Experts Explain What Makes Semen Taste "Good" Or "Bad"
Broccoli is not always your friend.
There’s no denying oral sex is as fun as it is intimate, but when you’re going down on a penis owner, it’s natural to feel nervous about the moment when they... you know, reach completion. What does cum taste like, you ask? Just like penises themselves, semen flavor tends to vary from one person to another, but generally speaking, semen tends to be warm and salty with a slightly chlorine-like smell. But if you’re someone who’s comfortable swallowing, then you know there’s no one answer to the question of, “What does semen taste like?” Sometimes the taste might be good. And other times, the taste might be... not so good.
There’s often a difference between the taste of each person’s semen, and even the taste of your own partner’s ejaculate will change from time to time. According to clinical sexologist Lawrence Siegel, it’s perfectly natural for semen to taste differently on different occasions, as certain foods, spices, and other substances can alter the taste. “There is a complex interplay between interpersonal and biological mechanisms that will continue to change the taste of a person’s semen throughout our lives,” he explains. And of course, when it comes to taste, what someone deems "good" versus what someone deems "bad" can vary depending on the person. Here’s everything you should know before the next time you swallow.
Why Does Semen Taste Salty?
Semen taste varies from person to person, but you’ll almost always notice it has a salty taste above all else. According to board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, this is due to the fact that semen is an alkaline substance. “Semen tends to be alkaline to provide a protective shield for the sperm cells that it houses,” he previously explained to Elite Daily. Since the vagina is an acidic organ, sperm cells are surrounded by alkaline seminal fluid in order to “protect the sperm from the vagina’s spell-cell-killing acidity,” which can facilitate the fertilization process and produce a pregnancy.
Can You Change The Taste Of Semen?
The things you put in your body can alter how your ejaculate tastes, and it makes sense. As Dr. Abdur-Rahman explained, semen is created by a trio of glands found in the pelvis — the seminal vesicles, the prostate, and the bulbourethral glands — and food is one of the main factors that can affect how semen tastes. “The reality is that people can change the way that many of their bodily fluids taste simply by changing the things that they put into their bodies,” Dr. Abdur-Rahman said. When you eat something, it passes through your digestive tract and into your small intestine, where the water and nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. Then, the contents of your blood can filter into the other bodily fluids you produce, including semen.
What Makes Semen Taste Better?
According to Siegel, foods that commonly “improve” or sweeten the taste of semen are typically foods that are good for you. “One of the most common claims is that eating fruits like pineapple, papaya, and oranges will make semen taste sweeter,” he says. “This may have less to do with the sugar content of the fruit itself than how certain enzymes break down and affect various proteins, like bromelian.” There are also a few vegetables (like celery, parsley and wheatgrass) and spices (like cinnamon and nutmeg) that can alter semen for the better, but as Siegel notes, “The taste change will not be dramatic. It won't go from a slightly salty or sweet cleanser to Kool-Aid.”
Looking to dilute the taste rather than sweeten it up? Dr. Abdur-Rahman noted that consuming lots of water can counteract the strong chemicals in food by diluting them. “When water rich foods and drinks are consumed, they dilute the blood,” he said. “Once the blood has been diluted, the semen produced by filtering this diluted blood will also be diluted. This means that the natural, slightly bitter, and salty taste that semen normally has will be less pronounced.”
What Makes Semen Taste Worse?
Surprisingly, Siegel says cruciferous vegetables — include cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, and brussel sprouts — as well as other veggie like asparagus, garlic, onion, and chives are reported to make semen taste bitter. “These effects are likely due to the fact that when your body breaks down these foods, sulfur compounds are significant by-products,” he explains.
Other substances detrimental to semen’s taste are toxins, like coffee, alcohol, and nicotine. According to Dr. Abdur-Rahman, these three things “all contain chemicals that are pungent and water soluble” and “because the blood is majority water, when the pungent water-soluble chemicals found in coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes are consumed, they settle right into the blood.” Then, when that blood is filtered through the pelvic glands, those chemicals can enter the semen. And since coffee often has a strong, bitter taste, consuming it in large quantities could make the semen taste more bitter.
What If You Don’t Like The Taste Of Semen?
Don’t like the taste of your partner’s ejaculate? Don’t sweat it. If you’re having oral sex with someone and the taste of their semen really bothers you, Dr. Abdur-Rahman said it’s OK to mention this. “Bringing up the taste of a partner’s semen doesn't need to be awkward or uncomfortable,” he said, and in fact, it could actually bring you closer. But keep in mind that semen is never going to taste like your favorite dessert. “I would tell anyone who feels self-conscious about the bitter and salty way that semen normally tastes that first, it is meant to taste that way. So this is normal,” he added.
If you simply can’t stomach the thought of swallowing your partner’s bodily fluids, then that’s totally your call — but make sure you never make them feel ashamed for how they taste. Their body is just doing its job, y’all.
Lawrence Siegel, clinical sexologist
Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
This article was originally published on