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Why do balls hang like that?

During the hot summer month of August, three men stand over a grill with a smile on their face. Faces of great satisfaction, thinking that they may be the ones to bring home the gold medal at that year’s World Testicle Cooking Championship in Gornji Milanovac, Serbia. An annual three-day competition that has been held since 2004, where aspiring culinary testicular enthusiasts present dishes of camel, ostrich, bull, boar, and kangaroo testicles. Taking the honoring of balls to new heights. Seeing their mouthwatering appeal like no other. And yet, Monday morning, I find myself in the shower looking down at my testicles thinking “why do you hang like that?”

As much as we appreciate our balls and preach to care for them, one can’t hide that they aren’t exactly as inviting as a women’s bosom or have captivating myths like the Mountain of Venus. They just hang there between two hairy legs. However, according to leading evolution phycologist, Gordon Gallup, Mary Finn and Becky Sammis, this is actually a very important temperature regulating mechanism. A mechanism known under the name of the activation hypothesis.

In a captivating article from 2008, the three authors ask the very important question - why don’t women have balls? Well, they ask the question in more academic terms, but still. How would it look, or be, if the female ovaries – female reproductive system - dangled eloquently between their legs in a “thin, unprotected sack”?

Unfortunately, it was not possible to find an answer to this. However, several hypotheses have been made into why men’s balls hang energetically between their legs. The activation hypothesis explains that the gonads hang away from the body to create a cooler temperature for the balls, as sperm cells are best stored below body temperature. The “thin, unprotected sack” is actually quite good at protecting the temperature inside the ballbag. As balls hang loose on hot summer days to cool, they likewise, hide almost inside us during a chilly winters morning.

This temperature mechanism may actually explain why females don’t have balls. As during lovemaking, coitus, sex or fornication the rise of temperature follows the man “becoming one” with the women alongside “insemination into the vagina serves as one of several triggers for the activation of sperm”. Thus, the difference in temperatures during sexual intercourse promotes the activation of sperm, hence, the activation hypothesis.

Another hypothesis is the handicap hypothesis - which is awesome - but most likely not true. The theory follows that the balls placement has no other effect than to show the opposite sex the balls ability to survive despite its questionable location. This theory draws on the peacock that despite it’s very flamboyant but inconvenient looks, is still able to survive in the wild.

Despite the handicap hypothesis most likely not being true, it does remind me that our balls are marvelous. Actually, both hypothesis remind me of that. Although, they hang oddly between my legs, they have an amazing evolutionary and biological importance. Balls are beautiful and we should care for all of them: Three balls, two balls, one ball, prosthetic balls. We must always appreciate our balls, not only while standing under the late summer sun in Serbia trying to distinguishing if we are more of a camel or bull balls kind-of-person.

Touch yourself,

Hands In Your Pants


1. Gallup GG, Finn MM, Sammis B. On the Origin of Descended Scrotal Testicles: The Activation Hypothesis. Evolutionary Psychology. October 2009. doi:10.1177/147470490900700402

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