Confession: I’m not the first person to wonder how much cum a man produces over the course of his lifetime. Although I do seem to be the first to consider it in those exact terms. Most other quantifiable cum inquiries seem to avoid the words “throw away” and focus, like Marx, purely on the production itself.
“How many liters of semen does an average man release throughout his life ONLY from masturbation?” one redditor asked. “How much semen will an average man ejaculate in his lifetime, in liters?” asked a presumably European dude on Yahoo! Answers. Over on Quiz Stone, someone wondered how many liters of semen a man will have produced in his life if he has been sexually mature for 70 years.
In short: Dudes wonder about this stuff! But my point is that the conversation around ejaculate tends to avoid the glaring fact that most of us will have tossed out hundreds of billions of sperm more than we will have actually used it. Because—as you hopefully know—it only takes one to make a baby.
With that in mind, let’s get into the math of just how many sperm I’ve consigned to a gruesome death. First, it’s important we identify some baseline numbers to work with:
- The average amount of semen that a man produces when he ejaculates is anywhere from 2 mL to 5 mL.
- According to Live Science, a healthy adult male can release between 40 million and 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation.
- Let’s assume a man starts masturbating around the age of 11 and ejaculates in any capacity at least once a day until he’s 50 (the age in which issues with erectile dysfunction sharply increase, according to WebMD) and twice a week thereafter until the age of 70. (I realize twice a week may be a bit high for most AARP subscribers, but I’m trying to be hopeful.)
- The average person, according to the Pew Research Center, has nearly two kids in their lifetime, so technically speaking that means that two ejaculates aren’t wasted (depending how your kids turn out).
Now that we have some numbers to work with, let’s do some arithmetic: 39 years of daily ejaculation (some days more, some days less) means that between the ages of 11 and 50, a man is likely to produce 71,175 mL of ejaculate. Additionally, between the ages of 50 and 70, he’s likely to produce another 10,400mL of ejaculate. (Again, this is an estimation based on the fact that most urologists recommend regularly ejaculating to maintain your prostate’s health—as we noted last year, a 2009 Australian study found that DIY sex may also help prevent prostate cancer. The study showed that men who masturbated five or more times a week were 34 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer by age 70 than those who took matters into their own hands less frequently.)
All of this means that, over the course of a fairly horny life, a man is likely to throw away 81,575 mL—or 21.5 gallons—of ejaculate. To put that in perspective, that’s a little more than half a small bathtub of cum. Which, if I’m being honest, seems less than the swimming pool I expected.
As for how much actual sperm we’re talking about here, well, according to the same Live Science article, the average male will produce roughly 525 billion sperm cells over a lifetime and shed at least one billion of them per month.
So there you have it: Next time you’re worried about throwing away some extra food or wasting water while washing the dishes, just think about all those potential human lives you’ve jolted onto a napkin and flushed down the toilet.
On second thought, if you’ve actually made it this far through the article, the world is probably a better place with less of you in it.