How to Swallow Cum — If That’s Your Thing

To spit or to swallow? That is the question. Let’s talk about tips and techniques if swallowing is the way you wanna go!

How to Swallow Cum — If That’s Your Thing

How to Swallow Cum — If That’s Your Thing

How to Swallow Cum — If That’s Your Thing

January 27, 2020
— Updated
May 21, 2021
Medically Reviewed by
8 minute read

Semen (also known as come, or cum) is the fluid that is usually produced when someone with a penis experiences orgasm. For people who have oral sex with penis-owners, there is often a question of whether to spit or to swallow. Some folks just don’t want to swallow cum and opt to spit it out every time, while others are turned on by swallowing, either for its own sake, or for the reaction it gets from their partner. 

Some people may be curious about what it’s like to swallow cum but don’t know how to do it. Others may have tried, but couldn’t follow through due to a strong physical reaction to the taste or texture. If you’d like to try swallowing your partner’s cum but aren’t sure where to start, read on for some tips.

1. Communication is key

Good communication is important in and out of the bedroom, especially when it comes to experimenting with new sexual activities.

It can be helpful to start the conversation during a non-sexual moment, when you and your partner are both feeling relaxed and ready to talk. (1). Let your partner know that you’re interested in trying to swallow their cum and see how they respond. Although people with penises are often depicted as wanting to have their cum swallowed, that isn’t always the case: Particularly if your partner experiences gender dysphoria, anxiety, or a medical condition that affects ejaculation, a thorough boundary-setting conversation is important.

2.  Safety first

While swallowing cum is less risky than unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, STIs can be transmitted through oral sex (2). If you want to swallow your partner’s cum, make sure that they have been recently tested for and are negative for STIs. Oral sex carries the risk of STI transmission even if you don’t swallow your partner’s cum; all sexually active people should make regular STI testing a part of their healthcare.

3. Set the mood 

When you’re ready to experiment with swallowing cum, make sure the setting is relaxed and unhurried, with no distractions or time pressure. Be sure you’ll be able to go slowly, pause if necessary, and feel physically and emotionally comfortable. Playing favorite music, lighting candles, scenting the room with essential oils, or exchanging massages with a partner are all great ways to promote relaxation and comfort (3).

4. Use visualization

Athletes often visualize themselves making plays in order to train their brains for the actual event. Visualization has been shown to increase performance: By giving your brain a chance to do a “dry-run,” so to speak, you can actually practice doing something mentally (4).

In order to prepare for swallowing your partner’s cum, you can picture yourself doing it: Imagine its texture, its flavor, the way it fills your mouth, and the way it feels to swallow. You can even try swallowing another liquid (water, warm tea, or a smoothie) while you visualize. It can be particularly helpful to use visualization when you’re already turned on: Imagining swallowing cum while masturbating, watching porn, or otherwise sexually aroused can help your brain to associate swallowing cum with sexual pleasure.

5. Recognize that every person’s cum is unique

In general, cum is composed of water, sperm cells, hormones, proteins, sugars, vitamins and minerals (5. Lifestyle, eating habits, and unique body chemistry, however, mean that every person has a unique scent and flavor (6). Some people think that reducing their intake of coffee and meat, avoiding certain vegetables like broccoli or asparagus, and eating a diet rich in fruits like pineapple can improve the flavor of their semen (7). It’s important to keep in mind that cum comes in a range of flavors, from salty to sour to bitter to sweet. 

6. Get used to the taste incrementally

Marriage and sex therapist Cathie Helfand, MS, suggests using flavored lube if you find that taste is an obstacle to swallowing: Flavored lubes can help to mask the taste of cum as well as enhancing sensation (8).

Before working up to swallowing cum, it’s a good idea to start incrementally: taste a little bit of your partner’s cum to get yourself used to the flavor. And keep a box of tissues or a cup nearby in case you change your mind and want to spit.

7. Take control of your breathing

If you find it physically difficult to swallow cum, it can help to take control of your breathing: taking deep, rhythmic breaths has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety (9). Prepare yourself to swallow by practicing deep breathing before you begin oral sex, and take breaks leading up to your partner’s ejaculation to calm your body and center your mind.

While swallowing semen (in the absence of an STI, of course) is usually perfectly safe, in very rare cases a semen allergy can cause symptoms such as a burning sensation, itching, swelling, wheezing and chest tightness, or hives (10). If you experience these or other concerning symptoms after swallowing cum, avoid swallowing your partner’s cum until you can check in with a healthcare provider. 

Finally, if you end up with a mouthful of cum and decide in the moment that you’d actually rather not swallow, go ahead and spit: Withdrawing consent, for any reason, at any time, for all or part of a sexual encounter is always ok. 

Whenever you try something new sexually, especially if it’s outside of your comfort zone, make sure to check in with yourself and your partner at regular intervals. If, at any time, you feel uncomfortable, it’s ok to stop! For those who have strong gag reflexes or sensory processing issues, swallowing cum may be a lot to work up to—and that’s ok. Take your time, don’t expect to succeed on your first try, and if you decide it’s actually not for you, feel empowered to take it off the menu.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Emily A. Klein (she/her) is a freelance writer with deep interests in sexuality and health. As a student of cultural anthropology, she researched and wrote about kink, abortion, harm-reduction approaches to substance use in the LGBTQ+ community, and cross-cultural understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body. She has designed and implemented a sexual health curriculum for adolescent girls, worked with foster youth and those experiencing housing insecurity, and volunteered as an emergency first responder. Her writing has appeared in The Establishment, Edible magazine, The Seattle Lesbian, Slog, and elsewhere.

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1. Brito PhD, Janet. Personal communication, January 20, 2020.

2. “STD Risk and Oral Sex - CDC Fact Sheet.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed February 27, 2020.

3. Edge, Jennifer. 2003. “A Pilot Study addressing the effect of aromatherapy massage on mood, anxiety and relaxation in adult mental health.” Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery 9, no. 2 (May): 90-97 doi:10.1016/s1353-6117(02)00104-x  

4. Newmark MD, Thomas. 2012. “Cases in visualization for improved athletic performance.” Psychiatric Annals 42, no. 10 (October): 385-387b

5. Burch, Rebecca L. and Gordon G. Gallup, Jr. 2006. “The psychobiology of human semen.” In S. M. Platek & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Female infidelity and paternal uncertainty: Evolutionary perspectives on male anti-cuckoldry tactics (p. 141–172). Cambridge University Press.

6. Semin, Gun R. and Jasper H.B. de Groot. 2013. “The chemical bases of human sociality.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17, no. 9 (September): 427-429.

7. Sokol, Zach. “Yes, what you eat does change how your semen tastes.” Vice, June 19, 2016.

8. Helfand MS, Cathie. Personal communication, January 15, 2015.

9. Chen, RN, BSN, MSc, Yu-Fen, Xuan-Yi Huang, RN, MSN, DNSc, Ching-Hui Chien, RN, PhD, and Jui-Fen Cheng, RN, MSN. 2017. “The Effectiveness of Diaphragmatic Breathing Relaxation Training for Reducing Anxiety.” Perspectives in Psychiatric Care 53, no. 4 (October): 329-336.

10. Shah, A and C Panjabi. 2004. “Human seminal plasma allergy: a review of a rare phenomenon.” Clinical and Experimental Allergy : Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology 34, no.6 (June): 827-838 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2004.01962.x