wow! wolfman has nads!
February 19, 2007 11:48 AM   Subscribe

What does it feel like to get kicked in the balls?

I'm sure most men have tried to explain this to a female before. But I've never found any words that come close to describing the unique and ENGULFING pain that happens when you're kicked in the googles.

What is a comparable feeling? How do we LET THEM KNOW that sometimes even a GRAZE can be painful? How can one describe that nauseating, throbbing, wave that goes all the up your spine and then back down to your sack again, over and over? For me, words fail.
posted by Espoo2 to Grab Bag (78 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Depends. Was it straight on down the middle or a glancing blow off the side of one of them?
posted by jon_kill at 11:51 AM on February 19, 2007

I'm going to venture and say that the glancing blow sometimes can be worse than straight down the middle.
posted by phaedon at 11:53 AM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

You know, if you want to feel it, why don't you get someone to kick you in the crotch. Because I have been kicked in the crotch and it is one of the worst feelings in the world. But, I have seen women getting kicked in the crotch and believe me, the pain is just as acute and tragic.
posted by parmanparman at 11:56 AM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've heard women talk about getting grazed on the ovaries during gyno examinations -- apparently that hurts pretty bad, though I can't be sure how comparable it is.

john_kill has a point -- it's hard to have a discussion about this without talking about the sensitivity of that area in general. Just an accidental bump can be briefly incapacitating, and can make your legs want to clamp shut. A full-blown slam between the legs can reverberate through your whole body -- I got hit lightly once (by accident; harder than a bump but a little less intense than a full-blown kick), and what I remember most, other than the pain, is the huge wave of nausea that overtook me. I also remember my eyes filling with tears.

The most unrealistic thing in movies is not the hero's ability to dodge gunfire or masterfully weave through traffic during a car chase -- it's the idea that anyone who gets a shot to the jewels is able to function at all for the next twenty minutes. If you get hit there, the fight's over; that's why self-defense teachers tell you to aim for that spot.
posted by hifiparasol at 11:59 AM on February 19, 2007

I disagree. I have gotten kicked in the crotch, and it didn't leave me rolling around on the ground, trying to vomit. (Now a hard line drive directly to the tit, that's a different matter.)
posted by ottereroticist at 12:00 PM on February 19, 2007

It's like every last inch of you wants to throw up while you're punching someone in the face and punching yourself in the face at the same time.
posted by sonofslim at 12:04 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I read once (in the Joy of Sex) that the female equivalent is getting hit in the ovaries. You figure out how that might happen...
posted by dino terror at 12:06 PM on February 19, 2007

Best answer: It's like dry heaving: something that shouldn't be so bad, that shouldn't last so long, and that shouldn't be so pointless. If a woman has had really bad dry heaves she has a sense of what being kicked in the balls is like. Besides the pain, there's the sheer injustice of it all. What is the point of the body being able to do this to itself?

Dry heaving and the uncaged ballsack are top arguments against intelligent design.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:08 PM on February 19, 2007 [7 favorites]

I remember my mom explaining to me that crotch shots were totally off limits with my brother, and that hitting him there could send him to the hospital.

It puzzled the heck out of me (and still kind of does) why the half of the population that keeps their gonads outside of their bodies is considered better suited for contact sports.

If I may piggyback -- does anyone know why, evolutionarily speaking, the testes dangle as they do? I know that sperm production is greater at a slightly cooler temp -- but why, when it makes males so vulnerable?
posted by ottereroticist at 12:11 PM on February 19, 2007

It's kind of like simultaneously being stabbed in the pelvis with a machete and punched in the stomach with a medicine ball -- the wind is knocked out of you and the pain is so intense that it truly feels as if it could be mortal.

Because the pain is so intense, the word "sharp" can't describe it because sharp pains tend to be extremely localized. Being hit in the sack definitely hurts the most locally, but the pain is so intense it spreads across your entire abdomen.
posted by twiggy at 12:12 PM on February 19, 2007

self-defense teachers tell you to aim for that spot
When I took self-defense we were told that a kick in the crotch was not always reliable as a defense, and I have gathered that some men are not as affected by this as others. True or no?
posted by yohko at 12:12 PM on February 19, 2007

I'd describe it as a combination of the pain from intestinal gas and hitting your funny-bone. Adjust for intensity.
posted by rhizome at 12:13 PM on February 19, 2007

Time stands still and it feels the a vortex is sucking the universe into your stomach.
posted by fire&wings at 12:15 PM on February 19, 2007

Best answer: Also, the statement that women getting kicked in the crotch is just as painful and "tragic" as when men do is wholly inaccurate.

