22

After reading the latest explosm comic I realized that I often heard about this claim, but never read anything drawing from credible sources.

Eating pineapples makes semen taste better.

On the contrary beer is said to make it taste worse. Of course, taste is a matter of preference that differs between individuals. So my question is, if the eating (or drinking) behaviour really has any influece at all on the taste (read composition) of sperm?

some random sources

  • 1
    @maple_shaft - Comments do not mean that you can make unreferenced claims like, "people who eat mostly meat tend to smell bad naturally." Please back up the claim or remove the comment. – Chad Apr 30 '12 at 14:22
  • 2
    @Chad Is that how it works here? I can't even post a friggin comment about my personal thoughts and experiences without references? Good Lord NO I won't edit it. Flag it for deletion if you feel so inclined. – maple_shaft Apr 30 '12 at 15:15
  • 2
    @maple_shaft - I am not a mod but yes that is the rules for this site... probably mostly because people used comments to post semi answers like yours to get around the required citations. – Chad Apr 30 '12 at 15:43
  • 2
    I can only say from personal anecdotal experience that yes, diet does influence the taste - but what is 'good or bad' tasting is subjective to the tastee. Unless we find a porn star who has kept a diary, we're not likely to find anyone with a (pardon the pun) sample size large enough to be relevant. – Darwy May 1 '12 at 22:58
  • 1
    Perhaps we should ask Fotie Photenhauer, he/she has written a book on cooking with semen. – Mihai Rotaru May 7 '12 at 10:02
9

I couldn't find anything in the scientific literature, but then I thought I had found the answer.

I read the description of an experiment performed by the BBC show The Truth About Food. Not peer-reviewed scientific journal, but perhaps the best you can hope for on a question that is unlikely to get normal funding. It sounded promising.

Their video link is (currently) broken, but the segment is available on YouTube.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a terribly low-quality experiment.

Three couples took part. (Flaw: sample too small to draw any strong conclusions.)

The men were given a diets free of garlic, asparagus and alcohol, but high in one of spices, fish or fruit. (Flaw: There was no control to see if the changes were non-existent.)

After three days, and kept in the dark about which diet was involved, the three women tasted the semen from a test-tube. (Flaw: There was no control; they relied on memory to compare; presumably with a faster and less formal presentation.)

They were given four choices (including one "distractor" answer) to select between. (Flaw: The hypothesis was that changing diet could affect the taste in some way. The actual test was that it would affect the taste in a manner that was previously associated with the food. It would fail to detect if fruit actually made the semen more spicy in flavour, for example.)

One of the three selected correctly - this is not significantly different to random guesses. (Do I need to do a detailed statistical analysis to prove this?)

The reporter's conclusion was entirely facile:

Evidence perhaps that food flavour molecules may pass into the seminal fluid.

I draw an entirely different set of conclusions:

  • The flavour of the semen is not strongly changed in a expected direction and in a way that shines through the unusual protocol (e.g. test tubes), to enable all three women to predict the diet correctly.

  • Even the BBC's Science and Nature unit has a pitiful understanding of experimental design.

  • 1
    The only conclusion you can draw is that there is as much evidence for passage of flavour into semen as there was before this experiment was performed. :) – nico May 5 '12 at 6:41
  • 1
    @nico: Close, but this puts a very high upper limit on the strength of the (alleged) effect. i.e. roughly, if you eat chicken, your semen doesn't suddenly taste just like chicken. – Oddthinking May 5 '12 at 9:40
  • Having a distractor answer is smart - and so out of keeping with rest of the experiment - that I speculate that there was actually a 4th couple who was omitted for some reason. – Oddthinking May 5 '12 at 9:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .