Semen
Overview
Semen is an organic fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

, also known as seminal fluid, that may contain spermatozoa
Spermatozoon
A spermatozoon is a motile sperm cell, or moving form of the haploid cell that is the male gamete. A spermatozoon joins an ovum to form a zygote...

. It is secreted by the gonad
Gonad
The gonad is the organ that makes gametes. The gonads in males are the testes and the gonads in females are the ovaries. The product, gametes, are haploid germ cells. For example, spermatozoon and egg cells are gametes...

s (sexual glands) and other sexual organs of male
Male
Male refers to the biological sex of an organism, or part of an organism, which produces small mobile gametes, called spermatozoa. Each spermatozoon can fuse with a larger female gamete or ovum, in the process of fertilization...

 or hermaphroditic
Hermaphrodite
In biology, a hermaphrodite is an organism that has reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes.Many taxonomic groups of animals do not have separate sexes. In these groups, hermaphroditism is a normal condition, enabling a form of sexual reproduction in which both...

 animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s and can fertilize female
Female
Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces non-mobile ova .- Defining characteristics :The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by the male...

 ova
Ovum
An ovum is a haploid female reproductive cell or gamete. Both animals and embryophytes have ova. The term ovule is used for the young ovum of an animal, as well as the plant structure that carries the female gametophyte and egg cell and develops into a seed after fertilization...

. In humans, seminal fluid contains several components besides spermatozoa: proteolytic and other enzymes as well as fructose are elements of seminal fluid which promote the survival of spermatozoa and provide a medium through which they can move or "swim".

Semen is produced and originates from the seminal vesicle
Seminal vesicle
The seminal vesicles or vesicular glands are a pair of simple tubular glands posteroinferior to the urinary bladder of male mammals...

, which is located in the pelvis.
Encyclopedia
Semen is an organic fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

, also known as seminal fluid, that may contain spermatozoa
Spermatozoon
A spermatozoon is a motile sperm cell, or moving form of the haploid cell that is the male gamete. A spermatozoon joins an ovum to form a zygote...

. It is secreted by the gonad
Gonad
The gonad is the organ that makes gametes. The gonads in males are the testes and the gonads in females are the ovaries. The product, gametes, are haploid germ cells. For example, spermatozoon and egg cells are gametes...

s (sexual glands) and other sexual organs of male
Male
Male refers to the biological sex of an organism, or part of an organism, which produces small mobile gametes, called spermatozoa. Each spermatozoon can fuse with a larger female gamete or ovum, in the process of fertilization...

 or hermaphroditic
Hermaphrodite
In biology, a hermaphrodite is an organism that has reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes.Many taxonomic groups of animals do not have separate sexes. In these groups, hermaphroditism is a normal condition, enabling a form of sexual reproduction in which both...

 animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s and can fertilize female
Female
Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces non-mobile ova .- Defining characteristics :The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by the male...

 ova
Ovum
An ovum is a haploid female reproductive cell or gamete. Both animals and embryophytes have ova. The term ovule is used for the young ovum of an animal, as well as the plant structure that carries the female gametophyte and egg cell and develops into a seed after fertilization...

. In humans, seminal fluid contains several components besides spermatozoa: proteolytic and other enzymes as well as fructose are elements of seminal fluid which promote the survival of spermatozoa and provide a medium through which they can move or "swim".

Semen is produced and originates from the seminal vesicle
Seminal vesicle
The seminal vesicles or vesicular glands are a pair of simple tubular glands posteroinferior to the urinary bladder of male mammals...

, which is located in the pelvis. The process that results in the discharge of semen is called ejaculation
Ejaculation
Ejaculation is the ejecting of semen from the male reproductory tract, and is usually accompanied by orgasm. It is usually the final stage and natural objective of male sexual stimulation, and an essential component of natural conception. In rare cases ejaculation occurs because of prostatic disease...

.

Internal and external fertilization

Depending on the species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, spermatozoa can fertilize ova externally or internally. In external fertilization
External fertilization
External fertilization is a form of fertilization in which a sperm cell is united with an egg cell external to the bodies of the reproducing individuals. In contrast, internal fertilization takes place inside the female after insemination through copulation....

, the spermatozoa fertilize the ova directly, outside of the female's sexual organs. Female fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, for example, spawn
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 ova into their aquatic environment, where they are fertilized by the semen of the male fish.

During internal fertilization
Internal fertilization
In mammals, internal fertilization is done through copulation, which involves the insertion of the penis into the vagina. Some other higher vertebrate animals reproduce internally, but their fertilization is cloacal.The union of spermatozoa of the parent organism. At some point, the growing egg or...

, however, fertilization occurs inside the female's sexual organs. Internal fertilization takes place after insemination
Insemination
Insemination is the deliberate introduction of sperm into the uterus of a mammal or the oviduct of an oviparous animal for the objective of impregnating a female for reproduction...

 of a female by a male through copulation. In low vertebrate
Vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

s (amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s, reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s, bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s and monotreme
Monotreme
Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young like marsupials and placental mammals...

 mammals), copulation is achieved through the physical mating of the cloaca
Cloaca
In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species...

 of the male and female. In marsupial
Marsupial
Marsupials are an infraclass of mammals, characterized by giving birth to relatively undeveloped young. Close to 70% of the 334 extant species occur in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, with the remaining 100 found in the Americas, primarily in South America, but with thirteen in Central...

 and placental mammals, copulation occurs through the vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

.

