Many men assign a massive amount of importance to their own semen. That's not news to anyone: Throughout history, people have believed all kinds of mystical things about cum and its supposed magical powers of longevity, energy, and machismo. Only recently have people who believe these things been able to find each other en masse, online—which is how we get beliefs like "unvaccinated sperm will be the next Bitcoin."
Unvaccinated conspiracy theorists think that their dick, balls, and cum are more pure than the rest of the population's, and that refusing the COVID-19 vaccine (which has been proven to be nearly 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death from the virus around the world) will make the market value of their semen skyrocket. Some people are refusing the vaccine because they fear long-term side effects, and are skeptical of the government "rushing" the process (the vaccines were evaluated on tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials, according to the CDC). They're waiting to watch the side effects of what they view as an "experimental" treatment unfold on those who trusted the science. As the vaccinated population eventually crumbles, the unvaccinated will rise up to repopulate the planet, according to adherents to this theory. It's a particularly popular notion on r/NoNewNormal, an anti-mask, anti-vax subreddit that was quarantined by Reddit this week. "I’m going to retire as a 'cum cow' 🐄" one person wrote in a thread about the sperm theory.
The "sperm is the new Bitcoin" meme has been around since vaccines started rolling out, but a few factors helped it take off recently. It's often commingled with the theory that unvaccinated blood is in higher demand, or that the Red Cross is turning away vaccinated donors (neither of which is true). The idea that sperm in general is in short supply lately is true, however. Sperm banks across the country report that because of COVID-19 lockdown measures in the last year and a half, they've seen donor numbers plummet. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency speculation in general continues to be a spicy topic among the kinds of guys who trawl Reddit all day, and the virality of r/WallStreetBets as a community brought them mainstream acceptance—a lot more people suddenly took the ramblings of armchair internet day traders as actual wisdom. The crossover between crypto-dudes, anti-vax dudes, and a sprinkle of semen-retention nonsense is resulting in fascinating discourse. A screenshot of the headline from an article from the cryptocurrency blog Protos, "Is unvaccinated sperm really the next Bitcoin?," is being passed around without context, even though the article explains that this isn't the case. "The only thing that's going to get us out of this shitfest is going to be the ideas and solutions that are being explored in cryptocurrencies at the moment," one Redditor said. "Mark my words that unvaccinated sperm and blood will be in high commodity in a few months to a year," wrote another. When someone posts a report that researchers are trying to find out how the vaccines affect fertility, they take it as proof that there must be something wrong with the vaccine.
Studies like these have shown that getting vaccinated does not, in fact, affect sperm quality or count: "There is evidence that the vaccine is safe for men and that it does not affect sperm production/quality," Tony Chen, MD, clinical assistant professor at the Stanford School of Medicine urology department, told me. On the contrary, being unvaccinated exponentially raises the odds that you'll get sick—and if you contract Covid, your swimmers will, too. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found in testicle and penile tissues of those infected, and could lead to infertility and erectile dysfunction. In people who've contracted COVID-19 and in those who recovered, the virus has been detected in their semen, too. There's no reason to stay unvaccinated and diamond hand your own cum. "Longer-term studies are needed, but it's presently clear that protecting one's fertility is yet another benefit of being vaccinated against COVID-19," Chen said. "Those who are eligible for the vaccine should definitely get it."