In the popular media, it’s easy to find claims of a rising “epidemic” of erectile dysfunction in young men. For example, this article argues that the rate of ED in young men has increased 1000% in the last decade alone—though, problematically, no research is cited to back it up, which makes this a very questionable claim. So what does the science say on this subject? Are erectile difficulties really rising at a dramatic rate in young guys? Let’s take a look.Read More
If you have ever seen a commercial for Viagra or any other erectile dysfunction drug, you've probably heard the advertiser warn male users to seek medical attention if they develop an erection lasting longer than four hours. I know some of you are probably thinking that a four-hour hard-on sounds like a positive side effect, but it isn’t. An erection that won’t go away on its own is a serious medical condition known as priapism (on a side note, priapism derives its name from the Greek god Priapus, who was always depicted in paintings and sculptures as having a gigantic, permanently erect penis). Such erections are not caused by prolonged sexual stimulation; rather, they result from blood being trapped in the penis instead of circulating normally. This condition is often quite painful and, if let untreated, can be very dangerous. In fact, without proper bloodflow, blot clots can develop and the penile tissue can become damaged or even die, which can potentially result in a permanent case of erectile dysfunction. As it turns out, however, priapism isn’t a problem that is unique to men—in fact, some women have developed priapism of the clitoris.Read More
Yes, you read that headline right. Last year, the president elect of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Lazar Greenfield, resigned from his position after penning a controversial Valentine’s Day editorial in Surgical News. In his editorial, Greenfield cited a controversial journal article published a decade ago which found that women who did not use condoms reported fewer depressive symptoms than women who practiced safe sex . Based upon these results, some scientists have argued that semen may have antidepressant properties. Greenfield is an apparent believer because he wrote in Surgical News that “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.” Female surgeons around the world were offended (and rightfully so) at Greenfield’s implication that semen is the best “gift” for women. Most media outlets that covered this story focused only on the sexism embedded in Greenfield’s editorial, but if you’re anything like me, you probably couldn’t help but wonder whether the study Greenfield cited has even a hint of scientific validity. Does it really provide evidence that semen has beneficial effects on women’s psychological well-being? Let's take a closer look at the research.