Composition of human semen

During the process of ejaculation
Ejaculation
Ejaculation is the ejecting of semen from the male reproductory tract, and is usually accompanied by orgasm. It is usually the final stage and natural objective of male sexual stimulation, and an essential component of natural conception. In rare cases ejaculation occurs because of prostatic disease...

, sperm
Sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

 passes through the ejaculatory duct
Ejaculatory duct
-Anatomy:The ejaculatory ducts are paired structures in male anatomy. Each ejaculatory duct is formed by the union of the vas deferens with the duct of the seminal vesicle. They pass through the prostate, and open into the urethra at the Colliculus seminalis...

s and mixes with fluids from the seminal vesicle
Seminal vesicle
The seminal vesicles or vesicular glands are a pair of simple tubular glands posteroinferior to the urinary bladder of male mammals...

s, the prostate
Prostate
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals....

, and the bulbourethral gland
Bulbourethral gland
A bulbourethral gland, also called a Cowper's gland for anatomist William Cowper, is one of two small exocrine glands present in the reproductive system of human males...

s to form the semen. The seminal vesicles produce a yellowish viscous fluid rich in fructose and other substances that makes up about 70% of human semen. The prostatic secretion, influenced by dihydrotestosterone, is a whitish (sometimes clear), thin fluid containing proteolytic enzymes, citric acid, acid phosphatase and lipids. The bulbourethral glands secrete a clear secretion into the lumen of the urethra
Urethra
In anatomy, the urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals for the removal of fluids out of the body. In males, the urethra travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine...

 to lubricate it.

Sertoli cell
Sertoli cell
A Sertoli cell is a 'nurse' cell of the testes that is part of a seminiferous tubule.It is activated by follicle-stimulating hormone and has FSH-receptor on its membranes.-Functions:...

s, which nurture and support developing spermatocyte
Spermatocyte
A spermatocyte is a male gametocyte, derived from a spermatogonium, which is in the developmental stage of spermatogenesis during which meiosis occurs. It is located in the seminiferous tubules of the testis.-Spermatogenesis:...

s, secrete a fluid into seminiferous tubules that helps transport sperm to the genital ducts. The ductuli efferentes possess cuboidal cells with microvilli
Microvillus
Microvilli are microscopic cellular membrane protrusions that increase the surface area of cells, and are involved in a wide variety of functions, including absorption, secretion, cellular adhesion, and mechanotransduction....

 and lysosomal
Lysosome
thumb|350px|Schematic of typical animal cell, showing subcellular components. [[Organelle]]s: [[nucleoli]] [[cell nucleus|nucleus]] [[ribosomes]] [[vesicle |vesicle]] rough [[endoplasmic reticulum]]...

 granules that modify the semen by reabsorbing some fluid. Once the semen enters the ductus epididymis the principle cells, which contain pinocytotic vessels indicating fluid reabsorption, secrete glycerophosphocholine which most likely inhibits premature capacitation
Capacitation
Capacitation is the penultimate step in the maturation of mammalian spermatozoa and is required to render them competent to fertilize an oocyte.This step is a biochemical event; the sperm move normally and look mature prior to capacitation....

. The accessory genital ducts, the seminal vesicle
Seminal vesicle
The seminal vesicles or vesicular glands are a pair of simple tubular glands posteroinferior to the urinary bladder of male mammals...

, prostate glands, and the bulbourethral gland
Bulbourethral gland
A bulbourethral gland, also called a Cowper's gland for anatomist William Cowper, is one of two small exocrine glands present in the reproductive system of human males...

s, produce most of the seminal fluid.

Seminal plasma of humans contains a complex range of organic
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 and inorganic constituents.

The seminal plasma provides a nutritive and protective medium for the spermatozoa during their journey through the female reproductive tract. The normal environment of the vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

 is a hostile one for sperm
Sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

 cells, as it is very acidic (from the native microflora producing lactic acid
Lactic acid
Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes and was first isolated in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Lactic acid is a carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C3H6O3...

), viscous, and patrolled by immune cells. The components in the seminal plasma attempt to compensate for this hostile environment. Basic amines such as putrescine
Putrescine
Putrescine is a foul-smelling organic chemical compound NH24NH2 that is related to cadaverine; both are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in living and dead organisms and both are toxic in large doses...

, spermine
Spermine
Spermine is a polyamine involved in cellular metabolism found in all eukaryotic cells. Formed from spermidine, it is found in a wide variety of organisms and tissues and is an essential growth factor in some bacteria. It is found as a polycation at physiological pH...

