when you think about fox news host Tucker Carlson, “testicle tanning” might not be the first words that come to your mind. Well, not the word “tanning”, at least. So it might have come as a surprise to hear Carlson talk about “testicle tanning” not just in one conversation, but in two of them. In fact, the new promotional trailer for Tucker Carlson Originals’ special “The End of Men” included footage of a naked man standing with an eagle with a red light shining right in his crotch. It’s not exactly something you see every day. Or every week. Or maybe never.
The first conversation was with Andrew McGovern as part of this TV special, seen in the video accompanying the following tweet from Florida attorney Ron Filipkowski:
Who is McGovern? Well, the video lists him as a “Fitness Professional”, which is a little more specific than “Being Human”, but doesn’t give much information about his qualifications. McGovern has described himself as an expert in “brometherapy,” which is apparently therapy for siblings.
The video began with McGovern saying, “You saw the clip, if you want to optimize and take it to another level, expose yourself to the red light therapy and Joovv that we were using in the documentary.” That’s when Carlson entered the conversation with, “Yeah, that’s testicle tanning.”
Now, it’s not typical to bring testicles into a conversation seemingly out of the blue. After all, “testicles” is not a filler word like “um”, “uh”, “like” or “you know”. However, McGovern seemed on the ball with what Carlson had said and responded, “It’s testicle tanning. But it is also a full-body red light therapy, which has a slew of benefits. And there is so much data out there that is not being captured or covered.”
Of course, saying “there is so much data out there” is not the same as showing real data. And even having data doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or even relevant data. For example, there might be data that humans can walk on walls and shoot webs from their wrists, but most of the data might be from movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home and therefore not legitimate scientific data.
There is some data that red light therapy, which exposes different parts of the body to low levels of red or near-infrared light, may have some beneficial effects. Some anecdotal reports and small studies have suggested that red light therapy can potentially help promote wound healing, relieve pain and stiffness in people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, smooth out wrinkles, scars and other types of skin damage, stimulate hair growth in people with alopecia, and alleviate depression among other possibilities. However, take all this with a bag full of salt. More studies are needed to confirm these findings. Also, where is the evidence that red light on your balls has any benefit, assuming you don’t want to smooth out the wrinkles on them? A PubMed search of “testicular tanning” returns only seven studies, none of which seem all that relevant to human testis tanning.
However, instead of saying “can you show us that data”, Carlson replied, “So obviously half of the viewers are now like, ‘What?! Testicle tanning, that’s crazy! But my opinion is, ok, testosterone levels have dropped and nobody says anything about it, this is crazy, so why is it crazy to look for solutions?” Seriously? Testosterone levels dropped? More on that later.
As you can see from Filipkowski’s tweet, the second conversation Carlson brought up about “testicle tanning” was with musician Kid Rock, whose birth name is Robert Ritchie. The word “Rock” might be in his name, but Ritchie apparently didn’t want the stones to turn when Carlson mentioned “testicle tanning” to him. Rock responded with “Man, stop! Testicle tanning? We will. I haven’t heard something like this in a long time.”
Carlson then insisted, “Open your mind, Bobby!” Carlson added, “Don’t you think at this point, when so many therapies, the paths they’ve told us to take, have turned out to be dead ends that really hurt people, why don’t open-minded people look for new solutions?” To this Rock said: “I don’t know what the hell is going on in this world. I’m not even sure I understand this question. But some days you just want to stop this planet and let me go.” Rock did not specify where he should be left, however.
Speaking from off this planet, what happened to the promotional trailer for “The End of Men” that accompanies this tweet from Nikki McCann Ramírez, Director of Associate Research at media affairs:
Just your typical montage of shirtless men doing push-ups, shooting bottles, milking a cow, wrestling, doing push-ups, lifting a tire, swinging an ax and drinking eggs, right? And, of course, a naked man with a red light glowing from his genitals. Didn’t the trailer budget include money for shirts?
The title “End of Men” appears to stem, at least in part, from Carlson’s claims that testosterone levels have dropped. Perhaps Carlson was referring to studies that showed that average testosterone levels among men in the US are not falling, but decreasing over the years. For example, a study published in the journal Focus on European Urology found that average testosterone levels among samples of male adolescents and young adults in the US were lower in 2011 to 2016 than 1999 to 2000.
Why could this be happening? The researchers postulated that factors such as increased prevalence of obesity and overweight, food additives and pollutants in the environment, as well as decreased physical activity, may have contributed to the decrease in average testosterone levels. More studies are needed to determine what might be happening. However, to date, no peer-reviewed studies published in reputable scientific journals have suggested that the lack of light in their balls played a role. After all, it’s not like pants and underwear were invented less than two decades ago.
Ultimately, where is the data to suggest that flashing a red light on your balls will have any benefit? Oh, and “testicular tanning” isn’t even a precise term. It would be like calling a day at the beach something like a gut tanning. Your testicles are inside your scrotum. If you can actually see your testicles, call your doctor right away. Therefore, a more appropriate term would be scrotal tanning.
Regardless, before trying to shine different types of light on your crotch, ask for real scientific evidence and talk to really reputable doctors first. There doesn’t seem to be enough evidence in the groin for using red light therapy in this way yet. After all, your balls are not disco balls. At least, they shouldn’t be.