It's not even remotely similar. Seriously.

Imagine your eyes dangled freely and someone came by and just started to smash one of them between his/her forefinger and thumb. Move that pain and gory vision to your crotch and magnify it several times.

Sorry - I'm sure it hurts for a female to be kicked in the crotch, but no way on earth does it compare to a guy being kicked there.
posted by twiggy at 12:15 PM on February 19, 2007

When I took self-defense we were told that a kick in the crotch was not always reliable as a defense, and I have gathered that some men are not as affected by this as others. True or no?

A lot depends on clothing and how much energy you are able to impart. And there is, of course, a natural variation in how sensitive men are.

However, men who get kicked in the crotch for fun are few and far between.

As for describing the sensation -- all encompassing pain so bad that you want to throw up rings a few bells....
posted by tkolar at 12:21 PM on February 19, 2007

I catch in the local baseball league (hardball, not softball) and have had baseballs hit me full on on the cup on the fly and off the bat on a foul tip on at least a dozen occasions. These baseballs are travelling anywhere from 50 mph to 80 mph. Now, I always wear a cup which distributes the impact around the groin and mitigates it mostly.

However, on two occasions that I remember a ball was foul tipped and bounced off the ground and impacted my junk at an upward angle where the cup does not offer much in the way of protection. Squaw in the nuts as Cartman would say. For me it wasn't so much the pain, because it was not excruciating, but it absolutely takes your breath away and makes you nauseous for the better part of five minutes.. It's like being punched hard in the stomach by complete surprise. It takes a few minutes just to get your breath back and to no longer want to vomit.
posted by vito90 at 12:23 PM on February 19, 2007

Childbirth, maybe? I dunno, it's a rather unique kind of excruciation. I haven't gotten kicked in the nuts since puberty (~20 years ago), and I still remember it vividly.

When I took self-defense we were told that a kick in the crotch was not always reliable as a defense, and I have gathered that some men are not as affected by this as others. True or no?

I've heard this as well. I think the idea is that if you somehow don't connect, you've just made the guy infinitely madder. I'd still advise to aim there.
posted by mkultra at 12:23 PM on February 19, 2007

I should ask my dad if he still remembers when I hit him square on as he walked past the pitchback as I was throwing a ball at it. I just remember him stumbing into the house, collapsing doubled over onto the landing on the stairs with my mother laughing hysterically at him and me getting a talk about testicles and their sensitivity on the way to school the next day.
posted by DonnieSticks at 12:28 PM on February 19, 2007

I'll chime in, unless a board member walks in while I'm typing. There are varrying degrees of smackage...

There's the straight on shot, where the object doing the striking generally falls flat on the floor. Assuming that the shot is taken at the base of the genitalia, directly in front of the testes, these hurt. But the thing is, that it takes a couple seconds. Always, it happens, and everyone goes "oooh", and then you're like "crap I'm going to die", and then it doesn't hurt. And then, slowly but with the evolutionary tide of a locomotive, comes the pain. Your legs go weak, your stomach takes up residence in your throat. You get hot, right up until you get freezing cold. The pain stretches from somewhere beside your prostate to the knees, up into the chest cavity. Somewhere in there, you think you might crap your pants, but you're pretty sure it would be blood.

That brings us to the other, worse, situation. This happened to me in a soccer game as a 14 year old. I lunged (oops) and got nutmegged, only as I was stretched out, the scrotum dangled low. Imagine a boxed hitting a speed bag, the BOOM, followed by the waggling slappa-slappa as it went front and back like the previously mentioned speed bag. 2 steps...ground. Pain. Ouch.

Then there's the up-and-in, like from the toe of a soccer shoe...that's different, because it hurts just the same only less, but it also hurts the inside of your 'taint, which is unbearable.

Oops, board member inc...gotta run.
posted by TomMelee at 12:31 PM on February 19, 2007

Best answer: It hurts in a unique way for two reasons, near as I can figure.

First, it's an organ pain rather than muscular pain. If you've ever been punched in the kidneys, or had some kind of trauma to another organ, you can imagine what that feels like. It's a really deep, highly localized throb that sort of radiates outwards.

Second, the central nervous system, in its infinite wisdom, has the wubblies pretty high up on its "OMG protect these at all costs!" top ten list. Taking a blow there makes the body go into a sort of panic mode. IT makes you want to wretch, shake and fall down all at once.

