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Can Semen Really Clog Your Pipes, or Is That a College Myth?

Sorry for the nightmare fuel, but what causes the clog is actually far grosser

The shower drain is a domicile’s most menacing location. It represents both cleanliness and filth, the sacred and the profane. It lets you wash away that which you wish to be rid of, until it doesn’t, and then you must confront months of your careless disposals with your own hands. Anyway, does cum clog your pipes?

It’s an ancient college dorm myth, that the facilities are incapable of managing the burden of hundreds of virile 18-year-old boys who jack off in the showers each day, and almost annually, some digitally altered “official” notice stating that masturbating in the showers is prohibited makes the rounds. Preventing someone from jackin’ it is the perfect prank, really. What quiet satisfaction these notice-creators must feel. But back to the question at hand: Is there any truth to the concept itself? Maybe a shred. 

In 2016, Slate bravely asked an actual Harvard Medical School urology professor named Abraham Morgentaler about this. As Morgentaler explained, semen only maintains its thickness for a short time. As anyone who has combined semen and water can tell you, the two form a horrifying rubberized texture, and while it’s fair to assume this would have pipe-clogging capabilities, fortunately, this new texture is only temporary. 

Semen’s thickness serves the biological purpose of helping it stay within the vagina to aid in procreation. While semen can hypothetically survive longer inside a vagina, semen becomes liquidy and watery after around 20 to 30 minutes. Even if combined with water inside the pipe of a shower, this phenomenon will still occur. As such, the semen will slip away. 

Hypothetically, if you poured a gallon of semen down a drain and splashed some water on it, you would probably have a temporarily clogged pipe. However, by the grace of God, this wouldn’t last. This doesn’t mean you’re totally in the clear, though — if your drain is clogged by something else, say, a disgusting mass of hair, you may end up confronting semen in the drain, too. 

As one dorm-cleaner horrifyingly explained to my colleague Quinn Myers, semen in shower drains is “a lot like the egg in meatballs. Grind up some meat with seasoning and bread, and it’ll just fall apart. But add egg as a binder, and you got yourself some meatballs. Meanwhile, hair on its own is just ground beef. But add jizz as a binder to the hair, and you’ve got yourself some awful, shower-clogging meatballs.” 

They describe scrubbing the showers, pulling on one single strand of hair and unearthing a massive wad of jizz-hair. But was it really jizz? If this cleaning occurred within half an hour of the crime, perhaps — the science doesn’t quite support the idea that it could stick around much longer. You know what does make for some awful hair meatballs and looks a lot like cum, though? Hair conditioner. At least, that’s the comforting interpretation.