That’s the question asked by this paper, How long does it take a man to collect his semen specimen in a busy infertility clinic? They have a clear motive, to figure out what factors might be reducing the throughput at these clinics. Guys, you’re taking up essential space and monopolizing the porn magazines! Ejaculate quickly and get out!
So they timed the men (the pressure!), and to answer the question: the median time was about 12 minutes, with a range of 3 minutes to almost 40 minutes. They only looked at two variables that might affect that time. One was whether the purpose of the visit was cryopreservation or not. The most common reason for giving a semen sample was to evaluate it for fertility issues; some people are there because they’re about to get a vasectomy or undergo chemotherapy, so they want to preserve a sample. Men ejaculating to preserve a sample take about two minutes longer, but I wouldn’t attach much significance to that, given the huge amount of variability and the small sample size.
The second variable was whether the men were attended by their female partner; if they were, it took about 4 minutes longer. Again, it’s impossible to read anything into that number. They aren’t examining the patients with so much as a questionnaire to figure out what’s going on. Go ahead, let your imagination run wild, but there’s no data here.
I am, however, deeply offended by how they plotted the data. This is a terrible chart.
Unforgivable. You’re supposed to compare the collection times between unattended men (orange) and men with their partners (blue), but it’s plotted by raw numbers of men — so all you’re really seeing is the difference in sample size. You have to imagine the blue bars stretched on the vertical axis to do any comparison — it should have been plotted by percentiles — and then the differences are small, and you can see that both groups have a substantial range. It’s very misleading. Bad graphing, bad.
I’m not impressed with their conclusion, either.
The only variable with a negative impact on the collection time was the presence of a female partner in the collection room. Our findings can aid in optimizing the scheduling of patients requiring semen collection in a clinical setting.
You know, you’ve got patients who are concerned about infertility, or are going to be treated for cancer, and there’s also some embarrassment about the situation. I think that how much time it takes them to spurt out a sample ought to be a low priority here, and it’s rather insensitive to be thinking that kicking partners out is to be considered as a way to “optimize the scheduling”, and given the degree of variability here I don’t think you can arrange matters to favor Mr Jackrabbit over Mr Slowhand, nor should you.
As we all know, if you really want to speed things up, the only solution is a rectal probe to deliver electroshock to the prostate.