Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Q14: Blue balls -- a problem or a ploy?

From "didn't wanna ask at the time..." via AIM:

So, pardon my frankness, but can you explain to me more clearly the "blue balls" business that gentlemen often complain about? I understand the basic, err, mechanics and causes of the condition, but I've got to wonder, does it really hurt that much or is it generally played up and used as a ploy to garner sympathy/get laid? How long do effects linger? Why does it cause pain? Is there a way to avoid/alleviate symptoms while keeping romantic engagements "above the belt?"
-didn't wanna ask at the time...

Greetings, "didn't wanna..."!

Okay: frankly, blue balls aren't as serious as guys think they are. This probably depends on the guy, and his tolerance/threshold for pain, but he'll live.

As to the mechanical basis, here's a fantastic description from DiscoveryHealth:Sexpedia:
"Blue balls" is a slang term referring to testicular aching that may occur when the blood that fills the vessels in a male's genital area during sexual arousal is not dissipated by orgasm.
When a man becomes sexually excited, the arteries carrying blood to the genital area enlarge, while the veins carrying blood from the genital area are more constricted than in the non-aroused state.
This uneven blood flow causes an increase in volume of blood trapped in the genitals and contributes to the penis becoming erect and the testicles becoming engorged with blood. During this process of vasocongestion the testicles increase in size 25-50 percent.
If the male reaches orgasm and ejaculates, the arteries and veins return to their normal size, the volume of blood in the genitals is reduced and the penis and testicles return to their usual size rather quickly.
If ejaculation does not occur there may be a lingering sensation of heaviness, aching, or discomfort in the testicles due to the continued vasocongestion. This unpleasant feeling has popularly been called blue balls, perhaps because of the bluish tint that appears when blood engorges the vessels in the testicles.

A Temporary, Minor Pain
The condition usually does not last long and the level of pain associated with blue balls is usually minor and can be exaggerated. Most men have been socialized to ejaculate when they get an erection during sexual activity. Failure to ejaculate and to feel orgasm often adds frustration and disappointment to the reality of the physical sensation.
Men who believe that they should ejaculate every time they have an erection are likely to exert pressure on their partner to proceed with sex without taking her feelings into consideration.
Some men find that masturbation is a viable solution and are realizing that ejaculation is not a requirement in every sexual situation. This attitude allows both men and their partners to relax more and to learn that pleasure and meaning can exist without having to reach ejaculation and orgasm during every sexual encounter.
Men are not alone in experiencing the discomfort of unrelieved vasocongestion. Women's genitals also become engorged with blood during sexual arousal and, like their male counterparts, women can experience pelvic heaviness and aching if they do not reach orgasm.

...So, to sum up: "blue balls" is a physical manifestation of sexual frustration. Basically, the blood builds up down there (for both guys and girls), and an orgasm is the typical way for that pressure to be released. A guy does NOT need to ejaculate; it'll just be achy for a bit. If you are not comfortable going "below the belt," then don't be pressured just b/c he's feeling some extra pressure. Don't do something that you're not comfortable with; if the guy forces or guilt-trips you into it, then he's not worth being with.

From a Guy: Yeah, blue balls can be uncomfortable --- when I first started kissing girls, I would get a rather intense pain down there. It stopped happening after about 3-4 women. I say it's an excuse, but can you blame them? Just give them the nookie already --- let the male worship and revel in your body.

...hmm. While we don't agree with this particular guy, the "when I first started..." is probably a key point. As guys get used to "romantic engagements," they build up a tolerance. So the more experienced guys will be able to control their aches. Don't give the guy nookie unless you're comfortable with him. And even then, it'd better be worship. What doesn't kill him will make him stronger. If you're lucky, he'll build up a tolerance and be even better in bed.

Guys tend to build up the concept of "blue balls" in their minds as something to be avoided. However, there's usually a point at which a guy can stop the romantic engagement and not ache afterwards. The best way to deal with situations like these is to be open/communicate with the guy. Be clear on what you want to do or how far you want to go. Any possible feelings of awkwardness will be much better for you than feeling uncomfortable if you go too far. If he doesn't listen to you, or if he insists that he needs to ejaculate and you really don't want to deal with that, he can go to the bathroom and masturbate. That will definitely be awkward, so try to head off that uncomfy-ness by talking beforehand. Or just saying, "Stop" or "I need to catch my breath" or even "Can we save some for next time?" Girls deal w/ blue balls quite often -- esp since so many guys don't know how to give US orgasms -- so don't feel too guilty.

