The nature of semen being vegan or not lays in the grey area.
Oral sex is very common amongst the youth these days. It is a fun way of jazzing up the sex life and bring something different into the bedroom.
Vegans do not consume anything that is sourced from animals. But is semen vegan, and is it okay to gulp it down while things get steamy? That might be a question for many.
Semen is a bodily fluid that comprises mature sperms and some other secretions from different body organs.
Though 90% of the semen is water, the remaining 10% consists of many other ingredients other than sperm. These ingredients, however, can easily be obtained from products, thereby not limiting their source. Though, the vegan status of semen remains ambiguous.
The question of determining the nature of semen as a vegan can be tricky. Read on to know about it in detail.
What Is Semen?
As mentioned earlier, semen is a type of bodily fluid that men produce. It is a greyish substance formed by the male reproductive system.
Semen is ejaculated in a sexual event. It is how a male deposits his sperm inside the female’s reproductive tract to initiate the process of procreation.
Semen is a cocktail of several substances, including the sperm. Different organs in the reproductive system contribute their secretion when the sperm is ejaculated. This is to provide the nutrients essential for the survival of the sperm in the female’s body.
It also eases the motility of the sperms to move without obstruction and reach the site of fusion, the fallopian tubes.
Semen helps in setting the sperms in the right direction to reach the egg.
Even though a major portion of semen is just water, there are many other components added to the mix to ensure the health and survival of the sperm.
Composition Of Semen
Semen is not just water and sperm. Multiple components can help determine the exact dietary nature of semen. We need to look at the secretions of the different organs that contribute to the formation of semen.
Seminal vesicles are elongated sac-shaped glands in the male reproductive system. The role of seminal vesicles is to secrete a viscous fluid content that forms a significant part of the ejaculate.
The fluid secreted by the gland is rich in fructose and forms about 70% of the entire semen composition.
Fructose, the main constituent of semen, is not exclusively produced by the human body. It can be easily sourced from the respective plant. It is very commonly available and consumed by people around the globe. This includes vegans as well.
Therefore, the presence of fructose does not make the semen non-vegan.
The characteristic white color of the semen comes from the secretions of the prostate gland.
The prostate gland is one of the primary organs of the male reproductive system. The secretions of this gland provide the nutrients necessary to keep the sperm healthy and active till it reaches the egg.
Therefore, the secretions of the prostate gland are nutrient-rich. It includes enzymes, lipids, citric acid, and acid phosphatase.
The secretions of the prostate gland make the remaining 30% of the total semen composition.
- Enzymes are common reagents found in both plants and animals. Their purpose is to catalyze a reaction and bring it to completion at an accelerated rate. Commercial enzymes are obtained both from plants as well as animal sources, depending upon the type.
- Citric acid is a common component of citric fruits. Chilies are the richest source of citric acid. Plant products are the primary extraction source for citric acid.
- Lipids are hydrocarbon molecules, which are pretty essential to ensure the healthy well-being of our bodies. Lipids can be found in a variety of food items, be it from plant or animal sources.
- Acid phosphatase is another enzyme that helps in breaking down organic phosphate molecules to get energy. It is needed for the motility of the sperm.
None of the components quoted above are strictly animal produce. But they are still produced by the human body.
Since humans belong to the family of mammals, semen can be considered animal produce.
But this assumption opens floodgates rather than providing any clear clarifications.
A Never-Ending Debate
If body fluids were to be considered animal produce, then many things will come under the ambit of the vegan discussion.
For instance, is it okay for a vegan to kiss another person because the human body produces saliva? Is it okay for a vegan patient to get a blood transfusion because the human body produces blood?
The practice of veganism involves the non-consumption of anything that has an animal origin. Keeping the literal meaning on hold for a while, people adopt veganism to end animal cruelty.
The modern definition of veganism thus focuses more on the non-consumption of food resulting from animal exploitation and cruelty.
That is why, even though milk does not involve the killing of the animal, it is still considered non-vegan. The reason being the laborious process to obtain the same. For similar reasons, eggs are also included in the list.
So, where does this put the vegan stand on semen?
Semen, even though produced by the human body, is not a product of cruelty. It is instead a product of pleasure. You are not exploiting or harming a male human to produce semen for commercial consumption. If procreation is not in question, then semen is simply a byproduct of sexual intercourse.
Nowhere across the globe, human males are chained to walls or caged and starved to death to obtain semen. It is instead done by two consenting adults and is quite far away from being gruesome and cruel.
It might not be purely vegan, but it cannot be rejected entirely as well.
Nutritional Aspects Of Semen
About 5ml of semen is produced in each ejaculation on average. This amount is equal to one teaspoon and does not offer many nutritional benefits.
However little the amount, semen has almost 50% protein. It mainly contains albumin and several other proteins, along with free amino acids.
Approximately every ejaculate has 250mg of protein!
Apart from this, semen comprises the following nutrients:
- Citric acid
- Lactic acid
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
Even so, the amount of semen produced is too little to be of any nutritional value.
As stated previously, all of these elements are not exclusively produced in the human body and can be obtained from plants.
Does A Vegan Diet Affect Sperm Count?
Multiple findings give a contrary opinion about the impact of a vegan diet on sperm count.
A 2014 Huffington Post Article talked about a study that showed that people who ate meat had a 20% higher sperm count than those who didn’t. As per the lead researcher, no meat consumption results in multiple deficiencies in the body, especially concerning vitamins.
Another correlation was shown between soy consumption and sperm count. Soy being high in estrogen can disrupt the hormone signals in the body. This can have a direct impact on the sperm count.
Another study published in LIVEKINDLY by Harvard University showed a significant increase in sperm count in people on a vegan diet.
The research showed the presence of inhibin-B in the bodies of males having a vegan diet. The presence of inhibin-B is an indication of the presence of Sertoli cells. Therefore, the body needs inhibin-B as an indicator to avoid any disruption of the sperm count.
The same study also showed that people who consume large amounts of red meat, junk food, candies, etc., suffered from a lower sperm count. Veganism led to higher sperm products by a rate of 25.6 million.
A vegan diet might indeed lack a few vitamins that the body needs.
For instance, if you are a hardcore vegan, then you might suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. That needs to be supplemented via tablets or other forms of supplements.
However, a vegan diet isn’t an unhealthy diet. It is pretty rich and provides the body the purest form of nutrients.
More scientific data is needed to back the claim of low sperm count.
To Sum It Up
Categorizing semen as vegan or non-vegan is purely subjective. At most, it can be considered vegan-friendly. The categorization may change depending on what you define as cruelty and exploitation.
The bottom line remains whether the product was obtained by inflicting any harm to an animal. In that case, the answer is obvious since it is a result of consent.