We know, broadly speaking, how to take care of our hearts as we age — with the right kind of diet and exercise. We understand that sunblock and moisturizer will prevent skin damage. We even have some idea of how to maintain a sharpness of mind over time, by way of mental stimulation. Nothing is left to chance.
Except, I would argue, the ever-neglected testicles.
The sagging and stretching of the scrotum looms like something inevitable for any person saddled with one. Most boys are barely dressing themselves before they espy the long nutsack of an unashamedly nude old man in a locker room — the gonads themselves suspended and swinging at knee-height, you would almost swear. In some way, this is less nonchalance than it is a warning: Your junk will melt like a fleshy candle. Yet while women fret over all the risk factors for sagging boobs, the owners of dangling genitalia rarely pause to consider how they might resist a slow and certain droopage.
And so: Is it possible?
We’d have to begin, of course, with the cause of sunken bean bags. 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.
Wonderful as the mechanism is, it comes with a catch: While gravity plays its part, skin naturally loses elasticity with age, causing wrinkles and cajones that don’t yo-yo like they used to. “The breakdown of elastin fibers causes the skin to sag, stretch and lose its ability to snap back after stretching,” WebMD informs us. And the cremaster — like all muscles — gradually loses the ability to contract. So it’s not the testes to blame, it’s the delicate envelope in which they reside.
What’s to be done about that? You don’t want to end up the guy on a bodybuilding forum asking what to do now that his balls “are too saggy” for exercise and “keep getting smashed” when he does jumping jacks.
The best course of action is preventative. Before you notice your meaty clangers peeking out from the leg of your bathing suit, think about quitting smoking or adopting a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids; both serve the goal of supple skin. (Another major factor in loss of elasticity is sun exposure, but I assume you aren’t going bottomless at the beach that often.) You might look for skin care products with specific anti-aging ingredients — indeed, you may be moisturizing the jewels already. Drinking lots of water, as with any question of bodily health, certainly doesn’t hurt, and regular exercise means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the skin via circulation.
Beyond these general skincare tactics, however, we venture into some unscientific territory, and there is an abundance of dubious internet advice when it comes to tightening up the bojangles.
Healthline cautions that commonly recommended exercises including kegels, “holding your urethra muscles while you pull down on your scrotum,” and “lifting your scrotum up toward your stomach” are unproven fixes, while no vitamins, hormones or lotions will actually reverse ball sag.
Neither does the frequency of masturbation or sex have an impact on how your scrotum hangs, and the most popular idea in this area — that tighter underwear like boxer-briefs can make the difference between a tidy bundle and pulled taffy — is a misconception likely stemming from articles urging women to wear supportive bras, whose effectiveness is also subject to debate.
That said, your plummeting nuts may be the symptom of a worrying medical condition and require professional analysis. A variocele or hydrocele is a swelling due to fluid collection or pooling, and the resultant heaviness of the sack will contribute to its slumping.
But if you’ve seen a doctor who ruled out anything of this nature, and you’re still unhappy with the state of your package, there’s a final and not entirely extreme resort: scrotoplasty, colloquially referred to as a “scrotal lift.” It’s a two-hour outpatient cosmetic surgery, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. As plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Alter tells MEL, the procedure “involves removing the skin and sometimes some of the subcutaneous tissue” in order to shape the scrotum. While nervous at first, his patients are “usually happy that they’ve found someone who can help with their complaints.”
Remember, though, a confident man can rock a set of low-slung plums if he likes. Just clicking around the web, I’ve read comments from guys who say a loose sack makes sex better and allows for superior teabagging. Which goes to show that you’re always as young as you feel — even if your shriveled, elongated sweetbreads say otherwise.