Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Let’s talk about money shots. Porn films have a lot of unrealistic content (see: number of threesomes in an “average” guy’s day — seriously, what’s up with that?), but today, we’re calling out the industry for something else: how it presents ejaculatory volumes on screen.
We have questions. Like, where does it all come from? How do they get it? Why does it look suspiciously like the frosting from the Toaster Strudel commercials we all grew up with? Nothing about what we see in porn seems real, and the “final scenes” are no different.
As with penis size and sexual stamina, porn is a bad arbiter for what is normal. And if you’re more focused on reality than fantasy, you should know that the amount of semen you ejaculate has nothing to do with fertility, pleasure or sexual performance.
Still self-conscious about how much you’re producing? Feeling the weight of light wads on your shoulder? Let us help you take that load off with some science about:
How ejaculation works.
What’s normal and why some men may produce less.
What to do if you’re not producing enough volume.
How to improve your performance and maintain stronger erections.
Don’t skip ahead to the big finish — there’s a lot to learn here.
Let’s bust one big myth about man-bust right off the bat: seminal fluid isn’t just one thing, and seminal fluid and sperm aren’t the same things.
Seminal fluid provides your ejaculate with the majority of its volume and allows sperm to travel out from your urethra when you reach orgasm and ejaculate — so when you're thinking about how to produce more “cum” or how to increase “sperm volume,” what you're actually thinking about is seminal fluid.
These components of seminal fluid are all produced in the different parts of your reproductive system:
Your prostate gland produces prostatic fluid, which is a milky, alkaline substance that allows your sperm to remain capable of movement.
Your seminal vesicles also produce fluid, which accounts for around 50 to 80 percent of the semen you ejaculate. This fluid contains sugar, alkaline fluid and clotting factors, which allow your sperm to survive inside the vagina.
Your testes produce sperm, which are pushed out from your penis in seminal fluid when you ejaculate. Each drop of semen contains millions of sperm, although sperm make up only a tiny percentage of your ejaculate volume. While the condition may not affect ejaculation, you might wonder if the combination of Viagara and varicocele could affect your semen volume.
While you’re in the afterglow of an orgasm, your prostate gland, seminal vesicles and testes get back to work refilling the reserves, allowing you to ejaculate again the next time you have sex (Hooray!) or masturbate (Yee haw!).
Here’s an important fact, though: both higher-than-average and lower-than-average semen volumes have been associated with worse sperm quality. So if you’re worried about conception and how it relates to ejaculate levels, it might not be worth the worry.
Humans are visual creatures. And after some three decades of internet porn setting trends, it’s perfectly normal for you to want to increase your seminal fluid levels. Increasing them for the movies is the props and special effects department’s responsibility, but in your private life, the options are limited.
A healthcare professional can talk with you about ways to increase volume, but because there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment to produce an increase in semen volume, you’ll largely be left to your own devices (or exercises).
Some supplements and antioxidants like vitamin C get anecdotal press for this purpose, but we weren’t able to find any research to support this. There are really only a couple of things that you can do that may improve your ejaculate volume. Let’s look at them in detail.
Your pelvic muscles play a major role in the velocity of your semen. If these muscles are weak, your ejaculation may not be projectile-perfect.
Luckily, there are exercises, commonly referred to as kegel exercises, that you can perform at home to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Our guide to pelvic floor exercises explains how you can train your pelvic muscles, usually in a few minutes every day.
For example, one study published in the journal BJU International in 2006 found a possible link between smoking and semen volume when it looked at the samples of non-smokers against mild, moderate and heavy smokers. A higher volume of cigarettes caused a reduction in semen volume at each level.
A different study of more than 1,600 men published in the journal Environmental Epidemiology found that smoking was associated with a marginally lower semen volume and reduced sperm count in otherwise healthy men, but it also found that cessation had a potential “restorative effect” for men who quit.
Resources like Smokefree.gov offer detailed guides and resources that you can use to make a quit plan and get support while you take steps to give up smoking.
A number of behaviors may not upgrade your love latte from tall to venti, but they’re nevertheless important for quality orgasms, erections, and sex generally.
Try to eat a balanced diet that’s built around fresh vegetables, fruits and lean sources of protein, all while limiting foods that are high in salt or saturated fat. This may help improve blood flow to your penis and sexual stimulation, as well as prevent issues like ED.
Like the water heater in a large family home, your body needs time to refill its tank before the next session.
Masturbation doesn’t affect sperm quality or contribute to sexual dysfunction, but if you’re concerned about your semen volume, masturbating ahead of the planned sex can definitely reduce the amount of hot water before everything runs cold.
Fellas, if you came here looking for a definitive way to increase your ejaculation volume, we're sorry to disappoint. There's no evidence-based, FDA-approved "how to cum more" drug — or not one yet, at least.
However, numerous evidence-based ED medications have been approved by the FDA to treat sexual function issues. Research has found that these medications also work well for ejaculatory problems, such as premature ejaculation.
Common ED medications include:
In addition to treating ED, these medications may help improve your sexual confidence, which might make worries about your ejaculatory volume less of a concern during sex.
