AN ELIXIR OF HAPPINESS FOR WOMEN by Moses Ma
- AN ELIXIR OF HAPPINESS FOR WOMEN by Moses Ma
in Tantric Newsbytes and Announcements- 02/02/2012
Semen is best known for what Woody Allen portrayed in his film, Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Sex... which is, of course, sperm. Happy little spermatozoa swim their way into the fallopian tubes where fertilization takes place. But sperm comprise only about 3 percent of semen. The rest is labeled seminal fluid: mostly water, plus about 50 compounds: sugar (to nourish sperm), immunosuppressants (to keep women's immune systems from destroying sperm), and oddly, two female sex hormones, and many mood-elevating compounds: endorphins, estrone, prolactin, oxytocin, thyrotrpin-releasing hormone, and serotonin. Until recently, scientists believed that the sole purpose of seminal fluid was to nourish and protect sperm on their way to fertilization. But now it appears that semen can actually spur ovulation, and what's more... help women feel happier.
Now, scientists have known for decades that vaginal tissue is very absorptive. It's richly endowed with blood and lymph vessels that can absorb stuff. Given vaginal absorptiveness and all the mood-elevating compounds in found in semen, a number of scientists at SUNY college wondered if semen exposure might be associated with better mood and less depression. And so, they surveyed 293 college women at SUNY Albany about intercourse with and without condoms, and then gave the women the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard test of mood. Compared with women who "always" or "usually" used condoms, those who "never" did, whose vaginas were exposed to semen, showed significantly better mood -- ie, fewer depressive symptoms and less bouts of depression. In addition, compared to women who had no intercourse at all, the semen-exposed women showed significantly more elevated mood and less depression.@
However, at the same time, unprotected sex is usually associated with negative self-esteem and depressed mood. Among college women, risky sex includes intercourse without condoms, so we would expect sex sans condoms to be associated with more depressive symptoms, and more serious depression including suicide attempts. However, in the Gallup-Burch-Platek study, among women who "always" or "usually" used condoms, about 20 percent reported suicidal thoughts, but among those who used condoms only "sometimes," the figure was much lower, 7 percent, and among women who "never" used condoms, only 5 percent reported suicidal thoughts. Note that this study controlled for relationship duration, amount of sex, use of the Pill, and days since last sexual encounter.... to isolate this single, compelling factor. So it appears quite possible that the antidepressants in semen actually get absorbed into the bloodstream, and might have a genuinely mood-elevating effect. Please note that this effect might come in handy for women over age 50, who are experiencing menopausal blues, and a great argument for remaining sexually active into your senior years.@
Finally, recall that in addition to antidepressant compounds, semen also contains two female sex hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH spurs egg maturation in ovary. LH is involved in triggering ovulation. Why would semen contain compounds that encourage ovulation? From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. Consider our closest biological relatives, the chimpanzees. Chimp semen contains no FSH or LH, but ovulating females demonstrate estrus - aka, red buttocks, which signal reproductive readiness. In contrast, human women have concealed ovulation. Men don't know when women are most fertile or least fertile, without the help of thermometers and stuff. Compared with men whose semen lacked ovulation-triggering hormones, those whose semen contain these hormones would gain a small reproductive advantage. Their semen would encourage ovulation, and their sperm would be more likely to fertilize eggs.
Source: Bering, J. "An Ode to the Many Evolved Virtues of Human Semen," Scientific American, Sept. 22, 2010.