Sperm Makes You Happy, And Some Women Are Pissed About It

There’s been a bit of an uproar in the medical community recently over an editorial published in Surgery News, a publication associated with the American College of Surgeons. The editorial, written by Dr. Lazar J. Greenfield, the president-elect of the organization, has the gall to suggest that there are chemical elements in semen that decrease feelings of depression in women, and cites a couple of studies with results that support that theory. In the studies, as one might imagine, the women found to be happier were those having unprotected sex.

According to a blog called Retraction Watch, which published the editorial in full, Greenfield writes:

[Researchers] found ingredients in semen that include mood enhancers like estrone, cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin; a sleep enhancer, melatonin; and of course, sperm, which makes up only 1%-5%. Delivering these compounds into the richly vascularized vagina also turns out to have major salutary effects for the recipient. Female college students having unprotected sex were significantly less depressed than were those whose partners used condoms.

Which seems…scientifically interesting at best, and a bit thoughtless as far as condoning unprotected sex at worst.

But after the editorial was published, Greenfield was promptly accused not of being careless or picking a topic that’s in poor taste, but of being offensive to women. The article was pulled, and then the entire edition of the publication was pulled.

And that is what I would call…an overreaction.

Listen. As a person who writes about health on a fairly regular basis, I can tell you that doctors and researchers don’t usually think about science in terms of its political correctness — nor should they. Why? Because scientific research is not politically correct. Biological facts are not worried about whether they will be offensive. And in fact, any scientist who holds their tongue when reporting results of a study for fear of upsetting advocacy groups would be a shoddy scientist indeed.

Now, if the science that Greenfield cited was found to be flawed — as surgeon Dr. Colleen Brophy suggested it was in an interview with the New York Times — that would be something else. But in the same article, Greenfield was championed as someone who had gone out of his way to mentor female surgeons, and encourage them in a field that is still dominated by men.

Which leads me to believe that his editorial was just a poorly thought out topic, written by someone who is used to thinking in terms of facts, not in terms of feelings.

From a feminist point of view, it’s a dangerous road to go down to call the results of scientific research degrading to women because you don’t like what they reveal about our biology. In fact, that makes us no better than those who ignore science in favor of anti-abortion or anti-birth-control ideology. Sure, the effects of semen on women’s moods might be an odd subject for a scientific publication, but anti-woman it is not.

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    • Hannah Beth

      Things like that really get to me. I mean, it makes so much biological sense. That’s why we orgasm– to continue to procreate.

      My boyfriend informed me of these results when the study first came out. I thought it was funny.

    • teenie

      “Biological facts are not worried about whether they will be offensive.”

      truth. biology isn’t concerned with The Man and who he’s keeping down.

      At the same time, I think there’s a certain responsibility for scientists to ensure there isn’t any sexism seeping into their research. It’s not difficult to unintentionally skew stats based on beliefs. Also, make sure research is covering all fronts. For instance: has there been comparable research into the impact on vajay secretions on men? (writing that felt really dirty…)

    • teenie

      (PS: there are so many awesome pick up lines that could spawn from this research…)

    • Danielle

      LOL I don’t need scientific research to tell me that my man’s sperm makes me happy! I don’t care what anyone says I feel more intimate and connected with my other half when we’re having unprotected sex. There’s a whole psychological realm to sex that who ever was offended by this research is missing completely.

    • Jamie B

      “Because scientific research is not politically correct. Biological facts are not worried about whether they will be offensive. And in fact, any scientist who holds their tongue when reporting results of a study for fear of upsetting advocacy groups would be a shoddy scientist indeed.”
      THIS THIS THIS
      Get over it, ladies. Sperm is good.

    • oja

      I don’t see why this is so offensive; they’re just saying that sperm boosts your mood, which makes biological sense, they’re not saying that that mood boost is worth risking veneral disease or unwanted pregnancy.

    • Sperm4Teenie

      And who is the man keeping down Teenie? Can you please tell us?
      Are you feeling a little depressed? I can help : )

    • teenie

      are you illiterate, or just a troll? i don’t have any problems with this study – nobody keepin me down.

    • Jack Archer

      “Those who ignore science in favor of anti-abortion … ideology.” Whaaat? Exactly the opposite of the truth. The biological facts about abortion are uncontested and clear, in that a human organism with its own DNA is alive and directing its own growth from the one-cell stage. In abortion, the political correctness and ideology layered over the facts is that other stuff about it being “biologically human, but not a person” and other legal and social fictions.

    • Carolyn

      People who don’t use condoms are generally people in relationships and people in relationships tend to be more content than people who are single. You know according to some studies that came before these ones. I dunno about you gals, but I’ve always kind of craved my partners sperm in past relationships (although we usually pulled out as a backup to my BC)…It just makes the act more complete and romantic and feels better for both people. I never really analyzed WHY before now… So in closing… I think these researchers might be on to something…

    • ElBruce

      I would just think that including some nice mood enhancers in that stuff is just the gentlemanly thing to do.

    • Al

      Jack Archer gave what he thinks is a refutation of your comment:

      “… those who ignore science in favor of anti-abortion or anti-birth-control ideology.”

      I’d like to see your substantiation of your comment: How does anti-abortion or anti-birth-control ideology ignore science? Not “do some anti-abortion or anti-birth-control ideologues ignore science?” thanx.