Sunday, September 28, 2003

Sperm: Mining the Net for Humour

Sperm, a gay man’s best friend, and maybe yours, too

:: I was minding my own business -- I just can't believe it! -- when one of my best friends remarked when I had introduced him to my blog, that I "had too much time on my hands". Doesn't he know that I am an artiste?!?

To prove him wrong, wrong, wrong! I decided to spend the day surfing the net looking for facts about sperm and to discover, perhaps, a culture of sperm. This blog episode is the result. Steel yourself! During the time it takes to read this, hundreds of millions of these unfortunate helpless folk will perish. Alas, that is their lot in life.

I decided to begin my search in the discipline of music lyrics. Here man's natural expressions of admiration, frivolity -- and lust, perhaps -- might be found; a quick trip to Google did not disappoint. I searched for "sperm" and found quite a lot -- much of it not printable even in this blog. However, an old favourite headed the list: from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Every Sperm is Sacred. It is sung from the point of view of a Roman Catholic head of the household and eventually every member of the family chimes in.

Every sperm is sacred.

Every sperm is great.

If a sperm is wasted,

God gets quite irate.

Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,

Spill theirs just anywhere,

But God loves those who treat their

Semen with more care.

Every sperm is sacred.

Every sperm is good.

Every sperm is needed

In your neighbourhood.

After this parody, however, things go downhill rather quickly, with images of death, destruction and nastiness in most lyrics containing spunky bits. Rap and metal are to blame! I am certain Schubert wrote nothing of the sort.

I did like the poetry in a lyric of a band called Momus -- "My Sperm Is Not Your Enemy" (from the album Oskar Tennis Champion (2003)) of which this is a sample:

My sperm is not your enemy

In it glistens destiny

Some day you'll appreciate

This acrid, viscose gunk

An agglomerate of goo

Ammonia, bamboo

Condensed milk, runny glue

And eternity!

My sperm is not your enemy

Hold it in your hand

You hold (you know it's true)

The future of man!

Among the remaining printable lyrics from other sources, Caldwell/Ferryman/Kaufman/Mullin sounds the most intriguing: "Airborne sperm from outer space / You better watch your face. / Airborne sperm from outer space / You know you love the taste."

Sperm he is very very small

:: Which brings us quaintly round to the correct use of sperm. Now of course, there is a fundamental purpose for it: to join with an egg and create a new human life. However, just as most women only make use of a handful of their eggs in a lifetime, most men dispose of, flagrantly some would say, on average 1,080,000,000,000 or so sperm. So if something on the order of 1 in 500 billion or so of these little devils is actually pressed into service creating life, it is probably ok for us to find other uses for the 1,079,999,999,998 remaining -- give or take a few billion -- that aren’t required for procreation.

Abby's Sexual Health Info site seems to have the right attitude and includes a Fun Sperm Facts page.

For example: what's the shelf-life of sperm? I don't mean in a fertility sperm bank; I mean still inside that cute boy you've been cruising? Did you know those tasty critters only last 2.5 months, from "development to ejaculation"? For most of us there's little danger in them "going off" because they've been let out long before they are due to expire. And it's a darn bit longer than a lot of boyfriends last these days!

Abby, a younger -- MUCH younger -- Sue Johannsen

I also discovered from Abby that they rocket out of one's manhood at the not too shabby pace of 28 miles an hour and generally only need to travel 3 to 4 inches to fertilize an egg. How ironic that, years later, it's so damned hard to get him off the sofa to carry the trash down to the end of the driveway.

Not that I'm bitter, but, ladies, we don't get those multiple orgasms you (reportedly) enjoy. We get ONE. And we hate wasting them. The worst thing in the world is to sploosh without the RUSH. And the whole thing only lasts four seconds, on average (that's the orgasm, even if sometimes the rest of it seems just as brief).

:: Emboldened, I decided to dig further. If a man's sense of virility is tied to size and stamina (or so say the dozens of Viagra ads overflowing my e-mail box daily), the amount he cums is also a vital measure of his masculinity.

While modesty does not permit me to divulge personal specifics, I chuckled at the unlikely claim that "average volume of semen per ejaculation is 1-2 teaspoons". I have seen a teaspoon of yoghurt! A teaspoon of maleness couldn't possibly create this much mess. (This is a good thing; unlike environmental spills, small is not better. Let's face it, men: quantity is part of the quality.)

More controversial, perhaps, is the 7200 ejaculations per lifetime. Durex, international maker of Performax condoms which contain a "climax control lubricant on the inside to help prolong your sexual enjoyment", reported last week that the average Hungarian was having sex (with a partner) 150 times a year. Most of us guys are busy exploring solo "down there" more than 2 or 3 times a week -- at age 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 .... Again, without releasing any state secrets, I'd suspect the average male might burn through those 7200 lifetime ejaculations just as a teenager.

