- 740 men and women revealed where they most and least like to give or receive ejaculations.
- 64% of men and 42% of women said their preferences have been influenced by porn.
- 4 in 10 have never given or received a facial come shot, while 1 in 4 do it “sometimes or often.”
- Men prefer giving facials 3.3 times more than women enjoy receiving them.
- The more people watch porn, the more they choose facials as their favorite finishing style.
- 26% said facial come shots are degrading – feminists were less likely than non-feminists to think so.
To explore the psychology of male ejaculation, we conducted the world’s first “semen census” by asking 740 heterosexual American men and women where they or their partner most recently ejaculated, where they most and least enjoy coming, where they believe the opposite sex loves and hates it, and where they most recently saw a man ejaculate in porn.
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Accuracy matters, so our survey takers gave their answers by precisely clicking on a photo of a naked woman. The resulting heat maps paint unique portraits of male and female sexual psychology, showing stark differences between men and women, real life and porn.
Anatomy of an Ejaculation
In one regard, ejaculation is a simple physiological process. At the peak of stimulation, the nervous system triggers the release of sperm from the testes, which mixes with other fluids to make semen, which is then ejected in rhythmic pulses into the vaginal canal for its ultimate purpose: the conception of a baby. Well, sometimes.
In reality, most of the 300 million people around the world who have sex each day1 don’t have pregnancy in mind, yet half of them ejaculate, and the river of semen they collectively produce – enough to fill 1,460 bathtubs2 – has to end up somewhere, either by accident or design. Some of those ejaculations are nothing more than messy inconveniences, but others are conscious celebrations – the come, swirling with symbolism, a manifestation of the man’s sex drive and essence, is the star of the show. Where a man finishes can therefore make all the difference, from accidental splashes that to deliberate facials that ignite .
There isn’t a fluid on Earth that has been as controversial, consequential and loaded with taboo as semen.
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We’ll begin our jizz-themed jaunt by witnessing where people usually aim or receive ejaculations. Needless to say, there are many graphic sexual references and barely concealed puns ahead. But you know what they say: Build it and they will, ahem, come.
Where Americans Most Recently Ejaculated
According to the 740 sexually active Americans we surveyed, the most common place for a man to come is in a woman’s vagina. Ninety-two percent said they or their partner finish there “sometimes” or “often,” with one-third not using any form of birth control, 54 percent using a method of birth control other than a condom, and exactly half ejaculating into a condom.
Just over half of all people said the man frequently finishes in the woman’s mouth, and just more than 1 in 5 men ejaculate elsewhere, such as into a tissue or onto their own bodies. Most people vary their finishing locations at least occasionally, as only 22 percent said the man never finishes in the woman’s mouth, and 10.7 percent said he never ejaculates externally somewhere on her body. It’s this final ejaculation style that most intrigued us. Seventy-four percent of people said the man sometimes or often externally comes on the woman, with nearly 9 in 10 choosing the front of the woman’s body rather than the back. To further explore external ejaculations, we showed our respondents a photo of a naked woman and asked them to click where they or their partner most recently externally ejaculated.
The most common external landing spot, selected by 24.3 percent of people, was the mons pubis or “mound of Venus,” which is the fleshy pubic region above the outer labia. This may be the most convenient place to come when pulling out during face-to-face intercourse.
Not far behind were the woman’s chest (23.7 percent) and abdomen (19.8 percent), followed by her face. Sixteen percent of people said last time they or their partner externally ejaculated, it was onto the woman’s face, with 1 in 10 aiming for the lips (but not into the mouth). The act of ejaculating on a woman’s face, commonly known as a facial, divides people. Around 4 in 10 said they had never given or received a facial, while just over 1 in 4 said they do it sometimes, if not often. We’ll come back to the face a little later.
Once we knew these averages, we wanted to pinpoint the factors that affect the likelihood of somebody partaking in external ejaculation. The first one we spotted was sex frequency. Couples who had sex in the last seven days were more than twice as likely to say they’d experienced an ejaculation on the woman’s face or body in the past compared to those who had sex four to eight weeks ago. The next was sexual preference. Bisexual people were more than twice as likely as straight people (12.1 percent versus 5 percent) to have come externally. The third and clearest factor was age.
The Evolution of Ejaculation Preferences
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There are many reasons a man might come in one place instead of another, from practical (a condom means less clean up), to relational (the woman might not enjoy it on her breasts), to biological (on her feet is unlikely to result in pregnancy). As people age, the effect of these and other factors ebbs and flows. Compared to other age groups, 18- to 24-year-olds are least likely to finish in a woman’s vagina, and most likely to finish on her body or face. As people move into their 30s, and as the chance of being in a long-term relationship or wanting to conceive increases, they become less likely to finish externally or in a woman’s mouth and more likely to come internally.