Combine those two together and you get one interesting and rather unique form of pain.
posted by generichuman at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, and as for self defense--it is true that someone who's seriously trying to go after you probably won't be phased by a shot to the groonies. Smashign their toes with your heel, or breaking their nose with the back of your head are 2 things that will disable them though, 4 sure. If you must smash the groonies, smash, grab, and TWIST, pull, and run. But I'd advise smashing their toes (i.e. breaking them) and taking out the nose, myself. /derail off
posted by TomMelee at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2007

I would say, getting the wind knocked out of you combined with the dull slow ache of an abcess tooth (spread all over your lower abdomen) with a touch of intestinal cramps and a dash of lower back strain....and nausea.
posted by Megafly at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2007

It's like being punched really hard in the stomach while simultaneously biting down on a steel bar. You want to throw up and squeeze tears of pain out of your eyes.
posted by plinth at 12:36 PM on February 19, 2007

does anyone know why, evolutionarily speaking, the testes dangle as they do?

To keep the temperature of the testes under body temperature.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:37 PM on February 19, 2007

grazed on the ovaries during gyno examinations

I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which the ovaries would be grazed during a gyno exam. All I'm coming up with spontaneous surgery. Now, getting thumped on the cervix can hurt like hell, but the sensation doesn't match the descriptions of getting kicked in the nuts.
posted by desuetude at 12:44 PM on February 19, 2007

The only way I've been able to describe it to females is to say that testicles are roughly like eyeballs. When you get poked in the eyeball the pain is initially intense, but doesn't subside over time like most other pains. In fact, the constant acute pain from an eye injury can feel like it's actually getting worse several minutes after the initial impact. The fact that there's nothing you can do to relieve the discomfort - no relief from pressure, rubbing, creams or drugs - makes it worse. You know it's just going to hurt like hell for a while and you're going to have to take it.
It's kinda like that.
posted by rocket88 at 12:50 PM on February 19, 2007

Best answer: First off, it's "Wolfman's got nards."

Second, one of the worst things about getting hurt there is that in the first moment after the blow there is no pain, just paralysis and anticipation -- and even a moment where you think it won't hurt at all. That's when it starts, sort of a ball of fish hooks in you groin with strands tugging on your stomach -- you want to vomit, but not what's in your guts -- you want to vomit out your damn ruptured gonads, deep heaves that will never do the job. The fishhooks settle in for twenty minutes, flaring up with motion. You would gladly order genocide in this condition.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:51 PM on February 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

My wife and I have discussed this before. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that a shot to the nuts is probably equivalent to one severe menstrual cramp. The same general set of nerves involved, the same intense, horrific pain that travels inexorably up and inwards so that it feels your guts are being knifed repeatedly.

The difference is that chicks take this pain and KEEP GOING. And they take it over and over for days straight. Hurts like a sonofabitch, makes them understandably irritable, but it does not stop them. Chicks are The Terminator.

Men who experience such pain drop to the ground crying. Men are, well, pussies. Seriously. We like to think this is a unique horrible thing that only we can understand, but I'm pretty sure it is just us making a big deal out of what is to women a repeated, inevitable monthly annoyance.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:51 PM on February 19, 2007 [10 favorites]

I can attest to the nausea. I was in a fight in junior high once and this kid kicked me square-on, in the cash and prizes. The pain was so bad that I writhed around on the floor while simultaneously wanting to vomit. It was like my stomach filled with blood or something. My brother and I saw him a week later and I threw a rock at him from across the street and hit him in the face. This helped the pain go away.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:54 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

"When I took self-defense we were told that a kick in the crotch was not always reliable as a defense, and I have gathered that some men are not as affected by this as others."

Its not as easy to score a direct hit with a kick on a wary opponent as you might think. Kicking that high and deep can leave you fairly vulnerable, esp. if you are a novice.

The best recovery method I have found is to stand (when you can) and bounce a little on your heels, impacting the ground with thumps. I'm not sure why this works but it seems to get you back into action quicker, or at least reassure you that you're OK.
posted by Manjusri at 12:58 PM on February 19, 2007

Yeah, maybe, if you want to explain it to girls, say that it's like the most intense menstrual cramp they've ever had (complete with the light-headedness and the pain and the nausea and even the vomiting), compacted into 3 minutes.
posted by muddgirl at 1:02 PM on February 19, 2007

Or perhaps, caution live frogs, the pain is not remotely the same in intensity, which is what allows "chicks" to keep going during menstrual cramps.

