Friday, March 25, 2005
Friday semen blogging
This is an oldie, but a goodie...
On a sad note, unless more happens soon in the world of semen, we may have to put Friday semen blogging on hiatus for a bit. We'll see how things are looking next week.
Semen acts as an anti-depressent
26 June 2002
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
Semen makes you happy. That's the remarkable conclusion of a study comparing women whose partners wear condoms with those whose partners don't.
The study, which is bound to provoke controversy, showed that the women who were directly exposed to semen were less depressed. The researchers think this is because mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina. They say they have ruled out other explanations.
"I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms," says Gordon Gallup, the psychologist at the State University of New York who led the team. "Clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen."
The question many people will ask is whether oral sex could have the same mood-enhancing effects. "Since the steroids in birth control pills survive the digestion process, I would assume that the same holds true for at least some of the chemicals in semen," Gallup says.
"I understand that among some gay males who have anal intercourse, it is not uncommon to attempt to retain the semen for extended periods of time," he adds. "Suggesting, of course, that there may be psychological effects." But further research will be needed to confirm whether exposure to semen through oral or anal sex really does affect mood in heterosexual or homosexual partners.
But why should semen have such an effect? "It makes no sense to me for this phenomenon to have evolved," says Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. But Gallup counters that men whose semen promotes long-term mood enhancement might have more chances to indulge in sexual activity.