posted: 05/17/2006 12:00 am
Dear Dr. Myrtle,
I don’t know whether this is a problem, but I have noticed that when I masturbate or have sex, one or both of my testicles "disappear" up into my body. Is this a problem? I never see this when I look at magazines and see pictures of men with erections - they always have big erections, and big testicles ...
When men and women become sexually aroused, a number of different muscles involuntarily contract, which regulates everything from blood supply to positioning of genitals. One such muscle is called the cremaster muscle, which lifts the testicles up. While it is possible to voluntarily lift the testicles, this lifting also happens when the man is cold (this is your body’s way of keeping the testicles warm), or extremely aroused.
Three cheers to anyone who is paying enough attention to their bodies, or the bodies of their partners, to notice this. Not only is there nothing wrong with this happening, it’s one great way to assess the arousal state of the guy - information is always good! (Ooooohhh he LLlliiikkkes that ... etc.).
The only time there would ever be a problem with the testicles rising up is if they don’t come back down again. Trapped testicles are painful, and the whole reason testicles are on the outside of the body in the first place (instead of being tucked inside like the ovaries) is so that they will stay a little cooler than body temperature (high temperatures fry sperm.) If a testicle should ever stay inside, take thee to a health care professional.
The guys in the pictures with the huge testicles: that doesn’t mean they’re aroused. Their testicles are down because their arousal state is actually fairly low, their testicles are fake, or the room is very, very hot. Their penises are still long because one second before the picture was shot, they were pleasuring themselves to get an erection.
And women? I’m happy to report that women have cremaster muscles too, although they are very small or remnant in some women. Women experience the same shifting of their clitoris to an erect state, although their ovaries don’t move so obviously. The uterus does move up and back a bit in many women with arousal, but because these structures are internal, it’s a bit more difficult to notice.