man with the analysis of semen in his hands. Sperm donation at the clinic. men's seed,

Many people have asked whether swallowing semen or rubbing it on your body has any health benefits. Others are also concerned about the health implications of swallowing semen. Do you also know that semen is different from sperm?  Hence, in this article, I herein provide a scientific review of these important issues. 

 Mann, Thaddeus, (1908)-  explained that semen is a “viscous, creamy, slightly yellowish or greyish” substance made up of spermatozoa — that most people say sperm — and a fluid called seminal plasma.

This means that semen contains two separate components: the sperm and the fluid.

Sperm — about 1 to 5 percent of the semen — are the tadpole-like reproductive cells that contain half of the genetic information to create human offspring. The seminal plasma fluid, which is about 80 percent water, makes up the rest.

Semen, safe to ingest?

Studies attest that the components that makeup semen are safe to ingest by most people.  Also, the swallowed semen is digested in the same way as food. Though, some will experience some allergic reactions it is rare.  This is known as human seminal plasma hypersensitivity (HSP).

Is semen protein-rich?

Though, semen has a huge reputation as a rich source of protein, however, the content of the protein means that one has consumed gallons of semen to see any dietary health benefits. Also, the volume of semen ejaculate differs from person to person — depending on a variety of factors, such as age and health — protein is only a small part. It’s about one-twentieth of the entire fluid.

Are any other ingredients in semen?

Apart from the sperm, protein, and water, semen also contains a variety of other components, such as:

  • sugar, both fructose, and glucose
  • sodium
  • citrate
  • zinc
  • chloride
  • calcium
  • lactic acid
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • urea


Yes, but not as much as one would think. Also, sperm isn’t highly caloric.

Every teaspoon of ejaculate — the average amount of ejaculate produced at one time — is around five to seven calories, which is about the same as a stick of gum.

Semen, taste?

The taste depends on the individual semen. Hence, there is no universally accepted description.

it can taste bitter and salty, while for others, it can taste sugary sweet.

There is hearsay evidence from the women that what men eat could affect the taste of the semen as well when they swallowed. Some foods have been mentioned that could make semen taste more edible, or less acidic, such as:

  • celery
  • parsley
  • wheatgrass
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • pineapple
  • papaya
  • oranges

others also believed that these foods could make the semen bitter, as well as drug-like substances, such as:

  • garlic
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • leafy greens
  • asparagus
  • meat and dairy products
  • alcohol
  • cigarettes
  • coffee

Semen,  smell?

Jen Anderson(2019) explained that semen smell also depends on many factors such as diet, health, and hygiene. There are instances where smell can smell like bleach or other household cleaners. This has to do with its makeup of ingredients, to provide a pH level where the sperm can thrive.

Unlike the vagina, which naturally skews more acidic, semen tends to be neutral or slightly alkaline. It stays around 7.26 to 8.40 on the pH scale — which ranges from 0, highly acidic, to 14, highly alkaline. On the other hand, if semen smells musky or fishy, this could be due to outside factors. Like taste, a more putrid smell could be attributed to diet, in the same way, that asparagus affects the scent of urine. Sweat and dried pee can also make it smell bitter.

Semen swallowing, science

Semen improves mood

One study by Michael Castleman(2011) in Psychology Today explained that:

  • women whose vaginas were exposed to semen (i.e., ones who reported “never” using condoms) showed significantly better moods.
  • The positive effects of semen on mood include fewer bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • The effect of semen on mood could be advantageous for sexually active women over age 50 who are experiencing menopausal blues.

This means that there could be natural antidepressant properties in semen.

These may include:

  • endorphins
  • estrone
  • prolactin
  • oxytocin
  • thyrotropin-releasing hormone
  • serotonin

The study conducted by Gallup et al.(2002)  surveyed 293 college-age females to examine if exposure to semen, without the use of outside condoms worn on the penis, affected their overall mood.

The survey found those who were directly exposed to semen showed significantly better mood and fewer symptoms of depression. However, this is not promoting unhealthy sexual practices as condom use is still recommended to prevent sexually transmitted diseases amongst the unmarried.


Michael Castleman(2011) in Psychology Today also believed that semen on women could also have stress-relieving properties. This is a result of the mood-boosting properties of oxytocin and progesterone hormones, both of which are found in semen.

Also, it is believed that vitamin C and other antioxidants found in semen could reduce sperm impairment by fighting oxidative stress within the semen.

Improves Pregnancy health

The mood-lifting and anxiety-reducing benefits extend to pregnancy health. One case controlled-study by Einarsson et al.(2003) found that females who were exposed to sperm for longer periods, both before and during pregnancy, were less likely to develop preeclampsia, a rare pregnancy complication. Though this is one such study and more is needed.

Side Effect

Tirednesses after swallowing semen

There are instances where people get tied after swallowing semen. A study by Sharbatoghli et al.(2015) found that semen contains melatonin, the natural hormone the body releases to regulate sleep cycles. This could be the reason why some get exhausted after swallowing semen or being exposed to it during intercourse. Though more studies are needed in this area to explain in detail.

STI and Semen Swallowing

Swallowing semen like any other form of unprotected sex, can put you at risk for an STI.

Without a barrier birth control method, bacterial infections, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, can affect the throat. Skin-to-skin viral infections, like herpes, can result from contact.

Hence, it is prudent to know the person you engage in sexual intercourse with.


Though it is not common. Wesley Sublett and Jonathan A. Bernstein(2011) found about  40,000 female semen allergies in the United States.

Symptoms of a semen allergy usually show up 20 to 30 minutes after contact or ingestion and may include:

  • pain
  • itching
  • redness
  • swelling
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing

Semen, spit, or swallow?

Jen Anderson(2019) answers this: “Whether you choose to spit or swallow is entirely up to you and your personal preferences. Before making a decision, make sure that you have an open conversation with your partner about their STI status. This will help you evaluate the overall level of risk. In the end, you should only do what you’re comfortable with”.


Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public     about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.

The author is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare and President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation. E-mail:


  • Einarsson JI, Sangi-Haghpeykar H, Gardner MO. Sperm exposure and development of preeclampsia. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 May;188(5):1241-3. doi: 10.1067/mob.2003.401. PMID: 12748491.
  • Sharbatoghli M, Rezazadeh Valojerdi M, Bahadori MH, Salman Yazdi R, Ghaleno LR. The Relationship between Seminal Melatonin with Sperm Parameters, DNA Fragmentation and Nuclear Maturity in Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection Candidates. Cell J. 2015 Fall;17(3):547-53. doi: 10.22074/cellj.2015.15. Epub 2015 Oct 7. PMID: 26464827; PMCID: PMC4601876.
  • Jen Anderson(2019) 14 Things to Know About Swallowing Semen.