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They’re called ‘laptops’ for a reason, but sitting with one in the way nature (or at least laptop manufacturers) intended does pose a few problems — particularly for men.

It’s long been known that even a small increase in temperature ‘down there’ can have a detrimental affect on male fertility, but some recent research has clarified the risks for laptop users.

A study published this week (Protection from scrotal hyperthermia in laptop computer users), researchers found that heat generated by a laptop alone isn’t the main problem — it’s the sitting position people adopt when using one away from a desk.

According to the study, the legs-together sitting position most people adopt when using a laptop on the sofa, for example, can lead to a temperature increase in the scrotum of up to 2.5 degrees Centigrade over the course of one hour. Worse still, while using a laptop tray can help reduce heat transmission from the laptop itself, it does nothing to alter the seating position — or alleviate the heat problem.

It seems the only effective solution for men who like to use a laptop in this way is for them to spread their legs from time to time to circulate a little fresh air in the appropriate area.

It’s important to note that the study did only examine temperature increases arising from laptop use and not the effect on fertility — the research in that area appears to be thin on the ground. It’s also worth noting that the detrimental effects of overheated testes, or ‘scrotal hyperthermia’, is thought to be temporary rather than permanent, although the effects can take some months to subside.