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The 'Semen Makes You Happy' Myth

The Sun reckons it's just like Yakult, but comes out of boys' penises.

Hello, I’m Bertie. This column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related stuff that I think is dumb. While I appreciate the importance of girl talk, I’m not about to braid your pubic hair or send you the results of my latest smear test. Instead, I will pass on any remotely useful knowledge I happen to discover re: being a FEMALE. Trust me: I’m not a doctor, but I do have a Ph.D in pretty girl bullshit. PRETTY GIRL BULLSHIT #17: THE 'SEMEN MAKES YOU HAPPY' MYTH


God, the media can be sooo dull sometimes, can’t it? Here I am, sitting in bed with my Activia, trying to find something mildly provocative to read, and all I’m getting is ASSANGE this, RAPE that, BLAH BLAH BLAH. I seriously cannot read another ten articles in which people speculate on a story they know nothing about. It’s killing me.

So you can understand, then, that even though rape's one of the very worst kinds of Bullshit that a Pretty Girl will ever go through, I didn't want to wade into the whole rape debate. And that’s not because I think other people are more qualified to decide, but because there is a grey area there which is, urm, really, really grey.

So there I was, trying to forget about rape for five minutes, but then, oh, god, guess what? In the midst of this ethical shit-storm, some of the tabloids have been publishing some pretty questionable stuff. Yes, I'm looking at you The Sun. You, who, with the sounds of Assange's rape charges – brought on the grounds that Julian refused to wear a condom – ringing in your ears, have decided to publish an article "proving" that women who have frequent unprotected sex are less depressed and more affectionate.

Now, this is a bit awkward, because I totally called out everyone who's been discussing Assange’s rape charges as BORING like ten seconds ago, but can we all just appreciate the lovely (horrifying) juxtaposition between these two stories, both of which have featured in the print and online editions of The Sun recently?


ASSANGE RAPE CHARGE: Hinges largely on the alleged refusal to wear a condom during sex. Unprotected sex without permission = BAD.

THE SUN SAYS: “Women who engage in sex and 'never' use condoms show significantly fewer depressive symptoms than those who 'usually' or 'always' use condoms.”

So, according to The Sun, someone needs to sit those women down and remind them that they are really, REALLY happy. Hello? Is that the Swedish judicial system on the line? I have some information I think you’ll be very interested in hearing… etc.

The headline/subhead combo The Sun decided to run with was:

Semen is 'good for women's health and can fight depression'
Fluid contains antidepressants and mood-booster chemicals

"Tired of Yakult?" it brays, "Well, help is at hand!" Yes, friends – not only should you be chugging back as much semen as possible, you should be giving thanks all the while. Probably down on your knees. Slurp up that friendly bacteria ;(

Unsurprisingly, it's this assertion that the majority of the wits who spend their free time in The Sun's comments section respond to:

Way charming, right? Funnily enough, this isn’t the first time studies have come to light with the hope of bullying women into being goddamn grateful for any sex they can get their malnourished, neurotic little hands on. In the mid-19th Century, male physicians were obsessed with the regenerative and anti-depressive qualities of semen. So appalled were they by the new forms of contraception that were becoming available to women, much research was undertaken in order to prove them actively dangerous. Yes, according to those qualified docs, condoms and spermicides resulted in “insanity”, “heart conditions” and “cancerous fangs penetrating deeper and deeper” (?!). And those are medical FACTS.

Cool. Well, look guys, I’m all for finding happiness and staying healthy, but let’s be totally honest – everything’s subjective. Right?

Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes

Previously: Pretty Girl Bullshit - I'm in Love with Aliya Mustafina!