How is semen made and how does ejaculation work?

Semen is an intricate combination of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are created by 4 parts of the male reproductive system: testicles, prostate, seminal vesicles, and bulbourethral glands.


In this article, we'll cover how your body produces semen, sexual preferences about semen volume, and what you can and cannot change about your ejaculation volume.


  • Sexual Health Science
  • Medical Journal Information


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The Short Answer.

  • Ejaculation volume changes over time. The amount you cum depends on a number of different factors and will fluctuate day to day.

  • You can increase your semen volume by staying hydrated and taking supplements containing zinc, pygeum, lecithin, and l-arginine. Abstaining from ejaculating will also increase semen volume.

  • Some medical conditions have been shown to cause changes in the amount that you ejaculate. Research indicates that low sperm count is correlated with low semen volume, though one does not definitively indicate the other.

How is Semen Made?

Semen is an intricate combination of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are created by the testicles, prostate, seminal vesicles, and bulbourethral glands.


1. Seminal Vesicles and Semen Production

These are small, tubular glands located between the bladder and rectum. Though small in size, they are responsible for 50 to 65% of your ejaculate volume. The fluid produced by the seminal vesicles is primarily made of fructose, a type of sugar.


Sugar acts as a fuel for sperm cells, allowing them to travel through the body. Seminal vesicle fluid also contains nutrients such as ascorbic acid (vitamin c), amino acids, phosphorus, potassium, and more. Ultimately, this blend of nutrients helps keep sperm healthy and energetic.


2. Prostate Gland and Semen Production

The prostate gland is responsible for 20 to 30% of your semen volume. Similar to fluid from the seminal vesicles, fluid secreted by the prostate is an important nutrition source for sperm and also plays a role in lubrication. It primarily consists of zinc, calcium, citric acid, and magnesium.


3. Testicles and Semen Production

Surprisingly, only 5% of one's sperm volume is produced in the testes. That being said, the contribution from one's testes is significant - they produce sperm cells.


On average, the testes contribute 80 million spermatozoa per milliliter of ejaculate.


4. Bulbourethral Glands (Cowper's Glands) and Semen Production

Also known as Cowper's glands, these are pea-sized glands located near your prostate that secrete a clear, lubricating fluid. This fluid makes up about 5% of your ejaculate. You might be familiar with its more common name: pre-cum.


How much semen is ejaculated on average?

On average, about 1.5 to 5 ml of semen is produced each time that you ejaculate (0.05 to 0.17 fl. oz - a bit less than a table spoon on the upper end).


Interestingly, there is a strong correlation between testicle size, semen volume, and semen composition. In other words, big balls are correlated with big, healthy ejaculatory loads.


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Semen Volume & Sexual Preferences

Do people actually care about how much a man ejaculates? In 2018, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published the first study that explored how male ejaculation volume and intensity are related to women's pleasure during sex. The study surveyed 240 sexually active heterosexual women and found that:


41% of participants said that the ejaculate volume that they felt contributed to their orgasm intensity.

In other words, almost half of the women in the study said that their orgasm was better when their partner produced more semen.

1 in 8 study participants considered the quantity of their partner's ejaculate to be a reflection of their own sexual attractiveness.

Some people feel more attractive and get more enjoyment out of sex when their partner cums a lot!

How to Cum More

There are many factors that go into how much ejaculate you produce. Let's explore each of these areas, including what you can and cannot control.


Things you can control:


1. Hydration and Semen Volume

Semen is mostly made of water. It shouldn't come as a surprise that dehydration decreases the volume of semen that's ejaculated. Additionally, dehydration has even been shown to lead to decreased sperm quality, which researchers define by measures like sperm motility and the concentration of sperm for a given volume of semen.


2. Diet and Semen Volume

Semen is created by many complex processes in your seminal vesicles, prostate gland, testicles, and bulbourethral glands.


To function properly, these body parts need many different vitamins and minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, Copper, Vitamin C, L-Arginine and many others. If you're deficient in the building blocks that make up semen, then your body will not be able to produce as much.


3. Abstinence: Patience is a Virtue!

This is the least fun answer in this article: abstaining from ejaculating is a great way to increase the amount of semen that you produce.


A group of physicians and researchers from the American Society for Reproductive Health conducted a study that found that semen volume increases by 16% per day over the first 5 days of abstinence. Put differently, ejaculation volume DOUBLES after 5 days without ejaculating.


4. Sexual Health Supplements

Aside from drinking more water, making sure that your body has the vitamins and minerals that it needs is likely the easiest area for you to affect the amount of semen that you produce.


As mentioned above, vitamins and minerals are critically important in the production of semen. A few commonly used prostate-supportive and semen-boosting compounds are: Zinc, Pygeum, Saw Palmetto, Lecithin, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Pumpkin Seed, Amino Acids, and Selenium. These are commonly found in supplement stacks known as the holy grail of sex.


Ultimately, you get out of your body what you put into your body. Lifestyle decisions like eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco, actively managing stress, and avoiding drinking alcohol will improve your health and wellbeing. These things will help improve your mood and libido, which will ultimately increase the odds that you will have a good time in bed.


Things you can't control:


1. Age and Semen Volume

According to Seth Cohen, MD, MPH from the NYU Langone Health Center in New York City, "the most semen that you will ejaculate in your life will be when you're young and going through puberty. As you age, the amount of semen that you produce will decrease. This is because the prostate grows as you age, which makes urinating and ejaculating more difficult. Additionally, your prostate produces less seminal fluid over time."


2. Genetics and Semen Volume

As with all things in life, your abilities ultimately come down to a combination of your genetics and the way that you live your life. Some people simply have a natural ability to cum more, while others do not. 


Luckily, there are ways to increase the amount of semen that you ejaculate, which we will discuss next.


3. Medical conditions that can affect semen volume and sperm production

Certain medical conditions lead to a decrease in the amount of semen that's produced. Dr. Cohen says that there are two main culprits:


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Enlargement of the prostate gland. It leads to issues urinating including difficulty expelling all of your urine, increased frequency of the urge to urinate, and a slow or weak urine stream. BPH is extremely common: Over 50% of men over the age of 50 have BPH and over 90% of men over the age of 80 have BPH.


Prostatitis

Swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland. It can cause painful urination as well as changes to the consistency, scent, and color of semen.




✔️ References

1. Environmental factors in declining human fertility. doi: 10.1038/s41574-021-00598-8

2. Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. doi: 10.4103/0974-1208.170370

3. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Human Reproduction Update, November, 2017