Anyone who has testicles — or has accidentally kneed someone with them — knows that the balls are ridiculously sensitive.
“For the bad and the good, the ball sack is packed with nerve endings that can create incredibly intense sensations,” says Dr. Evan Goldstein, CEO and founder of Bespoke Surgical. “And with the right touch, that sensation can be one of pleasure.”
As clinical sexologist Dr. Megan Stubbs, EdD says, “It is part of the genitals, which is generally considered a feel-good area, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that with technique it can feel good.”
Fair. Unfortunately, many folks avoid touching their partner’s testicles because that image of someone clutching their balls in pain is so mentally-ingrained.
While the testicles are indeed sensitive, they aren’t totally off-limits — you just have to be careful and know what feels good. That’s why we put together this guide to testicle play. Here, sexperts explain the benefits of ball play, plus share their top tips for giving the right kind of attention to your boo’s balls.
Playing with the testicles may be incredibly pleasurable — which is reason enough to give them some attention — but ball stimulation may also offer some health benefits, too. No really.
It’s the testes’ job to produce sperm, and according to Dr. Goldstein, stimulating them may boost production of the male reproductive cell. “Ball stimulation can actually promote ejaculatory production,” he says.
Playing with the testicles can also improve blood circulation to the region, according to Stubbs. Additionally, while ball play in the bedroom can’t (seriously!) replace doctors’ visits, it may help folks identify any abnormalities in their partner’s parts.
“Playing with your partner’s testicles can help you become familiar with them,” says Stubbs. “That way you’ll be able to identify any irregularities like lumps and swelling that could indicate something is up.”
If that sounds very un-sexy, consider the fact that about 6 in every 100,000 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer at some point in their lifetime (and that over 70 percent of cases occur in adults ages 20 to 44).
No doubt, partnered testicle play is great. But FYI: If you’re a testicle owner and reading this, enjoying a little one-on-two time is a great way to reap these same benefits — plus, it can be just as much fun!
Many different things can qualify as testicle play — you can use your mouth, hands, toys, and more to play with testicles. That’s why Stubbs says what counts as play is going to depend on the person with the testicles and what they enjoy.
In fact, because some folks purposefully seek out pain in their sex life, Stubbs says testicle play can’t even be specifically defined as something that’s only pleasurable. “Some people enjoy cock and ball torture, a ton of pressure, and even sensations that might be described as painful,” she says.
“Intent and communication matters here,” she says. Meaning, if the intent of the touch, lick, grab, etc. is sexual, consensual, clearly communicated, and ultimately intended to arouse, it can be considered testicle play.
(That said, “An erection isn’t necessary for testicle play to be pleasurable,” according to Stubbs. Good to know.)
She adds that typically, testicle play usually involves no surprise… at all. “Unless surprise is part of you and your partners precommunicated sexual play, if your partner’s testicles are touched when they aren’t expecting it, that touch [may] not feel good.”
And while some folks enjoy testicle touch, others may not enjoy any at all — some people actually find having their testicles touched to be ticklish or downright annoying, says Stubbs.
“Just as some folks with vulvas enjoy penetration while others do not, and some enjoy direct clitoral stimulation while others find it painful, people with testicles fall everywhere on the not-enjoyable to enjoyable spectrum,” she says. And you won’t know if that’s true for your partner unless you communicate — or, if you partner doesn’t know what they enjoy: communicate and experiment.
So, in addition to getting consent from your partner, communicating is key for pleasurable testicle play.
2. Take your rings off!
Hand care is required for careful handling. So, before you get started, take off your rings — especially the clunky ones — and deal with any hangnails.
You might consider cutting, trimming, and shaping your nails so that the sharp edges can’t accidentally snag and cut the delicate skin, says Dr. Goldstein. Yeah, ouch!
3. Experiment with different techniques
Getting handsy with your S.O.’s balls can be THE sex act, or it can be a great addition to another sex act such as penetrative, oral, or manual sex — again, so long as you and your partner have clearly talked about it.
Stubbs recommends using hands to try different sensations:
- gently pulling
- squeezing carefully
- stroking at a downward angle
- rolling them in your hands like dice
- tapping a rhythm with your fingers
For each of these, finding the pressure your partner enjoys is key. Too light, and your partner may find it (un-pleasurably) ticklish. Too hard, and your partner may find it painful.
