June 1, 2023

Blue Balls: A Ball-Faced Lie?

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

We join forces with Sarah Marshall from You’re Wrong About to dive into a question for the ages: Blue balls — are they real? And we’ve got some BIG blue balls news in this episode! The survey we did when it originally aired has been turned into a peer-reviewed paper led by scientists at Queen’s University! WE MADE SCIENCE! And if you took our survey, you helped!

So join us as we revisit this romp where we ask if blue balls are a ball-faced lie, something that men make up to pressure women to have sex with them. Our guests include Sam Pierstorff, Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, Professor Caroline Pukall and Dr. Jonathan Chalett.

Find our blue balls paper in the journal Sexual Medicine: https://academic.oup.com/smoa/article/11/2/qfad016/7148610

Find our transcript here: https://bit.ly/sciencevsblueballsupdate 

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Chapter One: We’ve published a scientific paper on blue balls!

(04:05) Chapter Two: A cautionary blue balls tale

(09:25) Chapter Three: Could a semen backup cause blue balls?

(15:00) Is blue balls caused by blood flow?

(19:05) We do our own blue balls research!


This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman with help from Ekedi Fausther-Keeys, Meryl Horn, Nick DelRose, Michelle Dang, and Rose Rimler. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Gimlet’s managing director is Nicole Beemsterboer. Fact checking by Eva Dasher, update fact checked by Erica Akiko Howard. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. The updated version was mixed by Catherine Anderson. Music written by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger, Bobby Lord and Bumi Hidaka. A huge thanks to all the experts we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr Gordon Muir, Dr Michael Leapman, Dr Karan Rangarajan, Dr Randal Rockney, Dr Nan Wise, and Dr Kevin Gandhi. A big thanks to Joel Werner, R.E. Natowicz, Eric Mennel, Ayo Oti, Andrea Scott, Jack Weinstein, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.

Science Vs is a Spotify Original Podcast and Gimlet production. Follow Science Vs on Spotify, and if you wanna receive notifications every time we put out a new episode, tap the bell icon!