Sex and sport performance
Sex and sport or before sport is a important question for athletes.
I’ve gone back to gym in an attempt to regain my sanity and libido. I’m winning in the sanity department and the jury is still out on libido.
At my gym, a small intimate affair called Once Active in Parkmore, I’ve known the owner and some of the trainers for years and hopefully they don’t feel harassed when I talk to them about sex.
They often give me the topic for this column. This week during my bench presses or squats, I forget which, we discussed whether performance was increased or decreased by recent sex. The vote was split. So, I decided to do some research. Sex and sport is an interesting question.
Surprise, surprise there is no definitive research and the smattering there is deals with men in sport.
The first attempt at obtaining an answer was done in 1968 which suggested that there was absolutely no truth in the proposition that your sporting prowess was affected by having sex before an event.
In 2016 a small study concluded the same thing. All those coaches have been lying to their teams for centuries. With the Olympics coming up I have to wonder how many athletes continue to believe the myth.
We know where it started. One of the Greek Philosophers, I think Aristotle, believed that testosterone left your body (a man’s that is) when he ejaculated. The contrary is true. Our bodies are fantastic pharmacies.
Having sex manufactures testosterone and a concoction of hormones that help fight pain and encourage happiness.
Some coaches believe that by sex deprivation and thus not allowing testosterone to leave the body (which we now know is BS) the aggression level rises and the have to win attitude with it. We know that physiologically this is not true.
Psychologically maybe but there is no science to back it.
I often wonder if sex or denial of sex has not been used by the coaching staff simply as a form of control over the players. I also have to wonder how much of this refraining song comes from a personal moral judgement by those in control of the players. We know that sex has been used as a controlling tool throughout the ages. It is a big stick and it continues to be wielded.
It is alleged that one of the big boxers used to abstain from sex for weeks before a fight. It allegedly kept him focused. We can’t argue with that because everyone stays focused in their own way. We had a discussion at the gym (see above) about who it was. It was allegedly Mohammed Ali, but this too could be an urban myth.
Nobody talks about women having sex before sport and the affect it will have on performance. It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter. Testosterone and anti-pain meds being manufactured during sex, staying in the blood stream for more than 24 hours after the event would lead me to suggest that it may be a very good idea to have sex before a competitive event.
May I remind you – there is no real research, but if I was a gambling woman this is where my money would be.
I would have to say that to do the proper research we would have to look at everything including the debate – what is sex?
I can imagine that is you have an all nighter, with 5 rounds and swinging from the chandelier, there might be some impact. Who was doing all the work and did you sprain any muscles?
Or was it a gentle 11 minutes to completion with or without your partner. I would suggest that this will have no impact at all. Is it with your regular partner, or a new attraction you’re trying to impress? Same logic.
We also know that we are all different, with different triggers, preferences and irritations. Surely all of that will impact the outcome. I can now understand the difficulty in trying to get this research done.
Obviously, sex is one of those subjects that is so personal that we don’t even know if your having sex is the same as my having sex!
Are we talking about orgasm or penetration or both?
I think timing is important. Orgasm can lead to many of us wanting to take a nap which may not be a good idea if you are competing in 10 minutes time. From the articles I’ve read, it is suggested that you refrain from sex for 2 hours before competing. This makes sense to me.
There are no definitive answers. The bit of research that has been completed suggests that sex before an event has no effect at all and if it does it seems to indicate that it benefits the athlete in positive ways.
On that happy note, I have some work to do before I go to the gym and have a performance enhancing session!
Let me know what you think – you do know that comments, likes and shares make us rank better and eventually allow us to earn off our posts – so come on – you know you can.