, spermidine
Spermidine
Spermidine is a polyamine involved in cellular metabolism. Its known actions include:#Inhibition of neuronal nitric oxide synthase, nNOS#Assisting the in vitro process of transcribing RNA via stimulation of T4 polynucleotide kinase and T7 RNA polymerase activity; it binds to and precipitates DNA...

 and cadaverine
Cadaverine
Cadaverine is a foul-smelling compound produced by protein hydrolysis during putrefaction of animal tissue. Cadaverine is a toxic diamine with the formula NH25NH2, which is similar to putrescine...

 are responsible for the smell and flavor of semen. These alkaline bases counteract the acidic environment of the vaginal canal, and protect DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 inside the sperm
Sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

 from acidic denaturation.

The components and contributions of semen are as follows:
Gland Approximate % Description
>-
| testes 
2–5% sperm or spermatozoans), produced in the testes, are released per ejaculation. If a man has undergone a vasectomy, he will have no sperm in the ejaculation.
>-
| seminal vesicle
Seminal vesicle
The seminal vesicles or vesicular glands are a pair of simple tubular glands posteroinferior to the urinary bladder of male mammals...

 
65–75% citrate
Citrate
A citrate can refer either to the conjugate base of citric acid, , or to the esters of citric acid. An example of the former, a salt is trisodium citrate; an ester is triethyl citrate.-Other citric acid ions:...

, enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s, flavins, fructose
Fructose
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose was discovered by French chemist Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut in 1847...

 (2-5 mg per mL semen, the main energy source of sperm cells, which rely entirely on sugars from the seminal plasma for energy), phosphorylcholine
Phosphorylcholine
Phosphorylcholine is a zwitterionic phospholipid found on the outer surface of red blood cell membranes. It is created by CD5+/B-1 B cells and is referred to as a non-pathogenic autoantibody.-Thrombus Resistant Stents:...

, prostaglandin
Prostaglandin
A prostaglandin is any member of a group of lipid compounds that are derived enzymatically from fatty acids and have important functions in the animal body. Every prostaglandin contains 20 carbon atoms, including a 5-carbon ring....

s (involved in suppressing an immune response by the female against the foreign semen), protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s, vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...


>-
| prostate
Prostate
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals....

 
25–30% acid phosphatase
Acid phosphatase
Acid phosphatase is a phosphatase, a type of enzyme, used to free attached phosphate groups from other molecules during digestion. It is basically a phosphomonoesterase...

, citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

, fibrinolysin
Fibrinolysin
Fibrinolysin is an enzyme derived from plasma of bovine origin or extracted from cultures of certain bacteria. It is used locally only and exclusively together with the enzyme desoxyribonuclease . Fibrinolysin and desoxyribonuclease both act as lytic enzymes...

, prostate specific antigen
Prostate specific antigen
Prostate-specific antigen also known as gamma-seminoprotein or kallikrein-3 is a glycoprotein that in humans is encoded by the KLK3 gene. KLK3 is a member of the kallikrein-related peptidase family that are secreted by the epithelial cells of the prostate gland...

, proteolytic enzymes, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 (the zinc level is about 135±40 micrograms/ml for healthy men. Zinc serves to help to stabilize the DNA-containing chromatin
Chromatin
Chromatin is the combination of DNA and proteins that make up the contents of the nucleus of a cell. The primary functions of chromatin are; to package DNA into a smaller volume to fit in the cell, to strengthen the DNA to allow mitosis and meiosis and prevent DNA damage, and to control gene...

 in the sperm cells. A zinc deficiency may result in lowered fertility because of increased sperm fragility. Zinc deficiency can also adversely affect spermatogenesis
Spermatogenesis
Spermatogenesis is the process by which male primary germ cells undergo division, and produce a number of cells termed spermatogonia, from which the primary spermatocytes are derived. Each primary spermatocyte divides into two secondary spermatocytes, and each secondary spermatocyte into two...

.)
>-
| bulbourethral glands 
< 1% galactose
Galactose
Galactose , sometimes abbreviated Gal, is a type of sugar that is less sweet than glucose. It is a C-4 epimer of glucose....

, mucus
Mucus
In vertebrates, mucus is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which...

 (serve to increase the mobility of sperm cells in the vagina and cervix by creating a less viscous channel for the sperm cells to swim through, and preventing their diffusion out of the semen. Contributes to the cohesive jelly-like texture of semen.), pre-ejaculate
Pre-ejaculate
Pre-ejaculate is the clear, colorless, viscous fluid that emits from the urethra of a man's penis when he is sexually aroused. It is similar in composition to semen, but has some significant chemical differences...

, sialic acid
Sialic acid
Sialic acid is a generic term for the N- or O-substituted derivatives of neuraminic acid, a monosaccharide with a nine-carbon backbone. It is also the name for the most common member of this group, N-acetylneuraminic acid...


A 1992 World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 report described normal human semen as having a volume of 2 ml or greater, pH of 7.2 to 8.0, sperm concentration of 20×106 spermatozoa/ml or more, sperm count of 40×106 spermatozoa per ejaculate or more, and motility of 50% or more with forward progression (categories a and b) of 25% or more with rapid progression (category a) within 60 minutes of ejaculation.

Appearance and consistency of human semen

Semen is typically translucent with white, grey or even yellowish tint. Blood in the semen can cause a pink or reddish colour, known as hematospermia
Hematospermia
Hematospermia , ' or the presence of blood in semen, is most often a benign and idiopathic symptom, but can sometimes result from medical problems such as a urethral stricture, infection of the prostate, or a congenital bleeding disorder, and can occur transiently after surgical procedures such as...

