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Some Guys Just Like Eating Their Own Semen

Some Guys Just Like Eating Their Own Semen:
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Amateur body-builder Michael Hoffman isn’t gay. He just has a huge gay fan base that he likes to tantalize with muscly selfies. And also: sometimes he likes to swallow semen. His own, to be exact.

Still, make no mistake: the Texan gym rat-cum-porn star (forgive me) is not into dudes. After a series of jack-off videos of Hoffman were posted dubiously online—one of which featured him cleaning up the aftermath with his tongue before flexing Hans-and-Frans style for the camera—he took to his YouTube account to clarify this heterosexual fact for his devoted followers.

Those videos, I can understand, make me look that way, and I respect gay people completely, but I’m not gay. I’m straight.

I’m glad that Hoffman respects me and my people completely—hey, no offense taken bro—but why would he or anyone else assume that ingesting one’s own sperm is a gay thing? That’s like saying that masturbating makes you gay because you like the feel of a penis in your hand, or that, for those so inclined (literally), to engage in auto-fellatio (self-sucking), you’re a homosexual because you put a penis in your mouth.

Back in the 1940s, actually, military servicemen were medically discharged for discharging their seed precisely this way. “[Such] sexual self-sufficiency,” wrote the therapists assigned to one self-sucking private, “is tantamount to having an affinity for one’s own sex.” (I mean, really, that’s like saying that just because you enjoy another man’s throbbing member penetrating your backside on occasion … Okay, that one does sort of make you gay.) You get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong. Some gay people definitely do this. But so do some straight people, and while there are minimal data on the practice, it’s likely that most men, at some point, try a taste of their own stuff. Perhaps the better question is not why they do this (and for “this,” the proper phrase is most likely “cum-eating”—or possibly just “swallowing”), but why do other people feel so strongly about it? Reactions to Hoffman’s leaked video of his leaking penis from women and gays were either along the lines of “that’s absolutely gross” or “that’s fucking hot” (you’ll notice there was no outcry over his privacy despite his questionable claims that the images were stolen). Clearly many men love watching women swallow other men’s semen. The Internet turned the money shot into one of porn’s biggest memes.

Is ingesting one’s own semen a relatively rare act meant only for a porn-viewing audience, or is this something that more men than we realize incorporate into their private masturbatory routines … perhaps their sex lives more generally? The science on this may be mum, but we can certainly speculate. Since consuming cum this way occurs when the man is no longer sexually aroused (he just came, after all), we might assume that it’s primarily for show. The display of swallowing titillates the witness, congenially extending the sex act after one partner has “finished.”

Yet there are a few obvious alternatives to this seminal exhibitionism hypothesis. For some men, maybe it’s more an issue of efficacy and convenience. Masturbation is a well-known sleep aid. So for instance, why schlep all the way to the bathroom with your splooge when you can just make it disappear with one swift gulp? There’s no toilet paper required for this, either, and indeed, if you’re one of those folks who can handle downing what you’re handling, swallowing is really the greenest option, a win-win for Mother Earth and the masturbator (which is the title of my next children’s book, by the way).

I can’t think of anyone offhand who swallows other people’s ejaculate for non-sexual reasons, simply to quench their thirst, even though semen it actually rich in vitamins. Only a small percentage of semen comprises sperm cells; the rest is a vitamin-rich plasma full of many different chemical compounds. Some of these, including cortisol, melatonin and the antidepressant neurotransmitter, serotonin, are salubrious and thought to have a psychotropic function after entering a female’s body through intercourse.

While those beneficial effects may not occur through oral ingestion (that’s still an open question), a few women have informed me that they keep a batch of their partner’s fresh semen in the fridge. (One enjoys it with a hot cup of tea whenever her husband is out of town because she’s convinced of its medicinal qualities.) I suppose this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “self-medicating” when it comes to our comely man Hoffman and his ilk.

In any event, it’s an innocuous affair for most men, but for those with certain medical conditions, swallowing one’s own semen could be downright dangerous. This is particularly true for those with “burning semen syndrome” a mysterious affliction of some Gulf War veterans in which the man’s ejaculate is literally caustic. Likewise, physical contact with one’s own semen has been identified as the cause of symptoms associated with “postorgasmic illness syndrome,” a newly identified immunogenic disease in which ejaculation is followed by unpleasant effects lasting up to a week.

According to Marcel Waldinger, the researcher who discovered this uncommon allergic reaction, these can include:

… sensation of a flu-like state, extreme fatigue or exhaustion, weakness of musculature, experiences of feverishness or perspiration, mood disturbances and/or irritability, memory difficulties, concentration problems, incoherent speech, congestion of nose or watery nose [and] itching eyes.

Even males without these rare disorders would probably be smart to exercise self-semen safety, or you might end up with pink eye like a patient recently documented in South Korea. “During the repeated smear and culture of conjuctival swabs,” wrote a group of Korean physicians in a case study of this 20-year-old with symptoms of bacterial keratoconjunctivitis, “surprisingly, a few sperm were detected … revealing that the condition was a self-inflicted [infection] involving the patient’s own semen.”

Suspecting that the man had nutted in his own eye deliberately to avoid compulsory military service in his country, the eye doctors “informed the patient and his father of the smear results and recommended a psychiatric consultation.” I’m trying to imagine how that conversation with the young soldier and his father transpired, exactly. “Right, where were we then,” says the opthamolgist, picking nervously at some files on his desk. “Oh, yes, seems your son here has a few sperm cells in his eyes.” I repeat: be careful.

Back to self-swallowing: again, so little is known about this taboo technique that we’re still a long way off from reaching a happy ending to our story. So do feel free to contribute your own data and report back to me.

Oh, and one more thing, before judging people like Hoffman too harshly, please, just put yourself in their testicles first.


Jesse Bering, an Associate Professor at the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago, New Zealand, is the author of Perv (2013), Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? (2012) and The Belief Instinct (2011). Follow him on Twitter @JesseBering.


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