And then old Dr Greenfield had to cap off a sterling career by writing a bizarre op-ed piece in Surgery News this past February wherein he makes the argument that women would be a whole lot happier if they, um, absorbed a little more semen into their bloodstreams. Yeah, unfortunately, I'm dead serious. Semen. As in man sauce. Based on exhaustive research into fruit fly mating habits, apparently. Or something like that.
It’s been known since the 1990s that heterosexual women living together synchronize their menstrual cycles because of pheromones, but when a study of lesbians showed that they do not synchronize, the researchers suspected that semen played a role. In fact, they found ingredients in semen that include mood enhancers like estrone, cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin; a sleep enhancer, melatonin; and of course, sperm, which makes up only 1%-5%. Delivering these compounds into the richly vascularized vagina also turns out to have major salutary effects for the recipient. Female college students having unprotected sex were significantly less depressed than were those whose partners used condoms (Arch. Sex. Behav. 2002;31:289-93). Their better moods were not just a feature of promiscuity, because women using condoms were just as depressed as those practicing total abstinence. The benefits of semen contact also were seen in fewer suicide attempts and better performance on cognition tests.
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.
I can only hope that Dr Greenfield just has an awful sense of humor and that he truly thought he was writing a witty, seasonally-appropriate op ed for the Valentine's Day holiday. It isn't far fetched--- academic surgeons aren't exactly known for being Louis CK clones in the doctor's lounge. (Although, precisely because they are academic hot shots, they invariably are feted with guaranteed, disingenuous forced laughter after every awful joke they make by obsequious residents and med students who seek glowing personalized recommendations from them when the rotation is over, and so they never pick up on the fact they what they are saying truly isn't funny, in the standard meaning of the term.)
Anyway, he stepped down as editor of the paper and his status as incoming President of ACS is still TBD. He's sort of a creepy looking chap in that picture isn't he?
Dr Greenfield has officially resigned as incoming President of the American College of Surgeons. There will be plenty of people who denounce this controversy as an "overreaction". Certainly we all have the right to say whatever the hell we want. But the 1st Amendment doesn't protect any of us from the societal consequences of our speech. Dr Greenfield isn't going to jail here. He simply lost his elected position as the primary representative of American surgeons. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me. His op-ed could have focused on something benign and non-controversial, along the lines of "sex makes for happier surgeons". But no, he had to concentrate on semen. And how women need to augment their intake of the creamy white paste. I mean, this wasn't some off hand comment made at a Michigan Surgical Society banquet, after one too many martinis. This was an op ed in a monthly newspaper for God's sakes, which lends an air of premeditation to everything. One mistake doesn't negate an entire career, however. Dr Greenfield ought not to be judged solely on the basis of an asinine editorial but unfortunately, in the modern internet era, you can't hide from a single indiscretion. The internet will find you.