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-   -   Semen is good for you? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30098)

Stevenjaguar 10-09-2012 02:07 PM

Semen is good for you?
 
At least for women, it seems. There's a Dr. Gallup (no relation to the pollster) at SUNY who did a study on the effect of semen on mood. A larger followup study duplicated the results.

"The finding that women who do not use condoms during sex are less depressed and less likely to attempt suicide than are women who have sex with condoms and women who are not sexually active, leads one researcher to conclude that semen contains powerful—and potentially addictive—mood-altering chemicals.
Semen contains hormones including testosterone, estrogen, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and prostaglandins, and some of these are absorbed through the walls of the vagina and are known to elevate mood."

I wonder if women with multiple partners are happier still? Just a thought.

almondgrrl 10-09-2012 02:38 PM

I've seen this reposted on a couple of different forums, and I still think it's the silliest thing I have ever heard.

Stevenjaguar 10-09-2012 03:05 PM

Seems like it's for real. Dr is a prof at a respected university and the study was published in a peer-reviewed journal and followed up.

dingedheart 10-09-2012 04:05 PM

it might explain the really angry lesbians and the really happy gay guys :D

Stevenjaguar 10-09-2012 04:31 PM

LOL. Really, tho, a lot of lesbians have reason to be angry and it has nothing to with not getting semen.

lapwing 10-09-2012 05:03 PM

It's a cute thought but correlation doesn't imply causation, to finally get to use that cliche this week. Maybe the chemicals in latex condoms and artificial lubes cause depression? I don't know if I buy a couple teaspoons being that uplifting.

SchrodingersCat 10-10-2012 02:51 AM

Since I'm in grad school, this will be good practice for me at analyzing papers and validating research methods. So the fact that my response is so lengthy and critical is really more because I'm having fun doing this, and not an attempt to beat up on you for bringing this.

This article was published in 2002 and has only been cited 14 times in 10 years. Not especially influential.

From the paper itself:
Quote:

It is important to acknowledge that these data are preliminary
and correlational in nature, and as such are only
suggestive. More definitive evidence for antidepressant
effects of semen would require more direct manipulation
of the presence of semen in the reproductive tract and,
ideally, the measurement of seminal components in the
recipient’s blood.
They also acknowledged that their study found a correlation between being in a relationship and not being depressed. They decided that these correlations were insignificant. They also did not further sub-divide between condom use in a relationship and condom use out of a relationship

Those who "always" use condoms were actually less depressed than those who "sometimes" use condoms and those who have "no sexual intercourse," and they were only slightly more depressed than those who "sometimes" use condoms.

AND then, just to round it off, their standard deviations on all counts were ginormous. In other words, the values at the top and bottom were with 1 standard deviation of the bottom and top, respectively. For those who don't know statistics, that means that these findings are pretty much statistically insignificant.

Then they blew their entire argument out of the water with this confession:
Quote:

Although the overall effect was modest (R2 = 0.076), condom
use accounted for more variance in depression than
any of the other predictors, and the proportion of variance
(.25) due to condom use was greater than that of all of the
other predictor variables combined.
An R2 value of 1 suggests perfect correlation. This correlation is 0.076, which to me is much closer to "no correlation" than anything.

This was their attempt to factor in promiscuity:
Quote:

A third possibility might be that having sex without
condoms could be an indicator of high-risk behavior,
because the prospect of contracting a sexually transmitted
disease is greater among those who do not use condoms.
Thus, one could argue that individual differences
in risk taking behavior may be confounded with condom
use. However, several studies have shown that various instances
of sexual risk taking behavior do not correlate
with scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (Dilley,
McFarland, Sullivan, & Discepola, 1998; McCusker,
Goldstein, Bigelow, & Zorn, 1995).
In my experience, most people use condoms when they're sleeping around. AIDS is terrifying and word has gotten out. I was in University in 2002, and there were free condoms everywhere. People were taking them by the handful. Most college-age women are more likely to use condoms if they're sleeping around, and only if they're in a stable committed relationship do they feel safe to ride bareback. Coincidentally, being in a stable committed relationship is good for your mood.

