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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Column: Rawdogs and barebacks

Attention honeygirls: Feeling depressed? Is the weight of the world on those dainty, hardworking shoulders? Well, besides popping pills and taking breathers, there may be a different way for you to calm the hell down. A different, sexier way.

In an article in Popular Science magazine, sex columnist Jennifer Abbasi explores claims made in a 2002 study in which researchers tested semen as a potential antidepressant in women. So according to their research, ladies, if you’re depressed, forget Prozac – try juice from a nut sack.

In the study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by a group of psychologists at the State University of New York at Albany, nearly 300 college women were asked to take the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) test that measures for symptoms of depression. This information was then linked to condom usage, which was measured by the presence of semen in the reproductive tract.

Research indicates that women who always had unprotected sex had considerably lower levels of depressive symptoms than women who usually or always used condoms. Even women who abstained from sex completely showed higher levels of depression. Thus, no significant difference in depression exists between sexually active girls who wrapped their man’s willy and abstinent girls. In other words, the physical act of sex itself wasn’t what boosted the moods of these women; it seemed to researchers the miracle worker was indeed cum.

You can call semen by another name – cum, jizz, splooge, wad, load, gentleman’s relish, penis butter and human bonding fluid, just to rub a few out. But don’t call it sperm – sperm cells only make a small amount of the love juice. The rest is seminal plasma, a fluid containing a mix of compounds, some of which can pass through the vagina and be detected in the woman’s bloodstream after sex.

Three compounds in seminal plasma were of interest in this study: estrogen and prostaglandins, which have been shown to lower levels of depression, and oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social bonding. These are usually female hormones, and researchers suggest the presence of these compounds in semen is the reason women enjoy unprotected sex and keep going back for more.

Let’s be real, if you’re a sexually active college girl, chances are you’re on the pill. And I’m not oblivious to the fact that in a committed, monogamous relationship in which the girl takes her birth control pill on the daily, condomless sex happens more often than we’re willing to admit. Hell, I wouldn’t refrain from believing it happens outside a committed relationship – on a college campus, we can’t be so naïve in our notions of what happens late at night when there’s nothing left to do but the person next to you.

This, I’m told, is “rawdog” sex – coital without a condom. And though it leaves the couple vulnerable to STIs or even a surprise visit from the stork, rawdogs happen all the time.

If you’re on the pill and rawdog from time to time, the chemicals in the pill won’t affect your ability to absorb and reap the benefits of the antidepressant substances in cum. In the study, most of the sexually active women who never used condoms were on the pill. There were no detectable differences in depression scores.

A rawdog in the straight world translates to a bareback in gay world. Barebacking is anal without the rubber. Quite frankly, I prefer the latter term – a rawdog, to me, just sounds painful and maniacal. I would much rather have a guy ask me to bareback than rawdog.

But can the gays benefit from this sexy antidepressant like girls can? And for me, swallowing isn’t an issue. Can I substitute my depression meds with the taste of someone’s sticky sweet?

So far, no additional studies have been conducted to answer these questions. But in her article, Abbasi spoke to Gordon Gallop Jr., anthropologist at SUNY Albany and one of the authors of the study, who wouldn’t be surprised if cum still worked its magic when taken orally or anally: “There’s no guarantee that all the ingredients in semen will survive the digestion process and stomach acid. But given what we know about birth control pills, most of the hormones should survive.”

And for the anal-retentive? “My guess would be that the chemicals in semen would be absorbed through the lining of the colon,” he said.

This all doesn’t mean you should throw out your stash of condoms, honeybees – this isn’t supposed to pull the rug out from under safe sex. Just be safe. Continue to use protection if you are doing so, but if you’re already rawdogging and barebacking safely, enjoy the antidepressants. Finals are in sight, so fight the end-of-the-quarter blues by fighting blue balls! 

MARIO LUGO hardly ever feels down in the dumps. Care to guess why? Reach him at mlugo@ucdavis.edu to find out!

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