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Myth: Sex Impairs Athletic Performance

Jan 26th, 2011
Venus Ramos, M.D.

Coaches traditionally ban their players from having sex the night before a big game. World champion boxers often claim to abstain from sex for weeks leading up to a title fight. Their theory is that sex negatively affects athletic performance. Proponents believe that somehow the act of ejaculation may weaken a male athlete in some respect.


However, there have been studies performed on athletes the morning after sexual activity measuring parameters such as grip strength, aerobic power, and exercise recovery. These studies show no significant effect on any of these parameters.


The more important factor affecting athletic performance is actually getting a good night’s sleep prior to a sporting event. In that case, the relaxation effect that many men experience after sexual activity might perhaps benefit their focus and athletic performance the next day. The fear that sex may relax athletes too much causing them to lose some of their aggressiveness or competitive edge is actually unfounded. Research has shown that sex stimulates the production of testosterone, thereby boosting aggression if advantageous for a sport.