Male orgasm occurs via many organs, nerves, blood vessels and hormones acting together in a sequence of steps. At climax, the man ejaculates through powerful, quick muscle contractions (1 every 0.8 seconds), and usually experiences overwhelming pleasurable sensations. However, have you ever wondered what sperm smells like? Here’s what you need to know about the appearance, smell, and lifespan of sperm.
What Does Sperm Smell Like?
Semen and sperm may have various smells and here are the details:
1. Normal Smell
The normal smell of sperm is much like bleach or chlorine, which may be picked up in hospital, swimming pools, laundry room, etc. The ammonia and other sterile-smelling alkaloids in semen give it the bleachy smell. However, 1 in 5 people cannot perceive this smell, which is why some men and women don't think sperm smells at all.
Possible Influencing Factors
It is said that the following factor may affect the smell of your sperm, but there is no solid proof and may need tests and experiments to verify them.
- What you eat and drink can change the smell of sperms. It is said if you add sweet fruits into your diet, your ejaculation smells differently.
- Your overall health and medicines tends to make your sperm and semen smell strongly.
- Your first ejaculation in a long period of time will have a much stronger smell.
- Smoking and alcohol may make your ejaculation smell bitter.
- The quality and quantity of your ejaculation will also affect its smell.
2. Abnormal Smell
If your sperm and semen have a fishy or foul smell and their color changes into brown, red, green or yellow, you must have an infection which always occurs at the prostate gland or other organs of male productive system. This is definitely abnormal and you should see a doctor to get tested and treated.
3. Time Can Change the Smell of the Sperm
It is said that sperm smells differently in different stages due to the process of decomposition:
- Fresh sperm has a light smell and even no smell at all.
- As the fluid and sperm dry, the chlorine-type smell sets in. Sometimes it is even accompanied by the smell of rancid walnuts or almonds. When it fully dries out, it will become crusty with a white film covering.
- If sperms die before dying out, like put sperm in a sealed bottler, they smell like dead corpse, really pungent.
What Do Sperm and Semen Look and Taste like?
The testes release about 200-500 million sperm cells every time a man ejaculates. The sperm account for 2%-5% of semen, and are mixed in with various other substances. Knowing "What does sperm smell like?" is not enough. Here are more useful facts:
- Look: Mammalian sperm cells have a head, a midpiece, and a tail. And sperm, together with semen, is usually cloudy white or gray.
- Consistency: After ejaculation, semen often thickens so it has the consistency of jello. However, after half an hour, it usually becomes clear and runny. This thickening and thinning process is believed to be important in helping the sperm reach the egg.
- Taste: Every man's semen will taste different, and this may be down to diet. However, it's usually slightly sweet because of its high fructose content.
How Long Can Sperm Live?
As well as "What does sperm smell like?" you may wonder "How long does sperm live?" This mostly depends on whether it's inside a woman's body or not.
1. Inside a Woman's Body
Sperm can survive anytime from a few hours to a whole week inside the female reproductive system. However, only a few of the sperm in the ejaculate will last long enough to fertilize an egg.
- Sperm that don't reach the cervix won't last more than a few hours due to the acidic vaginal conditions.
- If the sperm make it past the cervix, they can live up to four days.
- At ovulation, the sperm can live up to a week because women produce cervical mucus, making the vaginal conditions much more sperm-friendly. In such case, sperm will find it easier to travel beyond the cervix and uterus, up into the fallopian tubes.
2. Outside the Body
Sperm usually survive 20-60 minutes outside the body, depending on the surrounding environment. The semen will then dry up, becoming useless.
However, if you are not using contraception, and do not want a baby, you should take the following precautions:
- If the man ejaculates out of the vagina, make sure it is at a safe distance.
- If either partner has semen on their hands, they should wash them immediately before placing them anywhere near the woman's genitals.
Sperm are present in pre-ejaculation fluid, so the withdrawal method is not a reliable means of contraception. Now you not only have all the answers to "What does sperm smell like, look like and taste like?" but also know the lifespan of sperm in various conditions.