"Post coitum anima tristes est" ... ? Not according to recent research.
You may have heard about the controversy surrounding Dr Lazar Greenfield. His one-liner about semen supposedly cost him the loss of his president-elect position at the American College of Surgeons.
In the February issue [of Surgery News], he penned some thoughts on Valentine's Day [...] ("But Valentine's Day is about love, and if you remember a romantic gut feeling when you met your significant other, it might have a physiological basis.") Greenfield proceeded to then discuss the mating habits of fruit flies ("It has long been known that Drosophila raised on starch media are more likely to mate with other starch-raised flies"), the mating habits of the rotifer ("Biologists say that it's more advantageous for a rotifer to remain asexual and pass 100 percent of its genetic information to the next generation."). In each case, Dr. Greenfield made sure to reference to the scientific literature. Then he turned his attention to humans.
Dr. Greenfield noted the therapeutic effects of semen, citing research from the Archives of Sexual Behavior which found that female college students practicing unprotected sex were less likely to suffer from depression than those whose partners used condoms (as well as those who remained abstinent).
Presumably it was the closing line that caused the controversy: "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."
Better than chocolate? No f***ing way!
There is growing evidence that human semen has the potential to produce profound effects on women. We have replicated the effects showing female college students having sex without condoms are less depressed as measured by objective scores on the Beck Depression Inventory. We've also examined the data as a function of whether the students were using hormonal contraceptives, whether they were in committed relationships, and how long these relationships have lasted. The anti-depressant properties of semen exposure do not vary as function of any of these conditions. It is not a question of whether females are sexually active, since students having sex with condoms show the same level of depression as those who are not having sex at all. We have also received numerous semen testimonials from other women who attest to the anti-depressant effects of semen exposure [...]Only 5 percent of the ejaculate is sperm. What's left is seminal plasma, which is a rich concoction of chemicals, including many that have the potential to produce mood-altering effects derived from hormones, neurotransmitters, and endorphins. There are even female sex hormones in male semen. Within a hour or two after insemination, you can detect heightened levels of many of these seminal chemicals in a woman's bloodstream.
Yadda yadda yadda. Notice something inherently heterosexist about this research? If that seminal plasma is such a tasty dish of yummy mood-lifters, what about the effect it might have on a male partner? Is this why queer men are so gay?
Oh. Wait. It's only about reproductive biology and, as Adrienne Rich called it, compulsory heterosexuality, isn't it?
But it is also important to acknowledge that there is a dark side to semen chemistry. The vagina is a very hostile environment for sperm. During human evolutionary history women couldn't afford to conceive as a consequence of being inseminated by just any man, and the presence of semen in the female reproductive tract often triggers an immune reaction that treats the sperm as a pathogen.
Gotcha! What we need is serious, all-encompassing and unbiased research regarding the effect of the plasma aka 'manly essence', as well as that of cyprine upon the happiness quotient of all human beings and ^NOT only upon their ability to breed.
We can safely surmise the Contempt Party and its homophobes wouldn't fund that, though.