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Body Care

What is Precum?

What is precum?
What is precum? Can it cause pregnancy? Sex educator Hannah Rimm answers the most frequently asked questions about this mysterious bodily fluid.
by Hannah Rimm
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2023

You've heard of precum before, maybe from your eighth-grade health teacher that was trying to scare you away from having sex. Or from your boyfriend that told you about the horrors of pre-ejaculation on the subway. Either way, you know it exists, but what even is it?

If you're looking for a specific answer, here's what this article has in store:

1. What is precum?

2. Where does it come from?

3. What is the difference between precum and semen?

4. How much does the body produce?

5. Dealing with low or excessive amounts of pre-ejaculate fluid

6. Can precum cause pregnancy or transfer STIs?

What is precum?

The TL;DR answer is pre-ejaculation fluid, AKA, the clear liquid that comes out of a penis when it's aroused, like the same way a vagina gets wet.

Where does precum or pre-ejaculate come from?

The clear liquid, also known as Cowper's liquid, is made by the pea-sized Cowper's gland situated directly below the prostate.

Is precum the same as semen?

No, many folks get confused between precum (pre-ejaculate) and semen (ejaculate), and understandably so.

Both fluids come from the penis but have different purposes and benefits:

Precum AKA pre-ejaculate

Precum acts the same way as lube does before penetration, but its primary purpose is to lubricate the urethra to make the sperm's journey from the testicles to the vagina as smooth as possible.

It also helps clean any urine or bacteria while balancing the pH levels to be in tip-top shape to shoot sperm. Pre-ejaculation fluid is the body's way of ensuring that the penis is ready to get a vagina-owner pregnant.

Semen AKA ejaculate

Semen, which can appear in a white, gray, or even a yellowish tint fluid, results from a penis-owner climaxing. It carries the sperm out of the penis into the vagina to fertilize and create an embryo (the first stage of pregnancy).

How much precum does the body produce?

For most penis-owners, the amount of pre-ejaculation fluid varies between a teaspoon or less, i.e., it's just enough to lube up the penis for putting in a mouth, vagina, or anus for pleasurable intercourse.

A few penis-owners may experience and produce excessive amounts of pre-ejaculate, which can be somewhat cumbersome and inconvenient. While the excessive pre-ejaculation fluid isn't health-threatening, it can be awkward or embarrassing to suddenly drench your underwear whenever you see a hottie walking down the street. Now, this doesn't mean that you should rely on using precum as lube either! 

How to deal with excessive precum

If you are experiencing high levels of precum, especially in situations outside of the bedroom, consult a doctor. There are medications that your doctor can prescribe to reduce pre-ejaculation fluid while still receiving the natural benefits of cleaning and pH balancing within the urethra.

How to produce more precum

It very well could be that your body or penis ISN'T producing any or a small amount of pre-ejaculate. Unfortunately, many supplement companies claim to increase the amount of pre-ejaculate fluid but do not fall for these cheap tricks — the amount of fluid your body produces is not in your control. Everybody and every body is different.

What penis-owners should try instead is prostate play, or edging — a tactic that teaches you how to control premature ejaculation for pleasure while improving precum production.

Can precum cause pregnancy?

One of the most frequently asked questions is "Can precum cause pregnancy?". The answer is that the chances are slim, but YES, you can still get pregnant! This is why the withdrawal method, AKA the pull-out method before you climax, isn't ideal.

The chances of getting pregnant from precum may be small but it's still possible.

ANSWERED: Can you get pregnant from anal sex?

The purest precum form won't get you pregnant, but it can pick up leftover sperm from previous ejaculations and carry it into the vagina. So after ejaculation, peeing is recommended by sex educators to clear any remaining sperm left in the urethra.

Can you get or transfer an STI from precum?

Precum is a sexual fluid that can carry bacteria or viral infections from the Cowper's glands, so YES, it can cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

STIs can happen through all forms of sex, including sex that doesn't lead to pregnancy, such as oral and anal sex. When engaging in penetrative penis-vagina sex, the probability of pre-ejaculation fluid transmitting STIs is much higher than the chances of you getting pregnant.

So if you want to get down and dirty with a hookup or one-night stand, always use a condom, even if you're planning to 'only' engage in oral sex.

To warp up this pleasure guide, here are the key takeaways:

Precum Benefits

1. Precum is essentially pre-ejaculation fluid and completely normal.

2. If you produce an excessive amount, consult a doctor. There are medications available to help reduce the amount of pre-ejaculate the body creates.

3. Your body creates it to clean up your urethra before shooting out sperm so that your sperm doesn't die of acidity on the way to the vagina.

4. It works as lube, but you'll need more than the teaspoon that your body creates if you're planning on a long enjoyable session. If you're looking for a natural alternative, find out why sex educators love using coconut oil as lube.

Precum drawbacks

1. The fluid can (and will) get you pregnant, so please don't use the pull-out method if you'd like to have failsafe, pregnancy-free sex.

2. It can carry bacterial and viral infections, so don't rely on the pull-out method to prevent STIs once again. The only proven way to avoid STIs is with a barrier protection method, such as a condom.

And that's it, folks! Precum doesn't have to be scary or disgusting; it can be beneficial. So get out there, play, and stay safe!


Found this article useful? Check out our most popular guides on how to use a wand vibrator, stainless steel sex toys, and why everyone is so into pussy pumping!

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