I don't buy this comparison at all. There's a reason guys get doubled over, and it's probably because being kicked in the balls isn't a result of a regularly occurring and actually positive bodily function.

I'm not downplaying how horrible it must be to have menstrual cramps, but there's no way it's like being kicked hard in the balls. It's simply not physically possible to walk straight after that happens - sometimes for minutes or even hours depending on the severity. This is not "being a pussy."

"Being a pussy", which we men admittedly can be when it comes to pain, is whining excessively over a cut on the finger, a stubbed toe, etc.
posted by twiggy at 1:05 PM on February 19, 2007

mash the groonies, smash, grab, and TWIST, pull, and run.

I think the twisting is key. Heck, you can get a twinge of pain and brief wave of nausea just from adjusting / scratching with abandon.

Not to mention if you ever happen to drop something while sitting down and attempt to close your legs in an instant to save the falling item. The item may be saved, but you also just crushed yer boys. Oy vey.
posted by utsutsu at 1:14 PM on February 19, 2007

There are women, twiggy, who experience cramps so bad that they, indeed, cannot walk. It's happened to me sometimes. I would never call a guy a pussy for reacting to such intense physical pain, so I suppose I agree with your point.

Since it's impossible for me to be kicked in the balls, I can't really compare the two feelings. But all the descriptors that have been given: "intestinal gas + funny bone" "like being stabbed with a knife, only less localized", etc. are how I would describe certain periods of cramping. Of course, cramping I can predict and control with pain killers, so there's that, too.
posted by muddgirl at 1:16 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Not doubting you, twiggy, as I agree with your assessment, buy I have to add for conversation's sake that I have been knocked over by cramps--rapid onset of a wave of pain has doubled me over and had me on the ground for a good 10 minutes.

But the cat regularly jumps on Mr. Oflinkey's nads when we are falling asleep in bed. Not pretty.
posted by oflinkey at 1:39 PM on February 19, 2007

Have you had the wind knocked out of you, gone into shock (the metallic taste in your mouth, possible dry heaves and shivering) and what felt like the worst muscle cramp at the same time? It's kind of like that. I wouldn't say it's a sharp pain as much as a regional ache that radiates up the abdomen, as others have mentioned.

The last time I saw someone get really punched in the groin, he was rolling around on the ground for about ten minutes. He then kind of half-crawled into where we were and laid on a couch for probably 45 minutes. He remembers very little of the whole thing.
posted by mikeh at 1:39 PM on February 19, 2007

Actually, there is a way to greatly reduce the intensity of this pain rather quickly. Unfortunately, I cannot share this method at this time as (1) the process is counterintuitive, and unless someone were willing to conduct the experiment, you would doubt my claim anyway; and (2) my retirement plan is to patent this method and sell it on late-night paid television.
posted by troybob at 1:46 PM on February 19, 2007

How about a really bad labor contraction - often described as a "severe menstrual cramp" or as my wife says "like someone grabbed my insides and squeezed them". Nausea and the inability to speak are common to both experiences, as is the awful sense of anticipation when you know its coming.
posted by true at 1:52 PM on February 19, 2007

Childbirth, maybe?

I'm thinking close, but no congratulatory cigar:

"OK all you moms, remember delivering your first bundle of joy? Now imagine that your newborn had taken a quick look around and lunged back through your nondilated cervix, all in a nanosecond."
posted by rob511 at 2:04 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like the category you used.
posted by koeselitz at 2:12 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Lots of good explanations above, but here's another bit of detail: probably every male reading this thread is experiencing, at this very moment, some degree of phantom tingle, blast-to-the-balls remembrance emanating from down there. Yes: It hurts so much even talking about it hurts.
posted by notyou at 2:21 PM on February 19, 2007

The best part of this thread are the names we dudes come up with for our balzac.

Worst pain their is. I've seen tough tough guys whimper like a little baby after taking a good shot to the nads.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:22 PM on February 19, 2007

A sickening kind of pain; like someone was grabbing and twisting an internal organ (which they kinda are).
posted by Jimbob at 2:28 PM on February 19, 2007

Another vote for not buying what caution live frogs is selling. Women are tough, no doubt. And if men had to suffer from menstrual cramps they might well complain about them far more than women. But there is no world in which getting a real shot in the balls is equivalent to what women take "over and over for days straight." No way, no how.

What baffles me to this day is how some rather hard blows that you think are going to lay you out actually have little effect, while some light grazing contacts can bring you to your knees.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:43 PM on February 19, 2007

How do these arguments work? How can the guys say that menstrual cramps certainly can't be as bad as getting kicked in the balls, if they haven't experienced it?

