What Does Sperm Smell Like: Is It Normal To Have Strong Odor?

Have you ever wondered what sperm smells like or why it smells fishy for some people? Does it change when dried up? What are some symptoms of different smells?

By E.M. Love
What Does Sperm Smell Like: Is It Normal To Have Strong Odor?

The Smell of Sperm

Sperm can have many different smells, from bleachy to fishy, which is determined by many different factors, including health, diet, and lifestyle choices. There are changes you can make to help your sperm smell better or less strong.


A man releases millions of sperm cells each time he ejaculates. Some people do not smell sperm, but most of us do, and there are many different smells that can go with it.

The Most Common and Normal Smell of Sperm

Chlorine or Bleach Smell

The most common and normal smell of sperm is reported to be a bleach or chlorine smell. Sperm has ammonia and other alkaloids that smell like some cleaning products, which isn't the most pleasant smell but it isn't the worst smell either. Luckily for some people, they are not able to smell sperm at all when it has a normal scent. Unfortunately, most of us do smell sperm. There is no way to change this as it is natural to smell, even the healthy sperm. Sperm can have other smells that are much less pleasant though.

When Sperm Smells Fishy Is It Symptomatic?

If a man's sperm smells fishy or has another abnormal smell, that could be a symptom of an underlying problem. If the sperm is an odd color, such as yellow, red, green, or brown, that could be a sign of an infection in the male reproductive system or prostate glands. A really bad smell could also be symptomatic of an STD, which affects the reproductive system and could ultimately affect fertility.

A Symptom of An Underlying Problem

If the sperm has just become smelly when it used to not be, you have not changed your diet, and you believe that it could be a symptom of an underlying problem, you should definitely go see a doctor. If it does end up being from an STD or other reproductive problem, the sooner you see a doctor, the better. It could even save your life if it is something related to the prostate, or help ensure that you don't become infertile in case you want to start a family in the future with a significant other.

How Does Sperm Smell When It is Dried Out?

As sperm dries out, it tends to smell stronger. If it is healthy sperm that is showing no other abnormal symptoms, it will usually start to smell stronger like ammonia as it dries out. When sperm is fresh, there is not usually a strong smell, but there are many other factors that determine what sperm may smell like and how strong it will be.

Why Does Dried Out Sperm Smell So Much Worse?

When sperm dries out it starts to get crusty with a light filmy covering. This is an outward sign of the sperm decomposing more, so the smell gets stronger. The smell of the sperm can be really bad if the sperm completely dies before it dries out.

Smoking is Bad for Sperm

Smoking can not only increase the strong smell of sperm, but it can also decrease fertility, along with affecting many other areas of the body, including the lungs and heart. This is a great reason to stop smoking.

What Else Causes Sperm to Smell Stronger Than Normal?

There are many different factors in a lifestyle that can cause sperm to smell stronger at certain times, including how often a man cums and what is going into your body at any given time, such as water, food, and drugs.

Ejaculation Frequency

How often a man ejaculates can possibly influence the smell of sperm. The less often he ejaculates, the stronger the sperm smell may be. This is a great reason for a man to make sure he ejaculates at least twice a week, if not more, especially if he or his girlfriend or wife wants his sperm to not smell as bad. This is also another reason why having plenty of safe sex can be healthy.

Medicines, Smoking, Drugs, Health Issues

Taking medicines or having certain health issues could cause sperm to smell more strongly than normal. Smoking, drinking, and taking drugs could also cause a stronger smell in sperm. All of these things can affect the immune system and your overall health, making your body work harder. When your body has to work harder, other parts of your body may not be at optimal performance, such as your sperm.


Diet can also influence the smell of sperm. There are certain foods that can cause a stronger smell if you eat too much, even though they are still healthy for you. Many say that by eating more fruits one can make their sperm smell and taste sweeter. It is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet, as it can affect your whole body and have a large influence on your life and how you are able to live your life.


