Sexual frustration can be tricky to talk about because everyone has different libidos. The libido, or sex drive, is how much someone likes to have sex, or how often they want to have sex. Everyone has a different sex drive, and it’s common for someone’s sex drive to change over time. You may have a…
- High libido: You feel like you need to have sex or masturbate often to feel satisfied.
- Low libido: You can go for a long time without having sex or masturbating and feel satisfied.
- Lack of libido: You are not particularly interested in sex. (Some people who feel this way identify as asexual.)
Most of all, you can also fall somewhere in between, and your libido may not always be the same! You may find that your sex drive depends on certain things. Some people have high sex drives under certain circumstances and low sex drives in others. For example, someone might have a higher sex drive when they’re happy, but a lower sex drive when they’re sad. There’s nothing wrong with having any level of sex drive! Everyone experiences sexual desire and sex drive differently.
Libido doesn’t always have to dictate what your sex life is like. Some people have high sex drives, but choose not to have sex, or not to have a lot of sex. Some people have low sex drives, but want to have sex in specific situations. When, where, and how you have sex is up to you and your sex partners! It’s not okay for a sexual partner to make you feel pressured into sex you don’t want to have, or make you feel ashamed and guilty for wanting to have sex.
What is sexual frustration?
People may say they’re sexually frustrated if they feel it has been a long time since they had sex. They may also say this if they really want to have sex but aren’t in a situation where they can. Sexual frustration can be caused by a lot of different things, like:
- Physical reasons, such as injury, that prevent you from having sex
- Mental or emotional worries
- Not being able to find partners
- Having a higher libido than your partners
- Religious rules against having sex
- Sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction
- Not having the time or place to have sex
What are blue balls?
“Blue balls” usually refers to a specific kind of sexual frustration, where someone is really aroused (turned on) but can’t have sex or orgasm. People usually use it to talk about the male body, where “balls” refers to the testicles.
Some people feel a dull pain or discomfort if they get turned on but don’t orgasm. The scientific term for this is vasocongestion. People with penises or vaginas can get vasocongestion and can feel pain in the vulva, vagina, penis, or testicles after arousal. Vasocongestion usually isn’t too painful and quickly passes on its own.
How can I deal with blue balls?
There are lots of ways to deal with blue balls:
- Try to orgasm (with a consenting partner or through masturbation).
- Take a cool shower.
- Focus on thinking about something boring or not sexy, like work or school.
- Take painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Exercise with a light activity like running or walking.
- Do something that helps you release energy, like playing a video game or doing something creative (drawing, singing, cooking).
While blue balls can be uncomfortable, it’s not a medical condition. It’s usually not something to worry about, and it usually passes quickly.
If the pain doesn’t stop on its own or after you’ve tried to get rid of it, something else may be happening. You may want to see a doctor if you have serious and persistent pain in your genitals when you’re turned on.
Is sexual frustration a good reason to have sex?
People sometimes pressure their partners to have sex by saying they’re sexually frustrated. This can be hurtful or even scary, especially if the other person doesn’t want sex. Sexual frustration is common, but it isn’t anyone’s fault or responsibility. Even if you feel sexually frustrated, it’s still important to respect your partner’s needs.
Nobody is responsible for giving an orgasm. It’s never okay for someone to pressure you to have sex or keep having sex if you don’t want to. If someone is worried about blue balls or wants to relieve it, they can always masturbate!
See the resources below for more on sex, health, and consent.
Consent is Sexy
Scarleteen’s post about consent and why it’s important to talk about it.
Scarleteen’s page on navigating consent.
Horny ALL the time! – Ask Alice
Is it natural to feel horny ALL the time? this Go Ask Alice resource explains how to deal with an increased libido and feeling aroused in public. Also addresses some healthy ways to “release” sexual energy.”
Dealing with mismatched libidos – Good in Bed
This article talks about what partners who want different amounts of sex at different times can do to manage the issue and reduce tension.
Vasocongestion, AKA Blue Balls – Scarleteen
This article talks about vasocongestion, commonly known as blue balls. It talks about what it is, how it can affect people with vaginas or penises, and what people can do to alleviate it.