The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord




I found your site and I had a question.  Since the Lord has been dealing with me about masturbation, I have stopped completely.  But since I have stopped, my testicles have been hurting.  Could this be because of the sperm build up that hasn't been released through ejaculation?

Eric (age 20)

Each time you ejaculate, the semen that comes out is composed of fluids from different organs in your body. The majority of semen comes from the seminal vesicles inside your body, next to your bladder. The fluid it produces is mostly sugars designed to sustain your sperm for several days. The typical guy puts out about 1 to 2 teaspoons of semen with each ejaculation.

Your prostate gland, underneath your bladder, adds several chemicals to the mixture. One is a fluid that shocks the sperm awake from their suspended animation so that they can begin swimming. Another is very similar to gelatin. It thickens the semen temporarily so that it ejaculates easier, but then it melts away. These fluids are only a few drops compared to the rest of the semen.

The testicles produce the sperm that is mixed in with the semen, but the sperm is actually produced months before it is used. The sperm has to ripen. There are long passages in the epididymis that takes the sperm four to six weeks to negotiate. They then must travel up the vas deferens tubes before they can reach the ejaculatory duct and become a part of semen. Each ejaculation contains about 500 million sperm, but all of them take up less space that the head of a pin.

Some men, when they are done having children, have a vasectomy. This is an operation where a section of each vas deferens is removed and sealed. Even though the sperm now have no way to leave the scrotal area, it causes no problems. The body basically reabsorbs the unused sperm. Men who have vasectomies do not have aches in their testicles because of sperm building up.They are still able to have sex and to ejaculate because they are still producing semen in their seminal vesicles.

Your testicles constantly produce sperm and your seminal vesicles are constantly producing semen. The semen has to eventually go somewhere and your body has two mechanism to get rid of the excess. One is that each time you have an erection, such as at night when you are sleeping, the path to the ejaculatory duct is opened up for a while, just in case you might ejaculate. While it is open, a drop of semen or two can drip down into your urethra (the tube in your penis), which will then be flushed out the next time you use the toilet. For most men this doesn't keep up with the seminal vesicles production rate; thus, there is a second mechanism. When too much semen is stored up, the body waits until you are having an erection in your sleep and then triggers an ejaculation. In essence, your body goes through all the stages and motions of sex while you are sleeping, which eventually culminates in orgasm and ejaculation.

I went through this long explanation to say that if you stopped masturbating, your body doesn't produce enough sperm to cause your testicles to ache from a backup. Even if there was a backup, your body has mechanisms to reabsorb unused sperm. What can backup is the seminal vesicles, but again, your body has mechanisms to rid itself of excess semen. By the way, this is mentioned in the Bible (Leviticus 15:16-18; 22:4; and Deuteronomy 23:10-11 are a few examples).

Now that we talked about what it isn't, let's talk about what it can be. I assume the "hurt" that you mention is a dull, bothersome ache and not a sharp pain. Since this started after you stopped masturbating, the most likely cause is that you are having more frequent and longer lasting erections. You see, to help encourage your body to get rid of excess semen, your body becomes becomes more easily aroused as your seminal vesicles get full. You could be mistaking the ache of the vesicles themselves as they stretch a bit to hold more semen than they are normally used to holding, but more likely is that you are feeling the direct result of having too many erections.

Erections are caused by a small muscle clamping down on a vein bring blood out of your penis and back to your heart. Blood comes in fast, but goes out slowly causing the penis to inflate like a balloon. After a while the cells in your penis and scrotum, which share the same blood supply, start to protest because they aren't getting enough fresh oxygen. This is commonly called "blue balls." It is what happens when a man holds an erection for too long (usually a half-hour or more). If this is the case, it will calm down and go away in a week or so as your body readjusts and falls into the habit of having nocturnal emissions to get rid of your excess semen.

If your were masturbating a lot prior to stopping, it is also possible that your muscles are "protesting" from the lack of use. There are numerous small muscles that come into play only when you are having sex -- not only the muscles clamping down on the return veins from the penis, but there are muscles that draw up the testicles to keep them from being banged around during sex, and muscles that cause the actual ejaculation. Just like a runner feels uncomfortable when he is suddenly forced to not run, these small muscles might be "aching" to be used again. If this is the case, it too will calm down in about a week as your muscles get used to the less demanding work load.

There are other causes of aches felt in the testicles and it is remotely possible that one of these just happened to occur by coincidence when you stopped masturbating. However, most of these have additional symptoms, such as the swelling of the scrotum on one side.