How much do you know about sperm? Chances are you don’t give these swimmers much thought unless you are interested in having a family or want to avoid pregnancy. Even if male fertility is not on your mind, there are still some fascinating facts about sperm. These little swimmers are vital for creating another human being, yet there’s a lot more to them than you know.
Sperm vs. Semen
Some people use the terms spam and semen interchangeably. Sperm is the motile microscopic male reproductive cell which is transmitted into the female reproductive system through a process of sexual intercourse. On the other hand, semen refers to the seminal fluid that is a whitish and viscous liquid released from the penis. The semen contains the sperm cells and other seminal plasma liquids which ensure the viability of the fluid.
Most of them don’t swim straight: Yes, the majority are like drunk little guys who would rather swim in circles or “tread water” upon ejaculation. Only about 20% of sperm make their way towards the egg.
There is a lot of them: Want to see a sperm cell? Better have a microscope because sperm is far too tiny to see with the naked eye. How tiny? The average ejaculate contains 200 million sperm and takes up about 1/2 teaspoon. If you placed all of these sperm cells end to end, they would stretch six miles. And the most exciting fact about sperm number is that they are declining.
Infrequent ejaculation affects sperm quality: Some people think that delaying ejaculation can help “save sperm” or increase the concentration of sperm, mainly when you’re trying to conceive. Wrong! You’ve got to keep those gears moving to censure that the little wrigglers are in tip-top form. Infrequent ejaculation or sexual abstinence means that the sperm stays in the gonads longer, giving them a higher chance of expanding to toxic substances the can damage them. To maintain sperm quality, men should ejaculate about three to four times a week. So, don’t hold back guys!
Sperm is full of nutrients: We’re not exactly suggesting that you try it, but it is fascinating to know that semen contains about as much protein as a chicken egg. There many other essential nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and calcium. Someone called Paul Fotie Photenhauer published a book called Natural Harvest: A Collection of Semen-based recipes. In the book’s description, it notes that “Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a beautiful texture and unusual cooking properties.
Men produce sperm for all their lives: It just isn’t fair, is it? Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, but men continue to produce sperm all day and every day for as long as they live. We’ve heard of men in their 90s fathering children, but both the volume and quality of semen generally take a dip as a man get older. Uh huh, the sperm gets a little sluggish, while the DNA gets a bit more fragmented.
They can even be frozen: Some men have their sperm frozen because they have a medical condition that may have a negative impact on their fertility in the future or if they are undergoing infertility treatment or cancer treatment. According to experts, sperm cells can survive indefinitely if they are frozen at a stable temperature of around -196 degrees Centigrade. At this temperature, all critical functions of sperm have stopped.
Sperm doesn’t die easily: It is a myth that sperm dies as soon as it is exposed to oxygen. Sperm cells die when they are dry, and they cannot be revived if they are rehydrated.
They need to have cared: Men can take many simple, lifestyle steps to help ensure their sperm is healthy and visible. Factors that can result in a lower sperm count or for sperm function include the use of alcohol, drugs, smoking, stress, overweight, overheating the testicles, exposure to industrial chemicals or heavy metals, and radiations. Use of certain medications, testicular infections or cancer, hormone imbalances, genetic or reproductive organs can have a negative impact on sperm health.
They’re in a hurry: Before a man ejaculates, a small amount of semen leaves the penis. Men have no control over this release and typically don’t even know when it occurs. Pre-cum is released from the Cowper’s gland, which is found at the top of the urethra. Experts don’t agree as to whether pre-cum contains any sperm since its primary purpose is to help lubricate the sperm that is released during ejaculation as well as to reduce acidity in the urethra.
If you and your partner are using the withdrawal method (when the male pulls out of the female before he ejaculates) and also trying to prevent pregnancy, do not depend on this birth control approach. In fact, use of withdrawal to prevent pregnancy is effective only 78 percent of the time. Also, Withdrawal does not help prevent sexually transmitted diseases.