, and may indicate a medical problem which should be evaluated by a doctor if the symptom persists.

After ejaculation, the latter part of the ejaculated semen coagulates
Coagulation
Coagulation is a complex process by which blood forms clots. It is an important part of hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a damaged vessel, wherein a damaged blood vessel wall is covered by a platelet and fibrin-containing clot to stop bleeding and begin repair of the damaged vessel...

 immediately, forming globules, while the earlier part of the ejaculate typically does not. After a period typically ranging from 15 – 30 minutes, Prostate-specific antigen present in the semen causes the decoagulation of the seminal coagulum. It is postulated that the initial clotting helps keep the semen in the vagina, while liquefaction
Liquification
In physics, to liquefy means to turn something into the liquid state.-In Geology:In geology, liquefaction refers to the process by which saturated, unconsolidated sediments are transformed into a substance that acts like a liquid.Earthquakes can cause soil liquefaction where loosely packed,...

 frees the sperm to make their journey to the ova.

Semen quality

Semen quality is a measure of the ability of semen to accomplish fertilization. Thus, it is a measure of fertility in a man. It is the sperm in the semen that is the fertile component, and therefore semen quality involves both sperm quantity and sperm quality.

Semen storage

Semen can be stored in diluents such has the Illini Variable Temperature (IVT) diluent, which have been reported to be able to preserve high fertility of semen for over seven days. The IVT douent is composed of several salts, sugars and antibacterial agents and gassed with CO2
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

.

Semen cryopreservation
Semen cryopreservation
Semen cryopreservation is a procedure to preserve sperm cells. Semen can be used successfully indefinitely after cryopreservation. For human sperm, the longest reported successful storage is 21 years...

 can be used for far longer storage durations. For human sperm, the longest reported successful storage with this method is 21 years.

Health effects

In addition to its central role in reproduction, some studies have made claims that semen may have certain beneficial effects on human health:
  • Antidepressant
    Antidepressant
    An antidepressant is a psychiatric medication used to alleviate mood disorders, such as major depression and dysthymia and anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder. According to Gelder, Mayou &*Geddes people with a depressive illness will experience a therapeutic effect to their mood;...

    : One study suggested that vaginal absorption of semen could act as an antidepressant in women; the study compared two groups of women, one of which used condoms and the other did not.
  • Cancer prevention: Studies suggested that seminal plasma might reduce breast cancer
    Breast cancer
    Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

     by "not less than 50 percent." This effect is attributed to its glycoprotein
    Glycoprotein
    Glycoproteins are proteins that contain oligosaccharide chains covalently attached to polypeptide side-chains. The carbohydrate is attached to the protein in a cotranslational or posttranslational modification. This process is known as glycosylation. In proteins that have segments extending...

     and selenium
    Selenium
    Selenium is a chemical element with atomic number 34, chemical symbol Se, and an atomic mass of 78.96. It is a nonmetal, whose properties are intermediate between those of adjacent chalcogen elements sulfur and tellurium...

     content, with apoptosis
    Apoptosis
    Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death that may occur in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes and death. These changes include blebbing, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and chromosomal DNA fragmentation...

     being induced by TGF-Beta. A related urban legend
    Urban legend
    An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

     parodied these findings and claimed that performing fellatio at least three times a week reduced the risk of breast cancer.
  • Preeclampsia prevention: It has been hypothesized that substances in semen condition a mother's immune system
    Immune system
    An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

     to accept the "foreign" proteins found in sperm as well as the resulting fetus and placenta, keeping blood pressure
    Blood pressure
    Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. When used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the arterial pressure of the systemic circulation. During each heartbeat, BP varies...

     low and thereby reducing the risk of preeclampsia. A study shows that oral sex and swallowing sperm may help make a woman's pregnancy
    Pregnancy
    Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

     safer and more successful, because she is absorbing her partner's antigens.


Other studies claim adversarial effects:
  • Cancer worsening: seminal plasma has prostaglandin
    Prostaglandin
    A prostaglandin is any member of a group of lipid compounds that are derived enzymatically from fatty acids and have important functions in the animal body. Every prostaglandin contains 20 carbon atoms, including a 5-carbon ring....

     elements that could accelerate the development of an already existing cervical cancer
    Cervical cancer
    Cervical cancer is malignant neoplasm of the cervix uteri or cervical area. One of the most common symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding, but in some cases there may be no obvious symptoms until the cancer is in its advanced stages...

    .

Semen and transmission of disease

Semen can be the vehicle for many sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, the virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

 that causes AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

.

Further research, such as that by Mathur and Goust, demonstrated that non-preexisting antibodies were produced in humans in response to the sperm. These antibodies mistakenly recognized native T lymphocytes as foreign antigens, and consequently T lymphocytes would fall under attack by the body's B lymphocytes.

Semen contains proteins with potent bactericidal activity but these proteins are not active against Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Neisseria gonorrhoeae, also known as gonococci , or gonococcus , is a species of Gram-negative coffee bean-shaped diplococci bacteria responsible for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea.N...

