Sex Does Not Inhibit Athletic Performance

Sex Does Not Inhibit Athletic Performance

 In 2007, Sylvester Stallone gave up having sex in order to improve his performance as Rocky in his movie Rocky Balboa. That’s taking the commonly held myth that having sex can interfere with athletic performance to a whole new level. (Psst! Sly, Rocky is a fictional character!) But abstinence before athletics is something everyone from the non-fictional Rocky Marciano (who retired undefeated) to fictional trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) in the original 1976 Rocky movie have long-advocated (“Women weaken legs”).

However new research reports it shouldn’t cause any difficulty—unless you have cultural or psychological issues with it that trigger emotional stress. Writing in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers from Italy, the UK and Croatia, found “sexual activity the day before competition does not exert any negative impact on performance…” And the day of?

Well, that’s highly individual, although for the 2014 World Cup, these soccer teams made official declarations that it was allowed (score!), some with provisos: Germany, Spain, the United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Uruguay, England, France (if it’s not all night), Brazil (if it’s not acrobatic), and Costa Rica (only if the team made it to the second round). 

The benefits? Expressions of deeply felt closeness and love stimulate body hormones and chemicals that promote blood flow, ease blood pressure, relax muscles, dispel stress, promote immune strength and improve memory. So even if energetic interaction doesn’t help much with weight management (according to one study it only burns about 85 calories), what’s not to love?

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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