In his new Netflix stand-up special, Ray Romano claims to have happened upon a perk that only comes as a result of growing older: Being hit in the balls, he says, doesn’t hurt as much anymore.
Romano apparently discovered this strange phenomenon after being elbowed in the groin by his son during a friendly basketball match. “I swear to God — it wasn’t that bad,” Romano says, before speculating that aging testicles are more resistant to pain because their sagginess helps absorb the power behind any incoming strikes. “It’s like punching a curtain now.”
Interestingly enough, Romano may actually be onto something, especially when you consider why being hit in the balls is so painful: Your testicles are brimming with pain receptors that, unlike many other body parts, lack protection in the form of bones, muscle and fat. In other words, having droopier balls that can swing backward to reduce the force behind any approaching blows (as in punches you filthy motherfucker), as opposed to tight balls that would inevitably be crammed directly into your taint, could possibly offer some much-needed protection.
However, this would largely depend on the positioning of your balls during the exact moment they take the hit. For example, even if you have old-man balls, an incoming elbow, when delivered accurately, could easily crush them directly into the side of your thigh, which would obviously hurt like hell.
Additionally, while balls inevitably get saggier with age, as my colleague Miles Klee recently explained, they also become more dangly when it’s hot outside:
“According to the scientific literature, it all comes down to elasticity — an essential part of healthy nut function. The scrotum hangs away from the body in the first place because the human body temperature of 98.6ºF is a bit too warm for sperm production (that’s why nuking your nards with a laptop can impact your fertility), and thermoregulation of the testicular complex depends on the action of the cremaster muscle, which retracts the boys in cold situations and relaxes them in hot weather. (Yes, sadly, the cost of a swole ‘summer penis’ may be a slackened coin purse.) The same muscle helpfully tightens things up during intercourse, which is why your balls aren’t flapping wildly with every thrust.”
All of which means, if having dangly balls does indeed reduce the amount of pain you feel when getting hit — which as I’ve already explained, really depends on the circumstances — the same effect should also be seen in hot weather.
To test the veracity of this theory, I posed the question of whether your balls become less prone to pain as you get older to board-certified urologist Jamin Brahmbhatt, and his response was less than optimistic:
“To answer your question, first and foremost, you cannot go to a celebrity for medical advice. The reality is that the studies done on this topic are all over the place. Some say, as you get older, your ability to tolerate pain actually goes down, meaning you would feel pain more. Other studies say the opposite. Older patients could also have medical problems, or even be on medications, that blend their ability to detect pain. So it’s all over the place.”
Now that’s a kick in the balls.