The latest male fertility research reveals how your relationship length plays a role in pregnancy—and his best swimmers aren't waiting for him to settle down!
When you think about starting a family, you probably imagine having that conversation with someone you’ve been dating—or at least have known—for a while. But it turns out your best chances of getting pregnant may actually be with the guy you just met.
A new study in Evolutionary Psychological Science found that men produce higher quality sperm with a new partner compared to when they're aroused by someone they've been laying eyes on day after day. (See: 8 Questions to Ask Before Having Sex with Him.)
Researchers had men watch and—erm—react to sexually explicit videos for 15 days straight. Six of the seven videos had the same actress and actor, while the last offered a new copulating couple.
The men didn’t become habitualized to the same ol’ faces like one might expect. It took each guy relatively the same amount of time to finish the first time they watched one of the six similar videos to the umpteenth time they enjoyed it.
The men did, however, finish faster when they were introduced to the new video full of fresh faces. And when the researchers analyzed the men’s ejaculate, they found that the guys were actually producing higher quality sperm after this seventh, novel video. The quantity, movement, and structure—all crucial factors when it comes to sperm health—were improved with the new sexual stimuli. (Want to add the novelty back into the old game? 9 Ways to Sex Up Your Relationship.)
The researchers think the potential factors at play all have to do with man’s most primal and basic purpose—to sow his seed and further the human race. Hypothetically, the guys had already attempted to fertilize the eggs of the woman in the first six videos, so they didn’t need to keep giving away the primo prize. There’s also the idea of sperm competition, or the drive to deposit your sperm into as many reproductive banks as possible. Delivering the highest-quality sperm as quickly as possible to a new woman—even on a screen—would increase a guy’s chances of furthering his genetic line, the researchers hypothesize.
What does this mean for the couples who have been together forever and are now trying to optimize their chances of conceiving? Obviously, the lack of novelty doesn’t affect his sperm health too much—otherwise all babies would only be coming from reckless one night stands. And you can try and decrease other sperm-slaying factors, like stress, red meat, and too tight tighty-whities. Studies have found that scoring enough sleep and eating a diet rich in a-linolenic acid (like walnuts) and carotenoids (yellow- and orange-colored fruits and vegetables) can help boost the health of your guy’s swimmers, so there's no need to stress if you've been together forever and are just starting to try for a baby.
More importantly, is what this means for all the single ladies: If that cute guy you just laid eyes on has healthier swimmers now than he will after five years with you, that’s even more reason to be strict about using protection.