By Alice || Edited by Go Ask Alice Editorial Team || Last edited Mar 08, 2024
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Cite this Response

Alice! Health Promotion. "Are there any nutritional benefits to swallowing semen?." Go Ask Alice!, Columbia University, 08 Mar. 2024, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/are-there-any-nutritional-benefits-swallowing-semen. Accessed 24, May. 2024.

Alice! Health Promotion. (2024, March 08). Are there any nutritional benefits to swallowing semen?. Go Ask Alice!, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/are-there-any-nutritional-benefits-swallowing-semen.

Dear Alice,

I'm worried. What happens if you eat your own sperm?

Dear Alice,

Today a girlfriend and I were discussing the nutritional value of sperm. While performing oral sex, if you swallow, I was told that it is very high in protein. However, I was also informed that it is very high in calories. This may seem like a weird question, but I would like to know what nutritional benefits are involved when "swallowing" and how many approximate calories are in a man's ejaculation? Thank you for your help in this matter.

P

Dear Reader and P, 

Like most food and drinks, semen gets broken down in your body after it’s swallowed. The benefits and risks of swallowing semen are a bit mixed. For some people, it’s just like consuming any other food or drink. However, swallowing semen may have health risks related to allergies and sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission. While semen does have many nutrients, most aren’t large enough to have a notable effect. For a typical ejaculation, semen is low in protein and the calorie count hasn’t been confirmed. 

The nutritional value of semen depends on how much there is and what’s in it. A typical ejaculation of semen is 1.5 to 5 milliliters, with 20 to 150 million sperm per milliliter. Besides sperm, there’s also water, fructose, glucose, proteins, and minerals (like calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc). These all support sperm function. 

There hasn’t been a lot of research on semen’s nutritional value. However, using the components that make up semen, researchers have been able to make a few estimates. Some research has found that a 5-milliliter serving of semen has around 0.5 percent of your daily protein intake. It also contains less than 0.1 percent of your daily value of minerals like calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Surprisingly, it may have up to 7.5 percent of your daily value in zinc. 

That said, consuming semen does come with risks related to STIs. Having oral sex or swallowing other people’s semen can put you at risk for STI spread through sexual fluids or skin-to-skin contact. Swallowing your own semen is low-risk if you’re STI-free or have a STi that affects the whole body (such as HIV or syphilis). However, if you have a STI that only affects one part of the body (such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, trichomoniasis), swallowing your own semen may transfer your infection to another part of your body, like the mouth or throat. 

Additionally, you can be allergic to your own or others’ semen. Conditions like seminal plasma hypersensitivity and post-orgasmic illness syndrome are caused by allergies to the proteins in semen. This can lead to itchiness, hives, chest tightness, and dizziness. Semen can also carry food and drug allergens like nut proteins and penicillin and cause allergic reactions. 

Have fun and stay safe! 

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