It's not always played for comedy, but seeing someone get struck in the crotch is usually just plain funny. Whether the object doing the striking is an errant piece of sports equipment or a deliberately placed foot, the end result is going to be a grown man doubled over and trembling with pain. Bonus points if he then hobbles away and says something in a high-pitched voice. Not only will everyone find this hilarious, but tape it and play it back for the guy and even he will probably laugh. At least, once the swelling goes down. Sometimes a cause of Amusing Injuries, especially if the victim is asking for it. In shows targeted at children, it's often a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, or at least treated as one in-story (see 3 Ninjas and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie). In Japanese media, the blow is often accompanied by the sound of a bell.
Effectively, this is a human's version of Attack Its Weak Point For Massive Damage. A subversion of this is Balls of Steel, where a character — for whatever reason — does not take damage from a Groin Attack (or at least doesn't take extra damage).
For some reason, this usually only applies to men. Female characters are rarely subjected to groin attacks of any kind, and when they are they are also likely to just shrug off in a moment.note Female genitals also lack the squish factor that comes from swinging in the wind. On the symbolic level, a groin attack on a male — especially if it's delivered by a female — represents that male being brought low by the very source of his masculine pride.
In contrast to most groin attacks, groin attacks that draw blood or involve some form of mutilation are very likely not to be played for comedy — and owing to the Primal Fear of bad things happening to our nether regions, particularly nasty attacks of this nature can be downright disturbing. Apart from being a hallmark of the Lust variant of the Serial Killer, this form of attack is most often used as either a particularly vicious form of Cold-Blooded Torture or as a way for Antiheroes to punish rapists and other sexual criminals, though a particularly vicious Combat Pragmatist may also use this tactic as just one more way to even the score or gain the upper hand in a fight. It may still come off as funny, though, if the guy is perceived as having brought it upon himself, such as having his gun go off in his pants. See Crippling Castration for examples of groin attacks that lead to the unfortunate victim losing his organs/the ability to procreate.
Compare Freudian Threat. Also see Standard Female Grab Area (which is not the same area, instead the upper arm). Eye Scream, Fingore, and The Tooth Hurts are other primal fear reactions. The Distaff Counterpart to this trope is Breast Attack. Often utilized by a Combat Pragmatist, and commonly followed up by Instant Soprano and/or Share the Male Pain. Not an uncommon aftereffect of Tar and Feathers.
WARNING, Reading these may cause extreme paranoia about injury to the pubic area and wincing in sympathy pains. Yes, even if you're female. Also, this is never as funny in Real Life as it is on TV and can actually cause very nasty injuries, so unless you are in a real self-defense scenario, Don't Try This at Home.
Examples belong in subpages:
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Fiction
- Live-Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
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- Web Comics
- Web Original
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- Real Life
Played for Comedy
- In A Very Potter Musical, this is what happens to Snape during the snake attack death scene.
- URGGGH, my GROIN!