Health

The world's most unexpected pick-me-up?

Ladies, I think most of us can agree that sex can do wonders to boost a mood — especially if it's been a while since we last had a man take off his pants in our presence. But it turns out that it's not just the friction of skin and the flurry of kisses that can make us feel better: there's evidence that semen itself has anti-depressant properties.

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Ladies, I think most of us can agree that sex can do wonders to boost a mood — especially if it’s been a while since we last had a man take off his pants in our presence. But it turns out that it’s not just the friction of skin and the flurry of kisses that can make us feel better: there’s evidence that semen itself has anti-depressant properties.

Over at PopSci — “Controversial Ideas: Does Semen Act As an Antidepressant to the Recipient” — Jennifer Abbasi takes on this case, exploring the scientific data that connects the hormones in semen to an elevation in mood for women. Turns out there’s a fairly persuasive case: this past Valentine’s Day, the incoming president of the American College of Surgeons even referred to semen as a “better gift than chocolates” — and then was forced to resign for his comments. (He might have been right, but there’s something about that statement that turns my stomach a little. Let’s all try not to picture semen wrapped up in a pretty box. For pure display purposes, I’ll take chocolate and flowers any day.)

Controversy aside, Abbasi tackles the idea that semen is nature’s own antidepressant. What did she find? Women who always had unprotected sex had significantly lower levels of depression symptoms than women who always or usually used condoms. (This is not an endorsement of unsafe sex, obviously.) The compounds in semen may promote bonding between men and women and there’s even some evidence that women can go through semen withdrawal. Women who recently split with a partner with whom they were having unprotected sex were found to be more adversely affected by the breakup than women who were having protected sex with their ex.

So what do you think? Have you noticed any difference in your post-sex mood when you use condoms and when you don’t? Are you happier after having unprotected sex? Does this make any sense to you?