For whatever reason, it is easier to discuss the male reproductive system with slang terms, and there is absolutely no shortage of slang for semen: ejac, load, swimmers, tadpoles, baby batter, and the list really goes on for what seems like forever. Honestly, some of these names are even hard to say with a straight face.
Yet, all jokes and absolutely insane names aside, the human race needs it, and we owe our entire existence to them (and an egg – can’t forget that it takes two to tango.) Maybe it’s because we have a hard time talking about, but there are many myths out there about it, the production of it, and what makes a good or bad batch of it. Seriously, some myths are really, really far out there. Like if a guy releases into a hot tub, a woman can get pregnant days later simply by going into the hot tub. False. Or that a guy can make his stuff just by looking at a hot girl. Also false. A lot goes into it's production, and it takes a lot more than just looking a total babe.
Yet, if we can stop giggling about the topic long enough, we can learn a lot about a very necessary aspect of life. Here are 15 surprising myths that are scientifically true about a man’s swimmers.
14They're Very Lazy
For a body part that is constantly manufacturing new products (aka brand spankin’ new sperm), the sperm factory has a bit of reputation for being a tad on the lazy side. How can something so productive be so … lazy?
Well, experts estimate that a large percentage of men’s sperm have some sort of deformity. Common deformities include: two-headed ones, ones with two tails, ones with heads too big to even maneuver, tiny heads, and curly-Q tails. This sounds really bad, but it’s completely normal. And also part of the reason there are so many sperm released at one time – to make the odds for conception better.
However, it is interesting to note that this is a trait typically seen more in monogamous species. In species where animals are not monogamous, the swimmers are more uniform. That just adds to the theory that committed couples “let things go” – you know, like a little weight gain after marriage or a little deformed one. NBD.
13Stubborn And Hard-Headed
Sure, tons of women say their man is hard-headed, especially when in the midst of a heated argument. Just because a man is hard-headed doesn’t mean his stuff is… or does it?
Sperm really are hard-headed and there’s the science to back us up. Although, we literally mean hard-headed, not that the little guys are stubborn. The “hard head” is actually called an acrosome. What’s the point of that? The acrosome carries some pretty important chemicals. When the winning sperm finally gets the egg, those chemicals actually melt a little bit of the outer layer of egg, creating a hole big enough for it to enter and impregnate the egg with all of the DNA it was carrying.
While you might enjoy the fact that your man is hard-headed, you’ll appreciate the fact that his swimmers are if you’re trying to conceive. Let’s just hope the winning swimmer didn’t carry the stubborn gene with it.
12Don’t Care How Old The Guy Is
It’s easy for people to crack jokes about the young girls shacking up with much, much older guys. I mean, just look at all of the couples on 90 Day Fiancé with 10, 15, and even 27 year age gaps between the two partners! But the myth about guys retaining their virility is true: men never lose their ability to create some swimmers.
Although we might give side-eyes and question motives of older men with younger women, there is a biological reason why men never lose their ability to create some: to keep the population alive. Think about how difficult it would be for a 60 year old woman to give birth? It’s hard enough as it is, so let’s all just give thanks that this back up population saver fell to the older guys and not the older ladies. Small blessings, right? (Plus… who wants periods forever???)
Of course, with today’s massive global population, that little built-in fail-safe isn’t as important as it might have been thousands (or even hundreds) of years ago.
11All It Takes Is One…
Guys are rightly protective of their family jewels. I mean, just that name indicates how important they are … jewels! So it makes sense that anything that threatens the jewels or the swimmers within those testis would be scary for a guy. It’s part of the reason why guys where jock straps. Of course, getting nailed in the balls would hurt, but men want to protect their right to reproduce and prevent long-term damage. That’ s just a big risk when your organs are external.
Testicular cancer is one of those things that threatens to take away a man’s livelihood but Lance Armstrong has proven that sperm production doesn’t necessarily suffer if one is lost. In fact, Lance Armstrong has become a sort of role model for guys going through this. He has had children after surviving his cancer – both adoptive and biological, proving that swimmers and the production of them are resilient.
10All It Takes Is One … But More Is Better
We’ve heard the shocked stories of women who find out they are pregnant: “But I just did it that one time!” Well, duh. It only takes one sperm to get pregnant; in fact, it’s impossible to have more than one swimmer fertilize an egg because it would have too much DNA to create a viable embryo. A cell must have 46 chromosomes (and during fertilize 23 come from the egg and 23 come from the it); any more of them would create an abnormal amount of chromosomes. So yeah, it does only take one and can only takes one to make a baby.
Since releasing contains up to 200 million swimmers, that’s a lot of pressure on each of them to be “the one.” Yet, despite the numbers, experts still agree that having intercourse multiple times a day during a woman’s fertile window increases your chances of conceiving. Remember all those abnormal swimmers? Still, despite the odds and the number of abnormal swimmers, always remember - it just takes one.
9Dead Ones Still Work
This sounds like a science fiction movie; how can something dead still function and do it’s job? Well, the answer is science.
During old fashioned intimacy with two people doing the deed, a swimmer has to swim (aka be alive) in order to make the incredibly long journey to the egg. However, in the lab, things work a bit differently. In IVF cases, it's inserted into the egg via a robotically controlled piece of glass. Even if it isn’t moving or swimming, this can still be a successful a conception – as long as the DNA from the swimmer gets inside the egg. The whole point of it is to carry the DNA to the egg so at the end of the day, that’s all the matters as far as conception is concerned.
