Many people are familiar with the concept of “blue balls.” It’s an aching or pain that results from sexual frustration, or not ejaculating after a prolonged state of sexual arousal. It’s also the excuse a lot of men use to guilt-trip their partners into “fixing it” with sex. During these instances, men might say something that insinuates women don’t experience the same kind of physical frustration. But, as it turns out, women’s private parts also get the blues.

For men, blue balls occur after an erection. Sexual arousal causes the arteries carrying blood to the penis to enlarge, and the veins that carry blood away constrict so that the blood can’t escape. This process, called vasoconstriction, helps them maintain an erection and also causes the testicles to swell about 25 to 50 percent larger than their normal size. During this process, the genitals actually go through a localized increase in blood pressure, “which makes it feel like someone is squeezing the testes,” Medical Daily previously reported. Ejaculation is the only way for the genitals to return to a normal size, and blue balls occur when that doesn't happen.

Women may not have testes, but they also experience vasoconstriction in the vulva, uterus, and ovaries during sexual arousal. And if they don’t orgasm, it can lead to similar feelings of heaviness and aching in their genitals, according to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I guess you can call this “ blue vulva.”

“The same thing happens to females, too,” sex coach Laura Anne Rowell told Medical Daily. “The nerve endings that go from the clitoris around the vulva are all engorged with blood when you’re sexually excited. When women get aroused and it’s not released, you can get extremely sensitive down there.”

UCSB notes that when men suffer from blue balls, their testes develop a blueish hue. You see, while oxygen-rich blood is red, blood without oxygen — like that trapped in the testicles — turns blue. Women’s genitals don’t necessarily change color, but the concept is the same. When they don’t “finish,” the extra blood that flows to their clitoris is still there “waiting to be released via contractions in your uterus,” Women’s Health reported. This leads to feelings of congestion and discomfort in women’s vaginas.

Rowell gave this example: Let’s say your partner is performing oral sex on you and doing a terrible job at it. After about 20 minutes “it becomes almost painful and sometimes you’re like, ‘just stop already.’” And that sometimes is the reason women get blue balls, Rowell said. When this happens, it can become painful to touch the clitoris, a feeling that can last up to 20 minutes after ending any sexual activity without achieving orgasm, according to Women’s Health.

There are a couple of reasons why we rarely ever hear of a woman getting blue balls. Rowell figures this is because there’s little to no scientific research on female blue balls, likely because female scientists and doctors aren’t looking into it as their male counterparts are investigating male blue balls. Other possibilities, she says, are that women’s genitals may not be “as sensitive” as men’s testes, or that men may just be more vocal about the discomfort associated with blue balls.

“When we’re not getting off, a lot of women, unfortunately, have learned to live with it and move on,” Rowell said. “So they may not even realize, or be in tune with their own body, to know that they’re having blue balls, or that they're even having an extra sensitivity down there because they didn’t get off. They may not connect the two.”

Contrary to what most men will have you believe, blue balls are not life-threatening — not for women either. “Take a cold shower, you know, have a glass of wine or hot tea, and forget about it,” Rowell said. “Just walk away from the situation.” And you’ll feel less blue in no time.