I would suggest that the pain of having one of your ovaries working its damnedest to kill itself is pretty wretched awful, and that I have also had cramps that cause me to cease functioning for a period of time, such that standing up was essentially impossible.

But I do not have certain parts of the male anatomy, and hence it is impossible for me to experience being kicked in such parts. And you, dear men, have no way of experiencing the two mentioned things that I certainly have experienced, and so you are incapable of suggesting that they are any more or less painful.

How 'bout you just say that it's wretched awful, and lasts longer than you might ever think you can withstand, and that if you had the chance with a nurse around you'd say "yes please, more painkillers" and it still wouldn't do squat to help you feel any closer to getting out of that pit of utter hell.
posted by that girl at 2:44 PM on February 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think an important part to remember is that the pain seems to radiate, that is, it does not feel as if it is confined to the scrotum. It blossoms outwards, particularly towards the kidneys. The pain itself is the opposite of sharp. Sharp pains, to me, are swift and shallow. This is a dull pain that comes in waves and is as deep as the sea.

Not all men double over. I took a blow from a soccer ball ... propelled by the machined thighs of a soccer player. Instead of dropping and puking, I began to laugh, because it hurt so much it was rather comical. Laughed for fifteen minutes. Other times, I have felt more of a flush of rage than anything else, so it isn't always that incapacitating.

I'm pain-tolerant to a sometimes unhealthy degree, and, yeah, even a graze or glancing blow is against recommendation. You might remind them that there are no layers of fat or muscle there to speak of, just testicles in a very, very thin bag. You might suggest what it would be like to be punched in the stomach, if you didn't have an inch or more of buffering flesh.
posted by adipocere at 2:51 PM on February 19, 2007

that girl, I will concede that I cannot know whether a girl can have a menstrual cramp that is as severe and painful as a blow to the testicles. What you will never be able to convince me of is that the average cramp is as painful as a solid blow to the family jewels.

(By the bye, we went down this nuts-versus-period road a few months ago, albeit approaching it from a different angle).
posted by pardonyou? at 2:52 PM on February 19, 2007

What you will never be able to convince me of is that the average cramp is as painful as a solid blow to the family jewels.

Perhaps not, but I don't think you can fully comprehend the severe agony of a really really bad cramp. You've read the other thread, so I won't attempt to describe it.
posted by muddgirl at 3:02 PM on February 19, 2007

its hurts in a sick way. And it can hurt worse if one of them is just grazed... A hard flick hurts worse than a kick most often.
posted by magikker at 3:11 PM on February 19, 2007

Best answer: I am unfortunately something of an expert in this area.

If you are a female and you wish to simulate this feeling do the following in this exact order:

#1. As quickly as possible drink one quart whole milk and one quart orange juice in quick succession. Do fifty push ups.

#2. Get up. Hold your breath. Keep holding it. Wrap your waist in duct tape.

#4. Take off your pants.

#5. Hold a nerf football between your knees.

#6. Exhale all your breath and at that instant have some body kick the foot ball until it starts to disappear into your vagina.

That's pretty much it.

There are WORSE targets as far as pain goes. A groin kick with the toes pointed into the coxix or tail bone - or a knee driven from behind with the added leverage of pulling on the shoulders or head - will get a shock to the spine AND cause the scrotum to contract.

For self defense these are great targets but don't just do it and stand there.
posted by tkchrist at 3:21 PM on February 19, 2007 [3 favorites]

Women can get poked in the ovaries...

Wow. Are you bragging or what?
posted by tkchrist at 3:50 PM on February 19, 2007

Can I ask the women in here how the pain of an over-the-top cramp compares to other types of pain?

Generichuman hit it dead on (har har) when he says it's an organ pain, and what every guy in this thread is trying to explain while typing with one hand and reflexively covering their kibbles with the other is that kicked-in-the-nuts is a qualitatively different sensation than your average got-hit-in-the-face-with-a-golf-club type of hurt. I once broke a bone so badly I literally saw red, puked, and never regained feeling in that part of my foot, but even that fell somewhere on the common scale of human pain. Testicle pain feels like it's on some perpendicular axis to that scale.
posted by sonofslim at 4:11 PM on February 19, 2007

mash the groonies, smash, grab, and TWIST, pull, and run.

reading this sentence made me react physically. I cringed hard, and felt slightly crap just at the *thought* of this serious of actions.