As we’ve already discussed, your ejaculatory volume isn’t the same thing as your sperm count, so if you and a partner are trying to conceive, a healthy sperm count is far more important.
For most men, a single milliliter of ejaculate contains 20 to 150 million sperm. This is considered “normal” if at least 60 percent of the sperm display a normal shape and show motility (forward movement).
If you’re worried about your sperm count, you can get your semen tested to find out how much your ejaculate contains.
Semen volume is important for something other than porn: conception. While semen volume has zero impact on overall sperm count, it makes sense that the more fluid your lil sperms have to swim around in, the better their odds are of making it to the egg.
If your semen volume is low and has a very low sperm count, this may be a result of genital tract obstructions. These could be caused by a variety of health conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases.
Testosterone deficiency, or “low T” as it is sometimes called, is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough of the testosterone hormone. Often, this is a result of a condition called hypogonadism. If you suspect low T as a possible culprit, talk to your healthcare provider about testing.
Think of seminal fluid as the contents of a sea monkey tank. There are little swimmers suspended in the mixture. So, there’s total volume, but there’s also concentration to measure — not to mention the health and motility of the sea monkeys, err… Sperm.
Aside from semen volume, both sperm quality and count also play a helping hand (they're what ultimately decide your fertility level).
About 15 percent of couples experience infertility, and almost a third of these issues are due to infertility from the man. So, while your semen volume may not be the deciding factor here, the role it plays in fertility can matter.
As you’ve probably noticed yourself, you’re more likely to ejaculate a large volume of semen if you haven’t had sex or masturbated in a while. This is because your body needs time to create the seminal fluid that gives your ejaculate its volume. So what’s a normal volume?
According to the NIH, a “normal” level of ejaculation is typically considered anything above 1.5 mL, or milliliters, of total semen.
Of course, we don't expect anyone reading this to be very into the idea of ejaculating into the graduated cylinder you “accidentally borrowed” from your 8th grade science class.
Instead, if you're concerned about your ejaculation levels, the best thing to do is schedule time with your healthcare provider. They'll walk you through the process, take a sample and save you from having to bring your own lab equipment.
Keep in mind: semen is different from your total ejaculatory volume. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, the average volume of semen that’s ejaculated at orgasm in men ranges from 1.25 to 5 mL. That’s approximately one-quarter to one teaspoon or about one-sixth of a fluid ounce.
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It’s completely normal for your ejaculation volume to vary from one day to the next, especially if you have sex on an infrequent basis. However, if you notice that you’re ejaculating less than normal, it could be caused by a range of different factors, including:
Recent previous ejaculations
Smoking cigarettes or other products that contain nicotine
Your overall health and well-being
Let’s look at a few of these in more detail.
In men with a medical condition called retrograde ejaculation, semen travels backward into the bladder rather than out from the tip of the penis. Men with retrograde ejaculation still experience an orgasm, but less semen comes out as they ejaculate.
Severe cases may mean no ejaculation at all, and retrograde ejaculation may cause you to have cloudy urine after you ejaculate.
Common causes include:
Medical conditions, such as diabetes
Complications from prostate gland or bladder surgery
Medications for prostate and/or urethra problems
Medications for certain mental health issues
High blood pressure medications
Another common cause of low ejaculation volume and weak ejaculation is having masturbated and/or had sex recently or frequently. When you have a busy sex life and ejaculate often, it takes time for your body to replenish your supply. Recent or frequent ejaculation means less and less volume for each orgasm.
It’s common and normal for your semen production to decline as you age. Most men reach the highest semen volume production in their 30s, after which the volume of semen produced on a daily basis gradually declines. Getting older may also weaken your pelvic floor muscles, which are involved in the ejaculation process.
In addition to retrograde ejaculation, how recently you’ve last ejaculated and your age, a variety of other factors can also affect your volume of ejaculation.
Other potential causes of low semen volume include:
Your eating habits and nutrient intake
Smoking cigarettes or other products that contain nicotine
Your overall health and wellbeing
If you don’t see any obvious causes in this list or if you’re unsure whether these causes describe your situation, talking to a healthcare provider is a great way to get some clarity.
There’s no easy, one-size-fits-all tip to increasing your seminal fluid production and ejaculating more when you reach orgasm. In fact, we’d argue that most people aren’t focused on the right parts of the volume problem in the first place.
Here’s what’s really important:
You can improve your semen quality without a professional. Simple things like practicing pelvic floor exercises, quitting smoking, sticking to a balanced diet and avoiding masturbation before sex can all potentially have a positive effect on your ejaculatory health, including your ejaculation volume.
A healthcare provider can help you identify the problems. Sometimes it’s easier to ask for help. A physical exam can help you find out if you have any health issues that could affect your ability to ejaculate properly or maintain optimal sexual performance.
Focus on what’s important. Voluminous ejaculation is fun for the movies, but it’s not nearly as important as health and motility if you’re trying to conceive.
Interested in learning more about improving your sexual function? Our guide to having a healthy sex life covers everything you need to know, from successfully communicating with your partner to using medication to treat common sexual performance issues.