Our expert says:
“Sperm are made in the testicles. To reach the penis, they travel along the narrow tube of the epididymis (which lies just outside the testicles) and then along larger tubes (one from each testicle). These tubes join together and go through the prostate gland to the penis. The journey distance is about 6 metres (because the epididymis tube is very tiny and tightly coiled), and can take up to 3 weeks. Nourishing fluids from the seminal vesicle and prostate gland increase the volume, so sperm make up only about 5% of semen (also known as seminal fluid or ejaculate).
During sex, the semen gathers inside the base of the penis. At orgasm (climax), the muscles behind the base of the penis contract, shooting the semen out.
The sensation of orgasm is a relief of tension beginning just before the semen starts to spurt out, and ending with the final spurt – so if there is not much semen the orgasm will be short. Most men ejaculate more fluid at some times than at others – the amount can vary from a few drops to two teaspoonfuls.
Ageing is one of the most common reasons for a decrease in the amount of fluid produced when you ejaculate.
Men aged 20–30 years typically ejaculate 4.0 mL.
Men aged 30–50 years typically ejaculate 3.5 mL.
Men aged 60–70 years typically ejaculate 2 mL.
Men older than 70 years typically ejaculate just over 1 mL.
These figures come a survey published in Human Reproduction (2003;18:447–54) and they are averages, so some men in each age group will produce a lot more and some a lot less.
Smoking. If you want to increase the volume of semen you produce, stop smoking. The survey found that, on average, non-smokers ejaculated 3.2 mL of semen, but smokers ejaculated only 1.9 mL.
Frequency of sex. The survey also found that abstaining from sex increased the volume of semen produced. Men who had not had sex within the previous 5 days ejaculated a larger volume of semen.
Dry orgasm (no semen) means that although you have an orgasm, no fluid is produced. One possibility is that your semen is going backwards into the bladder. This can occur after surgery to the prostate, or with diabetes or some drugs. If you suddenly develop dry orgasm for no apparent reason, you should see your doctor. You will need tests to see if there is a blockage in the tubes.
Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Friday, February 26th 2010”
For further information please consult SASHA’s website at www.sexualhealth.qw.co.za/dru. For referral to a professional in your vicinity, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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