In a story vaguely reminiscent of the scandal surrounded Dr. Jocelyn Elders' simple admission that masturbation is acceptable, it seems that a prominent surgeon has been compelled to resign for admitting that ingesting semen has some health benefits. The furor he created prompted the Huffington Post to label this scandal Semengate.
[Dr. Greenfield] penned some thoughts on Valentine's Day under the heading of "Gut Feelings." ("But Valentine's Day is about love, and if you remember a romantic gut feeling when you met your significant other, it might have a physiological basis.") Greenfield proceeded to then discuss the mating habits of fruit flies ("It has long been known that Drosophila raised on starch media are more likely to mate with other starch-raised flies"), the mating habits of the rotifer ("Biologists say that it's more advantageous for a rotifer to remain asexual and pass 100 percent of its genetic information to the next generation."). In each case, Dr. Greenfield made sure to reference to the scientific literature. Then he turned his attention to humans.
Dr. Greenfield noted the therapeutic effects of semen, citing research from the Archives of Sexual Behavior which found that female college students practicing unprotected sex were less likely to suffer from depression than those whose partners used condoms (as well as those who remained abstinent).
Presumably it was the closing line that caused the controversy: "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."
The attempt at Jackie Mason-humor apparently didn't sit well in certain quarters. Dr. Greenfield resigned as editor of the Surgery News and gave up his stewardship of ACS after learning that his article had spurred threats of protests from outside women's groups.
Naturally, I have a mouthful to say on this.
First, if indeed Dr. Greenfield *intended* to suggest that unprotected sex was an appropriate choice for college students, he should be scolded and re-educated. Unprotected sex is an appropriate choice when you can be reasonably certain your partner is disease-free. Casual sex partners? No way.
But as the article notes, it seems people took objection to his suggestion that a blow-job is a healthier way to enjoy Valentine's Day than gorging on fattening food. Dr. Greenfield may not have realized he sounded like he was condoning unsafe-sex, and for that, he should be slapped on the wrist. On the other hand, he was not writing this to or for college-age students but to an audience of peers who well understand the risks of unsafe sex and don't need Dr. Greenfield to tell them when to use condoms and dams.
On the science he is 100% correct. Semen is better for you than food loaded with fat. Simple fact.
One of the things that's worried me about my new book is that I base it on facts. Yeah. Facts! About sex! We have far more data, studies, and details on sexual health and well-being now than were available to our 20th century counterparts. We KNOW sex is good for you. We KNOW semen (and vaginal fluids) are perfectly natural and safe for ingestion (as long as your partner does not have a transmittable infection or disease).
But are people ready to see the facts added up and presented honestly? If medical professionals are offended by the notion that swallowing healthy semen is a healthier choice for adults than swallowing a pound of fat, why in the world would any sane and rational, sexually active adult, want to take advice from them? Give me the Dr. Greenfields who just treat fact as fact and who leave the puritan belief system outside the halls of science.