Can semen cause blindness?

Seminal fluid is a combination of secretions from four male urogenital glands. The seminal vesicle gland contributes approximately 60% to this mixture, the prostate gland contributes approximately 30%, and the combined contribution of the epididymis and bulbourethral glands account for the remaining 10%. Whilst you will be pleased to know that in theory, semen will not cause blindness, it can create some rather challenging stains, particularly in material such as pure cotton, rayon, nylon etc.

The average male ejaculate measures around 3.5 millilitres. Each millilitre contains between 10 and 50 million sperm cells. This number can vary with the age of the male, and can be negatively impacted by medical conditions, genetic background, diet, and other habits such as smoking and illicit drug use.

Some men have a condition known as oligospermia, which is an abnormally low sperm count. Aspermia refers to another condition where the affected male produces no sperm. Deficient sperm production may be affected by factors such as radiation and other environmental toxins, undescended testis, varicocele, trauma, drug effects or other factors.

No, you have no reason to be concerned that either your partner or the threats your mother shouted at you about 'going blind' are true. The greater concern is accidental staining of your environment.

If it's on the carpets or furniture, a cleaner with protein neutralizing enzymes works well. An internationally known household washing powder such as Tide or Ariel 'non-biological' will work. But be sure to spot test the fabric first.

Also, white vinegar is an excellent solution. It has a natural acetic acid which helps to break down the stains. If the stain is still fresh, follow the old reliable used by flight attendants for emergency 'spill' clean ups - plain ordinary soda water. It works a charm. If you're concerned about leaving lasting stains you can always use a black light. You'll immediately see any tell-tale signs of leftover proteins. (Bill Clinton take notice!)

Many people swear by basic ordinary bleach. I'm concerned that this can be far too harsh on fabrics, but do consider hydrogen peroxide or even basic Borax - a natural earth mineral often found in clothes detergents.

If it's just cotton underwear, a good wash cycle in hot water with a good detergent should remove any lasting staining. But it's wise to tend to the stains sooner rather than allowing it to set.

And if all else fails, try calling out the title of Stanley Kubrick's last film: Eyes Wide Shut!

Remember; one in the hole is always better than two in the hand!

Fr B+