This week’s Ask Bish is for someone who’s worried in case their balls move up into their body.
Hi, lately I’ve been having issues with my balls and can’t quite seem to figure what’s happening with them or if this has always been happening or it’s just a regular thing. Basically whenever I’m masturbating my right ball will move like downwards a bit and sometimes to the right and my left ball will slightly move to the left but it rarely happens with the left one. Sometimes they won’t move whilst I’m masturbating and will only move when I’m either just about to ejaculate or when I’m mid-ejaculation. Just wanted to know if this is a serious problem and if I need to see a doctor. It doesn’t hurt or anything. It has never moved up into my body or abdomen. Just moves a bit. I’m just scared in case they do move up into my body. If you could help me out that would be great thanks.
Thanks for your great question. It doesn’t sound to me that there is anything wrong here – though remember that I’m not a doctor and can’t diagnose you. I think that if I give you a bit more information about how balls work it might help you to work out what is going on for you down there.
Your balls move up and down
Your balls are surrounded by muscles which control them – these are known as cremaster muscles. Their job is to bring your testicles up when they need to, and to be allowed back down. They do this for three main reasons.
So that sperm can be produced effectively, the testicles need to be kept two degrees cooler (35°C) than the rest of the body temperature (37°C). Your body responds to temperature changes by instructing the cremaster muscles to pull the testicles up if they are too cold, and down if they are too warm.
Read more about balls and ejaculation
You might notice that your balls get pulled right up towards your body after you get out of a swimming pool (shinkage). Or in really cold weather. Then when they get warm again they drop down more so they dangle.
It’s also thought that your cremaster muscles work to pull the balls up when your body is reacting to a threat. As I’ve written about here, our body can just react when it senses a harm, thanks sympathetic nervous system. One of the clever things the body does is to pull the balls up to protect them. It might pull them right up into your body.
Interestingly this can also happen from laughter and also from stroking your inner thigh from your knee towards your groin. This is known as the cremasteric reflex. There is a version of this for female bodies known as the inguinal reflex (which surrounds the round ligament).
Researchers are still trying to figure out what the testicles’ deal is during sexual arousal. It’s thought that when an erection happens that the testicles are pulled up towards the body. They call this a ‘peno-cremasteric reflex’ and it might happen to kind of compress the testicle to help it move into the sperm tubes.
Read more about the hard on
You describe this happening to you a little when you are ejaculating. If the researchers are correct it might actually start before you ejaculate. Remember that there is a difference between orgasm and ejaculation.
Your cremaster muscles allow your testicles to sit in your scrotum or pulls them up into what is known as the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is basically a long tube that extends from your scrotum into your body. After birth, most testicles drop through this canal into the scrotum (this is when balls ‘drop’). However they also go back up in there. And yes your testicles can go back up there.
But it’s not something to worry about. If your muscles do pull your testicles up there then they will come down when your muscles relax. You might be interested to learn that this is something that a lot of people actually do intentionally. This is known as tucking and can be done by anyone who wants to hide a bulge in their pants. Drag performers, trans women, people who are intersex, or just someone with large balls who feels uncomfortable.
So although you are worried about your body bringing your balls up into your inguinal canal, it’s not something you have to worry about because other people actually do this intentionally (and safely).
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© Justin Hancock, 2022
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health.