Fourteen years ago, Nelly’s flirtatious, bodacious crew of backup singers famously complained: “I am gettin’ so hot, I wanna take my clothes off.” The concept behind the hit track “Hot In Herre,” which the tragically broke St. Lunatic is currently relying on to pay off his massive IRS debt, was simple: High temperatures lead to hot, sweaty sex. But would it be good sex?

Biologically speaking, probably not. For many species, humans included, there’s an optimal temperature for baby making. More often than not, that temperature is not a hot one.

Nellyville-era Nelly, then in his early twenties, was either too young and swaggy to consider that the primary goal of sex was to make babies or was so young and swaggy that he willfully exploited the human body’s sensitivity to temperature to avoid getting anyone pregnant. Either way, his get-laid-quick scheme — however successful — might have eventually taken a toll on his overheated balls and their sluggish sperm.

When you turn up the thermostat so high you have to take your clothes off off, your sperm will be pissed!
When you turn up the thermostat so high you have to take your clothes off off, your sperm will be pissed!

Let’s take a moment to consider the male anatomy: The testicles, in most males, are situated outside the body, hanging slightly below the core, where they can literally keep their chill. As the science blog Scicurious so succinctly put it in 2010, “your testes are besties at around 93 [degrees]” — about three degrees lower than the normal body temperature of 98.6. Sperm cells do their best swimming at lower temperatures, so it makes sense that the body has evolved to keep them at the same constant cool temperature at all costs. (Balls shrivel up when they’re too cold for similar reasons.)

This whole time, our boy has been turning up the thermostat, hoping it would encourage his paramours to strip off their Vokal tank tops, when really he was just endangering his own sperm. Nearly a decade later, hordes of males would follow suit, albeit with less intentionality than Nelly: Fears of too-hot laptops frying up sperm cells were confirmed by studies like this one published in Fertility and Sterility in 2012, which reported that the DNA of sperm was “largely impaired” when the balls that housed them got too hot.

Granted, Nelly would have had to turn the heat up extra-high to do any long-term damage — the body is generally really good at keeping its temperature constant — but artificially inducing sauna-like testicle conditions can’t have been great for his attempts at making babies.

Since Nelly eventually managed to have two children, it seems he eventually wised up when it came to balancing his sex life and penchant for sweltering heat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his financial skills, which have landed him $2,412,283 in debt. Help the poor guy out by listening to “Hot In Herre” on a streaming service that will support him; if he reaches 287,176,547 streams, maybe he’ll be able to turn up his A/C.