Alternatively, if you're having a romantic engagement (great term, btw), and it gets to be too much, and the guy talks about the blue balls, you could call him on it. Confess that you're curious about this concept, ask whether it's really true or not, and see if it really hurts that much when you stop. Of course, this is definitely a "scientific curiosity side" that might analytically kill the mood, but some guys like a little sadism...right? ;)

Also, no matter how much they say they just wanna get laid, guys do appreciate a good chase/girls that don't say "yes" right away, or cater to their every whim. Saying "yes" right away looks desperate. Be a little skeptical -- the guy needs to prove himself to you before you trust him with going further. Overall, do what makes you feel comfortable.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/IM/post again! :)]

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Q13: My friend likes the same guy I like -- Help!

From "Sisters Before Misters?":

I've liked this guy for several months now. We get along wonderfully; the only problem is that a close friend of mine also likes him -- a lot. I haven't told her about my feelings for him. Would I be a terrible person to date this guy, or to act on my feelings? I really want to go after him (I think we'd be a perfect match), but I don't want to seem disingenuous, or worse, ruin a friendship. Help!
-Sisters Before Misters?

Hi, SBM? --
Whom do you think the guy would like better -- you or your friend? If you did express interest and you both went after him, then if he picked your friend, you'd end up without friend and without a boyfriend.

If you think the guy would pick you, however, then go for it. But first, you should probably tell your friend that you really like the guy, and that you've liked him for several months -- ie, that you didn't start liking him just b/c your friend likes him. Make sure you tell her before making any moves -- otherwise, you'll seem underhanded and sneaky, and your friend will feel betrayed. Although... that gives your friend an opening to betray you. How much do you trust your friend? If she's a good friend, then you can both examine why you like the guy and talk about it together. If she's not such a good friend, then she might backstab you. (Though that probably means that she's not worth keeping as a friend anyway.) Be careful. Avoid the feeling that you're competing for this guy.

If the guy asks you on a date before you've got a chance to do anything, then tell your friend about it, too. If you want to be a really good friend, then you could tell him that your friend likes him. But be prepared -- if he chooses your friend, you'll be hurt.

Alternatively, set your friend up with someone else. Then make a move on the guy. Once she's in a relationship, you could tell her, "Oh -- [insert guy's name here] asked me on a date..." It'll be more casual then because you're not competing.

Alternative Advice: Just have a threesome -- then everyone's happy!

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/IM/post again! :)]

Q12: I've got a boyfriend -- and a crush on another guy...

From "Platonic Crush":

I'm in a long-term relationship with a guy I want to spend a long time with, but I have this really strong connection with another boy. Besides my boyfriend, he's probably my best friend -- we hang out together quite a bit, and I do harbor a long-standing crush on him. However, there's no chance of anything happening, as he's not attracted to women. I don't want to hurt my boyfriend's feelings (who is starting to get rather jealous/resentful), but I don't want to stop my relationship with this other guy. What should I do?
- Platonic Crush

Howdy, PC --
Well, first off, it seems that your best friend is gay. Therefore, you can't really have a physical relationship with him. You might want to figure out why you're so close to him. How does he feel about your crush? How would you feel if one of your close friends (such as a girl whom you probably aren't attracted to) told you that she had a crush on you? What would you do?

What do you like about your best friend? Are these attributes that your boyfriend doesn't have? What do you like about your boyfriend? Why do you want to spend a long time with him? You probably should sort out the pro's and con's of your relationship with both of them. If your boyfriend isn't fulfilling the needs that your best friend does, then are you going to be happy spending a long time with your boyfriend in the long run? Can you have a relationship with your boyfriend to the same degree of intimacy that you have with your best friend? If not, then you'll miss it and you'll probably be dissatisfied with your relationship. If your boyfriend doesn't have the potential to be your best friend, ultimately you won't be able to have a happy long-term relationship.

If you're truly sure that you want to spend a long time with your boyfriend, then maybe you should ask him why he's resentful/jealous. If they're valid reasons, then perhaps you should tone down your relationship with your best friend. If he's truly your friend, he'll probably understand, especially if he's not attracted to you. If you can't get over your crush on your best friend, then maybe you should look for a guy like him.

From another beaver: Your boyfriend would never forgive you if you dumped him for a gay guy. Just something to think about.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/IM/post again! :)]