Six percent of 18- to 24-year-olds said they sometimes or often ejaculate in the woman’s vagina without any birth control, compared to 27 percent of 25- to 35-year-olds, 36 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds and 50 percent of people aged 45 to 54. Alarmingly, 23.1 percent of people across all ages who are single but sexually active at least occasionally finish internally with no birth control, which is about the same as people in steady relationships (21.6 percent) and roughly half of married couples (52.1 percent).
External ejaculations don’t seem to drastically lose their appeal as people age, though, because at no point does the average 18- to 55-year-old have a lower than 69 percent chance of occasionally dabbling in external come shots. However, that doesn’t mean people always want it in the same place. The biggest factor that determines their preferred spot is whether they’re the giver or the receiver, the ejaculator or the ejaculatee … the man or the woman.
A Seminal Debate: Male vs. Female Ejaculation Preferences
Men’s ejaculation preferences are from Mars and women’s are from Venus (not as catchy as the international bestseller but would make a saucy sequel!). Men were 3.3 times more likely than women to select the woman’s face as their preferred place to externally ejaculate (42 percent versus 12.7 percent). One-quarter of men specifically chose the lips, which was four times higher than women, who instead preferred emissions to land below the neckline. The chest was their preferred area (37.1 percent), but that preference wasn’t as strong as the male penchant for a facial.
Not shown above are the internal options men and women said they find most appealing. Men were four times more likely to say they most prefer ejaculating inside the woman’s mouth (43.9 percent versus 11.9 percent), whereas 38.9 percent of women said in their mouth was their least preferred place, being even less desirable than in the butt after anal sex (37.7 percent).
What about men and women who are sexually active but have never experienced an in-the-mouth finish? It turns out these people, despite being blank canvases, express similar opinions, as 23 percent of men said this option turns them on the most, despite having never tried it, compared to 1.6 percent of women. It seems women who haven’t tried it in the mouth don’t particularly want to. This is echoed in the ever-controversial debate between spitting and swallowing. Nine percent of women said swallowing was their favorite finish, compared to 42 percent of men. Quite a difference (but quite a different task, respectively).
These differences between the sexes raise the question of how similarly men and women ever feel about external ejaculation. Does it turn on both sexes (providing it’s optimally aimed)? We specifically asked our respondents if the idea of ejaculating on a woman or being ejaculated on by a man in a consensual context turned them on. A majority of both sexes said yes, but it was overwhelming among men (91 percent) and less of a landslide (63 percent) among women. These numbers, however, are averages. In fact, the chance of finding external ejaculations a turn-on changes depending on how long you’ve been in a relationship.
Do Long-term Lovers Like It?
To explore how a typical man and woman’s feelings about external ejaculation change as their relationship progresses, we first factored out age, as we already know older people prefer an internal alternative. This showed that men in general are more turned on by the concept of ejaculating on their partners’ bodies than women are by their partners ejaculating on them.
After less than a year in a relationship (whether they’re 18 or 48), 94 percent of men think coming externally is a turn-on, compared to 79 percent of women. By year five, the male consensus holds fairly steady at 92 percent, while women have dropped to 69 percent. After a decade, 89 percent of men are into it, compared to a shrinking 57 percent of women, and 15 years in, women aren’t far off half of men (45 percent versus 87 percent).
In part, this may be due to female sexuality being more fluid and open to change than male sexuality, having been said to rely more on social factors than the less flexible physical factors that motivate men.3 Hence, near the start of a relationship, women are more turned on by the novelty of receiving external ejaculations (or the novelty of the man enjoying it so much), but other finishing styles become more appealing over time.
That’s not to say men aren’t changeable – or impressionable. The outside force that has most often been said to influence male sexual attitudes is porn4, so we couldn’t hold back from exploring how hardcore films might affect ejaculation preferences.
Come Shots in Real Life vs. in Porn
Here’s where the plot thickens. When we asked men and women where they most recently saw a man ejaculate in porn, 48.5 percent said it was on a woman’s face. When we asked men where they think women least like men to come, 50.3 percent said, you guessed it, on the face. Finally, 35.1 percent of women said their best guess at where men most prefer to finish is on a woman’s face. So men and women both know facials are extremely popular in porn, half of men believe women strongly dislike facials, and more than one-third of women believe men love them (and they’re only 6.9 percentage points off the actual figure).
We asked our survey takers whether they think their ejaculation preferences have ever been directly inspired by what they’ve seen in porn. Sixty-four percent of men and 42 percent of women said yes.
The Divisive Facial
We said we’d come back to the face and we have – 10 times, in fact. Above are 10 demographic groups and the proportion of each who said their favorite place to ejaculate or be ejaculated on is on a woman’s face or their own face. Overall, 42 percent of men most preferred facials compared to 13 percent of women, although among married men and women the gap was even bigger (40 percent of men versus just 5 percent of women).