Labelling in Canada is not always what it seems

Using the paltry teaspoon-per-ejaculate, and a mingy lifetime-of-7200-splooshes, let me just say the claim that we "average guys" only produce 18 quarts over 60 or 70 years of the world's finest, mass-produced, natural elixir sounds like it needs to be revised upward. Big time.

Every teenage boy has wondered if he's going to "run out" or "run dry" and most of us have tried to, on occasion. But they are persistent little critters, our sperm! Did you know we're producing these wiggly guys at the rate of about 5,000 per second? Our bodies are on a quota schedule to produce about 400,000,000 new ones every day. Now that's a party!

Thankfully, those cute sticky little guys are small -- there are 80 to 300 million of them in a single serving. You can see why your boyfriend needs to pause before providing a generous second helping if he really delivered well the first time. The risk of pregnancy has got to go down on the third or fourth outing in a single night.

Nutrition begins at home, one mouthful at a time

:: If you were concerned that I wouldn't get around to discussing the nutrient value of that blond twink shaking his booty on the dance floor -- no fear!

The nutritional value, even of demon seed, is all on the plus side. Cute bois, and even less cute ones, will present you with a yummy mixture of: water, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), blood-group antigens, calcium, chlorine, cholesterol, citric acid, creatine, deoxyribonucleic acid, fructose, glutathione, hyaluronidase, inositol, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (just like bananas!), prostaglandins, purine, pyrimidine, pyruvic acid, sodium (something you'll need replacing if you've been sweating a lot coaxing the little beggars out of their cave), sorbitol, spermidine, spermine, vitamin B12 and zinc.

Still, it's less than 1 calorie and, based on a standard 300 million spermatozoa serving, provides: 150 mg protein, 11 mg carbohydrates, 6 mg fat, 3 mg cholesterol (not sure if this is good or bad cholesterol), 7% US RDA potassium, 3% US RDA copper, 3% US RDA zinc. If you're a vegetarian, I suggest you get over it and get under him. We all need some protein in our diets and this is an all natural living source. (Think of it as warm yoghurt.) Remember: a trillion of these guys are going to die anyway so you're not really harming anything.

Eat pineapple, cinnamon and celery to make your semen sexier

There are numerous discussions of how to alter or improve the taste. Unbelievably, some women and a few gay men actually don't like the taste of the stuff. It's important to point out that the sperm itself -- that's the chewy, chunky bits -- have very little flavour; it's the semen, or carrier fluid, which adds to the savoury satisfaction. From a practical point of view, you might want to remember that the tongue is made up of different taste receptors. The ones sensing sweetness are on the tip so you may want to be sure to give your guy a good licking before swallowing ... I am sure he won't object.

One source on the net claimed: "In general, the taste of a man's semen varies with his diet. Some say that the alkaline-based foods (fish and some meats) produce a buttery or fishy taste. Dairy products can create a foul taste; the taste of semen after eating asparagus is said to be the foulest. Acidic fruits and alcohol (except processed liquors) give it a pleasant and sugary taste. Examples: oranges, mangos, kiwi, lemons, grapefruit, limes, Labatt Blue, Honey Brown, etc. (drinking a Corona with lime is double the fun." (Others reported celery, pineapple and cinnamon improve the flavour. Looks like I need to do some serious extended research on this.)

And nix the artificial sweeteners. Regular use appears to lower sperm counts measurably. Equal, Aspartame, Saccharine, Sweet-n-lo, Nutrasweet ... if you want your sperm counts to remain high ... or your boyfriend does ... stick to real sugar and do another couple of reps at the gym to burn off the extra calories. How's that for a win-win situation? Unless of course he's disposing of some of those delicious gooey treats in the steam room ...

Classy animated sperm are smiling here swimming in packs

:: A lot of women, as we have already seen, take a healthy interest in sperm and sperm production. Holly Webster reports:

The sperm's only motivation is to get into the woman's vagina and uterus, to impregnate an egg.

Sperm can swim in hot tub water, can swim through underwear, can swim across skin. They do not need to be PUT into the woman in order to GET into her and get her pregnant.

Sperm can live for up to 5 days after being released, and can 'wait around' for an egg in order to impregnate it.

(It made me wonder if gay guys produce sperm looking for other semen? Most of us are delighted to make the acquaintance of a sailor.)

The Australians have a neat male sex health site which is lubed and ready to answer your questions, safely, about all aspects of male sexuality.

You'll discover, among other things answers to questions like:

Can I taste my semen?

Yes, though you have to get some in your mouth first.

Is it common among straight men to taste and swallow their own semen?

Who knows? Straight men are the least likely to talk about which parts of their bodies they like - they often have enough trouble admitting they like their partner's bodies. However, you are not automatically a homosexual (or a bisexual) just because you like your own body and its fluids. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your own body, regardless of what anyone else may say.