Quote:

Among sexually active females who never used condoms
or only used condoms some of the time, there was
a significant correlation between depression scores and
how long it had been since they had sexual intercourse.
I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling bummed out, I lose interest in sex. Chicken or the egg? Perhaps. But more likely, me being bummed out (depressed) has a negative effect on my sex drive, which in turn increases the time since my last sexual intercourse.

Quote:

In other words, depressive symptoms among females who
did not typically use condoms increased as a function of
the elapsed time since their last sexual encounter.
Or, "time since their last sexual encounter increased as a function of depressive symptoms among females who did not typically use condoms."

Researchers at my own Alma Mater wrote an excellent analysis of this study and found that there were serious problems with both their sampling methods and analysis techniques.

Edit: verified back at home, those links only work from a University campus that subscribes to Springer's publications.

BoringGuy 10-10-2012 02:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 158911)
Since I'm in grad school, this will be good practice for me at analyzing papers and validating research methods. So the fact that my response is so lengthy and critical is really more because I'm having fun doing this, and not an attempt to beat up on you for bringing this.

This article was published in 2002 and has only been cited 14 times in 10 years. Not especially influential.

From the paper itself:


They also acknowledged that their study found a correlation between being in a relationship and not being depressed. They decided that these correlations were insignificant. They also did not further sub-divide between condom use in a relationship and condom use out of a relationship

Those who "always" use condoms were actually less depressed than those who "sometimes" use condoms and those who have "no sexual intercourse," and they were only slightly more depressed than those who "sometimes" use condoms.

AND then, just to round it off, their standard deviations on all counts were ginormous. In other words, the values at the top and bottom were with 1 standard deviation of the bottom and top, respectively. For those who don't know statistics, that means that these findings are pretty much statistically insignificant.

Then they blew their entire argument out of the water with this confession:


An R2 value of 1 suggests perfect correlation. This correlation is 0.076, which to me is much closer to "no correlation" than anything.

This was their attempt to factor in promiscuity:


In my experience, most people use condoms when they're sleeping around. AIDS is terrifying and word has gotten out. I was in University in 2002, and there were free condoms everywhere. People were taking them by the handful. Most college-age women are more likely to use condoms if they're sleeping around, and only if they're in a stable committed relationship do they feel safe to ride bareback. Coincidentally, being in a stable committed relationship is good for your mood.



I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling bummed out, I lose interest in sex. Chicken or the egg? Perhaps. But more likely, me being bummed out (depressed) has a negative effect on my sex drive, which in turn increases the time since my last sexual intercourse.



Or, "time since their last sexual encounter increased as a function of depressive symptoms among females who did not typically use condoms."

Researchers at my own Alma Mater wrote an excellent analysis of this study and found that there were serious problems with both their sampling methods and analysis techniques.

Note: those links may only work from a University campus that subscribes to Springer's publications, but if you're really curious you can probably go to your local university and use their computers as a visitor.


tl;dr - this "study" has more holes in it than Spongebob Squarepants does after taking a shower in concentrated sulfuric acid.

JaneQSmythe 10-10-2012 03:04 AM

SC - Is it ok if I have a little crush on you right now for your gleeful analysis of the "semen hypothesis"?

I spent several hours today theoretically deconstructing the methodology in preparation for a post tonight - instead I just read your post and grinned.

Jane("Loves-the-science-chicks")Q

PS. Having said that..in my opinion, prolactin does have effects. Both semen and orgasm change prolactin levels locally. Which is where the "have sex, go into labor" meme comes from in midwifery/obstetrical circles. How much effect, to what degree, probably vary from woman to woman...but "no harm, no foul" from my perspective. Not necessary, but fun...and possibly productive. Want an excuse to have sex?...I can hypothesize one (take it or leave it...I need no excuse).

SchrodingersCat 10-10-2012 04:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe (Post 158913)
SC - Is it ok if I have a little crush on you right now for your gleeful analysis of the "semen hypothesis"?

Thanks, JaneQ... it's always nice to be reminded that not everyone thinks you're a crackpot :)


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