In humans, sexual stimulation of the penis leads to its erection and ultimately to ejaculation. Ejaculation is the act of expulsion of the seminal fluid from the urethra of the penis. The seminal fluid or semen is comprised of sperm cells and secretions from the sexual glands. These secretions are released at orgasm. Prior to ejaculation though a clear colorless fluid may be emitted from the urethra of an aroused penis and this fluid is called a pre-ejaculate. Not all males though emit a pre-ejaculate prior to ejaculation.
The pre-ejaculate is rich in mucoproteins produced primarily in the bulbourethral glands (or the Cowper's glands). The presence of sperm in pre-ejaculate is arguable though. While there were studies implicating that a pre-ejaculate may have no or have only a few sperm cells1 there were also other studies showing a high sperm cell concentration in a pre-ejaculate2.
Pre-ejaculate is believed to serve as a lubricant and an acid neutralizer. It helps create a more favourable environment to the sperm cells as they make their way to the ovum within the female reproductive organ.
Word origin: pre- (before) + ejaculate
- pre-ejaculatory fluid
- preseminal fluid
- Cowper's fluid
1 Zukerman Z.; Weiss D.B.; Orvieto R. (April 2003). "Short Communication: Does Preejaculatory Penile Secretion Originating from Cowper's Gland Contain Sperm?". Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 20 (4): 157–159.
2 Killick SR, Leary C, Trussell J, Guthrie KA. (2011). "Sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid". Human Fertility 14 (1): 48–52.