A fluid that leaves the male urethra during arousal and prior to orgasm and ejaculation. Pre-ejaculate is not the same as semen, although it bears some of the same chemical traits.

There is some controversy as to whether it contains sperm. While scientists once believed that pre-ejaculate was a concentrated form of semen, recent research suggests that the fluid has a low or nonexistent sperm count. Its biological function is probably to provide a small amount of lubrication during penetrative sex and to neutralize acids that could kill sperm.

Sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) can spread through contact with pre-cum, and the fluid may be able to cause a pregnancy in some circumstances. To limit risks, men should wear a condom before engaging in any sexual contact with a new partner.