as treatment.  A spermatocele is an enlargement of the epididymis that is usually painless and harmless but may change the appearance/shape of the testicle.  It is not necessary to treat it but many men choose to have it removed for aesthetic reasons.  A varicocele is an enlarged vein---much like a varicose vein. It may cause discomfort and can be treated/removed.

The most serious ailment of the testicles is testicular cancer---which is most common in white men age 15-40.  This form of cancer is easy to diagnose early with regular self-examinations.  All men should perform a self-exam at least once a month by feeling/examining their testicles during or after a warm

bath/shower looking for a solid lump (usually the size of a pea).  Detecting a growth before it becomes cancerous and can spread is important.  If detected early, removal of the testicle is a 100% cure.  Once cancer has developed treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy may be necessary.

All of the above issues are uncomfortable and some, if left untreated, may lead to serious problems such as sterility, sexual functioning problems, and hormone imbalances.  Men generally know their bodies best…if you suspect there is an irregularity or problem with your testicles, seek the advice of a doctor.  Keeping your mind and body, including the testicles, in top shape is an important way to keep yourself queer, proud, & healthy!!!