Everything You Need to Know About Ejaculation

Couple lying in bed, low section, close-up
Marili Forastieri/Getty Images

Have you ever been curious about the fluid you release from your body during self-stimulation or partner play? Have you wondered what, exactly, semen is made up of, and what the process is behind its production?

The Basics Behind Ejaculation

Ejaculation occurs when semen is released from the penis, usually during orgasm. Before this occurs, however, a small amount of pre-ejaculate is typically released.

This pre-ejaculate, also referred to as pre-cum, drips from the head of your penis when you are aroused. It is made up of one to two drops of alkaline fluid from the Cowper's glands (the two small glands beneath the prostate). Its alkalinity neutralizes the acidity that remains in the urethra from recent urination. 

After the emergence of pre-ejaculate, that final, orgasmic explosion marks the final stage of male sexual arousal. While not every erection necessarily leads to ejaculation, when it does, semen flows from the urethra, first in a gush and then, eventually, diminishing in volume.

As you may have already inferred, in its noun form, the word "ejaculate" can be used as another name for semen. Ejaculate, or semen, is made up of 90 percent water. It's opaque, milky, opalescent appearance, however, is created by the sperm that makes up the rest of your ejaculate. This opalescence increases if the ejaculate has a higher concentration of sperm.

Sixty-five percent of the semen present in your ejaculate comes from the seminal vesicles. Thirty-five percent comes from the prostate, giving the semen its characteristic smell. Five percent of your ejaculate is made up of other fluids in the body.

When you orgasm, you ejaculate between 1 and 5 milliliters of semen.

The average is 2 to 3 milliliters (a small teaspoon). To give you an idea of how this compares to the output of other species, an adult wild male boar produces 0.5 liters of semen per ejaculation.

Putting quantity aside, did you know that an ejaculation can travel up to three feet or more? Don't worry, however, if you feel your own ejaculate isn't going the distance. The average distance that ejaculate can travel is about 7 to 10 inches (17 to 25 cms).

What About Multiple Orgasms?

Multiple orgasms are rarer for men than they are for women. The ability to have repeated ejaculation varies considerably from man to man and begins to decline almost immediately once puberty is complete. Within a period of one to two hours, most men can have only one ejaculation. There are some who can have a second ejaculation within those two hours and, on rare occasions, there are those who can have three or four. Alfred Kinsey, a well-known sex researcher, recorded one man who was able to ejaculate six to eight times in a single session, but this is very rare.

Will I Have Problems with Fertility If My Semen Is Only Average?

If you're concerned about conception, you can lay those fears to rest. Volume and distance don't have any bearing on your ability to impregnate your partner.

In fact, you can impregnate someone with just a tiny bit of semen. If you are struggling with fertility, however, a semen analysis will reveal if any other aspect of your semen may be a contributing factor.