Concern over the amount of semen during ejaculation is not unusual among men.
The semen volume that men ejaculate often fluctuates based on various biological aspects. Factors including health status, age, or simple abstinence from ejaculation can influence semen volume quite substantially.
Deliberate lifestyle changes can also go a long way toward a man's overall semen health.
This article explains what factors help create, increase, and decrease semen volume.
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Semen, also known as seminal fluid, is the whitish substance that comes from the man's penis during ejaculation.
Sperm is one of the parts of semen. Think of it like you (sperm) swimming in that water (semen).
Semen is a complex liquid substance originating from the reproductive tract (testes, seminal vesicles, prostate, and bulbourethral glands).
To better understand how to increase your ejaculation volume, let's first examine how a man's body makes its liquid reproductive substance.ALSO READ: Sex Positions to Help Men Last Longer
How Does a Man’s Body Make Semen
Semen production is a natural biological process of the male body.
Below is the breakdown of the male reproductive organs that comprise the actual volume of semen.
The testes, also known as the male gonads or testicles, are where sperm is made. Since sperm is temperature-sensitive, the testes must avoid becoming too hot or cold.
The testes are located just outside the abdominal cavity, providing the perfect environment to create viable sperm at a comfortable 3 degrees below body temperature.
The testes have several parts that work together to create and transport sperm. The seminiferous tubules, a system of tiny coiled tubes within each testicle, contain an abundance of cells.
During puberty, the release of testosterone and other sex hormones causes these cells to transform into healthy sperm cells.
Although sperm is an essential component of semen for fertility, it only makes up 1-5% of a man's total semen volume. The remaining 95% of semen is not sperm-related.
The seminal vesicles are two small glands within the male reproductive system that contribute roughly 60% of semen volume. Responsible for storing and producing the majority of semen, these vesicles play a considerable role in ejaculation volume.
The graph below shows that the seminal vesicles are located behind the bladder and in front of the rectum. During ejaculation, these vesicles expel seminal fluid into the ejaculatory ducts before passing through the prostate on the way out.
Seminal fluid functions to:
- Provide nutrients to the semen
- Assist in sperm transportation from testicles to ejaculatory ducts
Since sperm is the main functional component of semen, the reproductive system works together to protect it at all costs. One of the ways it does this is through prostate secretions.
The prostate is a small gland located just in front of the rectum. For the average male, the prostate contributes to 20-30% of the total semen volume.
During ejaculation, the prostate secretes fluid that helps to nourish and protect sperm as it's released as semen. It is an essential feature of semen production since prostate secretions help to lubricate the seminal fluid as it moves past to encourage successful transportation out of the penis.
The bulbourethral gland is a tiny pea-shaped gland located near the base of the penis. As a man nears ejaculation, a small amount of pre-ejaculate liquid leaves the bulbourethral gland.
As an alkaline mucus-like fluid, the role of pre-ejaculate liquid is to cleanse and lubricate the urethra before the semen arrives. Since the urethra is typically acidic from urine, pre-ejaculate fluid helps neutralize the environment to ensure sperm is not affected during transport.
Although the volume of pre-ejaculate fluid varies from person to person (anywhere from 0.5 to 4mL), the ability to neutralize and enhance sperm motility counts the most.ALSO READ: Premature Ejaculation: A Man's Ultimate Guide
What Happens When a Man Ejaculates
As a man nears ejaculation, a series of steps occur within the reproductive system along with nerves signaling the brain.
First, a man's arousal levels build gradually as testosterone and other sex hormones help control and synchronize the tipping point of orgasm.
During ejaculation, two distinct phases take place nearly simultaneously.
The emission phase is the process where semen is created within the male reproductive system. As ejaculation occurs, sperm travels from the vas deferens through the ejaculatory duct, where fluids are combined from the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, and bulbourethral gland to make semen.
Did you know there is such a thing as a nocturnal emission phase?
Commonly called a "wet dream", sexually mature men can spontaneously orgasm while still asleep.
The expulsion phase is the muscular response during ejaculation. The purpose of this phase is to help propel the semen into the urethra and out of the penis using penile and anal muscle contractions.A Look Inside the Brain
The orgasm that causes a man to produce semen also stimulates the brain to release a cocktail of important chemicals.
From an initial surge of dopamine, a hormone responsible for inducing feelings of desire, pleasure, and motivation, to a combined release of other feel-good hormones, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, nitric oxide, and prolactin.ALSO READ: How to Last Longer in Bed: 13 Actionable Tips for Men
What Is an Average Semen Volume
During ejaculation, men tend to produce anywhere from 2 to 3mL of semen on average.
For reference, this is about half a teaspoon in liquid volume. While you may think this isn't much, it's possible to have nearly 15 million sperm cells in every milliliter of semen.
Generally speaking, the younger the man is, the more ejaculate volume they have. It also means that younger males have a higher sperm count than older men.
Men who struggle with low semen volume after ejaculation typically only produce 1.5mL or less of total semen. It also translates to a low sperm count. For this reason, sperm concentration varies substantially from one man to the next – mainly if your total ejaculation volume is limited.
