Where does ballbusting come from?
The term ballbusting combines ball, an informal term referring to a man’s testicles, and busting, a synonym of breaking or rupturing. It may additionally allude to the idioms, busting one’s balls (to work extremely hard) and busting someone’s balls (to punish someone, to make matters very difficult for them, or to tease them).
In pornography, ballbusting is a subgenre of cock-and-ball torture (CBT) videos in which women—sometimes in the role of a BDSM dominatrix—kick, stomp on, or squeeze the scrotum or testicles of their male partner(s). In Japanese porn, ballbusting is known as tamakeri. This practice brings with it significant health risks for the male partner. Popularity of online videos and erotica tagged with the search-term ballbusting porn has risen significantly since the mid-2000s.
Perhaps nodding to the above idioms, the term also has a related figurative meaning that may have influenced the pornographic terminology. Figurative ballbusting refers to causing pain by insulting or teasing someone, usually a friend or significant other, or to an activity that induces emotional pain the same way the physical act does.
Ballbusting has also developed gendered connotations—since the 1940s, women and men alike have used ballbusting or ballbreaking metaphorically to refer to a woman putting a man in his place.
Who uses ballbusting?
The term ballbusting today is most often associated with pornography, specifically the CBT genre. Popular porn video and erotica websites devote categories to the genre.
Ballbusting has also come to be associated by some with a misandrist brand of feminism, which started in the 1970s. Women who do not identify as feminists or who do not connect with what they perceive as the “anti-man” brand of feminism use ballbusting to refer to women whom they believe call themselves feminists because they hate men (and not because they desire gender equality). The association likely comes from ballbusting’s connection to the image of the dominatrix from BDSM torture porn.
Damn. My Steelers lost today! Who want's a #ballbusting session for me to vent it out over!?!
@EnchantrixNadia, January 2018
On Girls, Bea Arthur played her character Dorothy as a version of her earlier Maude—brash, ballbusting, and levelheaded.
Andi Zeisler, Feminism and Pop Culture: Seal Studies, 2008
Even more irritating, to me, is Bowne's idea that feminists are seeking to get their equality by beating up boys. The image of the ball busting, steel toed boot wearing, man bashing feminist is nothing new. She thinks that feminists are promoting violence against boys and men as a way to get a leg up on society.
Ouyang Dan, Shakesville, March 2008