Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is semen better than zoloft?

Controversial Ideas in Two Parts: Does Semen Act As an Antidepressant to the Recipient?

Gallup’s team tried to look at the effects of semen on gay men who were having unprotected anal sex but could not continue, because almost all of the study participants were ingesting semen during oral sex.

via POPSCI, by Jennifer Abbasi

Here is an excerpt from Part 1 of this commentary:
Back in 2002, psychologists at the State University of New York at Albany published a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior looking at the potential role of semen in alleviating depression in women. The researchers presented evidence supporting an earlier hypothesis that the hormones in semen have a mood-boosting effect on women. For any woman who has had sex -- and enjoyed it -- this may not come as a huge surprise.

Cut to this past February. Lazar Greenfield, the incoming president of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), wrote a short Valentine's Day-themed editorial about mating in Surgery News. In it, he discussed the sex lives of fruit flies, rotifers and humans. He cited the SUNY Albany study before concluding: "So there's a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolates." That gift, of course, being semen.

Greenfield's editorial sparked a controversy among ACS members, many of whom felt it was blatantly sexist. In response to the flap, Greenfield -- a highly respected retired professor at the University of Michigan with a reputation for supporting women in surgery -- apologized and stepped down from his post as editor of Surgery News; two weeks ago, as the controversy continued, he also resigned from his position at the College. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press Greenfield said, "The editorial was a review of what I thought was some fascinating new findings related to semen, and the way in which nature is trying to promote a stronger bond between men and women."
Read the rest of Part 1.

This is an excerpt from Part 2 of this commentary:
Many of you quite reasonably questioned whether the mood-boosting properties of semen could apply to other types of sex than vaginal. For now, that’s an open question, as Gallup says no studies have been conducted on the anti-depressant properties of semen received by women or men during oral or anal sex.

Gallup’s team tried to look at the effects of semen on gay men who were having unprotected anal sex but could not continue, because almost all of the study participants were ingesting semen during oral sex, which could have confounded the results. (An interesting note: The researchers did not ask the women in the 2002 study whether or not they were engaging in oral sex. Future studies should rectify that, if you ask me.)

Despite the lack of direct research, Gallup said he “wouldn’t be a bit surprised” if oral and anal sex provided a mood boost. “There’s no guarantee that all of the ingredients in semen will survive the digestion process and stomach acid, which could conceivably change some of the semen chemistry. But given what we know about birth control pills, most of the hormones should survive.” Regarding anal sex, he added: “My guess would be that the chemicals in semen would be absorbed through the lining of the colon.”

Here’s some related research that’s worth mentioning:

“There’s some evidence that gay males following anal intercourse will go out of their way to try to retain the semen for extended periods of time, which suggests psychotropic effects,” Gallup says. (I wonder whether the “sexiness” quotient of having your partner’s semen inside you might be another, perhaps complimentary, explanation.)
Read the rest, and Part 2.

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