Dr. Greenfield, who recently resigned his post as President-Elect of the American College of Surgeons, wrote an editorial for Valentine’s Day touting the benefits of semen as a possible anti-depressant. His article was published in Surgery News—where it probably made the cut because he was the Chief Editor at the time—and suggested that women who have unprotected sex are happier than women who use condoms.
Dr. Greenfield has received substantial amounts of criticism over the article, which is why he has resigned his post; the offensive editorial is no longer in Surgery News either. The best-worst line in the Dr. Greenfield’s surgery news article: “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.” Dr. Greenfield, was of course, referring to the gift of semen; he believes that “the compounds in semen have anti-depressant effects.”
So, according to Dr. Greenfield, nothing says, “Happy Valentine’s Day” like a little semen.
I’ve researched and read about the benefits of orgasm—found HERE—and have heard the old wives’ (or old husbands’) tale that semen is healthy for the skin, but I’ve never heard anyone ever suggest that semen works better than an anti-depressant. That said, Dr. Greenfield did cite a study on the anti-depressant effects of semen.
The study focusing on the anti-depressant effects that Dr. Greenburg cited was from 2002; the claim was that the compounds in semen were absorbed through the vagina, which then created an anti-depressant effect.
Here’s a bit more on the study conducted by Gordon Gallup of State University of New York:
His team divided 293 female students into groups depending on how often their partners wore condoms, and assessed their happiness using the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard questionnaire for assessing mood. People who score over 17 are considered moderately depressed.
The team found that women whose partners never used condoms scored 8 on average, those who sometimes used them scored 10.5, those who usually used them scored 15 and those who always used them scored 11.3. Women who weren't having sex at all scored 13.5.
Gallup claims that he looked for other factors which might have caused the women to become depressed if they were using condoms and couldn’t find any. He believes that the mood-altering hormones in semen, such as testosterone, are responsible for the change in mood in his study.
Because sex without condoms can result in unplanned pregnancies or STDs if alternative precautions are not taken, I’m surprised that anyone considering himself a reputable physician would recommend having sex without condoms in what looks to be a peer-reviewed journal. I’m glad that Dr. Greenfield, who is in his late 70’s, has resigned from his posts, but am disturbed that an article like that was published to begin with.