On August 22, 2012, the Daily Mail offered a headline that read “Oral sex is good for women’s health and helps fight depression.” This claim was originated by a 10-year-old study that was published in 2002 in the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The study that started all of this was conducted by researchers from the State University of New York who were looking to see if the depression scores from female students changed with sexual activity that occurred with and without condoms. The researchers claim that the women who didn’t use condoms reported that their depression symptoms lessened compared to the women who did use condoms. This made the researchers wonder if the semen acted as an antidepressant.

While the study itself was flawed and had plenty of holes in it, the Daily Mail reported it as if it was brand new research that should be taken seriously. It seems that reporters and researchers alike are desperate to find a way to replace antidepressant medications like Paxil with just about anything they can think of, even if the information is old, unsubstantiated and crude. That is likely because Paxil and other antidepressants are so dangerous. For example, Paxil has been linked to numerous different side effects, including violent and suicidal thoughts and behaviors and birth defects (PPHN, spina bifida, cleft palate, neural tube defects) to babies whose mothers take the drugs while pregnant.

Some studies have suggested that the pheromones released during an orgasm can help alleviate depression symptoms due to the increase in serotonin, but this “semen study” just seems too far-fetched for doctors to take seriously.