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How women get 'blue balls' and what it feels like

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

Yes, women can experience a sensation similar to 'blue balls'

Men often use "blue balls" as a way to guilt-trip women into getting them off. It's commonly followed by something like, "You don't know what this feels like." Well, guys, as a matter of fact we do.

Believe it or not, we women are just as capable of getting that uncomfortable, halted-sneeze feeling in our private parts as you men are. However, because our sexual organs are more complex — and internal — we can't really call out a specific part as the culprit of our pain. Plus, "blue uterus" doesn't sound nearly as catchy.

For those who aren't familiar with the term, "blue balls" are how men refer to that tight, churning feeling that happens when they get aroused but don't have an orgasm. While women don't have balls, we do have corresponding sexual organs that feel equally irksome when they don't get to go through the whole sexual cycle.

Teresa Hoffman, M.D., an OB/GYN told Women's Health that, while there is no scientific research to back it up, women report physical discomfort when they are aroused but an orgasm never comes.

More: Researchers are working on a new condom that'll enhance pleasure

Just like how blood flows to a guy's penis when he gets an erection, women get a similar rush when they become aroused. If they don't end up having an orgasm, there may be a tight, cramping feeling going on in there, which is pretty akin to what men feel in their testicles under the same circumstances. This feeling can last up to 20 minutes after the failed orgasm but typically resolves itself, even though you may continue to be emotionally frustrated (what else is new?).

I spoke with Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills relationship psychotherapist and co-star of Sex Box, WE tv, to see just how prevalent this issue is among women. "Many women, especially those above the age of 40, take longer or have trouble achieving orgasm. They either experience a physical discomfort in their uterus or a sense of frustration, or both," said Dr. Walfish. Essentially, since women overall tend to have a harder time having an orgasm in the first place, they actually experience female "blue balls" a heck of a lot more often than men do. Throw that in your dude's face the next time he makes you feel crappy for not getting him all the way there.

Dr. Walfish says that while it's a frustrating feeling, there are many things you can do to get yourself there if your man cannot (or in some cases will not) oblige. Manual stimulation of the clitoris is a go-to for most women when they need that orgasmic release. However, stimulation of other areas, such as the nipples and even the opening of the anus, can help a stubborn O along.

More: 8 Ways to orgasm without sex

I wondered if women could explain the feeling further so that men understand they're definitely not alone in this painful retrograde of arousal. Fortunately some were willing to expound on it.

  • Maggie, a graphic designer from Chicago, said, "It's like... there's gears in your uterus that stop abruptly, then slowly start grinding backwards. Even now it gives me the shivers."
  • Kelsey, an actress from New York, said, "My whole body tenses up, and I just want to curl into a little ball. It's like a slowly unfolding, super-intense period cramp."
  • Jenn from Miami told us, "It doesn't really bother me all that much. It feels like a lost sneeze. It's annoying, but I'm not going to spend the rest of my day reeling over it."

Take note, fellas. Your ladies may talk about our blue balls less often, but we feel them all the same.

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