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23rd Mar 2017

Sex and sport… a match made in heaven or a recipe for disaster?

Muhammad Ali never had sex before stepping in the ring, who can argue with The Greatest?

It’s an age-old question that divides opinion and marital beds. Does having sex before competing in sports hinder your performance?

Over the course of the Rio Olympics, 450,000 condoms were handed out to athletes, it raised some eyebrows and prompted questions about how much sex the athletes were participating in, and whether it was a good or a bad thing.

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There’s a common opinion that abstinence from sexual activity can boost athletic performance. Many professional sportsmen are banned from seeing their wives and girlfriend before an important match, with many believing a little sexual frustration will amp up your aggression and testosterone levels.

This may be true for men, but for women, we’re not too concerned with our testosterone levels, so how does it really affect us?

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Research carried out on athletes in four separate studies found that neither abstinent nor sexually active athletes seemed to have an advantage when testing strength and aerobic power, good news so far!

And it only gets better for us ladies… scientists discovered that a female orgasm could stop the release of a specific pain transmitter for up to 24 hours, this may help ease muscle pain or soreness. If we’re sifting through this research correctly it means that 24 hours after having sex we will be like sporting machines who suffer from ZERO muscle pain. That’s a result for us.


Leaving the science and the physical aspects aside, we can’t forget about the psychological aspect of sex. If you get performance nerves the night before a big match, who’s to say a little nookie wouldn’t calm the jitters. On the other hand, it may keep you awake ALL NIGHT LONG (if you’re lucky) so this couldn’t possibly be good for your performance. We probably have to use good judgment in terms of timing, an hour before an important game certainly won’t help your focus, you’ll probably need a nap.

Ultimately when playing sport, superstitions do come into play. Scientifically we can’t find any reason why sex and sport shouldn’t go hand in hand, but if you need to wear the same socks every other time you compete, and kiss your lucky sweatband three times before tying your hair back, maybe abstinence would suit you.

Otherwise, have at it.