You’ve probably got the basics down: Sperm comes from testicles, it comes out when a man ejaculates, and if it makes its merry way to a woman’s egg, it can get her pregnant. But it turns out that sperm is far more nuanced than those basic facts, and we’ve compiled a list of interesting, lesser-known trivia about the microscopic little devils that you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with.
Sure, you may have transcended the days that you used to crack up in the back of the classroom, drawing pictures of sperm and penises and boobs in notes to your friends — but then again, how much do you really know about sperm, anyways?
From how fast sperm actually move, to what the difference is between sperm in semen, to what you can eat to make your sperm taste better (yup), there’s a little bit of fascinating info in here for everyone. Find out more below.
#1. Not everyone can handle sperm — for actual clinical reasons.
Some men and women experience itching sensation, redness and burning sensation if sperm touches the exterior of their skin.
#2. The food you eat can make your sperm taste better.
In fact, it’s said that if you eat a lot of pineapple, your sperm will taste the best that it possibly can.
#3. Then again, other foods make it taste not so good.
For example, things like red meat and coffee can make your sperm taste bitter — think about that before you order a second latte.
#4. Do you know how much a man ejaculates each time?
It turns out, not that much. In fact, the average a man ejaculates half a teaspoon in one go.
#5. Extreme temperature can destroy sperm.
Extreme heat or cold can actually be damaging to your sperm count, which is why the testicles naturally regulate their temperature to the best of their ability.
#6. One ball is enough ball for one man.
Lance Armstrong, shown here, is perhaps the most high profile person to have lost a testicle to cancer. He has fathered five children since then, an example of how men only need one testicle to reproduce.
#7. There is such a thing as a sperm facial.
Antioxidants present in the sperm are used in many types of facial treatments, as they can make your skin luminous and smooth.
#8. All sperm wear hats, in a manner of speaking.
It’s an oval-shaped structure called the acrosome, which contains strong chemicals that are released once the sperm attaches to the egg. The chemicals melt the egg’s outer surface, essentially “drilling” a hole so that the sperm can get inside.
#9. Some people use the terms sperm and semen interchangeably
But in reality, sperm is just a component of semen. Semen also contains substances from the prostate, liquids that essentially allow the sperm to swim and do their job.
#10. It’s actually a myth that you were the fastest sperm in the bunch.
Here’s what doctor from one study had to say:
“The finding that longer sperm were more successful. However, the finding that slower sperm also have an advantage is counterintuitive.”
That’s right: You were really the longest and the slowest.
#11. To put it bluntly, the sperm factory is always open.
Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have. However, men produce sperm all day, every day. Sure, they may slow down production a bit as they age — but normal male testicles never stop producing sperm.
#12. It sounds macabre, but dead sperm can actually create babies.
When IVF technicians use glass straws to insert a single sperm inside an egg, they sometimes beat the sperm with the glass until it stops moving, essentially “killing” the sperm. As it turns out, the only thing that matters is the DNA inside the sperm.
#13. Finally, it’s important to know how long that sperm can live inside a woman’s body.
There are lots of myths about this, but the generally agreed upon length of time is two days — that’s right, you can have sex and technically get pregnant two days later!