Spitting v. Swallowing: The Ultimate Expert Roundtable

Including such luminaries as porn legend Nina Hartley — and a host of everyday men and women, too

I’ve spent the last few weeks engaging with people in real life, over the phone and on Instagram about semen. In particular, I’ve been asking them about their preferred method of disposing of a recipient’s semen after a blow job. Quantitatively, I found a 60/40 split, with swallowers beating out spitters by a fairly healthy margin — at least according to a highly unscientific Instagram poll with 152 participants.

There proved to be two main reasons as to why “Team Swallow” is so loyal to digesting their partner’s loads:

  1. It’s an act of devotion and extreme affection.
  2. Swallowing is a simple, convenient way to discard just about anything (especially liquids).

Still, spitters gonna spit. And they, too, had a couple of common reasons why:

  1. Cum dribbling out of their mouths provides a visual, “porny” eroticism.
  2. They hate the way semen tastes.

To point No. 1, we generally assume swallowing semen after performing oral sex is the most erotic method of disposing of cum. But it would seem that’s wrong. Again, according to an Instagram poll, 54 percent of 150-plus participants agreed with the following statement: “Spitting is more erotic than swallowing.”

Then there’s this from my friend Rob: “It’s a false dialectic. You can swallow the first of it, but then spit out the rest. Some people, such as my boyfriend, cum a lot. A lot, a lot. I won’t say too much, because that’s not nice, but it’s really necessary that I do both. Honestly, if I tried to swallow it all, I’d drown.”

But despite such choking-hazard grey areas, it’s still mainly an either-or thing. And so, I convened a roundtable of esteemed spitters and swallowers—from friends to porn veterans like Nina Hartley to randos on the internet to better understand our relation to tasting (and in many cases, digesting) a man’s, um, nectar. (So many people I interviewed called cum “nectar” that by the end of my research, I started groaning whenever it was mentioned.)

Romance (and/or Good Genetics) Is Paramount…

Nina Hartley, porn performer and producer, sexual education teacher and author: It depends on the situation, the partner and how I feel in the moment. Each action has its merits, and I’ve done all of them. I feel swallowing is more personal, intimate and romantic while spitting is more practical. If I’m going to have semen on me, I prefer on my boobs—so I can watch! On the other hand, eating semen is such a personal thing.

A friend who wanted to remain anonymous: I swallow with people I’m deeply in love with. In fact, now that I think about it, I realize I don’t give much head unless I really like someone in the first place.

Another anonymous female friend: I’ll swallow if I love you, or you made me cum more than once.

Andrea, Instagram follower: I swallow if he top-shelf only. I only want nice DNA merging with mine.

…Except When It’s Not

Ashley Sinclair, porn performer and clip producer: I don’t know if it says anything about the relationship. I just think it’s hot to feel the cum in my mouth and running down my throat. It’s like a prize for doing a good job! It’s kinda like they “own you” when they put their cum inside of you, which is something I like to feel during sex.

Ali, a 29-year-old artist and production designer: When I’m making a decision to leave the cum in my mouth and swallow it, it’s like I’m politely putting away the mess. I know another way to look at it is that by literally ingesting his fluid, I’m partaking in a gesture of intimacy, body unification and sacrifice—especially because it’s not the best tasting stuff and not typically fun for the receiver—but I’m not that into it. During the moments I have swallowed, I’m thinking, This is the nice thing to do. It usually happens because for some reason I feel like this guy might feel bad if I don’t swallow, which isn’t sexy at all. Basically, swallowing makes me feel considerate, which makes me laugh to think about, but I don’t find that sexy.

Sometimes Swallowing Is Just the Practical Thing to Do

Becca, Instagram follower: I mostly swallow because it’s much easier to clean up.

Ama, Instagram follower: I swallow when I’m not trying to get dirty, and spit if there are rounds of sex to come.

V, an Instagram follower: Spit if we just met, and swallow for ease! But recently I’ve been with someone who’s very into cum-swapping and seeing his cum dripping in general. It feels a little territorial, but it’s interesting it gets him off.

About That Drip…

Ali: I don’t leave the situation to go spit—that would be make me feel like I was at the dentist or some shit. I just let it seep out of my mouth onto myself or him. Then I clean it up with a T-shirt or a rag. The most ideal situation is for cum not to enter my mouth at all though. I try to aim it on my face or tits. Personally, seeing the cum is more sensational, erotic and porny. It’s fun to see how much comes out each time. Whenever it’s a huge eruption, I’m super impressed and giggly. And it looks hella cool pouring out of my mouth!

Antonia Crane, writer, professor and stripper: I spit the cum onto your thighs or stomach. Then I get up for a hot, wet washcloth and place it on the cum, like a lady.

Sinclair: The bigger the load, the more manly my lover seems. I tell them to give me their cum. Although I swallow and like it shot inside of me during sex, sometimes I’ll tell them to cum all over me just so I can see how much there is.

Meanwhile, the Taste It Leaves in Your Mouth Is…

Hartley: It’s bitter, astringent and bleach-like. (Semen is alkaline, to counter the acidity of the vagina, which is why it burns when it hits your eye.) Also, it can be sweet like raw walnuts.

Crane: Some guys taste like bleach, and others somewhere between sour milk and salty beer. Honestly, it all smells and tastes vastly different depending on diet and dehydration. Same for texture. Some cum is gelatinous and disgusting. Personally, I like my cum watery and copious. I guess I watch too much porn.

Niko, my best friend: If someone seems unhealthy, I know their nut will be nasty so I just let it spew.

Chap, Instagram follower: I’d rather spit; I just don’t like the taste.

Morning Breath Meets Morning Blow Job

Crane: I almost puked recently. It was morning sex, and I wasn’t ready for the taste.

Mouthwash Afterward or Nah?

Sinclair: I never feel a rush to do that, but I usually do anyhow. If I didn’t or couldn’t—for example, after giving a BJ in a car or something—it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Crane: I’m never in a huge rush to clean, period. I like bodies that smell like they’ve lived and fucked outside of a cubicle.