Playing With Your Glue Stick

When I was a teenager, I used to hate masturbating in the shower, despite the fact that it sometimes was the only place I could do it. My cum would always get especially messy and turn into glue when it mixed with water. Recent shower sex with my girlfriend reminded me of this, and I figured it’s finally time to ask: is this normal, and if so, why does it happen? —Sticky When Wet

This is absolutely healthy and happens to every guy to different degrees. To explain why, we need to go over the biology of semen—or at least a simplified version, since I’m not a biologist…

There are a few things that our bodies do naturally to facilitate pregnancy and the texture and consistency of semen is actually one of them. So for the sake of this explanation, we’re going to use vaginal sex as an example.

When you cum, the liquid your body releases is made up of a mix of chemical compounds, proteins and acids that only come together at the moment you actually ejaculate.

The mixture makes up seminal fluid, otherwise known as semen or cum, and the fluid immediately coagulates, which makes the liquid thicker. Sperm actually only makes up about three to five per cent of your cum.

On the lady side of things, the vagina also wants to facilitate pregnancy, but it’s pickier. It only wants the best swimmers to survive, so its naturally acidic pH level creates a more hostile environment for sperm. Semen comes out a little on the basic side of the pH scale to serve as a defense for the sperm.

So, when cum enters the vagina, its acidity is counteracted by the alkaline nature of the cum and this helps create a more ideal environment for the sperm. At the same time, the thickness of the cum—thanks to coagulation—helps, by blocking the entry of the cervix so the sperm is more likely to remain inside the uterus.

This process is sometimes (nauseatingly) referred to as a vaginal plug, and the sperm just kind of hang out for a bit in the fluid while it works its magic.

About 20 to 30 minutes after ejaculation, the cum liquefies, at which point the sperm is free to swim and continue the journey towards the egg. Outside of the vagina, you would just be left with liquefied semen and dead or dying sperm.

So, why does semen react the way it does with water? Pretty much the same reason water and oil don’t mix. Since seminal fluid is made up of a bunch of other proteins, some of them happen to be polar (which mix with water) while others are non-polar (which don’t mix with water).

When you ejaculate, everything gets kind of mixed together the best it can, but once water enters the picture the polar proteins mix well with water, so they get washed away easily by it. This leaves you with the non-polar ones, and the glue-like mess you described.

The make up of your semen can depend on a variety of lifestyle factors, including diet and frequency of ejaculation, which is why the texture of cum and its reaction to water vary slightly from guy to guy.

There may be some clumping, thicker areas, or parts that are actually already liquid at the time of ejaculation, but these are all typically healthy variations. Unless you’ve experienced anything especially out of the ordinary, such as pain or blood, I wouldn’t worry too much about anything—other than cleaning up for the next person who uses the shower!

Submit your questions anonymously at and check out “Sex & Pancakes” on Facebook.

Need some extra help? You can always contact Concordia Counseling & Development at 514-848-2424 ext. 3545 for SGW and ext. 3555 for Loyola. Got a quick health question? Call info-santé at 8-1-1 from any Montreal number.

— with files from Gonzo Nieto

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