While, especially for women, being married or in a long-term relationship lowers the chance of preferring it on the face, the more often men and women watch porn, the more likely they are to choose facials as their favorite finishing style. Thirty-five percent of men who watch porn up to four days a month most prefer to finish on the face, compared to 50 percent of men who watch porn every day or every other day. Only 8 percent of women who watch porn up to four days a month most prefer facials, versus 38 percent of women who watch it on 14 to 30 days a month. Here’s the same finding expressed through examples:
So while gender is the strongest determinant of whether someone likes giving or receiving facials, with men generally preferring them far more than women, the sexes share similar preferences if they watch a lot of porn.
Does this mean porn is warping the minds of men and women everywhere, making them believe facials are the ultimate way to finish a vigorous bout of lovemaking? It’s hard to say because no one knows whether porn imitates life or life imitates porn. It’s probably a messy mix of both. We’re hesitant to say facials have been happening since we were cave-dwellers, but there are references as far back as . They really took off in the 1970s, though, when porn’s facial “money shot” became the standard and most visible way to show male ejaculation and the ensuing “enthusiasm” on the face of the female performer.
As porn has become more ubiquitous and accessible in the intervening decades, the question on many people’s lips is whether facials (in porn or real life) are degrading.
Are Facials Feminist?
Feminist campaigner and anti-pornography activist Gail Dines once wrote that the facial is “one of the most degrading acts in porn” and it “marks the woman as used goods.”5
We thought we’d check in with the average American on the matter. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed (a minority, but still 1 in 4) said they agreed with the statement “a man ejaculating on a woman’s face is degrading, even in a consensual context.” The proportion was almost identical among men and women. However, people who identified as feminists were less likely to consider facials degrading. Twenty-nine percent of non-feminist men thought consensual facial come shots were degrading, compared to 16 percent of feminist men. The equivalent figures among women were 31 percent (non-feminists) and 21 percent (feminists).
As well as being less likely to consider facials degrading, feminists of both sexes were more likely to say their preferred external finishing location is on the face, and they were as likely as non-feminists to say their ejaculation habits have been consciously influenced by watching porn.
So the line between pro-facialists and anti-facialists doesn’t have feminists on one side and non-feminists on the other. It’s more nuanced than that. For instance, at least 15.3 percent of Americans seem to agree with sex columnist Dan Savage’s theory that “facials are degrading—and that’s why they’re so hot,”6 as that’s the proportion in our survey who said they believe facials, even when consensual, are degrading – and also their favorite place to finish.
Here’s where you decide what type of finish you prefer. You can, in the narrative equivalent of safely climaxing in a condom, focus on what you might have guessed from the outset: On average, men are more interested than women in external ejaculation.
Or, like a more exotic chest shot, there’s the surprising result that women are turned on by external come shots at the start of a relationship, but the appeal seeps away as the years progress, while remaining strong in their male partners.
Finally, there’s the boundary-pushing option of finishing on the face, which arguably produced the most surprising results of all: While men like the idea of facials far more than women, a minority of both sexes considers them degrading. People who identify as feminists are less likely to think they’re degrading than non-feminists, and feminists and non-feminists alike are equally likely to say where they come in real life has been influenced by watching porn.
Whichever results most caught your eye, here ends our round-up of the world’s first semen census/cum catalog/nut numeration. Catch you next time!
Seven hundred and forty American men and women aged 18 to 74 were recruited to anonymously take part in the survey. All participants were sexually active and all men were physically able to ejaculate. Answers that were visualized belonged to heterosexual respondents only, although we also analyzed the answers given by bisexual and gay participants. Respondents were asked a variety of questions on the topic of ejaculation, including where they or their partner most recently ejaculated and where they most and least prefer it.
Heat maps were created using click tracking. Participants were presented with a photograph of a nude woman’s body, front and back, and asked to click precisely on the locations that represented their answers. People who had never given or received an external ejaculation or had not seen one in porn were omitted from the heat maps, but not other questions and their graphics.
Our survey relied on participants’ anonymous recollections and preferences. While they were encouraged to tell the truth and accurately represent what they had seen, experienced and imagined the opposite sex to most and least prefer, the data is nevertheless self-reported and there is the possibility of some inaccuracy. Unfortunately, there’s just no other (morally acceptable!) way to collect such a sizeable sample.
- No one knows how many people around the world have sex each day. However, to get a rough estimate, we updated the figure found in the The Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behavior (New York, Penguin Reference, 2000) which stated that “sex occurs 120 million times a day.” We projected this figure to 2017 using world population growth between 2000 and 2017.
- According to the , the average man produces 3.7ml per ejaculation. Multiplying 3.7ml by ~150,000 million men (roughly the number who have sex each day) gives 550,000 liters. Assuming the average bathtub holds 100 gallons, the total daily ejaculatory efforts of men across the world (excluding masturbation) could fill 1,460 bathtubs. Of course, this is just an estimate.
- Dines, G. (2010). Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality. Boston: Beacon Press.
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