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Bad odor from semen or smegma

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Hi, i'm a twenty three year old male and i have an embarrassing personal/psychological question about hygene, that may seem kind of dumb, but i'm unsure. I'm back from school, and my past roommate had a distinct semen smell that I could always smell from his laundry basket. Through out my teens i masturbated quite a lot in my room growing up, and i used to wipe up with old shirts and socks and towels, but I never really noticed a strong scent to my semen unless i went up close to it, or sometimes when i pulled my laundry out of the wash. Does my semen smell as bad as his and i'm just so used to it I don't notice it lingering in my room, and on my clothes at all times? I'm beginning to think it's an embarassing poor hygeine issue that other people are embarrassed to speak to me about. Does all male semen have odor that is noticeable, or are some men's semen odorless? Are most guys just used to the smell of their own semen, like how smokers can't always smell the cigarettes on them?

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
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Thank you for choosing DoctorSpring.

Human semen has a characteristic smell, but is neither an intense smell nor long lasting. What you have smelled is probably the smell of smegma (a collection of dead epithelial cells + bacteria). This varies in individuals. Some individuals secrete a lot of smegma results in more intense smell. Increased sweating (in the pubic area can make it worse).

So to answer your question - yes the smell varies (although the smell is not directly from the semen).

Semen can have more intense smell in case of infections like prostatitis. But his is less likely. Most likely your room mate had increased smegma and hence the smell.

Hope this clarifies.
Please feel free to ask followup questions.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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