Does sex affect sports performance before competing?
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Does sex affect sports performance before competing?

 

Does sex affect sports performance before competing?


The notion that sex influences athletic performance dates back thousands of years. The detrimental effects of this type of physical activity before a competition have been documented by ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese civilizations. This idea has made it to our time in some form or another, but is it true that having sex the night before an event has a negative impact on athletes' performance?Here’s the controversy.

The detrimental effects of sex on sportsmen can be traced back to mythology and religion, which attributed divine force to sperm. As a result, their retention would improve men's strength, endurance, and virility, all of which are good allies in sports competition. Their absence would result in the obverse: a temporary loss of physical abilities.

To begin, we must stress that study in this topic is extremely difficult due to the numerous variables that influence the relationship between sport and sex (couple, duration, effort made, emotional implications and a long etcetera).

The most comprehensive assessment of research on sex and sport

The most important research on this topic, which is extremely common as we approach the end of each Olympic cycle, does indicate to a viewpoint that is opposed to popular belief. A review published in Frontiers in Physiology in 2016 looked at over 500 of these investigations (Sexual Activity before Sports Competition: A Systematic Review)offers a clear conclusion: science has shown no negative impacts on athletic performance in men and women who have had sex at least 10 hours before an event (see more). Specific studies, on the other hand, have found good results.
It should be noted that there have been inquiries into cases when sex has been found to be detrimental to performance. This was the major finding of a group of researchers in Geneva who used ergometers to evaluate 16 top-level athletes in two scenarios: 10 hours after sexual intercourse and two hours after sexual intercourse.
Sexual activity did not cause changes in stress test maximum values or athlete focus, but it did result in higher heart rate values during the two-hour stress test, according to the findings. (For further information, view the whole research).
Luca Vargas, a sexologist and psychologist at Centro Vitaria, maintains that “there is no solid scientific proof” that sex has a negative impact on athletic performance. “It cannot be affirmed that having sex the night before a competition will have a negative impact on the athlete's physical performance, let alone weeks before.”

Hormone production and sex performance

Yes, there are some favorable impacts of sex on sports performance in both male and female athletes, both psychologically and physically. When it comes to sports, regular sexual connections promote the creation of testosterone, a hormone associated to muscular strength and power.
There is a brief fall in testosterone following ejaculation in men, but it quickly returns to normal levels. This is why, according to a study by Swiss researchers, having sex two hours before an exam is not recommended. Because an increase in testosterone does not imply a decrease in the amount of this hormone in women, the impacts on its level are much more obvious.
“Pleasure discharges boost the production of oxytocin and endorphins, chemicals that considerably lessen the sense of pain,” says sexologist Luca Vargas. As a result, sexual activity can be regarded as a natural analgesic that aids in the relief of muscle and/or joint pain.

Sport and sex: a psychological advantage

One of the keys to sporting success is to keep one's mind completely concentrated on the desired outcome. Sex has a role in this as well: “Sex enhances the concentration of serotonin (the hormone responsible for happiness and pleasure) and lowers the amount of cortisol in the blood, the stress hormone. All of this may make it easier to attend the competition with less anxiety,” says the author. clarifies Lucía Vargas.
Sexual practice the day before a sporting event can help with things like sleeping better and obtaining enough rest. As a result, the test in question would be subjected to better assurances.
Similarly, sexologist Vargas emphasizes another positive aspect of sex: “It has been established that lengthy abstinence can cause melancholy moods as well as frustration and stress in the individual.” To put it another way, forbidding sex can have the exact opposite impact of what is desired: poor performance.

Sex and sport: negative aspects to take into account

Similarly, sexologist Vargas emphasizes another positive aspect of sex: “It has been established that lengthy abstinence can cause melancholy moods as well as frustration and stress in the individual.” To put it another way, forbidding sex can have the exact opposite impact of what is desired: poor performance.
Vargas advises that the sex to be performed “does not demand significant physical wear or spending a full night awake,” since this would have an impact on sleep, which is crucial for performance.
In the moments, days, or weeks leading up to a competition, many great athletes follow a set of very specific routines. If pre-competitive sex is not allowed in these routines, it may be prohibited in the previous one as well. The reason behind this is that, in terms of psychological preparation, the athlete tends to prejudge his performance based on his regular habits. An athlete's performance may be harmed as a result of doing something he isn't used to, a practice that isn't part of his normal routine.
This similar concept applies to athletes and women who believe that having sex makes them less physically fit. In these situations, the competition will be forced to consider the weaknesses caused by sex, making it harder for him to perform well in the examination.

The practice of elite sportsmen and women

Many of the athletes who compete in huge tournaments week after week are torn between myth and science. Although sex is still a private matter in some situations, several professional athletes have made their habits public before a tournament.
The case of the legendary Mohamed Ali was the most well-known. A well-known name is Pelé, who was in favor of practicing sex before a sporting event, while the boxer self-imposed a sexual abstinence of six weeks before a battle.
The Argentine national football squad, who won the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, was barred from practicing sex before matches in the same sport. The players of Holland's famed 'Naranja Mecánica', on the other hand, had authorization from the technician to have relations. In 1974 and 1978, this squad finished second.
Wrestler Ronda Rousey, for example, stated she enjoyed having sex before a battle because it enhanced her testosterone levels and improved her performance.
Casey Stengel, the legendary coach of the New York Yankees, said of the scandal, "It's not sex that ruins these people, it's being up all night waiting for it."
According to a review of data published in Frontiers in Physiology, each individual's sexual domain is unique, and athletes should live their sexuality with complete freedom in this setting.
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