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Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's Up With This Funky Spunk?

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I've been with my 47-year-old boyfriend for two years, and I enjoy giving him oral. By now, I've gotten familiar with the viscosity and taste of his jizz. For the last two weeks, it's been off. It's not thick and creamy, but a bit watery and opaque, like coconut water. Also, it has an odd taste. Yesterday, after he came in my mouth, I couldn't stop coughing—it feels like I've got a big phlegm blob trapped in my upper throat. Could he have started some medications in secret that have affected his jizz? Or is he just getting older, and this is normal? What about the phlegm blob?

I usually say that changes in the consistency or taste of semen can be related to the food someone's eating, how hydrated they are, how recently the person has ejaculated in the past, whether they smoke or drink alcohol, and/or the presence of a sexually transmitted infection or other health problem. Since you ask about medication specifically and seem to be having some health issues yourself, I consulted with our intrepid SEXpress health care consultant, Mark P. Behar, PA-C, who works at Milwaukee Health Services Inc. and volunteers at Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic.

Behar says, "The physical appearance of semen (color, consistency, smell, taste, etc.) is very much affected by what guys eat and drink, as well as their physical health. Eating certain cruciferous vegetables (for example, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage), as well as drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages, and other things very well may change the taste and consistency of cum. Infections involving the lower urinary tract (such as urethritis caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea, or prostatitis caused by non-sexually transmitted conditions) may also affect semen. Some medications can affect semen as well. (Unfortunately, this is not one of the listed side effects of medications on drug product inserts provided by pharmaceutical companies—imagine!) One other factor is that semen is mildly alkaline in pH, and when it contacts a neutral pH area of the body, such as your mouth or throat, that alkalinity may cause your mouth or throat to feel sore for a short time.

"Now on top of all of this, what if you have a mild upper respiratory infection, a sinus infection, sore throat, or allergies? This may also affect your ability to taste and smell, and may also occasionally cause an accumulation of phlegm that you may be incorrectly attributing to your boyfriend."

So, in short, changes in a man's ejaculate are not uncommon. If you are concerned about your own coughing and phlegm, definitely consult a health care professional, and don't be afraid to be as upfront with that person as you have been with me. Finally, I would consider bringing this up with your boyfriend and asking him directly if he can think of anything he's done that may have changed the taste of his semen. Perhaps you could help him pinpoint a health condition that he's unaware of!

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to
laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the
Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.