There’s rumbling around the internet about whether or not you can use hot sauce as a spermicide, specifically whether you can put hot sauce in a used condom to prevent the sperm from being used to impregnate someone.
There are two standard components to hot sauce that some people suggest may have a sperm-killing effect:
Some people suggest that capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, can act as a spermicide. Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers “burn” — as in the way spicy food “burns” your tongue, and how chili peppers can literally burn your skin.
Vinegar is another common ingredient in hot sauce, and some people suggest that vinegar and other acidic liquids like lemon juice can prevent pregnancy by killing sperm. While it is understood that sperm does not thrive in acidic environments (Olmsted et. al, 2000) and that the pH of hot sauce must be <4.6 (Braun, 2021), there is no direct causal evidence that vinegar kills sperm, nor is it recommended to use vinegar as a contraceptive or spermicide.
So, does hot sauce kill sperm?
While it’s logically possible that the acid and capsaicin found in hot sauce would kill sperm, there is no direct medical evidence that indicates to what extent, and medical professionals strongly recommend against using hot sauce as a spermicidal agent.
What would happen if you tried to use hot sauce to kill sperm?
There are two different ways of using hot sauce to kill sperm that people wonder about. First, some people wonder if applying hot sauce topically to sperm will kill it. If you use hot sauce topically by applying hot sauce to the penis, into the vagina, or putting hot sauce inside of a condom to try to kill sperm and reduce the chances of pregnancy, two main things may happen:
- You or your partner may become pregnant because there is no evidence that hot sauce is an effective spermicide.
- You or your partner may experience burns if hot sauce comes in contact with skin, especially sensitive skin like the penis, vulva, or vagina.
If you are wondering about hot sauce as a spermicide because you are looking to prevent pregnancy in general, or because you are afraid of your partner trying to impregnate themselves with the contents of a used condom, you should look into spermicide condoms. These condoms use spermicidal lubricants like Nonoxynol-9, which is a body-safe spermicide trusted by medical professionals. Spermicidal gels are also easily accessible over-the-counter or on pharmacy shelves and are shown to be 72-86% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Does eating hot sauce kill sperm?
Alternatively, some people wonder if consuming hot sauce will kill their sperm, either because they are hoping it will help them and their partner prevent pregnancy, or the opposite: because they are worried that overeating spicy food will impact their fertility. In both cases, consuming hot sauce and other spicy foods has not been shown to kill or reduce sperm count.
Where does this question even come from?
You may have just heard rumblings online, but this question comes from a recent lawsuit involving mega-musician Drake. There was news that a model accused Drake of filling a used condom with hot sauce to kill the sperm which left her with burns when she tried to use the used condom to inseminate herself.
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- Braun, C. (2021, August 25). How to make a safe hot sauce. SDSU Extension. Retrieved November 17, 2022, from https://extension.sdstate.edu/how-make-safe-hot-sauce
- Olmsted, S. S., Dubin, N. H., Cone, R. A., & Moench, T. R. (2000). The rate at which human sperm are immobilized and killed by mild acidity. Fertility and sterility, 73(4), 687–693. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0015-0282(99)00640-8