, a common cause of sexually transmitted disease.

Blood in the semen (hematospermia)

The presence of blood in semen or hematospermia
Hematospermia
Hematospermia , ' or the presence of blood in semen, is most often a benign and idiopathic symptom, but can sometimes result from medical problems such as a urethral stricture, infection of the prostate, or a congenital bleeding disorder, and can occur transiently after surgical procedures such as...

 may be undetectable (it only can be seen microscopically) or visible in the fluid. Its cause could be the result of inflammation
Inflammation
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process...

, infection
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

, blockage, or injury of the male reproductive tract or a problem within the urethra
Urethra
In anatomy, the urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals for the removal of fluids out of the body. In males, the urethra travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine...

, testicles, epididymis
Epididymis
The epididymis is part of the male reproductive system and is present in all male amniotes. It is a narrow, tightly-coiled tube connecting the efferent ducts from the rear of each testicle to its vas deferens. A similar, but probably non-homologous, structure is found in cartilaginous...

 or prostate
Prostate
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals....

.

It usually clears up without treatment, or with antibiotics, but if persistent further semen analysis
Semen analysis
A semen analysis evaluates certain characteristics of a male's semen and the sperm contained in the semen. It may be done while investigating a couple's infertility or after a vasectomy to verify that the procedure was successful. It is also used for testing donors for sperm donation, in stud...

 and other urogenital system tests might be needed to find out the cause.

Semen allergy

In rare cases, people have been known to experience allergic reactions to seminal fluids, known as human seminal plasma hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity refers to undesirable reactions produced by the normal immune system, including allergies and autoimmunity. These reactions may be damaging, uncomfortable, or occasionally fatal. Hypersensitivity reactions require a pre-sensitized state of the host. The four-group classification...

. Symptoms can be either localized or systemic, and may include vaginal itching, redness, swelling, or blisters within 30 minutes of contact. They may also include generalized itching, hives, and even difficulty breathing.

One way to test for human seminal plasma sensitivity is to use a condom
Condom
A condom is a barrier device most commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases . It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner...

 during intercourse. If symptoms dissipate with the use of a condom, it is possible that a sensitivity to semen is present. Mild cases of semen allergy
Allergy
An Allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid...

 can often be overcome by repeated exposure to seminal fluid. In more severe cases, it is important to seek the advice of a physician, particularly in the event that a couple is trying to conceive, in which case, artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

 may be indicated.

Scientists at Utrecht University studied the condition whereby some men "get flu-like symptoms such as feverishness, runny nose, extreme fatigue and burning eyes immediately after they ejaculate. Symptoms can last for up to week." This condition is termed post orgasmic illness syndrome or POIS, and it was discovered that this stemmed from an allergy to their own semen, its effects could be cured using hyposensitization therapy or allergen immunotherapy.

Psychological aspects

A recent study has suggested that semen acts as an antidepressant
Antidepressant
An antidepressant is a psychiatric medication used to alleviate mood disorders, such as major depression and dysthymia and anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder. According to Gelder, Mayou &*Geddes people with a depressive illness will experience a therapeutic effect to their mood;...

 in women, so that women physically exposed to semen are less likely to suffer from depression. It is thought that the psychological effects of semen are a result of its complex chemical make-up including several mood-altering hormones (testosterone
Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands...

, oestrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone
Hormone
A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one...

, luteinizing hormone, prolactin and several different prostaglandins). In a scientific survey of 293 college women it was also found that those who did not use condom
Condom
A condom is a barrier device most commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases . It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner...

s were most likely to initiate sex and to seek out new partners as soon as a relationship ended, suggesting that the chemical dependency to semen creates a "rebound effect
Rebound effect
The rebound effect, or rebound phenomenon, is the tendency of some medications, when discontinued suddenly, to cause a return of the symptoms it relieved, and that, to a degree stronger than they were before treatment first began...

". The effect of semen on a male sexual partner (as the receiver of semen) is not known.

Qigong

Qigong
Qigong
Qigong or chi kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation...

 and Chinese medicine place huge emphasis on a form of energy called 精 (pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

: jīng, also a morpheme denoting "essence" or "spirit") – which one attempts to develop and accumulate. "Jing" is sexual energy and is considered to dissipate with ejaculation so masturbation
Masturbation
Masturbation refers to sexual stimulation of a person's own genitals, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation can be performed manually, by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods. Masturbation is a common form of autoeroticism...

 is considered "energy suicide" amongst those who practice this art. According to Qigong theory, energy from many pathways/meridians becomes diverted and transfers itself to the sexual organs during sexual excitement. The ensuing orgasm and ejaculation will then finally expel the energy from the system completely. The Chinese proverb 一滴精,十滴血 (pinyin: yì dī jīng, shí dī xuè, literally: a drop of semen is equal to ten drops of blood) illustrates this point.

The scientific term for semen in Chinese is 精液 (pinyin: jīng yè, literally: fluid of essence/jing) and the term for sperm
Spermatozoon
A spermatozoon is a motile sperm cell, or moving form of the haploid cell that is the male gamete. A spermatozoon joins an ovum to form a zygote...

 is 精子 (pinyin: jīng zǐ, literally: basic element of essence/jing), two modern terms with classical referents.

