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Generation XXX: The Taste Below the Waist

by Trixie Bethlehem-Doppelganger, Skip "The Semen King" Elsheimer, and Gerta Stern

When Gerta was given the topic "semen" to write upon for Stay Free!, she was, at first, overjoyed. However, while poring through the stack of thick books Carrie gave her, Gerta had an epiphany, realizing...semen leaves her cold. Trixie and Harriet agreed. What else to do but call up her old prom date, Skip, to discuss it?

Just as at the fateful evening of enchantment, Skip and Gerta did not see eye-to-eye. However, this was one occasion on which Skip and Gerta could agree to disagree. Since Skip had much to say on the subject, they agreed that he should write the bulk of the article. Skip also graciously gave us permission to refer to him as "The Semen King" (though he would not let us call him "The Barrier Method King"). Skip emailed us his urban legends, survey results, and succinct analysis.


Part 1: SEMEN AND FOOD -- Urban Myths

"We all have some semen/food story to tell (though for some that story has not yet been told)." - Skip Elsheimer, The Semen King, in one of his more enigmatic moods

Below are popular urban legends -- some true, some myths -- to serve as an introduction to the survey that follows.

During a biology/human sexuality class, the professor explains that semen is mostly sugar. A young coed blurts out, "Well, why does it taste so salty?" She quickly leaves the class which is roaring with laughter.

A disgruntled food service worker ejaculates in some food unbeknownst to the customer(s). Popular foods that are mentioned are mayonnaise, pizza, and salad dressing.

Many foods can actually affect semen. Wheat germ is said to increase one's seminal output. Semen can be sweetened by drinking lots of pineapple juice or eating bananas or papayas. Red meat can make the semen taste more acidic. And alcohol or coffee can make semen more bitter.

A girl once claimed that she could tell if her boyfriend had eaten a Whopper with onions at Burger King based on the taste of his semen.

As an initiation rite, a circle of fraternity recruits compete by masturbating on the same piece of white bread in the center of the circle. The last person to ejaculate has to eat the bread.

Part 2: SEMEN AND FOOD -- The Survey

METHODOLOGY

Trixie, Gerta and Skip asked their friends and co-workers to describe the taste of both semen and vaginal secretions. The Clampettes asked two questions:

1) What does semen taste like?
2) What do vaginal secretions taste like?

Skip, however, developed a more sophisticated phraseology that elicited more descriptions of same-sex tastes:


1) Have you ever tasted semen (either your own or someone else's on 
purpose or by accident)?  If so, what did it taste like?
2) Have you ever tasted vaginal secretions (either your own or someone 
else's on purpose or by accident?)  If so, what did it taste like?
3) What is a good slang term for "vaginal secretions?"

Additionally, the Clampettes posted a request for descriptions on the alt.music.chapel-hill newsgroup.

THE RAW DATA

Following are the answers of the Clampettes, their friends and acquaintances, Skip, his friends, his co-workers, and various alt.music.chapel-hill readers.

1. Females describe semen:

"Ajax cleaner"
"maybe salty"
"smells like Ajax, I no longer buy Ajax because of it. Instead I buy Mr. Clean, it's perfumed."
"thick Clorox"
"rancid Elmer's glue"
"tastes and smells like Brie cheese"
"It tastes like itself (it's kind of like asking what pepper tastes like)."
"Indescribable."
"It tasted like a thick, globby beer."
"I've discovered that although there is a general almond taste to all men -- different men taste a little differently AND depending on how much a man drinks, smokes, and what he's eating -- the semen ranges in bitterness. The less healthy he is the worst his semen tastes. Almost like Clorox at times."
"It tasted quite salty."
"I cannot compare the taste to anything else I have tasted because its flavor is unique. I can compare its taste to the smell of Clorox bleach. Semen tastes like bleach smells!"
"It has different tastes for different people ranging from rotten eggs and dirty socks to a slimy/salty taste."
"Semen had a taste of its own...Sometimes it's more spicy than other times; sometimes it's sweeter. Sometimes it gives me the sensation that I just chewed on a balloon."
"Salty. It's a lot like swallowing snot."
"Kind of like salty soft snot."
"Blah! BITTER taste!"
"In my experience, the taste of semen seems to vary (at times dramatically) from guy to guy. Some men, bless them, have semen with very little taste whatsoever. Or maybe they just drink a lot of water and it keeps the concentration of salt and minerals and what have you down. The taste I generally expect is salty, but not a pleasant-eating-soft-pretzels-can-I-have-a-dab-of-mustard-with-that salty. Much more of an acidic, at times bitter metallic taste. At its worst, the taste of semen can surprise you like a mouthful of saltwater. One final note: Evidently garlic is a common culprit in distasteful experiences."

