I walk around with my junk cupped in my hand fairly often. Frequently enough that I don’t always notice I’m doing so, and sometimes my female roommate will express concern about whether everything is all right down there. This makes me worry that I’m, like, unconsciously rearranging my sack at work while I’m talking to my boss about important business stuff. Or while I’m out on a first date.
I’m not alone in this. For ages, women have been asking men why they can’t leave their peckers alone for five minutes. Growing up, my mom—who raised three boys—said something like, “Hey! Why can’t you quit touching yourself!” more often than she said, “No, of course you can’t do that,” which she said rather often.
Here are a few reasons why we’re constantly rooting around down there:
Your junk gets itchy just like any other part of your body—and when it itches, it’s every bit as excruciating. (Even worse if you have jock itch, which is athlete’s foot on the groinal region.) It’s just a more noticeable area to scratch. I could have my eyes locked with a colleague talking about project deliverables while absent-mindedly itching my forearm, and she wouldn’t think anything of it. But substitute the forearm for my balls, and all of a sudden I’m an HR nightmare.
I started wearing boxer-briefs around puberty to keep my junk in place, but that was only like plugging a hole in a dam with a handkerchief in that it only fleetingly solves the problem. Sometimes, it’ll be slung awkwardly to the right or the left, and it especially needs some adjusting anytime you move to cross your legs. If you cross your legs and your testicles aren’t in the right position, you’re liable to tweak something or downright crush it. I actually have this interesting situation where my balls go up into my pubic region pretty often, so I’ll have to slide my hand down my pants to push them back down from my gut. (I should probably ask a doctor about that. It seems abnormal.)
Look: Your groin/taint area in underwear and jeans is subject to what is essentially a greenhouse effect. The groin and armpits are the warmest-running areas of the body, and when they’re encased in layers of cloth that don’t breathe very well, it perspires freely. And to try and find some modicum of comfort, we’ll shift things around down there. I call that the “Swamp Swap.”
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When you get a boner in public and you’re standing up, you really only have two options: You can stand there with your tent pitched for everyone to see, which I would say is a bad move in about 98 percent of situations, or you can do the boner tuck. That’s when you tuck your erect member up into the waistband of your underwear and jeans so that others can’t tell that you’re hard as a rock. It’s super uncomfortable but a necessity.
Sometimes, there’s no reason at all for us to grab our jewels, but we do it because we’re used to doing it. (It’s like when I have a beard, I can’t help but stroke it incessantly. Or how if I meet a terrible person, I will try to date them. I do it without even noticing.) One of my friends sits around with his hand down his pants almost all the time. He says it’s just his go-to way to bask in leisure, that he knows it’s there and that it’s fine, but that he just likes to have his hand on or around it. It’s like a security blanket, I guess. Except it’s a penis.
Our junk is very important to us. Sometimes it’s nice to just give it a grasp so we know it’s still present and in good standing.