“Oral sex is good for women’s health and helps fight depression”, was the Daily Mail’s lurid headline today, while The Sun opted for a more straightforward “Semen is good for you”.Shame that Nature didn't show as much sense before publishing this load of tosh.
The “news” is based on research that is more than 10 years old. The facts used to support the lascivious claims come from a small study looking at depression scores of women students who used condoms during sexual activity compared with those who did not. It found that sexually active women who did not use condoms reported fewer depressive symptoms than those who did. From this the researchers seem to assume that semen may have antidepressant qualities.
This study is full of holes – and extreme caution should be used when interpreting anything from it."
'Oral sex helps women fight depression' claim, NHS Choices, 22 August 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I worry about the echo chamber. I spent quite a lot of time reading scientific press releases. Then I worry about the echo chamber some more. And that's why NHS Choices is such a tonic. In a recent report on the latest meeja blur around a very old paper (Gallup GG, Burch RL, Platek SM. Does Semen Have Antidepressant Properties? Archives of Sexual Behaviour. 2002;31: 289-293) NHS Choices says: