Risk Of The Other Guys Sperm

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While there may be skepticism about the validity of human sperm competition theories, experimental research takes these theories quite seriously. Presuming that human sperm competition exists, studies have been designed to explore the role of human sperm competition in the context of male anatomy, male psychology and behavior, and human reproduction. One such study hypothesized that the human penis may have evolved as a semen displacement device.54 A research team created artificial anatomical models of male genitalia complete with simulated semen to test the hypothesis that the human penis is designed to displace semen deposited by other men in the reproductive tract of a woman (figure 2.3).

The coronal ridge is the bulging part of the penis; it can work in two ways. As a vacuum inside the vagina, when the penis is pulled back, it sucks out everything inside the vagina, much like a plunger sucks back anything in a pipe. Or, the other man's semen gathers on the back of the coronal ridge, and then the penis acts as a "scooping" device, similar to a ladle pulling soup out of a pot: "If a female copulated with more than one male within a short period of time, this would allow subsequent

Figure 2.4. The "semen" is displaced by one of the phalluses with a coronal ridge after the experiment. From G. G. Gallup, R. L. Burch, M. L. Zappieri, R. A. Parvez, M. L. Stockwell, and J. A. Davis, "The Human Penis as a Semen Displacement Device," in Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (2003): 277-289.

males to 'scoop out' semen left by others before ejaculating."55 Their results demonstrated that a model penis with a glans and coronal ridge which most closely resembled a real human penis displaced significantly more simulated semen (91 percent) than did a model without a glans and coronal ridge (35 percent), suggesting that the penis is physically designed to act like a plunger, displacing the sperm of other men (figure 2.4). The study drew on key assumptions of human sperm competition theory in attempting to demonstrate that men can and do use their penises—that, in fact, the shape of the penis itself has evolved—to try and displace other men's semen when they suspect their mate has been unfaithful.

In 2005, an international team of psychologists and biologists designed an experiment to test hypotheses regarding male psychology as correlated with sperm competition. They state, "Sperm competition also may have fashioned a psychology that generated specific corrective behaviors designed to increase the likelihood that a man's ejaculate would out-compete rival sperm."56 The study participants were 305 men in a committed, sexual relationship with a woman (defined as being together at least one year). These men were asked to fill out a self-administered questionnaire regarding their sexual practices and their beliefs about their partner's attractiveness. The mean age of the sample was 25.8 years, and the mean age of female partners was 24.6 years. The researchers hypothesized that men at a high recurrent risk of sperm competition, measured by their assessment of the attractiveness of the female partner, would employ preventive and corrective behaviors to avoid sperm competition. These behaviors included mate-retention tactics measured by variables such as verbal possession signals, physical possession signals, and possessive ornamentation (wearing objects or clothing that signify attachment). Semen-displacing behaviors meas

Semen Retention Drug

Figure 2.4. The "semen" is displaced by one of the phalluses with a coronal ridge after the experiment. From G. G. Gallup, R. L. Burch, M. L. Zappieri, R. A. Parvez, M. L. Stockwell, and J. A. Davis, "The Human Penis as a Semen Displacement Device," in Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (2003): 277-289.

ured by length of sexual intercourse and the thrusts of the penis during intercourse were also analyzed. Researchers found some correlation between sperm competition and preventive and corrective behaviors.

Another group of evolutionary psychologists conducted research to document human male psychology adaptations to decrease the likelihood that a rival male's sperm will fertilize a female partner's egg(s).57 One research finding was that men who spent a greater amount of time away from a female sexual partner rated their partners as more attractive and reported greater interest in copulating with them. From this finding, researchers suggest that the perception of a partner as more attractive, combined with a greater interest in sex, may motivate a man to copulate with his partner as soon as possible. This greater interest in sex could then place his sperm in competition with any rival sperm that may be present in his partner's reproductive tract. As scientific validation of "absence makes the heart grow fonder," this research contributes to the growing evolutionary literature of sperm competition.

Though not specifically about human sperm competition, in The Other Guy's Sperm: The Cause of Cancers and Other Diseases, Donald Tyler, a clinical instructor at the University of Utah's medical school and a practicing urologist, argues that "foreign sperm are the missing link in causes of diseases. They probably are the major cause of cancers and many other devastating diseases."58 Foreign sperm, defined as any sperm in a woman, and another male's sperm in a man, pools inside a woman's vagina and enters into non-homosexual men by traveling up the urethra to invade the lining of the genitourinary tract and the lymphatic and circulatory systems. According to Tyler, sperm invading cells other than ova could account for all the characteristics of malignant cells, including their rapid uncontrolled division and abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

Tyler argues that sperm then invade the body (particularly the male body since female bodies seem to have some unexplained defense against sperm59). Similar to how the body may reject a tissue or organ transplant, the body attacks the sperm cell, which then leads to inflammation and destruction of healthy tissue. When antibodies attack the other guy's sperm, they may also attack cells and organs of the host body, causing autoimmune diseases. In effect, Tyler takes human sperm competition even further, portraying sperm as lying in wait in female receptacles, entering men's bodies and attacking, ultimately destroying the integrity of the human body.

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