Semen-Gate: A New Controversy

First there was the Watergate Scandal. Then there was ClimateGate. And for a brief moment, we had KanyeGate, but what;s this, now we have SemenGate? That’s right, controversy over semen has reached boiling point, all thanks to the one suggestion that semen may just be the next big anti-depressant.

Cameron Diaz

Before I link to you the news article about the controversy of SemenGate, I’ll take you through the background in the most politically correct and PG way possible. In 2002, there was a study done in USA, correlating the sexual activity of female colege students and their emotional state. More specifically, they were looking at the correlation between depression and women that were having either unprotected sex, sex with a condom or practicing abstinence.

The reasoning behind this was that it was thought that semen has mood-elevating effects for women. Semen contains a range of hormones like testosterone and estrogen and several other compounds (including, um, sperm), that may be absorbed vaginally and make one happy. Hence, women that were having unprotected sex absorb more semen than women who regularly use a condom or abstain from sex (obviously) and hence should be perkier.

The results from the study gave the suggestion that women who had more unprotected sex were less depressed and had less severe depressive symptoms and suicide attempts than the other category of women.

The data collected seemed to suggest that semen did in fact alleviate symptoms of depression via vaginal absorption. The authors of the study admit that the evidence is not as comprehensive as they would like but that there is some kind of suggestive correlation between semen and depression.

This is how the media would jump on the controversy. Image by Zervas

This is how the media would jump on the controversy. Image by Zervas

The SemenGate controversy that erupted was not from this study being published. The SemenGate controversy was only to happen 9 years later in 2011 (yes this year). Click the link for more details. I won’t go into the details but in short, it involved one very distinguished and learned surgeon by the name of Dr Lazar Greenfield (his name is LAZAR!)

Dr Greenfield was the President of the American College of Surgeons, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan, has invented important life saving stuff, has written textbooks, book chapters and published over 360 scientific papers.

In Valentine’s Day of this year, Dr Lazar Greenfield wrote an editorial piece in Surgery News (some magazine). In it, he talked about the regular stuff that people talk about in editorials with the one exception. He concluded his Valentine’s Day editorial letter with the sentence “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.” Basically, the man was suggesting that women should let the boys swim free.

What erupted was a lot of overreaction and eventually, Dr Lazar Greenfield stepped down as President of the American College of Surgeons and as editor of Surgery News. Whether this was warranted or not is up to anyone’s opinion. Point being that his science-based joke cost him two jobs due to political outcry. The story of SemenGate my friends. Was it as good as Kanye?

Over to you:

  • What are your thoughts on the SemenGate controversy?
  • Do you think Dr Greenfield’s statements were over the top or in good jest?
  • Which is more controversial: Semengate or KanyeGate?

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