In a recent study conducted at the University of Albany, a psychology professor and his team found that the absorption of semen by the female body correlates with fewer symptoms of depression.
The team conducted anonymous surveys of 300 female students.
Each participant completed a survey about her intimate activities including frequency of intercourse, last intercourse, and how regularly the participant uses condoms. Participants also completed the Beck Depression Inventory.
The Beck Depression Inventory, or BDI, presents a person with 21 questions that gauge their level of depressive symptoms including:
- negative outlook
- feelings of guilt
- social withdrawal
- difficulty functioning
Responders rate each question as it applies to them. The rating scale per question ranges from zero to three, three being the most intense experience of the symptom.
The total score can be as high as 63, higher scores again correlating to more severe depression. When the team compared participants' BDI scores to their intimacy habits, answers about condom use stood out.
According to lead author Gordon Gallup, women who never used condoms in penetration scenarios showed significantly lower scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) than their peers who always or usually had their partners wear protection.
In developing this conclusion, the team made a point of adjusting for potentially relevant variables such as: relationship status use of other contraceptive strategies frequency of partner intimacy.
Among all variables, condom use correlated with the most clinically significant difference in participants' BDI scores.
The research team believes that the correlation between condom use and depressive symptoms may result from the interaction of biological material.
Gallup theorizes that upon penetration, the female partner's internal tissues absorb some of the fluids that the male partner produces.
It is possible, the team suggests, that a woman's mood and feeling state may change in response to this absorption.
The study's sample size is relatively small and there are a number of unanswered questions surrounding the results.
Still, Gallup and his colleagues believe that the connection between improved mood non-use of condoms warrants further investigation.
The team cautions women and their partners not to take these findings as a motivation or an excuse not to use condoms.
Gallup has issued a statement to remind the public that protection from infectious diseases and the prevention of pregnancy should take precedence over an attempt to make use of these findings.
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