Former porn star Annie Sprinkle famously claimed she could tell what a man ate based on the taste of his semen. While hers is not exactly a scientific approach, it makes sense that what goes in affects what comes out.
But we wanted to know the specifics of a diet’s impact on ejaculate. Any truth to the “pineapple and raspberries” trick? Beyond flavor, can food affect the size of your spunk and the vigor of your swimmers? We chatted with urologist Dr. Philip Werthman and nutritionist Carolyn Gundell to help us sort through this (hopefully not too big of a) mess.
Can you change your semen by changing your diet?
“To some degree, sure,” Werthman says. “Ejaculatory fluid is affected by your body chemistry and testosterone… so if you change your hydration, body chemistry and testosterone level, you can affect the composition of the fluids to some small degree in volume and perhaps in taste.”
Unfortunately, no one has done scientific research on ejaculate flavor, so it’s going to be a hit-or-miss approach. “I am not in the taste-testing business,” Werthman assured us. “There’s no credible scientist tasting ejaculatory fluid.”
(Well… there probably are plenty of credible scientists tasting semen, just not while on the clock. We hope.)
You can boost the size, if not the taste
Curious about whether you can increase the quantity of your output? Whatever floats your boat, man. Werthman advises focusing on three things: hydration, testosterone levels, and ejaculation frequency.
If you’re going this route, you should also take a break from onanism for a while to give fluid a chance to build up in the seminal vesicles. Drink a lot of water, and optimize your testosterone levels -- the best way to do the latter is by maintaining a healthy weight, Gundell says. Thin guys are loaded with testosterone, apparently.
Paleo, vegan, or gluten-free sperm?
There have been some interesting studies on diet and sperm quality in recent years, because of course there have. Research shows that the “prudent” meal plan -- closely related to the Mediterranean diet, which includes lots of fruits, veggies, and healthy fats like those in olive oil -- supports sperm motility better than a Western diet, which usually features tons of processed and red meat, sugar, and refined carbs. So stay away from stuff like soda and packaged desserts, and your sperm should swim just fine.
A prudent diet might also help you stay at a healthy weight, beefing up testosterone levels. Win win! Just make sure to put a condom on those sperms of steel if you’re not keen on fatherhood.
Viscosity: it matters, and you can change it!
You know that weird thing semen does when it comes out thick and gooey, then becomes a little runnier? That’s thanks to a protein called semenogelin, and it exists to help your load stick to a woman’s vagina and impregnate her, according to Werthman.
“Enzymes made by the prostate fluid eventually break down the gel and make it less viscous, so the sperm can swim out.”
What if your cream’s a little too thick? Try cough syrup. For real! “Something like cough syrup can make [semen] less viscous, just as it makes other secretions less viscous,” Werthman says, though probably it’s not a good thing to drink cough syrup just to thin out your semen?
So basically anyone who eats a Western diet has gross semen?
Basically. If you want to taste a little better, getting a balance of fruits and veggies, while cutting back on processed foods, is probably a better solution than eating a bushel of raspberries. Don’t smoke, and avoid asparagus. Drinking plenty of water should help bulk things up, too.
We’re just waiting for the day some brave scientist takes this question to the lab, so we can get some answers.
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