How many calories are in the average male ejaculation?

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Dear Cecil: This question is really going to blow your mind … but I’m on a diet and I have to know the answer: are there any calories in the average male ejaculation? Name withheld and question reworded because I lost the letter. C.


Illustration by Slug Signorino

Cecil replies:

Ah, the thirst for knowledge — it knows no bounds. Start by assuming that male ejaculate is roughly equivalent in nutritional composition to raw egg white (a safe assumption). The normal size egg is about 35 cubic centimeters in volume and contains about 14 calories and 3 grams of protein. the normal size ejaculation is about 5 cubic centimeters, or one-seventh the volume of an egg white; figure it, therefore, to contain about one-seventh the nutrients — approximately 2 calories and .1 gram of protein. Of course, you’ll have to adjust those figures if you’re talking about Jumbo Size (eggs, that is). Happy dieting.

The Teeming Millions bite back!

Dear Mr. Know-It-All:

First of all, let me comment upon the total contrivance of the question in order to be, shall we say, sensationalist — “name withheld,” indeed. I can just see somebody’s mother exclaiming, “My God, this person wants to know how many calories there are in semen, and that means — drum roll — ORAL SEX!”

Anyway, I distinctly remember seeing this same question answered in the Playboy Advisor, although quite a bit less pretentiously, with the P.A. saying that semen was loaded with calories. However, even if by some chance I remember wrong, and you are correct, what right do you have to assume that semen is nutritionally equivalent to egg white and derive your answer from that? Is it because semen looks like egg white (after all, we all know it certainly doesn’t taste like egg white)? Or is it because the real function of an egg is reproductive, and since semen has the same function it follows that they must have the same nutritional composition?

Please, if you feel you have to deal with this kind of thing, go about it in a more competent manner.

— Lynne W., Chicago

Cecil replies:

“Mr. Know-It-All” — I rather like the appellation. Did you make it up yourself?

I won’t attempt to rebut your allegations in the order in which you present them. Rather, if you don’t mind, I’ll take them in descending order, starting with the most irrational.

You accuse me, it seems, of (1) making up the question in order to be, shall we say, sensationalist, and (2) failing to answer the question correctly. In other words, I made up a question I could not answer — how foolish of me!  And then, having contrived the question, I compounded my error by tipping off eagle-eyed observers such as yourself to the fact by including the “name withheld” business. How easy it would have been for me to invent a pair of initials and an address to go along with my invented question. I don’t know what could have come over me.

The fact is that the question was not written by me or anybody I know. It came in the mail. Unfortunately, since I did lose the letter, I can prove this only by appealing to your sense of logic (unless, of course, said reader should come to my rescue at some time in the future).

As to what right I have to assume that semen and egg white are nutritionally equivalent, the answer, my dear, is every right in the world, since I know for a fact that semen and egg white are nutritionally equivalent, at least within the demands of precision imposed by the nature of the question (and I did say roughly equivalent).

Although it is true that the nutritional elements in semen and egg white (protein, carbohydrates, lipids, etc.) do not correspond down the line, both substances are about 90 percent water, and in both the remaining 10 percent is composed of relatively high energy (calorie) yielding nutrients. Calculation will show that the substances are about equal in caloric content. (Actually, egg white is a little higher.)

Granted, my answer was less than rigorous. However, the problem defies rigor. The amount of nutritive substance in semen varies as much as 100 percent from sample to sample; the amount of fructose (one of the main sugars found in honey) in semen varies over a range of 400 percent. Finally, the volume of ejaculate itself varies from 3 to 5 cubic centimeters — not exactly a precise measurement.

It is, however, a very small amount of stuff. It is true that semen is “loaded with calories,” as you claim the Playboy Advisor reported. The point is that 5 cubic centimeters of anything is not going to make anybody fat, especially when 90 percent of the stuff is water. Five cubic centimeters of pure sugar has only 18 calories, for God’s sake.

In the end, it seems that you are the one guilty of making unwarranted assumptions. You assumed I played a made-up question for kicks and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Neither of these, I can assure you, is what anyone would call a “safe assumption.”

Cecil Adams

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