All About
Semen

Semen is the final product of the male sexual organs as it is ejaculated from the penis. The word comes from the Latin word for seeds which reflects the ancient belief that male input to reproduction was a form of seed.

To us that knowledge seems almost second nature, but that is really far from the case. Many people in the past did not know the connection between semen and pregnancy. Intercourse being a thing that happened often, pregnancy being a slow process of unknown origin, and the separation of the insemination process from the birth process by a time lag of nine months has been enough to confuse human minds and prevent them from grasping the relevance of one to the other.

A Tour Through the Sperm Factory

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Pages On Male Sexuality and Sex Techniques

Sex techniques & positions advice
Masturbation and the penis
Male arousal and desire
Andropause: low testosterone
Orgasm and ejaculation
Male initiation: rites of passage
For gay or bi men
All about semen
The testicles and scrotum
Mature masculinity

Semen is a thick, colorless, gelatinous, non-transparent fluid similar in appearance to boiled starch. Occasionally, it can become yellowish in color, or pinkish or even red if there is blood. It consists of sperms and a fluid in which they live and "thrash around" The sperms are made in the testicles from cells specially designed for the purpose from the time when the fetus is only about four to six weeks old. The sperms, each one of which carries all the genetic  characteristics of the father to be passed on, leave the testicle and after passing along the vas deferens are stored in the seminal vesicles until needed for ejaculation. A sperm looks like a tiny tadpole with a large head-like nucleus and a long thin hair-like tail which lashes and spirals, thus driving the spermatozoa in the desired direction.

The prostate gland produces a liquid which is mixed with the sperm. So do the seminal vesicles and some other very small (bulbo-urethral) glands nearby. The resulting mixture is the final product, semen. When complete, only about 10 per cent by volume of semen is made up of sperm: the remainder is fluid.

When the vas deferens has been cut, as in the operation of vasectomy, no sperm can reach the storage sacks. They die and are reabsorbed. The fluid, however, goes on being produced. After vasectomy men still produce semen that looks and behaves like it did before the operation. The tiny reduction in quantity as a result of the absence of sperms is scarcely noticed and anyway, as we'll see, it can be made up for in other ways. They will still have the same sex drive, the same sexual abilities, the same power of erection. They will also ejaculate in the same way. The appearance, feel and taste of the semen will not alter. The sole difference will be that the semen contains no sperm.

One of the requirements for successful sperm production is the correct temperature. Although sperm may be produced at temperatures just slightly different from that chosen by nature, if there is much variation the sperm lose their fertility or even die. The critical importance of temperature is one of the reasons why the testicles hang in the scrotum and outside the body where they are a little cooler.

Increasing "Come Power"

As most of the semen is the secretion or product of glands, it follows that its quantity can be most easily increased by stimulating these glands. The exact mechanism of this is not known but the most powerful stimulus is sexual excitement. Throughout the waking and sleeping hours, under the influence of hormones and the nervous system, sperm and seminal fluid are continuously produced.

An increase in the frequency of sexual stimulation certainly speeds up the process. It is the seminal fluid rather than the sperm that increase most . . . sperm take longer. If a man ejaculates and then goes on with further sexual contact, the next ejaculation produces far less semen. The average fit healthy man, adequately stimulated after a gap of a day or two since his last ejaculation, will normally produce between two and four cubic centimeters of semen. If you reckon an ordinary teaspoon to be around 5 ccs, then you will see that a little more than half a teaspoon is about normal.

Much more than this is uncommon even after long abstinence as the seminal vesicles simply have not got room for it. The amount produced matters a lot to some people. Both he and she alike can come to regard semen as highly significant. He may take pride in the amount he ejaculates (rather than the quality) and she may see it as a tribute to her sexual attractiveness and lovemaking ability to induce a large ejaculation. If you wish to produce the maximum possible amount, the best method is to abstain from ejaculation for at least two or three days, but during those days engage in sexual stimulation frequently and/or masturbate two or three times each day, stopping well short of orgasm.

Not only does this ensure that the seminal vesicles are fully charged, but by focusing your sex drive this process can pave the way for a very powerful orgasm when it finally comes. This can produce a massive squirting of semen for a remarkable distance, which, for a couple who enjoy watching ejaculation or where the woman takes the ejaculate in her  hand or mouth, can be very rewarding.

