Protecting Male Genitalia During Sports
The protection of male penis and genitals during contact sports is a very sensitive issue – no pun intended. Even the lightest blow to the scrotal area can cause immense pain and render a man immobile for a considerable length of time. A more severe impact can cause crippling pain and also permanent damage. That is why the use of protective equipment is mandatory in all sports where there is a chance of any injury to the scrotum.
An Awkward Situation
The danger of genital injury has been recognized from the beginning of sporting competition. In the ancient Olympics, which had only male participants, the concept of uniforms or sporting clothes was unknown. All the athletes participated naked. The exception was in wrestling where, as records indicate, the sportsmen wore loin clothes. There were two reasons for this. First was the need to reduce the possibility of sexual stimulation when direct genital to genital contact occurred. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, was the fact that by binding the penis and scrotum in a tight cloth, the chances of serious injury during the bout was reduced. As time passed and different sports evolved with their own rules and regulations, the need for genital protection was often overlooked. The risk of great pain or crippling injury was accepted as part of the sport.
It was only in the late 18th century that the need to provide special protection to the male genital was recognized and rules were formed to restrict the causing of intentional genital injury. The best example of this is the introduction of the Queensbury Rules in boxing which prohibited hitting below the belt.
The growing popularity of sports such as football, hockey, and baseball, where the chances of injury were and are high, brought about the first organized attempts to ensure male penis and genital protection. The first solution consisted of binding the genital tightly in cloth so to minimize the chances of impact injury which, as already mentioned, started thousands of years ago. Later on padding was added to cushion any blow that may have occurred. The first scientific attempt to provide protection was with the introduction of the Athletic Support or Jockstrap at the end of the 19th century. This was followed by the Cup, a bulbous shield that is worn over the penis and testicles.
Any man playing sports where there is a possibility of penis or genital injury, no matter how small, should always use both a jockstrap and a cup. This does not mean that they do though. Modern jockstrap and cup designs ensure that they are more comfortable to wear and do not restrict movement in any way.