A strong sperm smell could also be a symptom of being dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water is always important, and is another factor in keeping yourself healthy. Without enough water, your body won't be at optimal performance, so your sperm may suffer. Your body also cannot filter out the toxins as well if you do not drink enough water, which may leave higher amounts of products that make your sperm smell more strongly.

What May Cause Infertility May Also Cause Sperm to Smell Strongly or Badly

Many men experience infertility, and many of the causes can also make sperm smell bad or have a stronger than normal smell. This may include hormonal problems, toxins in the environment, drugs, smoking, and alcohol. Eating junk food can also contribute as it is very unhealthy for the whole body, so it is not hard to see how that negatively affects sperm.

What is In My Diet That is Causing a Bad Smell?


Drinking lots of caffeine can cause a more bitter and acidic sperm smell, which most people probably don't enjoy. This can also further dehydrate you and cause your body to suffer, especially if you drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day. Watch out for other drinks that contain caffeine too and don't overdo it with them either, such as sodas and black tea.


Eating lots of red meat is very bad for your sperm and for most people's overall health, as this could cause heart problems and more. Junk food is detrimental to health and can't be good for sperm if you overdo it. Eating too much garlic and onions at once may also make your sperm smell more strongly, which may not be pleasant, along with making your breath have a foul smell. Certain green vegetables can cause sperm to smell strongly, such as broccoli. Overall, having an unhealthy diet can really make sperm smell bad, along with certain repugnant vegetables.

How Can I Change Fishy or Bad Smelling Sperm?

If your sperm has a strong smell and it is not due to a reproductive infection, there may be changes you can do to make the smell a little more pleasant for you and/or your significant other, if there is one. If you are one of the lucky ones who don't smell sperm, then you don't have to worry about changing anything, unless you want to improve your health anyway.

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is a big factor in having normal and light-smelling sperm. Blueberries are one of the many fruits one can eat to help stay healthy and keep sperm healthy. They have lots of antioxidants, which help kill off anything bad in the body's system.

Changing Your Diet

One of the best ways to change the smell of sperm and make it better is to change your diet. This includes eating mostly or all vegetables and being a vegetarian, which is hard for most people and is more of a commitment than they can make. Eating a lot of fruit or drinking fruit juice can help. Eating mint leaves is also good and can improve the smell. Also, putting cinnamon and nutmeg in your diet can decrease how strongly your sperm smells. Finally, eating lots of certain vegetables like parsley and celery can also help.

Healthy Foods For Men

Here are some great foods for men to eat to stay at optimal health, therefore making these foods great for sperm. These include oysters, bananas, nuts, red/orange vegetables, soybeans, fish, berries, etc. Broccoli, however, is a cruciferous vegetable, which some say may contribute to sperm smelling bad. It is great for your overall health and probably won't make much of a difference in the smell unless you eat an abundance of it at once.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Making healthy lifestyle choices can also have a big impact in making your sperm smell better. This includes limiting your caffeine intake and making sure to drink plenty of water every day. Stay away from any sort of drugs and alcohol, including cigarettes. If you have to take prescription medicine, there is not much you can do about that except to get off of it as soon as you do not need it anymore. Make sure to ejaculate often so the sperm that comes out stays fresh. Sperm does not smell as bad when it is fresh!

Stay Away From Alcohol

Stay away from heavy drinking. It may look and sound good now but you'll regret it when you ejaculate!

The Overall Consensus on the Smell of Sperm

To most people sperm does not have much of a smell, and if it does then that could be a symptom of an underlying problem. Sometimes it is just from having a horrible diet, or it could just be how that person's sperm smells. Many describe sperm as having a wide range of smells, including pool water, chlorine cleanser, and fresh oysters. There are ways to keep the smell from being not as strong for those of us who are unlucky enough to be able to smell it. This includes ejaculating often to keep the sperm fresh, having a healthy diet, staying away from caffeine, drugs, and alcohol, and making sure to drink enough water.

Your Significant Other Will Thank You

If you have a significant other, they will thank you for doing your best to keep your sperm and the rest of your body as healthy as you can, which in turn will help ensure that your sperm doesn't smell bad and that you are fertile!