14 Myths About Semen That Couldn’t Be More Wrong

If you’ve been sexually active for a while, you might think you know everything there is to know about semen. After all, you’ve seen enough penises (and maybe even tested them out) to last you a lifetime, so you’ve got a pretty good — ahem! — grasp on them, so to speak, right? Well, maybe not. These semen myths are often repeated, but they’re totally wrong.

  1. Semen is a protein powerhouse. One of the most common semen myths is that it’s packed with protein. Um, no. It does contain a bit of protein that gives sperm energy to swim, but it’s not going to benefit you. If you’re swallowing semen to get more protein in your diet, you’re wasting your time. You’d need to consume half a cup of semen to get the same protein as one egg white. Plus, the average guy will ejaculate about half a teaspoon to one whole teaspoon of semen, so good luck.
  2. If he ejaculates less, the sex wasn’t good. You might worry that he didn’t enjoy sex if his load was less, but that’s actually not the case. If he’s ejaculating less semen, it just means that he’s probably been jacking off a lot in his spare time. It literally has nothing to do with your sexual performance.
  3. If he has less semen, he can’t have kids. While we’re on the subject of the quantity of his load, it’s also good to know that the amount of semen he ejaculates doesn’t reveal his fertility. Men produce different amounts of semen, so shedding a smaller load, it doesn’t mean he’s less fertile.
  4. Food can change how semen tastes. This is another common myth, with guys reaching for pineapples and other healthy foods to make their semen taste better. However, there’s still no scientific evidence that foods can affect the taste of semen.
  5. Semen and sperm are the same thing. No, they’re actually different. Here’s a quick crash course. Semen is what gets produced by the penis during ejaculation. Sperm, on the other hand, is found in semen and fertilizes a woman’s egg during sex, causing pregnancy.
  6. Sperm can survive outside of the body. You might worry about that dried semen on your clothing and if it could make you pregnant. The good news is that semen and the sperm it contains dies very quickly once it’s out of the body.
  7. Semen is good for your skin. This is another one of those myths about semen your partner might tell you when he’s hoping to get oral sex, but semen isn’t really good for your skin. In fact, the small amount of protein found in semen could irritate the skin, causing itching and burning in some women. I don’t know about you, but using semen to moisturize your skin is just gross AF.
  8. Semen is safe to consume. Guys who love their own cum too much are fond of saying this, but it’s total bullsh*t. Not only can semen contain STIs but some women are allergic to it. Semen allergies are rare but they happen, and they’re really an allergic reaction to the proteins found in semen. Symptoms of a semen allergy include burning, itching, and redness that occur within half an hour of contact with semen. The only way to deal with it is not to come into contact with semen, so condoms need to be used religiously and facials avoided.
  9. If semen consistency changes, it’s always a sign of a health problem. This could be the case. For instance, if semen’s green or yellow, it can signal an STI. However, sometimes semen changes because of how hydrated a man is. The more water he consumes, the thinner his ejaculation will be.
  10. Semen is formed in the testicles. Yes, but not only there! Semen’s actually produced in three different places in the body: the prostate, which gives semen its nutrients and enzymes; the seminal vesicles, which produce sugar or fructose for semen; and the testicles which produce sperm.
  11. Semen doesn’t affect women’s fertility. You might think the only job of semen is to get sperm to fertilize eggs, but it can also affect a woman’s fertility. Scientists have found that proteins in semen trigger ovulation in women by sending hormonal signals to the female brain, which triggers other hormones and releases an egg from the ovaries.
  12. Semen can’t boost your mood. Research has found that semen can improve your mood because it contains endorphins, oxytocin, and other hormones that make you feel good. Studies have found that women whose vaginas were exposed to semen reported having better moods and less depression.
  13. Pre-cum is the same thing as semen. Nope, pre-ejaculate is actually made in a different part of the body: the Cowper’s gland. If a guy hasn’t ejaculated for a while, you might think there really shouldn’t be sperm in his pre-cum, but it can happen. In a study of 27 men, 41 percent of them had traces of semen in their pre-cum, and 10 of them had sperm in their pre-cum, too.
  14. Ejaculating isn’t a way for men to stay healthy. Sure, when guys say that they need sex otherwise they’ll die, they’re being drama queens. But maybe not. Studies have found that ejaculating has health benefits for men. For example, when semen’s released regularly, whether through sex or masturbation, it reduces a guy’s risk of prostate cancer.


Jessica Blake is a 5th grade teacher by day and writer at night. She is navigating the world one day at a time.