Oral Sex: Spit Or Swallow? This Is What The Science Says

Spit or swallow? It's a hard question. Image: Iablonskyi Mykola/Shutterstock.com

Fellatio is a popular pastime that is enjoyed by humans and animals alike, yet the aftermath of all the excitement can be a little problematic. For those administering the penile provocation, the question of whether to spit or swallow tends to become very urgent very quickly, so it’s a good idea to read up on the science of semen before making a decision.

Making the argument for swallowing, a study published in 2002 found that some of the hormones in semen can have a positive impact on mental health. Admittedly, participants were inseminated via vaginal rather than oral sex, and the fact that the study was observational means that no causal link between semen and emotional wellbeing can be established, yet the results were nonetheless intriguing.

According to the authors, women who had unprotected sex were found to have lower depression scores than those who used condoms, and “depressive symptoms and suicide attempts among females who used condoms were proportional to the consistency of condom use.” Much more research will be needed before such an effect can be confirmed, although the researchers point out that semen contains a number of mood-boosting compounds like oxytocin and serotonin, which were detectable in the blood of recently inseminated women.

Whether or not the same would occur after swallowing semen is hard to say, although for what it’s worth, male ejaculate contains around 5,000 milligrams of protein per 100 milliliters, as well as a fairly healthy dose of zinc and small amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Obviously, you’d be better off getting your daily dose of these nutrients from actual food and you’d have to suck an awful lot of willies to sustain yourself on semen alone, but a little extra nourishment here and there is no bad thing.

Aside from nutritional content, human semen also contains an antioxidant called spermidine, which has been shown to slow down the aging process in yeast, worms, flies, and mouse liver cells. This effect has been attributed to spermidine’s apparent ability to regulate a cellular recycling process known as autophagy, although whether such a benefit could be attained from oral sex seems somewhat unlikely.

For all the spitters out there, rest assured that by sacrificing all of the above, you may considerably lower your risk of catching a sexually-transmitted illness such as HIV, herpes, or hepatitis. Of course, such diseases can still be passed on even without swallowing, and infection is much more likely to occur if the person performing oral sex has a cut or open sore in or around their mouth.

Spitting may also be necessary for those who suffer from an allergy to ejaculate, known as human seminal plasma (HSP) hypersensitivity. Caused by certain prostate-derived proteins, HSP hypersensitivity can produce a range of local and systemic symptoms and can make it impossible for some people to have unprotected sex.

Fortunately, though, the condition is very rare, and shouldn’t be a concern for the vast majority of oral sex participants.

When it comes down it, therefore, both spitting and swallowing come with their pros and cons, and it’s perfectly reasonable to make a decision based on nothing more than personal preference.


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