And while I'm a pussy in a lot of ways, I can take a lot of physical pain. I broke my shoulder and didn't bother with treatment for a full day, when i realized that I *still* couldn't actually move my arm at all. I've broken fingers and been unsure of even when it happened.

I can take physical pain. But the thought of those actions on my balls makes me feel... unnnnnnnngh. I lack words.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 4:24 PM on February 19, 2007

kalessin: there's nothing self-righteous or sexist or demeaning about saying that someone without balls will never know what it feels like to not only have them but have them kicked.

Nobody's saying there isn't immense, insane pain in severe female menstrual cramps. However, the claim that said cramps are not only as bad as being kicked in the balls "on occasion", but "for days on end" is patently absurd.

Knowing what it feels like to have been struck in the jumbly bits, I can tell you that no human being no matter what gender or toughness can withstand that for "days on end" and function on any level at all. Period. No possible argument against this ever unless you're certifiably insane.

Are women better at enduring pain than men? Maybe, I dunno, I wouldn't argue against it. Childbirth certainly is something I can't ever claim to imagine the feeling of. Of course, by your argument I should be able to imagine it just fine.

Bottom line: There's nothing at all arrogant, sexist or "selfish" about saying that the pain of being kicked in the nuts is far too much for any human to bear "over a long period of time" and continue to function.
posted by twiggy at 4:31 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

The only thing I was going to mention (my memory's faded some - I don't think this has happened since I was about 7 years old) was the bizarre delay. Maybe 20 seconds before the full horror appears from nowhere.

My best explanation of the level of pain in non-gender-specific terms. It's a similar kind of pain to appendicitis, but with an intensity more like infected root-canal nerve pain. So basically, the extremity of the latter with the persistence of the former.

Incidentally, any {men|women} here comparing this stuff to cramps or childbirth would be advised to try sounding less foolish, imho. How the fuck would you know one way or the other?
posted by genghis at 4:48 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

twiggy: I think kalessin was saying something along the lines of what I was saying--males and females have no real methods of comparison regarding these things.

And yes, if cramps were that bad for a full week, we'd probably all have shot ourselves by now.

I think what I understand what sonofslim is talking about with that perpendicular concept, although I tend to associate it with spraining/twisting an ankle. Of all the things that have happened to me (see above statement re: organs killing themselves), whatever it is that happens to my brain when I have hurt my ankle is totally different than any other pain, and markedly worse. People ask "are you okay" and my brain is still going AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGLURBLEFLOOGNOISEAAAAAA and I can't do anything but do as little as possible until that wave of torture passes over.

I have always wondered if that is something that happens to me and nobody else.
posted by that girl at 4:49 PM on February 19, 2007

If my long-ago martial arts teachers weren't lying to me... the initial pain is one thing, the secondary pain is another. The secondary pain is from your testes going back up into your abdomen. Just like when it's warm, they dangle low... and when it's cold they climb back up... when they are in danger (like after a glancing blow), they climb back up. This is the nauseating, dry-heaving, deep pain. The pain of an organ that's not in the place it's supposed to be.

The standard response to an accidental groin event was that a couple of the burly-er guys would stand you up and bounce you up and down on your heels to force your testes to drop back into their normal position. And/Or you would lay face down while they kicked you in the a** with the same intention of forcing your testes to fall from the inside of your groin to the outside where they belong.

There are martial arts that teach methods of bringing the testes up into the body. These are the videos you see of men being kicked hard in the groin and not showing any response.... and probably about equivalent to a woman being kicked in the crotch.... it hurts, but not the same... because through practice, the "testes in the abdomen" doesn't cause the same ill-feeling as the "OMG, my balls are retreating!" feeling.

So, for women, i would suggest.... a punch to the ovaries, and your ovaries responding with first the pain, and then they try to retreat down your fallopian tubes to safety. Then you have an hour or so of "OMG, my insides are f*ck*ed up." like somebody has put their hand inside you and is squeezing your ovaries just like pulling your eyeball out of your head and squeezing it.

How this stacks up against bad cramps or childbirth... I don't know, but it would be interesting to find out.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:02 PM on February 19, 2007

On a related note... if you were paralyzed from, say, the waist down, with a spinal injury... and you were kicked in the happysack... would you still feel it?
posted by Rubber Soul at 5:21 PM on February 19, 2007

A previous thread that may be of interest here. As I mentioned there, I am walking around with a permanent reminder of getting kicked in the cojones about four years ago. I call it "The Mighty Righty", or "The Blarney Stone." Others have called it "worrisome and freakish", "the coolest thing I've ever seen", and various other things. If I ever make it to a Mefi meetup you'll know me because I'll be the guy with the wheelbarrow.
posted by zoinks at 5:38 PM on February 19, 2007

Oops - previous thread here.
posted by zoinks at 5:42 PM on February 19, 2007

Best answer: Rather than cramps as a comparison, how about something more exactly direct? From the descriptions you gentlemen offer, it sounds to me like a shot in the nads feels remarkably like an ovarian cyst bursting.

