Ryan W. loves to blow himself. He got hooked 10 years ago, after a fateful shower and a towel that failed to do its job. He was already blow-drying his hair — hey, it’s just more efficient — when he felt the rest of his body was, well, insufficiently dry. “The worst feeling after a shower is when you get dressed and realize you missed a spot on the back of your thigh or crotch region,” says the 26-year-old in Pennsylvania. “Your clothes feel gross, your body feels sweaty — it’s a mess.”
So he bent the wrist, turned the stream of hot air south, and the rest is history. Ryan’s been blow-drying his peen for nearly a decade now. His trusty blowdryer goes with him wherever he goes: “I’m on my way to Boston for the weekend,” he tells me from the road. “Brought the hair dryer.”
He’s got a tried-and-true routine. He’ll wrap the towel around his waist and take the blow-dryer to his upper body, then lose the towel, spread his legs and go to town. “My legs, peen and balls — after a few minutes, it gets you nice and dry.” Especially during the winter, Ryan says, it feels great. “Stepping out of a hot shower when the bathroom is still sorta cold is the worst, and this is basically blasting yourself with a heater.”
But as with all things that feel really, really good, surely there’s a downside to blasting your junk with heat on a daily basis, right? After all, one swimming pool even reportedly banned using hair dryers on your junk. Isn’t it… dangerous?
Here’s what our team of experts had to say.
Any benefits or risks largely depend on “the temperature of the air being blown and the distance from the skin,” says Dr. Fayne Frey, a dermatologist in New York. “The obvious risk is burning the skin by using hot air too close to the skin. I don’t have any science that shows either benefits or downsides to drying the skin if moderate temps are used versus patting the skin dry with a towel.”
Maybe you miss out on some crucial exfoliation with the blow-dryer? “Rubbing the skin harshly with a towel is probably not a good idea, but I have no studies that compare exfoliation effects of towel-drying versus … blow-drying,” the doctor says. “Like most procedures in skin care — facials, masks, exfoliation, for example — there are so many variables and so little science, it is not always possible to definitively say what is best.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Susan Bard, a dermatologist in Brooklyn, encourages blow-drying — especially in the nooks ’n’ crannies we often neglect. “This isn’t necessary for the entire body, and doing so rather than towel-drying can lead to excessive dryness,” she says. “But I do encourage blow-drying between the legs and other skin folds where moisture can get trapped and lead to overgrowth of yeast or bacteria.”
It seems the worst that can happen, besides burning your wiener off if it’s too hot, is a little dryness. As Bard mentions, many men who blow-dry their junk also report some dry-skin issues. “I’ve heard that dabbing/patting yourself is better, as it lets the skin keep some of the moisture and not dry out,” says Reddit user barely_responsive. (In this case, try the “cool” setting on your dryer. A little body lotion might help here, too. Lube the tube, boys!)
Others put up with a little private scorn. “My girlfriend picks on me for it, but I started doing it a few months ago and do it after every shower,” writes redditor sysadm1n in a comment. “It’s amazing.”
There are a few disaster stories out there, too. One redditor, Blu3Dream, explained to r/TIFU (Today I F***ed Up) in 2014 that he didn’t heed Dr. Frey’s warning:
“Got out of the shower, so damn cold. Drying hair (on head) with the blow-dryer and it felt so nice and warm. Balls were cold, penis was cold. All shriveled up, smaller than usual. Blow-dry my private area as usual during a cold winter day, but since it was so cold I moved in a little closer. It felt so nice and warm. Thought, Oh, f*** it, I’ll move in a little closer, since it was so damn cold. Moved in too close, tip of penis touches the burning-hot iron grill. Pull dryer away in shock. It hurts. It burns as I type this. Erections make it burn more. It’s red where it got burned. Hoping it doesn’t turn into a blister.”
