Dear Dr G,
I came across your article recently and I would like to put Dr G on the spot this week for my troubling "prelude to climax".
I am in my early 20s and have not started "full-on" sex.
Something that troubles me a lot is when I hug and show affection to my girlfriend, I seem to produce this clear secretion at the tip of my penis.
I assume this is pre-cum! My girlfriend and I are physically affectionate, and we hug each other a lot.
Will the discharge continue for the rest of my life? I am also worried that the constant pre-cum is making me weaker.
Will this affect my sexual performance and fatherhood ability in the future?
I also recently noticed some hair loss. Does pre-cum causes hair loss?
I am eagerly waiting for your reply.
Pre-cum is also known medically as pre-ejaculatory fluid. The secretion is generally clear, colourless with slightly viscous liquid emitted by the Cowper's gland near the tip of the penis.
This is more pronounced during sexual arousal, especially involving tactile stimulation of the glans penis.
Pre-cum is commonly observed in younger men, and the emission generally diminishes with advancing age.
Certain studies have highlighted that one in 10 young adults or adolescents is affected by the condition.
However, due to the taboo and lack of awareness, the true scale of excessive pre-ejaculate is largely unknown.
Pre-ejaculation at the tip of the penis occurs at different stages of arousal, either during foreplay, masturbation or penetrative intercourse. The most copious amount of pre-cum is emitted just prior to climax and the propulsion of semen.
Hence, it is generally believed the pre-ejaculate functions as lubricant during penetration, and acid neutraliser for the optimisation during the passage of sperm.
The amount of pre-ejaculate produced by men varies tremendously. In some individuals, the emission of ejaculate is never observed. On the other hand, a man can even produce as much as 5ml during non-penetrative physical or intimate contact.
As pre-cum has no association with sensual feelings, it can be embarrassing and frustrating for the sufferers.
The wetness of the under garments is often mistaken as ejaculate by the partners.
In rare cases, some men even reported the squirting of the pre-cum similar to the actual climax.
Not surprisingly, many sufferers with copious pre-cum report significant impact on their sexual confidence!
Majority of sexual health experts believe that the there is no correlation between excessive pre-cum and ill health.
Some research as identified men with excessive pre-ejaculate as having the weaknesses of the parasympathetic nerves and pelvic muscles.
It is postulated that the weakening parasympathetic nerves that keep the valves closed, prior to ejaculation, can lead to various sexual dysfunctions.
However, there is no real data to support such hypothesis.
Other scientists proposed that pelvic pubococcygeus (PC) muscle weakness can result in the excessive leakage of pre-cum.
The PC muscle is generally known to support the pelvic organs and control continence.
As it is believed the pelvic floor weakness can cause excessive pre-ejaculatory emission, many sufferers are known to have improvement of the condition by regularly performing pelvic floor exercise.
The other theory proposed for the cause of excessive pre-cum, is the high level of testosterone among young men, inducing excessive secretion.
Some researchers even stipulate the link of male pattern baldness with excessive pre-ejaculate.
Although the correlation is uncertain, attempts have made to treat excessive pre-cum with medications to suppress active androgen in circulation.
Sadly, this is not just wiping of the pre-cum, it can have the potential to wipe out libido all together!
Mahatma Gandhi once said: "Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress!"
Indeed, when it comes to the journey of sexual experience, the initial stages of over excitement and arousal may result in excessive emission, which should be viewed as a nuisance, instead of a threat.
As the sexual maturation and control are achieved with more experience, the loss of the pre-cum is generally missed.
Dr G's advice is: "The troubling prelude to climax is a healthy discontent. The natural progression of sexual journey is the only way to ensure a dry happy ending!"
Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at firstname.lastname@example.org