At a party recently, a friend posed the question ‘Is semen vegan?’ We were all dumbfounded.
It immediately provoked such fervent debate among a gaggle of gays. ‘How can it not be?’ I wondered.
It does nothing to support harmful meat, egg and dairy industries, after all. And no animals are harmed or exploited in its production. Quite the opposite, in fact…
That said, I’m not actually vegan. So my opinion, arguably, is irrelevant. Here, five LGBTIs who are actually vegan offer their diverse views on this confounding question…
1 ‘So long as you don’t pay for it, it’s kosher’
‘Nutritionally-rich and environmentally sustainable, semen sounds like a vegan’s dream. But should orthodox vegans indulge in this animal product?
‘Veganism is a philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. So it pretty much sounds as though, so long as you don’t pay for it, it’s kosher.
‘Looking at the health and environmental reasons for veganism, semen ticks those boxes. Low in calories yet high in vitamins and minerals, its carbon footprint is negligible, as it’s a naturally-occurring, endlessly renewable byproduct.
‘Finally, it’s mildly alkaline, perfect for followers of the alkaline-electric diet. All in all, whether you’re vegan or not, get stuck in.’
2 ‘The fact of the matter is it’s a living organism’
‘My direct, unembellished answer is: no.
‘There are so many things we choose to ignore in life. Though not many people talk about it, most of us love sex. Like, to really get crazy, kinky and dirty into it. Some people ignore the fact that semen is literally a living organism and see it merely as a gooey, fun byproduct of sex.
‘Others enjoy it because they know what it is and what it’s for, and there’s something seemingly sexual and intimate about wanting to give and receive this substance to and from the desired second party. Whatever the reason, we ignore this amazing, incredible tiny organism for what it is. I’m guilty of it myself, as are many men and women.
‘But the fact of the matter is it’s a living organism. We can all become parents. Straight, gay, bi, trans… we can all be parents.
But the only way to do that it is to provide semen. There is no life without it.
‘So the intelligent conclusion, to me, would be that sperm is not vegan.’
3 ‘Eating pussy is better than eating animals’
‘To be fair, this question is a bit absurd. The motivation behind being vegan comes down to stopping animal cruelty, doing better for the planet.
‘Going vegan is the single biggest thing you can do to reduce your environmental impact, and to avoid putting nasty growth hormones, and worse, into your body.
‘What you do with another consenting adult’s semen or any other bodily fluid has literally nothing to do with this. Eating pussy [is better] than eating animals any day.’
4 ‘There are no indirect and unethical consequences to consuming it’
‘Is semen alive? There’s a similar standard by which you may determine eggs are not vegan – based on the potential for life rather than the reality of their limited viability in current form. In other words, eggs could be chickens if they were fertilized and incubated, just as semen could be a baby if it reaches a fertile egg.
‘I ate eggs in the past. My thinking was that they were byproduct and haven’t gone through the necessary process to become chicks. As such I didn’t have a problem with consuming them on ethical grounds.
‘That worked out fine until I realized that purchasing and eating eggs propped up an industry that slaughtered millions of male chicks a year because they were superfluous to use. It was not humane and in an effort to be a more ethical consumer, aligning my actions with my intent not to cause harm to other living creatures, I stopped eating them.
‘That made sense as a vegan, but the argument that semen is alive doesn’t quite hit home because despite the potential for life inherent in semen, there are no indirect and unethical consequences to consuming it.
‘Unlike eggs, there are no peripheral circumstances that would compromise a vegan’s integrity; that would cause harm to a life form. Not to mention the fact that most of the time we engage with and consume semen we are doing so under a set of circumstances that would prohibit it from creating a life form. In fact, I wouldn’t engage with it in the same way if I was risking pregnancy, thereby it’s potential becomes moot.’
5 ‘Semen – human semen – is vegan’
‘Semen – human semen – is vegan in my book because it isn’t an animal product in the sense that animals are farmed or even scavenged to produce [it].
‘It’s a bodily fluid, like when you swallow your own spit or kiss someone and probably end up with a bit of theirs in there somewhere. Or chew your nails or lick a paper cut to clean the blood off. So I guess it’s neither vegan nor non-vegan, just like being alive isn’t vegan or non-vegan.
‘It’s not part of a diet, even if you for whatever reason you swallow a lot of it. If you define veganism as not ingesting anything of animal origin at all then you’ve got a problem when it comes to your own secretions because stuff from your mouth goes down your throat every time you swallow. There are bodily fluids all through your digestive tract.
‘If you define veganism as not ingesting anything of animal origin other than your own, I can see an argument that another guy’s semen is off-menu.
‘But for me veganism is also about ethics and production, which is why I don’t think a blood transfusion or organ donation is non-vegan either. It’s partly about consent too – animals can’t and don’t consent to being killed or farmed, but if a guy jizzes in your mouth, that’s generally consensual. If it’s not, you have bigger problems than whether you’ve broken your diet.’
Julian David Phillips