Americans are weird Part XVI

Light breeze in small teacup:

As far as humans are concerned, you may think you know all about sexual signals, but you’d be surprised by new findings. It’s been known since the 1990s that heterosexual women living together synchronize their menstrual cycles because of pheromones, but when a study of lesbians showed that they do not synchronize, the researchers suspected that semen played a role. In fact, they found ingredients in semen that include mood enhancers like estrone, cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin; a sleep enhancer, melatonin; and of course, sperm, which makes up only 1%-5%. Delivering these compounds into the richly vascularized vagina also turns out to have major salutary effects for the recipient. Female college students having unprotected sex were significantly less depressed than were those whose partners used condoms (Arch. Sex. Behav. 2002;31:289-93). Their better moods were not just a feature of promiscuity, because women using condoms were just as depressed as those practicing total abstinence. The benefits of semen contact also were seen in fewer suicide attempts and better performance on cognition tests.

So there’s a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there’s a better gift for that day than chocolates.

What is it with Americans? The bloke who wrote that has had to resign. They protect pornography as free speech but when the editor of the American journal Surgery News makes a crack or two about semen he has to resign?

Me, I\’m just glad the Mayflower went west aross the Pond. Or perhaps we\’d all be better off if the Puritans had foundered half way there?

17 thoughts on “Americans are weird Part XVI”

  1. A couple of good books on this theme:
    “How was it for you, Professor?”
    “Sperm Wars”
    Both are a hoot, maybe even still in print.

  2. Well, I keep saying this. After the 20th century interregnum, we’re now plunging into Victorian Era 2.0.

    America is the world leader. Being the superpower, but also having got revivalism particularly badly in the 1840s when renewed puritanism surged again across the Atlantic. The worst part was the Americans got postmillenialism with it, which kicked off the whole “make the world perfect” thing- immanentizing the eschaton as it was sloganised- with the result of Progressivism.

    But anyway, yes, England seriously screwed up by letting any of them survive the Restoration. It’s all our fault ultimately, this. Or, our ancestors’, anyway.

    This time around, with the global village and all, the Puritans are going global. It’s going to be interesting to see how this works out. Though not much fun, I suspect. It’s probably going to be pretty ghastly for a season.

  3. Anyhoo, it’s probably not so much the sex thing that has done for the hapless editor. He’s inadvertently transgressed against the cult of the condom, that sanctified prophylactic of the post-70s zeitgeist.

  4. I think it was merely the last paragraph–don’t buy her chocolates, have unprotected sex, it must be a something she wants, etc.

    To some people, he comes close to advocating rape. Those people are wrong, but living with someone still going through the trauma of being a victim of that crime does give me a lot more sympathy to their arguments even when I think they’re wrong.

    It looks like he meant that as alighthearted comment, but the last paragraph just turns it into something that, well, could, and should, have been wroded better.

    Agree about the general thrust though, US puritanism in public life is beyond silly in some places.

  5. Only a bent mind would get rape out of that last paragraph. But that’s the problem with PC. It’s the creation of bent minds.

  6. MatGB: seriously? How did you get rape from that? All I can see is a slightly (and only slightly) off colour joke.

  7. I’m struggling to see the connection between synchronised periods and the benefits of semen consumption.

    The latter doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the former as there is no suggestion that the women need to be exposed to semen at the same time in order to become synchronised, or that the phenomenon can be artificially induced in a pride of homosexuals through the internal application of semen.

    Perhaps this juxtaposition of incongruous factoids has been wildly misinterpreted by someone as suggesting lesbians are merely heterosexual women who haven’t had enough cock.

  8. Gareth, it makes a lot of sense if you apply it to my favourite somewhat cranky but fun theory of human sexuality. It’s worth adding in the dubious scientific factoid that menstrual cycles are weakly lunar sychronised[1].

    The theory suggests that at some point in the distant past, human (or pre-human) rumpy pumpy consisted of group sex in a festival kind of a way, at full moon. We still associate partying with sex, of course (ooh, she’s a party girl, that one) and it helps explain our mystifying fascination with meeting in mixed groups, drinking and eating snacks, and dancing in suggestive ways, then having sex in the coat room.

    Of course this means that women are really designed for group sex, which explains why they can multiple orgasm, and like to engage in sexual display activities, and why they make a lot of noise during sex and men don’t- no purpose to it if you’re trying to be discreet in your hut, but a lot of sense if you’re trying to get yourself noticed by an alpha male in the scrum. It also explains why the penis is scoop shaped and has an elaborate foreskin; they evacuate the vagina of previous incumbents’ semen, the foreskin acting as a gasket. It probably also explains pornography, since this simulates the male experience of waiting your turn while watching somebody else do the business. Kind of thing.

    So obviously, the more semen, the happier the young ladies will be and the more enthusiastic they will be for party night. The girl who doesn’t play feels sad.

    Eventually we became more cultured primates, and party night turned into lunar worship, and that is how religion got going- and why the earliest calendars are bits of bone marking off the days of the lunar cycle. You don’t want to be out hunting and miss the fun, do you? The sexual origin of religion remained into historic times, until more boring religions stamped it out. But we never lost the urge to party- and of course religion retains its ecstatic elements. Watch a bunch of fundamentalists having the full experience at an eveangelical meeting and it’s pretty obviously sublimating something else.

    I don’t care if it’s true. It’s a good theory and I’m sticking to it.

    [1] Possibly. Let’s run with this.

  9. And yet, if you tried to start a business streaming hardcore porn or sending hardcore porn through the post, you’d have the old bill onto you. That’s something that’s legal in the US and not here.

  10. The retraction and resignation has nothing to do with any imagined American “Prudish prigs” , As IanB notes, the article might be seen as promoting “unprotected” intercourse. That cannot be left unpunished.

  11. I’m amazed that there has been no discussion about whether this ‘medicine’ would be better taken orally. You must all have cleaner minds than I do.

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