MSP Sex Q&A: Is it Safe to Swallow Semen?

Question:
What happens to the female body if a male’s ejaculated semen is swallowed? Is it harmful? Thanks for your help.

Answer:
Great question! Fortunately, if a woman swallows ejaculate (semen) she won’t turn into an oompa-loompa. She’ll still just be a woman, albeit with ejaculate in her gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.

Unless, of course, she picks up an infection from the guy who she’s just performed oral sex on. Gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes can all be transmitted through oral sex. HIV can be transmitted through oral sex, too, although that appears to be less common. Because of these risks, many sexual health educators suggest that people use male condoms when they perform oral sex on men, or latex dental dams when they perform oral sex on women. If you don’t like the taste of the condom, add on a tasty flavored lubricant – many flavored lubes taste like cough medicine but I like the “Blue razzberry” flavor from Climax Fruit Bomb (available from Babeland).

All that said, there are occasionally other unexpected things that can happen during oral sex. I once heard from a woman who would have very bad diarrhea within an hour of performing oral sex on her husband and swallowing his semen. Puzzled, I asked an ob/gyn friend of mine who suggested that it might be that the woman’s body was unusually sensitive to prostaglandins which are found in ejaculate (and which also rise in a woman’s body as menstruation approaches). Prostaglandins can trigger several bodily reactions, including diarrhea.

If you have a question about sex, love, dating, relationships, tips, techniques, pregnancy, birth control, sexually transmissible infections, or you simply want to pass a few sex myths by me, email me at DrDebby@mysexprofessor.com. Your confidentiality will be respected.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.