Why Are People Icing Their Testicles?

A urologist and a biohacker explain the chilling practice.
biohack health ice testicles balls penis cold temperature spe
Chill out, bro. Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Unsplash

Bros have tried many shocking if not borderline-questionable things in an effort to improve their health. There are those who expose their testicles to red light, and others who sun their genitals. Now, some are choosing to chill out, literally. 


Health enthusiasts and biohackers are icing their testicles with ice packs and cold showers, believing that doing so helps increase testosterone levels and sperm quality, boosts energy and sex drive, and improves sleep quality.

The practice is based on the idea that excessive heat in the groin area is bad for testosterone production and sperm health. 

According to Lye Diwa, a urologist based in the Philippines, testicles hang outside and separate from the rest of the body because they function better at a temperature lower than the body’s normal temperature. Warmer temperatures in the groin area tend to produce “less ideal” sperm, in terms of morphology and mobility.

People who ice their balls believe that cooling the testicles is a good way to boost testosterone and sperm, but nobody can say for sure that this actually works. 

“Although there are small studies that would attest to cold temperature and improvement in sperm quality, there are no large clinical trials that would advise icing as a means to improve sperm count,” Diwa told VICE. One study even found the opposite—exposing testicles to cold temperatures decreased testosterone in 19-year-old males. 


Of course, like with other biohacking practices, a lack of large clinical trials hasn’t stopped people from giving this low-effort-but-big-promise technique a shot. Icing testicles is (almost) as simple as it sounds. 

Some people use an ice pack, a towel with ice cubes, or a specially-designed “testicle cooler,” said Siim Land, an author and biohacker who personally just runs his balls under cold water from the shower. The point is simply to cool the testicles down, especially when they might be particularly hot like after a workout or sauna session. 

“The goal isn’t to numb [your testicles]. You want to just cool them down… and you can achieve that quickly,” Land said, adding that all it takes is a few seconds or minutes of icing at a time to get the desired effect.

Land also advised people to wrap ice packs with cloth. 

“One big concern would be burns, so you probably don’t want to put the ice pack directly on the skin. That can burn the skin if it’s too cold,” he said. 

Most people likely don’t have the means to test for testosterone levels and


sperm quality at home, but some say icing their testicles might be responsible for a few things they can observe.

Vlad, a filmmaker who preferred to only go by his first name, goes to the sauna multiple times a week. 

“Because heat is harmful for sperm quality, and as my wife and I were trying to have a baby, I decided to apply ice packs [for a few seconds at a time] on my testicles during the 15 minutes I spent in the sauna. At first, it was sort of uncomfortable, but I rapidly grew fond of it, as it gives you a nice buzz and clears your mind,”  Vlad said. 

He said that his wife, who was in her late 30s at the time, became pregnant within two months of his testicle-icing practice. Vlad admitted that he couldn’t be sure if it was the ice, luck, or good health that helped them get pregnant, but said that he didn’t think the ice did any harm. 

Marc S., a teacher who preferred to abbreviate his last name lest his students read this story, said his job can be extremely stressful at times, so he tries to do what he can to improve his health and well-being. One thing that helps is icing his testicles.

“After the icing, I feel the need to move my body. I feel much more energetic. My [eczema] has also drastically improved. Overall, I experience more energy and less stress, resulting in a much higher sex drive and the need to work out,” said Marc. 

Alex Mikaelsson, an investment manager, also said that icing his testicles gives him an increase in energy and libido. 


“I ice them before I go to the gym and, placebo or not, I feel it really helps me with increased and sustained energy for my workout. The other feeling, which was quite evident, was an increase in libido and the increased frequency of morning wood,” said Mikaelsson. 

Felipe Rodas, a fitness trainer and nutrition coach who also does red-light therapy and genital sunning, said icing his testicles for five to ten minutes every day, twice a day, helps him get better sleep quality. 

Some skeptics say that whatever benefit people might gain from icing their testicles is minuscule in terms of what they might gain from improving their diet, exercising, and getting better sleep. Most of the testicle-icers VICE spoke to for this story said that they’re aware of this, but also think that icing their balls is a simple enough practice that doesn’t take too much time or effort. 

“I would say icing your testes definitely works, but I would make sure that you’re checking all the other boxes if you want sustained results,” said Mikaelsson. 

Land, the author, agreed that there could be more evidence, from randomized trials that control more variables, to support the practice. He also agreed that there are more important things people can do to improve their testosterone levels and sperm health. He still believes, however, that the practice has a positive effect, and when the risks are duly avoided, there’s very little downside. 

But the practice still gives others cold… feet. 

“When I iced my balls in the sauna, I really hoped [it would work] because all the dudes were looking at me like I was a weirdo,” Vlad said. “It takes balls to ice them.”

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