Sex

What Science Says About The Benefits & Risks Of Swallowing Semen

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woman with tongue out

In my clinical practice, I'm always looking for ways to help women reduce their aversions to certain sexual acts or bodily fluids — like swallowing semen, for example. Of course, it's always helpful to have science on your side when making a case.

Unfortunately, for many of the women I treat, the flames of passion are all too often extinguished. But based on my knowledge of evolutionary sexology, I've come up with a useful clinical intervention — and I see it working every day.

It's based on the theory that seminal plasma (the fluid that provides nutrients and protection for sperm, consisting of a complex range of organic and inorganic constituents) may have many health benefits.

Yes, you read that correctly — swallowing semen is actually healthy for you.

What is semen?

Semen is the thick fluid that comes out of a male's penis when they ejaculate during intercourse or sexual activities. Semen is also referred to as ejaculate.

Many believe semen is the same thing as sperm, but they are actually two separate things. Semen and sperm are kind of like squares and rectangles — sperm is a part of semen, but semen isn't a part of sperm.

In fact, sperm is only one component of semen, which also contains enzymes like fructose and proteolytic. Semen is made up of multiple components, including citric acid, free amino acids, fructose, enzymes, phosphorylcholine, prostaglandin, potassium, zinc, sodium, fat, cholesterol, and traces of vitamin B-12.

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Is it healthy to eat sperm?

Mostly, yes, the components that make up semen are safe to ingest. When swallowed, semen is digested in the same way food is.

There are some people who are allergic to sperm, a condition called human seminal plasma hypersensitivity (HSP). It's a very rare allergy where individuals are hypersensitive to the proteins found in semen. It affects around 40,000 women in the US.

The alleged health benefits of seminal plasma are believed to be activated when a man deposits semen into a woman's vagina, but research suggests that the same benefits may also be available if it is swallowed (and some theories even suggest that semen deposited anally will offer the same benefits).

10 Possible Health Benefits Of Swallowing Semen

1. Semen is a natural antidepressant.

Studies have shown that semen elevates your mood and even reduces suicidal thoughts. According to a 2002 study, women who were exposed to semen had a consistently better overall mood and were less susceptible to depression.

2. Semen may reduce anxiety.

According to a 2009 study, semen boasts anti-anxiety hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and progesterone.

The driving force of anxiety is oxidative stress and semen actually contains several combative antioxidants. Having these antioxidants makes semen a prime warrior against anxiety.

3. Semen can improve the quality of your sleep.

Semen contains melatonin, a sleep-inducing agent.

A 2015 study that looked at the relationship of seminal melatonin concluded, "Semen contains melatonin, the natural hormone your body releases to regulate sleep cycles. This explains why people feel tired after swallowing semen or being exposed to it during intercourse."

Our body's natural reaction is to absorb the nutrients we ingest, so when swallowing semen, it's like taking a melatonin pill for the night. The same goes for your vaginal lining, which also absorbs semen.

4. Semen can boost energy.

And it's even been shown to improve cardio health.

A 2016 study found that "high levels of dietary spermidine [which is found in semen], as assessed from food questionnaires, correlated with reduced blood pressure and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease."

5. Swallowing semen may prevent preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a condition that causes dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. A 2000 study suggested that "swallowing sperm is correlated with a diminished occurrence of preeclampsia."

The study looked at an isolated peptide called HLA, which has the ability to transfer tolerance. Soluble HLAHLA antigens that are present in the seminal plasma can cause tolerance in the mother to paternal antigens that cause preeclampsia during pregnancy.

6. Semen may improve memory.

Based on a 2019 study, the findings are clear: semen actually improves your memory.

In the study, researchers looked at a seminal peptide that affected the female memory and demonstrated that this "sex peptide enhances memory by acting on a single pair of serotonergic brain neurons"

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Their result was that semen had a strong effect on the female brain. However, this was just done on fruit flies, so more research is needed to to further verify if it also works on other organisms.

7. Semen may improve mental alertness.

Findings of additional studies "suggest that semen-exposed women perform better on concentration and cognitive tasks."

8. Semen may be good for your skin.

A 2009 study showed that semen may slow down the aging process of your skin and muscles. Semen contains a healthy portion of zinc, which is an antioxidant — and some have even tried semen facials, though word is still out on whether or not that actually works (more on that below).

9. Semen can be a pain reliever.

Impressed? You should be! Nature knows what she's doing!

Some of the helpful chemicals in seminal plasma include testosterone, estrogen, prolactin, opioid peptides, oxytocin, serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine. Just think, you can get a dose of all that without having to go to the vitamin store!

10. Semen may prevent morning sickness.

Psychologist Gordon Gallup said that the best thing to cure morning sickness is ingesting the semen of the same person who got you pregnant. He explains that "the more often the woman is inseminated prior to conception and during the early stages of the pregnancy, the more tolerance her body develops to his genetic material."

This results in the woman's development of a successful immunosuppressant, which inherently stops stomach problems, making her vomit on command.

RELATED: Why Pregnant Women Should Swallow More Sperm, According To Science

When I tell women with arousal disorders they can reap all of the above-mentioned health benefits, it often enables them to be more receptive to sex.

Suddenly, their willingness to "swallow" increases if they think it might help them sleep better or reduce their pain. They can tolerate intercourse if they believe it may help with depression. Plus, if you're willing to give it a try, there are ways to make semen taste better so you might even enjoy doing so.

Though much of the research in this area is preliminary and needs to be replicated, more empirical research will support these initial findings. Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are some health risks that come with swallowing semen.

Nothing horrific actually happens when you swallow semen — it's comprised mostly of water, after all, and is digested the same way your food and drinks are. However, there are some safety risks to be aware of.

2 Potential Risks Of Swallowing Semen

1. You may be at risk of contracting STIs.

If you're swallowing semen, you're likely not using a condom. And, like most other sex acts performed without a condom, contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is always a probability.

According to Planned Parenthood, having semen in your mouth puts you at risk of bacterial infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

2. You could have an allergic reaction.

If you've ever felt sick after swallowing semen, it could be because you have a semen allergy.

Known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity, semen allergies affect roughly 40,000 women and may cause symptoms such as pain, itching, redness, swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing. Some women have also reported feeling nauseous after swallowing semen.

Can you use semen topically?

Many have suggested that applying semen topically gives glowing skin, helps treat acne, and prevents aging. However, there's no research to suggest that any of this is true.

Many YouTubers and celebrities have raved about the semen facials that supposedly give them naturally glowing, smooth, non-wrinkly skin. However, experts say this isn't true because there isn't a high enough dose of proteins.

Dermatologists also say that semen treating acne is just an urban myth. This remedy is usually found on acne forums, but there is no evidence to support semen having any acne-combating properties.

Again, dermatologists say there isn't a high enough dosage in semen to effectively do this to your skin and can give allergic relations or even STIs. Dermatologists still recommend serums containing a high concentration of vitamin C and retinoids for anti-aging effects.

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Kimberly Resnick Anderson, LCSW, is an AASECT-certified sex therapist with more than 20 years of experience evaluating and treating sexual concerns, as well as a clinical instructor of Psychiatry at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, and an associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

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