Sex: It’s all about ejaculate

spermSo a recent study found that daily ejaculation improves the quality of men’s sperm. This isn’t really surprising, since emptying out the built-up stores causes the body to make a fresh batch, and fresher means it’s had less opportunity to become damaged. That part’s all well and good, and may be helpful to couples trying to conceive.

But look how it’s being reported:

Daily sex makes for healthier sperm

Having sex every day improves the quality of men’s sperm and is recommended for couples trying to conceive, according to new research. […]

Frequent sex does decrease semen volume but for most men this is not a problem.

“It seems safe to conclude that couples with relatively normal semen parameters should have sex daily for up to a week before the ovulation date,” [head researcher Dr. David Greening of Sydney IVF] said in a statement.

That’s weird, right? I mean, the study specifically states that daily ejaculation produces better sperm, not daily sex. I have it on reliable authority that in most men, ejaculation can be achieved without sex, even if you have a pretty broad definition of “sex.” Unless you take a completely dude-centric view of sex, in which case I guess it makes total sense. Every erection is entitled to a woman-hole to stick it in, so if a dude ejaculates, there must have been sex. What the holes think doesn’t count, so it’s not sex unless a dude ejaculates.

But I find this advice disturbing not just because it exposes a rather narrowminded chauvinistic leering and misogynistic unenlightened take on ejaculation and its relationship to sex, but also because it’s directed at infertile couples.

I have no personal experience with infertility. I am not trying and never have tried to conceive; my close friends either have not had or have chosen not to tell me about any problems with infertility; and I have not, unlike Dr. Dude here, worked with any infertile couples. And yet I am somehow aware that sex might not always be superawesome happyfuntimes for infertile couples who are stressed out, undergoing treatments that mess with their reproductive systems, and feel required to have sex on a schedule whether they feel like it or not.

Says one infertile woman, who is writing an article trying to convince readers that infertile couples can have hott sexxx while trying to conceive:

[Y]our libido hits as far as the queasy notch on the love-O-meter, and every time you think of sex, you think of the once fun, carefree thing you and your husband used to do, but now is a reminder of the life you cannot create, and the rigidness, calendars, Dr. appointments and finances that goes a long with trying to.

Julie of A Little Pregnant describes one of her and her husband’s infertility-occasioned rolls in the hay as the “Worst sex ever“:

Sad and freaked out to begin with, I felt no desire whatsoever. […]

But to accomplish the goal, the well-placed deposit of a copious spermy payload, I willingly played along. What else could I do but pretend to enjoy it? The goal was indeed accomplished, with heroic effort and no small relief.

I lay awake for a long time afterward. Not only did my body feel misused, not only did I feel angry and sad about the likely failure of this cycle, but I also felt small and dishonest to boot.

I don’t know about you, but that description hit me like a punch to the gut when I first read it because it sounds so much like how some people talk about sexual assaults they’ve survived, particularly rapes in the context of abusive relationships. And that is clearly not the case here. Julie makes it clear that both she and her husband were consenting, if not enthusiastic, and that he enjoyed it as little as she did. But the playing along to get it over with, the pain, the used feeling, the self-hatred, they’re all part of a familiar refrain for those of who’ve read victims’ accounts of sexual assaults.

And this doctor is saying to infertile couples desperate to conceive, desperate enough to snatch at long shots and eke a glimmer of hope out of as-yet-unverified studies, “Hey, if you really want a kid, just inflict this sickening pain on each other every single day.” And media outlets around the world are repeating this assvice with prurient, winking, lascivious glee. Way to go, guys.

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. Well, clearly they had to balance out the one positive, non-misogynistic article about sex research that managed to slip through the filters recently.

  2. Well… clearly couples that are trying to conceive are married… and married men don’t need to masturbate because their wives have to consent to having sex with them because that’s what it means to be their wives.

    Sigh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: