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How Many Nutrients Are in Semen?

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum on June 23, 2021

Semen is a complex substance created by the male reproductive organs. The fluid is made mostly of water, plasma, and mucus (a lubricating substance). It also contains 5 to 25 calories, and is made up of small amounts of essential nutrients including:

If you perform oral sex on a male, you’ll likely take in some semen, even if you spit most of it out. Even though it’s made of many essential nutrients that you need in your daily diet, it isn’t a good nutritional source due to the small amount of semen produced in one ejaculation. Taking it in also puts you at a greater risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.

Why Semen Contains Nutrients

In addition to nutrients, semen also contains sperm. Sperm are the cells that can fertilize a female’s eggs to create offspring. One ejaculation can contain 200,000,000 to 300,000,000 sperm. They need nutrients because they must travel a great distance and withstand the harsh environment of the vagina. The nutrients found in semen will keep the sperm alive and provide energy while they race to the egg. Their main energy source is fructose, a type of sugar.

Is it Safe to Swallow Semen?

‌The ingredients that make up semen are safe. Some people have had severe allergic reactions to it, but this is very rare. The biggest risk when swallowing semen is getting a sexually transmitted infection. You can easily contract herpes, syphilis, and gonorrhea from performing oral sex.

Studies have shown it’s more difficult to get the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from oral sex but not impossible. Semen is also known to carry the human papillomavirus (HPV). But HPV is undetectable in semen when tested. Some strains of this virus can cause throat cancer.

Preventing Problems From Swallowing Semen

‌Pay attention to the look and smell of your partner's semen. The color and smell of it will help you know if there is a problem. It should have a whitish to grayish color and faint to no smell. If the semen has a foul smell, there could be an infection or health problem.

Red-colored semen can indicate inflammation of the glands that produce it. Yellow or green semen can be caused by an infection, medication, or vitamins. Talk to your partner about any concerns you may have.

‌How semen tastes can also indicate if there’s a problem. What’s considered “healthy” tasting semen can be different from person to person. It has been described as tasting:

  • Bitter or salty because of its higher ph level
  • Sweet because it has fructose
  • Metallic because it contains many vitamins and minerals

‌The easiest way to prevent any health complications caused by swallowing semen is to not have oral sex. You can also put a condom over the penis to prevent the semen from being ejaculated into your mouth. Another method is to stop giving oral sex before ejaculation occurs and finish stimulating your partner with your hand. This method requires you to trust your partner to warn you before they ejaculate.

If you or your partner want you to swallow their semen, you can ask for proof of a recent STI screening. But keep in mind that HPV is undetectable in men. If you’re worried about a possible semen allergy, you can put a sample of your partner’s semen on your arm and watch for a reaction.

If you’ve been in contact with semen and have any concerns, you should talk to a healthcare professional right away.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Britannica: "Semen."

CDC: "STD risk and oral sex — CDC fact sheet."

Journal of Andrology: A Review of the Physical and Chemical Properties of Human Semen and the Formulation of a Semen Simulant."

Mayo Clinic: "Should I be Concerned About Discolored Semen?"

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