Dear Alice,

My partner seemed to pass urine while ejaculating. Is this normal and what would be the cause of it?

Dear Reader,

The male body has a system that keeps it from being able to ejaculate and urinate at the same time. During sexual arousal, muscles at the base of the bladder contract in order to close off the passageway from the bladder into the urethra, the tube through which urine and semen leave the body. This makes it impossible for urine to be released during ejaculation.

It is not likely that the fluid is urine, but it might be either pre-cum or ejaculate:

  • Pre-cum or pre-ejaculatory fluid: Shortly after a man gets an erection, a small amount of clear fluid is released from the tip of his penis. This fluid, called "pre-cum" or "pre-ejaculate," is produced in the Cowper's Glands. It is designed to clean out the urethra in order to prepare a pathway for the sperm before ejaculation (because urine is acidic and not a friendly environment for sperm to travel through). Pre-cum does not contain any sperm unless a man has not urinated since his last ejaculation. In this case, the pre-cum can push live sperm out of the urethra. Pre-cum can also contain agents that cause a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Ejaculate or semen: Semen comes in different consistencies, including thick and whitish, clear and watery, or a combination of the two. What may look like urine to you and your partner, therefore, may simply be his normal semen.

Of course there's always the health mantra of "When in doubt, check it out." It's a good idea to have annual health exams, so your partner may wish to see this as a good excuse to go in for a check-up. Questions your partner needs to think about and be prepared to answer during his appointment are:

  • Is this the way his semen has always looked, or has something changed?
  • Has there been any change in how his semen has smelled or tasted?
  • What makes him and/or you think it is urine?
  • How frequently does this happen?
  • Does it happen when he ejaculates by himself?

Your partner can speak with his health care provider who can check to see if what he is experiencing is normal, or whether he needs to get checked out by a specialist, called a "urologist." The provider may also take a swab of the fluid to identify its makeup. If your partner does not have a clinician he sees regularly, he can visit the closest Planned Parenthood health center and ask about the services they offer to men. Also, he can check with his local health department to learn which health clinic offers men's health services.

Alice!

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