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Does Saliva Kill Sperm? All You Need to Know

last month4 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Whether you’re TTC or trying not to, you may wonder, “does saliva kill sperm?” The short answer is no. We’ll take you through the details.

Does Saliva Kill Sperm?

For eons, people have come up with creative theories on how to enjoy sex without getting pregnant.

Birth control myths range from having sex standing up to douching after sex.

(If you’re curious, neither of these works.)











So what about a semen + spit combo?

Does saliva kill sperm?

This question is important for those trying to conceive (TTC) and those trying not to.

We’ll take you through the details.

But, spoiler alert, as a birth control method, using saliva to kill sperm is incredibly suspect.

If you don’t want to fall pregnant, it’s strongly advised that you use another, more reliable method of birth control.

Here’s the lowdown.

In this article: 📝

  • What happens when sperm is mixed with saliva?
  • Does saliva kill sperm cells?
  • Can using saliva as lubricant prevent pregnancy?

What happens when sperm is mixed with saliva?

Mixing sperm with saliva is not a trusted form of birth control.

But interestingly, some studies have shown that the two fluids interact.

This study, dating all the way back to 1982, showed that high concentrations of saliva might impact the motility of sperm.

(Motility refers to the sperm cells’ ability to move through the female reproductive tract to fertilize an egg.)

But there are two important things to note here.

One is that saliva has to be present in high doses to have an impact.

And the other is that this effect is more likely if the sperm count is low.

So now the all-important question if you’re looking for birth control options: does using saliva as lubricant kill sperm?

Does saliva kill sperm cells?

The short answer is no — saliva won’t kill sperm.

But as we’ve learned, a lot of saliva may impact their movement.

When sperm are ejaculated into a vagina during sex, they have a mission: to meet up with an egg in the fallopian tube and fertilize it.

Luckily, there are many contenders — somewhere between 40 million and 1.2 billion per ejaculation.

Many things help sperm on their mission.

They’re enclosed in a protective fluid called semen that aids their journey.

And once these travelers reach the cervix (which is like the bridge between the vagina and the uterus), they get another boost from cervical mucus.

This gooey discharge makes it easier for them to get where they’re headed.

Some sperm have low motility.

This means that it’s that much harder for them to make the journey to the egg.

For them to do this job, they need to have progressive motility (in straight lines or large circles) of 25 micrometers per second.

Low motility, a condition called asthenozoospermia, is when less than 32% of sperm can move at this speed.

This can be a challenge if you’re TTC, and you’ll probably want to do everything in your power to help that sperm to get where it wants to go.

Can using saliva as lubricant prevent pregnancy?

We’ll say it again: mixing sperm with saliva is not a reliable method of preventing pregnancy.

But if you’re TTC, there’s a very slight chance that saliva might make it more difficult.

If you’re seeing a fertility specialist, talk to them about whether they think this lubrication method might be getting in the way of conceiving or if oral sex is having any sort of impact.

But there are so many factors that make up the fertility equation.

And for many people, it can be an incredibly challenging and often heartbreaking journey.

Know that you’re not alone.

There’s a whole community on Peanut to support you.

And if you’re not looking to get pregnant right now, we can help too.

There are so many options for birth control available — each type appropriate for different bodies and different times of life.

Hormonal birth control options like the pill, patch, implant, and hormonal IUD are highly effective.

For some people, these contraceptives can also help out in other areas, like making heavy or painful periods easier to deal with.

If that’s not the right option for you, there are also effective barrier methods, including caps, sponges, and condoms.

And then there are also permanent options (like sterilization) and emergency options that can be administered a few days after you’ve had sex.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of birth control options to choose from.

Talk to your doctor about what might be a good fit for you.

Wishing you all the best!

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