When I am aroused my penis leaks fluid. Is this normal?

During foreplay, when aroused, my penis leaks fluid. Is this normal?

A: This is absolutely normal. The fluid is called pre-ejaculatory fluid, and it is produced by the cowpers glands, which are attached to the urethra, the tube that runs from the bladder to the tip of the penis.

Pre-ejaculatory fluid may begin to appear almost as soon as the man is aroused. It is slippery and functions as a lubricant during intercourse. The fluid is not semen, and it doesn’t usually contain sperm. But the possibility that it might contain sperm makes "withdrawal" an unreliable method of birth control.

The fluid also serves as a transmission mode for some sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A couple wanting to prevent STDs and pregnancy should use a condom as soon as erection takes place.

Date Published: July 14, 1999
Date Reviewed: July 14, 1999

Nancy Snyderman, M.D., F.A.C.S

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