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Sperm Count and Clothing

Peter Zohrab 2017

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On the radio recently, I heard about Dr. Levine Hagai's meta-research on the reduced sperm-counts of Western males (Actually, I am not sure if Levine is his surname or first name).

So I emailed him as follows:

Did your meta-study find any significant association between sperm count and tightness of trousers or underwear, please?

This was a not particularly original idea of mine, but it sometimes seems as if academics are 1/3 ignorant, 1/3 stupid and 1/3 prejudiced, so I thought it worthwhile at least to ask the question.

He replied promptly but negatively, saying:

We did not check it.

There is some evidence for that but this could not explain the decline in Western world.

I followed up my original email to him (see below) but he did not reply again, doubtless being very busy.

  1. I wrote (slightly edited):

    I am 67 years old, and have lived mostly in the Western world. When I was young, men wore Y-front underwear which were relatively loose. Feminism was not as strong as it is now and the Sexual Revolution happened when I was a young man, I suppose.

    Because of Feminism and the Sexual Revolution, women started to expect men to dress in a sexy way and that could include tighter underwear and tighter trousers, because non-marital and premarital sex became more common. I remember being told by a girlfriend in the 1970s not to put my wallet in my side pocket, because it obscured the view of the bulge of my genitals.

  2. I suggest that you or I should research the history of male clothing.

  3. I further wrote:

    If you look at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3340269/Lady-long-johns-Time-lapse-video-charts-evolution-men-s-underwear-trends-using-woman-model-style-loose-loincloths-tight-trunks.html you will see that the trend in recent decades has been towards snug-fitting men's underwear, although boxer shorts (which are looser than boxer briefs) have made a comeback recently.

I have no idea if the tightness of clothing has anything to do with the sperm-count, but I also have no idea why Dr. Levine is not interested in investigating this possibility. I guess that in places like Israel (and New Zealand) no academic is allowed to be openly critical of Feminism, so my mention of Feminism could have scared him off!

I am writing this short article because I don't want to find out later that he has investigated the issue, without telling me, and got a Nobel Prize or something for proving that this was the cause of the problem! Once, when I was studying Linguistics at York (UK), I told my Lecturer, Steve Harlow, that Nancy Woo's rules for Hokkien tone-sandhi didn't work, and he suggested I tell Geoffrey Sampson at the London School of Economics, which I did (by letter -- this was the 1970's). He replied that he wasn't surprised, and that was the end of our correspondence. Some years later (in Bangkok) I happened to read an article by Sampson in the journal Language, where he included a footnote saying that Nancy Woo's rules for Hokkien tone-sandhi didn't work -- without giving any details or saying who had told him that!




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

10 March 2019