Greek philosophy

In Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 remarked on the importance of semen: "For Aristotle, semen is the residue derived from nourishment, that is of blood, that has been highly concocted to the optimum temperature and substance. This can only be emitted by the male as only the male, by nature of his very being, has the requisite heat to concoct blood into semen." According to Aristotle, there is a direct connection between food and semen: "Sperms are the excretion of our food, or to put it more clearly, as the most perfect component of our food."

The connection between food and physical growth, on the one hand, and semen, on the other, allows Aristotle to warn against "engag[ing] in sexual activity at too early an age ... [since] this will affect the growth of their bodies. Nourishment that would otherwise make the body grow is diverted to the production of semen.... Aristotle is saying that at this stage the body is still growing; it is best for sexual activity to begin when its growth is 'no longer abundant', for when the body is more or less at full height, the transformation of nourishment into semen does not drain the body of needed material."

Additionally, "Aristotle tells us that the region round the eyes was the region of the head most fruitful of seed ("most seedy" σπερματικώτατος), pointing to generally recognised effects upon the eyes of sexual indulgence and to practices which imply that seed comes from liquid in the region of the eyes." This may be explained by the belief of the Pythagoreans that "semen is a drop of the brain [τὸ δε σπέρμα εἶναι σταγόνα ἐγκέφαλου]."

Greek Stoic
STOIC
STOIC was a variant of Forth.It started out at the MIT and Harvard Biomedical Engineering Centre in Boston, and was written in the mid 1970s by Jonathan Sachs...

 philosophy conceived of the Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 spermatikos
("seminal word") as the principle of active reason that fecundated passive matter
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

. The Jewish philosopher Philo
Philo
Philo , known also as Philo of Alexandria , Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew, was a Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria....

 similarly spoke in sexual terms of the Logos as the masculine principle of reason that sowed seeds of virtue in the feminine soul.

The Christian Platonist Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

 likened the Logos to physical blood as the "substance of the soul," and noted that some held "that the animal semen is substantially foam of its blood". Clement reflected an early Christian view that "the seed ought not be wasted nor scattered thoughtlessly nor sown in a way it cannot grow."

Sacred semen

In some pre-industrial societies, semen and other body fluids were revered because they were believed to be magical. Blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

 is an example of such a fluid, but semen was also widely believed to be of supernatural origin and effect and was, as a result, considered holy or sacred.

Semen is currently and has long been revered by Buddhist and Daoist traditions as a very important constituent of human physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

.

Dew
Dew
[Image:Dew on a flower.jpg|right|220px|thumb|Some dew on an iris in Sequoia National Park]]Dew is water in the form of droplets that appears on thin, exposed objects in the morning or evening...

 was once thought to be a sort of rain that fertilized the earth and, in time, became a metaphor for semen. The Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 employs the term “dew” in this sense in such verses as Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

 5:2 and Psalm 110:3, declaring, in the latter verse, for example, that the people should follow only a king who was virile enough to be full of the “dew” of youth.

It was widely believed, in ancient times, that gemstones were drops of divine semen which had coagulated after having fertilized the earth. There is an ancient Chinese belief that jade
Jade
Jade is an ornamental stone.The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:...

, in particular, was the dried semen of the celestial dragon.

Based upon the resemblance of dandelion juice to human semen, it was historically believed that the flower magically promoted the flow of sperm. (This belief probably derives from the doctrine of signatures
Doctrine of signatures
The doctrine of signatures is a philosophy shared by herbalists from the time of Dioscurides and Galen. This doctrine states that herbs that resemble various parts of the body can be used to treat ailments of that part of the body. Examples include the plants liverwort; snakeroot, an antidote for...

.)

The orchid’s twin bulbs were thought to resemble the testicles, and there was an ancient Roman belief that the flower sprang from the spilled semen of copulating satyr
Satyr
In Greek mythology, satyrs are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus — "satyresses" were a late invention of poets — that roamed the woods and mountains. In myths they are often associated with pipe-playing....

s.

Barbara G. Walker recounts these examples of sacred semen in The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, the thesis of which is that myth and folklore show a pre-patriarchic rule by women that was later supplanted by masculine culture.

In primitive mythology around the world, semen is very often considered analogous to breast milk in some way. In the traditions of Bali, it is considered to be the returning or refunding of the milk of the mother in an alimentary metaphor. The wife feeds her husband who returns to her his semen, the milk of human kindness, as it were.

In some systems of medical philosophy, such as traditional Russian medicine and the Vital Force theory of Herbert Nowell
Herbert Nowell
Herbert Nowell, M.D. was a Canadian physician and professor. He is most noted for his philosophy of medicine , his defence of herbalism as a valid medical profession, and his role in the founding of Dominion Herbal College in 1926 out of concern regarding the abandonment of botanical medicine by...

, semen is regarded as the product of a complex physiological interaction between a man and a woman (rather than merely the product of the male reproductive system).