Why would you have decreased semen volume?
A decrease in semen quality and volume is a natural process of aging. From puberty onwards, men tend to gradually produce more semen until around thirty, when they hit their peak production. From this point, research indicates a natural decrease in semen volume production by about 0.15 to 0.2% each year.
Why does this happen?
Experts believe that the decrease in semen volume has to do with the physiological changes in male reproductive organs throughout their lifetime.
As men age, their prostate gland tends to enlarge. At the same time, the seminal vesicles produce less fluid, contributing to a low semen volume.
Age can also influence the muscles' strength to push semen out from the ejaculatory duct.
Other reasons men may have a decreased semen volume include:
- Tobacco and alcohol intake
- Emotional stress
- Mental health conditions (i.e. anxiety or depression)
- Abnormally low body mass index (BMI)
- Medical history of reproductive organ issues
What Are the Ways to Increase the Semen Volume
Increasing your semen volume is definitely possible.
With a few simple lifestyle changes, you'll not only be able to improve your ejaculation volume, but these tips can improve your sperm health too.
Nicotine is a problematic compound when it comes to semen. When men smoke cigarettes, the nicotine in tobacco can affect the functioning of accessory sex glands, including the seminal vesicles, prostate gland, and urethral glands.
Experts in reproductive health note that tobacco not only affects the volume of semen but can also negatively impact sperm motility and fertility.
When you quit smoking, your body can produce more semen and higher-quality sperm. Thanks to spermatogenesis, the testes regenerate new sperm cells every 64 days, which means that former smokers can improve their semen volume and fertility reasonably quickly.
Drinking enough water is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Among the various benefits water offers, staying hydrated can help improve men's semen levels during ejaculation.
Generally speaking, drinking 7 to 8 glasses of water per day can help you increase the volume of your semen over time and also help improve the motility of your sperm.
When in doubt, look at the color of your urine to see if you're drinking enough – the lighter the urine, the more hydrated you are!
Remember that an important part of staying hydrated is avoiding drinks that will dehydrate your body, such as coffee, alcohol, or sugary beverages.
Watch Your Diet
Much like proper hydration helps influence the health and volume of semen, your diet can also help. Generally speaking, a healthy diet consists of nutrient and vitamin-rich foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and fiber.
Adjusting your diet to include a variety of healthy foods can help to increase testosterone levels, improve sperm motility, and help boost total semen volume. Fertility expert Dr. Maribelle Verdiales mentions that foods rich in vitamins C, D, E, Coenzyme Q10, and zinc all increase sperm count and density.
Some beneficial foods rich in these vitamins and nutrients include:
- Pumpkin seeds
Limiting foods high in sugar, sodium, and fats can be beneficial too.
Moving your body keeps your mind, body, and semen healthy. While any type of exercise that will get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and lungs working is advantageous, there is one exercise that may influence ejaculate volume. It is known as the kegel exercise.
Kegel exercises are used to help strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor, which in turn can help improve symptoms of urinary incontinence, premature ejaculation and help improve semen production during ejaculation.
To perform a kegel exercise:
- Find space on the floor
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 3-5 seconds before releasing for 3-5 seconds
- Repeat this exercise for 10 consecutive contractions at least 3 times daily.
A man can retain semen by intentionally avoiding ejaculation or, at the very least, ejaculating less frequently. Semen retention can be accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity, withholding an orgasm during sexual intercourse, or learning how to orgasm without ejaculating.
Although semen retention can make for a more intense orgasm, it does not play a role in helping you increase semen volume. Without ejaculation, the body will break the semen down internally and reabsorb it into the body.
Note: There are no FDA-approved supplements to increase semen volume. Many supplements on the market claim that they will increase semen volume, and no complex data supports these claims.
At What Age Does a Man Stop Ejaculating
Since age takes a toll on the strength of our muscles, it's common to notice a decline in ejaculatory power during orgasm. In other words, weaker muscles make it more challenging to push semen out of the body.
In other words, weaker muscles make it more challenging to push semen out of the body. Another factor that makes ejaculation more complicated with age is the limited blood flow to the penis to allow for an erection.
Although many men can ejaculate well into their 70s (and possibly even their 80s), the sperm count, quality, and motility will be far worse than that of early adulthood.
Other factors to cause a man to stop ejaculating:
- Mental health conditions
- Chronic stress
- Erectile dysfunction
- Performance anxiety
- Poor body image
- Cultural or religious taboos
- Semen consists of various fluids produced by the testes, prostate, seminal vesicles, and bulbourethral gland.
- Males have an average semen volume of about 2-3mL and reach their peak levels by age thirty.
- Common factors that cause a low semen volume include age, chronic stress, mental health conditions, body weight, and other unhealthy lifestyle factors.
- The best strategies to increase your semen volume are drinking more water, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, eating healthy, and performing Kegel exercises.
- Although there is no defined age when men stop ejaculating, the volume and health of their semen decrease gradually throughout late adulthood.