2. Males describe semen:

"Salty glue, especially if dehydrated. Not-so-salty otherwise, actually more watery. Like paper-mache...flour, glue and old newspapers."
"Smells like Bradford Pear blossoms."
"I don't know, but I've heard that semen tastes like whatever the ejaculator ate twelve hours before."
"Like you'd think dish washing detergent would taste, but doesn't. Kind of soapy."
"Salty with a hint of chlorine."
"Tastes like the ink of an octopus."
"It tastes like almonds."
"The taste was not easy to identify, it was sort of mixed with another fluid."
"Sort of a non-descript taste leaning towards the salty side of the spectrum."
"Not much of a flavor. Kind of salty."
"What does saliva taste like?"
"Alfalfa sprouts."
"Caviar."
"It has a surprising non-taste. It looks like snot but is not as salty. I was reminded of the time I woke up with a bloody nose and the blood had drained down my throat."

3. Females describe vaginal secretions:

"A mixture of citrus and MSG."
"Soy sauce, the light Kikkoman."
"Indescribable."
"It didn't have much flavor, but the sensation inside the mouth was what I remember most. It was a very warm, comforting feeling."
"Like semen, the taste ranges. Sometimes the taste is very clean -- in fact almost tasteless -- but it can also taste kind of like a penny late in the cycle or when I've been smoking or drinking too much."
"Kind of sweet and sweaty."
"Sweet, not like anything I've ever tasted."
"Around the clitoris, it tastes like sweet tarts. In the vaginal canal, it tastes kind of like an artichoke tuna salad."
"I've only tasted my own which I've been told is quite tasty. Again, it is hard to say what it tastes like, but it could be described as spicy. The taste varies during the month also."

4. Males describe vaginal secretions:

"Lemony."
"Like the ocean."
"Cheerios."
"Have you ever put your tongue on the end of a battery? Like an alkaline battery."
"Like electricity, when you put a pop top from a soda can between your braces."
"Tangy."
"Like semen (salty), but better. Zesty."
"Tastes like glass."
"Whipped bananas and ginger ale."
"Similar to licking a non-bleeding wound. Sort of a salty, musty, yet sweet taste. It varies."
"Honestly I don't remember the taste. The smell was all I could think about."
"A little fishy in taste, but that could be related to the smell."
"Depending on the woman and the time of the month, there can be a slight non-salty blood taste or a tangy battery taste."
"Bitter."
"While performing oral sex on a college girlfriend, a few drops of a tepid, vaginal secretion were produced during her orgasm. When I tasted this fluid, I had the unusual sensation of eating a taco. That's right! It was salty and tasted just like the combined flavors of fried hamburger meat, cheese, corn shell, and El Paso taco sauce! I'll always have some very fond memories whenever I eat Mexican."

"Vaginal fluids are tangy, and syrupy, at least the ones I've come across. (!) If I haven't tasted and she hasn't BEEN tasted in a while, the fluids are especially tangy, but they always have a wonderful sweet smell. Kind of paradoxical, tangy-tasting and sweet-smelling, but that's part of why it's so much fun."

"It's not so much a taste, it's a smell. Kind of like a musty armpit but not really as offensive. Actually it might taste like a musty armpit too, I'll have to check it and get back to you."