Semen in espionage

When the British Secret Intelligence Service
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

 discovered that semen made a good invisible ink
Invisible ink
Invisible ink, also known as security ink, is a substance used for writing, which is invisible either on application or soon thereafter, and which later on can be made visible by some means. Invisible ink is one form of steganography, and it has been used in espionage...

, Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming
Mansfield Smith-Cumming
Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming, KCMG, CB was the first director of what would become the Secret Intelligence Service , also known as MI6...

 noted of his agents that "Every man (is) his own stylo
Stylus
A stylus is a writing utensil, or a small tool for some other form of marking or shaping, for example in pottery. The word is also used for a computer accessory . It usually refers to a narrow elongated staff, similar to a modern ballpoint pen. Many styli are heavily curved to be held more easily...

".

Semen ingestion

Some reasons for human ingestion of human or other semen are erotic gratification and physical and spiritual benefits.

Nutritional value

Semen is primarily water, but contains trace amounts of almost every nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

 the human body uses. It has somewhat higher amounts of commonly deficient minerals, such as potassium, magnesium
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

, and selenium. One typical ejaculation
Ejaculation
Ejaculation is the ejecting of semen from the male reproductory tract, and is usually accompanied by orgasm. It is usually the final stage and natural objective of male sexual stimulation, and an essential component of natural conception. In rare cases ejaculation occurs because of prostatic disease...

 contains 150 mg of protein, 11 mg of carbohydrates, 6 mg fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 7% US RDA potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 and 3% US RDA copper and zinc. When metabolized, protein yields 4 kcal/g, carbohydrate also yields 4 kcal/g, and fat yields 9 kcal/g. Hence the food energy
Food energy
Food energy is the amount of energy obtained from food that is available through cellular respiration.Food energy is expressed in food calories or kilojoules...

 in the typical ejaculation is 0.7 kcal (2.9 kJ).

Health risks

There is no risk in ingesting the semen of a healthy man. Swallowing semen carries no additional risk other than those inherent in fellatio
Fellatio
Fellatio is an act of oral stimulation of a male's penis by a sexual partner. It involves the stimulation of the penis by the use of the mouth, tongue, or throat. The person who performs fellatio can be referred to as the giving partner, and the other person is the receiving partner...

. Fellatio does carry some transmission risk for sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s such as HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

 or herpes, especially for people with bleeding gums, gingivitis or open sores.

Even if semen is cold before the individual ingests it, viruses can stay active for a long period of time once outside the body.

Research has suggested that performing unprotected oral sex on a person infected with human papillomavirus
Human papillomavirus
Human papillomavirus is a member of the papillomavirus family of viruses that is capable of infecting humans. Like all papillomaviruses, HPVs establish productive infections only in keratinocytes of the skin or mucous membranes...

 (HPV) might increase the risk of oral or throat cancer. The study found that 36% of the cancer patients had HPV compared to only 1% of the healthy control group. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of HPV because this virus has been implicated in the majority of cervical cancers.

Taste and quantity

Many women dislike the taste and smell of semen. Although it is commonly reported that the taste of semen is significantly influenced by diet, there are no scientific studies that indicate which foods have an effect.

The volume of semen ejaculate varies. A review of 30 studies concluded that the average was around 3.4 milliliters (ml), with some studies finding amounts as high as 4.99 ml or as low as 2.3 ml. In a study with Swedish and Danish men, a prolonged interval between ejaculations caused an increase of the sperm count in the semen but not an increase of its amount.

Cultural practices

In some cultures, semen is attributed with special properties of masculinity
Masculinity
Masculinity is possessing qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a man. The term can be used to describe any human, animal or object that has the quality of being masculine...

. Several tribes of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

, including the Sambia and the Etoro, believe that semen provides sexual maturation among the younger men of their tribe. To them, sperm possesses the manly nature of the tribal elders, and in order to pass down their authority and powers, younger men of their next generation must fellate
Fellatio
Fellatio is an act of oral stimulation of a male's penis by a sexual partner. It involves the stimulation of the penis by the use of the mouth, tongue, or throat. The person who performs fellatio can be referred to as the giving partner, and the other person is the receiving partner...

 their elders and ingest their semen. This custom commences among prepubescent males and postpubescents. This act may also be attributed to the culturally active homosexuality throughout these and other tribes.

Spiritual views

The church father Epiphanius
Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy...

 records that the Borborites
Borborites
According to the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis , and Theodoret's Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium, the Borborites or Borborians were a libertine Gnostic sect, said to be descended from the Nicolaitans...

 and other libertine Gnostic sects consumed semen as the Body of Christ
Body of Christ
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two separate connotations: it may refer to Jesus's statement about the Eucharist at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in , or the explicit usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in to refer to the Christian Church.Although in general usage the...

. The Pistis Sophia
Pistis Sophia
Pistis Sophia is an important Gnostic text, possibly written as early as the 2nd century. The five remaining copies, which scholars place in the 5th or 6th centuries, relate the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples , when the risen Christ had accomplished eleven...

and Testimony of Truth
Testimony of truth
The Testimony of Truth is the third manuscript from Codex IX of the Nag Hammadi Library. The copy of the manuscript from the Nag Hammadi Codices is in horrible condition, and almost too fragmentary to actually read and begin to comprehend...

harshly condemn such practices.

