Crying Over Spilled Semen

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.

Study author Gordon G. Gallup, Ph.D., a psychologist at the State University of New York in Albany, also found that women who routinely had intercourse without condoms became increasingly depressed as more time elapsed since their last sexual encounter. There was no such correlation for women whose partners regularly used condoms.

Gallup's survey of 293 college women also found that those who did not use condoms were most likely to initiate sex and to seek out new partners as soon as a relationship ended. "These women are more vulnerable to the rebound effect, which suggests that there is a chemical dependency," says Gallup.

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.

Gallup controlled for variables including method of contraception, frequency of sexual intercourse, as well as the women's perception of their relationship. He concedes that women who regularly have sex without condoms might share personality traits that make them less susceptible to depression. But the behavior most often associated with non-condom users is sexual risk-taking, and studies have found no correlation between high-risk sexual behavior and lower rates of depression.

Gallup's study, which he deems "the first serious attempt to investigate the effect of semen chemistry on women," titillated the public and rankled some academics upon publication in Archives of Sexual Behavior. Gallup says he has since replicated the findings with a sample of 700 women and will examine whether "semen withdrawal" places women at an increased risk for depression when they are premenstrual, menopausal or have just given birth, as many women abstain from sex during these periods.

The original article can be viewed at Psyhcology Today by clicking this link:


And here is the abstract of a similar study:

The intravaginal absorption of male generated hormones and their possible effect on female behaviour

P. G. Ney

Clinical School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Available online 21 April 2004.


In this paper I hypothesize that a woman through her vagina absorbs sufficient quantities of the prostaglandins from her partner's semen, to affect her mood. The vagina appears to have an active transport mechanism which readily absorbs the hormones found in seminal plasma. The seminal secretions include estrogens, F.S.H., LH, testosterone, and at least 13 prostaglandins. Prostaglandins have a modulating effect on neurotransmitters. Evening Primrose Oil (E.P.O., Efamol) may improve depressed mood by facilitating the production of prostaglandins. I have described a depressed, child abusing mother who was possibly getting insufficient exogenous prostaglandins post-partum to maintain her pre-partum mood state because she was avoiding intercourse with her husband. When her mood improved on E.P.O., she began enjoying her husband and her child. If these observations and deductions are correct, regular amounts of seminal plasma may be important in maintaining a woman's affective health and E.P.O. may be useful in treating depressed abusing mothers.

The full study can be purchased at this link:

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