Boyfriend in a glass, shaken and stirred

More than one site posited the question: "Are you looking for a sperm drink?" but they didn't mean a shot glass of fresh jism, just alcoholic beverages with a nod to the colour and possibly the texture of your date's private juices that you dragged to that fancy martini bar. Now just in case you think I am making this up, here's the instructions on making a Sperm Bank.

Fill a shaker half full with ice cubes. Pour all ingredients into shaker and shake well. Strain drink into a Cocktail glass and serve. Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Light Rum, 0.5 oz. Creme de Cacao, 1 oz. Heavy Cream.

No word on whether to shake or stir your boyfriend after a couple of those.

I also came across a couple of bizarre news stories. From Russia's Pravda (oh how things go down hill in the news biz once the dictators go home) I found this item:

The taste of sperm can predict future

The visitors of one of the brothels in the Japanese town of Nagoya are offered to mix business with pleasure. Kaho, the priestess of love who works there said that she can predict a man's future after having oral sex with him. As Kaho said, she has already predicted the future of almost one thousand men, and they are all happy, since they paid for sexual services, but also had their fortunes told. Kaho once told one of her clients which horse to stake on in a race, and he really won. She also helped another guy make a proposal to the girl he loves, and now they are happily married. This reputation is very good to Kaho, as she now has a lot of clients.

Popsy’s advertising is tres gai

And a controversy erupted in Holland when a manufacturer of one product, Popsy, started to sell its vanilla-caramel flavoured booze in 20mL "sperm-shaped bottles" with the slogan "I’m coming!" emblazoned across the label. The Dutch Foundation for Alcohol Prevention grumbled that the campaign is perverse and breaks advertising codes.

Associated Press ran a story over the summer, "Study: Abstaining makes sperm perform worse", the gist of which was couples struggling with infertility due to low male sperm counts may increase their odds of pregnancy if they "do it" a couple of times a day around ovulation, instead of "saving up" hubby's juices for one massive assault during the wife's most fertile moment. Withholding those sperm for more than a day or two can actually decrease the quality of the male's contribution. 7200 semen sample were examined in this study (where do you get these jobs, anyway?).

The number and proportion of motile sperm, meaning active and moving sperm, fell significantly from day two onwards, reaching a low at day six and remaining low. The percentage of malformed sperm also increased after just a few days of abstinence, the scientists found.

"You may have more sperm and more semen volume, but the quality is less. Usually, fresh sperm are better than stale sperm," said Lynn Fraser, a professor of reproductive biology at King's College in London. "What you really want to do is flush the system out so that the sperm that are there are fresh."

Finally, leave it to the BBC to run a story indicating scientists are ready to fertilize a woman's egg without male sperm. Scientists in Australia have found a way to fertilize eggs using genetic material from any cell in the body -- and not just sperm. This could put Brian Kinney out of a job; he'd have to stick to making Justin sticky from here on in and leave the girls to their own devices.

A sperm is like a nose? Does this guy have tenure?

:: Hey! And just when I thought I'd gotten all sticky in a barrage of one porn link after another researching this article, what do I find? Academics (fun people we know)!

In an article entitled Only the sperm knows, Hopkins MD/PhD student Loren Walensky asks: "Why is a sperm like a nose? Because both can, in a sense, 'smell'." He finds that sperm tails contain the same types of odor-binding proteins that noses do. The proteins, he suggests, "smell" odor messages from the egg, which allow the sperm to find the egg. He goes on at great length, always a happen circumstance with male sexuality.

Where is Wilhelm Fliess -- the man who convinced Freud there was a direct connection between sexuality and the nose -- when you really need him?

The Sperm Aficionado among current readers (are you still with me? Sick puppy!) will also want to check out some clinical discussions of sperm. A reasonably plain language introduction is provided by Rothamsted Research , a division of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of Britain. There will be a test following. Be sure to memorize acrosome, centriole, mitachondria, flagellum and be able to describe how the little guys wag their tails and how they eat their way into the egg to fertilize it (ugh).

Don't even try to take your sperm for a gym workout

And at California's Stanford University, there's even a whole website of sperm animations available online. I rather liked this one because it demonstrates another amazing sperm fact: A sperm's muscle drives nature's only known rotary-joint. The tail SCREWS, not whips. No kidding. Really. I am NOT making this up!

The things you learn on the net! Perhaps I do have too much time on my hands -- but when I do meet Mr Right, with regular access to that delicious male elixir again, think of all the fascinating things I can find to chat about?

Ending, as we began, on a humourous note: there were a lot of jokes posted about man's best friend; here are two that made me smile and not wince. (It helps to be gay to find these funny.)

How do you tell if your boyfriend has a high sperm count?

If you have to chew before you swallow ....

What does your boyfriend and the Bermuda Triangle have in common?

They both swallow seamen ....

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