Toronto Star

Jul. 1, 01:00 EDT

Semen makes women happy: Study

Raj Persaud
Toronto Star

Semen makes you happy. That's the conclusion of a study comparing women whose partners wear condoms with those whose partners don't.

The study showed women who were directly exposed to semen were less depressed. Researchers think this is because mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina. They say they've ruled out other explanations.

"I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms," says psychologist Gordon Gallup of the State University of New York.

He led the team that 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.

`We are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms'
Psychologist Gordon Gallup,
State University of New York.

The team found women whose partners never used condoms scored eight 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 not having any sex scored 13.5. Gallup said his team already has unpublished data from a group of 700 women confirming the always-use group was more depressed than the usually use group, suggesting the discrepancy in the smaller study was a sampling error.

The team also found depressive symptoms and suicide attempts more common among women who used condoms regularly compared with those who didn't. The results will appear in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

But is it really semen that affects women's mood? Researchers say they looked at alternative explanations, such as whether women who seldom use condoms took oral contraceptives, how often they had sex, the strength of relationships, and the possibility a certain type of personality influenced the decision to use condoms. But none of these factors can explain their findings, they say.


Copyright © 1996-2002. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.