6 Freaky Things Your Body Does (Explained by Science)

#3. Why Men Get "Blue Balls"

Matt Scherf/Photos.com

The Weirdness:

Oh, the good ol' blue balls. The bane of the boner, the painful reminder of a man's failed romancing. Blue balls, for those of you who don't know (congratulations!), is when a man gets really close to orgasm but doesn't follow through. Say a man is on a date with a prospective mate and invites the person on a trip to the city of pound town, but right when things start getting heavy, he does something that makes the partner leave. We don't know what -- maybe he farted or got really racist or something. Either way, he is left with good old Catholic guilt and a painful ache in his nut sack.

Anja Peternelj/Photos.com
It's because the devil's poking his balls, right? Yeah, we bet it's the devil.

It Happens Because ...

Once again we can blame blood vessels. When the man is fully aroused and ready to unleash a payload of DNA, the arteries open, allowing blood to flow into the genitals, but then restricting the blood flow going away -- one result of this is what scientists call a "boner." When an orgasm occurs, the arteries almost immediately open, allowing the blood to leave because the deed is done.

But when sexual activity stops all of a sudden, the body gets all confused and can't figure out how you didn't seal the deal. This means that the blood lingers, and since it isn't oxygenated, it is "blue" -- and thus the term "blue balls" came into the vocabulary. The pressure of that blood is what makes the experience painful and causes tension in the man's balls -- that's right, it's basically getting an ice cream headache to the junk.

Andrzej Szalapata/Photos.com
Which feels worse than it sounds.

Fun bonus fact: This blood-trapping mechanism is the reason why Viagra, a pill originally intended to treat high blood pressure, also helps erectile dysfunction.

#2. Why Sunburns Hurt (and Turn You Red)


The Weirdness:

A sunburn is the point at which something desirable progresses into something painful and annoying. It's a suntan that's gotten too buff and now has to use a claw attached to a bent plastic handle just to wipe its own ass. A modest amount of sunlight to your skin yields a light roast and therefore a nice golden sheen that is absolutely painless (along with scoring you some free vitamin D). A little too much exposure, however, and you're in a world of hurt where suddenly your skin is hypersensitive to even the gentlest of caresses.

At first, you may think you're fine. Then you shower.

So why would something that isn't painful while you're experiencing it be excruciating when you're recovering afterward? And why would it change the color of your skin in the process?

It Happens Because ...

First of all, what you're seeing is a radiation burn. Blast yourself with radiation from a leaking nuclear reactor or certain medical procedures and your skin will look the same angry red. In this case, it's UV radiation, but it's still directly damaging your DNA and your body still responds with inflammation, increasing blood flow to the site and bringing with it all of your body's tiny repair crews. The angry red color is your body's attempt to heal it before tumors and mutations start sprouting everywhere.

Ralf Hettler/Photos.com
Your body fears the responsibilities that superpowers bring.

All right, so why is your skin suddenly hypersensitive to touch? If you roll your eyes and say, "Duh, because it's a sunburn," not so fast -- it's actually always been a mystery to scientists. Recent research says it might all be due to one obscure protein that helps manage the immune response, which happens to have the side effect of aggravating nerve receptors. Figuring out how to counteract that protein could one day actually fix the pain of sunburns (and other types of inflammation) instead of the current lotions and sprays that work for about the amount of time it takes to apply them.

#1. Why Asparagus Makes Your Pee Smell Weird


The Weirdness:

If you've heard somebody joke about "asparagus pee" and had no idea what they were talking about, either a) you don't eat asparagus or b) you're one of the people who are genetically unable to perceive the scent (about 30 percent of you). As for the rest of us, it seems to be one of the only substances on earth that makes your urine smell like the sulfuric piss of Satan himself. Even Benjamin Franklin noted the effects in a letter sent to the Royal Academy of Brussels; in it, he mentioned a "disagreable odour" that accompanied a meal containing asparagus stems.

It was satire, sure, but he did mention it.

What the hell? Does asparagus change our body chemistry so fundamentally that our own fluids start to smell like the discharge from a chemical plant? Then why do they allow us to eat it?

It Happens Because ...

The odor is the result of an organosulfur (an organic compound containing sulfur) called asparagusic acid. And yes, that's the real name, we're not joking -- we're told that at least one person in the world calls it that. You might be asking yourself why asparagus doesn't smell like that, then, and the answer is that asparagusic acid itself isn't so potent -- the smell mainly comes from the compounds it breaks down into, which can manifest themselves in urine in as little as 15 minutes. Sulfur, of course, is the same stuff that makes your farts (and skunks) smell bad.

Parents: If your little boy refuses to eat his asparagus, tell him it will let him pee farts. It'll work wonders!

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For more bodily mysteries, check out 6 Things Your Body Does Every Day That Science Can't Explain and 6 Things Your Body Does Every Day (That Can Destroy You).

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Related Reading: Science hasn't solved every mystery of the body. For example: we still don't understand the placebo effect. And did you know laughter is the body's drug dealer? Because that's totally how it works. With all this knowledge, science has figured out how to hack some shit. They can even change your eye color.

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