In the modern St. Priapus Church
St. Priapus Church
St. Priapus Church is a North American religion founded in the 1980s that centres on the worship of the phallus.St. Priapus Church was founded in Montreal, Quebec, by D. F. Cassidy and has found a following mainly among homosexual men in Canada and the United States...

, consumption of semen in the presence of others is a form of worship. It is esteemed as sacred because of its divine life-giving power. Some chapters of the
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica , or the Gnostic Catholic Church, is the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis , an international fraternal initiatory organization devoted to promulgating the Law of Thelema. Thelema is a philosophical, mystical and religious system elaborated by Aleister Crowley,...

 practice the consumption of semen during the Gnostic Mass, composed by Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley , born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, astrologer, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. He was also successful in various other...

.

Sexual practices

There are several sexual practices involving the ingestion of semen. They can be done with one or more partners, like snowballing
Snowballing (sexual practice)
Snowballing or snowdropping is the human sexual practice in which one person takes another person's semen into his or her mouth and then passes it back to the mouth of the other, usually through kissing.The term was originally used only by homosexuals...

, felching
Felching
Felching is a sexual practice involving the act of sucking semen out of the vagina or anus of one's partner after sex.-Earliest appearance of the term:...

 and creampie eating
Creampie (sexual act)
Creampie, also known as internal ejaculation, internal cum shot and, in gay contexts, as breeding, is a term used in pornography to describe when a male ejaculates inside his partner's anus or vagina. The term also refers to the visible seeping or dripping of semen from the vagina...

, or with multiple partners, like the practices of bukkake and gokkun
Gokkun
is a Japanese term for a sexual activity in which a woman consumes the semen of one or more men. It also refers to the sexual act of swallowing semen after performing fellatio or participating in a bukkake...

, which originate from Japan.

Increasing semen volume

Some dietary supplement
Dietary supplement
A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person's diet...

s have been marketed with claims to increase seminal volume. Like other supplements, including so-called herbal viagra
Herbal viagra
Herbal viagra is a name that can be given to any herbal product advertised as treating erectile dysfunction. The name "herbal viagra" is taken from the brand name Viagra, under which drug company Pfizer sells sildenafil citrate, a drug that is used to treat erectile dysfunction...

, these are not approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (as licensed medications would be), and none of the claims have been scientifically verified. Similar claims are made about traditional aphrodisiac
Aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

 foods, with an equal lack of verification.

One such set of herbal pills were introduced and have been promoted in the adult entertainment industry with adult porn star Ron Jeremy
Ron Jeremy
Ronald Jeremy Hyatt , usually called Ron Jeremy, is an American pornographic actor. Nicknamed "The Hedgehog", he was ranked by AVN at number one in their "The 50 Top Porn Stars of All Time" list...

 acting as a spokesman.

Euphemisms

A huge variety of euphemism
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

s and dysphemism
Dysphemism
In language, dysphemism, malphemism, and cacophemism refer to the usage of an intentionally harsh, rather than polite, word or expression; roughly the opposite of euphemism...

s have been invented to describe semen. For a complete list of terms, see sexual slang
Sexual slang
Sexual slang is a set of linguistic terms and phrases used to refer to sexual organs, processes, and activities; they are generally considered colloquial rather than formal or medical, and some may be seen as impolite or improper....

.

See also

  • Capacitation
    Capacitation
    Capacitation is the penultimate step in the maturation of mammalian spermatozoa and is required to render them competent to fertilize an oocyte.This step is a biochemical event; the sperm move normally and look mature prior to capacitation....

  • Cum shot
    Cum shot
    A cum shot, cumshot, come shot, pop shot, or money shot are slang terms used to describe a person ejaculating , usually onto a person or object. It is typically used by the cinematographer within the narrative framework of a pornographic film, and since the 1970s has become a leitmotif of the...

  • Milt
    Milt
    Milt is the seminal fluid of fish, mollusks, and certain other water-dwelling animals who reproduce by spraying this fluid, which contains the sperm, onto roe .-Milt as food:...

  • Semen extender
    Semen extender
    Semen extender is a liquid diluent which is added to semen to preserve its fertilizing ability. The extender allows the semen to be freighted to the female, rather than requiring the male and female to be near to each other...

  • Spawn
    Spawn (biology)
    Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

  • Sperm
    Sperm
    The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

  • Sperm donation
    Sperm donation
    Sperm donation is the provision by a man, , of his sperm, with the intention that it be used to impregnate a woman who is not usually the man's sexual partner, in order to produce a child....

  • Spermatogenesis
    Spermatogenesis
    Spermatogenesis is the process by which male primary germ cells undergo division, and produce a number of cells termed spermatogonia, from which the primary spermatocytes are derived. Each primary spermatocyte divides into two secondary spermatocytes, and each secondary spermatocyte into two...

  • spermatozoon
    Spermatozoon
    A spermatozoon is a motile sperm cell, or moving form of the haploid cell that is the male gamete. A spermatozoon joins an ovum to form a zygote...

  • vasectomy
    Vasectomy
    Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization and/or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream...


External links

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