Specific behaviors involving a man’s ejaculated semen may be considered erotic to some, but unappealing to others. Such behaviors may include ejaculating onto a partner’s face during sex (a motif in pornography commonly referred to as a “facial”), or into a partner’s mouth. In the latter case, which may arise during fellatio if the penis is not withdrawn from the mouth at the point of orgasm, the giving partner may choose to spit the semen out, or to swallow it. The choice is ultimately a personal one, but with safe sex practices, communication with your partner, and experimentation, you may discover your own opinions about swallowing ejaculate.
Can I Really Swallow It?
Yes, but before you do, or before you engage in fellatio, we recommend that you and your partner both get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you or your partner have not been tested, we also recommend using barriers for oral sex and abstaining from making contact with ejaculate.
Semen is mostly water.(1) Semen also contains amino acids and protein, sugars such as fructose and glucose, minerals such as zinc and calcium, vitamin C, and a few other nutrients. (2) Sperm cells themselves make up less than one percent of semen* and are not present for men who have had a vasectomy. Semen is edible, and if swallowed, will travel down the esophagus and into the stomach, where it will be digested in the same way that food is.
Semen also contains more than 50 different compounds including hormones, endorphins, neurotransmitters and immunosuppressants. Other substances present in the semen include the following:
blood group antigens
What does It Taste Like?
The taste of semen may vary widely. Semen’s alkaline quality may give it a bitter taste. That it contains sugars such as fructose lends support to a sweet taste. (A high sugar content is also common to ejaculate produced by men with diabetes.8) That it contains zinc also supports claims to a metallic taste, while some people claim that semen tastes salty. Based on anecdotal evidence, one may expect to find the taste of semen anywhere from enjoyable to tasteless to disgusting. There’s really only one way to find out; men may also sample their own semen if they are curious!
The primary way of controlling the taste of semen is through diet. Recommendations may focus on certain foods, but the best way to optimize the taste is to experiment: Keep track of diet, and, if the man isn’t sampling his own semen, communicate with your partner about when it tastes better or worse.
Some recommendations for sweetening the taste of semen include eating or drinking things with high sugar content such as fruits – pineapple in particular, or fruit juices. Other suggestions for improving semen palatability include reducing meat consumption or ingesting cinnamon, lemon, or green tea. Some products and supplements are specifically marketed to improve the taste of semen when consumed, but as with all dietary recommendations listed here, your own experience may differ. Finally, one could also use a sweetened lubricant to try to mask the taste of the semen, or wear a flavored condom so there is no contact with the semen at all.
What about Volume and Consistency?
The average volume of semen produced at ejaculation is two to five milliliters.6 For reference, that’s roughly the volume of two to seven Skittles (about 1.5 and 5 ml respectively). Generally, the volume of ejaculate will increase with the time since last ejaculation (up to some maximum) and with proper hydration.
If it was recently ejaculated, you may expect semen to be a body-temperature, coagulated fluid, with the viscosity of a heavier grade, room-temperature motor oil and with the density of milk.
Does Swallowing Semen Really have Health Benefits?
Numerous sources claim that ingesting semen has health benefits, however most of these “benefits” come from myths and misinterpretations of scientific studies.
Some urban legends involving semen have claimed it as an effective teeth whitener (likely arising from the fact that semen contains relatively high levels of zinc), a good source of protein (at most 1/20th of ejaculate is protein by mass), or a healthy nutrition supplement. Semen does not whiten teeth, and unless consumed in copious amounts, it is unlikely that ingesting semen will have any effect on dietary health. For those concerned, a typical ejaculate will contain only one or two Calories* and less than half a gram of protein.2
One oft-cited study, conducted in 2002, suggested that semen may act as an anti-depressant when absorbed within the vagina,9 while others have linked seminal exposure to decreased risk of breast cancer10,11 and better health in general for heterosexual women.12 A hasty interpretation of these findings should be cautioned against:
These and many similar studies relied on statistical correlations between survey answers, using different methods of contraception as a proxy for semen exposure, and limited their analysis to heterosexual coitus. Alternative causal factors beyond the properties of semen itself have been proposed, as many women who do not use condoms during intercourse may be in more satisfying, long-term relationships, may use alternative contraception, or may receive more satisfying sexual stimulation and achieve better orgasms.12
In a Dutch study of women who engaged in oral sex and swallowed the semen, the researchers found that swallowing semen was associated with a lower risk of preeclampsia. One hypothesis for this is that substances in the semen adapt the mother’s immune system so that it accepts foreign proteins present in sperm, as well as in the placenta and fetus. This maintains the blood pressure at a low level and thereby reduces the preeclampsia risk.
Research has also shown that some women are infertile or miscarry due to the presence of antibodies that destroy the proteins or antigens present in their partner’s semen. Having oral sex and swallowing the semen of the partner may help make the pregnancy safer and more successful as the woman is swallowing her partner’s antigens.
In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, a protein in semen was found to act on the female brain to induce ovulation and that protein is the same molecule that controls the growth, maintenance and survival of neurons. The findings suggest that semen may work as a signalling hormone that acts via the hypothalamus and pituitary gland of the female brain, which triggers the release of other hormones involved in prompting ovulation.
Some studies have shown that semen extracted from bulls rejuvenates damaged hair. Semen has been found to contain many proteins that may well complement the protein present in hair molecules.
Possible disadvantages of consumption of semen
Semen can contain several viruses that may be transmitted via bodily fluids from an infected man. Some common examples of such sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), Hepatitis B and C, herpes, and Chlamydia. The risk of transmitting an STI through oral sex is higher if there is an open sore in the mouth or if a person has gingivitis and bleeding gums. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis B can also be transmitted through contact with infected semen if an open sore is present in the mouth.
Human papilloma virus
Human papilloma virus has emerged as a serious concern in relation to oral sex. This virus can cause cervical cancer, anal cancer and the development of other growths such as genital warts. In 2013, some research suggested the virus can cause lung cancer.
In 2010, a multinational review published in the British Medical Journal demonstrated that the incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is on the rise in Western countries and that this increase seems to be linked to HPV, particularly the HPV-16 strain. The article implied that HPV is spread through sex, but in particular, oral sex.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea
The transmission of Chlamydia and gonorrhoea through oral sex has also recently become a concern. In May 2011, a study of female commercial sex workers showed that one in 25 of the workers had Chlamydia in their throats. In addition, one in 50 of the sex workers had gonorrhoea in their throats.
References: www.soc.ucsb.sb.edu/ www.news-medical.net