Keep in mind: What may be enjoyable for one person, may not be enjoyable to another. Basically, “Testicles are like snowflakes! No two are alike!” Stubbs says.
So, to get a sense of how much pressure your partner enjoys, Stubbs recommends asking your partner to show you what they enjoy and can handle. Start by putting your hands on their testicles and having your partner place their hand over yours, applying pressure until it stops feeling good for them.
4. If you’re using your hand, add lube
“Having a slicker, wetter sensation on the balls help reduce friction and add to the sensations your partner is experiencing,” says Stubbs. And saliva is quick to dry, she adds.
That’s where lube comes in. “Adding lube will help make the skin-on-skin contact feel better and less sticky,” she says. Plus, having lube will make the transition from ball play to hand job, well…. smoother.
Sexpert tip: Rub your hands together to warm them up before squirting lube into your palm. This will help the lube not feel cold and shocking on your partner’s testicles.
5. Get mouthy
When you’re giving your partner oral, you’re in the perfect position to incorporate the balls. “Licking and light sucking are usually fair game,” says Dr. Goldstein, “and tongue flicking may be incorporated on more of a case-by-case basis, based on what your partner likes.”
If you’re going to suck, start slowly and lightly. You can put the whole ball in your mouth (if that’s comfortable for you and enjoyable for your partner), or just an inch or so of the skin. “Get the area as wet as you can, then go slow. This will allow you to read your audience and build momentum,” he says.
Use your partners verbal and nonverbal reactions to gauge how hard you need to suck.
If you’re going to lick, anything goes! Lick each ball separately, lick the seam between the balls, spell words, or experiment going side-to-side and up-and-down.
Some folks may enjoy having just the tip of your tongue, while others will prefer the sensation of a thicker, flatter, fuller portion of your tongue. But whatever you do, just don’t use your teeth unless explicitly (!) asked. The skin is thin.
6. Switch up sex positions
If you’re having anal or vaginal penetrative sex with your partner, Stubbs says adding testicle play can create a dual-sensation pleasure that’s similar to stimulating the G-spot and clitoris at the same time on folks with vulvas.
What positions work best for you is going to depend on your mobility, flexibility, and comfort in twisting and otherwise contorting your body, but there are many options.
Best penetrative sex positions for testicle access include:
- reverse cow person
- reverse lap dance
- downward doggy style
Stubbs says positions like reverse cow person or reverse lap dance allow you to reach between you and your partner’s legs. Or, you can try downward doggy and reach your hands through your own legs to access your partner’s testicles.
Other positions like cow person, reverse lotus, and seated wheelbarrow may work too depending on your and your partner’s body shapes and sizes.
7. Add toys!
Did you know that there are toys made specifically for testicular stimulation? Once you and your partner know that they enjoy testicle play, you might invest in a toy or vibrator.
“Toys like testicle vibrators or cock rings [are] on the market for this,” says Stubbs. Other sex toys can be used, too.
Toys to try:
- Tenuto by Mysteryvibe
- Crescendo by Mysteryvibe
- Enby by Wild Flower
- Tor by Lelo
- Buddy Ring by Toyfriend
- Fin Finger Vibe by Dame Products
You can also try the lowest setting of any wand or clitoral vibrator. Depending on how that feels, you can increase the intensity.
Even if your partner likes it rough, don’t twist the testicles! Seriously, the left testicle needs to stay on the left and the right needs to stay on the right.
“The testicles can get twisted on the inside which can cause serious damage, like pinching or swelling,” explains Stubbs. If this happens, you need to seek medical attention. “If this happens... you’ll know.”
Dr. Goldstein adds, “You don’t want to be afraid of these guys, but you don’t want to use a forceful maneuver that could cause trauma to them.” Usually the negative consequences of going too hard or rough are temporary, he says, but if you or your partner think something else is up, call a doctor.
The bottom line: Testicle play can be seriously pleasurable for folks with testicles and their partners. But, as Goldstein says, “It may take time to perfect the art that is testicular play.” Still, as he says, “Once you get it, it will give you both a sexual experience you won’t forget.”
Ready, set, play ball!
Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tried the Whole30 challenge, and eaten, drunk, brushed with, scrubbed with, and bathed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.