There are a plethora of elements that can affect one’s athletic capabilities — but is sex one of them?
For many years, athletes have perpetuated the theory that sex before competition can have devastating effects on their performance.
During last year’s World Cup, for example, several participating teams had team-wide bans on sexual intercourse before games, as coaches believed it could negatively impact the athlete’s performance.
But does science support this widely-held belief?
Studies performed on the topic of athletic performance post-coital have proven to be inconclusive.
“It’s often talked about, but it has not been shown to be true,” said sports medical physician Dr. Jordan Metzel in a recent interview with Time Magazine. “There are lots of different factors that could account for how a player performs.”
Most notably, sexual encounters can decrease the amount of time spent sleeping, a key determinant when it comes to peak performance.
In the mid-1990s, a study was conducted that looked into the effects of sex on measures such as aerobic power and oxygen pulse among 11 men running on treadmills. Each man was tested twice — once after having sex 12 hours earlier and once without sex.
Although the sample size was admittedly very small, the data received was deemed to be inconclusive.
Sex doesn’t seem to disturb the psychological side of the game either. In another study, researchers gave both endurance athletes and weight lifters a series of concentration and athletic tests after intercourse. The results showed that athletes were just as attentive two hours after the romp in the sheets, thus disproving the idea that it has any effect on their mental alertness.
In other good news, research suggests that having sex boosts testosterone production in men, which actually could give guys an edge in the game. Testosterone, the hormone released during orgasm, helps strengthen muscles and leg power.
And it’s not just men that are getting an added boost from some pre-game action.
Many scientists believe that a female orgasm can temporarily halt the release of a specific pain transmitter, which may help ease muscle pain or soreness following a particularly rough game.
So while the effects remain unclear, it’s ultimately up to the individual whether they wish to “warm up” before hitting the field, court or ring.
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