What is semen?
Semen, a whitish grey body fluid that is ejaculated/comes out from penis - the male reproductive organ and that contains sperm cells, which are capable of fertilising the female's eggs. It is also known as cum or ejaculate.
How does the body make and release it?
Semen is produced in glands inside the man’s pelvis and not in testicles. The testicles produce the sperm that are carried via the semen.
When a man orgasms after masturbation or sex, the white fluid called semen rushes through the tubes of his reproductive system and comes out of the opening in his penis in between about five and ten spurts. In some men it shoots out like a fountain, in others it just dribbles (the way it ejaculates or comes out doesn’t affect how likely they are to get a woman pregnant). Sometimes men ejaculate in their sleep – this is called having a wet dream.
Are semen and sperm the same thing?
No, semen and sperm are different terms. Sperm is a microscopic cell that is a part of the semen. Sperm is not visible to the naked eye and fertilises the egg inside a woman's body during sexual intercourse.
Whereas semen is a fluid which contains the sperm cells. It is white, yellow or slightly greyish in colour and viscous in consistency. It is released from the penis.
How does semen/sperm make a woman pregnant?
During vaginal penetrative sex (when the penis enters the vagina), a woman can get pregnant if the semen is ejaculated inside the vagina. (If you do not want pregnancy, use a condom!) Semen contains millions of sperms but only one sperm is needed for pregnancy.
Once the sperm enters the body through the vagina, it travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tubes, to meet one ovum or mature egg that has been released by the ovaries. Ovulation happens 12-16 days before a period starts, when the ovaries release one or more eggs .That is why, there are high chances of pregnancy when a female is ovulating or is about to ovulate.
Can you swallow it?
Semen is a body fluid so if a person has some sexually transmitted diseases and infection, it can also have the same infection, including HIV.
However, as long as both partners don’t have a history of STIs and are tested for it recently, do not have sex with multiple partners, and consent to it, drinking semen is not unsafe.
Apart from some protein, semen contains components such as zinc chloride, sodium citrate, lactic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium, besides hormones estrone, endorphins, prolactin, serotonin and oxytocin, which can actually be healthy if consumed.
Fun facts about semen and sperms
- Semen is nutrient rich! It not only contains the sperm cells responsible for reproduction but also, fructose,, amino acids, enzymes, citric acid, proteins, phosphorylcholine, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, nitrogen, and calcium!
- One ejaculate of semen is almost half a teaspoon, which contains about 200 million sperms!
- A male body is making approximately 1,500 sperm every second.
- Sperm can live for up to five days inside a vagina.
- Although women stop producing eggs after menopause, men continue creating sperm till their last breath.
- Some women are also allergic to semen. Yes, as odd as it may sound the allergic term is called “seminal plasma hypersensitivity”. Redness, swelling, itching, and burning in the vaginal area are some of its symptoms.
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