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"Daily sperm liberation" may increase fertility

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The big sexual health news this week was that a guy can increase the quality of his sperm by having sex every day for a week, and thus improve his fertility; he might have fewer sperm on his team when he goes for the gold, but the ones he does have will be stronger players. (In contrast, many fertility experts recommend that guys abstain for a few days before her ovulation to increase sperm count.) Reading about this study brought two questions to mind:

1. We noticed most of the mentions of it, and in particular the AP story on the topic making all the rounds, really emphasized the “sex” part. But as far as we can tell from this Bio-Medicine article (the most detailed one we could find), the 118 Australian participants in the study simply ejaculated daily. Now, we’re all for the term “sex” to encompass the vast array of activities that one can have sexually, be it intercourse or mutual handwork or solo masturbation. But, damn it, we don’t live in that kind of world! (At least not yet.) The collective assumption is that sex means intercourse. So it would be far more accurate, and far more helpful, if the stories on this study made it clear that ejaculation, by whatever means, was the key. Because, hey, intercourse may not be possible or even desirable every day: one person may be away on business, the kids might be home, she may want a break (after all, intercourse is not often the means to her own orgasmic end). Is the word “ejaculation” too risque for news headlines? Is it simply too long? Or just not “sexy” enough?

2. Okay, okay, we’ll admit, if we’re ultimately talking about optimizing conception here, then yes, having intercourse every day before ovulation (without any contraception, duh) sounds like a pretty good way to increase your chances of conception, especially if it helps create more decent-quality sperm. But that begs the question: Will this new info suddenly create a boom of female babies? His sperm (not her egg) determines the sex of a baby: male sperm (i.e. sperm that makes male babies) are apparently faster swimmers but they perish fairly quickly; meanwhile female sperm may not be as fast but they last longer. Advice for influencing the sex of your future offspring always mentions doing it just before ovulation if you want a girl, right at ovulation if you want a boy. So we could see how intercourse every day for a week before ovulation could result in a plethora of female sperm just hanging out, ready to go once the egg is released to be fertilized. And if you are trying to influence the sex of your future baby, then not having unprotected intercourse everyday for a whole week but instead simply ejaculating (see #1 above) until the day or two you’re going for the gold would seem to be the best approach for you. We don’t know for sure, we’re just asking.

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