I have to say I've always expected it. Wearing kilts...well it takes strength. Confidence. It takes cojones.
And who knows, it might be the smart thing to do! Forget easy access, forget the free swing of balls on the breeze...could wearing a kilt be best for your SPERM?
Kompanje, EJO. "‘Real men wear kilts’. The anecdotal
evidence that wearing a Scottish kilt has
influence on reproductive potential: how
much is true?" Scottish Medical Journal, 2013.
Today's post comes to you via the incredible Marc Abrahams of the Ignobels. No word on whether this finding will make him wear more kilts.
To understand why kilt wearing might be ideal, first we have to talk about the "ideal scrotal environment". First, your balls hang low, and they wobble to and fro, partially for issues of temperature. Sperm are delicate creatures, that require a temperature slightly lower than body temp of 37 degrees Celsius. In general, sperm do best between 35-36 degrees. Having the testicles dangle keeps them away from the heat of the body and keeps them slightly cooler.
So what creates the "ideal scrotal environment" that we all so dearly desire, that delicate balance of temperature? Well, the scrotal temperature is lowest (and possibly this also means best) in a naked man standing up. And of course, that works if the testicles hang proud and free. But nowadays...well they don't really do that. Most men wear pants, and some even wear briefs, snuggling that junk up against the body cavity. In fact, wrapping the testicles up tight (or even just embarrassing them with polyester) can decrease sperm count to the point of infertility, mostly due to the increased temperature in the ballsack.
So, is this an issue? Is it part of the decrease in fertility seen over the last 50 years?
Well, that's the question here that the author wants to ask. He proposes many of the benefits of kilt-wearing, among them:
Wearing a kilt has strong psychological beneﬁts. A
kilt will get you noticed no matter where you are. Research indicates that men wearing a kilt experience a strong sense of freedom and masculinity and that
many women are attracted to men in kilts.
as well as:
The kilt gives a man a sensuous awareness
of his own body and how it will be seen by others.
The kilt, the lingerie of the masculine world. Free-ball and feel SEXY.
Aside from these obvious psychological benefits, the author proposes potential physiological benefits as well: namely, that the kilt wearing would result in a more ideal scrotal environment. Nice cool cojones, ideal for sperm production.
There are anecdotal reports that men who wear
(Scottish) kilts have better sperm quality and better fer-
(I really want to know where these anecdotal reports come from. Or, maybe I don't...)
Of course, this all depends on people not wearing anything UNDER the kilt...
A common question and mystery is the following:
‘What do men wear under their kilt?’
(I always heard the answer to this was "your wife's lipstick")
Traditionally, Scots do not wear anything under their kilts, or at least they are not supposed to.
So in theory, if Scotsmen in general wore kilts and nothing under them, they should have better overall sperm quality than people of other countries who generally wear pants (not to mention the hipsters of Brooklyn, remembers boys, meggings are murder. Murder for your sperm. And my eyes.)
But do Scotsmen have super sperm? Not so. In fact, they have suffered the same reductions in fertility over the past 50 years that other countries have suffered. The author of this paper attributes this to the fact that most Scotsmen do not wear kilts on a regular basis.
But the problem is, of course, that no one has TESTED it. Not even the intrepid writer of this paper (though I bet he would if he could get it past the IRB!). And it's clear, SCIENCE NEEDS TO KNOW.
What we need are a good number of healthy dudes willing to donate sperm and wear kilts for SCIENCE. The idea is relatively simple. Get a baseline sperm count and sample for things like motility, etc. Give half your dudes (say, 16) kilts. Let the others wear standard pants with boxers. Have them go for three months. Take another sample. Switch 'em up, Go another three months. Sample #3. The results would be preliminary, but if the differences are big you'd probably see something!
Anyone willing to don the plaids for science?
And if it works...well kilt wearing might come back in style! And for those of us who like the look of a kilt, that could never be a bad thing!
"And I'm Freeeeee...Free Ballin'..."
*Side note: all fertility reductions date from the late 50 years, because that is the point at which clinics began to be able to keep track. It's not that we were all sperm all the time until the last 50 years.