My boyfriend's semen is chunky – Is this normal?

(1) Dear Alice,

I tried looking for an answer to my question in the archives, but didn't find one. What I want to know is if it is normal that my boyfriend's semen has clumps (I don't know how else to describe it) in it? The semen has never been clumpy before, but the last time I gave him a blowjob, the semen had a chunky consistency to it. Should I be worried that this may be an STD, or is this kind of thing related to other things, and if so, what are they? Thanks.

A little worried.

(2) Dear Alice,

I just realized a few days ago that my sperm comes out in pieces. For example, they are as thick as small boiled rice pieces... is there a concern to worry?

Dear A little worried and Reader,

There's no need to stress — this phenomenon isn't as sticky as it might seem. Chunky or clumpy semen is normal and probably isn’t a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Semen (a.k.a. cum, ejaculate) can vary in texture, odor, color, and taste. While biology causes most differences among people with penises (PWP), factors such as temperature, physical activity, diet, and recent ejaculations also may have an effect. Semen can also change in consistency and appearance in the minutes after leaving the penis. A little worried and Reader, while natural differences do exist from person to person, if you notice other symptoms along with a change in the semen you may consider talking with a health care provider. For more information on what classifies as “healthy semen” and to know what to look out for, read on!

Healthy semen typically has a cloudy white or grayish appearance and will have a chlorine-like smell. It tastes slightly sweet due to high fructose content, but the flavor of semen may be dictated by a variety of factors and thus it can vary. Like breath and perspiration, each PWP has semen with a taste and smell of its own. Therefore, while there’s some suggestion that changes in diet can change the taste of semen, any modifications made may only have a limited effect.

In terms of consistency, right after ejaculation, semen is more likely to have a jelly-like texture. After ejaculation, proteins contained in semen can cause it to become thick, sticky, and clumpy. This consistency helps increase the chances for fertilization, since the semen is less likely quickly to come out if it sticks high in the vagina. It’s quite normal for semen to form jelly-like globules and this doesn’t indicate any health or fertility problems. Regarding any other changes you may notice, the amount of semen and the force at which it’s ejaculated tends to decrease with age. As PWPs age, their prostate and pelvic muscles also age, causing many to notice that they’re producing less semen.

In the event that a change in semen is accompanied by pain, fever, sexual dysfunction, blood in the urine or unusual discharge from the penis, or if changes persist for longer than a week or two — it may be time to talk with a health care provider or urologist. If semen is mixed with blood, it may be due to an infection, but it’s generally hard to tell. Assuming an infection is the culprit, the PWP may also experience other symptoms such as painful urination.

So, bottom line: having a variety of semen textures is normal and healthy! However, if you experience other symptoms it may be worth talking with your health care provider to rule out any health concerns. Otherwise, continue having a happy, healthy sex life!

Last updated Oct 07, 2016
Originally published Jan 30, 2004

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