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What Does Semen Smell Like?

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What does semen smell like? What factors cause it to smell good or bad? If you ever asked these questions, you came to the right place. Here we talk about sperm smell, what can make semen smell bad, and what you can do about it.

What Is Semen Made Up Of?

Before we talk about the smell, it’s good to know what semen is made up of.

Semen is composed of various secretions from the male reproductive organs. It contains fructose, citric acid, phosphorylcholine, potassium, zinc, free amino acids, prostaglandin, and enzymes.

The seminal vesicles produce between 46 to 80 percent of the total load, while 13 to 33 percent come from the prostate gland. The testes and epididymis also produce 5 percent of this fluid, while the Bulbourethral and urethral glands produce 2 to 5 percent.

Furthermore, the pH level should be between 7.1 to 8.0. If it’s lower, we say it’s acidic. And we call it alkaline if it has a higher pH level.

Why Does Semen Smell Like Chlorine?

Does the smell of semen remind you of chlorine, ammonia, and bleach? That’s because it’s the most common smell. Semen is approximately one percent sperm, and the rest are compounds, minerals, enzymes, and mostly alkaline proteins. They contain a pH level higher than 7.

Alkaline substances like magnesium, zinc, copper, sulfur, and calcium are present in semen, and they cause seminal fluid to become slightly alkaline. However, as long as the man has a well-balanced pH level, it’s normal for semen to smell like chlorine.

Why Does Semen Smell Generally Foul?

But what if the semen smell fishy or foul? Before panicking, you should notice your diet. Certain foods and drinks can make semen stinky, like garlic and alcohol.

But foul-smelling semen could also be a sign you have sexually transmitted infections, such as trichomoniasis, prostatitis, or gonorrhea. If you suspect this, you must see a doctor immediately!

What Factors Affect Semen Smell?

It’s normal for semen to smell differently now and then. However, many factors contribute to this. And here are some of them:


Uncircumcised men have a foreskin where dead skin cells, sweat, oils, and bacteria can build up. The buildup could blend with semen, affecting the semen smell.


Many fruits can give your semen a pleasant smell. These fruits include oranges, papaya, and pineapple. They are naturally sweet-smelling, and consuming them could make your semen just as fragrant.

Vegetables rich in chlorophyll can also do wonders. You can also try green leafy vegetables like broccoli, celery, spinach, kale, and cilantro. Further, adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg could also help.

However, caffeine or alcoholic beverages could cause your semen to smell bad. Also, vegetables like cabbage and asparagus, and meat and dairy products are known to cause sperm to taste bad.

Important: having a balanced diet is essential for your health. You shouldn’t stop eating fruits and vegetables because they may affect your semen smell.

Frequency Of Ejaculation

So far, there’s no solid explanation of whether the frequency of ejaculation can cause semen to smell bad. However, some studies prove how frequent ejaculation can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer among men.

It doesn’t matter how frequently a man ejaculates as long as he cleans himself up thoroughly after each time. Wiping the cock with a shirt or towel isn’t enough because residues may get stuck in the foreskin, especially if the man is uncircumcised. Always wash the penis with water and soap to ensure it stays clean and fresh.

Medicines, Smoking, Drugs, Health Issues

Medicines may also change the odor and color of semen, especially if you take them regularly. Meanwhile, smoking and taking drugs can make it smell foul because of the chemicals that mix with the semen. Also, people suffering from health issues like STDs or STIs may have bad-smelling semen.


Dehydration can cause pH levels to become irregular. It makes semen thicker, and other organs are affected as well. If a man experiences extreme thirst, he should immediately drink lots of water to keep his pH level regular.

Dried Urine and Sweat

Another culprit is dried urine and sweat. These two have high levels of an alkaline substance called sodium which can dry up and causes semen to smell even more chlorine or bleach. These two also have other substances that react with the natural alkaline components of semen, such as magnesium, chloride, and potassium, which may change its scent.

How Can I Make My Semen Smell Better?

There are many ways how men can make their sperm smell better. Let’s have a look at some of them:

Wash frequently

The easiest and most practical way to make semen smell better is to wash frequently, especially the penis, which is the fluid’s main outlet. Also, men should make it a habit to take a bath regularly and use products that can help balance their pH levels.

Eat a nutritious diet

Having a nutritious diet won’t only make men healthy but also improve the smell of their semen. They should eat lots of fruits and vegetables and add spices to their meals, too. Drinking a lot of water can also keep them hydrated and prevent semen from thickening.

Less alcohol, smoking, and caffeine

Drinking alcoholic and caffeinated drinks and smoking can make semen smell foul. They can affect the pH level of the semen and increase its alkalinity. Further, they can also cause low sperm count or infertility.

Safe sex

Men should practice safe sex at all times, especially if they have multiple partners. The best way to do it is to wear condoms. Condoms can effectively prevent pregnancy and protect you from STDs and STIs.


Did you know that regular moderate exercise can contribute to the overall quality of semen? A study confirmed that exercise could stimulate the sperm process and improve the hormonal environment for better sperm production. Also, it helps in keeping the pH level over 7.1.