The distance semen will shoot during ejaculation depends partly on the amount available and on the suddenness and completeness of the contraction of the pubococcygeal muscles. If these go into violent spasm it is quite possible for semen to shoot eighteen to twenty inches. Perhaps six or eight inches is more of an average.

Another factor is the shape of the glans and the direction in which the opening of the urethra points. Men (and women) who claim that they (or their partners) don't shoot as far as men in porn films should remember that clever photography and even the injection of fluid into the bladder before the scenes are filmed can give the illusion of unnaturally powerful and large ejaculations. (It's yet another way in which porn films give people unrealistic expectations of sex. Half a teaspoon for a few inches is what most of us can do most of the time.)

The Organic Orgasm - From Sugar to Vitamin C

During ejaculation the semen is distinctly different during different phases. This has been tested by the technique of masturbation onto a swiftly moving belt of non-absorbent paper. The ejaculate lands in separate droplets which can be quickly and separately tested. This has shown that during sexual excitement it is the secretion of the glands that enters the urethra first and ejaculates first. Next comes the glaring white secretion, of the prostate gland mixed with increasing numbers of sperm, and last of all is the thicker secretion from the seminal vesicles.

To keep the sperms alive during storage the seminal vesicles produce a solution of sugar called fructose. It is this which gives semen its slightly sweet taste. Also produced is ascorbic acid (vitamin C and the sharp lemony taste of citric acid which many can detect in semen. Soon after ejaculation, semen tends to clot into a firm gelatinous mass. Left for a few minutes, however, and as long as it doesn't dry in the meantime, it liquefies again and becomes more runny.

Hitting the Jackpot

The semen is deposited at the top of the vagina during intercourse, the intention of nature being fertilization. Only one sperm makes it to each egg out of total of several hundred million ejaculated. During sexual excitement the cervix of a woman's womb oozes a thick mucous. The semen is ejaculated onto and around this. If she reaches orgasm, her cervix dips into the pool of semen with each orgasmic contraction; even if she does not, the sperm are totally capable of passing through the mucus plug.

Sperms can live for several days after ejaculation. Their survival rate in the vagina is probably a matter of hours, but up to three days has been recorded as a survival time inside the uterus and it may be even longer. The number of sperms produced is vast. It may vary to as many as 300,000,000 per ejaculation.

Myth, Magic and Wet Dreams

Nocturnal emissions, or wet dreams as they are more commonly called, are a problem to some boys and men. Sometimes during sleep a male can undergo an entirely involuntary erection. This is sometimes accompanied by erotic dreams. (These can be recorded electrically even though they are not always remembered by the dreamer.) If the excitement is intense enough, the wildest sexual fantasies can occur in the dreaming mind and these may culminate in a spontaneous ejaculation.

At this point the dreamer usually wakes and finds he has ejaculated. Apart from the liquid there is absolutely no harm in wet dreams. They are an effective overflowing and produce a marked reduction in tension. If a woman finds that her partner has had a wet dream there is no reason for her to feel guilt or dismay. Neither should he feel shame. It can happen if orgasms have been few and far between. It can also happen during a period of intense sexual excitement even if there have been repeated episodes of intercourse.

There are several myths, as one might expect, about semen. In various places and times it has been held to have a magical significance. It has been used in rituals, for example, in coming-of-age ceremonies. It has been used as a fertility symbol in agricultural communities (with men ejaculating on the land).

In some belief systems like Tantra, semen is regarded as a sort of spiritual fuel. For a man to lose it can deprive him of its value. Techniques of intercourse have been devised to bring the woman to repeated orgasm without male ejaculation for this very purpose. Even today the concept dies hard that loss of semen equates with loss of strength. Consequently many men have the idea that intercourse (or even masturbation) will tire them. Furthermore, continence is regarded as a preparation for exertion. It is true, of course, that sexual contact consumes energy at a high rate even for a short time. And it is certainly true that orgasm produces a sensation of relaxation and tranquility. But in fact the idea is pure fantasy.

The amount of semen will be less with subsequent ejaculations and the proportion of sperm in the semen will be lower. But recovery is swift and there is no reason why the man should not reach orgasm several times a day without the least ill effect if that is what he wants (as indeed many male teenagers do through repeated masturbation).

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