The editor of an American College of Surgeon's publication has been forced to resign for remarks considered sexist.
He wrote, from his post atop a bastion of male privilege, on Valentine's Day, that semen is good for women, bodily and emotionally, better even than chocolate. The argument focused on semen's physical powers; as evidence, he cited a couple of studies.
That's what makes it sexist, surely, the lack of consideration to women themeslves. As if they were just bodies to be manipulated, and not individuals, with their own minds and thoughts.
But back to semen for a moment. Was the good doctor wrong on the science of semen?
What did he say?
It’s been known since the 1990s that heterosexual women living together synchronize their menstrual cycles because of pheromones, but when a study of lesbians showed that they do not synchronize, the researchers suspected that semen played a role. In fact, they 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 (Arch. Sex. Behav. 2002;31:289-93). Their better moods were not just a feature of promiscuity, because women using condoms were just as depressed as those practicing total abstinence. The benefits of semen contact also were seen in fewer suicide attempts and better performance on cognition tests.
For the full text of the column, see the Detroit Free Press link above, or this one from RetractionWatch.
The Detroit Free Press medical columnist notes that the study cited apparently hasn't been replicated, although it's often discussed in the media.
This well-known column in Scientific American delves into the same study, and others showing helpful results to the organism from application of semen, without disrespecting the science.
It's funnier, though.
Regarding the 2002 study, one might speculate that the positive effects of the application might have something to do with a relationship, and not a, um, product?
Are surgeons sexist, or are we Americans prudes? Or both?