I hate to break this to you, but if you're a woman capable of ovulating who has, let's say, internalized some semen in the recent past, then...there is semen. In your brain. No, higher. To the right. Right there. Little higher. Yep, got it.
Researchers have identified a protein present in all mammalian semen—camels, weasels, bats, bunnies, piglets, horses, blue whales, and humans (that's all the mammals, right?)—that directly affects the female brain and stimulates ovulation. It's called nerve growth factor (NGF if you're nasty) and it's typically found in nerve cells, where it regulates nerve maintenance. By day. By night NGF loses the glasses and takes its ponytail down and it's a whole other story:
NGF in the semen acts as a hormonal signal, working through the hypothalamus of the female brain and the pituitary gland. This triggers the release of other hormones that signal the ovaries to release an egg or eggs.
While the protein may function differently from animal to animal, the team found it in every species they checked, from llamas, cattle and koalas to pigs, rabbits, mice, and humans - implying it's pretty important.
Just how it works, though, its role in various species, and its clinical relevance to human infertility are still unclear.
..."The idea that a substance in mammalian semen has a direct effect on the female brain is a new one," says Adams. "This latest finding broadens our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate ovulation and raises some intriguing questions about fertility."
Obviously it'll be super excellent if NGF can someday help couples or single women struggling with fertility problems. And despite the grossness of putting "semen" and "brain" right next to each other in a sentence (and yes, I understand that the sperms do not literally swim up and touch the brain!), this discovery is fascinating. But I have to say, the idea that semen exerts a tangible, physiological effect on the female body makes me deeply uncomfortable—it seems like such an easy talking point for anti-gay maniacs, or that subset of human garbage that thinks lesbians just need a good dicking. You know? Ugh. But, facts are facts and science is science—I'm also uncomfortable with the existence of everything in the ocean (have you SEEN THE OCEAN?), but I'm not, like, writing letters and shit.
And it does punch quite a big hole in the Todd Akin "what I've heard from doctors" school of uterine
science sorcery—the female body, it seems, is way more interested in revving things up than shutting things down. I mean if it's legitimate semen.
Photo credit: nicemonkey / Stockfresh.