In a new paper published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology titled, "The scrotum: a comparison of men's and women's aesthetic assessments," researchers Paula Albrecht MSc, Carolin Eimer MD, and Erich Kasten PhD set out to divine the answer that has plagued humankind some time immemorial: what makes a beautiful ball sack?
Specifically, the paper was motivated but is reportedly a growing trend in the realm of genital plastic surgery. Breast augmentation, penis enlargement, labia reductions — these are all fairly commonplace procedures at this point. But, as the authors:
Tightening of the scrotum, by contrast, is a new trend in the aesthetic surgery market. Notwithstanding its rapid increase, studies have yet to investigate aesthetic preferences as regards the scrotum.
Which is why they set out upon this journey, to ascertain:
Where does the desire to change this relatively unnoticed part of the body come from? What defines an "attractive" scrotum? Do men's and women's assessments of this region of the body differ? Does regular consumption of online pornography play a role in individuals' perceptions of their own scrotum or—for women or homosexual men—of a partner's scrotum? Research to date has yet to explore the connection between differing perceptions of scrotal attractiveness and the consumption of online pornography, gender, and personality differences.
Indeed, it's a curious pondery.
The researchers interviewed 374 women (mean age 24.9 ± 8.7 years) and 279 men (mean age 26.8 ± 9.1 years) of various educational backgrounds and and relationship statuses. They presented each participant with a series of eight different perspectives on four unique scrotums (photos at the bottom of the article, if you're curious), and asked them to rank the ball sacks by attractiveness, on a scale from -3 ("very unattractive") to +3 ("very attractive").
Naturally, the study went balls deep into other sociological phenomenon that might be influencing the answers here. Does one gender place more value overall on the aesthetic appeal of their partner's wrinkly flesh folds, for example? (yes) Does general social introversion or extroversion play in role in one's nut assessment? (no) Could an increased consumption of pornography impact one's personal assessment of one's body image? (maybe) Does age factor into this at all? (probably not!)
Ultimately, the researchers concluded thus:
It was barely possible to identify a "beautiful" scrotum; we must instead speak of the least ugly.
The scrotum: a comparison of men's and women's aesthetic assessments [Paula Albrecht MSc, Carolin Eimer MD, and Erich Kasten PhD / Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology]