Do you know enough about pre-ejaculatory fluid?

Do you know enough about pre-ejaculatory fluid?

When talking about sexual fluids, the list is usually reduced to two: semen and vaginal fluid. However, there is another intimate liquid that is remembered only when it is believed that it can cause problems, such as an unwanted pregnancy; This is the pre-ejaculatory fluid.

Also called “pre-cum,” this fluid that comes out of the penis is not always present, or it can vary in quantity and appearance, and not all men experience it the same.


The pre-ejaculatory fluid comes out during the sexual arousal process, that is, long before ejaculation. As explained by the sexologist Ness Cooper, interviewed by the website, specialized in HIV, this liquid has two main functions. One is to lubricate the penis to facilitate sexual activity, which can include the foreskin (when present) and glans.

The second function is to neutralize the pH of the urethra so that sperm can travel through it without being damaged during ejaculation. It must be remembered that the urethra is a single tube that carries both urine and semen out of the body, so the remains of the former could affect the integrity of the sperm.

Cooper also comments that pre-ejaculatory fluid is made up of a mixture of mucus and enzymes, which are produced by structures called Cowper’s glands, which are located at the beginning of the urethra, and Littre’s glands, which are present along the entire length of the urethra. The goal is to create an environment in which sperm can survive longer.

The liquid in question is usually clear and sticky, and can be very light white in color. Contrary to what one might think, the whitish color is not necessarily related to the amount of sperm in it.

Watch it… or not

Pre-ejaculatory fluid may appear with sexual arousal, but it does not cause any specific sensation as it passes through the urethra. You may be able to tell when it’s already out of the penis, because there’s a wet feeling, but there’s no way to tell if it’s going to show up or not.

Along with erections, pre-cum can appear without any sexual stimulation involved, since these are biological processes that are closely linked and that sometimes cannot be avoided, even if you wanted to.

Give a place

It is important to know what can and cannot happen when having contact with this sexual fluid. This is because many people wait until the moment of penetration to put on the condom, or use the method of “withdrawing the penis” just before ejaculation, in order to avoid, for example, pregnancy. However, in none of these scenarios is this liquid that appears during the entire excitation process taken into account.

As we said before, the pre-ejaculatory fluid can include semen. In a small study conducted in 2013, it was found that 41% of participants produced pre-ejaculatory fluid containing sperm. The men submitted samples from five different occasions, and it was found that depending on each individual, there were sperm in their pre-cum in all of their samples, or in none of their samples.

This may indicate that the proportion of spermatozoa present long before ejaculation varies from man to man, but it could be detected in a significant proportion of them.

It should be reaffirmed, then, that pre-ejaculatory fluid can cause pregnancy, so it is advisable to put the condom on as soon as the penis is erect, even if penetration is not going to start at that moment.

This fluid can also carry microorganisms that cause sexually transmitted infections. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses found in the body of an infected man can be passed to his sexual partner through pre-ejaculatory fluid, a risk that can be avoided by using condoms as just explained.

Remember that at AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we have free condoms for you, plus you can get HIV detection tests at no cost. Locate our offices and learn about all our services, we are in 11 countries in the region.