ANALYSIS

1. Sociological

Both Skip and the Clampettes found people to be remarkably willing to offer descriptions. Interestingly, no non-virgin heterosexuals who were polled claimed never to have tasted the genital fluids of the opposite sex. Many of the Clampettes' respondents denied knowledge of the taste of their own gender's secretions. However, savvy AIDS-agency-employee Skip fared much better with his "on purpose or by accident" addendum. This leads us to one of two conclusions: either a) the Clampettes, their friends and their acquaintances represent a population different in significant ways from Skip's co-workers or b) some of the Clampettes' respondents were sand-bagging.

2. Similarity of Responses

Before we did this survey, I had never read or heard from anyone else that semen tasted like Ajax. Imagine my surprise when another Clampette offered the same response! I was convinced that Harriet and I shared a deep bond until the results started pouring in...Clorox, Clorox, and more Clorox! Why had I never heard others say this before? Perhaps those who feel vaginal secretions taste like the end of a battery are feeling a similar shock of recognition right now.

Although there were some statistical outlyers that were perhaps not serious responses (for instance, "whipped bananas and ginger ale"), most responses seemed to fall into clusters. Interestingly, there did not seem to be a clear boundary dividing the genders' tastes, i.e. "salt" and "acidic" were commonly mentioned for both.

Common comparisons to semen include salt, cleaning products (especially chlorine-based ones), and bitterness. Descriptions of vaginal secretions included acidic/tangy, salty, and electric or metallic. Two respondents mentioned tacos; one said that he had heard of a man who only ate at Taco Bell whose semen reputedly tasted of tacos, the other described his college girlfriend's orgasm in similar terms. This report corresponds to Skip's urban legend about the Burger King Whopper. Also, some people mentioned a "spicy" or "armpit" smell/taste that may also relate to the taco flavor or even explain the origin of the taco- and fast-food-tasting bodily fluid urban myth.

Here is Skip's succinct and convincing analysis of the results: The similarities in describing tastes can be explained. Semen is an alkali like soap or bleach. Vaginal secretions are acidic and made up of blood components.

The Kinsey Institute (reprinted in Details magazine) describes the chemical make-up of semen: "The chemicals vary somewhat, depending on the man's diet, health, and frequency of ejaculation, but the average ejaculate consists mostly of protein, citric acid, fructose (a complex sugar), sodium, and chloride. There are smaller amounts of ammonia, ascorbic acid, acid phosphatase, calcium, carbon dioxide, cholesterol, prostaglandins, creatine, other minerals, and numerous other chemicals."

That seems to cover the salty, acidic and Clorox descriptions. A Superclamp friend claims that the chloride in ejaculate comes from the Cowper's Gland and ensures that sperm don't get killed in the acidic environment of the vaginal canal.

MORE COLORFUL NAMES FOR VAGINAL SECRETIONS

This was not a major part of the study, but we did get some interesting responses. Some of the suggestions: "Unga-unga," "Honey of the Goddess," "cooze," "the broth," "potpourri." (Note: Our delicate sensibilities did not allow us to include all of the answers.) One respondent felt that because vaginal secretions are almost always present during sexual contact (with semen appearing later), we take them for granted and don't name them.

The winning response: "Go-go juice" (the opposite of cum). The Clampettes will henceforth use this term as much as possible, since it appeals to the Nancy Sinatra fan in all of us.

DISCLAIMER AND EPILOGUE/DIALOGUE

SKIP: The discussion of sexual fluids is certainly entertaining as well as educational. Keep in mind, though, that these fluids can transmit some nasty things -- HIV and other menacing sexually transmitted diseases. If you don't know if your sexual partner is free of such nasties, we recommend using a condom for the penis and food wrap for the vagina. If you and your partner are clean, feast away!

TRIXIE: I disagree for theoretical rather than purely aesthetic reasons. In my opinion, one runs more risk of dying from choking on Saran Wrap caused by a sharp intake of breath than from contracting AIDS through oral-genital contact. (Let's leave AIDS hysteria in the 80s where it belongs!)

SKIP (perhaps missing the point): I can see that, but not if you do it right. The piece of food wrap should be at least one square foot in area, and should be stuck to the vagina rather than to the face.