I've vomited from the pain when a cyst burst; I've also fallen down and had that lasts-for-hours pain that just grows and grows and grows. So if a ladyfriend asks what it feels like to get kicked in the nads, tell her it feels like bursting an ovarian cyst.

And if she's lucky enough to have never had one, then the next closest thing is childbirth on Pitocin. Those are the most vicious contractions in the world, and much more similar to the cyst burst pain to me, than regular cramps and natural childbirth contractions.
posted by headspace at 5:49 PM on February 19, 2007

In some ways, it's like a migrane— that stabbing, swelling, throbbing evil pain, only simultaneously feeling like pushing hard on a bruise.
Perhaps the best combination for a woman who wanted to get close might be being kicked hard in the crotch while experienceing the kind of cramps that won't let you out of bed. The trick is that it's more than one kind of pain at once, and all of it very bad. (I thought about explaining it as a crippling migrane for your balls, but women don't really understand the sort of stegasaurus second brain in the testes thing).
posted by klangklangston at 6:13 PM on February 19, 2007

Ok, y'all, I think a lot of you are being a little drama-queenish about this, and (while I'm not real excited to advertise this) I know from pain in the nuts. To run down a scale, in terms of quantity of pain:

- the incident I described in the link
- a jellyfish sting
- intense abdominal cramps, which I had thought to be appendicitis, and went to the ER for
- low-grade eye infection, like pinkeye or something
- your average shot to the groin
- small burns from oven-related clumsiness
- standing up fast and smacking your head on a solid object like a shelf or something
- a small stab wound in the knee
- ankle sprain
- a blow to the funny bone
- toothache

Of those, I would characterize the quality of a shot to the balls as most resembling the intense abdominal cramps plus the funny-bone hit and the ankle sprain.

No idea where bone breaks fall on this list, thank goodness.
posted by furiousthought at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2007

Um, every year my gyno checks out my ovaries during my pelvic, and it never hurts.

Since I've never had really bad cramps, I would guess that the pain feels analogous to the days of the month when my nipples are really, REALLY sensitive due to hormones, and I roll over and somehow pinch one between my mattress and my body. OMG that HURTS, I just want to cry. I would imagine getting kicked in the nuts is like that.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:23 PM on February 19, 2007

Oh, dear god, furiousthought.... I'm a little pale after reading your link. 2 or 3 of my friends have had testicular torsions and they describe it as getting kicked in the nuts over and over and over and over. One of their doctors said he was sure it was one of the most painful things anyone could experience.
posted by sonofslim at 7:39 PM on February 19, 2007

It hurts so much you can taste it. It tastes like death.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:16 PM on February 19, 2007

he was sure it was one of the most painful things anyone could experience.

I would guess a serious eye injury would be comparable, and an abdominal wound or serious burn would be worse. Well, there's another case study in my link of someone who had it worse than me. Mileage varies.
posted by furiousthought at 8:29 PM on February 19, 2007

From my experience, females don't experience as much pain when being kicked in the crotch. I've been on unexplainably brutal (female) soccer teams where sore losers kicked others in the crotch ... and really, the girls would just pick themselves straight up, and go back in for the revenge/kill. And it was just like getting kicked in any other area. If only a little more painful, but not as much.
posted by Xere at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2007

If my broken collarbone didn't hurt for weeks and weeks... I would trade a day or two's worth of broken collarbone vs. a good kick in the nuts any day of the week.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:51 PM on February 19, 2007

No idea where bone breaks fall on this list, thank goodness.

I think ranking pain is a tricky thing to do; I've had some really nasty middle ear pain (like rupturing an ear drum, but much worse), and while it's less painful on a "1 to 10" scale than, say, a migraine, I'd take the migraine any day. The best I can do when asked to describe it is to say that it's a very "personal" or "scary" pain, and that really doesn't explain it very well.

For example, in your list, I'd definitely say that pinkeye hurts less than a shot to the 'nads, both on a scale of one to ten and on the "would you rather" scale. And I'd probably say that, moment to moment, a broken hip hurts less than said shot to the nads, but I'd take the kick any day.

