The public has been offered books on the penis, the butt, the vulva and other body parts, author James L. Riedy explains. One area that hasn’t gotten the same scrutiny, at least in print, is the testicles. So, in the words of W.C. Fields, Riedy has taken the bull by the tail and faced the situation.
It’s a topic worthy of study. After all, there are some 3.5 billion men on the planet, accounting for 7 billion testicles, give or take a few special conditions (monorchism, a medical condition in which only one testicle descends, and triorchidism, having three testicles — though the variances would seem to balance each other out). In his slim book — without photos, thankfully — Riedy handles the subject playfully but avoids sinking to the level of a smirking, hormone-infused 7th-grader.
The Pleasures of Testicles combines biology (explaining the structure and function of the glands), history (Leonardo da Vinci theorized in the 15th century that sperm was formed in the testicles) and literature. Much of what Riedy presents, however, is more recent, Internet-based information.
He discusses websites and chat rooms where testicles take center stage. There are sites devoted to: piercing, inflating, stretching and various other activities (the Busted Nuts website speaks for itself); the joys of shaving; methods of increasing one’s sexual gratification (“Testicle-directed solitary sex,” as he puts it). Riedy also tells us about toys (the “diving dolphin” and “Adonis pouch” among them) and support groups for all the low-hangers out there.
More entertaining than informative is a list of about 200 terms for the testicles, from the familiar (“family jewels”) to the chuckle-inducing (“Fred & Ethel”).
The book is a quick read, informative though not academic, that should please those interested in the topic. Reading it in public, where the cover is visible, might draw some attention. But it’s nothing we haven’t all seen before.