What Happens to Your Testicles After Ejaculation?

testicles, testicular cancer, penis

Many men are confused about why their scrotal sack is sore after they have intercourse. But the answer is probably not what you think.

During sexual arousal the muscles in your scrotum contract to pull up your testicles and your penis closer to your body. This can create a pleasurable sensation of pressure when it is rubbed.

The Scrotum

A sack of skin called the scrotum hangs beneath the penis in males and some other mammals. It protects the testicles and major blood vessels, including the tubes that release sperm into the penis for ejaculation. The scrotum has many nerve endings, making it an erogenous zone (a place that leads to sexual pleasure).

Your testicles are inside the scrotum and may be slightly bigger than your thighs or other body parts. They are often shaped like large olives, small eggs or walnuts. Testicles have a tendency to become larger during high levels of arousal or orgasm. This increased blood volume results in a blue tint of the skin around the testicles. The testicles then shrink back to normal size after ejaculation or climax. This is what gives the so-called blue balls their name.

During arousal, neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, vasopressin and oxytocin, cause the testicles to move up toward the abdomen. The scrotum tightens around the testicles to keep them in this position. This is part of what causes a man to feel a hard pressure on his balls or the sensation that his balls are full.

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A man can feel for his own testicles by examining the scrotum. He can see or feel a cord-like structure, called the epididymis, at the base of each testicle. He can also feel a tube-like structure, called the scrotal sac, that carries sperm from each testicle.

The Testicles

The testicles are the male body parts that make testosterone, sperm and other sex hormones. Testicles are about the size of a walnut, olive or small egg and hang loosely inside the scrotum. They’re coiled like sausage casings and contain tubes called seminiferous tubules, which house germ cells that produce sperm in a process known as spermatogenesis. Each testicle may have up to 900 of these tubes.

These testicles are connected to your urethra and vas deferens, which carry sperm from the testicles to your penis. The sperm then leaves your body in a mixture of fluid and sperm known as semen. Testosterone, a sex hormone, is the fuel that powers this whole process and helps lead to orgasm.

During sexual arousal, each testicle increases in size by up to 50%, which is why it’s sometimes called “blue balls.” The increase is due to vasoconstriction, an increase in blood flow in the area, which can happen during arousal and masturbation. It’s not a sign of anything serious and tends to subside as the excitement goes away.

If your ball bag hurts without arousal, there could be an infection or a problem with the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis (the epididymis). The most common cause of pain is an enlarged vein called a varicocele. If the pain isn’t relieved by self-masturbation or a sexual encounter with a willing partner, see your doctor.

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The Ejaculatory Ducts

The ejaculatory ducts are tubes that carry semen from the seminal vesicles to the urethra. In some men, the ejaculatory ducts develop an obstruction, which prevents sperm from entering the urethra and causes semen to be expelled through the penis (called ejaculate).

The testicles produce sperm in a process called spermatogenesis. The sperm leave the testicles through a series of small tubes called the rete testis, which connect to a structure called the epididymis. Before ejaculation, the sperm are immature and immobile, and they stay in the epididymis for several days until they can’swim’ to an egg to fertilize it.

During sexual arousal, the testicles swell up with blood, and this can cause them to feel painful. The scrotum tightens at the same time, which pulls the testicles closer to the body and can make them seem larger. Once orgasm occurs, the extra blood drains from the testicles, they shrink back to their normal size and the scrotum tightens again, pulling the testicles up into the groin.

The ejaculatory ducts may become blocked by scar tissue, which can occur after pelvic surgery or trauma, or from chronic inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis). Genes can also cause structural differences in the ducts that are present from birth. In some cases, a doctor will prescribe medications to help unblock the ejaculatory ducts.

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The Semen

Sperm are made in the testicles, and they’re stored there as well in a coiled tube called the epididymis. When you’re sexually stimulated, these sperm cells make their way to the vas deferens with a goal of reaching an egg. Along the way they pick up a lot of fluids secreted by other glands. These include the seminal vesicles, the prostate and the bulbourethral glands. The end result is semen, which contains a combination of sperm cells and fluids that are a bit like rocket fuel for the little guys. Semen also contains amino acids, citrate, vitamin C, flavins and fructose sugar, which is the sperm cells’ main source of energy.

During sexual arousal, a man’s body is at its highest rate of blood flow to the testicles and prostate. This results in the sensation of tightness or pressure around the scrotum. This is the beginning of orgasm and it causes muscle tension that leads to erections, Dr. Ingber says. The erectile muscles also contract and cause the testicles to rise, which is why you may have heard the term “blue balls,” which refers to the temporary build-up of blood in the testicles during sexual arousal that doesn’t result in an orgasm.

When the ejaculation process begins, it’s important for the testicles to move as smoothly and quickly as possible. Otherwise the sperm may die on their way out of the penis. This is why it’s important to keep the scrotum clean and dry.

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