8These Swimmers Love The Polar Bear Club
Okay, maybe they wouldn’t love jumping into insanely cold water, but the truth is simple: the little guys prefer the cold. To be specific, healthy "swimmers" thrive in an environment about 91 F degrees – which is about 7 degrees cooler than the average body temp of 98.6 F degrees. Ever wondering why the balls “hang out”? It’s to keep it outside of the 98.6, giving them a chance to chill out in their cooler bachelor pad. Even the veins (remember that blood is warm) in the scrotum are positioned in ways to avoiding heating up the sperm – pretty cool when you think about how perfectly the human body is constructed to meet all of its needs!
Because sperm are so particular about the temp of their digs, the scrotum moves to accommodate these fussy swimmers. Too cold outside? The balls scrunch up to get them a bit warmer. Too hot outside? The hammock relaxes, getting them as far away as the body as possible.
Another cool weather fun fact: men produce more in the colder months.
7The Swimmer Production Never Stops
We’ve talk about how sperm production can get a little lazy, and yes, 100% perfect sperm aren’t always being popped out. BUT, the production is a 24 / 7/ 365 business. A man is always ready to do his duty, right?
On average, a healthy male makes about 1,500 sperm every second. But those sperm aren’t ready for deployment immediately. Once the sperm creation process begins, it takes about two and half (or even up to three) months for it to fully mature. Because it takes that long to mature, men must always be creating more so that he can be ready to go anytime.
More swimmer production facts: after doing the big deed, a man’s sperm count takes about one day (and up to 36 hours) to fully replenish. But what about a double feature? Round two will be ready a few minutes after round one, but there is much less soldiers in the second deployment for these reasons.
Although the numbers vary dramatically from person to person, the average male will produce about 525 billion sperm throughout his life.
6Can Work Their Magic Days After Intercourse
This totally seems like one of those myths about pregnancy and conception, but this is one myth that is true: it can fertilize an egg even days after intercourse. While the exact number of days is hard to pin down, the consensus is that sperm can live for up to five days if and only if the V is particularly friendly. What does that mean?
The conditions of the lady garden play a big role in how long those swimmers will survive, and the biggest factors are the pH level of the V and the presence (or lack of ) cervical mucous. It may sound gross, but anyone who has charted for fertility purposes knows that certain mucous help them swim to their goal. Having a certain pH level means that the sperm will quickly die.
So yes this myth is technically true but there are many environmental factors at play that contribute to the life span of a swimmer who is hanging out in the V.
5You Are What You Eat
Of course, what you eat plays a big role in your overall health, energy levels, and even mood. So it should be no surprise that your diet also effects it's quality. A good diet creates good swimmers, while a rotten diet creates not-so-great swimmers. So it might be a good time to tell your man to ease up on the burgers and sodas, if not forever, at least during the time your trying to conceive.
Certain nutrients help boost the count and motility (aka their ability to swim to their destination.) Zinc is a good sperm nutrient and is found in oysters (that’s why oysters are considered a romantic food), red meat, and poultry. Arginine is another sperm friendly food and is found in nuts.
4Exercise Your Right To Reproduce
If you’re looking for a way to improve the quality and quantity of your swimmers, exercise is a great option. (Plus, it’s just good for you no matter what!) Researchers have found in many studies that moderate exercise yields better sperm numbers with healthier swimmers. What is moderate exercise? That’s about one hours of exercise, three times per week.
Another reason exercise helps is because it can help get your BMI to a healthy level. Overweight men have a harder time with quality sperm levels because being overweight can alter a man’s hormone levels. So exercise helps get that BMI to a healthy (and sperm making) level.
However, a word of warning: too much exercise (think gym rats) and / or exercise paired with anabolic steroids will not have a positive effect on a man's stuff.
3Just Say No … To Smoking (And Other Vices)
Just like the good stuff men do ( like eating well and exercising ) help improve the health and quality of their swimmers, the vices of men can also effect the health and quality of sperm. In particular, smoking and drinking have a negative effect.
Smoking cigarettes reduces the count as well as impairs their ability to swim well. Smoking also affects the morphology of the swimmers, which means their shape. In other words, smoking contributes to the abnormal shapes such as two heads or missing tails. Smoking pot can lead to a temporary reduction in testosterone which also halts sperm production.
Anabolic steroids can create a sperm-less semen, which sounds awful but can be reversed several months after stopping the ‘roids (like 10-20 months).
So if you’re in the market for making a baby, take these things into consideration.
2Using A Laptop Affects Those Swimmers
Earlier we talked about how the tadpoles like the chilly temps better than the heat. It’s why the body went through so much trouble to produce and store the little fellas outside of the body, away from the warmth of body heat. So adding a hot air spewing laptop right on top of the jewels isn’t the best idea for the little guys.
Many laptops produce a lot of heat, especially if they are sitting on cloth or material (like a lap) where is hard for air to flow properly. The heat produced by these laptops can actually cause damage to the testes as well as dramatically decrease the quality of it. Of course, switching to a laptop that doesn’t have a fan or emit heat is a good idea, but simply placing your laptop on a table or TV tray will remedy the problem.
While we’re on the subject of tech, cell phone emissions can also effect sperm so experts advice keeping your cell phone out of your front pockets.
1They Don’t Ask For Directions
Like all men, swimmers don’t stop and ask for directions. They may stray off the correct path because they are “sure they are right.” But this myth is true: sperm don’t usually swim straight. Obviously sperm lack eyeballs and brains and they certainly don’t carry a map so how do they know where to go?
The conditions of the V help them get to where they need to go: the natural lube produced by a woman acts a stream for the swimmers to .. well… swim upstream. However, not all sperm take the cue from Mother Nature. Some sperm swim in circles, some swim down the wrong fallopian tube, and some simply swim in place. Don’t feel too bad though – remember this is why there are 200 million swimmers in one ejac: one of them is bound to get it right!
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