Side note, I think the whole Wong-Baker pain scale thing is a bunch of shit - if I'm in a lot of pain, and I say 10, that might equate to someone else's 7, but at the same time, my 7 might be another person's 10. Even using it to track one person's pain is inaccurate, I think - it's a way of reducing an individual's pain to a one word answer, and that answer will vary based on a lot of things besides pain (energy, mood, desire to be cooperative or to evoke sympathy, etc).
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:31 PM on February 19, 2007

For the ladies: imagine your crotch as a pair of lungs and you just got the wind knocked out of you. That's the lasting agony part of it. The pain itself...I dunno, it's not a sharp pain, but rather spread out. But very intense. A strange thing is the pain takes a good five seconds or so to really manifest itself--anyone know why this is?

A feminist friend once made the stupid comment to me that men aren't as strong as women because they'd never be able to bear the pain of menstruation (not to mention childbirth). "Well," I said, "women aren't as strong as men 'cause they wouldn't be able to take a good kick in the nuts." Not that I believe this, but these two dumb arguments at least cancel each other out.

What I find most puzzling from an evolutionary standpoint is that the penis is extremely sensitive to pleasure, but not so much to pain. You can whack your dick against a table with little or no pain. The testes, however, are extremely sensetive to pain, but not so much to pleasure (though some may disagree with that last point).
posted by zardoz at 11:39 PM on February 19, 2007

I would guess that the pain feels analogous to the days of the month when my nipples are really, REALLY sensitive due to hormones, and I roll over and somehow pinch one between my mattress and my body. OMG that HURTS, I just want to cry.

*whimper* I have done that too. That's pretty goddamn painful.

I think the comparison to really terrible cramps feels the most accurate to me (but I am not a man). I've had menstrual cramps that mentally knock me out, cause me to vomit, and uncontrollably shake. I've lost days thanks to that kind of pain, it's not much fun indeed.
posted by saturnine at 4:32 AM on February 20, 2007

If you have ever had a very severe charley horse, like on your calf... imagine intensified 100-fold, transplanted to your crotch, widened to pull on your stomach, and lasting 15-25 minutes.
posted by mikshir at 10:57 AM on February 20, 2007

A strange thing is the pain takes a good five seconds or so to really manifest itself--anyone know why this is?

IANAD. But the nerves for the testes actually lie inside the abdomen. They're there because that's where the testes develop inside the body, and then descend - hence the ability to "lose" them inside your body. :) My theory is that the brain can't work out the disparity between where you physically get hit, and where the nerves are. And then there's the whole length of time it takes for the nerves to actually send the message to the brain, and for the brain to sort them out - kinda like if you stub your toe, it doesn't hurt for a second, then the pain starts. Or maybe my nerves just react a lot more slowly than normal. :D

That's my theory, anyway.

I've only been kicked in that area once, but that was enough. The pain wasn't really so bad, but it was the "take your breath away", violated feeling that got me. Almost like an emotional shock, like I wanted to sit down after it happened.
posted by Solomon at 2:39 PM on February 20, 2007

Nard pain is similar to what I imagine it might feel like if someone were able to grasp and slowly pull on the root of my intestinal mesentery.
posted by aceyim at 5:25 PM on February 20, 2007

Wheras this non-doctor might describe that as the five-seconds of shock, like after you cut yourself really badly.
posted by klangklangston at 6:08 PM on February 20, 2007

Seconding having an ovary burst (or rather, an ovarian cyst). Although it depends how bad the cyst is, I know a few people who've passed out from the pain and had to be doped up for days. Considering that ovaries and testes started out as the same proto-organ, it makes sense that sudden percussive trauma to them would feel similar. Also bear in mind that the ovary can pop when the cyst bursts.

I'm not saying this happens all the time, but it can.

And as for the cramps/kick in the balls comparison, it makes no sense. Similar types of pain, but since you can still function (to varying degrees) with cramps, but a ball-kick doesn't last several days, I'd say they're incomparable.
posted by sarahkeebs at 7:39 PM on February 20, 2007

Having experienced both, I'd say kidney stones offer the best basis for comparison, and women can have kidney stones, so that might be a reasonable basis for comparison.

Take the kidney stone experience and make it all happen in a half-hour, being sure to make every twinge of pain that might otherwise be spread over days happen in those thirty minutes. Add-in some bonus humiliation and/or vulnerability, and of course subtract the ability to effectively medicate against the pain.
posted by NortonDC at 7:55 PM on February 20, 2007

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