Once a month, Dr. Joe DeOrio, a urologist in Chicago, answers your questions on male sexual health. To ask him your own question, click here.
Dear Dr. Joe,
My question is about my boyfriend’s “flavor.” In the last few months I have noticed that the taste of his semen has gotten much more sour and salty tasting, to the point that I can barely even perform oral sex because of the taste of his pre-ejaculate. When I do swallow, I become nauseated and develop a stomach ache for hours afterward, regardless of whether I have a full or empty stomach. He hasn’t changed his diet or had any major health issues. I don’t want to take this pleasure away from us both, but I can barely bring myself to go down on him anymore. Is this problem fixable? Do you think it is me becoming more sensitive to his taste or is it possibly something about his physiology that has changed? I’d really appreciate any feedback; it would certainly put a smile back on both of our faces!
— Sour Puss
When I was 8, my grandfather gave me a sip of his scotch – it tasted like crap. Now, almost 30 years later, I think a good scotch is one of the finer pleasures in life. Tastes change. I don’t know why.
Though everything was fine for a while, it now appears that you have a case of the ol’ funky spunk. This topic has been discussed in numerous forums all over the internet and even on popular television shows such as Sex and the City (their cure was wheatgrass shots!).
Most people who dislike the taste of ejaculate complain of a bitter or salty taste, much like you. Thus most “remedies” seek to make semen sweeter. But, in the end, you will have to find what you like. Why your boyfriend’s semen formerly tasted good but no longer does I cannot explain. Nonetheless, I sympathize with your problem, and I understand that it is affecting your sex life adversely.
As you can imagine, learning to alter the taste of sperm was not at the top of the medical school curriculum. Understandably, it wasn’t even part of the curriculum. From a scientific standpoint, semen is composed of water, various proteins, vitamins, sugars, salts, and cholesterol. The little swimmers only compromise about 1% of the total volume. How to alter the ratio a bit for a better taste? Unfortunately, there is not a lot of scientific research of the subject. I could just imagine the proposal for that one! There is, however, no shortage of opinions.
Assuming no infection, it is generally agreed that sperm taste is affected by diet and overall health. Seems logical enough, as diet can affect the taste of many body secretions – just stand next to anyone who’s had some raw garlic! So what can you do? The best answer: Experiment! And that can’t be all bad. Try adding or subtracting foods one at a time, and see how the change affects the taste. To give you a head start, here are some general recommendations for him:
- Avoid coffee and alcohol
- Avoid smoking and recreational drugs
- Decrease red meat, dairy, and fried foods
- Drink plenty of water (perhaps a liter or 2 a day)
- Eat plenty of vegetables (though avoid high-sulfur foods such as onions, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, and cabbage)
- Eat plenty of fruits, especially pineapples, papayas, and bananas
- Pineapple juice (use a juicer!) is touted as the magical elixir. Proponents suggest 24 ounces per day, but be careful – that’s about 400 extra calories per day
- Some people recommend parsley, wheatgrass, and celery
- Others recommend cinnamon, cardamom, peppermint, and lemon
- Get enough sleep
In general, live a healthy lifestyle while experimenting with the foods. If none of these suggestions help, make sure your boyfriend sees a doctor to ensure that he is neither ill nor has an infection. If he checks out, but his semen still doesn’t, try sucking on a candy or breathmint before fellatio (during if you can avoid choking) – the flavor and sweetness should hopefully mask some of the offending taste. Hope that helps!
— Dr. Joe
Dr. Joe earned his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. After attending the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, he completed his residency training in urological surgery at the Los Angeles County Medical Center. He lives and works in Chicago, IL. Keep an eye out for his upcoming blog at docjoe.net.