But such stories won’t deter Ryan, who continues to embrace the blow-dryer no matter what the haters say. “As a short-haired dude, I do get asked why I have a hair dryer, and I get some looks when I explain the reason,” he tells me. “The two people I’ve gotten to agree to try it out have both begrudgingly admitted that it is pretty stellar. So take that, towel-drying peons.”
Largely, the blow-dried-balls brigade on Reddit feels the same way: The benefits outweigh the potential downsides. “Do you know how [bad] swamp ass is? Or a sweaty crotch that you can’t quite get unstuck from your leg?” asks redditor ImBadWithGirls. “Blow-drying your entire body is life-changing. I towel off all the drops of water, then go over [myself] with a blow-dryer on low heat, and it’s awesome.”
Perhaps one day, Ryan won’t have to explain why he packs a blow-dryer on an eight-hour drive to Boston. Perhaps one day, if blow-drying his bare butt, balls and back still isn’t accepted by society at large, he’ll find a kindred spirit — someone like Mrs. Whitedear.
The Couple That Blows Together Grows Together
“I started blow-drying my husband after his showers a couple of years ago,” Mrs. Whitedear, a 38-year-old in San Antonio, tells me.
“He bought a cheap one and had been blow-drying himself, and then one day we were talking while he was in the shower and after he got out I think he handed it to me — and probably grinned his goofy grin that lets him get away with more than he should.”
Mr. Whitedear, 42, explains, “I actually had been blow-drying myself for a while, and one day, kind of as an ‘act of servitude,’ I handed her the blow-dryer and propped one foot on the counter,” Mr. Whitedear recounts. “I saw it as a mild joke for her to have to do this thing, but then I realized it was empowering for her because I was at her mercy to not burn me.”
Before Mrs. Whitedear came along, Mr. Whitedear was like Ryan — a solitary blow-drying expert. “I don’t feel exactly right if I’m not blown dry after a shower. I use the ‘cool’ setting, which just blows the air [and] doesn’t seem to have any effect on drying out my skin,” he tells me.
“I travel a fair amount. I have a travel hair dryer I use if I remember to pack it,” he continues. “Other times hotels have one mounted on the wall. Those tend not to have a cool setting. So I end up having to hold the dryer as far away from my body as I can and it also shortens the comfortable dry time. Now, keep in mind, I’ve already toweled off before the blow-dryer. So using a towel when I don’t have a blow-dryer is still normal to me.”
But since that fateful day in the Whitedear household, Mrs. Whitedear has been blow-drying her husband after almost every shower, “as long as I’m home and he’s not in trouble!”
“I listen for him to open his shower door and then I’ll come knock on the bathroom door to ask if he’s ready for me. Sometimes I’ll call out ‘Housekeeping?’ when I knock,” Mrs. Whitedear explains.
Other times, she’ll sit in the bathroom as he showers (or vice versa) to chit-chat. “We can unpack our day [when] we have those ‘I-can’t-wait-to-tell-you-this’ stories,” Mr. Whitedear says.
“The times that I’m slow getting to him, I’ll find him standing there in the open bathroom doorway, arms crossed and waiting for me with mock impatience,” Mrs. Whitedear adds. “It’s become a ritual that we share as a couple.”
Her husband explains, “She’ll grab the blow-dryer, I sort of ‘assume the position’ with my arms raised and turn so she can reach both armpits. … Then I do tend to face her and perch one foot on the counter and take a slightly wider stance. This allows more room to aim the blow-dryer from the front, back and underside to help dry off the excess moisture left over from the humidity of my hot showers.”
“It’s kind of ‘our thing,’” Mr. Whitedear continues. “I’d say it’s probably 85 percent of [my showers] that I get the treatment. It is REALLY nice, feels great — but, as odd as this seems, it isn’t sexual at all.”
Mrs. Whitedear says the two “get a kick out of telling other people about it… usually when we’re play-arguing about who gets their way more often.” How do they react? “Some people are really surprised to hear that I perform such a seemingly subservient act,” she says. “But he works very hard to take care of us, and I feel like it is such a small act of service to make him feel pampered and cared for in return.”