Can Pineapple Make Your Sperm/Semen Taste Better?
For logistical reasons, I hadn't tasted my boyfriend's semen before this assignment. In the name of research, however, I took it upon myself to conduct a very unscientific, control sample-less experiment to finally get to the bottom of the time-honored, much-Googled question: Can food—specifically, eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice—make your sperm/semen taste better?
The "experiment" involved my boyfriend mentioning he'd eaten pineapple for lunch, me requesting he ejaculate in my mouth and him—approximately 26 minutes later—obliging.
What I tasted wasn't unpleasant but, well, it certainly wasn't pineapple. What it actually tasted like was the shirataki noodles I used to buy in Chinatown, that is, faintly salty and reminiscent of mushrooms. "Interesting, interesting," I thought to myself. "But my boyfriend hates mushrooms."
With more questions than answers after my slapdash experiment, I reached out to Carol Queen, Ph.D., the staff sexologist and curator of the Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum in San Francisco, for further insight.
When I asked her whether pineapple—or eating any foods—impacts the flavor of come (cum, semen and the like), she told me yes, but not always dramatically or in a clear-cut way. Sexual fluids can be subject to changes based on diet and other ingested substances, she said.
"It won't be a one-on-one flavor change, and the whole of a person's diet can result in a cumulative effect or temper any effects," Queen said.
"Flavors don't come through in a simple way, like drink coffee and your come will taste like coffee," she continued. "Most people aren't eating a diet just focused on one type of food—we shouldn't be, anyhow—so this is actually a complicated chemistry experiment."
What's in sperm/semen and why does it taste that way?
To understand how flavors do come through in your spunk, let's take a quick look at the chemical composition of sperm.
According to Dmitry Loktionov, an OB-GYN and the founder of sexual wellness brand Quanna in the United Kingdom, semen consists of sperm, sugars, proteins and, in lesser amounts, vitamins and minerals. The sugar content can make sperm taste sweeter, while vitamins and minerals can make it taste metallic.
Worth noting: Seminal fluid is slightly alkaline—or above a 7 in pH levels—due to its alkaline components like calcium, magnesium and zinc. The alkalinity of sperm is what gives it a bitter, salty taste.
Semen's compound composition can be altered by the foods and other substances someone consumes regularly, which in turn may have a subtle impact on the taste of their bodily fluids, also including sweat and urine, Loktionov noted. Similarly, this principle holds true with vaginal secretions, though Queen noted that semen and vaginal fluids generally taste different from each other.
Can foods, perhaps pineapple, change the taste of semen?
According to Queen, sour, stronger flavors in foods are likely to alter the taste in sexual fluid most. Examples include asparagus, cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts—these contain sulfur-bearing chemicals, she noted—and allium vegetables like garlic and onions. A diet that's high in meat is often called out in the discussion of foods that make semen less palatable, too, she added.
Similarly, coffee can make seminal fluid bitter and more pungent.
"Coffee is strongly flavored and includes methylxanthines, which carry a bitter flavor," she said. "So there's a chemical reason why someone who drinks lots of coffee would have semen that might taste different from a person who consumes just water and fruit juice."
In terms of foods to "sweeten" semen and make your come taste good, Queen recommended fruits and milder-flavored veggies.
"Drinking juice and eating fresh fruits is at least anecdotally connected to semen that has a milder flavor," she said. "Pineapple and papaya are referenced a lot; the latter has an ingredient called papain which helps break down protein."
Pineapple and other fruits, especially acidic ones, may slightly manipulate the alkalinity of the semen to affect the taste.
For his part, Loktionov recommended going for a Mediterranean diet, skipping saturated fats and preservatives in favor of legumes, fruits and whole grains. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can be particularly positive on bodily fluid flavor, he noted.
Other elements at play when it comes to the taste of sperm/semen
Beyond food, a host of other factors may impact the taste of your ejaculate, and probably more significantly, Queen said. Perhaps the most influential? Hydration.
"How hydrated a partner is [can make] more difference than anything," Queen said.
Following hydration levels, prescription medications can have a pronounced impact on the flavor of bodily secretions.
"Supplements, party drugs and anything our body metabolizes might have an effect," she added.
To Queen's list, Loktionov added obesity, smoking, high alcohol intake, poor sleep and high stress as potential culprits behind a funky-flavored load.
Before you try to change the taste of semen to pineapple...
"If a person has a partner who's game for it, experiment with these dietary hacks," Queen added. "Seriously, we should all be drinking more water anyway, you can start with that."
While there are certainly merits to eating a healthy diet and living a good lifestyle for health reasons, you shouldn't be overly concerned with trying to mask, diminish, alter or enhance the flavor of your sexual fluids. What you have is probably all normal, well and good.
After all, it's natural for your semen to taste like a bodily fluid and not like a piña colada.
"Sexual fluid [flavors] can be as much a turn-on as a turnoff," Queen said. "Sometimes people get more comfortable with these flavors over time or notice distinct differences between partners."
If your come taste bothers your partner, Queen advises using barriers, specifically, condoms for fellatio and dams or lorals for cunnilingus.
"People will have preferences, even strong ones. Folks with sensory issues might be extra-sensitive to tastes and smells, for instance," she concluded.
"Respect those preferences, of course. But I think it's often worth figuring out if these hacks or increasing your comfort level in various ways can make a difference to your experience. Oral can be amazing, sexy fun for all, so figure out what might change your experience for the better."