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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Semen 'makes women happy'
Young men holding a condom packet
The scientists said people should still practise safe sex
Women exposed to their partner's semen during sex may find themselves feeling happier than those who use a condom, say scientists.

Scientists in the US believe the mood-altering hormones in semen absorbed through the vagina help to boost women's mood.

Semen contains a range of hormones, including testosterone and oestrogen, both of which have been shown to improve mood.


We are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms

Gordon Gallup
However, they warned that their findings should not be used to encourage people to practise unsafe sex.

Gordon Gallup and colleagues at the State University of New York divided 293 female students into groups on the basis of how often their partners wore condoms.

Mood tests

They used standard psychological tests to assess how happy they were and their overall mood.

They found that women whose partners never used condoms were happiest. They were followed by women whose partners sometimes used condoms.

Women whose partners always used or usually used condoms were less happy.

The study, details of which are published in New Scientist magazine, also found that a lack of sexual intercourse made some women depressed.

Women whose partners never or sometimes used condoms became more depressed the longer they went without sex.

However, there was no similar pattern for those women whose partners usually or always used condoms.

The scientists also found that depression and suicide attempts were more common among those women whose partners used condoms regularly.

Further evidence

Mr Gallup told the magazine that an extended study on more than 700 women has backed up these findings.

He added that other factors such as how often the women had sex, the strength of their relationships, their personalities or the use of oral contraceptives did not affect the overall conclusions.

Mr Gallup said the findings may also apply to women who engage in unprotected oral sex and people who engage in anal sex. But he said further research was needed in these areas.

But Mr Gallup, whose study will be published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, urged couples to continue to practise safe sex.

"I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms," he said.

"Clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen."

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Health
27 Nov 01 | Health
15 Dec 00 | Health
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