Preseminal or pre-ejaculatory fluid is the viscous, colorless fluid secreted by the bulbourethral or Cowper's glands and the periurethral or Littre's glands of the male reproductive tract. This fluid is expelled to the exterior through the male urethra before ejaculation occurs.
However, nowadays, there still seems to be some debate as to whether or not there are spermatozoa in the preseminal fluid. In addition, the likelihood of becoming pregnant with this preseminal fluid, without ejaculation, is also a matter of discussion.
Provided below is an index with the 7 points we are going to expand on in this article.
Characteristics of preseminal fluid
Preseminal fluid is a secretion produced by the male during sexual arousal. It is an alkaline fluid that, in particular, comes from Cowper's glands and Littre's glands.
There is no set amount of preseminal fluid. There are men who can secrete a considerable volume of pre-ejaculatory fluid up to 4 ml.
This secretion goes directly to the urethra, without mixing with secretions from other glands. For this reason, preseminal fluid contains enzymes and mucus, but, by itself, does not carry sperm.
It should be noted that, on the way of the spermatozoa towards the exterior with ejaculation, they do mix with the rest of the semen components, that is, with the seminal plasma formed mainly by the secretion of the prostate and seminal vesicles.
The main functions of preseminal fluid during sexual intercourse are as follows:
- semen is more viscous than preseminal fluid. Therefore, one of the functions of pre-ejaculatory fluid is to lubricate the walls of the urethra to facilitate the expulsion of the ejaculate. In addition, preseminal fluid also acts as a lubricant during sexual intercourse.
- Neutralize acidity
- pre-ejaculatory fluid can act as a neutralizer of the acidity caused by urine debris in the male urethra. In addition, preseminal fluid can modify the vaginal environment (acidic) and thus facilitate the survival of spermatozoa after ejaculation.
At this point, to better understand what we have just mentioned, it is important to remember that both urine and spermatozoa share the same exit route to the exterior, through the male urethra.
Probability of pregnancy
Getting pregnant with pre-seminal fluid alone is a topic of constant controversy, both for couples and reproductive experts.
There are several investigations on the presence or absence of spermatozoa in the pre-ejaculatory fluid. In any case, both the studies that claim to have found motile spermatozoa in the preseminal fluid and those that defend the absence of motile spermatozoa in the preseminal fluid are based on very low sample size. This means that they have been carried out with a very small number of participants and, therefore, the results cannot be considered significant or conclusive.
In any case, even if it is confirmed that there are spermatozoa in the pre-ejaculatory fluid, the possibility of pregnancy due to the entry of this fluid into the vagina is low. However, it cannot be said that the probability of pregnancy with preseminal fluid is non-existent. Thus, the use of condoms before sexual contact is recommended if an unwanted pregnancy is to be avoided.
Coitus interruptus, commonly known as pull-out method, consists of withdrawing the penis from the vagina just before male ejaculation.
It is considered a natural method of contraception, as it does not require the use of hormonal medication or other devices. However, it is not a 100% reliable method to avoid pregnancy due to the great controversy about the presence or absence of sperm in the pre-seminal fluid.
In addition, coitus interruptus requires the man to have a high degree of control over ejaculation, since the reliability of this method is also based on whether or not the penis can be withdrawn in time before ejaculation occurs.
In conclusion, coitus interruptus is not recommended as a contraceptive method to avoid pregnancy and, if it is practiced, it should be done once the woman's fertile period has passed. The explanation for this is that sperm can survive for several days in the female reproductive tract, so sperm from intercourse days before ovulation could fertilize the egg.
Last but not least, the reversal method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and there is a risk of transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with pre-seminal fluid. Therefore, the use of condoms before sexual contact is not only recommended to avoid unwanted pregnancy, but also to prevent HIV infection.
FAQs from users
Is the presence of HIV in preseminal fluid possible?
Yes, HIV viral particles are found in seminal plasma and therefore pre-seminal fluid can carry them and there is a risk of transmission through unprotected sex.
How many spermatozoa does the preseminal fluid contain?
As we have commented throughout the article, it has not been demonstrated that pre-seminal fluid contains spermatozoa and, in the case of having them because they have been dragged from the urethra after ejaculation, their quantity would be minimal in comparison with that which exists in semen.
Is pregnancy by pre-seminal fluid possible on a woman's fertile days?
It is very difficult for a pregnancy to occur through preseminal fluid without ejaculation, since the presence of sperm is minimal or non-existent. However, it is not recommended to have unprotected sex during fertile days in order to avoid the possible risk.
There are several types of contraceptive methods if the couple wishes to have sex without the risk of pregnancy. You can find information on all of them in the following article: Contraceptive methods: types, effectiveness, risks, and prices.
If you are looking for a pregnancy, in the following post you will find information of your interest: How can I get pregnant naturally?
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Demir O, Ozalp M, Sal H, Aran T, Osmanagaoglu MA. Evaluation of the frequency of coitus interruptus and the effect of contraception counselling on this frequency. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2021 Apr;41(3):453-458. (Ver)
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FAQs from users: 'Is the presence of HIV in preseminal fluid possible?', 'How many spermatozoa does the preseminal fluid contain?' and 'Is pregnancy by pre-seminal fluid possible on a woman's fertile days?'.
Authors and contributors
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman
Hi, I have a problem, two weeks ago I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend, it didn’t end inside but I haven’t had my period since then. I should have had my period two days ago but nothing. Could I be pregnant?
If there has been no ejaculation the chances of pregnancy are minimal, it is important to note that if you had sex a couple of weeks ago before menstruating you would be ovulating, and therefore it is necessary to take precautions on fertile days if you do not want to get pregnant.
Anyway, despite being minimal, the chances are not zero, so if in a few days you do not get your period you should go to the doctor to rule out pregnancy.
I hope I have helped you.
Hi, I need to know if it is normal to have a lot of preseminal fluid, whenever I have sex I notice that I seem to have excess fluid, is that bad?
There is no set amount of pre-seminal fluid that is expelled before ejaculation, it can be anywhere from a few drops to a considerable amount like 5 ml.
So you should not worry as it is a normal amount.
I hope I have helped you.