Semen: Is a Great Anti-depressant in Your Man's Pants?

lilith land's picture

Well, here's an interesting use for jizz besides baby making. Some scientists have found that semen has anti-depressant properties. Sex researcher Gordon Gallup published a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that asserted that women who had regular contact with semen had lower rates of depression.

Gallup surveyed 293 women with the question of how often they had condomless sex, what contraception (if any) they used, and how long it had been since their last sexual encounter. Next, he administered a test to measure depression.

It seems that women who regularly barebacked it had lower rates of depression and suicide. Because women are more likely to forgo the glove when coupled up in a monogamous union, Gallup took a look at his participant's relationship status. The results still held up. He found that even women in loving relationships with committed partners who used condoms on a regular basis were more unhappy than single women who didn't use them at all. Plus, depression scores increased the longer women who didn't generally use condoms went without sex. This is one of the most reported studies on this subject; however, an earlier study had suggested the same thing.

New Zealand physician Phillip Ney had been mystified by the depression of one of his patients, a 23 year-old new mother named Mrs. Jones, and came to the novel conclusion that his unhappy patient's depression was due to lack of nookie. The new mother had completely quit having sex with her husband after the birth of her three year old. The Rx? You guessed it - more sex. Patient cured.

The theory behind all of this is the fact that semen is rich in prostoglandins (including testosterone and estrogen), which can affect neurotransmitter activity in the brain and thus impact mood. Indeed, Prozac works primarily by affecting one of the most common neurotransmitters, serotonin. Many of these chemicals are quickly absorbed by the vagina, according to Ney who published his study in the Medical Hypotheses in 1986.

Now, before you go throwing away your Trojans, you should know that research like this is highly tentative and hard to decipher. There are a lot of intervening factors that could have skewed the results of the Gallup study. The first thing that pops into my mind is that women who never use condoms might have an unreasonably optimistic view of the world that makes them less depressed and less likely to glove it up. Plus, personality variables like risk-taking and willingness to trust were not assessed but could have played a role in the results. The researchers did point out that the women who didn't use condoms also had sex more often - which in an of itself might make some of us rejoice.

And then there is the sad fact that STD rates are both epidemic and more easily transmitted, in many cases, male to female. The World Health Organization estimated in 1999 that there were 340 million cases of STDs worldwide. So, until the day that STDs are completely irradiated, I still recommend putting a lid on it.

To read more from this author check out http://www.lilithland.net, a website dedicated to research and information on sex, gender, relationships, and feminism.

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