The study also found that the effects were time dependent -- the more time that lapsed since her last unprotected sexual encounter, the smaller the mood-enhancing effect. One possible explanation offered by the researchers was that semen produced this antidepressant effect.
"I accepted responsibility for using scientific material in a lighthearted way to review new biochemical findings in sexuality," Greenfield said in an email to ABC News. "These findings show the remarkable way nature has promoted strong bonding between men and women, a gift rather than something demeaning."
Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Albany, led the research. Gallup, along with co-authors, concluded that something in semen's chemistry may have anti-depressant effects in women.
"It's a shame he stepped down as a consequence to [the editorial]," said Gallup. "It may not have been in the most tasteful interest, but there's nothing about what he said that doesn't have some basis in available science."
While study's findings are not conclusive -- it was a self-reported, correlation survey with a relatively small sample size -- Gallup defended Greenfield's remarks because they drew on medical research and were not an intentional burn to women in surgery. He also said that the researchers, and probably Greenfield, did not condone unprotected sex, as the potential harm from such actions could far surpass any psychological benefit.
"The public reaction suggests that science is about political correctness and not about evidence," said Gallup. "It shouldn't be a matter of how you feel about it or your political reaction. I think the reaction is completely overblown."
But while gender discrimination in medicine -- specifically surgery -- has become less polarizing with time, Kirstein recalled her days as an intern when a male superior made a discriminatory comment.
"A senior male surgeon turned to me and said, 'I long for the days when women were barefoot and pregnant,'" said Kirstein. "I was furious but could not respond. It's those kinds of comments which should not be tolerated as an individual or by our representative group.
"As a woman surgeon, we are always fighting to break the barrier of the old boys club," said Kirstein.
Television shows like "Grey's Anatomy," where some of the top surgeons are young women, may help to change the public perception of such a "boys club," but Kirstein said that the sexual relationships and misconduct among the characters on the show "almost negates the progress.
"What I hope to strive for one day is just to be seen as a surgeon, not a woman surgeon or male surgeon," she said.