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Is Semen Good or Bad for Your Skin?

Most people wipe it off immediately, despite all the claims that it’s a decent moisturizer. So I did some spunky research of my own

In the 2007 film Superbad, Seth Rogen’s cop character Officer Michaels admits that he often goes to sleep and dreams of “waking up in a world where everything is covered in semen.” 

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being ejaculated on, you know that the world isn’t so far off. Having your partner cum on you is an all-encompassing feeling of wetness that really does feel like your whole world. And, as you lie there like a toppled beetle trying not to move while your partner scrambles for a towel, you may have asked yourself the following question: Is all this cum good or bad for my skin? Do you need to rinse that fine film of spermatozoa off immediately, or can you get away with letting it mellow?

“From a 10,000-foot view, I don’t see any harm in this,” says Stephen Lewellis, a board-certified dermatologist. “Except for rare cases of a frank allergy to semen, which can happen, I wouldn’t anticipate serious adverse effects from residual ejaculate remaining on the skin for a reasonable amount of time, although it could be a bit irritating especially if your skin is particularly sensitive.”  

Thankfully, he says, most people do just fine with cum and should have no problem traipsing around doused in the stuff. But if you do start breaking out in welts, it’s probably not the actual sperm in semen that you’re reacting to. Rather, it’s more likely to be a particular protein produced by the prostate, something roughly 40,000 women in the U.S. and even a handful of men appear to be allergic to. Though, there’s almost no evidence that those rare allergies occur on the general skin — it’s usually the vulva, vagina or penis that react with burning, itching, hives and irritation. In incredibly rare cases, a semen allergy can cause system-wide anaphylactic shock, but the lone case study that reported this was the result of intravaginal ejaculation, not a person walking around with a little patch of dried jizz on their lower back. 

In other words unless you get a burning rash on your stomach every time your partner unloads their load, it’s safe to say that cum isn’t necessarily bad for your skin. So if you want to skip the shower and let it mellow, it’s probably fine. 

It might even be good for you. According to beautician-to-the-stars Chelsee Lewis, cum is the secret to a glowing, dewy epidermis and should be used as a sort of post-coital “face mask” to be left on the skin while your partner makes you a sandwich. “Using your partner’s sperm as a mask is full of a compound called spermine, which is an antioxidant that can help reduce wrinkles, smooth the skin, prevent acne or spots and give you overall healthy looking skin,” she told the Daily Mail. 

She’s not the only one on board the cum-train, either — former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown also famously advised people to “spread semen over your face [because it’s] probably full of protein as sperm can eventually become babies.” The TV show Nip/Tuck even featured “sperm cream” episodes, and Heather Locklear once joked that a few million sperm to the face was what kept her looking young and refreshed. 

Unfortunately for them, most dermatologists don’t necessarily agree. While spermine is anti-aging and apparently 30 times more moisturizing than Vitamin E, it has to be isolated from semen and processed in a lab before it’s cosmetically viable, which means that spreading and wearing it on your face probably isn’t going to cut it as a beauty treatment. 

Straight semen doesn’t make for a particularly effective treatment, either. As dermatologist Doris Day told Cosmopolitan, “It’s not necessarily something that can penetrate the skin in any way beyond what a regular moisturizer can do. The water in the semen, as it dries off on your skin, could leave your skin drier.” More importantly, Beverly Hills dermatologist Will Kirby told the Daily Beast, rubbing semen on skin around mucous membranes like the eyes and mouth might even spread certain STIs.

So, it’s technically safe to leave semen on your skin, but it’s not going to make you look like a freshly exfoliated 18-year-old who just emerged from a vat of aloe and youth. But what about vaginal discharge — or as Sheri Winston, a sexuality instructor and holistic women’s health expert prefers to call it — “vaginal juice”? Could you walk around all day covered in vaginal fluids without a care in the world?

“Vaginal juice is made up of mostly the liquid part that comes from the cells that line the vagina,” she explains. “That’s mucosa. Mucosa is any kind of body tissue that stays wet all the time. You have it inside your mouth, inside your eyelids and inside your vagina.” According to Winston, the fluid produced by vaginal is mostly cervical cells, good bacteria and water, none of which the medical literature lists as being either good or bad for your skin. So go ahead, attend that baptism post-fingerbang.  

Last, but definitely not least, is the ever elusive female ejaculate, a fluid that scientists still seem to know nothing about. “Female ejaculate is a very wet, very watery fluid,” says Winston. “It comes out of the urethra, the pee hole.” It’s probably not pee — no one really knows — but as Winston assures, it’s definitely not harmful to your skin. 

“They’re all skin-safe,” she says, referring to the variety of fluids that can wind up on your skin after sex. “Generally speaking, most of us are going to wipe [semen] off with a tissue or a cloth or something, just cause it’s goop on our body and most of us aren’t really fond of having wads of dry, well, you know. But you don’t need to shower afterward.” 

I guess we can look forward to a cum-covered world, after all.