Whether you’re chilling on the sofa or walking along the street, you’ll often find that a bloke’s hands mysteriously tend to gravitate towards their, ahem, intimate region.
Is it a sexual thing? Is it a comfort thing? Is it just a way to gross people out?
According to experts, there’s a little more to it than all that.
Back in 2021, KP Nuts and Movember teamed up to find out just how often men tend to stick their hands down their pants, with a survey of 2,000 people finding that, on average, fellas tend to touch their testicles seven times a day.
However, nearly a quarter said they did so at least 10 times a day, while one admitted to having a casual fondle 50+ times.
While some of the men surveyed shared reasons varying from feeling nervous to simply adjusting their crotch, experts have offered up more of an official explanation – delving into the psychology and science behind the practice.
Speaking to Vice a few months ago, integrative psychotherapist Jo Ryder explained that it was partly to do with a ‘tribe’ mentality, explaining that men often feel like they ‘belong’ if they indulge in some hand-on-crotch action.
“I would say that belonging is an important part of wellbeing,” Ryder said.
“And that the guys that do feel they belong to a tribe of people who display this behaviour.
"The penis is a strong symbol of masculinity, and all men want that department to be working well. That's the message.
"The people who come to see me, they are full of anxiety. Putting your hand on your penis is cocky, [it] shows confidence in one's masculinity."
Dr Andras Kolto, a senior postdoctoral researcher at NUI Galway, echoed this by saying that it could be attributed to toxic masculinity.
“It concerns the male genitals, after all,” he said.
“Some men, especially those who are insecure about their masculinity, or those who feel under pressure by unrealistic expectations about how you should behave to be seen as sufficiently manly, might experience terrible anxiety.”
But he also said touching one’s package relieves ‘anxiety’, as ‘low-intensity’ touches release oxytocin - commonly thought as the 'love hormone' - in the brain, which can in turn help regulate mood.
“It has many beneficial effects on our health and well-being. For instance, it reduces anxiety," Kolto said.
The outlet spoke to a 30-year-old called Joe, who admitted to doing it ‘unconsciously during the news’, but said it wasn’t sexual at all – more like a ‘special blanket’.
Kolto said his explanation wasn’t far from the truth, continuing: “Given that it concerns their genitals, it does have a sexual overtone – but the aim of the behaviour, on the conscious level, is not related to erotic stimulation.
"It rather seems to be a quick check that your ‘treasures’ are not stolen – or they might be itchy.”