It is Bulbourethral or Cowper's Gland fluid, but is know commonly as "pre-cum," "speed drop," "pre-ejaculate," or "pre-coital lubrication." This clear alkaline fluid seeps from the opening of the penis (the meatusurethra that might soon carry the ejaculate (semen) with its payload of up to five hundred million sperm. The urine that had passed through this shared tube had left acid along that way that could kill sperm.
"Mother Nature" wants to protect those microscopic swimmers, even though only a handful of the original millions will survive the trip to the woman's egg (ovum) and only one sperm of that handful will fertilize the egg! Appreciate Cowper's Gland fluid as a part of the elaborate scheme to keep we humans reproducing. I also cannot help but wonder if, in our distant past and long before men learned about foreplay, if Cowper's Gland was larger and the pre-coital lubrication more abundant to help with vaginal penetration.
I receive a number of questions about pre-cum. Some men, for some reason, want to eliminate it, while others want to increase the amount. There is no way to do either!
Some men worry that this is a leaking of their semen or sperm. It is not. In the diagram above you will see that Cowper's Gland is separate from the seminal vesicles and prostate where the semen is produced. The sperm are mass produced in the testicles and have traveled up to be mixed with the seminal fluid.
A lot of people worry that even though the man did not ejaculate inside his partner, she might become pregnant from sperm hiding in Cowper's Gland fluid. It is highly unlikely that any sperm escaped and found their way down the urethra, and if some had, the number would be so small that none would likely survive the long trip up to the egg (what would have to be fertile). But, despite the relative safety of well-timed withdrawal ("coitus interuptus"), anything can happen.
If you found this article of interest, you probably will also learn a little more about the prostate.
As you will learn in the book, SEX AND THE AGING MALE, the decrease in pre-ejaculate volume is one of the natural sexual consequences of getting older.
Advice for women who do not like the taste of the pre-cum or a man's semen, find a suggestion on the Fantastic Fellatio page.
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