Whether you’re comparing yourself to the porn you’re watching, you’re concerned about your fertility or stressing about sexual prowess — there are plenty of reasons why you might worry about how much semen you’re producing.
So, what’s normal when it comes (pun intended) to semen volume?
Firstly, what is semen?
Semen is the fluid that comes out of your penis when you ejaculate or cum. Semen and sperm are not the same thing. Sperm are the male reproductive cells, which are capable of fertilising a woman’s egg and conceiving a baby. Semen has sperm in it, as well as fluid produced by the prostate, seminal vesicles and bulbourethral glands to protect the sperm cells and allow them to move more freely.
What should semen look like?
Semen is usually a whitish-grey colour and feels similar to runny jelly or raw egg. If your semen is red or brown in colour you might have blood in your semen.
What is a normal volume of semen?
Normal is different for everyone, but on average, you release between 1.25 to 5 millilitres of semen when you ejaculate. This is around a quarter of a teaspoon to one teaspoon. That might come as a surprise if you’re comparing that to what you see in porn.
“Without proper education, and the appropriate context — i.e. that porn is a production, it is staged, it is made to look AMAZING — some young men grow up thinking that this is how sex should be, and that every guy is a cannon of ejaculation, which is just not true,” says psychosexual therapist Chris Brett-Renes.
What causes low semen volume?
The volume of your semen can change for a variety of reasons — if you haven’t ejaculated for a few days you’ll probably produce more semen and certain medications can make you produce less.
Causes of low semen volume can include:
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Nerve damage
- Hypogonadism (low testosterone)
- Obstruction or damage
- Anorgasmia (delayed, infrequent or absent orgasms)
- Health conditions such as diabetes
- Prostate issues
- Absence of seminal vesicles
- Genetic abnormalities
If you’ve done a semen analysis and it says you have reduced or low semen volume, it could be that you didn’t get the entire sample in the collection container. However, if you’re worried about the volume of your semen, chat with a doctor.
Semen volume and fertility
Higher semen volume doesn’t necessarily indicate a higher sperm count. What matters is the quality and quantity of sperm in this semen, and you can’t tell that just by looking at your ejaculate. If you want to improve your sperm count and health, it’s important to not smoke, get checked for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and maintain a healthy weight.
Can you change or increase your semen volume? Do supplements for semen volume work?
There are plenty of supplements on the market promising to increase semen volume, and a lot of advice on the internet suggesting different strategies for upping your output. Not ejaculating for a couple of days will probably increase your semen volume in your next ejaculation, but there’s no evidence that supplements can increase semen volume.
If you’re really concerned about your semen volume, Brett-Renes recommends seeing a doctor to determine if there are any underlying health problems. Then, it could help to consider how much you’re masturbating, whether you’re experiencing anxiety (performance-related or otherwise) and if you’re in a relationship, how things are going there.
“What is your communication like? Have you received criticism from your partner regarding this issue, and how did that impact you?” Brett-Renes says. It’s probably not your semen volume that needs to change, just how you feel about it.